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Dandridge, Tennessee

May 30, 2011

Jefferson County Hit Hard Again

 Staff Photo / Thursday - May 26, 2011 - Dandridge, TN

By Severe Weather

The weather in the South has been unusually volatile, and Jefferson County has not escaped the path of recent storms. Thursday, May 26, 2011, brought tremendous hail to the area as sever thunderstorms rolled through the county. The county experienced more than one wave of hail producing storms on Thursday. Damage to roofs, buildings and cars were reported across the local area. Fortunately, Jefferson County residents have escaped the most horrific outcome of tornadic storms. Unlike neighbors, as close as Greene County, that have had multiple fatalities related to the recent intense storm patterns, local loss has not extended beyond property. Although the financial cost of the recent weather is mounting county wide, it cannot compare to the devastation of other less fortunate regions.

Historically, Jefferson County has been largely untouched by 

tornado activity. The weather service in Morristown, Tn has only seven officially documented tornados in Jefferson County. The earliest is in 1955, however several years passed with no tornadic activity. 1974 saw a tornado in New Market, and 1997 one was officially documented between Jefferson City and New Market. This year Jefferson County has had a startling four tornados documented. All four were spotted on April 27,2011. White Pine, Jefferson City, Patriot Hills and McGaha Hollow were impacted by tornados on that day. April is the month that has seen the most activity, as five of the seven documented tornados occurred during the fourth month of the year. Of the two remaining tornados, one was spotted in March and one in July. It is interesting to note that more tornado have occurred in 2011 than the total of the previous 56 years.

Hopefully, the residents Jefferson County have already seen the worst of the unusually strong storm activity. According to the climate prediction center, this is going to be another hot summer. Over the past several years the southeast and south has been trending toward hotter summer and early fall months. However, as any East Tennessee resident knows, the weather in the area is less than predictable. 

Jefferson County Commission
Commissioners Deliver Words to the Wise

The Jefferson County Board of Commissioner held a Special Called Session on Thursday, May 26, 2011, at the Historic Jefferson County Courthouse.

The meeting was called to order by Commission Chairman Mills.

The first order of business was the Confirmation of Nominating Committee Nominations. Only new members of each committee, that had not been previously confirmed, were in question.

Animal Control nomination Commissioner Cureton-unanimous

Agriculture Committee nominations Commissioners Scarlett, Patterson and Blevins. Blevins nominated Commissioner Barreiro in his place. All nominations-unanimous

Building Inspection Committee nomination Commissioner Carmichael-unanimous

Personnel Committee nominations Commissioners Blevins, Patterson, Hubbard, Scarlett, Turner-unanimous

Jefferson County Mayor Palmieri had nominations for two committees. Nursing Home nomination Linda Franklin was unanimously approved and Urban Growth nomination J. Mosier was approved (Barreiro, no).

The final item on the agenda was Discussion and Action Related to School Funding. Chairman Mills gave the floor to Commissioner Scarlett, who had requested the item be added to the agenda. Commissioner Scarlett stated that he felt that it was important that the School Board know that the county cannot afford to fund renovations to Jefferson County High School. He said that before the new school project progressed any further, they-the School Board-needed to know that there is no more money, beyond the $16 million dollar bond that is being slotted to pay for a new Freshman Academy. Scarlet said that if the School Board chooses to use the money to fund a new school, and it can afford to complete the new school, then so be it. However, he felt that something needed to be said before the School Board sends money on plans for JCHS renovation, because the project may not come to pass. Scarlett indicated that operating funds for the new schools would be difficult to find, due to the countyís current financial situation.

Scarlett was joined by several other Commissioner who echoed his statement to the School Board. Commissioner Blevins said that he rarely speaks out in meetings, however the School Board needs to be aware that there is no money beyond the $16 million. Commissioner Dockery stated that he felt the same way, as well as Commissioner Carmichael. Carmichael elaborated that the current situation with the new Freshman Academy is no way to handle county business. He said that the County , and the School Board, should put funding into fighting the fire that is burning-meaning the disrepair at JCHS- and that letting the difference in politics affect the county has to stop. Commissioner Tucker pleaded with the School Board to consider the county finances and to be aware that there is no money to put into renovating JCHS. He said that if the financial situation were different, he might feel different about building a new school. However, the county is not in the position to fund new schools, renovations at JCHS and operating costs of the new facilities. Commissioner Barreiro questioned if the students had any input in the decision to build an off site Freshman Academy. She stated that in an interview with seven graduating seniors,- recently run in the Jefferson County Post- the consensus was that a off site location would pose as many problems as it would address. Barreiro also concurred that the money to fund further building and renovation projects was not available. Commissioner Tabor said that the Commission has done their job and now the School Board must do theirs.

Following the statements from the Commissioners the meeting was Adjourned.

School Board Budget ???
... to be continued !

The Jefferson County School Board was scheduled to meet on Tuesday, May 24, 2011, in the Media Center at Jefferson County High School, to pass the 2011-2012 school budget. The budget was due to be presented before the County Budget Committee on Thursday, May 26, 2011. The May 26th date was in response to the school system missing a previously scheduled date to make their budget presentation to the committee. Charles Edmonds, Director of Jefferson County Schools sent an email announcement late Tuesday morning canceling the School Board meeting. The Announcement stated that he and Chairman of the School Board Potts had met with the Finance Department earlier that morning. The draft school budget document will be presented to the School Board at the regularly scheduled meeting on June 9,2011. The Board will not vote on the budget until a special called meeting on June 14, 2011.

According to School Board Policy 2.200, the school budget must be adopted by the school board and submitted to the County Commission 45 days prior to the 3rd Monday in July. This board policy is in compliance with Tennessee Code Annotated, which is Tennessee State Law. The third Monday in July falls on the July 18th. The present schedule set by the School Board cannot meet Board Policy 2.200 nor the Tennessee Code Annotated directive that the policy refers to as a its legal reference. 

The Jefferson County Schools Human Recourse Department has confirmed that Angie Rogers has been placed as the Assistant Principal at Maury Middle School. Rogers has spent several years at Maury Middle School as a teacher and Athletic Director. She also spent a year at Jefferson Middle School as Assistant Principal. As was previously reported, Michele Walker will fill the Principal position at Rush Strong School, due to the current principalís transfer to Principal at Jefferson Elementary School. HR also confirmed that Central Office position held by Bill Nolan will become a non certified position, after his retirement this summer. They could make no confirmation on who will fill the position.

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May 30, 2011 Go To Page

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