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Dandridge, Tennessee

April 4, 2011

" The Marching Band Refused to Yield "

A group of concerned citizens held a meeting at the car lot across from Jefferson County High School, on Tuesday, March 29, 2011.  The reason for the meeting was the rumored “forced” retirement or transfer of longtime Jefferson County High School Band Director, Pete Rogers.  Rogers had allegedly, been under scrutiny after posting remarks on a social network site.  The meeting was intended to take place in the high school band room. According to a spokesperson for the group, after several attempts to contact the Board of Education and their local school board representatives, the group contacted the media to bring, what they felt was, covert action into public view.  Channel 8 and 10 news crews were not allowed access to the school facility, on orders from school officials.  After the television media was turned away, the group moved their meeting across the street, so that all media outlets could cover the event.
In an effort to clarify the reasoning in denying media access to the citizen meeting, the central office of Jefferson County Schools was contacted. According to Assistant Director of School, Dr. La Donna McFall, freshman orientation was going on at the high school and it could be invasive and disturbing to the students and parents to see television media filming during orientation.  Dr. McFall stated that they (media) were invited into JCHS to film freshman orientation, instead of the citizen meeting, however all media outlets declined.
According to The First Amendment Center at Vanderbilt, Nashville-considered the foremost expert on first amendment rights- school buildings are treated the same as any other public building after school instruction hours. As public/government facilities, the media has the right to access to any public meeting or event on the property.  The First Amendment Center informs the public and groups, including First Amendment Scholars and Government Policy Makers ,on the First Amendment issues (freedom of speech, freedom of the press, etc...).  It is non partisan and does not litigate-only informs.
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

County Health Rankings
Surprising Results for Jefferson County Residents
New statistics have just been released by the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute. According to the statistics, Jefferson County residents are experiencing Health Outcomes (mortality rates) much lower than our Health Factors (Behaviors) would suggest.
Jefferson County is ranked 28 out of 95 Tennessee counties on Health Outcomes – which take into account premature death, poor health, poor mental and physical health days and low birth weight. Jefferson County residents average 3.4 days of physical illness for every 30 days, which is less than the Tennessee average of 4.1. However, they exceed the averages of poor mental health days, with the state coming in at 3.4 and Jefferson County showing 4.1 days per every 30.
Health Factors are based on controllable behaviors as well as available care and socio-economic factors. Jefferson County is in the bottom half of Tennessee Counties, coming in 54 of 95 in Health Factors. Adult smoking is greatly above the state average 24% with Jefferson County showing 38% of its citizens smoking more than 100 cigarettes and currently smoking. 30% of Jefferson County residents are deemed obese which is just under the state average of 31%.
Excessive drinking and motor vehicle crash death rates both exceed the state percentages.
Less than 2% of Jefferson County residents contract Chlamydia which is much lower than nearly 5% of the state residents that get the sexually transmitted disease every year. 
Jefferson County’s teen birth rate is 50 per 1,000 girls ages 15-19 (55 TN). 
Overall our controllable behavior ranking is a dismal 82 out of 95 counties. The county rates much better in clinical care numbers (34 of 95) – which helped lower its overall Health Factor Ranking.
The county is level with the state (19%) of uninsured adults.
Although the county appears to be short on primary care doctors (1,555:1), more Jefferson Countians are undergoing preventative 
Jefferson County Democratic Party
Elect Officers
Sara Pointer, Ann Bloomquist, Mike Dockery, Perry Snyder
The Jefferson County Democratic Party met Saturday, April 2, 2011, (12 p.m.) at the Historic Jefferson County Courthouse. The special meeting was designed to reaffirm By-Laws and elect officers for a two year term. The members took the advice of the nominating committee and re-elected the current Chairman, Mike Dockery, to serve another term.  Vice-Chair will be held by Sara Ponter, Secretary Ann Blomquist will serve again and Perry Snyder will hold the position of Sergeant at Arms. All officers will serve through the 2012 Presidential Election.
Volunteers were taken for the Executive Committee. Chairman Dockery informed the group that, because Tennessee largely voted republican in the last election, funds will not be dedicated from national sources for the 2012 campaign. He encouraged all Jefferson County Democrats to work with diligence to put the parties philosophies in the forefront during the next two years.
The Jefferson County Democrats meet the fourth Thursday of every month, at 7p.m., at the Jefferson County Election Office.

screening such as mammograms and diabetes screens than the state average.
75% of Jefferson County residents have graduated High School, however only 45% have attended some college (54% TN). The county’s unemployment rate is over 2% higher than the state average and more of the county’s children live in poverty. Although fewer of adults report adequate emotional and social support, families are holding together. The state leads Jefferson County by 6% in single parent households.
Jefferson County is a very safe place to live according to statistics. The state has over 2.5 times the number of violent crimes than occur in Jefferson County.
While the county largely leads the state in access to health food, it falls short (by ˝) in recreational facilities. The annual number of unhealthy air quality days due to ozone is 12 in Jefferson County, though the state averages only 8.
Knox, Blount and Sevier Counties all ranked healthier than Jefferson County, while Grainger County showed very similar numbers. Hamblen and Cocke Counties ranked lower than Jefferson.
The Healthiest County to live in Tennessee is Williamson – which ranked #1 in both Health Outcomes & Health Factors. They enjoy a 7.6 unemployment rate. Only 6% of their children are in poverty. 79% of residents have some college. Williamson has more than double the recreational facilities as the state and only 1 poor air quality day per year.
It is important to note that Tennessee averages are generally well below the National Benchmark in every category. 

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