*Waynesboro’s annual Independence Day Celebration on July 3rd, 2023, was once again a huge success! The weather, although very warm, remained favorable throughout the day and evening with clear skies and no threat of rain. Waynesboro City Park was filled with people looking and buying from all the vendors, who were offering all kinds of food, arts & crafts, and other goodies. The musical performers drew in even more people, beginning with the Mars Hill Bluegrass Band, followed by Burning Las Vegas and culminating with the headlining artist, Kylie Morgan. An estimated 2,850 people came through the park, with countless more gathering all around the city to watch the spectacular fireworks display. Many commented that the fireworks just keep getting better and better each year.
*The Wayne County 5 & 6 Dixie Sweetees and the 7 & 8 Dixie Darlings both became undefeated District 8 Champions! Both teams advanced to the State Tournament, with the Sweetees Tournament held in Collinwood and the Darlings Tournament held in Dickson. These young players were excited to continue our county’s excellent softball history.
*The Wayne County Dixie Belles traveled to Dickson, TN in the first week of July 2023 to compete in the State Tournament. The Championship Game of the State Tournament saw Wayne County defeating McEwen by a score of 22-2. The Wayne County All-Star team realized they had just become Team Tennessee! Team Tennessee advanced to the World Series in Alexandria, Louisiana.
*Collinwood, Tennessee hosted two Dixie Youth Softball State Tournaments in July 2023. They hosted both the Sweetees (5-6 year-olds) and the Ponytails (11-12 year-olds). The Sweetees tournament was comprised of seven teams from Wayne County, Perry County, Centerville, Chester County, Dickson, Madison South, and the host, Collinwood. The double elimination tournament was dominated early on by the Centerville team as they were undefeated going into the championship round. But the Wayne County team had other plans in the end! They defeated the Centerville team in back-to-back games to win the Tennessee Sweetees State Tournament and advance to the Dixie Youth World Series in Alexandria, Louisiana. The Ponytail tournament was also comprised of seven teams. Collinwood defeated Chester County in the semifinals, making it a three-way tie. Collinwood would win the draw and receive a bye in the championship round. Chester County defeated Savannah in the first game to set up a winner-take-all between Collinwood and Chester County. Collinwood prevailed over Chester County 10-2 and advanced to the World Series! This was the third consecutive year that this team group made it to the World Series.
*Those traveling on Highway 64 East in July 2023 noticed the earth-moving machines in operation at the site of the Waynesboro Industrial Park. Using funds the City of Waynesboro received from a TNECD grant, the task was to level out ten acres of the site that were previously just hills and valleys in order to make the location more inviting to new industries. After the site work was complete, it was concrete pad-ready, and can accommodate the construction of a building with up to 100,000 square feet.
*A fire broke out early on Friday morning, July 21st, at C&B Linen on Andrew Jackson Drive. The call came in shortly after midnight, just as a fierce lightning storm was moving through the area. Firefighters from Waynesboro City, Station 1 (Waynesboro), Station 8 (Eagle Creek), and Station 9 (Ovilla) responded to the fire. The Waynesboro City Police Department was also there to assist. The new building and all its contents were ultimately declared a total loss. Owner Jason Crews estimated the cost of the loss, including the building and all its contents, to be in the millions of dollars. “When we built this new building last year, we tried to include everything possible to mitigate fire damage if the building were to catch on fire. Unfortunately, a direct lightning strike is something that cannot be predicted or stopped.” C&B Linen has continued their operations since the fire at their warehouse building on the Highway 64 Bypass.
*In early August 2023, TWRA Agent Brandon Taylor confirmed the sighting of a black bear in Waynesboro…yes, you read that right, another bear sighting in Wayne County! This time, the bear was captured on a security camera near South High Street in Waynesboro. Though there isn’t a breeding population of bears in Middle Tennessee yet, the animals are in the fringe counties. It is not uncommon to see young bears moving through the area looking to set up their own home range, according to TWRA.
*Wayne County was proud to be represented in the Dixie Youth Softball World Series by three teams known as “Team Tennessee” last summer. The Wayne County Sweetees, the Collinwood Ponytails, and the Wayne County Belles all traveled to Alexandria, Louisiana to participate in the World Series. The Collinwood Ponytails 11-12 came on strong, but were unfortunately defeated twice, putting them out of the double elimination tournament. Even though they suffered two tough losses, this amazing team of young ladies represented Wayne County well with their great sportsmanship. In the Tennessee Sweetees 5-6 Tournament, Team Tennessee won over Texas by a score of 27-11, but took two tough losses to Louisiana Ruston and Alabama, who would later become the World Series Champions. The Wayne County Dixie Youth Belles played South Carolina in their first game, and even though they played a great game, Team Tennessee fell to Team South Carolina. The third round matched up Team Tennessee with Team Virginia. Once again, Tennessee played a strong game, but suffered a loss to Virginia. This loss put Team Tennessee out of the Series. All of these young ladies represented our county very well and made some great memories!
*Wayne County school buses began loading and unloading both reluctant and excited students when the 2023-2024 school year began its new session on Wednesday, August 9. “The upcoming school year promises fresh opportunities for our students as well as our staff,” said new Director of Schools, Dr. Ricky Inman. “Not only is this a new opportunity for me, but Wayne County is also fortunate enough to welcome 11 new teachers into the system. I’m very excited to see what this new school year will bring.”
*High school football kicked off the new season in August. The Wayne County High School Wildcats opened at Guy H. Buchanan Stadium with the ‘Cats hosting the Mt. Pleasant Tigers. The Wildcats were under the leadership of a new head coach, Derek Willis. He replaced long-time Wildcat coach, Cary Crews, who retired from WCHS. The Collinwood High School Trojans began their regular season at Pat Brewer Stadium in a battle with the Loretto Mustangs.
*U.S. Senator Marsha Blackburn made a stop in Waynesboro in August 2023 to speak with local and county officials as part of her annual commitment to visit each of Tennessee’s 95 counties. A topic that Sen. Blackburn said she hears about and discusses more than any other is the economy. We asked the senator if there was any relief in sight for the economy in general, more specifically things such as the tremendous increase in housing prices and the ever-fluctuating yet still increasing gas prices at the pump. “Until the federal government stops this out of control spending, the cost of living prices are not going to improve,” said Blackburn.
*Buildings in the downtown areas of Waynesboro and Collinwood that have stood for many years got a much-needed facelift, thanks to façade grants from the South Central Tennessee Development District (SCTDD). Improvements included painting, signage, awnings, and other visible outside improvements. “The grant funds allow for a more pleasing aesthetic,” said Collinwood Downtown Chairman Powers. “It makes our downtown area more inviting to tourists and those just driving through.”
*A tragic car accident in Collinwood claimed the life of a young Alabama woman (formerly of Perry County, TN) in the early morning hours of Tuesday, August 22nd. Hayden Moore, age 30, was traveling southbound on Highway 13 just inside the city limits of Collinwood. Moore’s SUV failed to negotiate a curve in the roadway and struck a culvert, causing the vehicle to become airborne and strike a utility pole before coming to a rest. Moore was ejected from the vehicle during the crash and was pronounced deceased at the scene due to severe injuries sustained during the accident.
*Old Timers’ Day in Collinwood, sponsored by the Collinwood Beautification Board, was held on Saturday, September 2. People flocked to town in Collinwood for the annual parade, then gathered in Ralph Hughes Park to enjoy all the music, food, and fun. Mr. and Mrs. Old Timer, Smitty Smith and Robbie Dicus, rode proudly in the parade and greeted all the bystanders with a wave and a smile. The parade was filled with antique vehicles, tractors, horses, emergency vehicles, and Grand Marshals of the parade, the Collinwood football team. Following the parade, the crowd went over to Ralph Hughes Park for the festivities. Live music from Eddie Thompson and Band of Brothers provided great entertainment, and the vendors set up around the park offered all kinds of delicious food and a variety of merchandise.
*A Wayne County man was killed in a tragic workplace accident Wednesday, September 6th. Thomas Shayne Seitz, age 57, was an employee at C-Wood Lumber Company in Collinwood. Robert Farris, co-owner of C-Wood Lumber, confirmed that Seitz died as a result of an accident on the lumber yard.
*Pullin’ in the Wood, the annual tractor pull held in Collinwood, was once again a big success in September 2023. It was held over two nights, Friday, September 8 and Saturday, September 9. The arena that was prepared for the pull was packed to capacity at the Dixie Youth Park, with spectators there to watch pullers from Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, and Kentucky show their stuff with their tractors and jacked-up trucks. The trolley ran each night of the pull, picking up spectators from their parking spots to take them to the arena. The pull didn’t end until nearly midnight each night, and the vendors pretty much sold out.
*Hurricane Idalia was credited with delivering a flamingo-palooza last September, with many of the lovely birds ending up in Tennessee, and even a few spotted in Wayne County. USA Today published a story about how these lovely creatures ended up in Tennessee. “Birds have previously been documented in the calm center of hurricanes,” said Bill Pranty, an avid birder. “Birds also try to fly around the storm and get diverted, or they’re already aloft and they get caught up with outer bands, then ride the bands until they reach land or they drop into the ocean.” He speculated that as Idalia moved north, the birds traveled in the storm’s counter-clockwise rain bands. Heather Malugen snapped a photo of one of the flamingos in Wayne County; more precisely, the birds were spotted on Pumping Station Road near a pond. Once the word got out, dozens of people flocked to the area to see if they could spot the beautiful pink creatures.
*After months of uncertainty, those with loved ones living at Boyd Cottages Assisted Living, along with Boyd Cottages employees, breathed a sigh of relief when the Wayne County Commission voted in September to sell the facility to the highest bidder, the partnership of Jerry Hollis and Tim Franks. Hollis and Franks submitted the high bid of $1,250,000.00. “Jerry and I agree that the assisted living facility is a valuable asset to our community,” said Tim Franks. “We are aware that the building has some problems, but hopefully they are all small issues that can be addressed quickly,” Franks continued. Unfortunately, Hollis and Franks later addressed the commission with their withdrawal of the bid, stating that the problems with the facility were too great for them to overcome. The facility was put back out for bids shortly thereafter.
*The 2023 Pumpkin Harvest Festival ended as a success on September 16th. There were 106 vendors registered to participate, but the rain didn’t keep 92 of them away! They came and stuck it out till the sun peeped through and created a beautiful afternoon.
*The Collinwood High School Trojans celebrated 50 years of Trojan football under the Friday night lights, with festivities coinciding with the Trojans’ Homecoming game of the season on September 22, 2023. The annual Homecoming Parade featured past and present football players, cheerleaders, and supporters. The first Collinwood Trojan Football Coach, Andy Hindman, was instrumental in preparing the 50 Year Celebration. The gathering brought back together many CHS alumni, including football team members from the early years up until the present. “That first team, they probably had an ounce more courage than they had fear,” Hindman said. “And they sure showed it. So, next time you drive through Collinwood on a Friday, look for those lights. They might not be hard to miss.”