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80 Years Ago





LA Prom Held Friday
Ward System Dissolved, At-Large Vote Instated
Matt Eldridge Resigns As LA Football Coach


LA Prom Held Friday
Dewain E. Peek/OCN staff

The 2001 Livingston Academy Prom took place at the Cookeville Holdiday Inn on Friday, May 4. Livingston Academy students arrived in style, some in limousines such as this group carried to the prom in a stretch Ford Excursion.

Prom King Grant Ellis and Prom Queen Lorna Kadunce dance together after being named as royalty.

LA Principal Gary Ledbetter checks out Robert Richardson's duct tape suit. His date, Mallory Sells, also wore duct tape attire. The couple could win money for the school through an online contest for using duct tape.

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Ward System Dissolved, At-Large Vote Instated

By Dewain E. Peek OCN staff

Members of the Livingston Board of Aldermen will be elected by at-large vote in the future, a result of action taken during the regular monthly meeting Monday, May 7.

The action was taken to make sure each vote in a city election carries the same weight.

City Attorney Kelly Williams was out of town, so before taking a vote, the Board asked John Roberts, executive director of the Livingston-Overton County Chamber of Commerce, his opinion on the matter. Roberts has practiced law as an attorney and has been a federal judge.

Roberts said, "I have read the formal opinions that have been issued by research firms that have looked into this issue, and I have also read some of the case law, and the answer is very clear. It's not something that's subject to much discussion.

"The U.S. Supreme Court decision, the way they interpret the U.S. Constitution, is to the effect that one person's vote is supposed to count as much as another person's vote."

He explained that other governing bodies reapportion districts every 10 years. He also pointed out that in Livingston Ward 1 is twice as big as Ward 3 and Ward 2.

"So the people in Ward 1 are being cheated," Roberts said. "Their vote doesn't count but half as much as what the people's votes in Ward 3 and Ward 2 count."

Reapportioning the wards would be costly to the city, and could be protested if an alderman did not want to represent the ward he was placed in or did not want to give up a certain part of his ward to another ward.

In other old business, the second reading was approved on ordinances 2001-4-1, 2001-4-2, and 2001-4-3, concerning mobile homes.

The first reading of a zoning ordinance on adult bookstores and adult video stores was approved. A public hearing will be held at 10 a.m. Friday, May 25.

The Board approved asking the state for a traffic light at the junction of Bilbrey and West Main streets. Aldermen Johnny Halfacre and James "PugÓ Lee voted against the request because some businesses in the area have objected to it.

The Board voted to do away with the trees and planters at the corner of Broad Street and Church Street in order to widen the road so trucks can turn the corner easier.

In new business, the first reading of a day care ordinance was approved. Aldermen Curtis Hayes and Thurman Langford voted against the ordinance. A public hearing on this ordinance will also be held May 25.

Mayor Hosea Winningham informed the Board that the recent car and equipment auction brought back $21,260.

The Board approved an agreement between the city and the county.

The city has received a $10,000 grant for street signs. The Board voted to take bids on stop signs.

The low bid of Low Cost Heating & Cooling at $13,889.86 was accepted for air conditioning and heating at City Hall.

All bids on mulching were rejected. A new request for bids will be issued.

The Board voted to build a small field for the younger age classes of girls softball.

The purchase of 300 fish at $5.45 each for Livingston City Lake was approved. The fish are needed to control algae.

Harold Watson was given authority to call off play at the ball fields at Livingston City Park.

A motion by Alderman Robert Jolley to remove the speed bumps on Chestnut Street failed to receive enough votes. Aldermen Jolley, Lee, and Hayes voted for the measure, and Aldermen Johnny Halfacre, Bill Winningham, and Langford voted against.

The meeting adjourned.

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Matt Eldridge Resigns As LA Football Coach

By Dewain E. Peek and Deborah Forsman

The Overton County Board of Education accepted the resignation of Matt Eldridge as coach of the Livingston Academy Wildcats Tuesday, May 1 during the school board's regular monthly meeting.

Eldridge's letter of resignation read, "First, I would like to express my gratitude for the privilege of being head coach of the Livingston Academy football team for the last five years. I've enjoyed the opportunity to work with these fine young men and the people involved with the program over these years.

"I would like to thank the director of schools, school board members, and the community for all their support and encouragement. I appreciate the hard work and dedication of the assistant coaches during this time. I would also like to thank the administration and faculty at Livingston Academy for their continued support.

"At this time, I would like to resign my head football coaching position. It has been a great experience, and I have thoroughly enjoyed it. But due to the increasing time football requires, I feel like I will miss being with my own family. I have three children now under the age of 7, and they demand a lot of my time.

"Once again I would like to thank everyone for their support for myself and the Livingston Academy football team. I would also like to extend my support for the upcoming Wildcat team and their coaching staff. I offer my assistance to them in any way they deem appropriate."

In other new business, the Board extended Bill Needham's contract as director of schools through June 30, 2002.

Board member Donald Brown said, "I think Bill came in at, if there's a bad time, I think he came in at a bad time, with all that's going on in the building program, and I think he's done an excellent job. He's kept the Board informed, because there's a lot going on out there, not just the building program. He's worried about academics. I think he's brought us a long way through his efforts."

Teachers approved for tenure were Leigh Caldwell, Bridgette Carwile, Edith Cunningham, Jennie Geesling, Lori Mosley, Vickie Phillips, Carla Pierce, Kelly Rose, and David Sadler.

Michael Savage was given a leave of absence for the 2001-2002 school year.

An elementary school sports rule change was approved. Elementary sports in Overton County will follow TSSAA rules, and a committee will be formed to enforce the rules.

The Board gave approval for second, third, and fourth grade accelerated reading students at A.H. Roberts Elementary to take a trip to Dollywood on Saturday, May 19.

Amendment #2 of the IDEA Part B program for 2000-2001 project was approved.

A proposal from Judy Dillon's second period Economic/Government class at Livingston Academy was taken under consideration. Some of the students proposed charging each student who will be driving to school $10 per year for parking as a means of raising money to repair, resurface, and restripe the LA student parking lot. Assigning parking spaces was also suggested in the proposal.

The Board voted to present the request to the Livingston Academy administration for the school's study of costs involved and how the proposal could be implemented.

Director Needham said, "I feel like it is a very worthy idea." The Livingston Academy administration will have to present a recommendation before the proposal will be voted on by the School Board.

In executive action, a contract was approved with Linda Leslie to perform the school audit for the 2000-2001 school year. The school system had a contract with Kim Burks Blaylock, but she has been appointed as the county executive of Putnam County. Blaylock asked to be relieved of the contract with Overton County.

Of Leslie, Director Needham said, "She comes highly recommended, and will perform the audit at the same cost as Kim was to do that."

A change order was approved to remove the chimney at Hilham. The cost will be $2,100.

The Board approved Sarah Bilbrey's request to attend the National FCCLA Conference in Anaheim, CA, from July 7 through July 13.

The Director's Report was issued to the School Board. Actions taken by Director Needham were as follows:

Barbara Allen was hired as a replacement aide at Wilson Elementary School.

Betty Alcorn was hired as a certified substitute teacher.

Richard Evans was hired as the J.T.P.A. director and Youth Program manager for the 2001-2002 school year.

Addressing a televised report about fire protection at Rickman Elementary, Director Needham said, "I hope nobody gets the misunderstanding that the Rickman Volunteer Fire Department has refused to provide fire protection for Rickman School. That is not the case.

"The only thing that they have had a problem with is signing a waiver which practically asks them to guarantee that they could put out a fire at Rickman School."

The problem Rickman School has is inadequate flow from hydrants located near the school property, according to Needham. Solutions to the problem are under consideration.

"We will do whatever is necessary, though, to provide the safety for the students of Overton County," Director Needham said.

The meeting adjourned.


Overton County News
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P.O. Box 479
Livingston, Tennessee 38570
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