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Dandridge, Tennessee

July 09, 2012



Staff Photos / Mountain Cove Marina, Douglas Lake

Jefferson County residents have suffered through multiple days of oppressive heat and humidity. Since the beginning of the heat wave on June 28, 2012, the local area has tied record high temperatures three times and broken the high temperature four times. In addition to extreme heat, Jefferson County and the outlying areas were hit hard by a storm that made its way through the region on Thursday, July 5, 2012. According to the NOAA Weather Center in Morristown, no tornados were noted during Thursday’s storm and hail, which plagued the area several months ago, was also absent. A NOAA representative stated that damage to the area occurred when straight line winds associated with a storm whose outflow boundaries winds may have exceeded 70 mph hit the local area. Because Jefferson County does not have a tracking system, measurements of winds associated with the storm came from Knoxville Airport and clocked in at 58 mph, though they are predicted to have reached much higher locally. A squall line, or liner line of storms, were accompanied by a downdraft that was associated with heavy rain. Outflow Boundaries surge ahead of the storm and often do significant damage from high winds. Many residents experienced a power loss from downed trees and power lines.

The Mountain Cove Marina on Douglas Lake was decimated by the wind. The destruction and damage to property is still in the process of being assessed and clean up will likely be ongoing for several weeks and months. On Saturday, several boat and water craft owners were on site to view the damage to their property. Many boats were still up sided and a portion of the marina had been transported, via gusting winds, onto shore and up a steep embankment. The Morristown area Red Cross set up a Cooling Station for residents who were still experiencing power outages. The station was located at the Jefferson City Community Center and offered an opportunity for locals to find relief from the surging temperatures. Downed Trees, from the high winds, appeared to be the most problematic for home owners and Appalachian Electric, as crews worked around the clock to restore power to affected residents. According to Mitch Cain of Appalachian Electric, the number of power outages in the multi county service area topped out around the 15,000 mark and crews worked around the clock until all service was restored on Saturday afternoon. Adding to the challenge of the crew’s non stop work schedule was the soaring temperatures and the necessity to request assistance from Middle Tennessee crews. Appalachian Electric had contributed crews to Virginia to assist with the restoration of power for more than 3 million homes. Those crews returned to Jefferson County and began work on local issues associated with Thursday’s storm. In an effort to assist customers that were without power, Appalachian Electric provided as much dry ice as was possible to assist with cooling and offered bagged ice at multiple locations. Some homeowners who experienced damage during the most recent storm are finding that their homeowner deductible for their insurance has increased in response to severe weather that plummeted the area in the Spring of 2011. The increase in deductible is causing a hardship for those who are in need of repairs due to damage from last week’s high winds. The final tally of monetary impact of Thursday’s storm may not come for several weeks and is expected to be significant, in a community that has experienced flooding, hail, tornados and high wind during the last 18 months.

School Board Calls Special Meeting For Budget Deadline


The Jefferson County School Board held a Special Called Meeting on Friday morning, July 6, 2012 in the Board room of the Department of Education. The Meeting was Called to Order by Chairman of the Board Potts. The purpose of the meeting was to meet time constraints for the approval of the budget for the fiscal year 2012-2013, which was sent back to the School Board for Approval and cuts from the Jefferson County Budget Committee.

Director of Schools Edmonds recommended cuts totaling $501,500 to balance the proposed budget. Areas and amounts of cuts include Other Contracted Service $100,000-Electricity $75,000-Water/Sewer $25,000-Custodial Supplies $30,000-Diesel $75,000-Gasoline $25,000-Buses (2 New Units) $171,500.  The total cuts, along with $1,089,630 from the School System Fund Balance, which was approved during the last Budget Committee Meeting, will provide a balanced budget for the 2012-2013 fiscal year, with expenditures and revenues both coming in at $48,222,372.

Upon a Motion from Board Member Jarnigan and a 2nd from Board Member Solomon, the Board Approved 4-1(Cavanah No) accepting the recommended areas and amounts of cuts ($501,500) recommended by Director Edmonds.

Upon the recommendation of Chairman Potts and with the Motion and 2nd of Solomon and Jarnigan respectively, the Board Approved 4-1 (Cavanah No) the 2012-2013 fiscal year budget document with revenues of $47,132,742 plus the addition of $1,089,630 from fund balance and $48,222,372 in expenditures for a balanced budget.  The Meeting was Adjourned.

Federal Student Loan Rates Extended

By Jake Depew

In his weekly address, President Obama claims a victory in the political arena with the passage of bipartisan legislation that extends federal student loan rates and funding for infrastructure projects all across the country. The bill was signed into law by Obama on Friday, July 6,2012: a law that kept loan rates from doubling on as many as 7 million students, and maintained the jobs of construction workers who would work on infrastructure projects. The President’s zeal has been met with both criticism and support, with some claiming that President Obama missed further opportunities to expand the job market. At the same time, many have rallied behind President Obama, praising the president’s alleged “to do list” of economic reforms. Among the cries of dissent are those who voiced the belief that President Obama is only trying to prepare for the upcoming election. Still, the Obama administration maintains that the legislature is a definite victory, and that more economic work is on the way. No information is currently known on just how much the legislature will affect this year’s election.

Early Voting Begins Friday, July 13

Jefferson County residents that are registered to vote will be allowed to cast early votes for the August 2, 2012 election, beginning Friday, July 13, 2012. The early voting period will extend until Saturday, July 28, 2012, when early voting will cease for the August 2nd election. Any registered voter in Jefferson County can take advantage of early voting to avoid the necessity of traveling to the polls on Election Day. The Jefferson County Election Commission will be open for early voting Monday through Friday from 9am to 4pm and Saturdays from 9am to Noon, during the early voting period. Satellite offices will also be open in other areas of the County for early voting convenience. Beginning on July 13th and on every Monday, Wednesday and Friday until the close of early voting, registered voters can cast their early votes at the New Market City Hall. The hours of availability are 9am until 4pm. An additional location is open at the EMS Building in White Pine. The White Pine location is open on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturdays beginning on July 14, 2012. Weekday hours are from 9am until 4pm and Saturday hours are 9am until Noon. Absentee voting is also available to those that meet the criteria. The last day to make a request to vote absentee for the August 2, 2012 election is on July 26, 2012. The Jefferson County Election is offering reminders to voters that a photo id is required for both early voting and Election Day voting.


Tooth Thief Confesses on YouTube

By Jake Depew

In recent weeks, the exploits of an unusual thief have been brought to light. Ondrej Jajcaj is a Slovak man who has recently confessed to stealing the teeth of two famous composers: Johann Strauss Jr. and Johannes Brahms. Strauss was best known for his “Blue Danube” waltz, among many other works. Brahms is, perhaps, best known for the popular “Lullaby” tune that is sung to children all across the world. Jajcaj has confessed to the crimes through YouTube videos, in addition to several other cases of grave robbing less famous individuals. Jajcaj has stated that he wished to make a museum out of the artifacts he collected during his various crime sprees, and claims that the theft of Strauss and Brahms’ teeth occurred sometime in 2002. Austrian officials are having a difficult time determining the likely amount of charges, as some of Jajcaj’s crimes were committed over 10 years ago, making it impossible to try him for those cases. Complications could also arise from the fact that Jajcaj is not an Austrian citizen. Among the possible charges are burglary and disturbing the peace of the dead. It is currently unknown whether the two more infamous thefts mentioned above occurred late enough in 2002 to be tried.

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