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Archives 02-18-2009

News

 

Bevy of beauties
School director search begins
UCHRA assures commodity peanut butter is safe
State revenue $114M less than budgeted
Overton County awarded food and shelter funds

Bevy of beauties


Darren Oliver photos
Word spread quickly around Livingston last Friday about a bevy of swans on the pond at Willard Winningham Memorial Park near Livingston Academy. The large birds were a rare sight on the town’s fishing pond.


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School director search begins


Band Director Josh Trent addresses the School Board.

By Dewain E. Peek,
OCN staff

Overton County Board of Education held the regular monthly meeting Monday, Feb. 16, with all members present.

Director of Schools Mike Gilpatrick’s letter of retirement after 34 years of service to Overton County Schools was accepted, effective June 30, 2009.

The Board voted to post the position from February 23 through March 9.
Director Gilpatrick read from his letter of resignation that he sent out January 19, “After a great deal of thought and prayer, I have come to the conclusion that the time has come to devote more time to my family and my personal health.

“It has been a pleasure to serve at all levels in the system, and I am grateful for those opportunities.”

He went on to offer his assistance to whomever the Board chooses as the next director.

Various Board members thanked him for his service and wished him well in the future.

Quarterly reports were approved.

Director Gilpatrick said, “We’re sort of holding our own. We’ll need to be careful with that.”

The contract negotiated by Overton County Board of Education and Overton County Education Association was ratified.

Interact Club was approved to take a trip to attend a conference in Pigeon Forge from March 6 to March 8, 2009.

The Board tabled a request by Livingston Middle School’s dance team to take a trip to Sevierville on March 21 and 22 to compete in the Great Smokey Mountain Dance Competition.

In the work session before the meeting, LMS Principal Rick Moles was asked about the trip and he informed the School Board, “I did not request this trip, and it’s not a valid request.”

Once the request has gone through the proper channels, which may also include leadership of the group changing from a team member’s parent to a school employee, the School Board will reconsider it next month.

Elementary basketball rules were approved, with Board member Kelly Hill casting a dissenting vote.

“Most of what’s in there I like, and there’s a few things that I don’t like,” Hill said.

The second reading of the following amended policies were approved:

1.400 School Board Meetings, 1.8012 Extended Programs, 2.809 Vendor Relations, 3.200 Buildings and Grounds Management, 3.205 Security, 4.301 Interscholastic Athletics, 4.302 Field Trips and Excursions, 5.400 Personnel Health Examinations/Communicable Diseases, 6.306 Interference/Disruption of School Activities, 6.3071 Student Alcohol and Drug Testing, 6.314 Corporal Punishment, 4.600 Grading System, 5.106 Application and Employment, 5.116 Staff Positions, and 6.502 Foreign Exchange Students.

Band Director Josh Trent informed the Board of the success of band students Kaitlyn Savage, Lacy Robbins, and Andrew Berta at the Tennessee Tech Festival of Winds and Percussion, and told them that updates on the band can be found at livingstonband.com. (More on the students’ success is on Page 4A.)

In the work session prior to the meeting, Trent said Livingston Academy’s band now has 44 members, mainly freshmen and sophomores.

“We’ve got five juniors and six seniors, and I’ve got what looks like about twenty-something that should be coming up from eighth grade to the ninth grade this next year,” he said.

The entire program, including elementary schools now has about 300 students.

“In about three years, we anticipate the high school band should be pushing 80 to 100,” Trent said.

Director Gilpatrick issued the Director’s Report to the School Board.

Actions taken by the school director are as follows:

Andrea Brooke Bull-Langford was hired as a bus attendant, effective January 7, 2009.

Tammy Colson was granted medical leave from January 23, 2009 through February 6, 2009.

Randa Brewer was hired as a substitute bus attendant, effective February 6, 2009.

Before adjourning, Chairman Dolphus Dial announced that Allons Elementary had the highest attendance rate of all county schools.

The work session held immediately prior to the meeting also included more discussion of a proposed 7-12 high school in Rickman and a Pre-K-8 in the Monroe area.

Board member Howard Miller said, “I think, probably, the next step we need to do is maybe a committee to talk with (County Mayor) Kenneth Copeland to discuss with Bart Gordon about, we’re going to get some money in Tennessee from the stimulus, and see if we can get in that line.”

Board member Mark Peek asked about how the school system would pay for staffing.

“It’s kind of like financing an old Ford,” he said. “You can finance an old Ford for 50 years and afford it, but when it comes down to buying gas for that old Ford every year, you know, we need to know how much it’s going to cost.”

Board member Kelly Hill added, “When you’ve got a 30 or 32 million dollar project, and the federal says, ‘well, we can help you out 7 or 8 million dollars,’ you’re still trying to cough up 25 million dollars.”

LA Softball Coach Elizabeth Maxwell addressed the Board during the work session. Among updates planned for the softball field, she told the Board a new 6-foot fence is needed for safety.

Another need for fencing was brought up by Board member Ray Smith who suggested a security fence for the bus garage.

Bids will be taken for both projects.

Hilham Elementary Principal Vicki Eldridge gave the Board an update on the school in the work session, and gave credit for the school’s recent state recognition to the teachers at the school.


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UCHRA assures commodity peanut butter is safe
Recently, the safety of peanut butter has been in question. Through a contract between Upper Cumberland Human Resource Agency and Tennessee Department of Agriculture for Commodity Food Distribution, UCHRA distributes commodities for the 14-county area, which includes peanut butter.

Information received from the Department of Agriculture concerning commodity peanut butter states, “Hampton Farms peanut butter lot HF 110 with the best by date appearing on the container as 10/2/08, should have been the best by date 10/02/09. The 2008 date was keyed in error by Hampton Farms at the time the product was packaged.”

According to the Department of Agriculture, the peanut butter is safe for consumption.

At the request of Tennessee Department of Agriculture Commodity Distribution and in an effort to keep consumers informed, UCHRA is distributing this information concerning the Hampton Farms Commodity Peanut Butter.

For further information contact the Overton County UCHRA Office at (931) 823-7323.


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State revenue $114M less than budgeted
Overall January revenues were $936.4 million, which is $114.3 million less than the state budgeted, reflecting dismal holiday retail sales for Tennessee as well as continued weakness in consumer confidence.

Finance and Administration Commissioner Dave Goetz said, “January is the sixth consecutive month this fiscal year in which sales taxes and corporate income taxes have recorded negative growth over a year ago.

“January is also historic in that it represents the eleventh negative growth month in sales tax collections out of the last thirteen months, starting with January 2008.

“We will continue to be diligent in monitoring our spending in order to end the fiscal year with a balanced budget as required by the state’s constitution,” Goetz said.

On an accrual basis, January is the sixth month in the 2008-2009 fiscal year.

The general fund was undercollected by $102.7 million, and the four other funds were undercollected by $11.6 million.

Sales tax collections were $68.4 million less than the estimate for January. The January growth rate was negative 6.87%. For six months, revenues are under collected by $280.9 million. The year-to-date growth rate for six months was negative 5.72 %.

Franchise and excise taxes combined were $26.6 million below the budgeted estimate of $150.3 million. For six months revenues are
undercollected by $162.3 million.

Gasoline and motor fuel collections for January decreased by 11.2 % and were $8.9 below the budgeted estimate of $72.2 million. For six months revenues are undercollected by $33.7 million.

Tobacco tax collections were $3.3 million below the budgeted estimate of $24.8 million, and for six months they are $5.7 million under the budgeted estimate.

Year-to-date collections for six months were $522.1 million less than the budgeted estimate. The general fund was undercollected by $482.1 million, and the four other funds were undercollected by $40 million.

The budgeted revenue estimates for 2008-2009 are based on the State Funding Board’s consensus recommendation adopted by the second session of the 105th General Assembly in May 2008.


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Overton County awarded food and shelter funds
Overton County has been chosen to receive $20,939 to supplement emergency food and shelter programs in the county.

The selection was made by a national board chaired by Federal Emergency Management Agency and consisting of representatives from The Salvation Army, American Red Cross, United Jewish Communities, Catholic Charities USA, National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA, and United Way of America. The local board was charged to distribute funds appropriated by Congress to help expand the capacity of food and shelter programs in high-need areas around the country.

A local board made up of local elected officials and other community representatives will determine how the funds awarded to Overton County are to be distributed among the emergency food and shelter programs run by local service agencies in the area. The local board is responsible for recommending agencies to receive these funds and any additional funds available under this phase of the program.

Under the terms of the grant from the national board, local agencies chosen to receive funds must be private voluntary non-profits or units of government, have an accounting system, practice nondiscrimination, have demonstrated the capacity to deliver emergency food and/or shelter programs, and if they are a private voluntary organization, must have a voluntary board. Qualifying agencies are urged to apply.

Overton County has distributed Emergency Food and Shelter funds previously through local and regional service agencies. These agencies were responsible for providing meals, lodging, rent/mortgage assistance, and utility assistance.

Applications must be delivered to the UCHRA Livingston office by 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 24 in order to be considered for funding. Applicant organizations are encouraged to have a representative at the local board meeting, which begins at that time.

Further information about the program may be obtained by contacting Board Chairman Rev. Dee Ledford at First Christian Church, 823-2413, or UCHRA County Coordinator Dian Dillon at the UCHRA Livingston office located at 106 W. Henson Street, 823-7323.



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Overton County News
415 West Main Street
P.O. Box 479
Livingston' Tennessee 38570
tel 931.823.6485
fax 931.823.6486
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