Nashville, TN (2010-12-14) The number of registered organ and tissue donors in Tennessee has reached the 1.5 million mark, it was announced today by the Donate Life Tennessee Organ & Tissue Donor Registry and the Tennessee Department of Safety (TDOS). “It was only three years ago that Tennessee Department of Safety and Donate Life Tennessee teamed up for this effort by making donor registration available to every Tennessean who renews their driver license or I.D. card. Our team effort has been a great success in reaching this milestone, but there are millions more out there who still need to check “Yes!” and potentially save someone’s life,” stated Tennessee Department of Safety Driver Services Director Michael Hogan. This is a significant milestone in the history of the Registry and indicates Tennesseans understand the critical need for organ and tissue donors. Those who have registered provide hope to those currently awaiting a transplant. While this number is significant, Donate Life Tennessee continues to educate and encourage more Tennesseans to register so the greatest number of lives can be saved. “We are incredibly grateful to the Department of Safety for their tireless support of the Donor Registry,” said Lisa Clark, Department of Safety Liaison with Tennessee Donor Services “Over 98 percent of people who register to donate do it at Department of Safety Driver Service Centers. Because the agency is committed to asking customers about registering as donors, people are saying ‘Yes’ and lives are being saved.” The number of registered donors is especially important in the face of the need for donated organs in Tennessee. Of the more than 109,000 patients currently registered on the national organ transplant waiting list, over 2,400 are in Tennessee. Although Donate Life Tennessee has steadily increased the number of registered donors at a rate of 14 percent per year, a relatively low percentage of Tennesseans choose to do so. In 2010, only 33 percent of TDOS customers applying for or renewing their drivers’ licenses and ID cards checked ‘Yes’ on their forms to register as donors, ranking in the bottom third in the nation. In addition, of the 4 million adults in Tennessee, only 27 percent have signed up to be organ and tissue donors. The goal is to have 50 percent of licensed drivers in Tennessee as registered donors. Despite the state’s lower donor registration rates, the Donate Life Tennessee Registry plays an increasingly essential role in saving and healing Tennesseans in need of organ and tissue transplants. Since the registry was introduced in 2008, donors who had registered prior to death have saved and healed the lives of over 23,000 patients through organ, eye and tissue donation. In 2009 alone, 69 registered organ donors and 327 registered eye and tissue donors gave the gift of life. A listing of the number of Americans and Tennesseans waiting for a life saving transplant is provided on a separate page below. Tennesseans can register to be a donor at any TDOS Driver License Center or with Donate Life Tennessee at www.tndonorregistry.org. For those who have previously registered as a donor through TDOS, Donate Life Tennessee will help them fulfill their desire to donate by adding them to the Tennessee Organ and Tissue Donor Registry. State law requires that every time an applicant renews a driver license, he or she must mark YES on the application to be a registered donor. Donate Life Tennessee is the nonprofit, state-authorized organ and tissue donor registry which records the decision to donate in a secure, confidential database that is searched by authorized organ and tissue recovery personnel at the time of an actual donation opportunity. It is administered by Tennessee’s two organ recovery organizations: Tennessee Donor Services and Mid-South Transplant Foundation. The Donate Life Registry assures that all personal information is kept confidential and stored in a secure database, accessible only to authorized OPO personnel. For more information or to register as a donor, please visit www.TnDonorRegistry.org.
Winfield, TN (2010-12-14) A former Alderman has been appointed to fill a two-year vacancy on the Winfield City Council. By a 4-0 vote Tuesday night, the Winfield City Council voted to appoint Verscle (Bert) Burchfield to fill the vacancy created by the election of former council member V. David Cecil to the Mayor’s office in November. Burchfield, who voluntarily chose not to seek re-election in November, was tapped to fill Cecil’s unexpired term, which will end in November 2012. Burchfield is a veteran politician, having served on the Winfield City Council for the last eighteen years. In other organizational matters, the Council voted to appoint Kelvin King Vice-Mayor. King, who is serving his first term on the Council, received the most votes in the November election. In its brief, twelve-minute meeting, the Winfield City Council also voted to fill vacancies in the police and street departments. J. Brad Lay, who had been working for the Town since August, was officially hired to fill a position on the Town’s police force, a vacancy created by early retirement of former Assistant Chief Bryan King. The Council also employed Gerald Wilson, who had been temporarily working on the Town’s street crew. Wilson filled the void created by the resignation of Blake Murphy, who left the Town’s employ in August to work for the Oneida Police Department. The Mayor and Board of Alderman further approved, on first reading, an Ethics Policy ordinance. The Town will conduct a public hearing and have a second reading of the ordinance at its next meeting on Tuesday, January 11. 2011. It also agreed to distribute holiday food baskets to elderly citizens of the community.
Huntsville, TN (2010-12-10) The Scott County Sheriff’s Department has been cracking down on convicted felons who have violated the conditions of their probation. Thus far, the department has nabbed several violators. “In the last couple of weeks, we have made a concerted effort to locate and arrest persons who have failed to comply with the conditions of their probation,” commented Scott County Sheriff Mike Cross. The department took action after finding themselves inundated with a number of warrants on repeat offenders that were taking advantage of the probation system. “These convicted felons avoided jail time because of alternative sentencing, and now, many are consciously deciding not to comply with the conditions of their probation,” added Cross. Recently, many of these offenders have found themselves the subject of an intense operation to bring them to justice. On Monday afternoon, officers from Scott County trekked to Morgan County to detain Ryan D. Clark, 35, of Oneida. Clark had been wanted by authorities for violation of community corrections. After being convicted of theft, forgery and felony possession of drugs (3rd offense) in October 2008, Clark was placed on probation for eight years. On April 22, 2010, 8th Judicial District Criminal Court Judge E. Shayne Sexton issued a warrant for his arrest, citing non-compliance with the conditions of his probation. On April 15, 2010, Clark reportedly tested positive for both methamphetamine and Oxycontin, a direct violation. Furthermore, after testing positive, Clark reportedly fled the courtroom. Since then, Clark had been on the lam. Per the Judge’s order, Clark will have to serve the balance of his sentence in jail. Over the Thanksgiving weekend, the Sheriff’s Department located and picked up Jesse Dwayne Perry, 26, of Oneida, Joseph D. Winnie, 25, of Pioneer and his brother, Jason Winnie, 27, also of Pioneer on alleged probation violations.
Nashville, TN (2010-12-10) The holiday season increases the chance for mishaps, as more people attend gatherings and travel. Accidents might be humorous in movies such as “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” and “A Christmas Story.” But they are not funny in real life. The Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance suggests you take time to review how your insurance covers mishaps in the home and when traveling. Consider these scenarios as a starting point for reviewing your coverage limits, whether for the holidays or for every day: What happens if a relative drives your car and gets into an accident? Auto insurance coverage follows the vehicle, so your car will generally be covered while your relative is driving, the same as if you were driving. What happens if a guest at your party slips and falls on your icy driveway? Standard homeowners insurance policies provide limited medical payments coverage, if your guest seeks medical attention. What happens if your presents or valuables are stolen from your home? Standard homeowners insurance policies provide coverage subject to the deductible and special sub-limits for certain goods, such as electronics and jewelry. What if a candle causes a house fire? Your home and belongings should be covered if they are destroyed by a fire, subject to your deductible and policy limits. What if you lose your credit card and someone uses it to buy expensive items? Credit card theft might be covered as part of your credit card contract. Standard homeowners insurance policies typically provide up to $500 of coverage toward your legal obligation to pay your creditor. Federal law also limits a cardholder’s responsibility as long as the issuer of the card is promptly notified in accordance with contact terms. What if you travel out of state and need medical care? Most health insurance policies provide coverage for urgent care and emergency room visits while traveling, if they provide for such coverage at home. If you plan to travel, be sure to take your health insurance information for all family members. Before you leave town, check with your insurance company about in-network healthcare providers at your destination. If you drive to Canada or Mexico, will your vehicle still be covered? You should check with your insurance agent to ensure that your auto insurance coverage will apply outside the United States. For more information, visit www.tn.gov/commerce/insurance. The Department of Commerce and Insurance works to protect consumers while ensuring fair competition for industries and professionals who do business in Tennessee. www.tn.gov/commerce/.
Huntsville, TN (2010-12-10) Two people have been arrested in connection with an alleged plan to introduce illegal substances into the Scott County Jail. Another suspect is being sought by local authorities. Mikki Crabtree, 30, of Winfield and Chris Claiborne, 24, of Oneida were arrested last week in connection with an alleged plot to introduce contraband into the Scott County Jail on Thanksgiving Day. According to an arrested warrant obtained from the Scott County Sheriff’s Department, Crabtree, along with Claiborne and another unidentified man, allegedly entered the Scott County Jail around 11:30 p.m. Thanksgiving night. The trio, stated the warrant, went to the commissary machine inside the video visitation room, where they reported placed money into an inmate’s account. After making the transaction, the unidentified suspect allegedly retrieved a white envelope from behind the commissary machine, and, in turn, left a package. After the trio left the lobby, authorities allegedly recovered a clear plastic bag containing tobacco and four Xanax tablets. Claiborne was arrested on December 7, 2010. Crabtree turned herself in to authorities the following day. The pair was charged with introducing contraband into a penal facility and possession of Xanax, a schedule IV controlled substance. An arrest warrant has been issued for the other suspect.
Helenwood, TN (2010-12-06) A Helenwood man faces burglary and theft charges following a break-in last week at a Helenwood convenience store. Derek Ray Hughes, 26, of Helenwood was arrested last week following break-in at Fill ‘N Foods around 2:12 a.m. Wednesday, December 1, 2010. According to an arrest warrant filed by Detective Randy Lewallen of the Scott County Sheriff’s Department, Hughes allegedly entered the convenience market in the earlier morning hours of December 1, 2010 and stole a variety of items, including two, twelve packs of beer, and other items, which he reportedly stuffed into a bag. Lewallen, while on patrol in the area, reportedly discovered the side door to the business had been compromised around 2:27 a.m. Wednesday morning; just minutes after Hughes allegedly left the business. After contacting the store owner, Lewallen, along with Captain Gary Sexton and Toby Jeffers of the Scott County Sheriff’s Department, reportedly identified Hughes from surveillance video taken inside the store. Hughes was arrested later in the day at his residence on Glasshouse Road by Deputy Eric Newport and other officers from the Scott County Sheriff’s Department. Officers allegedly found the beer and other items taken from the store inside Hughes’ house, along with other items believed to have been taken from other burglaries in the Huntsville area. Hughes was charged with aggravated burglary, vandalism, and theft of property. He remains incarcerated at the Scott County Jail. Authorities are still investigating Hughes’s possible connection with the other break-ins.
Nashville, TN (2010-12-06) Tennessee Fire Marshal Leslie A. Newman wants to remind Tennesseans to keep safe and warm, as winter sets in across the state. But she urges residents to be cautious in the use of alternative heat sources. “The winter weather means many people will begin to heat their homes with fireplaces, woodstoves and space heaters,” said Newman. “Cold weather months typically have a higher number of accidental fire injuries and deaths due to the use of these alternative heat sources.” Following a few safety tips can greatly reduce the risk of fires: Make it a “house rule” to test your home’s smoke alarms, before using a space heater or fireplace. All smoke alarms should additionally be tested once a month. Doing so could save your life. Space heaters need space. Never put a space heater within three feet of anything combustible, including furniture, bedding or aerosol cans. Make sure your space heater bears the mark of an independent testing lab such as UL or FM. Look for models with automatic shutoff features, when purchasing space heaters. Never use extension cords with space heaters. Before you use your fireplace, make sure the chimney has been professionally cleaned to remove the buildup of combustible materials that accumulate inside the flue. Be sure any kerosene-fueled heating device is installed with proper ventilation. A portable kerosene heater must be filled only in a well-ventilated area, free of flame and other heat sources, and only when the device has cooled completely. Use only the type of kerosene specified by the manufacturer, and never use gasoline in place of kerosene. Never leave a fire, space heater or flame unattended. Additionally, make sure furniture, clothing and other combustible materials are not placed in front of permanently mounted heaters like those in walls or on baseboards. If they turn on when temperatures go below the thermostat’s set point, there will be no worry of the items catching fire. The Department of Commerce and Insurance works to protect consumers while ensuring fair competition for industries and professionals who do business in Tennessee. www.tn.gov/commerce/.
Huntsville, TN (2010-12-06) The potential new operator of the former Scott County Hospital has terminated its Letter of Intent with Mercy Health Partners, setting negotiations for a takeover back to square one. Rural Healthcare Developers (RHD), the Mississippi-based company that had signed a Letter of Intent to take over operations of the Hospital with Mercy Health in September of this year, notified County and Mercy officials on Friday that the company was no longer interested in taking over operations of the former Scott County Hospital. The notification came just hours before a scheduled meeting between RHD and staff members of the Hospital, who had expressed reservations toward RHD. Jack Bryan, CEO of the Community Healthcare Division of Mercy Health, appeared before the Community Development Committee Monday night to outline the next step in the process. “This withdrawal leaves us with no current plan in place. However, this does give us an opportunity to move forward (with the County) to find a viable entity,” Bryan said. Committee Chairman Paul Strunk noted that during the negotiations with RHD, the County’s relationship with Mercy became strained. “We need to put aside our differences with Mercy that have arisen, and try to repair this relationship so we can move forward from here,” Strunk stated. Strunk went on to propose a two-prong approach to the search. In coming days, Mercy has issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) from companies interested in acquiring all or part of their facilities, or in partnering with Mercy, to run those properties. In the original request, the Scott County facility was not included; however, in light of RHD’s withdrawal, the County hospital will be included in an amended RFP. In the meantime, the County will issue its own RFP, looking for an organization to take over operations. Should both approaches be successful, both parties would have to work together to find the best solution. “Communication between (the County) and Mercy is very important,” Strunk said. In the end, the Committee voted to pass on to the full Commission its recommendation that the County pursue developing an RFP for the facility.
Huntsville, TN (2010-12-06) The Intergovernmental Committee has voted against a request to change the county’s beer sale regulations. The committee’s action followed an impassioned plea from a local business owner to reduce the distance requirement for establishments selling alcohol from churches, schools, and other public places. Vicky Watters, owner/operator of the Stop ‘N Go Market in Elgin, who personally addressed the Intergovernmental Committee Monday night, requested the committee recommend a change to the ordinance regulating beer sales in the County. Watters claimed that County law hindered her ability to run her business. “All I’m trying to do is make a living, and help people,” Watters stated. According to state law 57-5-105, “No beer will be sold except at places where such sale will not cause congestion of traffic or interference with schools, churches, or other places of public gathering… the county legislative body having the right to forbid such storage, sale or manufacture at places within two thousand feet.” Counties, however, have leeway to legislate their own minimum distance, according to County Attorney John Beaty. Committee Chairman Willie Boyatt reported that the County set a distance of 1400 feet in 1977, and left the same distance when revisiting the issue in 1993. Boyatt went on to note that each municipality in Scott County has its own designated distance, all less than the state maximum of 2000 feet. After discussion, Commissioner June Jeffers motioned to recommend to the Commission a reduction in the distance requirement to 250 feet; however, committee member Ron Blevins urged the panel to adopt a distance of no less than 500 feet. At Blevins’ urging, Jeffers changed her motion to 500 feet; however, the measure still failed by a 3-3 vote, with Commissioners David “Blue” Day, Dennis Sexton, and Kenny Morrow casting dissenting votes, Jeffers, Blevins, and Boyatt voting in favor, and Harold Chambers absent. In other business Monday night: · The Intergovernmental Committee moved to write a letter to all department heads in the County, asking them to address the issue of high amounts of compensatory time being held by a number of employees in various departments; · The Emergency Services Committee passed its recommendation to the full Commission to place the sitting County Mayor and serving County Sheriff respectively on the 911 Board of Communications as ex-officio members, simultaneously matching the Mayor’s and current Commission representative’s terms to match their terms in office; and · The Building and Grounds Committee voted to declare as many as thirty older model voting machines as surplus, paving the way for disposal of the units by Administrator of Elections Gabe Lowe.
Oneida, TN (2010-12-02) When students in the Oneida School System return to class after the Christmas holiday break, they will have an extra incentives to get to school early—free breakfast. Beginning in January, all students enrolled in the Oneida Special School District, regardless of grade or socioeconomic standing, will be eligible to receive a free breakfast meal at either of the school’s cafeterias. “Our county is hurting,” commented S. Henry Baggett, Director of the Oneida Special School District. “Parents will be able to provide their children with a hot, nutritious meal without having to worry about paying for it,” he added. In addition to the economic benefit to parents, studies have shown students can greatly benefit from a good breakfast. “Research has shown students that eat breakfast are less likely to be tardy, have fewer discipline problems and are more interested in learning,” Baggett told the Oneida Board of Education. Most recently, a study showed eating a nutritionally sound breakfast could help with the childhood obesity problem. Currently, only about one in four Oneida students eat breakfast at school. “If we can achieve 40% participation, it will pay for itself,” Baggett remarked. “We would love to have at least 3 out of 4 students participate,” he added. In other business Thursday night, the board: · Approved a contract with Have Garbage Will Travel for trash collection in 2011. While the total bid price wasn’t publicly disclosed, the contract will reportedly save the district about $1200 annually. The system’s current provider, Scott Solid Waste, was the only other bidder. “We haven’t had a problem with (Scott Solid Waste’s) service, commented Baggett. However, the district has been looking for ways to save money; · Accepted the resignations of Jenny Shoemaker, Rachael Moore, and Amy E. Ellis; · Announced the hiring of three new employees: Carrie Kidd, middle school music teacher, Stephanie King, elementary school teacher; and John Ray, elementary school custodian; · Amended several board policies to coincide with new state laws; and · Announced Going the Extra Mile (GEM) awards for Trebby Hicks, middle school guidance counselor; and Paul Lowe, middle and high school maintenance worker.