Home Blog Page 2

Cross stays, Reed resigns

0

After 15 years of service as the Scott County Medicolegal Death Investigator, Jim Reed has resigned his position following the formal acceptance of Trent Cross’s resignation as fifth district commissioner forcing no necessary action to be taken to

remove Cross from his position as the county’s Medical Examiner.

Reed’s surprise resignation came in front of the Scott County Commissioners on January 22, 2018, during their regularly scheduled meeting. Reed approached the body following their decision to take no action on Mayor Dale Perdue’s request to remove Cross as the county’s examiner. Reed spoke with The Scott County News after the meeting regarding his resignation and his joy of the position.

“I’ve been doing this a long time, and what I learned was under Dr. Huff.  I learned to follow the lines as close as possible, and I can’t do that now. It’s just something I enjoyed doing, and I still enjoy doing,” Reed stated. “I’ve just got some constraints holding me back right now, and I felt it was the right time.”

The Former medical examiner Reed worked closely with for most of his term, Dr. Max Huff, passed away in 2015.  After there were no interested parties Cross was appointed to the position without pay. No compensation was a stipulation in the arrangement in order to prevent a conflict of interest from occurring. In 2016 Cross’s funds were reinstated to him.

The Tennessee Comptroller’s office subsequently performed an audit in 2017, finding Cross to be serving as a compensated County Medical Examiner and compensated County Commissioner. The findings put Scott in violation of a state law, and corrective action was left in the hands of Mayor Dale Perdue and the commission with an anticipated resolve date of January 30,2018.

On January 2, 2018, during the Intergovernmental Committee meeting, Perdue presented each commissioner in attendance with a resolution to remove Cross from his position as examiner. The matter was voted on unanimously and passed on for the next full court meeting.

Prior to that meeting, Cross penned his resignation dated January 15. On January 22, the commission accepted the fifth district commissioner’s resignation effective January 30. With Cross no longer holding two compensated county positions the body found no conflict of interest.  During the same meeting, County Attorney John Beaty spoke letting each commissioner know that there was no need to act on Perdue’s proposal to remove Cross as examiner and no action was taken.

Cross’s position will be advertised, and applicants accepted until February 16,2018 at noon. The commission is expected to fill his position at their next meeting the following week.

Reed’s jaw dropping resignation was also accepted by the commission on January 22, and will be effective as of January 31. According to Reed, the person who fills his shoes must be an Emergency Medical Technician, Paramedic, or Nurse. The chosen party will need to be sent out of state for training.

After the meeting, Perdue expressed his appreciation for the work Reed had done over the years along with his sorrow for the loss. “I am very sorry that we are going to lose him, because he has done a wonderful job over the years,” Perdue stated. “The county will greatly miss him, and I hope that there is a possibility he will reconsider.”

Life Events Prepared Max Huff for Tragedy

0

Max Huff, the student athlete, Tennessee Bureau of Investigations (TBI) Agent, coach and country lawyer, never expected to find himself in the predicament of a life time; however unknowingly it was during these times that he was being prepared for a life-changing moment.

Most people who have been living in Scott County very long has had an encounter with Max Huff, and most know him as an attorney, friend, coach, or all three. Many have had lengthy conversations with Huff, but very few could elaborate on the events in his life that prepared him for the day he found himself lying in a hospital bed at Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center with complete paralysis on his left side. A scary moment for anyone indeed, but for this tough man it was humbling. The days spent recovering gave him time to think about his life. The months spent recovering allowed him time to realize he was ready for what just happened.

Maxwell Ernest Huff, named after his father, the late Dr. Max Huff, was born and raised in Oneida, TN. The eldest of five siblings, Huff recalls his childhood to have been a great one. The family spent a lot of time traveling, which was uncommon for families in this time period, Huff enjoyed the trips and experienced a great part of the world as a result. His father was a “country doctor” accepting green beans and dozens of eggs for medical services.

“Back then people would bring in eggs and green beans as a form of payment for the treatment my father would provide,” Huff said. “I can remember shelling a lot of green beans in those days.”

Huff attended Oneida High School where he was known as a rebellious jokester. Active in a myriad of sports, Huff excelled athletically. Upon graduation, Huff was turned loose from the financial care of his father. Attending East Tennessee State University in the Fall of 1975, Huff worked summers and nights to pay his way through college.

During his early years in school he was uncertain as to what he wanted to do with his life, and joined a fraternity to play sports. He developed good friendships along the way. Four years and a lot of hard work later Huff graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Business and returned to Scott County to become a Retail Manager at the former Scott Foods. For over a year Huff valued his company, and enjoyed his work, but soon a move would bring him to a job he was born to do.

“I loved my job as a retail manager at Scott Foods,” Huff said. “After interviewing with TBI Director Arzo Carson in 1983, I was subsequently hired as a TBI agent in April of 1984.”

Becoming a TBI agent would be one of the most memorable times of Huff’s life. He was part of what was called “the most expansive agent class in history of TBI” following a separation performed by former TBI Director Arzo Carson. Three months of determination pulled Huff through his TBI training, and he became an agent.  In the beginning of his career he did a lot of indoctrination work such as a running errands and learning from observation, also working at night with agents that he got to know very well.

“The recent separation of the Department of Safety from the TBI by Director Arzo Carson in 1980 left TBI with a mixture of former Tennessee highway patrol personnel and younger college graduates, “Huff said. “I was part of the new TBI. I soon learned that these agents were motivated and dedicated to carry out the mission set forth by Director Carson.”

With less than a year of training beneath him, Huff found out what it was like to really be an agent during a prison break out in Nashville, TN. Receiving a call in the midnight hours, Huff was required to go to the Maximum Security Prison. He was told to assist in the apprehension and investigation of inmates who had escaped. The mission was now of great importance to the TBI because the Former Governor, Lamar Alexandar, mandated that these men be caught for the protection of citizens.

Prior to that incident other breakouts had occurred with one citizen dead as a result. The scene during that night was picturesque and stuck in Huff’s mind forever.

“After arriving to report, I met a couple of other young agents and we went into the woods searching for these escapees. It was at this point that it got real for me, real fast,” Huff said. “There were helicopters whirling with search lights above me, guns were drawn, search dogs were barking, and the fog from the Cumberland River created a surreal scene. It was then as I progressed through the woods that I realized how serious this was and how serious this job was.”

A man was apprehended that night, burrowed under a tree, Huff interrogated him. After little sleep he was again called back out. It was imperative that the TBI exhaust all efforts to catch these men. After spending four to six months of long hours working on escape cases, Huff and several other agents began a different type of investigation, healthcare fraud. Now retired TBI agent, Beverly Collins, worked in the department with Huff. This department and Medicaid fraud investigation was new to the TBI, but according to Collins Huff led the way.

“Max Huff was tenacious,” Collins said. “He was interested in going after providers who had committed these crimes. It wasn’t just a job for him. He made it his whole world, always innovative.”

Huff wasn’t only a leader in his department, he was also a trainer. Former TBI Agent now Murfeesboro Police Detective, Ray Daniel, entered the Medicaid Fraud Department in 1985. Thirty years of law enforcement experience under his belt, Daniel remembers his years in the TBI and his training days with Huff describing him as thorough and unique.

“He is the most thorough individual I’ve ever known, and I’ve been doing this a long time,” Daniel said. “He was so thorough he developed a good relationship with the prosecution and was always prepared anticipating what they needed. He taught me well, and made it fun.”

In 1987 Huff was hungry for more and debated applying to law school. After careful thought and consideration he applied to The University of Tennessee and Memphis State University, although he doubted he would be accepted to either. His mediocre college grade point average was unheard of for acceptance to a prestigious law school, however another factor for acceptance would come into play; his Law School Admissions Test. Huff sailed through the exam with no preparation and expected the worst, but was pleasantly surprised that he had done shockingly well. Subsequently he was admitted to Memphis State University in 1987.

“I was shocked,” Huff said. “It was unheard of to get accepted to a major university with my grade point average, where over 1000 applicants apply every year and few are selected.”

Huff began law school in the fall of 1987 where he continued to pay his way. He had accumulated so many hours with the TBI that he received a pay check for the entire first year of school. Dedicated to his studies and becoming a good student, he attended summer classes where he graduated earlier than his classmates in 1990. After returning to his hometown to set up practice, Huff was offered a senior position with the TBI. He declined the position because he was happy being a “country lawyer.”

“I was extremely dedicated to the TBI,” Huff said. “Although it was a pleasure to serve the state of Tennessee I set out to be a country lawyer and that’s what I was.”

Learning the lawyer ropes in a small-town Huff feels very fortunate to have had considerate and erudite judges to have helped him along the way. Now a seasoned attorney of 20-plus years, Huff represents a poor population working for little or no money at times. He stands ready both locally and out of town to represent the indigent. Despite no financial means, he relates to each client represented, giving both sides of the litigation process due respect, while making vast attempts to go above and beyond the call of duty. In his many years, Huff has learned that being a lawyer in a small town is sometimes more like being a social worker, but he loves it.

“I’m very lucky to have had Judge Billy Joe White, Conrad Troutman, James Cotton, and Lee Asbury who were kind to young lawyers and very knowledgeable of the learning curve for them,” Huff stated. “It’s important in a small town especially to give both sides of the litigation process equal amounts of respect because they could be your cashier at the next store you walk into. I empathize with my clients. If they are in jail, I make calls for them as needed, and even bring them treats.”

A country lawyer isn’t all Huff desired to be, he wanted to make a difference in the lives of children through athletics. Becoming active in the community with little league and junior pro, Huff was the first non- faculty coach at Oneida High School. From 1993 until 2003, he kept stat books for the late Jim May and subsequent coaches. During the basketball season, Huff found himself giving kids rides home, bandaging ankles, mopping floors, and running drills. Working with former coaches; Bill Hall, Gary Barnes, and Mark Eldridge, Oneida had four state appearances and six sub-state appearances. Again, Huff made lifelong lasting relationships.

“Teams were very successful in those years, but the focus was the kids. I never wanted to be in the spotlight,” Huff stated. “I enjoyed the game nights, ball was as much a part of my life as being an attorney.”

Life flashed in front of Huff’s face on February 7, 2017. All the memories of cases, friends and family, and teams as he lay in his hospital bed wondering if he would ever walk again. A man never afraid of anything, stared fear straight in the face. The outpouring from the community and prior events in his life gave him the strength to pull through the next few weeks.

“I was admitted to Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center with suspicion of a stroke.” Huff said. “I really didn’t know what a stroke was about, but the next morning I found out. For the first time in my life I experienced fear. As a TBI agent, maybe I was too young to have been afraid. I really couldn’t remember fear, but that night I was afraid. I had a severe stroke and was numb from my left jawbone to my toes. I received an outpouring of cards visitors, calls, and messages which humbled me.”

Huff was later admitted to Patricia Neal Rehabiliton Facility and was in a wheelchair. He exceeded the expectations of the staff continually by using the same determination he had used many years ago to become an attorney and a TBI agent. Refusing a handicap parking pass, Huff fought to become the man he once was.

“I was in a wheelchair at Patricia Neal,” Huff said. “They ordered me a walker and told me I would use it for three months. I used it three weeks. I refused the handicap parking pass, because I felt that was for people who really needed it. I didn’t like a cane, so I chucked that tool.”

No stroke will hold Huff down. He continues to exceed the expectations of physicians when it comes to his recovery. Working out daily, pushing himself physically and eating healthy are the key ingredients to his success. Walking now without  assistance and running for miles, he is in better health than before. The will to heal completely from his stroke comes from inside.

“As I laid at Patricia Neal for over three weeks I reflected on so much of my life,” Huff said. “I was thankful I grew up in a small town and had a wonderful education and childhood friends. I was thankful my mom pushed me to attend church when the doors were open at First Baptist in Oneida. I was thankful I attended ETSU and had lifelong relationships. I was thankful and lucky to have been a TBI agent at a time when less than 100 dedicated Special Agents worked tirelessly to accomplishthe mission of TBI. I was thankful and lucky I got into Memphis State Law School with the grade point average that I had. Lastly, I was thankful for growing up with hard-nosed mentors from coaches; Joe Blackburn, Jim Stewart, Randy Shelton, and Jeff Slagle to TBI Director Arzo Carson and Deputy Director Steve Watson, and Joe Carney. Unknowingly, they had been training and preparing me for my biggest battle and challenge of my life.”

Suspects Captured at Gunpoint

0

Two Kentucky men are in Scott County custody and ten ounces of suspected methamphetamine have been recovered following a two-day investigation that began with a high-speed police chase.

William Joseph Brown,28, and Joshua Keith Grigsby, 27, were found in Robbins at a local convenience store and arrested at gunpoint on January 11 by Drug Agent Kris Lewallen, Scott County Sherriff’s Office, and Drug Agent, Bill Miller, Oneida Police Department. Both individuals were wanted on charges filed by Tennessee Highway Patrol Trooper, Stephen Barclay, stemming from an incident the day prior.

Barclay initially encountered the individuals on January 10 traveling on Interstate 75 near the Oak Ridge exit. Noting the vehicle going in excess of 40 miles per hour over the legal speed limit, Barclay attempted to initiate a traffic stop. According to Lewallen, the two led Barclay on a high -speed chase, reaching 110 miles per hour at times, throwing “possible evidence” out the window as they drove. When the vehicle exited at the 141 traveling west on highway 63 members of The Scott County Sherriff’s Department got involved.

According to the arrest warrant filed by Barclay, the drivers showed no regard for other traffic on US HWY 27, as they began passing other cars in a no passing zone and driving westbound in the eastbound

Lewallen, the two led Barclay on a high -speed chase, reaching 110 miles per hour at times, throwing “possible evidence” out the window as they drove. When the vehicle exited at the 141 traveling west on highway 63 members of The Scott County Sherriff’s Department got involved.

According to the arrest warrant filed by Barclay, the drivers showed no regard for other traffic on US HWY 27, as they began passing other cars in a no passing zone and driving westbound in the eastbound lane. At one point, the assailants allegedly almost collided with two Scott County patrol cars with their lights and sirens activated.  The erratic driving behavior and reckless speeds continued throughout the chase finally ending in Robbins on State Route Hwy 52. Unprepared for the curves of 52, the vehicle chase ended abruptly.

“The drivers weren’t prepared for the curves of 52, and went airborne,” Lewallen stated. “They both fled on foot at that point.”

After fleeing on foot, an extensive search was conducted throughout the night, but the men were not found. Investigation of the vehicle recovered ten ounces of suspected methamphetamine, 15 round pills thought to be Percocet, and two roaches.

Leading up to the arrest, Detective Randy Lewallen, Scott County Sherriff’s Office, received information that the duo was soliciting rides back to their hometown, from their current location of Robbins. Receipt of the intel, sparked a search of the area. Drug Agents Lewallen and Miller located the individuals arresting them at gunpoint. Assisting them were; Detectives Randy Lewallen, Abby Duncan, and Lisa Anderson; Officers Tony Jones, Lee Johnson, and Marvin Buttram; Chief Deputy Tommy Silcox; Sergeant Danny Phillips; and Drug Interdiction Officer Keith Hawkins.

Officers recovered 509 dollars from the individuals upon apprehension. Brown admitted to driving the vehicle during the escapade with his passenger Grigsby. Grigsby reportedly told officers he and Brown were making a run for ice that day, and the cash was for food and gas

Grigsby was charged with simple possession, possession of meth for resale, possession of a schedule two, and evading arrest. Brown was charged with simple possession, possession of schedule two meth for resale, possession of schedule two, evading arrest by motor vehicle, speeding, failure to maintain, improper passing, and reckless endangerment.

Cross steps down

0

Trent Cross has resigned his position as Commissioner of the fifth district. The resignation was received by the Scott County Mayor’s office on January 16, following Scott County Mayor Dale Perdue’s recommendation to the Scott County Commission to remove Cross as the Scott County Medical Examiner on January 2.

Perdue’s proposal to the commission stemmed from a state audit report released in early December of 2017 that found Cross serving as a compensated County Medical Examiner and compensated Commissioner. The findings put the county in violation of a state statute, and contrary to an attorney general’s opinion. To bring the county into good standing Cross would be required to let go of a position.

Cross’s resignation came prior to the regularly scheduled meeting of the  commission, where action was expected to be taken in response to Perdue’s resolution. With a resignation on the table it appears that action has been taken by Cross himself to bring the county into good standings. It is unclear now if the commission will still cast a vote to remove Cross as the examiner and who will fill his spot for the seven months remaining in his term.

In an earlier interview with the Scott County News, Second District Comissioner, Sam Lyles told the Scott County News, “If he (Cross) resigns as commissioner, there is no conflict of interest and I don’t personally have a problem with him keeping the position (examiner). It’s a tough situation. We will have to wait and see what happens, but either way we have to vote.” The full court meeting has been rescheduled due to snow, and will meet January 22 at 6 p.m.

In Cross’s resignation he writes, “It is with a heavy heart and soul that I must pen this letter, but due to circumstances beyond my control I must submit my resignation from the fifth district seat I hold on the Board of Scott County Commission.

Over the past three and a half years I have had the opportunity to serve the citizens of the fifth district and Scott County as a whole. I have tried tirelessly and with great expense to my family to serve the citizens that elected me to this position.  Over this time, I have fought for the best interests of the citizens of this great county we reside in. I unfortunately now find myself in a position where I can no longer provide the time nor effort it requires to adequately serve as a county commissioner. I will continue to pursue efforts to better Scott County and its citizens in other forms and endeavors to ensure we have a prosperous community for ourselves, children, and grand-children.

I appreciate the opportunity to serve with you over the past three and a half years and during this time, I have made some lifelong friendships and welcomed all the knowledge and experience I have gained. Due to me living outside of the Fifth District, I will no longer be able to serve the citizens of the Fifth District of Scott County, therefore I respectfully submit my resignation from this governing body effective at midnight on January 30, 2018.

I pray this body continues the proud work it has accomplished for the county and her citizens, and I ask that each of you seek guidance in prayer and constantly strive to make the best decisions possible for the wonderful people of this area and our fellow citizens. May God bless all of you and this great nation.”

Video Gaming..A Mental Disorder?

0

Playing video games obsessively may soon lead to the diagnosis of a mental health disorder, but don’t put the controller down yet, research also suggests there are definite advantages to gaming in moderation.

Four decades filled with thousands of different video games have captured the minds of adults and children alike, but in recent years’ treatment centers have begun to fill with a different type of addict. In May of 2018, The World Health Organization(WHO) will release its eleventh edition of the International Classification of Diseases(ICD), to be used by healthcare practitioners all over the world. In the Beta draft of the forthcoming release, “Gaming Disorder” has been added to the list of mental health conditions. The diagnosis is listed under disorders due to addictive behaviors also classified as “Gambling Disorder”.

Whether playing offline or online, the ICD draft defines the disorder as “recurrent or persistent behavior” displayed by “impaired control over gaming” with “increasing priority given to gaming to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other life interests and daily activities, and continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences.”

According to the draft, the diagnosis can be made after symptoms are displayed over a twelve-month period. However, in certain severe situations, gamers can be classified with a mental health disorder earlier if all the requirements are met. No treatment or prevention is expected to be listed in the ICD only a clinical description, however, the listing itself aids treatment facilities in reimbursement for services.

Despite the upcoming release, a bountiful amount of research stands that video games are beneficial in many ways. Most recently, a German study released in early December 2017 showed evidence that gamers who people who played Super Mario Brothers for thirty minutes per day for two months, had a rise in grey matter in certain portions of the brain responsible for spatial navigation, memory formation, strategic planning, and fine motor skills. The study concluded that playing video games could potentially be used as a therapy for patients with mental disorders such as Alzheimer’s.

Another study from the University of Padua shuns the concept that video games are bad for children. In fact, it proves fast-paced video games improve the reading skills of children with dyslexia. Other studies suggest gaming can slow the aging process, provide pain relief, improve eyesight, act as a therapy for depressed teenagers, assist stroke victims to full recovery, and they might even make a person smarter. In all these studies participants played games for less than ten hours per day, but most for a shorter duration.

So where lies the problem when there are so many positive attributes to playing a game? It’s all in the definition outlined by the WHO in their Beta draft. It may be known when gaming becomes a problem, but it’s still unclear as to why it begins. The ICD addition of “gaming Disorder” will allow practitioners all over the world to share data related to gaming.  In turn this sharing of information will aid researchers and potentially provide answers. Until then, gaming in moderation seems to be the key.

Open House at Scott Extension Office, welcome new officer.

0

 

News and Information from the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture
Introducing the Newest Member of the UT-TSU Extension Scott County staff. Starting January 2, 2018 the position of Agriculture Agent and County Director will be filled by Mr. Seth Whitehouse.

Seth Whitehouse is an Entomologist hailing from the Peach State. He will soon be calling Scott County home as the ANR/4-H Extension Agent and along with his knowledge of bugs he is bringing along a love for the great outdoors. When Seth is not identifying insects or working, he spends time hiking nearby parks, kayaking, or gathering new insects for his collection. Seth has received a B.S. in Biology and an M.S. in Entomology with a diverse background in scientific research mostly focused on Agriculture and Sustainability. He takes pride in being known as the ‘bug guy’ and hopes to incorporate his insect expertise towards various extension programs. He looks forward to solving issues, no matter how big or how small, and will strive to provide the education and knowledge needed to help the community grow and thrive.

A reception will be held at the Scott County Office Building on January 17, 2018 between 1pm and 5pm, anyone wishing to meet Mr. Whitehouse, can come by.

 

 

January 17   1:00-5:00

Open House Reception

 

Come join the Scott County Extension Office as we welcome our new            County Director/ Agriculture Agent                    – Seth Whitehouse-

Feel free to drop in as your schedule allows. meet and greet.

Light refreshments will be provided.

Mayor Perude reccomends removal of county ME

0

Scott County Mayor Dale Perdue has taken action to bring the county into good standing with the State of Tennessee.

An audit report released by the Tennessee Comptroller’s office on December 12, 2017 found Commissioner Trent Cross serving also as a compensated medical examiner. These findings were in violation of a state statute and contrary to an attorney general’s opinion. The Comptroller’s office left resolution of the issue in the hands of Perdue and the Scott County Commission with an anticipated resolve date of Jan 30, 2018.

Trent Cross was appointed to the Medical Examiner position in February 2015 after the lack of interest from other local physicians left the count in dire straights.  The committee approved Perdue to appoint Cross with the stipulation there would be no compensation for the position to prevent a conflict of interest from occurring. At some point in 2016, prior to June 30 and submission of the county budget, Cross’s funds were reinstated.

On December 12, during a

the previous interview with the Scott County News, Perdue explained he had been out on medical leave during the time Cross’s funds were reinstated to him, and that he had been unaware of the issue until recently.  Perdue stated his concern for the violation and vowed to repair the issue with steadfastness.

During that same interview, Perdue stated, “I am here to do the right thing for the people. Something will be resolved by January 30, 2018.“

During the intergovernmental committee meeting of the commissioners on January 2, 2018, Perdue read aloud a resolution to remove Cross as the medical examiner and presented a copy to each commissioner present. All commissioners were in attendance except Cross.

Perdue’s recommendation for removal has left the trying situation in the hands of the committee. January 16 will mark the date for action as the commissioners gather together for a vote during their regularly scheduled meeting. The call for action has a number of commissioners digging for answers. Commissioner June Jeffers wants to be certain to get the facts in order prior to making her decision.

“Right now I’ve got to get some more information on this,” Jeffers stated. “We didn’t know anything about this. It was just handed to us, and I’ve got to do a little more research.”

Jeffers isn’t the only member up in the air.  Commissioner Sam Lyles believes there are other options for removing Cross from his position as the examiner. With only eight months prior to the election of all 14 commissioners, there is a potential for Cross to resign from the commission leaving no conflict of interest.

“I haven’t made up my mind on the vote,” Lyles said. “There are other options on the table. If he(Cross) resigns there is no conflict of interest, and I don’t personally have a problem with him keeping the position. It’s a tough situation. We will have to wait and see what happens, but either way, we have to vote.”

Read to Ride Program at Oneida Elementary

0

Oneida Elementary School is taking a step forward in education and exercise for their students with the recent implementation of two new programs.

At Oneida students are given the opportunity to exercise their bodies to strengthen their minds. The Coordinated School Health Program recently began two innovative programs, “Read to Ride” and “Imagination Playground”.

The program is designed to promote physical activity initiatives which will improve academic social, emotional, and physical well- being of students. In addition, research has shown that action based learning leads to academic improvement.

In the “Read to Ride” room students are allowed to read for 20-30 minutes each day while riding stationary bikes. The Imagination Playground is an actual indoor playground designed to stimulate STEM learning, creative play, and physical activity.

After Christmas break some students experimented with the programs, but soon all students will have the opportunity on a regular basis. Assistant Principal. Jordan Sims and School Health Director Melinda McCartt collaborated on the funding and implementation of the programs. Together the funding granted was $20,000.

McCartt emphasized that the programs assist with one of the goals of the school’s coordinated health program; helping children obtain 60 minutes of physical activity breaks that will help students maintain healthy bodies and eager-to-learn minds.

Sims and McCartt are excited for the new programs, and can’t wait for all the children to try out the rooms because of the research implications for the initiative.

“Research is showing that more time in this type of Action Based Learning leads to academic improvement for all student learning styles,” Sims said.

0

The State Primary and County General Election of 2018 has the potential to bring many changes to county and state. Although some of the offices may be left undisturbed, others are certain to find new leaders.

Serving five terms as County Court Clerk, and 17 additional years prior working in the office, Pat Phillips plans to retire.

The decision wasn’t an easy one, but it came with much prayer and careful consideration. As stated in Ecclesiastes 3:1, one of Phillips favorite Bible verses, “To everything, there is a season and time to every purpose under the heaven.”

After August 2, Phillips will begin a new chapter in her life, but leaving behind her staff and the people of Scott County will be a difficult transition.

“My life has been richly blessed by being able to serve the people of Scott County,” Phillips stated. “They have touched my heart, and I hope and pray that in some way I’ve touched theirs.”

Although sadness looms around Phillips’ resolution, she knows she has made the right one. Her family is supportive and look forward to spending more time with her, as she does them. Phillips has been married for 31 years to Brad Phillips. Together the couple has one daughter, Whitney, and husband Keith and a new grandson, Tucker Levi.

During her years in the office Phillips enjoyed talking with the people of the county and understanding their problems, however missing the community isn’t the only difficult part of retiring. While working with her staff she has built lifelong relationships with them. Phillips expressed her sincere appreciation for them and gratitude for their knowledge and abilities as well as their friendship.

“I have a wonderful staff,” Phillips stated. “They are very knowledgeable in this office.

I hope whoever is elected will consider them. They are not only coworkers they are my friends.”

January 5, 2018 was the first official date to issue a petition for a county office. Felicia Hamby Bilbrey was the first candidate to pick up a petition for Phillip’s position. Bilbrey is no stranger to the Clerk’s office, having worked in the office under Phillps for six years

“When the time comes for the position to be filled, I hope that the voters take into consideration the responsibilities and dedication this job requires,” Phillips said. “. Phillips firmly believes that Bilbrey gained a strong understanding of both in her previous role as Deputy Clerk.

Picking up petitions for election as of January 9; Sheriff, Anthony Lay and Incumbent Ronnie Phillips; County Mayor, Dale Perdue; Road Superintendent, Kelvin King; Circuit Court Clerk, Ronnie Phillips; Register of Deeds, Tim Kemo Garrett, First District School Board Member, Tommy Silcox; Fourth District School Board Member, Kimberly Ross Kidd; Trustee, Jimmy Byrd; County Clerk, Felicia Hamby Bilbrey and Sandi Carson Chambers; First District Commission, David Jeffers; Second District Commission, Sam Lyles; Third District Commission, Sheila Hall Buttram; Sixth District Commission, Scott Puckett; and Seventh District Commissioner, Rick Burke.

Along with the county officers, State positions available for election are; Governor; US Senate; US House of Representatives; and Tennessee House of Representatives.

April 5, is the last day to return completed petitions to the election office for the official ballot. As of January 9, Sherriff Ronnie Phillips, Trustee Jimmy D. Byrd, Felicia Hamby Bilbrey, Donnie Phillips, Mayor Dale Perdue, and Tommy Silcox had already returned their petitions.  Candidates must withdraw by April 12.

To vote in the State or County elections persons must be registered. Last day to become registered is July 3.  Early voting dates begin in mid-July, and August 2 is the official date of the election.

Flu Outbreak

0

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC), on average 36,000 people in the United States die from the flu or flu complications each year. The 2017-2018 flu season is building up to be a harsh one with widespread flu activity in 46 states already, including TN.

In America, the flu season normally occurs during the fall and winter seasons, peaking in severity anywhere between late November and March. This flu season got off to an early start with national and local statistics reporting sharp increases in the number of flu cases in recent weeks with thirteen pediatric deaths nationally and three locally so far. By the end of December last year, Mountain People’s Health Council of Scott County had seen only one patient with a positive flu test, but 45 cases were seen this year at the same time. Last week the number increased to 63.

Despite the number of positive flu results, many people have received their flu shot for the year. According to Case Manager for Mountain Peoples of Huntsville, Amanda Jeffers, people were standing in line to get theirs.

“We’ve given a lot of them(flu-shots),” Jeffers said. “They were actually standing in line to get them.”

So Why are the number of flu cases increasing so quickly with lots of people getting their flu shot? The answer isn’t so simple. On a good year, the CDC reports that getting vaccinated can be around only 40 to 60 percent effective, however early data this year is leaning toward a much lower percentage. One good explanation is there are numerous types of the flu, not to mention, there are new mutations every year leaving it hard for even the greatest of scientist to predict what should go into the varying vaccine.

The H3N2 strain of type A flu has been the most prevalent type found in Tennessee and nationally this year.  It’s been found that this strain is an especially severe and sickening type. Big South Fork Medical Center has seen 28 cases of flu since December 1, all of those were Type A

Historically the H3N2 strain has been considered the worst type, wreaking havoc on its inhabitant particularly in children, the elderly, and the immunocompromised.  Being in a doctor’s office regularly, Jeffers has seen the flu effect people for years, and this year she has noted it to be particularly hard for people, even herself.

“Everyone who has got the flu this year has been very sick, it has just laid them down,” Jeffers stated. “I personally had the flu three years ago, but I was able to go on and work with a mask. This year I couldn’t’ do anything, I could barely get out of bed. It was awful.”

Although the flu shot may not be as effective for the current season, the CDC and local health care providers are urging everyone to take the shot anyway, especially people over age 50. The flu triggers an inflammatory response within the body, which can cause a heart attack or stroke two to eight weeks after flu symptoms subside, and the H3N2 is known to cause an even greater reaction. The shot is still the best protection known.

In addition to those over 50, children and pregnant woman should get one and as soon as possible. The material in the vaccine takes around two to three weeks to build enough immunity to prevent a person from contracting the illness. The shot may not be 100 percent effective against the current strain, however It has been shown to lessen the severity of symptoms and complications which are the most common cause of morbidity. Scott County and Plateau Drug’s Pharmacist, Brent Dunlap, believes the contents of the vaccine prepares the body for the flu, even if it doesn’t prevent it.

“The flu shot is still recommended even though the vaccine this year has been less effective than in previous years,” Dunlap said “The flu shot still primes the immune system against the disease.”

Chief Operations Officer for Mountain People’s Health Council, Trish Dyer, has ordered an additional supply of the vaccine to compensate for the large number of patients requesting it. The price of the shot by far outweighs the consequences of not getting it, ranging anywhere from nothing at the health department to 25 dollars in a doctor’s offices. If hours are a problem, check out the local pharmacy. Now most pharmacist are certified to administer the shot right in store.

Besides getting the shot, Dyer urges people to take other precautionary measures. She experienced the flu last year and was out of work for a month ending up with a common complication, pneumonia. Hand washing is perhaps the simplest way to ward off unwanted germs, so wash frequently with soap and water using an alcohol based hand sanitizer in between. The flu is transmitted through the air so covering the mouth and nose while coughing or sneezing followed with handwashing can go a long way in terms of prevention. Avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth. Last, but possibly the most important, if you know you have the flu, stay at home to stop the transmission.

“I had the flu, and I was out of work for a month, “Dyer said. “I got pneumonia, and it was terrible. If people know they have the flu it’s important for them to stay at home.”

Tamiflu is a Federal Drug Administration approved medication that can lessen the symptoms of the flu and shorten the duration, if taken within 48 hours after the onset of symptoms. The medicine isn’t a cure all, and shortage is expected to be an issue in the United States. As for now the medicine is readily available in the county, but it is going at a rapid pace. Dunlap says the medicine has been in greater demand than last year, however there are no current shortages locally.

“During the first three weeks of December last year we only filled seven prescriptions for Tamiflu,” Dunlap said. “This year for that same time we filled 21 prescriptions.”

The mutated H3N2 Flu has become a widespread issue earlier than predicted, locally and in the United States, and the peak of the season may not be here yet. Getting the flu shot and taking preventive measures will most likely be the best way to combat the potential epidemic.