County Absorbs Employee Health Insurance Premium Increase

November 15, 2010

Huntsville, TN (2010-11-15) After spending two months attempting to thwart or limit an increase in county employee health insurance premiums, the Scott County Commission has voted to increase its contribution to each employee’s premium, offsetting most of the increase for an employee benefit plan; however, employees with family insurance coverage will be significantly more. Ken Coffey, the county’s account executive with Barnes Insurance Brokers, laid out several options for county employees at Monday night’s meeting of the Scott County Commission.  After gathering information from nearly every county employee, Coffey approached several companies, including the county’s current carrier, Humana, along with Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) of Tennessee, United Healthcare, CIGNA, and Trustmark.  Of the four alternatives, only BCBS returned a quote, which turned out to be significantly higher than the rate quoted by Humana. “BCBS rated the County as a Risk Rating of 8, with 10 being the highest, which accounts for the high quote,” Coffey said. Humana, which offered the lowest quote of the companies that showed interest, also agreed to give a two-percent discount on the renewal rate, given the county’s verbal commitment to increase its contribution. The additional discount brought the quote for an individual employee, with a $1,500 deductible, to a total of $447.75/month.  For family coverage, the rate would be $1,117.24/month. In an effort to offset the cost bore by employees, the Scott County Commission voted to absorb the increase in the individual plan, agreeing to raise its contribution to $276.88 per month; an increase of $84.72 per employee per month.  Currently, 71 county employees have single coverage, while 8 carry a family plan.  The measure will cost the county roughly $60,000 over the next nine months.  Those employees on the family plan will be responsible for the premium increase above and beyond the county’s individual employee contribution. Alternatively, the county will also offer employees a plan with a higher deductible ($3,000/person) and fewer benefits.  The secondary plan would cost $401.84 per month, requiring an employee contribution of $57.67 per pay period. In July, Humana informed Coffey that renewal rates would be increasing by approximately 24%. Since that time, Coffey and the county have been pursuing other options, including different plans with Humana, as well as other potential carriers. As part of the renewal, the county will hold an open enrollment period for all employees next week.  The new plan benefits will become effective on December 1, 2010 and end on September 30, 2011.  

Terry Re-Elected To Telephone Board

November 13, 2010

Oneida, TN (2010-11-13) Three term incumbent Clara Terry was re-elected to the Highland Telephone Cooperative Board of Directors. Clary Terry, who was first elected to represent the 286/569 exchanges on the HTC Board of Directors in November 2001, outpolled her lone challenger, Jerry Burchfield, during the cooperative’s annual election on Saturday.  In her successful re-election bid, Terry received 329 votes, while Burchfield tallied 297. Terry will represent the Oneida area for another three years.

Oneida and Huntsville Water Systems Earn Fluoridation Awards

November 10, 2010

Nashville, TN (2010-11-10) The Tennessee Department of Health and the Scott County Health Department announced today that The Oneida Water and Sewer Commission and the Huntsville Utility District water systems have been awarded Water Fluoridation Quality Awards from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  Art Miller County Health Director reports that “fluoridation is the adjustment of fluoride in the water to a level that is optimal for preventing tooth decay.”  The award recognizes those communities that maintained a consistent level of optimally fluoridated water throughout 2009. “This year marks the 65th anniversary of community water fluoridation, and an ever increasing number of communities are employing this effective public health measure,” states Dr. William Kohn, director of the CDC Division of Oral Health. “We congratulate those water systems that maintain high quality standards for fluoridation throughout the year. Our latest studies show that fluoridation prevents tooth decay in all age groups, not just in children.” Community water fluoridation has been recognized by CDC as one of 10 great public health achievements of the 20th Century. CDC recommends water fluoridation as a safe, effective, and inexpensive method of preventing decay. In fact, every $1 invested in fluoridation saves approximately $38 in costs for dental treatment.  The U.S. Task Force on Community Preventive Services has recommended that communities either adopt or maintain fluoridation of public drinking water supplies. In 2008, more than 195 million people, or 72.4 percent of the United States population served by public water supplies, consumed drinking water with optimal fluoride levels for preventing decay. Scott County Mayor, Jeff Tibbals states “Fluoridating our community’s water supplies is one of the most effective and equitable steps that a community can take to improve the oral health of our citizens,  We congratulate these two water systems for their commitment to good health. ”

Two Vehicle Traffic Crash Sends Five To Hospital

November 9, 2010

Huntsville, TN (2010-11-09) A midday two vehicle traffic crash on Scott Highway in Huntsville sent five people to the hospital Tuesday afternoon. According to a report by Trooper Aaron Evans of the Tennessee Highway Patrol, five people were injured in a grinding two-vehicle collision on U.S. 27 at the intersection of Sky View Drive in Huntsville. James Strunk, 65, of Huntsville, the driver of a 1996 Chevrolet pickup was reportedly attempting to turn northbound on Scott Highway from Sky View Drive, when he allegedly pulled into the path of an oncoming vehicle.  A 1997 Pontiac Grand Prix, reportedly driven by Dustin Harness, 24, of Huntsville, was reportedly southbound on U.S. 27, when Strunk pulled in front of him.  Harness’ car struck Strunk’s truck broadside.  As result of the impact, Strunk was thrown from his vehicle. Strunk, along with a passenger in his truck, identified as Heather Huling, 32, also of Huntsville both sustained serious injuries in the crash.  The pair was transported from the scene to St. Mary’s Medical Center of Scott County, and then airlifted to U.T. Medical Center in Knoxville.  Strunk was reportedly in stable condition late Tuesday night. Harness, along with two passengers in his vehicle, identified as Courtney McCann, 22 and Layne Harness, age 2, both of Huntsville, also sustained minor injuries in the crash.  The trio, along with an unidentified young male in the Strunk vehicle, were transported to the local hospital and treated for their injuries. The accident occurred around 12:45 p.m.

Trio Arrested In Connection With Cherry Fork Burglary

November 9, 2010

Huntsville, TN (2010-11-09) Three people have been arrested in connection with an October burglary of a Cherry Fork home. Daniel Eugene Clark, 21, Curtis Dwayne Goodman, 34, and Sabrina Lucille Hunley, age unknown, were arrested on November 2, 2010 following an investigation into a pair of break-ins at a home on Cherry Fork Road. In a warrant taken out by Detective Randy Lewallen of the Scott County Sheriff’s Department, Goodman and Clark are accused of breaking into the home of Marcus Posey on October 26, 2010 and allegedly taking several items, including two guitars. The pair allegedly pawned them at an Oneida pawn shop. On November 1, 2010, the pair reportedly returned to the Posey home and took more items, including another guitar, bass guitar, electric foot pedal and an electric amp.  After the burglary, authorities alleged the items were taken to a Pine Knot, KY pawn shop, where Hunley allegedly pawned them. Clark was charged with aggravated burglary (two counts), and theft of more than $1,000 (two counts).  Goodman was charged with aggravated burglary and theft of more than $1,000.  Hunley was charged with theft of more than $1,000.

State’s Office of Environmental Assistance Announces Free Radon TestKits Now Available Online

November 9, 2010

Nashville, TN (2010-11-09) The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation today announced its new online system for Tennesseans to order free radon test kits, making it easier than ever for citizens to identify and address potential radon exposure problems at home. Administered by the Office of Environmental Assistance, the Tennessee Radon Program provides free radon test kits to all Tennessee citizens – made possible through a grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. With the new online ordering system, these free kits are now just a mouse click away. “Tennesseans can check for the presence of radon in the home with a simple test,” said Environment and Conservation Deputy Commissioner Paul Sloan. “I encourage all Tennesseans to order one of these free, easy-to-use test kits and take this important step to protect the health of your loved ones from the dangers of exposure to radon.” Radon is a naturally occurring gas that can seep into homes through cracks and openings in their foundations. It cannot be seen, tasted or smelled, but in concentrated levels, radon can pose a threat to human health. The EPA estimates that approximately 70 percent of Tennessee’s population lives in high risk or moderate risk radon areas. According to the EPA, radon is the number one cause of lung cancer among non-smokers and is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States. The best time to test is during consistently cold weather, usually from October to March. This is the time of year when doors and windows are shut, so test results are more representative of in-home exposure. Radon problems can be fixed by qualified contractors for a cost comparable to that of many common household repairs, such as painting or installing a new water heater. While radon poses a serious threat to our community’s health, radon kits are the first step toward a straightforward solution. To order a free, radon test kit or to learn more about the dangers of radon exposure, please visit  Information on radon, testing, mitigation and radon-resistant new construction also can be found on the Tennessee Radon Program’s Web site or by contacting them toll free at 1-800-232-1139. TDEC’s Office of Environmental Assistance program provides information and non-regulatory support to businesses, schools, local governments, industries, organizations and individuals in order to prevent and reduce environmental impacts. The OEA and its staff utilize a range of outreach techniques and partnerships to enhance knowledge and environmental awareness for individuals and organizations. In addition to the Tennessee Radon Program, OEA is comprised of several major programs including Education and Outreach, Environmental Justice, the FlemingTrainingCenter, the Governor’s Environmental Stewardship Awards and the Small Business Environmental Assistance Program.

S.T.A.N.D. And Scott County Chamber Of Commerce Honoring Local HighSchool Seniors

November 9, 2010

Huntsville, TN (2010-11-09) Two local organizations have combined efforts to honor and recognize area high school seniors for their character.  Monthly honorees will be eligible for a scholarship supported by a local bank. S.T.A.N.D. (Schools Together Allowing No Drugs) and the Scott County Chamber of Commerce recently kicked off their newest campaign; a program geared toward recognizing high school seniors for showing kindness and respect. “While academic aptitude is vital to landing a good job, a positive attitude is likewise important,” commented Stacey Kidd, Interim Executive Director of the Scott County Chamber of Commerce.  The Chamber embraced the new program, which focuses on a student’s character, more so than his or her academic prowess. “Kindness and respect are fundamental traits of leadership,” commented Trent Coffey, Executive Director of S.T.A.N.D.  While these students may or may not be at the top of their academic class, the sponsoring organizations realize the importance of character in the future workplace.  “Workers will positive attitudes are more productive and foster a better workplace environment,” Coffey added.  These leaders are also less likely to engage in abusive social activities, such as alcohol or drug abuse. Each month, between November 2010 and April 2011, a senior from each local school district, Oneida and ScottCounty, will be recognized for his or her character, trust, respect, and kindness.  Students will be nominated by the teaching staff and the monthly recipient will be chosen by his or her respective school.  The student’s academic standing will not be factored into his or her selection.  A school committee will choose the monthly winners.  Each monthly recipient will be recognized at the regularly scheduled meeting of the Oneida and Scott County Boards of Education, where they will receive awards from S.T.A.N.D. and a framed certificate from the Scott County Chamber of Commerce. Each monthly recipient will be eligible for a $250 post graduate scholarship, which will be funded by First Trust and Savings Bank.  One scholarship will be awarded to a senior from each school district.

Roberts Promoted By The Tennessee Department of Safety

November 9, 2010

Nashville, TN (2010-11-09) A local career law enforcement officer has been recognized by the Tennessee Department of Safety for their outstanding dedication to duty and service. Tennessee Highway Patrolman Greg Roberts was promoted on Tuesday to Sergeant over the newly formed Federal Task Force unit in the Knoxville District’s Appalachia High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA). Roberts also serves as Tennessee’s Appalachia HIDTA Domestic Highway Enforcement Coordinator, and is the supervisor over daily operations for the state’s Interdiction Plus. Sgt. Roberts joined the THP in December of 1987 and was first stationed in Morgan County. In 1989, he transferred to Scott and Campbell counties, where he excelled as a criminal interdiction specialist. A three-time Trooper of the Year recipient, a THP Colonel’s Award honoree and a Tennessee Office of Homeland Security First Responder award winner, Roberts also serves as a national criminal interdiction speaker and law enforcement instructor. He is also a nine-year K-9 handler, a crash reconstructionist and a radar specialist. He and wife, Denise, reside in Huntsville. Another local career lawman was also recently promoted.  Sr. Trooper Brian Boshears of the Tennessee Highway Patrol was recently promoted to Sergeant; however, an official ceremony recognizing his advancement has not been held.  

Four Charged In Connection With Oneida Meth Lab

November 9, 2010

Huntsville, TN (2010-11-09) Four persons have been charged in connection with a working clandestine methamphetamine lab in Oneida. Timothy Ray Orick, 42, Georgetta J. Chambers, 38, Misty Fergusson, 32, and Timothy Joseph (TJ) Duncan, 20, were jailed following a search of a home on Shirley Lane in Oneida.  According to the Scott County Sheriff’s Department, county officers, along with officers from the Oneida Police Department, discovered an operational methamphetamine lab at the residence; a home shared by Orick and Chambers. On October 28, 2010, a Scott County Deputy allegedly observed Duncan purchasing camping fuel and lithium batteries at Wal-Mart SuperCenter in Oneida.  Both items are components typically used in the manufacture of methamphetamine.  Officers followed Duncan to 300 Shirley Lane, a location suspected of drug activity because of multiple prior complaints. After a search of the home and a nearby outbuilding, authorities reportedly found several components used to manufacture methamphetamine, along with approximately three (3) grams of meth. In the outbuilding, authorities allegedly found a dissembled an operational methamphetamine lab, which reportedly consisted of materials to “cook” the illegal drug using the “one-pot method”. Inside the residence, authorities also reportedly found three small children, whom were taken from the home by the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services. Orick, Chambers and Fergusson were each charged with initiating the manufacture of methamphetamine and possession of more than 0.5 grams of meth.  Duncan was charged with the promotion of the manufacture of meth and initiating the process of manufacture of meth. In a separate incident, authorities arrested and charged Jerry Dean Sexton with promotion of manufacture of methamphetamine.  On Monday, November 8, 2010, Sgt. Danny Phillips of the Scott County Sheriff’s Department stopped Sexton on a traffic violation on Arbutus Trail in Helenwood.  After the stop, Sexton consented to a search of his vehicle, which allegedly uncovered a large quantity of pseudoephedrine tablets, which are commonly used in the manufacture of meth.  Sexton was allegedly en route to a nearby residence to sell the pills for the purpose of making meth.

62nd Annual Christmas Parade December 4th

November 9, 2010

Oneida, TN (2010-11-09) The annual Scott County Chamber of Commerce Christmas Parade will be held on Saturday, December 4, 2010. The parade will begin at 2:00 p.m. According to Jacob Billingsley, President of the Scott County Chamber of Commerce, the organization’s 62nd Annual Christmas Parade will begin at the HBD parking lot; turn left on Industrial Lane; and then left again onto Alberta Street (U.S. 27). The parade will follow Alberta Street north to traffic light #6, where it will turn right onto Municipal Drive. All entries will continue on to Oneida Elementary School, where the parade will disband in the parking lot. Applications for entry into the parade are now being accepted. Forms may be picked up at the Scott County Chamber of Commerce office, 12025 Scott Highway, Huntsville, (Monday- Friday 9a.m.-5 p.m.) or download them from our website at Deadline for returning applications is Wednesday, December 1, 2010 by 4:00 p.m. Persons with questions regarding the parade may call the Scott County Chamber of Commerce at 423-663-6900. In the event of rain, the parade will be held Sunday, December 5, 2010 at 3:00 p.m.

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