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Archives 03-11-2009


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State Bound!
Overton County unemployment 10th highest in Tennessee
New school director hiring discussed at work session
Arbor Day celebrated in Livingston

State Bound!


Livingston Academy fans are exuberant over having both the Wildcats and Lady Wildcats basketball teams going to their respective Class AA state tournaments. See how they got there: Lady Cats 2B; Wildcats 3B.

 


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Overton County unemployment 10th highest in TennesseeTennessee’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for January 2009 was 8.6%, 1 percentage point higher than the December rate of 7.6%. The United States unemployment rate for the month of January was 7.6%.
County non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rates for January 2009 show that all 95 counties increased in unemployment.

Overton County’s unemployment rate was the 10th highest in the state at 15.5% for January, up from 11% in December. Overton had 1,590 unemployed of a workforce of 10,230.

Overton County is included in the Cookeville Micropolitan Statistical Area, along with Putnam County and Jackson County. Unemployment in the Cookeville MSA went up from 8.6% in December to 10.8%, with 5,340 unemployed of a workforce of 49,380.

Jackson County’s unemployment rate was 13.3%, up from 10.8% in December. Jackson had 650 unemployed of a workforce of 4,910.

Putnam County’s unemployment rate went up from 7.5% in December to 9.1% in January.Putnam had 3,100 unemployed of a workforce of 34,240.

Clay County at 15.6%, up from 12.8% in December, had the state’s 8th highest unemployment rate. Clay had 530 unemployed of a labor force of 3,410.

Pickett County had the state’s 5th highest unemployment rate at 17.1%, up from 14.2% in December. Pickett had 310 unemployed of a workforce of 1,810.

Fentress County’s unemployment rate went up from 11.4% to 14.5% in January. Fentress had 1,150 unemployed of a workforce of 7,920.

Unemployment information is available online at http://www.tennessee.gov/labor-wfd/labor_figures/january2009county.pdf.



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New school director hiring discussed at work session
By Dewain E. Peek,
OCN staff

Overton County Board of Education will meet in regular session Monday, March 16 in the conference room of the Central Education Office, as directed by Chairman Dolphus Dial. An open door work session will begin at 6 p.m. and the Board meeting will begin at 7 p.m.

Among the items to be discussed is setting a date, or dates, and times to interview candidates for director of schools. The School Board decided in a work session held Tuesday, March 3 to set the April 20 regular monthly meeting as the date to choose who will be the new school director.

At the time of the work session, six names had been submitted. The full list now stands at 14 – Matt Eldridge, Harold Watson, D. Coleman Woody, Rick Moles, Wayne Sells, Dr. Craig Bangston, Lynn Ashburn, Sarah Hogue, Carla Franklin, Brett Lawson, D. Scott Porter, Doug Cotton, Dr. Charles Edmonds, and Jerry Boyd.

Board member Ray Smith suggested making the school director’s contract term as 4 years. The School Board will look into it.

Also in the March 3 work session, Board member Mark Peek asked that voting on the building program be put on next week’s regular meeting agenda.

“I’ve just had a lot of public comment about our building program,” he said.

Board Chairman Dolphus Dial was hesitant about putting it to a vote at this time.

“I’d like to see what money’s out there before we vote one way or the other,” he said.

As the Board members discussed the proposed projects – a 7-12 high school in Rickman and a Pre-K-8 in the Monroe area, Board member Howard Miller asserted that building funds might be available through the federal stimulus package.

He then said, “If we had to do it today with what we have, there’s just no way we could do it. Okay. But because we can’t do it today, I don’t want to see it just thrown away and say, no, we’re not ever going to do it.”

Chairman Dial later echoed Miller’s sentiments, “If the money’s not there to build, I don’t feel like any of our School Board members want to burden the taxpayers with the money.”

He later added, “But I also think we need to look and see if there’s money there to do it.”

Board member Peek explained why he wanted the item on the agenda.

“We’ve got people out there that’s so afraid that we’re going to cause the property taxes to go up, and all these people being laid off, and all these rumors are out there,” he said. “You know, it’s not that I want to force a vote on the building program. It’s just that I want to assure these people that especially right now, you know, now’s not the time.”

And he later stated, “I don’t think any of us is wanting to snuff out our
building program.” Board member Kelly Hill once more mentioned some of the obstacles to funding two new schools, along with the cost of construction. He pointed out money would be needed for staffing and to have the same new classes that Livingston Academy is being required to add to its curriculum.

Board member David Sadler Sr. also spoke up to clarify that the School Board has not voted on the building program yet, and stated that he is not against building if the funds were available, but questioned some of the actions being taken by the building committee.

“I’d like to know more about it before we start going above me, I’m an elected official too, before we get to Bart Gordon and, indeed, Obama,” he said.

Sadler asked why build a school in Monroe?

Chairman Dial said, “I live up in that area, and those kids get on the bus around 6 o’clock of the morning coming all the way into town. They live about 14, 15, 16 miles up there. There’s four hundred and something kids that could be going to school up there instead of going to Allons, overcrowded, A.H., overcrowded, the middle school, overcrowded. That’s why.”

Concerning the proposed high school in Rickman, Sadler said, “I don’t have a problem with building a high school in Rickman or towards that area. To me, it’s feasible to build anything that we can on a 4-lane highway.”

He later asked, “Are we to build that high school and keep this thing over here a high school, a full high school? Are we going to have two full high schools in Overton County?”

He was told yes.

Board member Peek said of the possible high school in Rickman, ”I don’t think they could pay the sports supplements alone without raising property taxes.”

Miller told the Board members that the trend now is to build smaller high schools because of security, suggesting that a new high school at Rickman be a smaller school.

“They are safer,” he said. “They are better for the kids because you have more contact with the teachers.”

He later affirmed, “I’m for two high schools.”

Board member Lenard Ledbetter spoke up to say, “Our study, boys, has shown us, by 2020 we’ll only have eleven-hundred and something students at our high school, if we keep growing. But we’ve went downhill this year.”

Miller pointed out that Livingston Academy was built for about 900 and that it will need to be expanded.

On another subject, the Board members were informed of a break-in at Livingston Middle School on February 17 in which 8 or 9 doors were damaged and money was taken from vending machines.

A plan to replace 28 through-the-wall air conditioning/heating units at Rickman Elementary School was presented by Maintenance Supervisor Dennis Barsness. The units should cut the energy costs by about a third.

“Payback on them will be in two years,” Barsness said.

Livingston Academy career counselor Tammy Mansell gave the School Board information about scholarships she is trying to help local high school students apply for.

Local AAU basketball coach Jeremy McLearran addressed the School Board for permission to use the gymnasiums at Rickman Elementary School, Livingston Middle School, Allons Elementary School, and Livingston Academy for an AAU tournament the weekend of May 22-24.

He was instructed to work out the details with the principals of those schools.

The work session dismissed.

 



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Arbor Day celebrated in Livingston


Mayor Curtis Hayes observes as A.H. Roberts student Dylan McDonald gives Douglas Airhart of the Tennessee Forestry Service, a hand planting the Yellowwood tree, one of two official Livingston trees, in the inaugural celebration of Arbor Day at Winningham Park.


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Overton County News
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Livingston' Tennessee 38570
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