Category Archives: NEWS

Voice staying open; hours are odd

The Lauderdale Voice will be open to the public during normal business hours, although “normal” is relative due to the situation with the Coronavirus.

“Many of our friends know that I work part-time in the evenings at Walmart,” said Jay Heath, Publisher of The Lauderdale Voice. “Because of that, our hours have been a little inconsistent for a while. But, we are here, as often as we can be, and ready to serve the public at this crucial time.”

Heath said, going forward, The Voice will be open on Mondays and Tuesdays from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., although there will likely be times that the office will be closed for short periods on those days when he is out of the office. The Voice will be open on Wednesdays from 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., while hours for Thursdays and Fridays will be limited. Heath encouraged residents to call him if they need to stop by to make sure he will be there. There is also a dropbox outside the front door of the office where news and advertising items can be left.

Foster’s future focused on family

What does former Ripley High School football star Ramon Foster plan on doing after announcing his retirement from the Pittsburgh Steelers? Find out about his plans in this week’s issue of The Lauderdale Voice. Foster’s focus in the future will be on spending time with his family after he made the difficult decision to retire on Monday.

UTM suspends classes; UTM-Ripley Spring Fling postponed

As Interim UT System President Randy Boyd just announced, the University of Tennessee System, in consultation with the chancellors of all UT campuses, made the decision today to move classes online. Classes at the University of Tennessee at Martin will be suspended on Thursday, March 12, and Friday, March 13; university offices will remain open. Beginning March 16, all courses will be conducted online through at least April 3. We will continue to communicate throughout this period so that faculty, staff and students know what to expect going forward. Faculty should be prepared to continue online past April 3, should the need arise. The reason for this three-week period is to move beyond the known COVID-19 incubation period.

After careful deliberation and communication with public health officials and our own infectious disease specialists at the UT Health Science Center, we have made a number of other decisions to protect the health of our broader community and those who may be especially vulnerable to this virus:

  • University housing – We ask that residential students leave their rooms by 5 p.m., Friday, March 13. If you live in a residence hall and are not able to return home, you will need to apply for an exemption to remain on campus. The university will provide more detailed instructions in a follow-up email.
  • University events – Beginning March 12, and running through April 5, we are canceling all non-athletic university events, including those hosted by registered student organizations, which involve anticipated gatherings of 50 or more people. Decisions concerning athletic events are being evaluated by the director of athletics in coordination with the chancellor, the Ohio Valley Conference, and NCAA.
  • Study abroad – All UT Martin-sponsored study abroad programs with departure dates prior to June 1 will be suspended. We will reach out to students directly to determine next steps.
  • Research facilities – While we have moved classes online, and are taking significant steps to encourage social distancing, the main campus and centers will remain open.

I understand the hardship that this presents to all of you, and this is not a decision we made lightly. Below is specific information on what you should do to prepare for the weeks ahead. Over the next few days, we will be sending out more detailed information to students, faculty, staff, researchers, and parents.


Again, we are asking students to return to your permanent home, if possible. If you live on campus, please take those things you will need for the next three weeks, especially your course materials. If you are unable to return to your permanent residence, you will need to complete an exemption form. You will receive additional information concerning university housing in a separate email.

Faculty and Staff

Faculty should begin immediately moving all coursework online. Faculty should be prepared to continue with online instruction past April 3, in the event that becomes necessary.

Deans, Directors, Department Heads, and others in supervisory roles should make preparations for continuity of operations while keeping the health and wellness of our employees in mind.

UT Martin will continue normal business operations.  We ask that faculty and staff practice social distancing while on campus. In some cases, this may mean simply shifting meetings to Zoom settings; for others it may include making arrangements for telecommuting where appropriate. 

This situation is being monitored daily and additional guidance will be forthcoming. Please contact Human Resources for support and assistance.

The safety and wellbeing of our UT Martin community remain our top priorities during this challenging situation. We will continue to offer updates, and you can find the latest information at

Keith S. Carver


Spring Sports Preview hits stands tomorrow

Halls High School senior athletes who will lead their team this season are highlighted in The Lauderdale Voice’s Spring Sports Preview
Ripley High School senior athletes who will lead their team this season are also highlighted in The Lauderdale Voice’s Spring Sports Preview.

The Lauderdale Voice’s annual Spring Sports Preview, a 48-page section filled with numerous color pages, hits newsstands this week with coverage of 15 local high school and junior high school teams. Also included in the section are features of local college athletes, including former Ripley High School softball stars Sara Ann Davidson and Chesney Dearth, who are playing with the University of Memphis. Baseball, softball, soccer, track and soccer teams from RHS, Halls High School, Ripley Middle School, and Halls Junior High School are featured in the special section.

Biden wins big on Election Day in Lauderdale County.3-3-20

Joe Biden was the big winner on Election Day in Lauderdale County, gaining 727 votes altogether, including 548 on Election Day in the Democratic Primary. Biden had a small lead over challengers Michael Bloomberg and Bernie Sanders in Early Voting in Lauderdale County, but his lead grew on Election Day. Bloomberg ended up with 245 votes all told in Lauderdale County, while Sanders received 223.

President Donald Trump received 1,055 votes from Lauderdale Countians in the Republican Primary with neither of challenges getting as many as 10 votes.

Halls volleyball team rolling in State

The Halls High School volleyball team is on a roll with the first two wins in the school’s history in the State Volleyball Tournament in Murfreesboro.

Halls opened play on Tuesday with a loss to powerhouse South Green, 12-25, 15-25, 26-24, 17-25, before bouncing back in a big way with a thrilling three-set sweep of Sale Creek, 27-25, 25-20, 25-23.

That win sent Halls to an early Wednesday morning match-up with Gatlinburg Pittman, who the Lady Tigers eliminated from the tournament with a four-set win, 25-21, 25-18, 13-25, 25-15.

Halls advanced to play again on Wednesday at approximately 2:30 p.m. against the winner of a match between South Greene and Harpeth.

Halls is already assured of a top four finish in the State Tournament.

TBI announces indictment on third man in murder case

Tommy Taylor

Third man indicted in 2018 Henning murder case


HENNING – Special Agents from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, working alongside investigators from multiple agencies, have obtained indictments for a third man in connection to the June 2018 death of a pregnant woman in Henning.

At the request of 25th District Attorney General Mark Davidson, TBI Agents joined the investigation into the shooting death of 27-year-old Jessica Hunt on June 15, 2018, shortly after authorities found her body along Berry Morrow Road.  Hunt was three months pregnant at the time of her death.  During the course of the investigation, authorities developed information leading to Tommy Taylor (DOB: 8/2/79) as one of the individuals responsible for the crime.

On October 2nd, the Lauderdale County Grand Jury returned indictments, charging Taylor with two counts of Premeditated First Degree Murder, two counts of Felony Murder, one count of Especially Aggravated Kidnapping, one count of Tampering with Evidence, one count of Abuse of a Corpse, one count of Theft, and one count of Accessory after the Fact.

On Wednesday, authorities served Taylor with the charges and booked him into the Lauderdale County Jail on $1 million bond. 

During this investigation, TBI Agents were assisted by the Lauderdale County Sheriff’s Office, Ripley Police Department, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, Halls Police Department, Gates Police Department, Brownsville Police Department, Tipton County Sheriff’s Office, Tennessee Highway Patrol, and U.S. Marshals Gulf Coast Regional Fugitive Task Force.

Authorities previously secured similar indictments for Sequna Copeland and Bryson Bonds in connection to this case. 

Special class reunions highlight of Labor Day Parade.9-2-19

Former Lauderdale High Principal Samuel Lee leads the Class of 1969 one more time.

Every year, the Labor Day Parade brings classes from years gone by back to Ripley to enjoy reunions. This year’s was extra special as the Lauderdale High Class of 1969, that school’s last class, held a reunion with former Principal Samuel Lee leading the way on the class’s float. Ripley High School Classes of 1974 and 2009 were also represented at this year’s Labor Day Parade for their 45th and 10th year reunions, respectively.

Members of the Lauderdale High Class of 1969 on their float at the Labor Day Parade.
The Ripley High School Class of 1974 enjoyed their 45th class reunion celebration at the Labor Day Parade in Ripley.
The Ripley High School Class of 2009 enjoyed their 10-year reunion celebration at the Labor Day Parade on Monday on the Square in Ripley.
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