Sunday, August 26, 2018

Vikings Lose Home Opener 13-0 To Houston County

Lucas Childress (26) and Walker Wright (14) walk out onto the field with Paige Peeler's #64 jersey. photo by Jessica Wheat

LINDEN, TN- The Perry County Vikings (0-2) took on the Houston County Fighting Irish (2-0) in their home opener this past Friday and it was an absolute dog fight from the beginning. However, the Vikings could not get into the end zone as they fell 13-0 on a very emotional night in Linden.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Vikings Come Up Short In Season Opening Loss At Richland

photo courtesy of Jessica Thompson Wheat

LYNNVILLE, TN- The Vikings (0-1) were coming off a (1-9) 2017 campaign last season that saw the black and gold lose some good talent on offense (Jeff Martin) and defense (Cannon Daniel) due to graduation. Coach Billy Sawyer is in his sixth season as head coach of Perry County Football and throughout the first half this team had a lot of bright spots. Ultimately, the Vikings fell short of their first win, falling 29-8 to the Richland Raiders.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Man Arrested For Stealing County Road Materials

PCSO Photo

LINDEN, TN (WOPC) A Perry County man has been arrested after allegedly stealing gravel material from a county supply barn, and using it on his own driveway.

Perry County Sheriff Nick Weems says Ricky Simmons of Lick Creek Road was arrested late Wednesday after allegedly being caught placing the stolen materials on his driveway.

Weems says deputies placed cameras around the County Highway Department barn after concerns about theft. Investigators say Simmons' truck was on camera loading the materials just after hours Wednesday.

Simmons' bond was set at $1,000.00.

Simmons (PCSO) 

Investigation Photo - Released by PCSO

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Mayor Ward: Hundreds Of Thousands Approved For Downtown Improvement

LINDEN, TN (WOPC) Hundreds of thousands of dollars have been approved to expand sidewalks and infrastructure in downtown Linden.

Linden Mayor Wess Ward tells WOPC that $385,260.00 in state funding was approved late Wednesday. The funding will allow sidewalk improvements and features such as lights to be added to a section of Highway 412 (West Main Street) towards apartments and buildings beyond the city park. 

The project is considered 'phase 4' of an overall plan that has dramatically reshaped the look of Linden over the past decade.

This announcement comes as work is soon scheduled to begin on another stretch of sidewalk that will connect downtown to the Buffalo River. All told, the sidewalk program will connect pedestrians to a safe way to travel to numerous businesses, the city park, the square, schools, and the river.

A timeline for completion has not been announced. "This is a great moment for the city. We are better connected than we have ever been" Mayor Ward told WOPC.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Linden Food Giant Cited For Major Health Violations

LINDEN, TN (WOPC) Linden's Food Giant is in hot water following a surprise health inspection from the Department of Agriculture.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Perry County Inmate Program Catches Nashville Spotlight

LINDEN, TN (WOPC) A program designed to teach low-risk inmates a new trade has caught the eye of veteran FOX 17 journalist Dennis Ferrier.

The program, lovingly called jailbirds, pairs an experienced craftsman and former educator, Chester Ezell, with inmates looking to learn a valuable skill. The woodshop training program utilizes donated pallet wood to make furniture, wooden crafts and decorations. The products are then sold to maintain the supply resources for the program, or donated to not-for-profit causes such as benefits. 'Jailbirds' has been months in the making, including a careful vetting with state guidelines to ensure legal compliance and safety.

Sheriff Nick Weems says the program started as a 'hobby' among several inmates, and has since grown to a well organized classroom. But we don't want to tell the whole story: that's where Ferrier comes in.

The WZTV FOX 17 Nashville crew spent most of Tuesday afternoon with Sheriff Weems, Mr. Ezell and program participants, learning the true 'heart and soul' of the program.

It's more than pallets. it's people, and purpose.

Tune in Thursday evening at 9:00pm for 'FOX 17 News At Nine' to enjoy the scheduled report from Dennis Ferrier.

Photos: WOPC/Nunley

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

TN Green Lights Barricade Devices Following Perry Sheriff's Plea

State Fire, Insurance & Commerce officials have approved a measure allowing school systems to implement some temporary barricade devices to protect against intruders. The statewide policy change was announced Tuesday. (see below for full statement).

The news comes months after Perry County Sheriff Nick Weems, along with Linden Mayor Wess Ward, Fire Chief Don Bates and other local officials made a plea for the state to reconsider outdated fire codes that prohibited the use of such devices.

Following a deadly school shooting in Florida, Sheriff Weems began a program called 'Not Our Children' to raise money for metal barricades, that would prevent interior school doors from being opened if an intruder was reported to be on campus. The devices are temporary and only deployed by a teacher or trained official, Weems stated. State fire officials indicated that the school system faced fines and other punishment if the devices were placed in the school. Sheriff Weems saw the devices as necessary tools in today's dangerous school climate, and pushed state leaders to reconsider the outdated policy. 

 The 'Not Our Children' campaign raised an whopping $14,000 from the citizens of Perry County, TN. The money was then used to buy the devices that have sat unused following the Fire Marshall condemnation.

Here is the full statement from State Officials:

SFMO Provides Guidance, Adopts New Codes To Enhance School Safety Department Urges School Districts To Create Comprehensive Plans For Emergencies

NASHVILLE – In an effort to provide greater flexibility and clarity to Tennessee educators when planning for school safety emergencies, the Tennessee State Fire Marshal’s Office (SFMO) today announces new guidance for classroom safety in addition to the adoption of the National Fire Protection Association 2018 Life Safety Code rules for classroom safety measures. 
During annual inspections of classrooms, inspectors will no longer issue citations for barricade devices so long as the devices are not attached to a door nor deployed during an inspection. If a device is used for purposes other than security drills or lockdowns, this will be noted as a deficiency. Any alterations to classroom doors must comply with adopted codes. 
“Tennessee school administrators and educators now have additional measures to help protect students in the event of an emergency,” said Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance Assistant Commissioner Gary Farley. “Classroom safety remains a priority of Commissioner Julie Mix McPeak and our team, and we encourage our partners to create comprehensive safety plans that fit the needs of individual schools.” 
Fire safety measures have helped save lives in Tennessee schools. While Tennessee fire departments responded to an estimated annual average of 51 fires in educational facilities from 2013-17, no fire fatalities have been reported at a Tennessee school. The last school fire fatality in the U.S. occurred in 1958. 
The SFMO shares this additional school safety information to aid school officials in providing the highest level of safety to students, staff, and visitors.  DOORS AND ESCAPE ROUTES
Keep exit path widths open at least 48 inches. Exit doors must be easily recognized and shouldn’t be hidden with paint or decorations. Fire-rated doors cannot be propped open, locked, or chained and must have latches. SFMO inspectors will enforce the provisions of the adopted codes based on their observations during an inspection. If a classroom door or means of egress is obstructed at the time of inspection, the inspector will require the obstruction to be removed immediately. Any alterations to classroom doors must comply with adopted codes.

Extension cords should not be used as permanent wiring so schools should always consider available power sources when planning the classroom configuration. Be sure any power strip is ULlisted as an overload protector, and take care to always use appropriate wattage bulbs in any lamp. 
Fire drills and safety drills are one of the most important safety measures a school can take and are also recommended for homes. Two fire drills are required within the first 30 full school days and at least one once every 30 school days. Practice makes perfect! This will reduce panic and injuries.
Fire alarms are an indispensable tool of fire safety and provide early detection of potential fire and notification to evacuate. While a bad actor may use fire alarms to create confusion, disabling fire alarms, discontinuing fire drills or altering our response to fire alarms in buildings is not a safe solution. It’s important to note that the Code allows for the elimination of manual fire alarm boxes with certain provisions. 
Exit and emergency lights must be in good working order at all times. You can assist your school in reporting any non-functioning exit signs or emergency lights, or those in disrepair, to the appropriate school official. Nothing should obstruct visibility of these signs.
Items should never hang from, or obscure, any fire sprinkler heads. Fire sprinklers should not show signs of corrosion or leakage; and if they do, it should be reported to the appropriate school authority.
Fire codes limit the amount of wall space that can be covered to 20 percent or 50 percent when the building has fire sprinklers. Fabrics or other flammable materials used as drapes also present fire risks. Such materials may be treated with a spray-on flame retardant. Remember, not all flame retardant applications last forever and must be reapplied periodically.
Questions? Contact the State Fire Marshal’s Office at 615-741-6246 or online at

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Perry Community Hospital Sold

LINDEN, TN (WOPC) The Perry Community Hospital has sold to a Florida-based firm, officials confirmed to WOPC.

The amount of the sale was not disclosed, but it appears to have been filed with the Secretary Of State within the past couple of weeks.

Government officials and sources close to management confirmed the sale Thursday.

According to city officials, the new operator is expected to expand 'lab services' within the hospital, possibly adding new jobs. The new owner of the facility could not be reached for comment.

WOPC will provide additional information about the Miami-based provider, as soon as it is released.

Often operating in a deficit, but remaining stable, the Perry Community Hospital has miraculously avoided closure. Similar rural hospitals its size have not been so lucky.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Group Suspected Of Brazen Theft From Food Giant

LINDEN, TN (WOPC) Can you identify the people in these photos? If so, Perry County Deputies want to hear from you.

Authorities say the group is suspected to be involved in a brazen shoplift around 9:30 Monday night. The act happened during store hours, officials say. The group took time removing dozens of items.

While the exact total is not known, deputies say the team removed more than $100.00 worth of various groceries from the Food Giant store in Linden..
In these photos, released by deputies to WOPC, the suspects are seen carrying items in bags and clothing.
In all, 4 suspects were identified as part of the alleged theft. The team left in a white Dodge 1500 truck, with a red 'auto dealer' license plate.
If you know these individuals, you are asked to call the Perry County Sheriff's Office at 931-589-8803.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Armed Citizen Captures 2 Wanted Men In Perry County

Scotty Landers Captured Suspects / WOPC

WHITE OAK, TN (Perry County - WOPC) A 'good guy with a gun' has brought two wanted men to justice in rural Perry County.

Monday evening, deputies from the Decatur County Sheriff's Office chased a vehicle into southern Perry County. After turning on remote Grinder Road in the White Oak community, the two suspects fled the vehicle on foot.

Officers with at least three agencies spent Monday evening and most of Tuesday morning working to get a track on the suspects by land and air. Just after 8:15am Tuesday morning, one of the suspects was spotted near a sawmill on White Oak road. An alert employee, Scotty Landers, held the suspect at gunpoint until deputies arrived. That would be the first of two heroic takedowns for Landers.

After hours of continued searching rough wooded areas, deputies were notified by dispatch that the additional suspect was spotted near the same sawmill. Deputies arrived to find the second suspect held at gunpoint by Landers and his son. This time, Landers says he gave chase to the suspect through the woods when he attempted to flee. Landers told WOPC a 'warning shot' fired into the air from his shotgun, help to curb the suspect. 

The names of the two suspects have not been released by the Decatur County Sheriff's Office. More information is expected form the Sheriff soon. Both suspects are being released to the custody of the Decatur County Sheriff's Office. WOPC was the only local news source to break every detail of this story from the scene.