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Dandridge, Tennessee

December 26, 2011

Happy New Year from The Jefferson County Post

Jefferson County's Newspaper Online
Staff Photo / Red-bellied Woodpecker flying in as 2011 is flying out 
Making Jefferson County More Marketable
2012 Goal for Director of Economic Development - Brad Maul

As Jefferson County residents say farewell to the year 2011, it is time to look forward to what is in store for the new year. Employment opportunities in the County are on the top of nearly every elected official’s and citizen’s wish list. Though there has been a slight downswing in unemployment numbers over last year’s postings, most would agree that Jefferson County is still struggling to put people to work, particularly in jobs that pay a livable wage. Director of Economic Development for Jefferson County, Brad Maul, is striving to make 2012 the year that Jefferson County defines its’ identity and becomes more marketable. A lack of County owned property has been a source of concern for the Industrial Development Board and Maul. The IDB is currently seeking a location to purchase for a Business or Industrial Park, however with no clear consensus on the direction that the County plans to move, placement of the Park is difficult. Maul stated that the last quarter of the year was slow, as businesses strive to wrap up their year. Prospects for incoming job opportunities are still in the beginning phases, though things traditionally pick up as people gear up in the new year. Maul stated that some customer service type of positions may be on the horizon but that Jefferson County, along with the rest of the Country, is still feeling the fall out of the National economy. Business and industry are just beginning to come to life again after several years of hiatus and Jefferson County needs to become marketable to those who are looking for a palatable location and skilled work force. Maul considers the County to be a good location to attract back office type of opportunities, such as accounting, reservation and customer service. One major challenge facing Maul is that any business looking to locate in the County must fit into a preexisting location, or purchase land from private owners. Though Maul is adamant that Jefferson County would benefit from County owned land, he wants the County and the IDB to do the homework and purchase wisely. Different types of business have a range of specific needs, not the least of which being proximity to transportation. The County must identify a target type of industry and a direction so the IDB can acquire land that fit’s the needs of the potential economic development. According to Maul, interested industry looks at the County as a whole to determine which site is better suited for location. Everything from roads to education come into play when the County makes it to the short list of possible sites. In response to raise the overall education level of the County, the Chamber has partnered with Tn Achieves to provide last dollar scholarship money for community college to this years graduating Jefferson County High School Seniors. Maul stated that presenting a skilled and educated work force is leg up when trying to attract some white collar business opportunities to the area. He feels that Jefferson County needs a mix of industry to meet the needs of residents. 

Very few conversations about a Business or Industrial Park in Jefferson County do not involve, in some aspect, the proposed Norfolk Southern Intermodal that is slated for New Market. Maul stated that the IDB needs to be smart in its Industrial Park location choice and the goal should be to investigate reasonable locations in regard to a County vision of future economic development. With the Intermodal project still in the beginning stages for New Market, the County is wait and see position with Norfolk Southern. He wants the County to move carefully and reasonably on the Industrial Park project, as it is a long term investment for Jefferson County rather than a short term fix. 

Maul is still looking at some big box stores for the County and, to that end, a group has been contracted to provide specific research that will be available to those who are trying to attract such businesses. He is striving for some mid level, customer service type of job opportunities to bring immediate relief to the unemployment numbers. The IDB, which has changed in its complexion due to the exodus of several members and some new appointments, will be faced with the question of where to locate a business park in the County. 2012 will be a pivotal year for Jefferson County, with the IDB’s decision and Norfolk Southern’s Intermodal project still on the table, with consideration penciled in for the new year.

'The Good Old Days'
Auld Lang Syne
"Auld Lang Syne" is an old Scotch tune, sung at the stroke of midnight in almost every English-speaking country in the world to bring in the new year. It was first published in 1796, but early variations of the song were sung prior to 1700.It literally means "the good old days."
Lyrics: Scots Verse
Should auld acquaintance be forgot and never brought to mind? 
Should auld acquaintance be forgot and days of auld lang syne? 
For auld lang syne, my dear, for auld lang syne, 
We'll take a cup of kindness yet, for auld lang syne.
Should auld acquaintance be forgot and never brought to mind? 
Should auld acquaintance be forgot and days of auld lang syne? 
And here's a hand, my trusty friend and gie's a hand o' thine 
We'll tak' a cup o' kindness yet for auld lang syne


Calls upon independent organization and department to take a closer look 

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam announced last week that there will be both an external and internal review of the new teacher evaluation system. 

He has charged the State Collaborative on Reforming Education (SCORE) with conducting an independent, third-party evaluation and is asking the state Department of Education to formalize a review process, which the department has already begun. 

Sen. Jim Tracy (R-Shelbyville) and Rep. John Forgety (R-Athens) are sponsors of a resolution that outlines the review process for the department, which the governor said the administration supports. 

“There has been a lot of discussion about teacher evaluations over the past several months,” Haslam said. “As we continue to have conversations with educators, I see a lot of value in reviewing the process both from an external and internal perspective and to compare observation results with student achievement data at the end of the year. 

“These evaluations were a critical piece of the Race to the Top initiative, and it is important for Tennessee to maintain strong accountability measures as we build upon our momentum to improve education. As we work through this first year of implementation, I do not support legislative changes during this session. It is appropriate to give the process time to work and to learn more about what changes might be necessary.” 

Haslam was joined for the announcement in the Old Supreme Court Chamber of the Capitol by Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman, SCORE president and CEO Jamie Woodson, and key legislators including Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey (R-Blountville), House Speaker Beth Harwell (R-Nashville), Sen. Delores Gresham (R-Somerville), chairman of the Senate Education Committee, Rep. Richard Montgomery (R-Sevierville), chairman of the House Education Committee and Tracy and Forgety, sponsors of the resolution. 

SCORE’s report will be due to the state Board of Education and Department of Education on June 1, 2012. 

In a statement from Senator Mike Faulk regarding the announcement that the Department of Education will conduct a review of the new Teacher Evaluation Model 

“I want the teachers in the 4th senatorial district to know that their elected officials are listening to their concerns and that we are going to get this right.”

“Teachers are a critical component in student achievement. We must ensure that our system evaluates them fairly. I thank Governor Haslam and Commissioner Huffman for their efforts to see that this occurs.” 

Gangs In The Military
By: Jake Depew, Jefferson County Post Staff Writer

According to the latest National Gang Intelligence Center report, gang members are coming into possession of military-grade firearms. Recent studies show that more and more gangs are gaining access to these weapons through members that have enlisted in the American military. The benefits of having members in the military are obvious: enlisted soldiers receive training and have access to equipment that cannot be gained otherwise, and rifles that are usually in storage are being stolen and placed in the hands of street-level criminals. In late July, as many as 27 AK-47s were reported as missing from a Fort Irvin warehouse. This highlights a trend that has developed over the last few years. The National Gang Intelligence Center has even identified members of over 53 gangs serving in the U.S. military by last April. While the smuggling of rifles can be difficult, high explosives are, surprisingly, easier to miss. Due to the large number of rounds that may be fired, it is much simpler for a few rounds to get lost in the sea of statistics. While this problem has seen a rise as of late, the National Gang Intelligence Center , and U. S. military in general, is working on a tighter, more concrete method of taking inventory that should be put into effect soon. The screening process for enlisting is also under scrutiny, and should see some reforms in the very near future, further reducing the amount of gang members that are being recruited.

© Copyright 2011 The Jefferson County Post All Rights Reserved

December 26, 2011 Go To Page

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