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Dandridge, Tennessee

December 17, 2012

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JCHS BAND SOUNDS OF THE SEASON

Staff Photo / Jefferson County High School Band performing at Carson-Newman College
 

Jefferson County residents were given an early Christmas present on Thursday evening, when the Jefferson County High School Band gave their annual Christmas concert. The event took place on Carson-Newman campus and parents, students and the community came out to hear an evening of quality Christmas Music. The Jefferson County High School Band is under the Direction of Greg Jones. The musical offerings included the fanciful “Up on a Housetop” and “All I Want for Christmas is You” and the more traditional “O Come All Ye”, as well as a host of other songs. Ron Grizzel and Bill Neblett serve as Assistant Directors of the band.

 

Redistricting
Recent redistricting across the State of Tennessee has had a significant impact on Jefferson County

 
In the most recent election, Jefferson County elected two Representatives to the State House. The redistricting process divided Jefferson County into Districts 11 and 17, sharing representation with Cocke and Greene Counties in District 11 and Sevier County in District 17. Jeremy Faison will represent Jefferson County in District 11. Faison is an incumbent and has previously represented Cocke County in the State House. This will be his first time to represent Jefferson County's interest in Nashville. Andrew Farmer is the newly elected State House Representative from District 17. Farmer is a freshman representative in Nashville and will represent both Jefferson and Sevier Counties. Faison is a native of Cocke County and Farmer is a native of Sevier County. During the redistricting process, the question arose concerning the impact of splitting counties across the State.

Neighboring counties that share representation may have conflicting needs in the State and the issue could be problematic for those counties that do not have native representation. Jefferson County Mayor Alan Palmieri addressed the issue of Jefferson County’s split representation in an interview last week. He stated that the issue is a double edged sword. The concept of regional government, rather than isolationist, could have benefits to the County. New redistricting lines require that County governments work together to benefit all Counties in the represented area. Mayor Palmieri stated that Jefferson County can benefit from the relationship with Sevier, Cocke and Greene Counties. Though the demographics of the counties are somewhat different, the cross representation could bolster Jefferson County’s position in the State. The Mayor said that there is already an excellent working relationship between the Mayors in the counties. There are some issues that are unique to Jefferson County, including the hot button issue of the Norfolk Southern Intermodal. Palmieri stated that he has recently spoken to Norfolk Southern and that there is still no definitive word on the Intermodal proposal, however there has been movement to acquire and prepare property in the footprint of the proposed project.

Mayor Palmieri stated that the Mayors in the local municipalities, as well as those in the neighboring counties that Jefferson County will share State representation, have signed letters of support for the Intermodal project. Though the Intermodal project is not the only issue on the horizon that will affect Jefferson County, it is one whose impact is unique to Jefferson County. The Mayor said that it is wise that all the counties maintain a good working relationship, which requires the Elected and Appointed County Government Officials to be sensitive of the relationship. The downside of a shared representation, according to Mayor Palmieri, is that conflicts, should they arise, could be problematic for Jefferson County. Though there is not a native Jefferson County resident in the House, Frank Nicely will represent District 8, which includes Jefferson County, in the State Senate. Nicely is the longtime representative in State House District 17, which was comprised of a small portion of Knox and most of Jefferson County. The districts were shifted in the redistricting process. Though Nicely is new to the Senate, he is experienced in State government and is a native of Jefferson County. Farmer and Faison have committed to the interests in Jefferson County and have both been visible figures in the County, both before and after the election. Mayor Palmieri discussed the divide between East, Middle and West Tennessee in the State political machine. He stated that the new redistricting could bring some additional clout to the region when it comes to representing East Tennessee. Mayor Palmieri said that, overall, the positives in the new shared districts appear to outweigh the negatives. He noted that the Jefferson County vote is integral in any representative being elected and that he believes that there is strong representation in both the State House and Senate for Jefferson County. New representatives will be sworn in to their elected positions in the beginning of the New Year and have already received extensive orientation for their office.

 

CDC Lists East Tennessee as Regional Outbreak Area for Influenza

 

The influenza season has arrived early in East Tennessee and the State is listed by the Center for Disease Control as one that has had regional outbreaks of influenza. Experts are encouraging all residents that have not yet received the influenza vaccination to get one as soon as possible. It is important to remember that vaccinations cannot be given to those that are currently ill and the vaccination does not take full effect until two weeks from the vaccination date. Those exposed to the influenza virus during that two week waiting period will be at risk for getting the flu. It is also important to note vaccinations may not completely remove the risk of obtaining the flu, though it should at the minimum reduce the complications of the influenza virus. Good hand washing is one of the best defenses from contracting the flu, as well a limiting contact with infected individuals. The CDC encourages all residents to wash hands well and properly while shopping during the Holiday Season and to avoid putting hands around eyes, nose and mouth. Those that have influenza symptoms should seek medical advice and limit contact with others to avoid spreading the virus.

Haslam Announces State Will Not Run Health-Care Exchange
“Tennessee faces a decision this week about health insurance exchanges created by the Affordable Care Act...

 
Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam announced Monday the state will not operate a state-based healthcare exchange under the federal Affordable Care Act. Haslam made the following statement on the issue:

“Tennessee faces a decision this week about health insurance exchanges created by the Affordable Care Act.

“I'm not a fan of the law. The more I know, the more harmful I think it will be for small businesses and costly for state governments and the federal government. It does nothing to address the cost of health care in our country. It only expands a broken system. That’s why I’ve opposed it from the beginning and had hoped we would be successful in court and at the ballot box this year.

“Now we’re faced with the fact that the law remains, and it requires every state to participate in an insurance exchange. Our decision is whether the state or federal government should run it, and the deadline for that decision is Friday.

“I've said that I think Tennessee could run a state exchange cheaper and better, and my natural inclination is to keep the federal government out of our business as much as possible. What our administration has been working to understand is whether we'd have the flexibility for it to be a true state-based exchanged, how the data exchange would work, and if it would work.

“Since the presidential election, we've received 800-plus pages of draft rules from the federal government, some of which actually limit state decisions about running an exchange more than we expected.

“The Obama administration has set an aggressive timeline to implement exchanges, while there is still a lot of uncertainty about how the process will actually work. What has concerned me more and more is that they seem to be making this up as they go.

“In weighing all of the information we currently have, I informed the federal government today that Tennessee will not run a state-based exchange. If conditions warrant in the future and it makes sense at a later date for Tennessee to run the exchange, we would consider that as an option at the appropriate time.

“This decision comes after months of consideration and analysis. It is a business decision based on what is best for Tennesseans with the information we have now that we’ve pressed hard to receive from Washington. If this were a political decision, it would’ve been easy, and I would’ve made it a long time ago.

“I believe my job is to get to the right answer. That’s what Tennesseans expect of me and elected me to do.”

 

U.S. Troops and Patriot Missiles Deployed to Turkey
By: Jake Depew, Jefferson County Post Staff Writer

 

In response to the threat of Syrian national forces moving into Turkey, the United States is sending troops and patriot missiles to the Turkey-Syria border. The movement will consist of two patriot missile batteries and 400 U.S. troops to operate the batteries. The decision comes amongst fears of Syrian shelling killing Turkish civilians, a scenario that killed 5 civilians this past October. A military advance team will be deployed in the following days, though no exact time schedule has been revealed. The troops and batteries are predicted to be in place by the second week of January. U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has stated that the missile batteries will be targeting “threats that come out of Syria.” Panetta has stressed that these forces are to be used solely for defensive purposes, and that there is no offensive nature to the decision. The United States is not alone in its decision to defend the border, with the German parliament approving the deployment of the country’s own patriot missiles to Turkey this past Friday. The decision also comes amidst speculations by NATO officials that ballistic missile fire has been detected within Syria. Similarly, the United States claims that Damascus fired Scud missiles at northern rebel forces, with many missiles falling dangerously close to the Turkish border. The Syrian national government completely denies any of these accusations.

 

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