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Archives 02-10-2010

News

Departure ceremonies held at Camp Shelby
School additions discussed in County Commission meeting
Mud slide covers Highway 85
Livingston Fire Dept. receives grant

School Board holds work session Feb. 2

 

Departure ceremonies held at Camp Shelby


Beth Underwood photo
The 278th ACR Color Guard presents the unit’s colors for their casing at the farewell ceremony for the 278th Armored Cavalry Regiment at Camp Shelby, MS, on Friday, Feb. 5. The regiment is deploying to Southeast Asia to support the draw down of U.S. forces.

Hundreds of families, friends, and well-wishers turned out Friday, Feb. 5 for departure ceremonies at Camp Shelby, MS, for more than 3,000 soldiers of the National Guard’s 278th Armored Cavalry Regiment.

The regiment is bound for Iraq, marking its second deployment to that country, the first coming in 2004. Governor Phil Bredesen and his wife, Andrea Conte, were at the military post Friday to see the Tennesseans off, just as they did five years ago.

The governor told the assembled soldiers, “Nothing humbles me more than to serve as your Commander in Chief.”

He recognized and thanked families of the soldiers and offered a special “thank you” to soldiers who had deployed more than once, which represented the majority of the members of the 278th. This brings to nearly 20,000 the number of Tennessee Guardsmen called up since September 11, 2001.

The National Guard men and women have been at Camp Shelby since early December conducting specialized pre-deployment training.

The highlight of the departure ceremony Friday was a full formation of the 3,000 soldiers, held on the post parade field with a review by Governor Bredesen, Tennessee’s Adjutant General, Maj. Gen. Max Haston, and military dignitaries from across the country.

Maj. Gen. Haston said, “It’s humbling to stand before these great troopers.
“You are the standard bearers of this nation,” he added.

He also thanked soldiers’ families whom he described as, “the Guard
family.”

The 278th ACR is the Tennessee National Guard’s largest single unit, and the massive deployment affects 45 cities stretching tip-to-tip across Tennessee, all the way from Kingsport in the east to Henderson in the west.


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School additions discussed in County Commission meeting
By Dewain E. Peek,
OCN staff

School items were discussed in Overton County Legislative Body’s regular monthly meeting held Monday, Feb. 8, with Commissioners Billy Parrott and Jeff Staggs absent.

A resolution was adopted to put wheel tax revenue directly into Overton County Schools debt service as it was originally intended, instead of going through the school system’s general purpose fund before going to debt service as has been the case for about the past eight years. Director of Schools Matt Eldridge asked the County Commission to approve the resolution.

Overton County Schools quarterly report was approved, as was an amendment to the school system budget for a countywide afterschool grant in the amount of $425,000 that was received after the budget was approved.
While addressing the County Commission, Director Eldridge also asked the commissioners for any funding possible for building additions at Livingston Academy and Rickman Elementary School.

Though the School Board has scheduled a work session to look at proposals to convert agriculture classrooms at Livingston Academy into a CDC suite for students with disabilities and to construct a building to house the agriculture classes, the school system currently has no plan for Rickman Elementary’s crowding problem.

“I’m looking at next year, I’m afraid I’m going to be looking for used
portables to start with,” he said. “A brand new portable’s going to cost about $80,000, a used one, about $5,000.”

After further discussion about the needs at both schools, Commissioner
Darwin Clark said, “From everything I’ve heard this past year, year and a half, we’re just barely skating by, so I can’t see that we can do anything other than raising taxes. And you know, the people I’ve talked to ain’t real fond of that.”

And later, Commissioner Gregg Nivens said he believes it would be best to go with the portables at this time.

“Sit on those for a while until we can save our money here and get in a
position where we can afford it,” Commissioner Nivens said.

Director Eldridge said he was already looking for used portables.

“I didn’t come here to ask you to raise taxes,” Director Eldridge said.
Commissioner Ben Danner offered, “People who’re out of work can’t afford any more taxes right now.”

County Mayor Kenneth Copeland said the county must help in making sure the CDC rooms are built to better serve the students with disabilities.

“We’ve really got to figure out how to help them on that CDC room,” Mayor Copeland said.

He suggested a 10-year capital outlay note when the cost is known.
Director Eldridge said he would bring numbers back to the County Commission next month.

A county budget amendment in the amount of $17,960 from grants, a refund, and other programs into the general fund was approved.

A budget amendment was approved in the amount of $240,338 through the construction fund to administer funds for Cooper Recycling’s new facility, which is a grant with matching funds, with Cooper Recycling paying the matching funds.

Budget Director Debra Maberry said, “This is basically a flow through; it
comes in and goes right back out.”

Maberry gave an update on the county’s revenue, saying, “Comparing
revenue this year at December 31 and last year at December 31, we’re running slightly over 2% behind last year’s.”

A new license application proposed by the Beer Board will be sent to the county attorney before being brought back to the County Commission for approval. The new application will include the requirement of a background check.

The application had been on the agenda to be voted on before going to the county attorney, but some commissioners objected.

Commissioner Clark said, “I think it needs to be reviewed by the county attorney first, and then brought back with an explanation, because I think there’s some gray area in this application and some of the laws.”

Commissioner Alan Atnip brought up that sometimes businesses are being sold and the beer license is not being turned back in.

Commissioner Clark said, “That’s the issue that we’re having is, when a business sells to someone else we have no idea that they’ve sold until someone else comes in to apply for a new beer license. So, we’re going to have to figure out a way to regulate that.”

A resolution from the District Attorney’s Office for the Sheriff’s Department was approved.

Approved as notaries at-large were Jo Carolyn Phillips, John Officer, John
M. Billings, Amy M. Warren, Beverly Linder Thrasher, Clifford Lee Venters, Jennifer Denise Harris, and Diane S. Ferrara.

The meeting adjourned.



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Mud slide covers Highway 85



Fentress Courier photo
A mud slide occurred on Highway 85 in the early morning hours of Monday, Feb. 8, completely blocking both lanes about a mile west of the steel bridge and 2 miles east of the Sandy Road. Personnel from TDOT and the Fentress County Highway Department worked throughout the day Monday to partially clear the road, but because of unstable earth above the slide, state officials were being cautious, and said that they expected the road to be closed for at least through Wednesday. Tennessee Department of Transportation plans to close the road for at least a week and possibly longer, depending on the weather.


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Livingston Fire Dept. receives grant
U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Assistance to Firefighters Grant program will award $14,000 to Livingston Fire Department for new protective gear.

U.S. Representative Bart Gordon said, “Every day, countless lives are saved by the courageous efforts of Tennessee’s firefighters. Programs like the Assistance to Firefighters Grant program ensure our first responders have the equipment to work as quickly and safely as possible.”

Livingston Fire Department will put the funds toward the purchase of 12 new sets of the turnout gear that firefighters wear during calls, including new helmets, coats, pants, boots and gloves. The new gear will allow the department to take old sets of gear, some of which are up to 20 years old, out of service, according to Fire Chief Rocky Dial.

“Having the right gear is a matter of safety for our firefighters,” Dial explained. “The new turnout gear will be up to the most current standards.

“This grant will make a real difference. This gear is expensive and times are
hard right now.”

In November, Rep. Gordon, who chairs the House Committee on Science and Technology, helped pass the Fire Grants Reauthorization Act, which strengthens the AFG program and makes it more accessible to stations and departments suffering economic hardship.

 



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School Board holds work session Feb. 2
A School Board work session was held Tuesday, Feb. 2, with Board members Lenard Ledbetter, Sam Pendergrass, and David Sadler absent.

Items considered included parking areas at A.H. Roberts Elementary School and Hilham Elementary School, bleachers at Rickman Elementary School, adding classrooms at Livingston Academy, and an agreement with Clay County Schools concerning disaster plans.

Director of Schools Matt Eldridge asked if the school system should continue with a plan to send buses to help Clay County Schools transport students in the event of failure at Wolf Creek Dam.

He said in the case of a dam break, Overton County will help out Clay County with school buses to pick their kids up on this side and bring them to Allons School for evacuation.

No one objected to keeping that plan in place.

At the time of the work session, two companies had given prices on new bleachers at Rickman and a third was to give information later in the week.

Director Eldridge said the school system already has capital outlay money
that can be used to purchase the bleachers.

He was given the go ahead to take executive action in taking bids for the bleachers.

School Board Chairman Kelly Hill asked about the expansion of parking lots at A.H. Roberts Elementary School and Hilham Elementary School.

Maintenance Supervisor Terry Webb said the weather has kept the projects from going anywhere.

Overton County Board of Education will meet in regular session Monday, Feb. 15 at the Central Education Office, as directed by Chairman Hill. An open door work session will begin at 6 p.m., and the Board meeting will start at 7 p.m.

A work session will be held at 5 p.m. Tuesday, March 2, and the main
purpose of the work session will be to consider proposals on adding rooms at LA. Each representative will be given 30 minutes to give their pitch to the School Board. Those with the most promising proposals will be given a chance to go into more detail at a later date.


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