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Dandridge, Tennessee

August 13, 2012 www.jeffersoncountypost.com


Move To Expand Growth Boundaries for White Pine, Dandridge, Jefferson City & New Market

Staff Photo / Jefferson County Fair
Local Municipalities To Extend Growth Boundaries

The Jefferson County Urban Growth Committee held a meeting on Wednesday, August 8, 2012 in the Historic Jefferson County Courthouse.  The Meeting was Called to Order by Mayor Palmieri. The Mayor stated that a quorum was present. Dandridge Town Administrator Bryan McCarter replaced retired Town Administrator Hutchins on the Committee.  Absent from Roll Call were Mayor Keane, Greg Embrey, School Board Chair Potts, David Rivers and Jay Moser.

The first order of Committee business was the election of Committee officers. Jefferson County Mayor Palmieri was unanimously elected as Chairman of the Committee. Jefferson City Mayor Potts will act as Vice Chairman and Dandridge Mayor Gantte will serve as Secretary.

Dandridge Mayor Gantte stated that Dandridge will be altering their request to extend their growth boundaries to exclude the Dumplin Valley area, which was a part of the original proposal. The Town had made the request for an extension of the boundaries in that area to accommodate the needs of the Department of Education, however those needs are no longer valid. The Town continued in their request for an extension in the 424 exit area.

Jefferson City Mayor Potts stated that the City would like to clean up boundary lines, as well as extend into some natural growth areas.

New Market representatives stated that New Market is requesting an extension of growth boundaries that was not granted in the last extension process. White Pine will also be seeking an extension of growth boundaries.

Upon a Motion from Jefferson City Mayor Potts and a 2nd from White Pine Mayor Wilder, the Committee Approved Unanimously the request from Dandridge for an extension of growth boundaries to the 424 exit.

Upon a Motion from Dandridge Mayor Gantte and a 2nd from Mayor Wilder the Committee Unanimously Approved the request of Jefferson City for growth boundary extension.

Upon a Motion from New Market Mayor Quinn and a 2nd from Mayor Potts the Committee Unanimously Approved the request of White Pine for growth boundary extension.

Upon a Motion from Mayor Gantte and 2nd from Mayor Potts the Committee Unanimously Approved the request for growth boundary extension for New Market.

Chairman Palmieri stated that the municipalities would need to provide a clean map that removes all modifications. The process to extend growth boundaries will require that each municipality approve the decision and that the request come before County Commission for Approval. Public Meetings will be held in both the municipalities and in the County. Should the County Commission deny the request, the issue can be brought before the State of Tennessee via the Urban Growth Committee.  The Meeting was Adjourned.


Stakeholders & TDOT Meet To Discuss Best Options - How Will Project Cost Be Divided?

Photo Provided By: TDOT

Stakeholders in the Signal Light Project for the intersection of Dumplin Valley and Hwy 92 met last Thursday to discuss plan proposals and funding sources for a proposed traffic light and improved turn lanes. Representatives from the Town of Dandridge, the Jefferson County Department of Education, Tennessee Department of Transportation and Jefferson County convened to discuss options for the project. Renewed interest in a signal light at the intersection of Dumplin Valley and Hwy 92 led to the Tennessee Department of Transportation developing options for the area in question.

The Department of Education contacted the Town of Dandridge to request that the Town investigate the possibility of a signal light at the intersection. In recent years, the Dumplin Valley intersection has been a source of concern for school officials and residents. With the addition of two new schools, Mt Horeb on East Dumplin Valley and the Freshman Academy on West Dumplin Valley, congestion in the area has increased. Traffic studies from 2007 to 2009 determined that the intersection did meet the criteria for a signal light. The intersection, which is utilized by Jefferson County High School students as well as other drivers, has nine times the crash rate by exposure than is expected statewide. The increased traffic with the addition of the new schools is expected to add to the exposure rate.

Responsibility for funding the project has been an issue of debate on the City and County level. The signal light itself will be funded through a Safety Grant with TDOT, however, road improvements are necessary for functionality of the intersection. TDOT recently did some construction on Hwy 92 in the area of the intersection. Dumplin Valley will need turn lanes to accommodate the traffic flow in the area. The original proposal from TDOT is estimated to come at a cost of around $200,000. The Town of Dandridge, which engaged in the project at the request of the Department of Education, has requested that the cost of the project be split among the stakeholders, meaning that Jefferson County and the Department of Education would help bare the burden of the turn lane improvements.

The Jefferson County Budget Committee denied the request for assistance in a recent Budget Meeting. TDOT, in an effort to decrease the cost of the project, brought back a less expensive option to the stakeholders. In Option 2, or the revised plan, the cost was cut in around half, however, there are some potential problems with the second option. Lanes on the East and West side of Dumplin Valley would not line up and the intersection would not have dedicated turn lanes in both directions. There is also a question of pooling water and run off water that could be a problem in heavy rain. Dandridge Mayor Gantte stated that there is some concern that inexperienced drivers could have more difficulty if the stakeholders choose to go with Option 2. TDOT representatives stated that, though the Original Option was preferable, Option 2 did meet the criteria for functionality and was better than no improvements to the intersection. TDOT stressed that the process for the signal installation and improvements is time consuming and could take as long as 2 years for completion. The Town of Dandridge will also be considering using video or looping. The decision to use video would save on total project time, however, there was some question of the feasibility of using video in a heavy fog area.

While the actual signal funding is secured through a grant, it is necessary to determine the remainder of the funding and the option that will be employed to address the turn lane needs on Dumplin Valley. The Town of Dandridge, the Jefferson County Commission and the Jefferson County School Board will each meet independently with their Boards to determine the level of funding that each is willing to commit to the project. The funding level will drive the Option selection and determine if the project can be funded fully or if a lesser option will be employed. The Jefferson County School Board met Thursday evening and voted to request that the Jefferson County Commission commit up to $100,000 for the Signal Light Project. In addition, they requested a Special Called Meeting of the Jefferson County Commission to address the issue. The Town of Dandridge is expected to address the funding needs for the project at their next voting meeting. Representatives from the Town of Dandridge have indicated that the long term cost associated with the signal light will be the responsibility of the Town and that they only seek assistance with the inception costs of the project.

Bears Looking For Food
Bear populations have increased dramatically in the eastern United States in the last 20 years with Tennessee being no exception.

The bear population in Tennessee is now probably higher than it has been in the last 100-150 years. Most of Tennessee’s bear habitat exists on public lands in the Southern Appalachian Mountains. As Tennessee’s human population increases, and more people move near public lands, bear interactions with humans will continue to increase.

Every year the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) receives hundreds of calls and complaints concerning black bears. Most of the complaints are of bears raiding garbage containers, bird feeders, and pet food left outdoors. Additionally, some people even intentionally feed bears. As a result of the improper storage of garbage, easy availability of bird seed, and the direct feeding of bears, animals often become habituated to humans and become a nuisance. Nationwide bear management experience has shown the life expectancy of “nuisance” bears may be less than half of that of “wild” bears that do not have repeated contact with humans.

Disappointingly, there are no other alternatives but to destroy bears that have become a threat to human safety. As fall approaches, bears look for easier and more nutritious food sources than their naturally occurring foods and the likelihood of bear sightings may increase. The TWRA encourages residents to educate themselves by being "bear aware."

Please help keep our communities safe by preserving the “wild” nature of bears by following these few simple tips:

•  Do not feed bears,
• Store garbage in bear-proof containers or in a manner that is inaccessible to bears,
• Do not feed birds between April and January when bears are most active or take
feeders inside at night,
• Keep pet food indoors and feed pets in the house or garage,
• Do not add food to your compost piles,
• Keep cooking grills clean and stored indoors when not in use.

TWRA believes that bears and humans can coexist. Often all that is required to prevent bear-human conflicts is to simply stop feeding bears, properly store garbage, remove bird feeders, and/or keep pet food indoors. Until the public stops feeding bears and acknowledges the fact that garbage does indeed kill bears, then the TWRA along with other responsible wildlife agencies will have no choice but to euthanize bears that become a threat to humans.

For more information and or technical assistant regarding black bears in Tennessee, visit the region IV web site at www.twraregion4.org, or contact the TWRA region IV office at (423) 587-7037.


Iranian Twin Quakes Death Toll 250 / 2000 Injured

By Jake Depew, Jefferson County Post Staff Writer

On Saturday, August 11, 2012, two strong earthquakes struck northwestern Iran. According to the United States Geological Survey, the first earthquake occurred at 4:53 p.m. and was registered as a magnitude 6.4, occurring 37 miles northeast of Tabriz. The second quake, which struck 11 minutes later, happened 30 miles northeast of Tabriz. This quake was a magnitude 6.3. The quakes devastated 4 villages and caused heavy damage in as many as 60 more. Press TV, a state-run Iranian news channel, has stated that as many as 250 people were killed in the quakes, with at least 2,000 injuries. The report also claimed that 40 of the deaths were located in Varzaqan, with another 50 in Haris. The city of Ahar is also stated to be home to 45 deaths and as many as 500 casualties. At the time of this writing, scattered relief efforts are still underway for those in the affected areas. Local authorities are expecting the casualty count to continue escalating in the following days. Emergency medical treatment is being provided in a wide range of locations, and officials are working to contain the panic caused by the crisis.


By LaShai Owens, Jefferson County Post Editorial Cartoonist

© Copyright 2011 The Jefferson County Post All Rights Reserved

August 13, 2012 Go To Page

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