Carriage Rides in Historic Dandridge

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Dandridge, Tennessee

December 3, 2012

www.jeffersoncountypost.com


LET THE CHRISTMAS PARADES BEGIN

Staff Photo / White Pine Christmas Parade
 

Portables On The Way Out
All Leased Portable Classrooms To Be Removed Before Students Return From Christmas Break

 

After decades of use as classrooms in various Jefferson County schools, leased portable classrooms are on their way out of the County. According to information provided by Jefferson County Schools Director of Transportation, Maintenance and Capitol Projects, Michael Phagan, the expectation is that all leased portables will be removed before students return to the classroom after the holiday break. Phagan stated that decking is in the process of being broken down at some schools, while the transport has begun at others. Jefferson County Commissioners recently approved a request from the school system to allow funding of the removal of the leased units and the reassignment of some portable units that are owned by the school system. $150,000 is slotted to come from the school systemís fund balance to pay for the removal and reassignment project. Phagan said late last week that one point of concern is timely removal of portables at Jefferson City School's location with minimal interference at the school systemís alternative school, the Jefferson Academy. The Jefferson County School System plans to award a bid contract for the remaining work on the removal project during the first week of December. Though some portables will remain in the County, the intent is that those will be owned units and all leased units will be returned. The school system will be responsible for repairs that are contractually outlined before the leased units can be returned to the lease company. Additional removal of portable units that are currently utilized as the onsite freshman academy will be conditional on the opening of the Patriot Academy and the renovation of Jefferson County High School.

 
 
The Christmas season is upon Jefferson County and this week will find many decorating their homes for the holidays. Hanging the wreath and decorating the tree are accepted rituals of Christmas that most Jefferson County residents observe, however the origin of those customs are often not as clear. In some cases, there is no definitive answer to the origin of a custom, however there are accepted histories. Many doors in Jefferson County will be adorned with a Christmas wreath. As is common, some current traditions are a merging of pagan rituals and Christian views. Holly and evergreen were held in great reverence in ancient times because of they are evergreen and became a symbol of eternal life. Some Christian groups suggest that the crown that was placed on Jesusí head was made of holly and that the white berries turned red with his blood. It is the merging of ancient and post Christianity views that brought about the tradition of the Christmas wreath. In contemporary times, the wreath is used as a sign of welcome and as a show of a festive Christmas atmosphere. The Christmas tree was brought to the United States via Germany. It was a long standing German tradition to hang a small evergreen tree in a new home for luck. Germans began decorating a tree indoors at Christmastime. German immigrants were instrumental in bringing the tradition to the United States. Lighting the tree with strands of lights is a much later tradition. The first person to have an electrically lit tree was an employee of Thomas Edison. Christmas Carols are an important part of the Christmas season. Early caroling began because most carols were not considered holy enough to be sung in the church and were, instead, sung outdoors. Some of the more modern traditions of Christmas were the invention of marketing. Rudolph, the beloved red nosed reindeer, was a marketing concept of Montgomery Ward and was used to promote Christmas shopping. Regardless, the story of the reindeer touched the hearts of children and became a permante part of the Christmas season.

County Fund Balances See Little Change at Mid Fiscal Year
However, Debt Service Account Soon To Realize $20Million Bond Issuance Early in 2013

 

Jefferson County is entering the sixth month of its fiscal year, which began in July and will end at the end of June 2013. As the halfway mark approaches, it is the natural time to access the state of County funds. Director of Jefferson County Finance Helton stated last week that there has been very little change in most County fund balances since the beginning of the fiscal year, however changes are on tap for the Debt Service account, which will see the impact of the issuance of two $10 million dollar bonds. One of the $10 million dollar bonds has already been issued and one is slotted for issuance early next year. In addition to the $20 million in renovation costs associated with the renovation project at Jefferson County High School, the costs associated with a Capitol Outlay note in the amount of $689,000 for Davis Bacon Wages will be addressed at budget time. In September, the Debt Service Account stood at $9,068,356 and, according to Helton, that figure is a good estimate of the current balance, though firm numbers cannot be established until the State Auditor assesses the County books. The County General Fund Balance was at $5,642,894 and there have been only minor deductions since that figure was presented to the Jefferson County Commission in mid September. The Highway Department stood at $2,037,745 and the Landfill at $402,565. The Countyís Capitol Projects fund was posting $339,548 at last assessment. The Jefferson County School System General Purpose Fund has seen significant action since the beginning of the fiscal year. The projected fund balance on July 1, 2012 was $5,557,108 and of that amount, $1,089.630 was assigned, leaving a beginning tally of $4,467,478. Deductions of contributions to the Jefferson County High School renovation project in the amount of $1,010,000 and projected expenses that are anticipated from budget cuts during the previous budget process in the amount of $501,500 brought the total fund balance to $2,955,978. The Jefferson County Commission recently approved a request from the Jefferson County Department of Education for the release of $389.950 of maintenance funds that rolled into fund balance at the end of the previous fiscal year, as well as $150,000 for portable removal and $100,000 contribution for the signal light project at the intersection of Hwy 92 and Dumplin Valley. The total unassigned fund balance for the Department of Education General Purpose School Fund is $2,316,028 according to information provided by Director Helton. Of that amount, $1,400,000 is a required minimum of the State of Tennessee. The Jefferson County Budget Committee will begin making plans for the budget process for the 2013-2014 fiscal year when they return to session after the holiday break.

 

U.S. - Afghan Air Base
Target of 9 Suicide Bombers Sunday
By: Jake Depew, Jefferson County Post Staff Writer

 

A group of nine suicide bombers attacked a U.S.-Afghan air base in the city of Jalabar early on Sunday, December 2, 2012. The attack took place at approximately 6 a.m., according to Lt. Col. Hagen Messner. Three vehicles were also rigged with explosives, one of which was detonated just outside the gate of the base. The second was detonated in the firefight that followed. The final vehicle was detonated far outside of the baseís perimeter. NATO and Afghan forces were soon supported by assault helicopters, which fired at the attackers and helped to secure the base. The Taliban has claimed responsibility for the attack, proclaiming that much of the base was left in ruins and there were several casualties by the defending forces. Lt. Col. Messner reported that none of the attackers managed to breach the perimeter of the base. The total casualty rate is current five fatalities and three confirmed wounded soldiers. Of the five fatalities, three were Afghan security forces and two were Afghan civilians.


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