Tuesday, 15 December 2009
Governor Phil Bredesen today announced plans to exercise his constitutional authority to call for a special session of the Tennessee General Assembly focusing on education, including both K-12 and higher education.
The special session will be set to begin January 12, 2010, to coincide with the start of the regular legislative session, placing education first on lawmakers’ agenda as they return to the Capitol.
Bredesen acknowledged this year’s tight budget environment but noted, “Sometimes the stars line up to create an opportunity that no one expected. And when you’re in public office, you’re obligated to seize the moment when that happens. This year we’ve had a couple of unique, unexpected opportunities drop in our lap that I believe will allow us to focus on the entire education pipeline in one fell swoop and hopefully make some changes that will be felt for years to come.”
The federal government’s Race to the Top competition is one of those opportunities, as states will compete for a share for more than $4 billion in Recovery Act funds. Race to the Top applications are due on January 19, 2010, and the U.S. Department of Education has said the states that will be the most competitive will be those that already have policy changes in place at the time of application.
The second part of the Governor’s call for a special session will involve higher education. “In 2010, it’s only natural that we focus on the entire education pipeline as we look to create a more skilled workforce,” said Bredesen. “As we all know, it’s not just about getting kids through high school anymore. It’s also about students completing their degrees or certificates so they can get high-quality jobs and have a decent quality of life.”
Among changes Bredesen will call on lawmakers to consider is modernizing the state’s funding formula for higher education to make it substantially based on performance, such as higher degree completion rates.
The Governor urged lawmakers to join with him to take advantage of these unique opportunities to accomplish good things for Tennessee schools and students.
“I’ve said often that in public life, it’s easy to say ‘I’m for education,’ but it’s much harder to step up and demonstrate that in a meaningful way,” said Bredesen. “At a time when we’re facing an otherwise difficult budget, I believe we have a unique opportunity to step up to the plate and get some things done.”
Tuesday, 15 December 2009
The Town of Woodbury Board Of Zoning Appeals met last night at the City Hall in Woodbury for the first time since December 2008 Items on the agenda included the election of chairman, vice-chairman and secretary was held.
Members voted Jimmy Barrett the chairman, Joe Hawkins the vice chairman and Sue Patrick as secretary.
One item of new business was recognized. There was a variance request regarding the width of the side setbacks in a R-1 zoning district. The request is to allow six inch side setbacks instead of the required fifteen. The request was from Alice Pinkerton which is obtaining a THDA home grant to construct a new home. The property is located at 200 East Water Street. After discussion Board Member Bill Jennings moved to make the motion to approve the request, Joe Hawkins seconded it and the motion carried. The construction will start after the first of the year.
The Woodbury Planning Commission then conducted its regular monthly meeting.
After the approval of the November minutes, Mayor Harold Patrick talked about some updates regarding the city. Mayor Patrick talked about the Scoreboard Restaurant being nearly ready to open. He also talked about the downtown revitalization project which is underway. Plans are for paved streets on Tatum and Cannon and sidewalks to be built along those streets.
Mayor Patrick concluded his report on the updates by informing the rest of the commission that he had an unofficial inquiry for a meat and three resturant.
An Amendment regarding street lights in new subdivisions was drafted and presented at the meeting. The amendment states that the developer shall be responsible to install street lighting in a new subdivision development. Non-decorative street lighting fixture, wattage output and spacing shall be determined by the Town Of Woodbury and the Middle Tennessee Electric Corporation. Lights will be provided at all street intersections and shall be spaced no closer than 200' apart within the development. Spacing will depend on roadway slopes, location of sidewalks and width of lanes. All electrical wiring and utilities shall comply with the local utility provider requirements. If decorative street light poles and fixtures are to be installed, a street lighting plan shall be reviewed and approved by the Planning Commission. The lighting plan shall include maintenance guidelines that are to be listed in the developments homeowner's association guidelines for light fixtures. The lighting plan along with the maintenance guidelines shall be included with the construction documents or the final plat required for the development.
Light poles shall be located within public right of way and be located two feet back from back of a sidewalk or centered between curb and sidewalk and shall be ten feet from a fire hydrant. Street lights shall be located on the sidewalk side of streets and streets with sidewalks on both sides shall require the lights to be staggered on both sides of the street.
No action was taking on the draft as there needs to be a public hearing concerning this matter.
The commission then also tabled the discussion of objectives and goals for 2010 until the January meeting.
Tuesday, 15 December 2009
Judge Susan Melton presided over Cannon County General Sessions Court on Tuesday. Some of the results from the various cases which appeared on the docket included:
Travis Hinsley pled guilty to the charge of violation of probation. His probation was revoked and he was ordered to serve his entire sentence.
Jamie Hiles pled guilty to the charge of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. She was sentenced to 11 months, 29 days in the county jail. That sentence was suspended upon an equal amount of time on supervised probation, paying the court costs and paying a $50.00 fine.
Jacqueline Melton pled guilty to the charge of passing a worthless check. She was sentenced to 11 months, 29 days in the county jail. That sentence was suspended upon an equal amount of time on probation and paying the court costs. In addition, she was ordered to pay the checks and service charges. In another case, Melton pled guilty to the charge of theft under $500.00. She was sentenced to 11 months, 29 days in jail. That sentence was suspended upon an equal amount of time on probation and paying the court costs.
Howard R. Mayo pled guilty to the charge of violation of probation. His probation was extended and he was ordered to pay the court costs.
Wayne Chapdelaine’s petition for suspended sentence was granted. He was placed on supervised probation for 18 months and ordered to pay the court costs.
Mark Marcil pled guilty to the charge of driving on a suspended license. He was sentenced to 6 months in the county jail. That sentence was suspended upon an equal amount of time on probation, paying a $50.00 fine and paying the court costs.
Misty Hollars pled guilty to the charge of passing a worthless check. She was sentenced to 11 months, 29 days in the county jail. That sentence was suspended upon an equal amount of time on probation and paying the court costs. In addition, she was ordered to pay the checks and service charges.
Richard S. Tenpenny pled guilty to the charge of violation of probation. His probation was extended and he was ordered to serve 60 days in jail.
Michael Roller pled guilty to the charge of driving on a suspended license. He was sentenced to 6 months in the county jail. That sentence was suspended upon an equal amount of time on probation, paying a $50.00 fine and paying the court costs.
Monday, 14 December 2009
As most of the citizens of Cannon County know by now I was faced with the difficult task of dismissing two deputies from my department last week.
One officer, Greg Fauls, was fired Wednesday, December 9 for poor work performance and failure to conform to departmental requirements. The latest incident occurred on Tuesday, December 8 at 8:06 P.M. when he (Fauls) reported to 911 Dispatch Center that his patrol unit was in a ditch on Gassaway Road. Approximately two hours later at 10:48 records from 911 show that Fauls’ patrol unit was in a ditch on Pea Ridge Road.
Fauls had been an employee of the Sheriff’s Department since 2005. His dismissal was in no manner a result of the incident between another officer and his girlfriend two weeks ago at their residence.
On Thursday, December 10 Deputy Aaron Hillis resigned his position when he was served by his girlfriend with an Order of Protection. Hillis had been employed by the Sheriff’s Department since 2006.
Since the dismissal of the two officers my department has been subjected to unsubstantiated allegations of wrong doing by individuals over the internet without them having the courage to sign their names, using fictitious pen names. I challenge them to bring forth evidence of any wrong doing or corruption in my department and I also deny that this department has an image problem.
One such media outlet chose to let one individual challenge the honesty and integrity of our Assistant District Attorney, who has worked tirelessly for the citizens of Cannon County and continues to do. To question this individual’s honesty does not even warrant a response. This blatant attack on his character is irresponsible conduct and both parties should be held accountable.
Finally, the manner in which I have overseen the Sheriff’s Department has also been attacked and I adamantly deny those charges. I do have absolute control over my employees and they have worked hard for the citizens of Cannon County since I came into office September 1, 2006. I constantly monitor all my employees and am in daily contact with them and their immediate superiors or supervisors. If there is a personnel problem within the department it is addressed promptly.
My office is open to the citizens of Cannon County. I have a duty and responsibility to the citizens to provide them with proper law enforcement in the form of officers that patrol our county, the management our Jail and to make our community safe. This includes the hiring and termination of all employees. I felt the two dismissals were for the betterment of the department and I stand by that decision today without hesitation.
As I stated last week, I welcome any agency who wants to investigate my department, our books are open. We have nothing to hide from anyone.
Monday, 14 December 2009
After more than a quarter-century of public service to his home state of Tennessee, U.S. Rep. Bart Gordon announced his plans to retire from Congress when his current term ends in 2010.
“I feel honored that the people of Middle Tennessee have allowed me to serve them for the past 25 years,” said Gordon. “Every decision I have made in Congress has been with their best interests in mind. I hope the people here at home feel that I have served them as well as their good advice and views have served me.
“When I was elected, I was the youngest member of the Tennessee congressional delegation; now, I’m one of the oldest. In fact, I have members of my staff who weren’t even born when I took office. That tells me it’s time for a new chapter.”
Gordon, the dean of the state’s congressional delegation, said he made his decision after consulting with his wife, Leslie.
“Turning 60 has led me to re-evaluate what’s next. I have an 8-year-old daughter and a wonderful wife who has a very demanding job. I am the only child of my 83-year-old mother, Margaret. They have made sacrifices to allow me to do what I love by serving in Congress, and now it’s my turn,” said Gordon.
Strengthening families has been a common thread throughout Gordon’s time in Congress. During his service, he has consistently worked to improve the quality of life for working families by providing greater access to higher education; allowing workers to keep their jobs while managing a family emergency such as a sick child, spouse or parent; and working to preserve the American dream by ensuring today’s students have the strong math and science skills they will need for the jobs of the future.
His constituents have repeatedly recognized Gordon’s efforts by sending him back to the U.S. Capitol to represent them - in 13 elections, Gordon has never lost any of the 15 counties in his district. In recent years, he has won re-election handily, earning 64 percent of the vote in 2004, 67 percent in 2006, and 74 percent in 2008.
The son of a farmer and schoolteacher, Gordon was named chairman of the House Science and Technology Committee in 2007, becoming Tennessee’s first full committee chairman in 30 years. The congressman said he is grateful for the opportunity it presented to author landmark legislation such as the America COMPETES Act, but his goals in Congress have always remained the same.
“My dream for kids growing up in Middle Tennessee is the same that I have for my daughter, Peyton – for them to grow up in a safe neighborhood, get a quality education, and be able to find a good job close to home,” said Gordon. “I hope I’ve been able to make that dream more of a reality for the next generation.”
While Gordon’s congressional efforts may be coming to an end in a year, his legislative efforts and first-rate constituent service will continue in the meantime.
“I will be focusing on the work to be done in the year ahead. Our country is facing extraordinary challenges, and I will continue to work to be the best congressman I can be. My doors are open in Murfreesboro, Gallatin and Cookeville, and my staff and I will continue to listen to people’s concerns and help them cut through government red tape. Staying in touch with the people I represent has been my number one priority. That will remain true throughout my last year in Congress,” said Gordon, who has held more than 2,000 open meetings, call-ins and listening sessions during his service.
The congressman said his achievements wouldn’t have been possible without the support of many people very close to him, including his parents.
“I couldn’t have asked for more supportive and inspiring parents. My mother and my late father always stood by my side throughout the years,” said Gordon. “I’ve also been blessed with a talented, hard-working staff that has helped me do a better job. And I will be forever grateful to the friends and volunteers who have given their counsel and support over the years.”
Educated in Rutherford County public schools, Gordon graduated with honors from Middle Tennessee State University in 1971 and later received his law degree from the University of Tennessee. He served in the Army Reserves from 1971-1972. Gordon is married to Leslie Peyton Gordon, who is a partner with Korn/Ferry International, and they have one daughter.
Sunday, 13 December 2009
The attemped thief of a truck from a local car lot resulted in the recovery of that vehicle and another.
Woodbury Police Department Sergeant Kevin Mooneyham was dispatched to Marlin Motors on West Main Street, several weeks ago in reference to a stolen vehicle. Upon arrival and speaking with Mark Hochstetler, owner of Marlin Motors, he learned that a white male driving a Nissan Pathfinder came into the business and asked to test drive a Dodge truck which was for sale. After the owner looked at the individual's license, he allowed him to take the truck, with the individual stating he would go out to the city limits and return. After approximately one hour, and the individual not returning, the owner decided to notify the authorities.
While conducting an investigation at Marlin Motors, it was also discovered that the Pathfinder itself had been stolen from an address on Petty Gap Road in Cannon County. Without knowing the identity of the individual, a report was taken, and a “BOLO” or be on the lookout was issued to area law enforcement officials, and the vehicle was entered as stolen.
On Saturday November 28th, Mooneyham received word that the vehicle had been located in McMinnville, and was towed to the city's impound lot, where Sergeant Mooneyham went and looked at the vehicle, in an attempt to ascertain the identity of the person responsible for taking the vehicle, and also discovered where the unidentified person had taken a paint brush and white paint and painted the vehicle.
Upon searching the vehicle, a pawn ticket dated November 25th 2009 was found inside the vehicle. Mooneyham identified Marty J. Cooper Jr. of Grizell Lane in McMinnville as a suspect.
Mooneyham then returned to Woodbury, where a photo line-up was requested from the Department of Safety. On Monday December 7th while attempting to get the owner of the truck to look at the photos, Sergeant Mooneyhan received a call from a McMinnville detective. The detective stated they had just arrested the suspect on numerous other vehicle thefts. The detective also advised Mooneyham that a single key to a Dodge truck was found on the suspect's person, and thought it could possibly be the key to the stolen vehicle. The detective then drove to Woodbury, where he and Sergeant Mooneyham went to Marlin Motors with the key to the now returned stolen vehicle.
Based on this and other information, Sergeant Mooneyham then filed charges against Marty J. Cooper Jr. for the offenses of theft over the value of $1,000.00, vandalism over the value of $1,000.00 and driving while license suspended.
Mr. Cooper has an initial court date of January 12, 2010 before Judge Susan Melton in General Sessions Court.