By Michelle Price
Special to the UCBJ
UPPER CUMBERLAND – We are now halfway through the year and have received almost 300,000 page views at UCBJ. What have been the most interesting stories to our readers? Here’s a sneak peek at the Top 20 from Jan 1 – June 30.
1. COVID-19: IRS announces taxpayer relief related to retirement plans
June 19: The IRS released guidance for retirement plan participants affected by the COVID-19 coronavirus explaining how to take advantage of the CARES Act provisions providing enhanced access to plan distributions and plan loans.
2. Trump’s thoughts on Putnam tornado and response
March 6: President Donald J. Trump visited Cookeville in the aftermath of the March 3 tornado and offered his thoughts to residents and local officials.
3. COVID-19: Cookeville facilities closed to walk-in services
March 20: The city of Cookeville announced they would be closing all of its offices and facilities to walk-in services and pedestrian traffic beginning Monday, March 23, due to coronavirus concerns.
4. Russell Stover to close Cookeville fulfillment center
Jan. 14: After decades in Cookeville, Russell Stover announces the closure of its Cookeville Fulfillment Center and retail store.
5. COVID-19: Putnam ahead of state in percentage testing positive, region trails
March 31: Data released by the Tennessee Department of Health revealed that Putnam County COVID-19 test results showed a higher percentage testing positive than the state as a whole. The Upper Cumberland region, however, reported a significantly smaller percentage of positive tests than the state average.
6. COVID-19: Cumberland records first known case in UC
March 20: Cumberland County had the distinction of having the first known positive case of COVID-19 in the Upper Cumberland region.
7. Logan’s Roadhouse fate uncertain
May 8: As Logan’s Roadhouse parent company CraftWorks Holdings filed bankruptcy, furloughed and then terminated the company’s 18,000 employees, Cookeville wondered about the fate of its closed restaurant.
8. Bridgestone announces restart of Warren County plant
April 9: While other industries were furloughing workers, Warren County’s Bridgestone plant announced the restart of production in its commercial tire plant. The over 1,000 employees had been furloughed for three weeks.
9. COVID-19: Overton case confirmed, UC total up to 13
March 24: Overton County reported its first confirmed case of COVID-19. Gov. Bill Lee announced he had activated 250 national guard soldiers to assist with testing statewide.
10. Fresh Tennessee strawberries are ripe and ready
April 22: COVID-19 prompted modifications in operations of strawberry farms across the region, with some providing pre-picked fruit and limiting the number of people in the field at a time.
11. Cumberland River Hospital officially reopens
May 15: After over a year without a local hospital, Clay County residents once again have the security of knowing a full-service hospital is open in their county.
12. JC Penney closing McMinnville store, Cookeville gets reprieve
June 5: When bankrupt retailer JC Penney announced it was closing 154 stores this summer, McMinnville felt the blow. Their store is currently winding down operations, while the Cookeville store hangs on.
13. Milwaukee Tool clarifies Cookeville plans
Jan. 30: Milwaukee Tool disappointed many when they announced that it does not have plans to build a new manufacturing plant in Cookeville, although several articles in the media had speculated that such a plant was in the works.
14. COVID-19: Cookeville offers alternate ways to pay utility bill
March 18: In light of COVID-19 concerns, Cookeville reminded residents that there are several options to pay utility bills that follow social distancing recommendations.
15. COVID-19: Signature responds in face of crisis
April 7: When faced with an outbreak of COVID-19, Signature HealthCARE took the innovate steps of opening the first COVID-19 unit of its type in the state, eventually taking patients from several other Signature facilities statewide.
March 10: Cummins Filtration workers began picketing after negotiations broke down between the company and union officials.
17. COVID-19: A local hospital’s perspective on the virus
March 20: Cookeville Regional’s Infections Disease Specialist Dr. Mark Pierce and Emergency Department Medical Director Dr. Ken Colaric discuss the hospital’s reaction to COVID-19 and what they think it’s important that you know.
18. COVID-19: Cumberland County officials update status
March 17: Cumberland County officials announced how each office would handle COVID-19 and its impact on local residents.
19. Aphena Pharma captures new opportunities in spite of COVID-19
May 6: While some industries were furloughing workers due to the COVID-19 crisis, Aphena Pharma was in the midst of a major growth mode. The essential industry is hiring and is on track for 24% growth in 2020.
20. COVID-19: Seven Senses takes measures to ease health risks
March 16: Before the state issued stay-at-home orders, Cookeville restaurant Seven Senses adopted self-imposed restrictions to try to keep guests and staff members a bit safer.