Smokey Barn News News Covering Robertson County Tennessee Fri, 28 Apr 2017 18:19:37 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Robertson County Courthouse Gets Copper Touches Thu, 27 Apr 2017 23:13:54 +0000 transmission-exchange-511x125a

SPRINGFIELD TENNESSEE: (Smokey Barn News) – The Robertson County Courthouse is getting shiny new copper downspouts.

At the moment they are shiny and beautiful offering a rare opportunity for photographers.

Weaver Roofing and Sheet Metal out of Springfield was called in to do the work. Several years ago Robertson County decided to restore the old courthouse instead of tearing it down to build something modern.

“They replaced the downspouts from the 1929 renovation. Being copper, they will last longer and not allow condensation to get in the building, damaging the interior plaster walls. Very glad to have this done,” said Robertson County Mayor Howard Bradley.

Over time the copper will turn a beautiful patina that should compliment the historic courthouse. According to W. R. Weaver of Weaver Roofing, who’s family has been doing copper downspouts locally since the 1800’s, the shiny copper will fade in just a few weeks and in a few months it will turn brown. To reach that beautiful green patina will take a couple of years.

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Robertson County Courthouse Clock Tower

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Greenbrier High Celebrates Jackson State Signings Thu, 27 Apr 2017 19:47:53 +0000

Greenbrier High Celebrates Jackson State Signings

GREENBRIER TENNESSEE: (Smokey Barn News) – Proud parents, coaches, teachers and friends gathered at Greenbrier High School Wednesday to celebrate two Jackson State signings.

Greenbrier High School students Shawna Bogle and Savannah Dalton have have been signed by Jackson State to play Softball.

According to Head Coach Janna Harris, their success is the culmination of their commitment to the sport, their teammates, their ability and work ethic.

What does it mean for Shawna and Savannah?

“Their school’s going to be paid for which is great and their scholarship money will help them pay for housing and that type of thing. It gives them a good foot in the door their first two years,” Harris said.

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Theater Seats Up For Grabs At Springfield Middle Wed, 26 Apr 2017 14:10:07 +0000

Two Gifts Kick Off Springfield Middle School Fundraiser

SPRINGFIELD TENNESSEE: (Smokey Barn News) – Ever wanted to own a seat in a theater? Ever wanted to have your name attached to a piece of history for generations to see? Here’s your chance.

While the Springfield Middle School theater is still receiving a much-needed facelift, MORE– the school initiated their official Theater fundraiser on Wednesday, April 19, when they received two special gifts for the project.

The first gift was a $15,000 donation by the Robertson County Players. This group has partnered with SMS over the years and has traditionally used the theater for their productions. They’ve had to forego that opportunity while renovations have been under way and are now looking forward to the grand reopening of the facility, which will once again place them on the stage they’ve occupied for years. To that end, they presented SMS principal Grant Bell a donation for use on renovation expenses.

The second special gift was from 1972 SHS graduate Paul Jones, who attended school in the building when it still housed high school students. Jones, a life-long Springfield resident, presented Bell a check to purchase two theater seats in his and his mother’s names, and with that donation became the first to purchase seat sponsorships in the new theater.

“I thought that was a great fundraiser idea,” said Jones, “and I wanted to honor my mother, Mary Elizabeth (Towe) Jones, who died last year in July, because she graduated in the class of ’47. When I was growing up she used to always tell me how much she enjoyed school, and especially high school. The first seat that I bought was for her and then I bought one for myself.

“I would encourage everyone who ever had good memories from that building, or people who have enjoyed plays there over the past years, to take advantage of this fundraiser and put their name or that of one of their family on one of the seats,” he said.

Springfield High School, as well, encourages the rest of the public to take advantage of the opportunity to be a part of the restoration of this heritage building.

In a recent letter, Bell says, “Our goal is to offer sponsorship for every seat in our 800 seat auditorium. Individual seat sponsorship will be offered for $150 and discounts will be provided for multiple seat sponsorships. We thank you for your consideration and support as we strive to provide the best opportunity for the people of Robertson County to enjoy the arts. The SHS 1938 auditorium was one of the finest theaters in the United States. It will be again!”

For more information on how to become a sponsor, visit this website or call the school at 615-384-4821. Sponsorships can be purchased online or at the school and can be paid for by credit card or Paypal online. Cash or a check can be used at the school.

Bell noted that without the foresight of director Mike Davis this project would likely not occurred.

“I want to extend our most sincere gratitude to Mr. Mike Davis for his vision to see this project through. I will never forget the first visit he made to our theater his first month as director. He looked at me and said, ‘We’re going to restore this theater. Our children deserve better than this.’ That vision is now becoming a reality.”

The theater is expected to open in July.

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Second Man Indicted For Murder Of Demetrius Mack Wed, 26 Apr 2017 04:14:12 +0000 payne-wrecker-service-511

Springfield Man Indicted For 1st Degree Murder/Aggravated Robbery

SPRINGFIELD TENNESSEE: (Smokey Barn News) – On February 15, 2017, Demetrius Mack, 25, of Springfield, was found shot to death in a vehicle on 21st Ave East. That same day, Springfield Detectives arrested Cameron Boyd, 19, of Springfield, in connection with the case. Springfield Police alleged that Boyd was the trigger man and charged him with Criminal Homicide.. FULL STORY

During the investigation, Detectives interviewed a second man, Etonio Jones, 2o, of Springfield in connection with the murder. Mr. Jones was interviewed in the original investigation but was released.

Detectives continued to look into Mr. Jones’s involvement into the murder. Recently Detectives presented evidence to the April Grand Jury which implicated Mr. Jones in the Robbery and Murder of Demetrius Mack.

Jones was Indicted on 1st Degree Murder and Aggravated Robbery. Jones is currently in the Robertson County Jail on a Violation Of Probation when he was served with the additional indictments.

Jones is being held at the Robertson County Jail without bond. Cameron Boyd is still in the Robertson County Jail without bond.

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Robertson County Fairgrounds Get New Bleachers Wed, 26 Apr 2017 01:15:10 +0000

Robertson County Fairgrounds Get New Bleachers

SPRINGFIELD TENNESSEE: (Smokey Barn News) – Robertson County Fairgrounds are adding new and improved seating capacity at the fairgrounds and there could be more to come if Springfield decides to jump in on the project.

Previously the fairground seating was about 3,200. When the new bleachers are fully installed the capacity will go up to about 3,5oo and will be much easier to navigate. The new seats will also be ADA compliant and handicap accessible.

According to the Fair Board 2nd Vice President Mike Baggett, the concession side bleachers have already been removed and replaced.

The (estimated) $180,000 project, including new lights, concrete and stone, was partially funded by Robertson County (about $143,500) and there’s a proposal in front of the city of Springfield to match the County to fund additional seating for a new total of $287,000 for the project.

If the city of Springfield decides to match the County, the new capacity would climb to over 4,500.

If you have ever attended an event at the Robertson County Fairgrounds then you know the bleachers are often filled to capacity and can be a little challenging to navigate when full.

Considering the amount of visitors that travel to Springfield to attend the numerous events held at the Robertson County fairgrounds, the new bleachers will pay for themselves in tax revenue over time. Increased seating capacity means more people and more tax revenue. Springfield stands to benefit the most from tax revenue generated directly or indirectly from the fairgrounds since the fairgrounds are located inside Springfield city limits.

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Robots Teach Students At Greenbrier High Wed, 26 Apr 2017 01:09:11 +0000

Robots Teach Students At Greenbrier High

SPRINGFIELD TENNESSEE: (Smokey Barn News) – A new engineering program at Greenbrier High School has students learning from robots.

No, the teachers haven’t been replaced by machines, it’s an engineering class that has brought robots into the school and an opportunity for the students to learn.

Though the program is just weeks old, the students, under the wing of Engineering Teacher Jennifer Howell, have done very well.

transmission-exchange-300x250Howell’s robot class had the newly acquired robots for just a few weeks when they found themselves heading to a competition. They went head to head with 21 other teams and came out  9th and 10th in the first round, an impressive victory for a brand new program.

There are four classes or levels, the first one is called Foundations Of Technology. In the class students write software that sends the robots on pre-programmed tasks.

It’s an excellent opportunity for young students to see how software can send commands to a device. It’s  called code and just like any “coder” at any top Silicon Valley firm, the students write, re-write and de-bug their code until the robot drops the ball in the basket.

Smokey Barn News was invited inside the engineering lab at Greenbrier High for a close up look at the- lab, robots and students as they set up, programmed and de-buged robots. The video report above should give you a good idea how well the students seem to be responding to the new technology under Jennifer Howell.

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Extraordinary Teacher Made An Impact Wed, 26 Apr 2017 01:08:11 +0000

Extraordinary Teacher made an Impact

GREENBRIER TENNESSEE: (Smokey Barn News) – Smokey Barn News has received a letter from a former student of Greenbrier High School and we have decided to share it with you. It speaks of the power of a single moment of compassion.

“I would like this to be anonymous as for obvious reasons. I would like y’all to recognize Greenbrier High’s Coach Clint Mason. My freshmen year of high school was like anyone else’s but he (Coach Mason) made an impact that changed my life.

“It all happened in the matter of maybe an hour. I want to give some back story first though. I was abused at home. Hit. Neglected. Mom wasn’t really part of my life. Dad had a very bad temper and was quick to turn violent. Studies show that kids who are abused in this way at home tend to take it out on others.

Coach Clint Mason

“Well, in his class, there was a kid that everyone picked on. Me being the kid I was, wanted to fit in and so I bullied this kid as well. Coach Mason saw me do it and stopped me, got onto me and was taking me to the Vice Principle to be punished. I was upset and was lashing out. I just kept talking to him in a very rude and harsh way. I had my voice raised and kept throwing out insults.

“Coach Mason turned, looked at me and told me to quit talking. Due to the anger I was holding, I lashed out and said “or what, you gonna hit me too”. Coach Mason just stopped, looked at me, and turned us around. He didn’t say anything but they way he
looked at me changed my view of the world. I thought no one cared and I was hated by everyone. But when he looked at me, I saw this compassion that I’ve never seen. This look gave me hope.

“When we got back to the Gym, I just sat there and thought about it. I was sure I’d get in trouble but I never did. Rather then just shrugging it off as I got lucky, I decided to use that to my advantage and learn from it. I started standing up for kids. I stopped letting kids get bullied, and it all started with Coach Mason showing some compassion for a kid he barely knew.

“He changed my life that day and I am not sure if he even remembers that walk towards the office. Yet I remember right where I said it. I remember the kid I bullied. I remember it all and here it is after I graduated and I still think about that moment.

“I felt that I should share that because even though some people might not see it as much, it meant so much to me. Still does, and I feel he deserves to be recognized for that.”

Smokey Barn News reached out to Coach Clint Mason.

“Though I don’t recall this situation it does make me smile and it confirms why I’m in education. I’m very honored that a former student would say something like that. I want to treat students fairly and be an ear to listen to them, because for some of them between 8A.M. and 3P.M. is considered a safe place,” Coach Clint Mason.

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Jury Duty Scam Re-Surfaces (Victim Tells Chilling Account) Wed, 26 Apr 2017 01:07:09 +0000 NorthCrest Over 32,000 patientsAd

Jury Duty Scam Hits Robertson County

Jury Duty Scam Re-Surfaces (Victim Tells Chilling Account)

ROBERTSON COUNTY TENNESSEE: (Smokey Barn News) – A jury duty phone scam has resurfaced in Robertson County.

The caller has done some research. They are using local agency names, in this case the Robertson County Sheriff’s Office and rusing citizens who live in the area.

The caller claims to be a Sheriff’s Deputy with the Robertson County Sheriff’s department. The caller informs potential victims that they failed to appear in Federal Court to serve on a Grand Jury. The caller further tells the victims that they are subject to arrest if they do not pay a fee to the sheriff’s office.

The victims are instructed to put money on a  money card or gift card and call the Deputy back with the numbers on the card. The scammer claims to put a supervisor on the phone when the victim’s call back with the numbers, according to PIO Ryan Martin with the Robertson County Sheriff’s Office.

“At no time will sheriff’s officers or court employees call a prospective juror to tell them that they failed to appear and a bench warrant has been issued. Nor will they ask for personal identifying information, such as bank account numbers or credit card information, they will never ask you to withdraw money or purchase prepaid credit cards for payment of a fine.” PIO Ryan Martin Robertson County Sheriff’s Office

Anyone who receives such a call is advised to contact law enforcement immediately to file a report.

Below is a personal account of a Coopertown woman that almost fell prey to the caller. She asked us to conceal her identity but as you read her account, it’s easy to see why the scam works.

“Today at 1:41pm I received a phone call on my land line from a number I didn’t recognize. No name showed up on my caller ID, but the number came across as (615) 395-5772. I answered the call, and was greeted by (a man who claimed to be) ‘Lieutenant David Reed of the Robertson County Sheriff’s Office’. He asked for me by name, and at first I thought it was a situation where they were asking for donations like several organizations do from time to time. However, it became immediately clear that that was not the reason for his call.

“Once he verified my name, he informed me that a summons to appear for jury duty had been issued for me back in February, and since I had not shown up, there was now a bench warrant for my arrest. Upon hearing that news, I became panicked and tried to explain to this ‘officer’ that I had never received the summons, and eagerly asked him what I needed to do to clear things up. He proceeded to tell me that I was to appear in court on May 4th at 9:00 am and gave me a case number for my failure to appear, and told me that I had 2 fines as a result of my absence.

“The first fine was for my failure to appear, in the amount of $495.00, the second fine was for jury duty exemption and that amount was also $495.00. He explained to me that I was being charged with 2 misdemeanors. At this point, I was shaking uncontrollably, and on the verge of tears. I was furious that this was happening when I NEVER received anything about jury duty in the mail.

“He calmly stated that they could track every summons electronically to determine whether I had not in fact received it and verified my mailing address, which then got me second guessing myself, thinking that perhaps I had received it and mistook it for junk mail and ran it through the shredder without ever opening it. I asked to speak with a supervisor or someone higher up, and he stated that he was the Chief Warrant Officer.

“So by now the panic had really set in and I couldn’t think clearly at all. All I could think was, I am a stay at home mom, I never got this summons, and I can’t pay these fines. So I’m trying to maintain the last bit of composure I have, so that I can tell this “officer” I can’t pay those fines, and I didn’t even know about my summons, how can I be in this much trouble. This man was very short and to the point. He quickly told me that if I could pay a portion of the fines today, they could make payment arrangements with me at my court appearance.

“At this point, I’m still caught up in the heat of the moment, and unable to process what was happening or even begin to think rationally. I told him that I couldn’t pay anything today. It was at that moment that he became very aggravated and began to aggressively threaten me with what would happen if I didn’t pay. He reiterated my statement about my inability to pay a portion of my fines today or the full amount on my court date. I confirmed that to be true, to which he then said, ‘ma’am if you can’t make payment today, you will not be in compliance, and I will have to send an officer out to arrest you.’

“That really made me panic as I was home alone with my son, so I informed him if that was how it had to be, he would have to give me time to make arrangements for my son. He very rudely replied, “no ma’am, I don’t have to give you time, we will take your son to DCS when we come to arrest you for your failure to appear”. By this point, I was slowly coming down off of the adrenaline rush, and was able to recap our conversation in my head, and start to process everything for what it was.

“I quickly asked him where it was that he was calling from again, and he immediately hung up on me. Still upset, I grabbed my cell phone and looked up the number for the Robertson County Sheriff’s Office, and placed the call. Once my call was answered, I explained the situation that had just taken place, and she reassured me that it was in fact a scam, and instructed me to call the Federal Trade Commission and file a complaint.

“While I was on the phone with the ACTUAL Sheriff’s Office, “Lieutenant David Reed” was calling my home for a second time. I didn’t answer that call, so he left a message on my answering machine with the same song and dance he had just given me, but for another woman, whose name I did not recognize. Once I ended my call with the Sheriff’s Office, I called the Federal Trade Commission and filed my complaint.

“I provided them with all the information that I had on the scammer, and everything that had taken place. They instructed me not to accept any future calls from that number, not to communicate with them any further, and to call the FTC immediately if they called me from a different number so as to provide any new numbers to them. Once that call ended, I had calmed down significantly, and was able to think with a clear mind.

“The only thing that I could think was, I have to tell someone that can warn as many people as possible about this twisted scam, because for several minutes, this poser had me exactly where he wanted me; vulnerable, scared, panicked, upset, worried, desperate to make the supposed situation right so as to clear my name. I don’t want someone else to go through that misery, even if it is only for 5 minutes. For 5 minutes, I thought I was a common criminal who was going to jail for failure to appear on a jury duty summons, and my inability to pay an unexpected $1,000.00 fine.

“I’m thankful that I was able to regain my senses and see the fraud for what it was, before I made a costly mistake. The fact that he hung up on me and mistakenly dialed my number again and left a threatening message for someone else is proof enough that they are relentless, and will continue to hound the residents of Robertson County and possibly surrounding areas until they sucker someone into paying these purported fines. Please spread the word, I would hate for anyone to fall victim to these worthless scammers.

– Thank you for your time regarding this matter!”
A concerned Coopertown Resident

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Springfield Crime On Downward Trend, A Look At The Numbers Wed, 26 Apr 2017 01:06:19 +0000

Springfield Police Chief On 3-Day Suspension For Vehicle Use

Springfield Crime On Downward Trend

A Look At The Numbers

SPRINGFIELD TENNESSEE: (Smokey Barn News) – On April 13, 2017, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation released the 2016 crime statistics for the State, Counties, Cities, and College Campuses throughout the state of Tennessee. For the City of Springfield, it was determined that the overall crime rate went down by 16% as compared to the 2015 crime rate, and the overall crime rate went down by 30% when compared to 2014 data. It is also worth noting that the violent crime rate (murder, robbery, rape, and aggravated assault) went down 13% since 2015, and 27% since 2014.

This reduction in the crime rate is a positive sign that there were fewer crimes committed and reported throughout the City. The downward trend suggests that people and property are safer and more secure from criminal activity than they were a few years ago. Looking at crime statistics back to 2005 show a 46% reduction in overall crime, and a 54% reduction in violent crime.

As a citizen, this means that you are less likely to be victimized by a criminal. The odds are improving that you will not be the victim of a violent crime, and criminals are less likely to break into your car or house and steal your property.

From the perspective of the business community, this means that people may be more willing to move into Springfield, buy homes, and patronize local businesses. When people are moving into the area, or building houses, or considering starting a new business, they typically review the crime rate before they make a commitment. In the past, some people and businesses have decided to go elsewhere due to their concerns with the crime rate. Lower crime rates may support new development in the City.

Distribution of Crime:

Crime rates total information throughout the city and crime is not evenly distributed. An expensive residential community with alarm systems and video surveillance is typically not going to have much crime. A lower income, densely populated community is probably going to have more crime. In terms of opportunity, there are simply more opportunities to commit crimes in some neighborhoods versus others.

Another factor affecting the crime in a specific area is based on the activities of the residents. Springfield Police Chief David Thompson has addressed this by saying that Springfield is a relatively safe place to live, shop, and play on a daily basis. But he has also said that it is dangerous place to buy and sell drugs. The drug business is violent by its very nature, and most robberies and murders are connected to drug transactions and/or drug fueled organizations. This is the reason that various law enforcement agencies in Springfield and Robertson County have joined forces to combat repeat offenders, gangs, and drugs.

Short Term Solutions:

The reduction in crime rate has been impacted by local, county, state, and federal law enforcement agencies working together. Springfield Police, the Robertson County Sheriff’s Office, District Attorney Generals, Federal ATF, DEA and prosecutors, State Probation and Parole, and other organizations have been working together to target the worst of the worst offenders. Although the law enforcement agencies don’t’ control crime, they can have a short term impact by making cases, prosecuting offenders, and incarcerating the worst offenders.

Long Term Solutions:

Springfield Police Chief David Thompson told Smokey Bar News that  solutions focus on raising young people to be good citizens is the ticket. Thomson says, this involves improved educational programs, after school and summer activities, opportunities to go to college, employment opportunities, and positive community ties through churches and other resources.

“As stated by Frederick Douglas, ‘It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.’ Long term solutions involve shaping value systems as well as providing opportunities for a good life,” Thompson said.


The downward trend in crime, dating back to pre-2005, is a positive sign for local citizens and the business community. As our constantly changing world creates more challenges for the community and for Law Enforcement organizations, it will remain a priority for all citizens to participate in short term and long term solutions to keep crime down while enhancing the quality of life.

Challenges for the Future:

As noted in the Annual Report, there are criminals who were arrested for violent crimes in 2014 and 2015 and they have already been released back on the street. Even when offenders are caught, they are not serving much time in the prison system. This creates several problems. As one convicted murder expressed that, “Prison is graduate school for criminals.” This simply means that when they have been to prison, they may be harder to catch when they get out. Another problem is the fact that when offenders are released from prison, they typically have gang affiliations. As
another convicted murderer put it, “If you are not in a gang when you go to prison, you will be in a gang when you come out.” The “catch and release” correctional system rarely provides long term protection for the public, and frequently it just makes matters worse.

Another challenge that is impacting law enforcement locally and throughout the country is the limited hiring pool. With the negative publicity about policing and the attacks on officers, fewer people are interested in law enforcement careers. Many departments are shorthanded, and hiring good people is more and more of a challenge. Law enforcement agencies are competing with one another for a small number of applicants. To remain competitive in the future, departments are going to need to step up their recruitment efforts to attract and keep good personnel.

Since 2012, there have been a total of 11 murders in Springfield Tennessee.

Of the 11 murders, 8 appeared to be drug or gang related, while 3 were domestic.

To view the the entire annual report click here.

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Locals Play Human Foosball For Child Advocates Wed, 26 Apr 2017 01:02:26 +0000

Locals Become Human Foosball For CASA 

GREENBRIER TENNESSEE: (Smokey Barn News) – It was an event to raise awareness for and prevention in our community. It’s all part of Child Abuse Prevention Month.

The event, held Saturday at Calvary Baptist Church in Greenbrier,  was the brainchild of  local organization called CASA “Court Appointed Special Advocates.” CASA brought in a giant sized HUMAN foosball machine. Instead of flippers and knobs, it uses real humans. These “humans” played with fury on Saturday and Smokey Barn News was invited to capture all the action.

There were a little over 1,000 cases of reported abuse and/or neglect investigated by the child welfare system in Robertson County this past year.  These children come to the attention of the child welfare system through reports of drug exposed infants, physical abuse, sex abuse, unclean living conditions, abandonment, parental substance abuse, and failure to have educational and medical needs met.
“The rate in which Robertson County’s children are coming into foster is not slowing down, and placement in foster care continues to be problematic with a shortage in available foster homes,” said Stephanie Mullins, Executive Director over CASA of Robertson County. “Every child deserves the support of a caring, consistent adult with the training to help them heal and thrive, a CASA volunteer is uniquely positioned to be that person.”
Throughout the month of April, CASA of Robertson County is calling on members of the community to help our program raise awareness and prevention of child abuse for Robertson County’s most vulnerable population.
If you travel Hwy 41 between Springfield and Greenbrier then you probably noticed a pinwheel garden. It was set up on April 17th in front of Calvary Baptist Church to represent children who deserve a healthier and happier tomorrow.
Without intervention, the odds are stacked against children in foster care.  Studies show children with a CASA volunteer receive more services that are critical to their well being than children without an advocate, and those children are more likely to achieve educational success.
“CASA volunteers are a constant for the child in a time of chaos,” said Stephanie Mullins. “A child may have multiple social workers, attorneys, therapists and foster placements throughout the life of the case but only one CASA volunteer, which can make all the difference for the child’s future.”
CASA of Robertson County is a member of the National Court Appointed Special Advocate Association (National CASA), a nationwide network of programs in nearly 1,000 communities. At the heart of the movement are nearly 77,000 highly trained volunteers who advocate for the best interests of more than 250,000 of America’s children who have been abused or neglected. In Robertson County, there are 15 volunteer advocates fighting for the best interests of 20 children but 180 more children need the care and support of a CASA volunteer.
For more information about CASA of Robertson County to become a supporter or to volunteer, email or call 615-382-5066.

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