Prepare For The Holiday Season By Reviewing Insurance Coverage

December 10, 2010

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/.

Pair Arrested For Attempting To Bring Contraband Into Local Jail Facility

December 10, 2010

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 Man On Burglary and Theft Charges

December 6, 2010

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.  

Fire Marshal Urges Residents To Exercise Caution When Heating With Alternative Fuel Sources

December 6, 2010

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/.

Potential Operator Of Hospital Terminates Letter Of Intent

December 6, 2010

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.  

Committee Rejects Change In Beer Sale Regulations

December 6, 2010

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 Schools To Offer Free Breakfast To All Students In January

December 2, 2010

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.

Traffic Fatalities Increase Over Thanksgiving Holiday Weekend

December 1, 2010

Nashville, TN (2010-12-01) Preliminary reports indicate 12 people were killed during the 2010 Thanksgiving holiday weekend, compared to 10 fatalities during last year’s Thanksgiving Day holiday period.  Statistics for the 2010 Thanksgiving holiday reflect the time period from 6 p.m., Wednesday November 24, 2010, to midnight Sunday, November 28, 2010. In 1983, the fewest number of Thanksgiving holiday period motor vehicle fatalities were recorded with seven, according to the Tennessee Department of Safety.  The highest number of people killed during a Thanksgiving holiday period happened in 1966, when 34 people were killed in crashes on Tennessee roadways. In 2008, there were 10 fatalities during the four-day Thanksgiving holiday weekend and 13 fatalities were recorded in 2007. Twelve people were killed in 10 fatal crashes during the 2010 Thanksgiving holiday period.  Seven of the victims were not wearing seat belts. The 10 crashes occurred in Campbell, Davidson, Grainger, Hamilton, Lawrence, Marshall, McNairy, Rutherford, Shelby, and Union counties. The crash in Lawrence County was a double fatality that killed two teenagers, ages 15 and 17. Neither victim was wearing a safety restraint. As of December 1st, preliminary statistics indicate that 967 people have died on Tennessee roadways in 2010, an increase of 55 deaths compared to 912 fatalities at this same time a year ago.

Four Arrested For Making Meth At Local Motel

December 1, 2010

Huntsville, TN (2010-12-01) Four persons have been arrested following an investigation by local authorities into allegation of meth making at a local motel. Floyd Dean Morgan, 45, of Oneida, Jamie L. Wallace, 38, of Oneida, Misty L. Ferguson, 32, of Helenwood, and April I. Edwards, 21, of Georgetown, KY were arrested late Wednesday night by the Scott County Sheriff’s Department. According to Scott County Sheriff Mike Cross, narcotics officers from the Sheriff’s Department went to the Galloway Motel at around 9:30 p.m. Wednesday night to investigate a possible meth lab.  Officers found more than they bargained for.  Authorities allegedly found not one, but two meth labs.  Officers reportedly recovered an active so-called one pot “shake and bake” meth lab, along with an undisclosed amount of finished methamphetamine inside one room.  The meth, stated authorities, had been packaged for resale. In a neighboring room, officers allegedly found a variety of meth related items in what has been described by hazmat cleanup crews as “the most toxic meth lab in Scott County history.” Morgan, Wallace, Ferguson, and Edwards were each charged with manufacturing methamphetamine, initiating the process to manufacture methamphetamine, promotion of the manufacture of methamphetamine, felony possession of more than 0.5 grams of methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Civil Rights Lawsuit Against Scott County Continued

November 30, 2010

Knoxville, TN (2010-11-30) With attorneys from both sides alluding to a possible settlement, a U.S. District Judge in Knoxville has agreed to postpone a former Scott County woman’s federal lawsuit against Scott County. On November 22, 2010, U.S. Magistrate Judge Clifford Shirley, Jr. granted a continuance in the civil rights lawsuit lodged against Scott County by Edwina Gail Allred, a former inmate in the Scott County Jail that filed suit claiming authorities withheld her medication, which ultimately impaired her eyesight. In response to a joint motion to continue the case, Judge Shirley reasoned, “…the parties state that they are prepared to go to trial but that they believe the matter could be resolved through mediation.”  A mediation hearing has been scheduled for December 13, 2010, the day the case was set to be heard in federal court. In her original complaint, Allred sought $18 million, including $9 million in compensatory damages and another $9 million in punitive damages. In the event the parties are unable to settle the suit, Judge Shirley reset the trial for February 22, 2011.   .  

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