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Dandridge, Tennessee

August 8, 2011

Who Says Size Doesn't Matter?
Staff Photo

Krazy Train On The Loose

at Jefferson County Fair

Thursday night more than the temperatures were hot at the Jefferson County Fair, as Monster Truck lovers of all ages hit the Fair grounds. From the first booming roar to signify the warm ups for the Monster Truck Freestyle and Rollover Contest till the final spin of the super sized tires, Fair goers were enamored with the giant rides. A huge crowd gathered in the main arena to give a big Jefferson County greeting to Monster Truck celebrities Aftershock and Krazy Train. This was the premiere of Monster Trucks Freestyle and Rollover at the Jefferson County Fair and it was certainly lived up to the crowd’s expectations. The event will return next year and hopefully there will be a lot of local interest in the contest. The Monster Trucks were a thundering success and were one of the highlights of the 2011 Jefferson County Fair.

A week long event that is the scope and magnitude of the Fair takes a lot of work and dedicated from a huge group of behind the scenes people. From the volunteers who help with the set up, to Head of Security Lloyd Morton and a very dedicated team who ensure safety, the Jefferson County Fair is full of committed people who keep it a fun, family friendly tradition. 

Staff Photos

Department Of Education and School Board Changes
County Commission Charged With Replacing Resigning Board Members

Michael Phagan has accepted a position with the Jefferson County Department of Education as the Director of Facilities, Capitol Projects and Transportation. Phagan will no longer serve on the School Board and it has been confirmed that he has submitted his resignation. Shortly following Phagan’s appointment to the Directorship, information began to leak about the possible resignation of fellow School Board Member Maurice Solomon. According to sources, Solomon was allegedly uncomfortable with Director of Schools Edmonds hiring of Phagan and, after addressing the situation, he intended to submit his resignation. To date, there has been no confirmation of Solomon’s resignation, nor has he denied that he intends to resign. The County Commission, who will be charged with the placement of temporary School Board Members to fulfill the remainder of the term of any exiting School Board Member, is in a holding pattern, as they wait for some official indication of Solomon’s decision. 

Most of Phagan’s duties were previously the responsibility of Bill Nolan, who retired at the end of the previous school year. Nolan has been hired, on a 120 day contract, to fill the new position of energy consultant. It is unclear if this position is funded by the Department of Education or one of the two Energy Companies that Department of Education is contracted with. Nolan’s position was reclassified as non certified after his retirement.

Jefferson County High School may soon have a new Assistant Principal. According to the Department of Education, Judy Hickman has retired from the position of Assistant Principal and Tami Morelock, of Hamblen County, has been recommended for the position. 

The Department of Education and School Board Member Solomon could not be reached for comment regarding the possibility of Solomon’s resignation, nor the placement of Phagan in the Department of Education.

Redistricting Committee Meets To Determine New Lines
Commissioner Griffith Cautions Fellow Members that School Districts Follow Commission Districts.

The Jefferson County Redistricting Committee held its first meeting on Tuesday, August 2, 2011 at the Historic Jefferson County Courthouse. 

The meeting was called to order by Chairman of the County Commission Mills, who is a non voting member of the Committee. 

Mayor Palmieri and Tim Seals, both non voting members, were not present.

Committee Member Turner was elected to the Chairman position. Committee Member Estes will serve as Vice Chairman and Committee Member Griffith is Secretary. 

Turner assumed the duties of the Chair and informed the Committee that per Tennessee Code Annotated redistricting must be completed by the end of the calendar year. He suggested that the Committee set an aggressive schedule to make the completion date. They will be working with Gibson of the Election Commission and Larry Masters to develop options that will meet the state mandated criteria of 2448 people (which is population divided by number of Commissioners) per Commissioner. They were informed that five of the current districts meet the government mandated standards. Due to growth in the Dandridge area and a shift in numbers in other parts of the County, the Committee is charged with establishing new district boundaries in the affected areas. Gibson provided a guide for the Committee to assist in the process.

Committee Member Griffith cautioned that school districts follow County Commission districts and could result in situation where a child attends Dandridge school and the parents vote in a Jefferson City district. This would allow the family no representation in the district where the child attends school.

Committee Member Tucker stated that according to information provided by Gibson, the first order of business would entail deciding if the number of districts and County Commissioners will remain the same. Chairman Turner stated that the Committee will not address the question of altering number of Commissioners or altering the number of districts. 

Chairman Turner stated that the Committee should not request input from citizens in their districts. He said that, though some Committee Members had requested a copy of the computer software to investigate options for redistricting, the Committee will rely solely on Masters to bring options before the Committee. Chairman Turner stated that the ten voting members on the Committee will decide the redistricting of the County. There are some members of the Committee that are not voting members.

The Committee set a goal of options to be brought from Masters, to fall within a plus or minus 3 to 3 ½ variation from the optimum number of citizens per County Commissioner that is mandated. The government allows a total variation of 10, which is plus or minus 5.

The Committee will meet every other Tuesday, starting with August 9, 2011.  The Meeting was Adjourned.

Taliban Claim Responsibility for Helicopter Shot Down in Afghanistan on Saturday
By: Jake Depew

On Saturday, August 6, 2011, a helicopter was shot down by insurgents in Afghanistan. According to a Department of Defense release, the crash was the most devastating single-day tragedy to have occurred since the beginning of the war, resulting in a total of thirty-eight deaths. Of those thirty-eight, thirty were United States’ Navy SEALs, seven were Afghans, and one was an interpreter. The Taliban has claimed responsibility for the attack, stating that the helicopter was shot down by rocket fire during a raid. Despite this claim, NATO refuses to provide a cause for the crash, as an investigation is still underway. The Navy SEALs killed in the crash were all part of SEAL Team Six, which was the unit that carried out the operation during which Osama bin Laden was killed this past May. While SEAL Team Six carried out the operation, a senior U.S. military official has stated that none of the special operatives killed in the crash are believed to have participated in the raid in May. President Obama has issued a statement reminding citizens of the “extraordinary sacrifices” made by the U.S. military and its members’ families. The president also gave his condolences to the families of “the Afghans who died alongside our troops.” Names of the operatives killed are being withheld, as families are still being notified. This is also to ensure the continued security of the operatives’ families. Little information on the nature of the crash is being released, and NATO is launching a full scale investigation into the crash, as to determine if the Taliban are truly responsible for the attack.

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August 8, 2011 Go To Page

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