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Archives 01-10-2007

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Prisoners to mow school grounds
Local park, walking track also good for bird-watching

Livingston man killed in wreck at interstate exit
Livingston mayor's term may be extended to 4 years

 

Prisoners to mow school grounds

By DEWAIN E. PEEK, OCN staff
Overton County Legislative Body held the regular monthly meeting Monday, Jan. 8, with all commissioners present.

A capital outlay note was approved to buy mowing equipment for the Sheriff's Department, contingent on School Board approval. Prior approval was given by the Budget Committee.

Commissioner Billie G. Phipps asked, "What are they going to mow?"

County Mayor Kenneth Copeland answered, "They are going to mow all the schools, the county buildings, and the recycling centers."

Commissioner Phipps asked, "Are they going to be mowing while school's going on, while kids are in school?"

He further asked, "The inmates are going to be doing it, right? They are going to be at the schools working."

He went on to question how this will save money when a deputy will have to be on duty to guard the prisoners.

Mayor Copeland said, "The first year's going to be the initial cost of buying the lawnmowers and equipment. And this is something that (Sheriff) W.B. (Melton) would like to do to get the inmates out and working. The first year will be for that.

"And then we may have to get another employee for him to use. I don't know that we will, but if we do it will be in the coming budget year."

The school system has been paying around $15,000 for mowing, and the county has been paying around $6,500 each year.

Commissioner Ben Danner brought up the fuel costs and equipment repair costs, as well as potential liability that is currently borne by the contracted mowers.

Mayor Copeland said the county and the school system would have to maintain a fund because the mowers would have to be replaced every two or three years

"We have a lot of mowing to do, some 40-45 acres of mowing to do, per mowing. So, they're going to have to be used," Mayor Copeland said.

After the commissioners were informed that an extra guard's pay would start out at $18,000, Commissioner Phipps said, "I just can't see with the time your paying the salary, maintenance, everything else, it just doesn't seem to me like it's going to add up. The headaches, the responsibility, like he said, the people who mow it now - they've got insurance to take care of that.

"Now, if we get out here and start tearing stuff up, hurting people, and then we get sued. It don't even make a lick of sense to me."

Director of Schools Mike Gilpatrick was present and answered some of the concerns saying, "I think our main concern would be that we would want the mowing done and scheduled through the principal so that it is not done when students or personnel are at school. That's going to be my and the Board's main concern."

He went on to say that the school system has had three or four mowing companies back out of bids.

Commissioner Darwin Clark took the discussion back to the concern of the prisoners being on the school grounds while children are present, noting that many activities are held at the schools after the school day ends.

"It's hard to schedule around the kids," Commissioner Clark said.

John McLeod of Overton County Sheriff's Dept., who was acting as the sergeant at arms for the meeting, addressed the commissioners' concern about who would be allowed to mow on the school grounds.

"State law requires that any convicted sex offender cannot live, reside, work or be anywhere within 2,000 feet of any school or any place that has children in it," McLeod said. "The sheriff is very firm about that."

Commissioner Rick Moles, who is also principal of Livingston Middle School, said that some of the contracted mowing has been done with children present at the school, but that the children are never around where the mowing is being done.

"Personally, as a principal, I wouldn't feel threatened by it at all," he said.

According to Mayor Copeland, Sheriff Melton plans to purchase two zero-turn mowers, a push mower, and a couple of weed trimmers.

On the vote, Commissioners Alan Atnip, Randall Boswell, Stanley Carter Jr., Bruce Ledford, Rick Moles, Jean Moore, Gregg Nivens, Billy Parrott, Cindy Robbins, Chris Speck, and Johnie Webb voted yes, Commissioner Jeff Staggs passed, and Commissioners Ben Danner, Darwin Clark, and Billie G. Phipps voted no.

The commissioners approved the quarterly report for the school quarter ending September 30, 2006, for General Purpose, Federal Projects, Central Cafeteria, and Education Debt Service Funds. The report was given prior approval by the Education Committee.

Amendment No. 1 for the General Purpose School 2006-07 budget was approved. It also had prior approval by the Education Committee.

The Legislative Body unanimously approved a transfer of $22,640 from the Reserve Fund for Overton County Highway Department to purchase a fence.

A budget amendment was approved to accept a $10,000 donation from Livingston Rotary Club to be used for the new building construction at Overton County Fairgrounds.

A proposed pay raise for part-time EMTs and paramedics was tabled until next month.

The following were approved as notaries at-large: David Moore II, Judy Dillon, Jennifer Melton, Misty Buck, Glenda S. Norrod, Erin Montgomery, Judy Buford, and Hosea Winningham. The meeting adjourned.

 

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Local park, walking track also good for bird-watching

photo by Wanda Krack
This ring-billed seagull was found sitting on the dock at Winningham Park.

By Wanda Krack, special to OCN Winningham Pond, formerly known as Dillon and Doc Hill Pond, has a comfortable hiking trail from which you can observe several species of birds.

Currently there are ducks, geese, coots, and all types of smaller birds that make their home on and around the pond.

One cold morning, a flock of Canadian geese flew in and landed gently on the ice that was covering most of the pond.

Last week, I discovered a ring-billed seagull sitting on the dock that is on the east side of the pond. This gull allowed me to approach within a few feet before taking wing.

Reading about this common gull on the internet (enchanted learning.com), I discovered this type of gull normally nests along inland lakes and along the seacoast. They are normally meat eaters that consume fish, earthworms, insects, and small rodents, etc. They can fly 43 miles per hour, and are found both on the western and eastern coastlines. They are a medium sized gull, identified by the black ring around the yellow bill, and have yellow feet.

The gull I photographed has either a winter coat or is just nearing adulthood because of the brownish feathers scattered on the head. According to the articles, these birds take three years to mature.

The pond is also currently home to a great blue heron, who is people-shy. Each time I walk around the pond with camera in hand, I get the feeling that this bird is watching me as much as I am watching for a photographic opportunity! So, if you enjoy walking and bird-watching, Winningham Pond is one place you can experience both.

 

 

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Livingston man killed in wreck at interstate exit

By MARY JO DENTON, Herald-Citizen staff with permission
A Livingston man was killed in a crash on an Interstate 40 exit ramp at Baxter last week, according to the Tennessee Highway Patrol.

Kenneth Ray Denton, 50, of Old County House Road, died in the accident, which happened at 11:23 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 3.

Denton was driving a 1991 Cadillac DeVille and was exiting I-40 on the eastbound ramp at the 280 (Highway 56) exit when his car veered off the shoulder of the road and ran into the back of a tractor-trailer truck, which was parked on the shoulder of the road, according to a report by State Trooper Eric McCormick.

The truck, a 2000 Volvo registered in Illinois and hauling general freight, had been parked there by a driver who was not present when the crash occurred, the report stated.

The driver, Henry Parrish, later returned to the scene and was cited for improper parking, a THP dispatcher said.

According to the report, Denton's car veered off the right shoulder (of the exit ramp) and veered into the rear of the tractor trailer.

 

Livingston mayor's term may be extended to 4 years

By DEWAIN E. PEEK, OCN staff
Livingston City Council held the regular monthly meeting Tuesday, Jan. 2, with all aldermen present. The meeting had been moved from the regular first Monday of the month because of the New Year's holiday.

A resolution was adopted to increase the mayor's term of office from 2 years to 4 years, and for the new longer term to take effect September 1, 2008, if allowed by law. Alderman Robert Jolley voted no.

The resolution asks for a change in the town charter, which would have to be approved by the Tennessee General Assembly. With that approval, the resolution would then be put on the 2008 municipal election ballot for a vote by the citizens of the Town of Livingston.

Some aldermen questioned whether the 4-year term could take effect the same year the referendum was on the ballot with the mayor's election.

The second reading of Ordinance 2006-12-3, changing the gas rates, was approved. The ordinance creates two classifications of gas customers - industrial and small.

Industrial customers are those who use at least 7,500 ccf (750,000 cubic feet). The rate was lowered to $2.50 per thousand cubic feet from the former regular rate for everyone of $5.50 per thousand cubic feet. All others fall into the small category and will receive a 50-cent decrease per thousand cubic feet. Both rates are in addition to paying the city's cost for the gas.

The aldermen voted to ban heavy truck through traffic on Tom Davis Road, which runs between Overton Farmers Co-op and Dollar General Market. "No Thru Trucks" signs will be posted at the intersection of Main Street and Tom Davis Road and at the entrance of Tom Davis Road behind the Hutchinson factory. A 'No Heavy Trucks Beyond This Point' sign will be placed past the second entrance to Dollar General Market.

Mayor Curtis Hayes said, "They have a problem with heavy trucks coming up and down that road. Residents there who are coming back and forth from home are either having to take the ditch or just not go that way. It's really inconvenient for them. It's probably a safety hazard too.

Livingston Police Chief Roger Phillips addressed the Council, saying, "It is a danger. It's tough when you've got a regular pickup truck and a car trying to pass on that little narrow road. And there's not really any good way of remedying that because of that steep bank on the south side to add anything to that, and it's hard to take anything more from the other side. About the only solution to the problem is restricting heavy truck traffic on that section of Tom Davis."

The second reading of Ordinance 2006-12-1, rezoning of Turnbull and Potter property from C-1 to C-3, was approved, as was the second reading of Ordinance 2006-12-2, rezoning of Ballinger property (old bowling alley).

Building Inspector Darius Sims informed the Council that the property has changed ownership since the rezoning request was made.

"A couple from Manchester has purchased that property," he said.

He said they are going to open a bulk grocery store in the building. A request by Harold Upchurch to purchase an undeveloped street in Hidden Valley Subdivision was tabled until the February meeting so the Council can have time to determine a value for the parcel.

Two aldermen brought up a vote the Council made years back that the city would not sell any more alleys. They were told that policy was voided when the Council recently voted to sell an alley to Elzie Clark. An alderman asked what happened with that sale.

Mayor Hayes said, "Well, Elzie backed out."

Water Department Supervisor Tim Coffee gave a report on sewer availability within the city limits. He said the city has 2,047 residences, including both homes and businesses, with city sewer available, and that 1,570 are sewer customers. About 77% have sewer available right now, according to Coffee. Of the other 23%, 477 do not have city sewer available at this time.

To try to make sewer available to all city residents, the department would need 18 miles of sewer line along with the other items necessary parts and pumps, at a total cost of $10 million, according to Coffee. Using current city resources, future sewer projects include North Oak Street, North College Street, Carr Subdivision, and Frazier Road, according to Coffee.

Mayor Hayes informed the Council that Tennessee Regulatory Authority has approved the substance policy for the city's gas department.

"We are back in compliance with our gas drug and alcohol policy," Mayor Hayes said. "We have been out of compliance for about a year and a half to two years."

Mayor Hayes asked Alderman David Langford about setting a time for the work session on looking at the changes to the city charter. The date and time was left up the mayor's discretion. No date or time was set during the meeting.

The meeting adjourned.

 

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