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80 Years Ago

Archives 08-12-2009


School zone safety stressed with return of children
School Board
Governor asks for county to be declared disaster

School zone safety stressed with return of children

Betty Aronson photo
School buses line up at Livingston Academy to deliver students on the first day of the Overton County school year, Tuesday, Aug. 11.

Tennessee Highway Patrol is working to make sure school children are safe in the school zone. As thousands of students of all ages return to the classroom on foot and in school buses, motorists need to be extra cautious in and around school zones.

Department of Safety Commissioner Dave Mitchell said, “One of the first lessons a child learns as they begin their formal education is how to be safe going to and from school. The goal of the Tennessee Highway Patrol is to help local law enforcement and schools protect children from drivers who may be distracted, impatient or careless.”

THP’s back-to-school enforcement effort includes cracking down on motorists who disregard laws designed to protect children, and monitoring schools zones and bus stops to help keep children safe as they travel to and from school. The speed limit is 15 mph in school zones and the fine for speeding in a school zone is up to $500 dollars. It’s also against the law to pass a school bus when stopped and receiving or discharging passengers, and the driver can be fined not less than $250 and up to $1,000.

Since 2006, there has been an 11.5% decrease in the number of crashes occurring in school zones between the hours of 6 a.m. and 9 a.m. and the hours of 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., and also a 17.4% decline in the number of school bus-related crashes between those same hours.

Tennessee Highway Patrol Colonel Mike Walker said, “Motorists need to remember that a school zone is more than just the 15 mile-per-hour zone around a school. It’s anywhere our children travel.

“Children riding with parents or friends need to remember to buckle up properly. That means kids in seats belts, young kids in booster seats, and little kids in a child safety seat.”

Each day, 25 million children in the United States ride school buses, including 600,000 in Tennessee, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). National Safety Council (NSC) reports approximately 29 students were killed while they were entering or exiting a bus in the U.S. last year. Close to 800 children are killed annually and many more injured going to and from school in a vehicle other than a school bus, according to NSC.

For more facts, figures and safety tips visit the website at www.TN.Gov/Safety.

Ray Palermo, director of public information for Teachers’ Insurance Plan, said, “This is a critical time of the year. Drivers need to re-acclimate themselves to having children on and near the road, particularly at rush hours. And, both children and their parents need to get back into their good traffic safety habits.”

He offered the following tips from their Safety Information Center:

Tips for Walking or Biking to School
• Walk with a friend.

• Pay attention to all traffic signals and crossing guards. Never cross the
street against a stop light.

• Cross only at crosswalks, and never run into the street from between parked cars.

• Look left, right, and over your shoulder for traffic before crossing a street, and continue to check each direction.

• Make sure drivers see you by making eye contact with them.

• If riding a bicycle, scooter or skateboard to school, always wear a helmet and ride in the same direction as traffic. Walk your bike if crossing a street.

Tips for School Bus Riders

• Do not play in the street while waiting
for the bus.

• Line up facing the bus, not alongside it.

• After getting off the bus, move out of traffic.

• Wait for the bus driver to signal you to cross the street. Walk away from the front of the bus so the driver can see you.

Tips for Parents & Drivers
• Everyone should wear a seatbelt, and children should be in age and size appropriate car seats.

• Stay focused on driving and don’t be distracted by kids in the car or with other activities.

• Slow down in school zones. Driving just 5 mph over the speed limit increases both the risk of hitting a child and the severity of any injuries.

• You never know if children crossing the street are paying attention, so remain stopped until the child has crossed not only your lane of traffic, but the adjacent lane as well.

• Never pass a vehicle that has stopped at a crosswalk, as they may be waiting for someone to cross.

• Do not pass a school bus when its red lights are flashing, even if it is on the other side of the street.

• Use extra care in areas where children may enter the road from between parked vehicles or other things that block drivers’ view of the road. And, watch out for bicycles.

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School Board
-Work session set
-Work session held

Overton County Board of Education will meet in regular session Monday, Aug. 17 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.

A work session was held Tuesday, Aug. 4, with Board member David Sadler absent.

Among matters discussed was a misperception concerning a 5-cent per bonus for paraprofessionals, which will be added each year.

School Board member Mark Peek said, “That pay scale that we came up with is not a raise for our paraprofessionals, that is just getting things fixed to where they will get something every year and reward them for service.”

He went on to explain, “It’s not a raise. We’re not giving them a nickel an hour raise. They’ve earned that, and they’ll get it every year, plus their raise.”

And he stressed, “This is above and beyond any raises. It’s important that they know that the policy was to help them, not to hurt them.”

In another matter, Director of Schools Matt Eldridge informed the Board of the need for three or four teachers.

“Rickman’s going to need a K through 3 teacher, according to what their enrollment is right now.”

He said Rickman could also need another teacher and that Allons and Wilson will likely need a teacher each. Teachers will be hired if the number of students makes it necessary.

He informed the Board about plans to reinstitute the AmeriCorps program in Overton County, and that an afterschool program will begin in each school, which will not be limited to underprivileged students but open to all students.

The soft drink contract is about to end and bids will be taken from each company, according to Director Eldridge.

“I don’t want to sign one for 10 years again,” Eldridge said. “That binds us too long.”

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Governor asks for county to be declared disaster
Tennessee’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for June 2009 was 10.8%, 0.1 percentage point higher than the May rate of 10.7%. The United States’ unemployment rate for the month of June was 9.5%.

County non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rates for June 2009, released July 23, showed that the rate increased in 84 counties, decreased in 8 counties, and remained the same in 3 counties.

Overton County’s unemployment rate was 15.3% for June, up from 14.3% in May. Overton had 1,520 unemployed of a workforce of 9,950.

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 11.2% to 11.8% in June, with 5,730 unemployed of a workforce of 48,660.

Jackson County’s unemployment rate went up from 14.2% in May to 14.4% in June. Jackson had 700 unemployed of a workforce of 4,850.

Putnam County’s went up from 9.8% in May to 10.3% in June. Putnam had 3,500 unemployed of a workforce of 33,860.

Clay County’s unemployment rate went up from 14.2% in May to 15.1% in June. Clay had 520 unemployed of a labor force of 3,430.

Pickett County’s unemployment rate went up from 14.3% in May to 14.7% in June. Pickett had 260 unemployed of a workforce of 1,800.

Fentress County’s unemployment rate went up from 13% to 14% in June.

Fentress had 1,100 unemployed of a workforce of 7,830.

Unemployment information is available online at http://www.tennessee.gov/labor-wfd/labor_figures/june2009county.pdf.


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Overton County News
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Livingston' Tennessee 38570
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