The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development (TDLWD) announced Thursday the HiSet product from Educational Testing Service will become the only high school equivalency test given in the state.
Prior to April 1, 2016, adult learners in Tennessee had the option to choose between the HiSet test and the GED Testing Service product.
Beginning, April 1, 2016, new test takers will no longer be able to sign up for the GED test. As of that date HiSet will be the sole provider of high school equivalency testing in Tennessee.
There are currently 132 students, in 95 counties, who have taken at least one module of the GED test, but have not completed it. Those students will continue to have access to the remaining modules of the GED test through June 30, 2016.
Effective July 1, 2016, HiSet will be the only test available to students in Tennessee who wish to obtain their high school equivalency diploma.
The Adult Education Division of the TDLWD is working with Educational Testing Service to develop a new Tennessee Adult Education curriculum. This joint venture will create the first of its kind curriculum in the nation. The change to HiSet testing will ensure the new curriculum will be aligned with the test students take to earn the high school equivalency diploma.
The HiSet test will provide other benefits to adult learners in Tennessee. The cost of the HiSet test is $75, compared to the $120 fee to take the GED test. HiSet is also more convenient for students, it offers the option of on-line testing, as well as a standard paper test.
With the qualifying deadline fast approaching, there are still positions for which no petition has been issued or no petition has been returned for two August city elections.
As of noon Friday, no petition had been issued for one of two Alderman seats in Dowelltown, an issued petition for Mayor had not been returned, and petitions for two Aldermen positions in Liberty had yet to be returned, according to Dennis Stanley, Administrator of Elections. The qualifying deadline for all races in August is NOON Thursday (April 7).
At last report, only William A. Davis had returned a petition for Alderman in Dowelltown with another alderman seat and the mayor’s seat up for election.
In Liberty, Dwayne Blair and Todd Dodd have returned petitions with another 4-year alderman seat and a seat of one year to fill an unexpired term up for election.
In Smithville, three alderman seats are up for grabs in August and 5 petitions have been returned with two outstanding. Those who have returned petitions are Richard Steinbach, Ronald Dale Stanley, and incumbents Shawn Jacobs, Josh Miller and Danny Washer.
In the August 4 DeKalb County General Election, all seats up for grabs have a candidate, including the recently created vacancy on the county commission.
Petitions returned or candidates chosen by party conventions are as follows:
1st District County Commission—Thomas Chandler, Republican and Julie Williams Young, Democrat
4th District School Board—Kate Miller
5th District School Board—W.J. (Dub) Evins, Kevin Hale and Barry Mabe
6th District School Board—Doug Stephens.
Other candidates chosen in the March 1 Democratic Primary or by party convention are:
Scott Cantrell, Assessor of Property, Democrat; Shannon Cantrell, Assessor of Property, Republican
Constable 1st district—Lee Plummer, Republican and Jason Taylor, Democrat
Meanwhile, the picture is coming in focus on the state level as petitions are being filed for State House 40 and 46.
In House District 40 petitions have been filed by incumbent Terry Lynn Weaver, Republican and Democrat Gayla Colvert Hendrix. In House District 46 petitions have been filed by incumbent Mark Pody, Republican; Jim Gibbs, Republican; and Amelia Hipps, Democrat.
"The Retreat at Center Hill Lake" will be operated as a retreat center by the Timothy Hill Ranch organization for the purpose of hosting individuals, families, churches and groups in an alcohol and tobacco free environment. It will not be used as a residential center for youth.
Luke Collins, Executive Director of the Upper Cumberland Human Resource Agency (UCHRA) turned over the keys of the facility Thursday morning to Thaddaeus Hill, Executive Director of Timothy Hill Ranch, an organization whose mission is “strengthening character by modeling Christ-centered values.”
The final sales agreement was signed on Wednesday.
(CLICK LINK BELOW TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THE HISTORY OF THE TIMOTHY HILL RANCH)
"We are so excited about it. What a great community partner Timothy Hill is. They are Christian based and an organization full of love and full of super people," Collins told WJLE.
"I just think it's a great fit for us and for DeKalb County. Other people have been interested in this property but I just think it was God's will that it worked out like it did. We have nothing against the other folks that wanted the property but we just could not have found a better fit than the folks here at Timothy Hill. I just admire them so much. I admire them for what they do and what they stand for. It's just a beautiful organization. They are going to make a lot of investment. They already have. They have been trimming a lot of trees and they are going to put a beach in and do a lot of great things. It really has a great future," Collins added.
Following the Thursday ceremony held at Lakeside, Hill told WJLE that the final development plans for the Retreat will have to be approved by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, but “we have the impression they are very excited to have us as a partner. I think they know we’ll take our stewardship of this property very seriously.”
Under terms of the sale, Timothy Hill Ranch has put forward a $600,000 purchase, $50,000 deposit and $100,000 in services over 10 years ($10,000 per year). Those services are to include staff retreats, annual meetings, employee training and other events. UCHRA will pay off its USDA Rural Development loan debt of $1,285,550 relating to Lakeside Resort by applying the $600,000 from Timothy Hill and borrowing from the Bank of Putnam County $685,550.35 to be repaid in 4 years.
The organization, founded by Jerrell and Fern Hill, is named after their son Timothy Hill, a Columbia, TN native who died at age 13 but who already had a vision and business plan for helping others.
The first location was opened in 1980 in New York as a residential facility working with young people coming out of foster care. About 15 years later a retreat center was opened in the mountains of Massachusetts.
“As our board began exploring our next phase of expansion we said we really wanted to have the opportunity to do things in Tennessee where Timothy was born and dad was raised and felt this would be like coming home for us” Thaddaeus Hill told WJLE.
“At this location our intent is to continue to run this as a retreat center and host conferences and events for individuals, families, churches and groups who want to come and use this place,” Hill explained. “I’m sure there’s a lot of questions about our residential end of what we do. That will not exist on this site. At some point in the future we do have intent to work with some young people who have aged out of foster care. That is the population we’re looking at. The ones who have aged out of foster care that are 18 and above that may not have families to support them through their college years or finding their career paths. We’re not talking about criminals. We’re going to do our best to love on those folks and at some point use this facility as part of their training ground for some of their education and vocational training opportunities but we do not have a concrete date as to when that is going to happen. That will be some time in the future," said Hill
“Our main focus for the immediate future is to get the facility up to our standards and get it running in a direction that we feel like is a blessing to the people who are using it,” he added.
"I think for the next two to three years we're going to really focus on improving what is here before doing too much expansion. Expanding some of the trails in the woods to allow for hiking and passive recreation and at some point having horses on campus is definitely important to us. This is something we have on all of our locations is horses and an equestrian opportunity for young people and families to be able to participate in that. I absolutely expect that this will be something somewhere down the road that we will do. But again to me the real magic is the view, the lake, and the nature that's around us and we want to make sure that we're steering people toward that and have the opportunity to really go all throughout this 160 acres. We're not going to let it lie dormant and not do anything with it. But we have to do it in cooperation with the Corps and what they will allow us to do but they have indicated to us that using the entire property for passive recreation is absolutely an allowable use and something they encourage," Hill concluded.
Guest cottages and apartments are maintained on the property including thirteen cabins or houses, four condominiums, along with the lakeside lodge, featuring 26 units. The resort also has a dock and a swimming pool.
Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Tennessee Department of Transportation Commissioner John Schroer today released TDOT’s annual three year transportation program (2017-19), featuring approximately $2 billion in infrastructure investments for 79 individual project phases in 42 counties including DeKalb, as well as 15 statewide programs.
Among the projects in Region 2 is the widening of Highway 56 from south of State Route 288 near Magness Road to East Bryant Street in Smithville (4.5 miles). Budgeted for construction in Fiscal Year 2017.
The Warren-DeKalb Highway 56 project from south of the Warren County line to near Magness Road is scheduled for a construction letting this summer. It was scheduled for the June 24 letting but may shift to the August 19 letting, according to TDOT.
The three-year program (2017-19) continues the state’s focus on providing a high quality state transportation network that is safe and reliable and supports Tennessee’s economic development efforts. New federal transportation funding through the FAST Act federal legislation includes a roughly two percent increase for FY 2017 over FY 2016’s funding. The FAST Act also provides some one-time flexibility that allows TDOT to tap into an additional $147 million in federal money.
These increases combined with the $100 million repayment to the highway fund in the Haslam administration’s proposed FY 16-17 budget will give the department a somewhat larger building program in the upcoming fiscal year - an estimated $965 million in FY 2017, compared to $660 million in FY 2016.
Despite the increase in revenue for FY 2017, the department still has a multi-billion dollar backlog of unfunded highway and bridge projects that have been approved by the General Assembly, but lack available funding to move forward.
“This program reflects our commitment to increasing safety and economic development opportunities, while also remaining debt free on our roads, and these one-time funding increases will allow TDOT to move forward with nearly a billion dollars in much needed road projects in communities across the state,” Haslam said.
In addition to the 2017 budgeted program, partial plans for 2018 and 2019 are included, along with funding for 15 transportation programs including Rockfall Mitigation, Spot Safety Improvement, and the statewide HELP Program. The program also provides funding for transit agencies in all 95 counties, as well as Metropolitan and Rural Planning Organizations.
The County Commission Monday night named Mason Carter to fill the remaining two year unexpired term of Elmer Ellis, Jr. on the DeKalb County Emergency Communications District (911) Board of Directors.
Ellis resigned last month.
Carter also serves as a 1st district county commissioner.
The appointment was made upon the recommendation of the DeKalb County ECD Board. County Mayor Tim Stribling read the letter of recommendation Monday night sent to the county commission by Local ECD Director Bradley Mullinax on behalf of the 911 Board.
"During the March meeting of the DeKalb 911 ECD Board of Directors discussion was made of the appointment of a board member to the 911 board to serve in the position recently vacated by Elmer Ellis. The board unanimously recommended Mason Carter from the DeKalb County Commission to serve in this position to fill the unexpired term. We feel his background and experience will be invaluable to the success of our organization," Mullinax wrote
Carter will serve out the existing four year term of Mr. Ellis ending August 31, 2018.
Paving will soon begin from Moog Boulevard to the county's solid waste transfer station in the Smithville Industrial Park on Highway 70 east.
The county commission Monday night awarded a bid to Rogers Group in the amount of $468,421 (after deduct). It was the lowest of the three bids submitted. "The bids were opened on March 17 at 10:00 a.m. There were three bids for the paving of Moog Boulevard to the transfer station. LoJac Enterprises submitted a bid of $648,064. Rogers Group's base bid was for $499,413. Tinsleys Asphalt's bid was for $580, 109. These were the base bids. Our engineer Ronnie Reese put in a deductive item where we will (pave) come right past the crossroad area and no further. The city is planning on putting a couple of posts and a chain across there anyway. Ronnie Reese is recommending that Rogers Group receive the bid. He said they have the equipment and manpower to do it. I just need approval from the county commission. We also had a landfill committee meeting and they recommended the $468, 421 bid to be awarded to pave to the transfer station street," said County Mayor Tim Stribling
Although the county's existing Class I landfill still has a remaining life of a year and six months, the new solid waste transfer station could begin operation by late summer.
The transfer station is located behind Tenneco Automotive.
County Mayor Stribling said last month that the conversion from the landfill to the transfer station could begin in August or September. Some work yet remains to be done before the facility is completed. Under an agreement with the county, the City of Smithville has installed a waterline to the site and the county will have to pave the road leading to the transfer station.
" We're just waiting for warmer weather to have the water turned on. We'll also have to buy some minor office equipment and a loader to be able to load the garbage into the trucks at the transfer station. We'll also have to advertise bids for the hauling of the waste to Smith County," said County Mayor Stribling.
The annual Celebration of Spring at Edgar Evins State Park will be Saturday, April 9th.
It is an all day event for just about everyone ... adults and families. Everything will be free except boat rides and anything you might want to buy from the food vendors. Bring a picnic lunch and stay for the day or come for while.
Registration will open in front of the Visitors Center at 8 a.m. Signing up for the $2 boat rides scheduled throughout the day will be on a first come first serve basis. (To ride on a boat children must be over age 3 years and accompanied by an adult.).
At 8:30 a.m. Randy Hedgepath, the Tennessee State naturalist, will take a group out on the 2 mile Highland Rim Nature Trail to enjoy the profusion of wild flowers, other flora and fauna. Ranger Mark Taylor will guide a later group.
Dancers from Cannon Arts Studio, Woodbury, will perform at 10:30 a.m., followed by the popular Bob Tarter and his animals from NHECM at 11:30 a.m., a friendly snake show, and a chance to get acquainted with Henry, the red tailed hawk on loan from Henry Horton State Park,
There will be old fashioned games for young and old, a chance to fly a kite and take one home, do a little crafts making, get faces, hands or arms painted, climb the observation tower, picnic on the grounds, hike other trails on your own and just enjoy a beautiful spring day outside in a beautiful park. A hay wagon and a passenger vehicle will transport visitors to and from other parts of the park from the Visitors Center. Free parking along the park's main road only has to be done once.
For those who wish to make this an overnight or weekend event there are cabins and camp sites available at the park. These may be reserved on-line or by phoning the park office at (931) 858-2114 or 1-800-250-8619. The park is located at in DeKalb county at 1630 Edgar Evins Park Road, Silver Point 38582, on Center Hill Lake, between Smithville and Cookeville
This event is a joint project of the Friends of Edgar Evins State Park and park employees. More information about the volunteer group may be found on-line at www.friendsofeesp.alturl.com or on Facebook at friendsofeesp.
Democrats have chosen their nominee for the August 4th DeKalb County General Election to fill a vacancy on the county commission in the 1st district.
Julie Williams Young was nominated during a DeKalb Democratic Party County Convention held Tuesday evening at the courthouse.
Young will be running against Republican nominee Tom Chandler of Caplinger Hollow off Dale Ridge in the August election to fill the remaining two years of Elmer Ellis, Jr's unexpired term. Ellis, a Democrat, resigned from the county commission last month. Chandler was nominated by the DeKalb County Republican Party during a Convention held on March 12.
Young and her husband Jeff Young reside in Alexandria.
She made brief remarks to the convention prior to her nomination.
"I was born and raised in the 1st district. My parents are Patsy Williams and Charles Williams. I come from a family who has always been in service of some kind. Mom and dad were huge members of the Jaycees for years and years. I grew up watching them in service to the community. They helped build a ballpark in Alexandria. They have always been involved in the community. I want to be a champion for the 1st district. I want to help the community. I want to help the county in any way I can. I want to work with the other commissioners. If you will help get me elected to this seat I will do whatever I can to help make DeKalb County Commissioners what we need to be for our community. I am very interested in education. I look forward to working with all the commissioners on the board. I come with no agenda. I want us to have a strong Democratic voice. I want to be a champion for the 1st district," said Young.
A man and woman believed to be involved in the sale and delivery of illegal narcotics were arrested at their home on Charity Lane today (Tuesday) as the result of an investigation by the Smithville Police Department.
42 year old Steve Mabe, Jr. and 36 year old Martha Conger Hale are each charged with sale and delivery of a schedule II controlled substance (cocaine). Mabe, a convicted felon, is also charged with illegal possession of a firearm. Hale is further charged with violation of probation. Bond for Mabe is $30,000. Hale's bond is $25,000
According to Police Chief Mark Collins, the evidence against the two was discovered during a recent probation search at the residence. "Hale was on probation from a DUI conviction but probation officers had taken warrants on her for probation violation after she failed a drug test. We (Smithville Police) accompanied the probation officers to Hale's home on Wednesday, March 16 to execute a probation search on Martha. During that search we found illegal narcotics, drug paraphernalia, guns and a safe in their bedroom which they (Hale and Mabe) refused to open. Martha was arrested that day (March 16) on a charge of violation of probation. She later posted bond and was released," he said.
Police seized the safe and later obtained a search warrant to open it. " The search warrant on the safe was executed last Thursday, March 24. In that safe we found 16 grams of cocaine, a large sum of money, personal documents belonging to both Martha and Steve and other miscellaneous items including jewelry, coins, and things like that. Based on what we found in that safe we had reason to believe there was more evidence in their house so we obtained another search warrant which was executed today (Tuesday)," said Chief Collins.
According to Chief Collins the search Tuesday at the home of Mabe and Hale turned up more evidence and the case remains under investigation for possible additional charges against the two.
Reappraisal of property for tax purposes is required on a periodic basis to maintain appraisals at market value and to ensure equity of appraisals throughout the jurisdiction. Every county in Tennessee is on either a four, five, or six year cycle of reappraisal. For the last five years DeKalb County has been on a five year plan.
During Monday night's monthly meeting, the county commission adopted a resolution authorizing the continuous five year reappraisal cycle to continue for another five years through 2021.
The five year cycle consists of four years of comprehensive on-site review of every parcel of property in the county, followed by revaluation of all property in the fifth year. During each of those first four years, approximately 20% of the parcels in the county are inspected for changes to the land or buildings that would influence the value of the property. Quarterly progress reports are provided to the State of Tennessee’s Division of Property Assessments, whose personnel also periodically monitor the progress and results of the on-site review process.
After the first two years (the mid point of the cycle), an in-depth statistical analysis is performed comparing sales prices to appraisals. If the county’s overall level of appraisal has fallen to below 90% of fair market value, property values will be updated county-wide by what is known as a Current Value Update or CVU. In addition, even if the level of overall appraisal has not fallen below the 90% threshold, any subclass of properties (residential, farm, commercial, etc.) that is found to be more than 10% below the county’s overall ratio will have its values raised to reflect that overall county level.
In the fifth and final year of the cycle, a thorough analysis of the current real estate market is used to establish new land and building values. This is a process that sets the factors, tables, and base rates that will be used to value real property for the following five years. The changes in values are then applied to each property in the county and those property owners whose values have either increased or decreased as a result are notified as to the new appraisal of their properties. Also during this fifth year, the complete plan of reappraisal for the next five year period has to be developed and submitted for approval, to include budgetary considerations for personnel and equipment, and the territorial division of the county for the four years of field review. The cycle then begins all over again.