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.

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.

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.

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.

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 www.scottcountychamber.com. 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.

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.  

Hospital Staff Expresses Dissatisfaction With Potential Operator OfLocal Hospital

November 1, 2010

Huntsville, TN (2010-11-01) In a letter addressed to County Mayor Jeff Tibbals and the Scott County Commission, the medical staff of St. Mary’s Medical Center of Scott County expressed it’s dissatisfaction with the company tapped by Mercy Health to take over operations of the facility. Speaking to the Community Development Committee of the commission Monday night, Dr. Cathy Martin, Chief of Staff for St. Mary’s Medical Center of Scott County, detailed a letter written on behalf of the medical staff listing a number of concerns regarding Rural Healthcare Developers, Inc (RHD), the Mississippi-based company Mercy Health has signed a letter of intent with to assume the lease of the local facility. In May, Mercy announced its intention to terminate its operational lease of the local hospital in May of 2012. In the letter, Martin wrote, “(We are) uncomfortable with the presentation, lack of ability to give more precise information, and general overall for of RHD in regards to running (the) Hospital.” While acknowledging that RHD still has yet to complete its due diligence in evaluating the operation, the medical staff advised caution in the County’s proceeding with RHD, and “allow for more explanations” of RHD’s intentions. Another issue brought forth in the letter was Mercy’s lack of willingness to discuss or refer to any other group that could potentially express interest in taking over the lease. “We have had contacts from a number of other companies, expressing interest in taking over,” Martin said. When questioned on the issue, Jack Bryan, CEO of the Community Hospital Division of Mercy Health, conceded that because of their letter of intent with RHD, Mercy could not negotiate with any other company. “If we were to turn down RHD, would we end up back in court?” asked Commissioner Ernest Phillips. Bryan acknowledged that in that event, Mercy would likely seek legal action, pursuant to the terms of the lease that state the County “cannot unreasonably withhold” their approval of Mercy’s assignment to RHD. A third concern raised in the letter from the medical staff of the Hospital regarded the potential reduction in services offered that was discussed during the presentation from RHD. “We feel strongly, as a staff, that we need to maintain our current level of services and wish to potentially expand these when a new partner comes on board,” stated the letter. In its presentation, RHD indicated that they may not continue to offer obstetric services at the hospital, and could potentially cut other services as well, while reopening the geriatric psychology unit at the facility.  When questioned by the committee, Bryan stated that the Hospital is continuing its poor financial performance, contending that the facility lost more than $300,000 in each of the past two months. However, Martin disputed that fact, claiming that the facility actually turned a very small profit during those months. Bryan explained that due to delayed reimbursement payments, the bottom line appeared better than it is. “While that makes it seem like we’re profiting, I’ve been looking at the year-to-date figures… the Hospital is averaging losing about $300,000 a month,” Bryan admitted.  Morale of the employees of the Hospital continues to be a concern for Commissioners. When asked by Committee Chairman Paul Strunk, Martin admitted that morale was slowly improving amongst the staff. “They are still concerned over whether they are going to lose benefits, including their accrued sick leave,” Martin stated. RHD has stated that their plan is to allow employees to keep their accrued sick time; however, any employee with more than 240 hours of banked time would not accrue any further time until that employee drops below that threshold. “The staff doesn’t want to go anywhere else to work. They want to stay here,” Martin stated. Strunk assured Martin that the Committee, and the Commission, will also do their due diligence. “This is not something we’re just going to jump in and do. We are going to make an informed decision,” Strunk said. Mercy has asked for a decision from the Commission by December 31, 2010; however, Mercy has stated they will honor the terms of the lease through May 2012. “We will honor the terms, but it may force us to make some operational decisions on how we operate the Hospital,” Bryan stated.  

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