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Archives 07-15-2009


News

Lesley Smith hired as LA principal
Crashes pile up in Overton County
Board of Ed., Buck’s burglary cases solved
Head Start awarded federal grant
State revenue $134M under state budget

Lesley Smith hired as LA principal
By Dewain E. Peek,
OCN staff

Overton County Board of Education held the regular monthly meeting Tuesday, July 7, with member Lenard Ledbetter absent.

The monthly meeting is normally held the third Monday of the month and a work session is usually held on the first Tuesday of the month, but the meetings were swapped for July to give more time for working on the 2009-2010 budget.

A Director’s Report was issued to the School Board. Actions taken were as follows:

•Hired Earl Phillips June 17, 2009 for 40 extra hours in June at Wilson Elementary to replace Ray Norrod, as recommended by Maintenance Supervisor Dennis Barsness.

•Hired Christy Lee, effective June 29, 2009, for principal at Wilson Elementary, as recommended by incoming director Matt Eldridge.

•Hired Lesley Smith, effective July 1, 2009, for principal at Livingston Academy, as recommended by Director Matt Eldridge.

•Granted military leave of absence for Terry Melton, effective August 1, 2009.

•Granted medical leave of absence for Kara Miller, effective August 1, 2009.

In new business, A.H. Roberts Elementary School Assistant Principal Joe
Gore’s retirement was approved.

Bus driver Roger Wright’s retirement was approved.

School Board members expressed appreciation to Gore and Wright’s years of service to Overton County Schools.

In executive action, the low bid of American Paper & Twine for copy paper was approved at $26.70 per case for 617 cases.

The low bids from Coleman Oil Co. were approved for the following: antifreeze at $47.70 per 6-gallon case; 10W30 oil at $34.50 per 12-quart case; 15W40 diesel oil at $10.50 per gallon; 15W40 diesel oil at $32.50 per 12-quart case; Dexron 3 automatic transmission fluid at $32.50 per 12-quart case; 1 year batteries – 930 CCA for small buses and trucks at $66.50, 9040 Group 4 at $137.50, and 9080 Group 8 at $127; oil filters – NAPA 7182 at $10.50, NAPA 1607 at $6.95, and NAPA 1799 at $21.40; fuel filters – NAPA 3358 at $7.90, NAPA 3621 at $18.49, NAPA 3585 at $12.34, and NAPA 3630 at $26.42.

Tri-County Propane’s low bid of $.989 per gallon for a total of $31,648 per 32,000 gallons of propane gas was approved.

Livingston Limestone’s low bid for bus tires and recapping was approved as follows: new 16-ply 1100/22.5 radial with rock compound at $231.97, and recapping 1100/22.5 radial carcass at $127.50.

Harris Electric’s low bid on light bulbs was approved as follows: 4-foot fluorescent F32T8/TL741 at $26.75 per case, U-shape fluorescent FB34/CW/6/EW at $40.80 per case, 4-foot fluorescent GE F32T8/SP35 Eco at $26.50 per case, and 4-foot fluorescent F3412/CW/RS/EW at $22.50 per case.

The low bid of ChemSearch for drain enzyme treatment was approved at $31.95 per gallon and $639 per 20 gallons.

Security Equipment’s low bid for fire alarm inspections was approved at $50 per hour, $100 travel rate, and $2,480 per service inspections.

The low bid of Environmental Consulting Resources for asbestos maintenance was approved at $1,800.

Universal Termite’s low bid for pest control was accepted at $9,600.

The low bid of C.C. Dickson for filters was approved.

Immediately prior to the monthly School Board meeting, a work session was held.

Joel Moseley from Tennessee School Boards Association talked to the School Board about drug testing employees.

He informed them that pre-employment drug testing and “reasonable suspicion” testing were backed by court precedent, but told them that legality of “return to work” and random testing is undetermined yet by the courts.

“I wouldn’t suggest that anybody be the test case,” he said.

“The courts have not decided whether or not drug testing on a more
frequent basis than that pre-employment is okay, whether it’s that return to work or whether it’s a random drug test. They have not looked at that from the standpoint of school systems.”

He said most school systems do the pre-employment.

Overton County does not currently have pre-employment testing in its
policy.

School Board members wanted to know if any system in the state is doing random testing.

“If any system has actually implemented a random drug testing in their schools, they haven’t told me about it,” Moseley said.

Board member Kelly Hill asked about what defines reasonable suspicion.
Moseley answered, “Reasonable suspicion is enough that a reasonable person would believe that it is more probable than not that something is occurring.”

Board member Mark Peek asked about using the policy Overton County
has for its employees, and Moseley indicated that it would work, but he suggested it be shortened.

When Peek informed him that the county does random drug testing,
Moseley pointed to the county policy and said, “In this, there is no random drug testing.”

When pressed further about random testing, Moseley said, “One of the things that I would caution you about random drug testing, again, you don’t want to be the test case.”

He informed the School Board that one thing the courts would need to be shown if the policy were challenged is that a drug problem exists that has an impact on the schools.

“The courts are very lenient when you are trying to remedy a specific problem,” Moseley said.

Chairman Dolphus Dial asked why he said the school system doesn’t want to be a test case.

Moseley said, “It’s expensive, that’s the major reason. The test case on this
one is going to be a very expensive process, because most likely it’s not going to be won in district court level; it will probably wind up in Cincinnati, 6th Circuit. That is the only concern that I have.

“As far as legal justification, if you, as a board, feel very strongly that there is a drug problem in Overton County that impacts your employees, you have to remedy that drug problem.”

Peek said, “Well, I feel like what the public would say is they really need the drug testing, it’s worth the gamble if you’ve got a teacher on drugs and it catches it, especially since we had issues this year with a teacher on drugs.”

The School Board asked Moseley to draw up a policy with pre-employment testing, reasonable suspicion, and random testing, which includes testing for all employees, including the School Board
The focus of the work session then turned to the budget, until time ran out when the regular meeting was to begin. A work session to focus on the budget was set for Monday, June 13.

Overton County Board of Education will hold another open door work session at 6 p.m. Monday, July 20 at the Central Education Office, as directed by Chairman Dolphus Dial. A special called meeting for the purpose of approving the budget will follow at 7 p.m.


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Crashes pile up in Overton County



Curt Matthew King is in Vanderbilt Hospital in Nashville being treated for injuries sustained in a one-vehicle crash around 6:30 p.m. Sunday, July 12.

According to reports, King, a volunteer firefighter with Fairgrounds Fire Department, was driving his Dodge truck on Rickman Road in response to a house fire in Copeland Cove where lightning had apparently struck.

Driving in a torrential downpour, the truck apparently hydroplaned and went over an embankment.

King was taken to Livingston Regional Hospital and was later transported by ambulance to Vanderbilt Hospital, where sources said he was scheduled for surgery on Tuesday. The incident was investigated by THP Stanley Roberts.

The house in Copeland Cove had mostly smoke damage.

Two persons escaped serious injury Friday, July 10 when a Land Rover Discovery II driven by Rachel Elder, 19, of Livingston, overturned on Highway 111 South. According to sources, Elder was traveling south near the intersection of State Route 293 as another vehicle was entering the highway. She reportedly swerved and then overcorrected and lost control, overturning. Elder and her passenger, Justin Cross, reportedly sustained minor injuries, but were not transported for treatment. THP Marty Philpot investigated the incident.

Around 5:30 p.m. Thursday, July 9, a 1995 Chevrolet Lumina traveling west on Highway 293 crashed approximately a mile from Monterey Highway. According to reports, Treva Darlene Norris was driving west when she veered off the road and hit a boulder, causing the car to overturn.

Her husband, Michael Patrick Norris, was flown from the scene to
Vanderbilt. Mrs. Norris was reportedly taken to LRH for treatment of minor injuries. She faces a charge of reckless driving. THP Marty Philpot investigated the incident.



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Board of Ed., Buck’s burglary cases solved
An April break-in at the Overton County Board of Education Central Office has been solved as well as a break-in at Buck’s Auction, according to Livingston Police Department.

In the Central Office burglary, approximately $7,000 worth of computers and electronics were reported stolen from the facility located on Zachary Street.

In June, approximately $2,000 worth of tools, electronics, and equipment was reported stolen from Buck’s Auction, located on Church Street.

Following up on leads, Det. Tim Poore, Det. Jacob Boswell, and Det. Kevin Phillips recovered part of the Board of Education property from an individual in Baxter. From that point, two suspects were identified as trading the property – brothers Nathan Marcy and Jason Marcy, originally from Jackson County but who moved to Livingston around the first of the year.

The two were reportedly living on Burgess Street, in close proximity of the Central Office, at the time of the Board of Education break-in, and, at the time of the Buck Auction burglary, were living at a residence on East 4th Street, again a short distance from the victim.

A search of their residence on Friday, July 10 allegedly resulted in the recovery of stolen property from Buck’s Auction, which was hidden in the basement of the home. In addition, a number of other items from the Board of Education were allegedly recovered from the residence at the same time.

Nathan Marcy and Jason Marcy have made admissions related to the
burglary and have agreed to help recover stolen property that was sold, according to LPD. The Marcy brothers are charged with one count of burglary and theft from Buck’s Auction and have a $20,000 bond in General Sessions Court. Charges related to the Board of Education case will be presented to the Overton County Grand Jury.

Det. Poore, lead investigator in the case, stated, “This case, like so many
others, was solved due to the public’s help and concern.”

He added, “Anyone with information related to criminal activity in
Livingston is urged to contact the police department.”

He assured, “You will remain anonymous.”

Officers participating in the search and recovery included Tim Poore, Jacob Boswell, Kevin Phillips, Logan Carpenter, Ray Smith, Jerry Rhoton, Brandon Walker, Jonathan Swift, Chris Halfacre, and Greg Etheredge.




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Head Start awarded federal grant
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has awarded federal grant money for Head Start education services in Overton County.

U.S. Representative Bart Gordon said, “Each year, Head Start programs serve more than 19,000 children throughout Tennessee, providing them with a firm foundation to succeed in elementary school. Not only has the program been extremely successful in helping young children, but it has also assisted countless parents.”

Head Start was established in 1965 to promote school readiness and provide a comprehensive array of health, nutritional, and social services to economically disadvantaged children and families, with a special focus on preschool development. The program engages parents in their children’s learning, and also helps parents make progress toward their own educational, literacy, and employment goals.

HHS awarded a $654,446 cost-of-living-adjustment grant to the Livingston, Byrdstown, Jamestown, and Cookeville (LBJ&C) Development Corporation, which administers Head Start in 12 Tennessee counties. A portion of the grant will be used to support the Head Start program in Overton County.

LBJ&C Head Start Director Dorothy Pippin said, “We track the progress of children, from the time they enter until the time they leave, and we are above the national norm with respect to their progress. This is the first cost-of-living increase we’ve received in four or five years.”

For more information about the Head Start program in Overton County call (931) 528-3361.

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State revenue $134M under state budget
State tax revenues continued to decline in June, for the 11th consecutive month of the fiscal year, according to Finance and Administration Commissioner Dave Goetz.

Tennessee sales tax collections have experienced negative growth for 16 of the past 18 months, when compared to the year before.

“Governor Bredesen and the Legislature worked together to map a multi-year path to preserve budget stability, so we are positioned to weather the economic downturn,” Goetz said. “By maintaining healthy cash reserves while reducing spending we are able to keep the state’s budget balanced, but we need to continue to make sure our spending is in line with collections ongoing.”

Overall June revenues were $1.088 billion, which is $134.8 million less than the state budgeted.

On an accrual basis, June is the 11th month in the 2008-2009 fiscal year.
The general fund was under collected by $127.6 million, and the 4 other funds were under collected by $7.2 million.

Sales tax collections were $68.3 million less than the estimate for June. The June growth rate was negative 9.41%. For 11 months revenues are undercollected by $606.6 million. The year-to-date growth rate for 11 months was negative 7.35%.

Franchise and excise taxes combined were $41.6 million below the
budgeted estimate of $279.2 million. The growth rate for June was negative 14.28%. For 11 months revenues are undercollected by $322.5 million, and the year-to-date growth rate was negative 19.37%.

Privilege tax collections were $5.2 million below the June estimate. For 11 months collections are $56.9 million below the budgeted estimate.

Business tax collections were $12.8 million less than the June estimate, and the growth rate was negative 5%. Year-to-date collections for 11 months are $9.6 million below the budgeted estimate.

Inheritance and estate tax collections were $1.4 million below the June estimate. For 11 months collections are $12.3 million below the budgeted estimate.

Tobacco tax collections were $123,000 above the budgeted estimate of $31.8 million. For 11 months revenues are undercollected by $24.3 million.

Gasoline and motor fuel collections for June increased by 1.35%. For 11 months revenues are undercollected by $43.5 million.

Year-to-date collections for 11 months were $1.146 billion less than the budgeted estimate. The general fund was under collected by $1.047 billion and the 4 other funds were undercollected by $99 million.

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

The revised estimates for this fiscal year as presented in the 2009-2010
Budget Document assume an undercollection in total taxes in the amount of $1.10 billion. The general fund under collection is projected to be $1.06 billion.

By tax source the undercollections are: sales tax $544.2 million; F&E taxes $336.1 million; privilege taxes $80.6 million; Hall income tax $58 million; highway fund road user taxes $48.6 million; and a net under collection of $40 million from all other tax sources.

On May 7, the State Funding Board met and adopted revised revenue growth ranges for the current fiscal year ranging from negative 9% to negative 8.5% for total taxes, and negative 10.2% to negative 9.7% in general fund taxes.

These revised ranges recognize a revenue shortfall in total taxes from the original budgeted estimates in the amount of $1.28 billion at the low end of the range to $1.224 billion at the high end. The ranges for the general fund recognize a shortfall of $1.222 billion at the low end to $1.176 billion at the high end.



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