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Archives 02-17-2010

News

Hilham man dies in Saturday crash
Snowy days puts spring break at-risk
Rhea Lynne Conner named Little Debbie Look Alike 2010
Revenue less than state budgeted

Hilham man dies in Saturday crash



Carson Oliver photos


A Hilham man died in a one-vehicle crash on Highway 136 on Saturday, Feb. 13.

According to reports, Michael Odell Honeycutt, 53, was driving a 1989 Chevrolet S-10 north on Highway 136 around 4 p.m. when the truck went off the road while negotiating a curve. The truck was overcorrected and then went off the road on the left side and struck a tree.

Honeycutt was wearing a seatbelt.

The incident was investigated by Trooper Stanley Roberts of Tennessee Highway Patrol.

Honeycutt was a truck driver for Lowe’s Lumber Company.


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Snowy days puts spring break at-risk
By Dewain E. Peek,
OCN staff

With all “snow days”’ gone and more lost school days looming as snow continues to fall over Overton County, Director of Schools Matt Eldridge asked the Overton County Board of Education for direction during the work session held Monday, Feb. 15 immediately prior to the School Board’s regular monthly meeting.

All agreed to make Good Friday, April 2, a school day to make up for schools being closed Tuesday, Feb. 16, then the discussion turned to either taking days at the end of the year or taking spring break days in the event of more closures.

Board member Sam Pendergrass said, “I’ve been hearing that a lot of teachers are stressed out because they’re not getting to get their kids ready for TCAPs that they normally would be able to.”

He then asked if taking spring break days would help the situation. The other School Board members agreed that taking spring break days as needed would be the best course in the interests of educating students, so Director Eldridge indicated this would be the plan if more days are lost.
Director Eldridge brought to the School Board’s attention a project that, with a $75,000 one-time up front payout, would provide algebra courses to eighth grade students through electronic means.

“They think the first year we’ll start with four classes,” he said. “We’ll have calculus, physics, geometry, and, I think, chemistry that they’ll teach over this.”

The money would come out of the general fund in next year’s budget, according to Eldridge.

“The training and the equipment installation would be carried out next year, then in 2011-12 you ought to be able to implement it,” Eldridge said.

The School Board members were not opposed to Eldridge moving forward with the program.

Director Eldridge also gave an update on security doors for the schools.

“It’s going to be about $3,000 a door,” he said. “It’s going to have a monitor inside. Each faculty member, whoever it is, is going to have a badge. They’ll scan it at the monitor. It’ll open the door and let them in.

And it’ll record whose key let them inside.”

He went on to add that when someone pushes the buzzer to request entrance to the building, the secretary will have a monitor to see who is wanting to enter.

He cautioned though that this is not a bid.

Some Board members expressed the need for canopies at some school entrances should such a system be installed.

In an update on adding steps at Livingston Middle School for the lower parking lot, Maintenance Supervisor Terry Webb informed the School Board that bids had been requested for the project, but none were received.

So now he is getting estimates from local contractors.

He also said steps are still planned for the parking lot at Allons Elementary School and at a federal playground at Wilson Elementary School, with Pre-K funds to be used to pay for the steps at Wilson so Pre-K children can safely walk up to the playground.

In the regular monthly meeting, quarterly reports were approved.

A trip to Pigeon Forge for the Interact Conference on March 5 to March 7, requested by Special Education Supervisor Sheila Pemberton, was approved.

Linda Looper’s letter of resignation as an educational aide at Rickman Elementary School was approved.

Director of Schools Matt Eldridge issued the Director’s Report to the School Board. Actions taken by the school director are as follows:

•Hired Jessie Johnson, effective November 1, 2009 as a bus attendant, as recommended by Special Education Supervisor Sheila Pemberton. All funds for this position will be paid from IDEA, Federal Funds.

•Hired Melissa Norrod, effective January 21, 2010, as an educational assistant at A.H. Roberts to fill Lisa Gore’s leave of absence, as recommended by Principal Bridgett Carwile.

•Hired Joyce Lambert, effective February 1, as an activities facilitator for students who receive fine and gross motor interventions, as directed by IEP and recommended by Special Education Supervisor Sheila Pemberton.

•Hired Ann Martinoni, effective January 28, as an educational assistant at Livingston Middle School, as recommended by Principal Doug Smith.

•Hired Penny Gilliam, effective January 28, as an attendance secretary at Livingston Middle School, as recommended by Principal Doug Smith.

•Hired Kim Walker, effective January 4, as interim 4th grade instructor until the job is posted at Rickman Elementary to fill the vacancy left by the resignation of Donna Lamb, as recommended by Principal Amy Brown.

•Hired Stephanie Nelson as a certified substitute teacher.

•Hired the following non-certified substitute teachers: Alex Sears, Ryan Carpenter, Whitlee Sells, Keelyn Boles, William “Buddy” Sells, Martina Bias, Betha Crabtree, Jennifer Daniels, Korey Bailey, Bill Ragland, and Danny Webb.

Before adjourning, Chairman Kelly Hill announced that A.H. Roberts second grader Rhea Lynne Conner, daughter of Tony and Amy Conner, won the Little Debbie Look-A-Like Contest. She received a $5,000 scholarship and her picture will be placed on snack cake boxes commemorating the company’s 50th anniversary.

Chairman Hill also announced that LMS sixth grade teacher Debbie Taylor received an $800 grant to take her students to the Parthenon, and he informed the Board that LMS school counselor Vanessa Farris has organized a countywide Beta Club trip to Washington, D.C.



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Rhea Lynne Conner named Little Debbie Look Alike 2010


Rhea Lynne Conner accepting her award at the 50th annual Little Debbie Look Alike contest in Atlanta, GA.

Rhea Lynne Conner, a seven year old second grader at A. H. Roberts Elementary won the Little Debbie Look Alike Contest, 2010 Friday, Feb. 12 in Atlanta, GA.

The idea for the contest came from her Uncle James Clouse who one morning after watching the news said, “You have to enter her in that, she looks just like her.”

During the final phase of the contest Conner was judged on her essence, dress, look, charm, spirit, poise, and behavior. The blue checkered “look alike” dress was made for her by Marsha Hyder of Marsha’s Fabrics in Alpine.

She was awarded a $5,000 scholarship which her father says will help her as she wants to be a Veterinarian when she grows up.

She is the daughter of Tony and Amy Conner, granddaughter of Lonnie and Sue Conner and Phillip and Linda Clouse, all from Monroe, and the Godchild of Arlene DiPaolo of Livingston.

Tony and Amy Conner said, “We are very proud of her. We have our own Little Debbie, and it does our hearts good.”


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Revenue less than state budgeted
Tennessee sales tax collections continue to be a concern for the state’s general fund. Negative growth in sales tax collections continued in January, with overall January revenues coming in at $947.4 million, which is $16.1 million less than the state budgeted.

Finance and Administration Commissioner Dave Goetz said, “January is the 20th consecutive month in which sales taxes have recorded negative growth. January collections represent December holiday sales, which brought reports of positive growth at the national level, so it’s very disappointing that we didn’t have a similar experience in Tennessee.

“Despite the severe national recession, the state will continue to monitor 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 2009-2010 fiscal year.

The general fund was under collected by $5.2 million and the four other funds were undercollected by $10.9 million.

Sales tax collections were $20.4 million less than the estimate for January.

The January growth rate was negative 1.86%. For six months, revenues are undercollected by $159 million. The year-to-date growth rate for six months was negative 5.72 %.

Franchise and excise taxes combined were $11.3 million above the budgeted estimate of $128.5 million. For six months, revenues are overcollected by $5.9 million.

Gasoline and motor fuel collections for January increased by 5.77 %, but were $4.2 million below the budgeted estimate of $71.2 million. For six months, revenues are undercollected by $14.1 million.

Tobacco tax collections were $451,000 above the budgeted estimate of $21.9 million, and for six months they are $4.3 million over the budgeted estimate.

Inheritance and estate taxes were overcollected by $1.8 million for the month.

All other taxes were undercollected by a net of $5.1 million.

Year-to-date collections for six months were $185.1 million less than the budgeted estimate. The general fund was undercollected by $152.3 million, and the four other funds were undercollected by $32.8 million.

The budgeted revenue estimates for 2009-2010 are based on the State Funding Board’s consensus recommendation adopted by the first session of the 106th General Assembly in May of 2009, and are available on the state’s website at http//www.tn.gov/finance/bud/budget.html.

The State Funding Board met again on December 18, 2009 and adopted revised revenue ranges for 2009-2010. The revised ranges reflect growth rates ranging from -1.50 % to -0.25 % in total taxes, and -2.35 % to - 0.85% in general fund taxes.

Based on the funding board’s consensus recommendation, the official budgeted estimates for 2009-2010 were revised in late December. The revised estimates are reflected on pages A-70 and A-72 in the 2010-2011 Budget Document. The revised estimates assume an undercollection in total taxes in the amount of $161.3 million, and an undercollection of $153.2 million in the general fund.




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Overton County News
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Livingston' Tennessee 38570
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