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Archives 6-15-2005

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Century Farm program begins in Overton County
Health care contract approved for jail
Early Childhood lease approved by School Board

 

 

Century Farm program begins in Overton County

MaryJane Young/OCN staff
Three families fill out applications to be sent into the state to become certified as Century Farms. The Century Farm Program recognizes farms that have been in the same family for 100 years or more. Upon certification, the farm receives a sign to be posted on the property and a Century Farm certificate. Filling out applications are, seated from left, Mike Allred, Louise Stover, Sue (Hancock) Pope, and Mayme Catherine Swallows, as Extension Agent Ron Johnson, standing left, and County Historian Ronald Dishman look on.

By RON JOHNSON, Extension Agent
From Lake and Shelby counties in West Tennessee to Greene and Carter counties in East Tennessee, the Century Farm Kick-Off is underway.

Century Farm families are recognized with a new sign - a bright yellow one that announces to all passersby: “This is a Century Farm.”

Any farm that has been in the same family for 100 years or more can qualify for Century Farm recognition. The farm does not have to have the same acreage as it did 100 years ago, only be in the same family.

Each family desiring an application may call Overton County Extension Service at (931) 823-2735, County Historian Ronald Dishman at (931) 823-8864, Ralph Robbins at (931) 823-5525, or Gary Howard at (931) 823-5506.

Organizations responsible for the Century Farm Program include the Center for Historic Preservation (CHP) at Middle Tennessee State University and Tennessee Department of Agriculture (TDA). Each Century Farm will be recognized with a certificate and sign to display at the applicant's residence.

The ongoing Century Farm sign program is funded by the "Ag Tag" specialty license plate. Funds from the sale of Ag Tags go to the Agricultural Development Fund, which supports statewide innovative marketing projects and activities.

Century Farm families, including those who were awarded similar signs in the 1970s when the program began, and those certified since, are all eligible to receive signs. Designations are made for farms over 100, 150, and 200 years. One sign is provided to each farm, compliments of TDA, though family members may purchase additional signs if they wish.

The oldest Century Farm in Tennessee is the Masengill Farm in Sullivan County, which was founded in 1775, one year before the Declaration of Independence was signed, and 21 years before Tennessee became a state.

Before 1796 when Tennessee became a state, 30 Century Farms had already been established in what would become counties of East and Middle Tennessee.

Before the Civil War, more farms (28) were established in 1850, more than in any other year. In 1866, the year following the end of the Civil War, 32 Century Farms were founded. In the following decade, 176 Century Farms were created.

The Overton County Century Farm Committee encourages all eligible families to apply for certification and be recognized.

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Health care contract approved for jail

By DEWAIN E. PEEK, OCN staff
Overton County Legislative Body held the regular monthly meeting Monday, June 13 with Commissioners David Dorminey, John E. Phillips, Shaun R. Hale, and Chris Neal absent.

The Legislative Body approved a $125,000 note for expansion at Livingston Airport. The note is in addition to funds previously provided by the county. The airport is receiving grant money for 90% of the more than $2 million expansion cost, with the city and county splitting the remaining 10%.

Commissioner Donald Jeff Keyes asked, "How does this airport benefit the taxpayer?"

Commissioner Johnie Webb and County Mayor Kenneth Copeland both said that the airport helps local industry.

Mayor Copeland added, "Plus, the state is wanting to make this a regional airport up here, eventually, because Pickett County doesn't have one, Jackson County has a small one and they're not going to spend more money down there, and Clay County doesn't have one."

Commissioner Keyes then asked, "What will that do for us by making it regional?"

Mayor Copeland said, "It should help the industry that looks at us, and we'll have more airport traffic that comes through."

Unconvinced of the need, Commissioner Keyes said, "I just think right now that we could use that kind of money for a lot of other things we're needing a lot worse."

Commissioner Webb then compared the airport to a new road, saying it will increase transportation to the area.

Commissioners Alan Atnip, Frank Martin, Jean Moore, Stanley Carter Jr., Billy Parrott, Randall Boswell, Gail Reed Arney, Gary Hollars, and Johnie Webb voted for the note, and Commissioners Keyes and Ben Danner voted no.

A contract with Southern Health Partners was approved for healthcare services at Overton County Jail.

Commissioner Boswell informed the County Commission of a similar jail in Kentucky that Southern Health Partners has saved $100,000 in 11 months.

Commissioner Boswell said, "They provide the nurse, doctors, the dentist, the x-rays. Most everything is done in-house, you don't have to send them out. We'll have an RN on duty 6 hours a day, 30 hours a week, 2 hours on weekends and holidays."

Commissioner Boswell then told of the rise in Overton County Jail's medical costs in recent years.

"Our medical in 2001-2002 was $111,000 and in 2003-2004 it was $250,000. These people want to come in and do it for $144,300 a year," he said. "On top of this, they carry a $1 million medical insurance per claim, with a $3 million rider."

Commissioner Keyes asked about the necessity of contracting the private company.

Commissioner Danner said, "We're just trying to save a little money here."

Commissioner Carter added, "We're going to have to do something, because we've got a hole in the bottom of this ship and it's sinking fast."

Commissioner Keyes voted against the contract.

A resolution was adopted to refinance school bonds. According to Overton County Director of Schools Bill Needham, the bonds have been on a variable rate and now is a good time to lock in a rate.

"That's why we're asking to do that at this time," Director Needham said. "It looks like the market is still going to rise."

Mayor Kenneth Copeland said the rate will probably be locked in at 4.25%.

A continuing resolution was adopted for operating Overton County until the new budget is set.

Year-end budget amendments for Overton County were approved.

Year-end school budget amendments were also approved.

The Library Board was approved with the following members: John Moore, Dian Franklin, Marla Kay Etheredge, Betty McCormick, Sue Eldridge, Randy Dodson, and Elmo Garrett, chairman.

The bond of Budget Director Debra Maberry was approved.

Larry King and Michael A. Qualls were approved as notaries at-large.

The meeting adjourned.

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Early Childhood lease approved by School Board

By DEWAIN E. PEEK, OCN staff
Overton County Board of Education held the regular monthly meeting Tuesday, June 7, with all members present.

In executive action, the School Board approved the operation of the Early Childhood fee-based program under a lease agreement with an approved and licensed private day care provider, effective June 1.

Director of Schools Bill Needham said, "That lease is in the process now of being worked out. That will continue through the summer, and probably extend then on into next year."

In new business, the Board approved application of the Pre-Kindergarten funds from the state of Tennessee.

Amendment #3 to the General Purpose School 2004-2005 budget was approved.

The Board approved 2006 Federal Project: Title I, Title IIA, Title IID, Title IV, Title V, and Title VI.

The meeting adjourned.

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