Tuesday, March 11, 2014
The Cleveland City Council on Monday voted 3 to 2 to fund the demolition of the old Cleveland High School gym and to start funding the construction of the new gym out of the City Council’s reserve balance rather than try to raise taxes. Several members said they could borrow money later in the process if it becomes necessary. The situation involving the structurally degrading Cleveland High School gymnasium was declared an emergency by the City Council and the Cleveland Board of Education during the Monday afternoon City Council meeting. Cleveland Director of Schools Dr. Martin Ringstaff presented an estimate of costs to demolish the old dome building and to move the utilities. He said in total, the project would range from approximately $250,000 to $280,000. The estimate for building the new facility is $12 million. However, not everyone agreed that using the reserve balance was the best solution. City Manager Janice Casteel told the Council, “If you spend $12 million out of your reserve fund, you are going to shut the city down.” She said the reserve fund consisted of $12.3 million.Mrs. Casteel continued, “If you want a gym, you have to pay for it. If you take it from your reserves, you won’t be able to fund your ongoing projects. We have never budgeted to dip into our fund balance.” Councilman Richard Banks said he knew it would be difficult, but the city would not have to pay it all at once. He also said the council would never have the votes for a tax increase or vehicle registration fee. Mayor Tom Rowland pointed out that because of the building’s deteriorating condition, it could also become an issue of liability if it fell before the city had it demolished. It came down to a vote after Councilman Richard Banks made a motion. Councilmen David May and Charlie McKenzie voted no. Banks and Councilmen Dale Hughes and Bill Estes voted to fund the project with reserves.
One person is dead following shooting Sunday night in McMinn County. The victim, 22-year old Brandon Hayes died Monday. He is the nephew of the suspect, 35-year old Marvin D. Hayes. Brandon went to Marvin’s home where a verbal altercation happened. The altercation turned violent when Marvin shot Brandon. The victim was taken to a local hospital, then transferred to the University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is in charge of the investigation. No charges have been placed at this time.
Bradley County patrol deputies, assisted by a tracking K-9, took a suspect into custody, following an armed robbery of the Kangaroo Mart on Springplace Road. Deputies responding to the 911 call were told the suspect first entered the business around 1:30 a.m. on Sunday and asked for the gas pump to be switched on. When the clerk went to conduct other duties in the store, she was confronted by the suspect who was armed with a shotgun and demanded the store’s cash. The clerk described the suspect as a white male who left in a dark-colored older model truck. While the investigation was being made, a call was received at the communications center of a vehicle accident in the 4200 block of Trewhitt Road. Responding deputies arrived and quickly realized the abandoned vehicle matched the clerk’s description from the armed robbery.
Tennessee state troopers are writing twice as many tickets for texting while driving, but it seems many drivers are not afraid to break the law. The Tennessee Highway Patrol handed out 803 citations last year for texting while driving. That’s more than twice as many as the year before. But authorities say there are challenges to enforcing the law. One of the problems officers face in enforcing the law is dialing on a phone looks similar to texting. Dialing a number isn’t contrary to Tennessee law, while texting while driving is. Some lawmakers believe a partial cell phone ban would make drivers think twice about picking up the phone. A bill sponsored by State Rep. Jim Coley, R-Bartlett, which would have required drivers to use hands-free devices died in the House last week.Legislation that would require any data collected under Tennessee’s Common Core standards only be used to track the academic progress and needs of students has passed the House. The bill sponsored by Republican Rep. Bill Dunn of Knoxville was overwhelmingly approved 81-9Monday evening. The standards are intended to provide students with the critical thinking, problem solving and writing skills needed for college and the workforce. They have been voluntarily adopted by 45 states. Tennessee adopted them in 2010 and began a three-year phase-in the following year. One of the main criticisms of the standards is that they could lead to the sharing of personally identifiable student data with the federal government. Dunn’s proposal seeks to prevent that. An amendment to repeal the Common Core standards in Tennessee was withdrawn.