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.

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.

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.  

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.

Governor Proclaims Veterans Employment Week in Tennessee

November 8, 2010

Nashville, TN (2010-10-08) As Veterans’ Day approaches, Gov. Phil Bredesen reminds Tennessee employers that veterans are an enormous resource for employment needs. Proclaiming November 7-12, 2010, as Veterans Employment Week, Governor Bredesen said, “Along with their experience gained in military service, veterans bring to the workplace the benefits of stability, discipline, and a strong work ethic. I hope employers will give priority to the assets veterans offer as employees when they’re filling new or existing jobs.” “As we annually salute veterans, we recognize the contributions and sacrifices Tennessee’s 530,000-veteran population has made to this country,” said Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development Commissioner James Neeley. “Our Career Centers have special staffs who help veterans exclusively in transitioning from military to civilian work.” Besides job referral, Tennessee Career Centers provide services to veterans that include employment-related testing, training information, skills assessment, and job search workshops – all at a single convenient location. Last year almost 39,000 veterans received services in Tennessee Career Centers, and 18,600 were referred to employment opportunities. Hiring a veteran has the additional advantage to employers of saving money by using the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC). There are several WOTC target groups that impact veterans directly. The most recent category of WOTC was added just last year and states that employers who hire a veteran can qualify for a maximum $2,400 tax credit if the veteran was discharged or released from active duty at any time during the past five years and  received unemployment insurance for at least four weeks during the past year. For details on tax credits for hiring veterans contact the department’s WOTC Coordinator Roger Littlejohn at or (615) 253-6664. Locally, you may contact the Tennessee Career Center at 180 Eli Lane in Oneida or by calling, (423) 569-9348.

23rd Annual Battle of the Orange and Blue Blood Drive Coming To ScottCounty On November 15

November 5, 2010

Knoxville, TN (2010-11-05) East Tennesseans have the opportunity to show their true Volunteer spirit by giving blood during Medic Regional Blood Center’s annual Battle of the Orange and Blue Blood Drive Competition starting Monday, November 15th. The annual event pits fans of the UT Vols against fans of the University of Kentucky Wildcats; the side collecting the most blood donations for the week is the winner.  The competition runs November 15 – 19th. Tennessee fans have dominated this competition the last few years and is going for the eighth victory in a row!  During the history of this contest, Tennessee fans have won the traveling trophy twelve times to Kentucky’s nine; the two sides tied once back in 1991.  “The tie 1991 just blew us away; however, we have never forgotten that every single donation helps guarantee a victory for the Big Orange,” states Christi Fightmaster, Medic’s spokesperson.  Last year’s score was 3440 to 3364 which was one of the closest years yet.  And, according to reports from Wildcat fans, Kentucky is coming at this competition hard this year!   This year’s goal for UT supporters is 3500 pints of blood over the week competition. MEDIC will be at several different locations throughout the week to maximize participation.  The donor centers will also be open—1601 Ailor Avenue is open 8am- 6:30pm throughout the week and 11000 Kingston Pike behind Pittsburgh Paints in Farragut is open Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday from 9am- 7pm and Wednesday & Friday from 7am-  5pm. In Scott County, the organizations bloodmobile will be stationed at the Wal-Mart Super Center in Oneida on Monday, November 15, 2010 from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. All donors will receive a limited edition game day t-shirt, a coupon for a free pint of Mayfield Ice Cream and a regular-sized Original Petro from Petro’s Chili and Chips.  And, for anyone interested Smokey the UT Mascot will be at Medic’s Donor Center on Ailor Avenue on Monday, November 15 from 3pm – 5:30pm for pictures with our donors! This contest was initiated in 1988 by Medic and Kentucky Blood Center to insure that both communities would have an adequate supply of blood going into the holiday season.  This is a time when shortages are common because donations traditionally decrease yet the need for blood can actually increase during this time of year due to increase in activity, Fightmaster said.  

State Fire Marshal Reminds Tennesseans to Change Smoke Alarm BatteriesThis Weekend

November 4, 2010

Nashville, TN (2010-11-04) Tennessee State Fire Marshal Leslie A. Newman is reminding Tennesseans to change their smoke alarms’ batteries this weekend when they set back their clocks late Saturday night for daylight saving time. “Smoke alarms, even those that are hard-wired, should have their batteries replaced regularly and should be tested monthly to ensure they’re providing the proper protection,” says Tennessee State Fire Marshal Leslie A. Newman. “Use the extra hour we gain this weekend to make sure your home and family are fire-safe.” Most home fires occur at night when people are sleeping. The smoke and toxic gases generated by a fire can cause people to sleep more deeply, narrowing the chances of surviving a fire. A working smoke alarm can double the chances of survival by increasing the amount of time a person has to escape a fire in their home. Nationally, more than 90 percent of all homes have smoke alarms, but it is estimated that one-third of them don’t work because of old or missing batteries. It is critical to replace batteries regularly – even if alarms appear to be working fine. Twice a year is recommended. This reduces the chance of alarms chirping to indicate low batteries. All too often, a battery is removed and not replaced, putting a home’s occupants at risk. There’s no way to predict when a fire will occur, so even one night without an operational smoke alarm can be dangerous. Here are some other helpful hints on the importance of smoke alarms:   Smoke alarms should be installed in every room where an occupant sleeps, outside every sleeping area, and on each level of the home. Make sure everyone can hear the alarm and knows what it sounds like. Smoke alarms need to be cleaned and maintained according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Devise a fire escape plan with two ways out of every room, and be sure to teach it to any children who live in the home. When a smoke alarm sounds, get out of the home immediately and go to your pre-planned meeting place.   The Department of Commerce and Insurance works to protect consumers while ensuring fair competition for industries and professionals who do business in Tennessee.

Democrat Incumbents Lose House Seats; Haslam Resoundingly Takes Scott County

November 2, 2010

Huntsville, TN (2010-11-02) Locally, district-wide and across the state incumbents didn’t fair too well in Tuesday’s mid-term elections in Tennessee.  Among those losing their seats were Democrat incumbents Lincoln Davis and Les Winningham, who represented Scott County in the U.S. and State House of Representatives. Slightly less than 5,000 people voted in Tuesday’s mid-term election in ScottCounty.  According to Administrator of Elections Gabe Lowe, 4,862 people voted in the November General Election, roughly 700 less than voted in 2006.  Of the total, 2516 (or 52%) voted on Election Day, with the balance, 2,346, taking advantage of the 13-day Early Voting period in Tennessee. Locally, the will of the voters mirrored outcomes from across the state and nation, with incumbents, especially Democratic incumbents, losing re-election bids.  In the 4th Congressional District, U.S. Congressman Lincoln Davis (D-Pall Mall) was defeated by first-time politician, Dr. Scott Desjarlais.  Locally, Desjarlais captured 56% of the vote, a total of 2,514.  Davis received a total of 1,868 votes, roughly 41%.  Across the 22-county district, Desjarlais outpolled Davis, 104,025 to 70,329.  Independent candidates also received votes locally.  Paul H. Curtis, 56; James Gray, 30; Richard S. Johnson, 11; and Gerald York, 42. Les Winningham (D-Huntsville) also lost his re-election bid to his 38th District House of Representatives seat.  Winningham was outpolled locally by Byrdstown businessman Kelly Keisling, 2,390 to 2,068.  Keisling likewise outpaced Winningham in every county of the district.  Ultimately Keisling outpolled Winningham, 7,965 to 6,140. Republican nominee Bill Haslam enjoyed tremendous success across the state, easily winning the Govenor’s race in Tennessee.  Locally, Haslam captured 75% of the vote, outpacing Democratic challenger Mike McWherter, 3,522 to 1,107.  Across the state, Haslam won by nearly a two to one margin, 1,041,409 to 529,834.  Independent candidates also received votes locally.  Bayron Binkley, 18; Brandon Dodds, 13,; Samuel David Duck, 6; David Gatchell, 12; June Griffin, 13; Toni K. Hall, 3; Mike Knois, 2; Boyce T. McCall, 0; Donald Ray McFolin, 0; Linda Kay Perry, 7; James Reesor, 2; Thomas Smith, II, 1; Howard M. Switzer, 0; and Carl Twofeathers Whitaker, 23. Click here for a complete precinct by precinct recap of Tuesday’s election.

Liquor By The Drink Turned Down; Cecil Winfield’s New Mayor

November 2, 2010

Huntsville, TN (2010-11-02) Voters in the Town of Huntsville again rejected a referendum that would have allowed the sale of liquor by the drink inside the small municipality.  Virgil David Cecil, who currently is the Vice-Mayor of Winfield, has been elected Mayor of the town. For the third consecutive time, the voters of the Town of Huntsville have rejected a bid by local businessmen to serve liquor by the drink inside the small municipality.  On Tuesday, a referendum that would have allowed the legal sale of alcohol by the drink failed by a narrow 10-vote margin, 194 to 184.  In November 2006, the last time the liquor question was on the ballot in Huntsville, the issue failed by 16 votes, 219 to 203.  Two years earlier, the question was narrowly subjugated in Huntsville, 260 to 239. In Winfield, voters selected a new mayor and two new aldermen.  Virgil David Cecil, who is currently vice-mayor of the town, was put into the Town’s top seat Tuesday, outpolling former Mayor Bob Strunk, 143 to 118.  Cecil will fill the seat left vacant by Mayor Kenneth L. (Kenny) Burchfield, who chose not to seek re-election to the office. Kelvin King, a political newcomer, and Chad Jones, who was narrowly defeated in his re-election bid in 2006, were placed on the Town’s Board of Aldermen.  King tallied the most votes in Tuesday’s election, 148, while Jones garnered 144.  Former Aldermen Joe Stephens finished third with 134, while Jeffery B. King tallied 36.  (Kelvin) King and Jones will assume the seat vacated by long-time Alderman Verscle (Bert) Burchfield and John Sexton, who likewise chose not to seek re-election. Since Cecil was elected Mayor, the city council will be responsible for appointing his replacement on the board.  The person selected will fill Cecil’s unexpired term, which will end in November 2012. In the first district, Ralph E. Mason was chosen to fill the Constable position vacated by David (Blue) Day, who resigned after being elected to the Scott County Commission.  Mason received 284 (or 49%) of the vote, while Bruce Silcox finished second with 170.  Ben Potter and Jennie Green finished third and fourth, receiving 77 and 45 votes respectively. A total of 4,862 persons (or 32.11% of the county’s registered voters) cast ballots in Tuesday’s election, including 2,346 persons who took advantage of the state’s 14-day early voting period. Click here for a complete precinct-by-precinct look at Tuesday’s election.

Commission To Revisit Decision To Opt Out Of New Building Codes

November 1, 2010

Huntsville, TN (2010-11-01) The Intergovernmental Committee has recommended the county legislative body reconsider an earlier decision to opt out of new State’s new residential building codes. After receiving notice from the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development that the County could lose a $100,000 energy efficiency grant because of its action to opt out of newly implemented statewide residential building codes in October, the Intergovernmental Committee voted 5-2 to place the issue on the agenda for reconsideration by the the full Commission on November 15, 2010. State grants are often scored using a points system, which ranks Counties according to several factors to determine which will receive funds. By opting out of the codes, ScottCounty would lose fifteen points on its grant application, which could knock the County out of the running for the grant funds. “The letter says they will not be re-scoring until December 15, so we have time,” said County Mayor Jeff Tibbals. Tibbals did state that the loss of points would not necessarily exclude the County from receiving the funds. Commissioner Ron Blevins, who was not present at the October Commission meeting in which the issue was decided, made a motion to place the issue on the agenda for the full Commission, which was seconded by Commissioner June Jeffers. By a vote of 5-2, with Commissioners David “Blue” Day and Willie Boyatt casting dissenting votes, the motion passed. In order for the Commission to reverse its position on the matter, a motion must be passed by a two-thirds majority, which would require ten affirming votes.  

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