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Dandridge, Tennessee

January 14, 2013


Staff Photo by Jeff Depew

Jefferson County Economic Development Oversight Committee announced on January 9, 2013, that the County would be pursuing Megasite certification in anticipation of attracting a large manufacturer to the area. EDOC Chairman George Gantte and Jefferson County Mayor Alan Palmieri introduced the idea in a media event that took place at Angelo’s at the Point. The proposed site, which is supported by but not affiliated with TVA, will be certified by the consulting firm McCallum and Sweeney, of South Carolina.

The Megasite concept is relatively new and serves as a marketing strategy to large industry. Rather than an interested industrial buyer independently investigating a location and conducting site testing, the leg work is done by the consulting firm, in this case McCallum and Sweeney, and presented as a certified package. Since 2004, seven Megasites have been established in the Tennessee Valley Region and five of those have been sold to large manufacturers. Two sites (Memphis and Hopkinsville, Ky) are still available. EDOC hopes to target the automotive manufacturing industry because of the unique positioning of the proposed site. Located close enough to established manufacturers to benefit from shared suppliers, yet distant enough to have an independent work force selection, the proposed site should be attractive to the automotive industry.

According to information provided in the unveiling event, the automotive industry is growing and there is opportunity to capitalize on that growth and bring employment opportunities to the area.  In order for a site to be certified as a Megasite, it requires a minimum of 1,000 acres and appropriate soil and ground testing. Proximity to interstate, rail and suppliers are also necessary for certification. The site selection in Jefferson County is in the area of Valley Home Road, Sager Road, Hinkle Road and Talbott-Kansas Road-coinciding with the Interstate 40 and 81 split. Several subsidiary roads will also be affected, as the proposed project affects around 100 property owners and 1860 acres of land. Notification of property owners coincided with the media event on Wednesday and negotiations for property options are being handled by Blanchard and Calhoun of Georgia. The timeline for certification is 8-12 months and the first step is to secure purchase options on the proposed site. Garrett Wagley recently assumed the position of Director of Jefferson County Economic Development and he will be overseeing the certification process and subsequent recruitment of industry.

Wagley stated Friday, in an interview with the Jefferson County Post, that land options are critical to the project, though there are no plans for property condemnation or use of eminent domain to ensure the continuation of the proposed project. Funding is another issue that must be immediately addressed. The certification project has, thus far, been funded with EDOC funds. EDOC received $188,000 in County funds during the current fiscal year and the Jefferson County Chamber received $160,000 in funding. McCallum and Sweeney and the public relations firm of Moxley Carmichael of Knoxville are already working on the clock for the project and their services alone, at approximately $70,000 and $75,000 respectively, will have a significant impact on EDOC funds. Wagley stated that EDOC will request that the County Commission approve funding the certification process at $600,000 for the current fiscal year and another $2.4 million for next fiscal year.  The $3million dollar total is expected to carry the project through the certification process, including land options, however the cost of actually purchasing the property is not included in that amount. Wagley stated that there is not yet a firm idea of the cost to purchase the 1860 acres and that much is dependent on the value of homes and buildings on the property. Negotiations are ongoing with property owners and there will be an informational meeting that is open to the public on January 15th from 5-7 pm at the Expo Center in White Pine.  A website has been dedicated to the project

Faison and Farmer Sworn In As Members of
108th General Assembly
Staff Photo by Jeff Depew / L-R / Representative Jeremy Faison 11th District, Speaker of the House Beth Harwell, Representative Andrew Farmer 17th District

The 108th General Assembly of the Tennessee House of Legislature convened on January 8, 2013. Both the Senate and House of Representatives were sworn in on Tuesday. The House is the larger of the two governing bodies and, as such, occupies the House Chamber which is the largest space in the State Capitol Building. 99 Districts were represented in The House ceremony and representatives from those districts took the oath of office on Tuesday afternoon. Representative Beth Harwell, of Davidson County, was re elected unopposed as Speaker of the House and Curtis Johnson of Montgomery County was elected as Speaker Pro Tempore. Senator Niceley of District 8, which includes Jefferson County, made an appearance at the House of Representatives ceremony. Jefferson County Representatives Jeremy Faison of District 11 and Andrew Farmer of District 17 were both present to take the oath of office. Faison is a returning Representative, though this is his first stint as a Representative for Jefferson County. Farmer is a Freshman Representative, as this is his first time to serve in The House. After the taking of the oath of office, members of The House established, through vote, Adoption of Temporary Rules of Order. Included in the approved rules were measures to ensure the speed of government action. Limited paper copies, floor presentations and visual aids, as well as a limit to the number of bills that may be introduced by a Representative were a part of the Temporary Rules of Order. House members will no longer offer explanations for vote at the time of voting, to streamline the voting process. Members of the House and Senate later met in a joint session, as the business of conducting the affairs of the State has begun for the 33 members of the State Senate and 99 members of The House. The legislative bodies will meet in 90 day sessions over a two year period and generally convene from mid January until late April or early May to conduct the business of the people of the State of Tennessee.

Staff Photos by Jeff Depew / Speaker Of The House Beth Harwell being sworn into office.
Representative Andrew Farmer signing Oath of Office
Senator Frank Niceley pays a visit to the new 108th
Representatives Andrew Farmer and Jeremy Faison
Representatives Andrew Farmer, Dennis Roach and Jeremy Faison Taking Oath of Office
Photo submitted
Senator Frank Niceley takes oath of office

State Senator Frank Niceley (R-Strawberry Plains) took the oath of office on Tuesday in Nashville as the 108th General Assembly was gaveled into session.

The oath was administered by Supreme Court Justice William Koch, Jr. during the legislature’s three-day organizational session which will end on Thursday.

“I appreciate the opportunity to represent the citizens of Senate District 8 in the State Senate,” Senator Niceley said. “I will work very hard to represent them and to fulfill the duties of serving as their voice on Capitol Hill. I also look forward to working on the issues we face in Tennessee, including making our school safer, improving education and providing more job opportunities for our citizens.”

District 8 is comprised of Claiborne, Grainger, Hancock, Hawkins, Jefferson and Union Counties. Senator Nicely previously served 6 terms in the House of Representatives.

Other organizational tasks that will be taken up this week include the adoption of Senate rules, election of the state’s constitutional officers and election of the members of the General Assembly’s Joint Fiscal Review Committee. The General Assembly will then recess for two weeks to allow for office assignments.


Our readers asked for it and we listened. Starting with next week’s edition, the Jefferson County Post will have a new look and new capabilities. We are excited to announce that the Jefferson County Post will have daily updates, starting with next Monday’s edition. The Post will still have the reliable news coverage that readers have come to expect but there will be no stale news. We are proud to provide our readers with daily news, and hope that you make reading the Post a part of your daily routine. As  usual,  Monday will remain the publish date for our columnist, editorials and The Buzz, but now Jefferson County readers will have news and information at their fingertips daily. We are looking forward to debuting our new look and being Jefferson County’s source of daily news. The Post is thrilled to be sharing this new and exciting advancement with our readers. See you Monday, and then everyday, for news, news and more news!


Saint's Relics Stolen
By: Jake Depew, Jefferson County Post Staff Writer


On January 4th, 2013, many precious saints’ relics were discovered as missing from Ste. Genevieve Catholic Church in Ste. Genevieve, Missouri. The artifacts were sealed inside of nine containers, and the artifacts themselves included such items as pieces of a saint’s actual body or a scrap of a saint’s garments. Police are baffled as to why anyone would steal the artifacts, as there is little profit to be made from such items, especially since the thief would not have access to authentication papers. Due to the fact that multiple artifacts were stolen instead of a single item, the local authorities do not believe that the theft occurred for religious reasons. The theft took place sometime between Christmas Eve and January 4th. As of this writing, none of the artifacts have turned up in pawn shops, and it is speculated that the items will slowly be discovered as they are either discarded or sold cheaply, as there is no true street value for any of the relics. This incident marks another theft of religious artifacts (many of which are saints’ relics): a trend that seen increased activity in the country in the past few years.


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