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Archives 02-22-2011

News

Courthouse Crumbling
Police crack toilet paper caper Thursday
School Board rejects county nepotism policy

Courthouse Crumbling

Lyndon Johnson photo
The mural of Overton County Courthouse located in front of Overton County Heritage Museum on West Broad Street crumbles after rain and wintry conditions have taken their toll on the paint. The mural was erected as a class project by Leadership Overton Class of 2005-2006.

According to a letter sent to Leadership Overton alumni Class of 2005-2006 Project Coordinator Phillip McCormick, repairs to the mural will cost an estimated $1,500 and will require the entire surface to be sandblasted and the mural imagery to be repainted. The original artist “seems to think the damage was caused by the sealer that was put on the wall at the beginning,” the letter said.

At last report, McCormick said the class had collected $200 toward the repair costs. Those wishing to donate to the cause may send donations to Mural Project, c/o Rita Reagan, P.O. Box 354, Livingston, TN 38570.



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Police crack toilet paper caper Thursday
By Lyndon Johnson,
OCN staff

An Overton County man came to court Thursday, Feb. 17 and attempted to leave with the toilet paper from the public restroom of the Overton County Justice Center, according to a statement released by Overton County Sheriff’s Department.

According to the statement, a “court security officer reported that he saw a man exiting the restroom door dropping rolls of toilet paper while exiting the Justice Center into the parking lot.”

The man, described as wearing a grey dress jacket, button-up shirt, and tie, was approached by OCSD Deputy Johnny Cyrus and Investigator Brian Franklin as he attempted to leave in his car, which was described in the statement as a 2007 Chrysler 300.

According to the statement, the officers “noticed a large bulge in his
stomach area” which appeared to be toilet paper.

“Further investigation revealed the man to be in possession of multiple rolls of toilet paper, one roll of paper towels, and one trash bag,” the statement said. “All of the property [that] was recovered from his person had been concealed inside a button-up shirt worn by the man.”

According to the statement, the deputies asked the man why he stole the toilet paper. The man reportedly responded he did it “because times were hard.”

The Chrysler was towed from the Justice Center. The man is currently facing charges of theft of property.


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School Board rejects county nepotism policy

Dewain E. Peek photo
County Mayor Ron Cyrus speaks to Overton County Board of Education about what is involved in starting a Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps program at Livingston Academy.

By Dewain E. Peek,
OCN staff

Overton County Board of Education considered the Overton County Uniform Nepotism Policy Act of 2011 during the regular monthly meeting held Monday, Feb. 21.

School Board members considered it, and rejected it, choosing rather to stay with the current Board nepotism policy, 1.108, which states, “Whenever a person is considered by the Board for initial employment in the system and that person is related to a member of the Board, the director of schools, an administrator in the system, a county commissioner, or any appointed or elected county official, the fact of the relationship shall be publicly made known to the Board prior to the employment of such person.

“For purposes of this policy, the term ‘related to’ includes the following relationships: father, mother, son, daughter, brother, sister, son-in-law, father-in-law, mother-in-law, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, wife and husband.”

The County Nepotism Policy would prohibit supervisors from hiring relatives as their direct subordinates.

Board member Kelly Hill asked if the School Board would have to adopt the county policy if the County Commission were to pass it.

Board member Dolphus Dial said, “According to what I’ve been told, we talked to an attorney, he said we’ve got our own policies and they can’t dictate to us what we do.”

County Commissioner Gregg Nivens was in the audience and informed the Board, “We’re not passing a policy, we’re passing a private act. So, when that turns into a private act that’s state law. The Legislature votes on that and they send it back to us, if the County Court approves it by two-thirds, it’d take 10 votes, then it turns into a private act and it’s state law.”

The act was brought before the County Commission on Monday, Feb. 14 and after some discussion the commissioners voted to table it, though no motion had yet been made to approve it.

Action was taken by the School Board that would move school programs out of Joe L. Evins Community Center. The Board voted to take bids on renovating the rest of the old Central Office building.

In the work session held immediately prior to the legislative session, Director of Schools Matt Eldridge said, “We could actually move out of the community center and move it over there.”

Board member Ray Smith expressed his favor of doing so, saying, “Wouldn’t it be best to have all our stuff under our own roof?”

Eldridge mentioned moving the school system’s portable classroom from the community center to the old Central Office building where another portable is currently being used.

“We could hook those two back here together, and make that Adult High School,” he said.

Maintenance Supervisor Terry Webb informed the Board he had talked to the fire marshal and that the steel doors in the hallway can be locked to make the building two independent wings so older students would not be around the pre-K children.

Building a fence around the bus garage area was approved, with Board members Dial, Smith, David Sadler Sr., Houston Robbins, Howard Miller, and Mike Gilpatrick voting for, and Board members Hill, Lenard Ledbetter, Ricky Dodson, and Larry Looper voting no.

In voicing his opposition, Ledbetter mentioned the need for a fence at Wilson School to keep the dogs and wild hogs out.

All agreed that fences at Wilson and at other schools would need to be considered in the near future.

In the work session, Dodson had asked, “Would cameras not be better than a fence?”

Smith, who is a policeman, said, “Well, I can tell you, I’ve chased a feller off from over there that was stealing gas.

He went on to say, “We can take pictures of them as they take them, or we can deter them from taking them.”

And Sadler mentioned the liability should a trespasser cause a bus to roll and cause damage.

But Sadler asked about funding for the fence, “Where’s the money coming from?”

Director Eldridge said, “We’ve got money to do it if we need to.”

Ledbetter suggested running a steel cable through posts to keep people from driving into the bus garage area.

Smith pointed out that the person he chased was not in a vehicle, that he was on foot.

A night watchman/security position was approved until the fence is erected at the bus garage. The security guard will check on the school bus garage, maintenance department, construction at old Central Office, and A.H. Roberts Elementary.

Used hypodermic needles have been found at the maintenance garage lot, according to Director Eldridge.

A contract with LifeFlight was approved to cover the expense of any student injured during an extracurricular activity.

In the work session, Director Eldridge explained that this is a pilot program.

“We pay like a one-time $450 fee and any child who’s on any type of extracurricular anything, they’ll LifeFlight them for free,” he said.

Miller informed the Board that an air ambulance trip to Chattanooga would cost $22,000.

“We need to do it,” Miller added.

Taking bids on a 911 contact system was approved to be added to next year’s budget.

Chairman Houston Robbins said in the work session, “The federal government in 2013 requires that all radios, analog radios, be from the wide band back to a narrow band.”

Some of the radios in Overton County’s buses are not capable of going to the narrow band, but the buses bought since 2004 have the new radios.

Of the new system, Robbins said, “It’s also got a built-in GPS locater, which he (Director Eldridge), in his office, can look and tell you where each and every bus is on the route at any given time.”

Quarterly reports were approved.

Two Race to the Top tech positions were approved.

The School Board considered changing the lights in the Livingston Academy gymnasium from the current mercury vapor bulbs to more efficient modern lighting.

In the work session, Director Eldridge said, “We’ve got about 81 fixtures and bulbs in there.”

And he added, “We can go from 81 bulbs down to about 35.”

Robbins said, “The new type fixture will run and operate for about a third of what one of those fixtures that’s existing in there now will cost to operate.”

A rough estimate for fixtures and light bulbs is between $6,000 and $9,000, according to Director Eldridge.

Looper told his fellow Board members the reason the gym is dark is because the bulbs are 300 watt instead of 500 watt, because the 500 watt bulbs became hard to find.

When brought up for a vote in the legislative session, Sadler asked about just changing the bulbs that are not working.

Ledbetter concurred, saying, “Yeah, the light’s bad, but if it can be fixed without doing anything besides changing a bulb, it needs to be fixed.”

All but Looper voted to replace the burned out bulbs with 500 watt bulbs if possible, and if that does not illuminate the gym better, then changing to new fixtures can be reconsidered.

In executive action, the low bid of $10,459 from Cookeville Glass and Mirror for new doors at Rickman Elementary, Livingston Middle School, and Allons Elementary was approved.

Rickman Elementary’s trip request was approved for the varsity boys and girls basketball teams and cheerleaders to go to the TNT State Tournament in Springfield on February 5 and February 17 through February 19. The boys were playing in the tournament, but the girls were going just to watch.

No classes were missed during the trip.

LMS finished 2nd in the tournament and Allons Elementary’s girls team won the tournament championship on the girls side.

A.H. Roberts Elementary’s request for the third grade to take a trip on March 10 to Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga was approved. The trip correlates with Science SPI#0307.5.1.

Livingston Academy’s FFA was approved to take an overnight trip March 28 to March 30 to attend the FFA State Convention in Gatlinburg.

In other items discussed in the work session, County Mayor Ron Cyrus spoke to the School Board about a Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps program at Livingston Academy. The school system will fill out paperwork to be put on a list for the Army to consider approving a program for LA. (More on JROTC can be found in the Schools supplement inside this edition of OCN.)

Director Eldridge showed the Board lesson plan templates being used at Livingston Academy to break up each block into sections to keep the students’ attention.

“This is about how you need to break up the class period to get the maximum attention,” he said.

Eldridge also announced that Nutrition Supervisor Melissa Savage has a program that would make it possible to supply meals to every vacation Bible school in the county, and that anyone interested in the program should get in touch with her.

Miller brought up that Rickman Principal Amy Brown wants to know what the school will do next year if it has more growth.

A roving work session was set for Thursday, March 10 to visit Rickman Elementary then go to another school, with the intention of eventually visiting all schools in the system in the next few months. The School Board members will ride a bus from the Central Office to Rickman.


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Livingston' Tennessee 38570
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