New chairman faces challenge in speeding up commission meetings

first_imgShare this:FacebookTwitter JACKSBORO, TN (WLAF) – Johnny Bruce has built a career as an educator, coach, administrator and county commissioner, but now faces one of his stiffest challenges as the new chairman of the commission – how to make the meetings and workshops move more quickly and efficiently.   WATCH HERE.Aided by a short public comment list, the workshop last week ended in slightly less than two hours, giving the new chairman reason for optimism. At the end of this week’s regular meeting, however, Bruce felt it necessary to admonish commissioners to deal with details on many topics at committee meetings, pointing out that the group spent “over 20 minutes on sanitation issues that should have been handled in committee.”Sanitation and building and grounds issues actually dominated much of Monday’s meeting, as Ralph Davis, who chairs both committees, had a long grocery list of motions along with a lengthy report on the numerous improvements that have been made in the sanitation department since new director Bill Rutherford was hired in January.The commission unanimously approved one Davis motion to seek bids to replace doors in the upstairs part of the courthouse and another to authorize Davis to meet with Jellico and state officials in an effort to secure grant money to help pay for a new building in Jellico that would house both county field offices and Jellico Utilities offices.Davis then made a motion to approve a sanitation committee decision to seek a $500,000 grant to purchase and install compactors at the county’s convenience centers and another to declare surplus 17 used wheel hubs and exchange those hubs to the tire distributor for $75 each in credit toward future tire purchases. Both motions were approved unanimously.Davis then renewed his ongoing feud with Mayor E. L. Morton, presenting a letter that he had prepared that, he explained, would clarify the role of the commission liaison to the sanitation and maintenance departments.The letter stated that the purpose of the commissioner serving as liason for both departments “is for communication between the department director/supervisor and the commission, as well as a representative for employees of such departments should they not feel comfortable” going to their department supervisor.The letter continues to dictate that inquiries made to Morton’s office regarding matters of either department would be directed to the director of the department “and/or the chairman of the committee, not the department liaison.”This letter would bypass Charles Baird, the liaison elected by the commission and instead direct public inquiries or complaints to Davis, who chairs both committees. At the workshop last week, Davis had complained that some calls concerning sanitation issues had gone to  Morton’s office, although Morton had been removed from control of the department.At the meeting, Davis asked if Morton would sign the letter, which was basically a memorandum of understanding.“You don’t need my signature,” Morton replied.Davis then made a motion, seconded by Scott Stanfield, for the commission to request the mayor’s signature on the memorandum. This motion passed, but not by the usual unanimous vote. First term commissioners Zachary Marlow, Dewayne Baird and Tyler King all voted “no” as the motion passed 9-3.  (CORRECTION:  Commissioners Dewayne Baird, Tyler King and Scott Kitts voted “no”)Morton only had one item to add to the agenda, the possibility of partnering with Highland Telephone to seek a $472,000 grant to expand broadband service into rural Campbell County. His request met with resistance, after Finance Director Jeff Marlow and attorney Joe Coker both brought up potential problems.The county failed to secure a 100 percent grant last year and the amount needed to complete the project is more than the $472,000 available this year. There are legal problems with the county partnering with a non-governmental entity.After several minutes of discussion with no motion offered, Bruce directed that the details should be worked out in committee before the matter is brought up before the full commission.Dewayne Baird and Scott Kitts both brought to the commission’s attention a letter each had received from Property Assessor Brandon Partin, responding to inquiries they made after the workshop when some taxpayers were complaining that their tax bills went up despite the commission’s vote to lower the tax rate.In his letter, Partin conducted a short seminar on how tax assessment works, explaining that the state certified tax rate in a reappraisal year is an average of total property values in the county, but some property could be expected to have been increased in value, through improvements or other factors.Partin, responding to criticism from some commissioners, added in his letter that, “However, had the commission approved the tax rate of $2.25, like was intended, each individual would no doubt have seen a large increase.” (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 10/22/2019-6AM)last_img read more

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Hercules lauds quality of Sports Psychology course

first_imgGuyana Amateur Basketball Federation (GABF) Men’s Senior Head-coach Junior Hercules, has lauded the quality and overall importance of the recently staged Sports Psychology Course, which was hosted by the regional entity the Panam Sports Organization. This sentiment was shared during an exclusive interview yesterday with Stabroek Sport. According to the Hercules, the forum which was sponsored by the Guyana Olympic Association, offered the ideal platform to assess the mental aspects that are related to the performances of athletes.He added, “This program allowed me to examine the inner working for the reason behind an athlete’s mentality and performance. Most of the content targeted high-performance athletes with professional aspirations. Guyana needs to consider providing sports psychology to their national sports program.” The course which lasted for the duration of four days and was also conducted in Spanish, was staged on July 8th, 15th, 22nd and 29th.According to Hercules, the course highlighted the limitations of what a coach can achieve by himself in the attempt to improve the overall quality of the country’s ability. He further stated that insight was also provided in understanding the importance subjects of stress and motivation and their direct correlation to quality performance. Hercules divulged that awareness was also provided into the subject matter of mental optimization and how this process relates to and affects and influences other factors that have a direct impact on performance.He further revealed, “(1) the course suggests a coach cannot do everything and will need help to deal with the players especially if one country is serious about performing at the Olympic level. (2) The course helps me to understand the usefulness of stress and motivation and its connection to high performance. (3) Mental optimization is a process and this process with connected objectives, objectives have Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely.”According to Hercules, an altered or reinvented approach has to be employed by the respective national player selection committee of the GABF, disclosing that emphasis and overall selection should also factor in the topic of mental fortitude of the prospective players. He added, “Guyana Basketball recruitment not only has to look at the physical talent we have to reexamine selection to include players with a strong mentality.”last_img read more

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IBF bantamweight champion, Joseph Agbeko home for Christmas

first_imgTwo-time IBF bantamweight champion, Joseph Agbeko plans to spend time with his extended family this Christmas.Agbeko returned home to a rousing welcome last Tuesday after his remarkable victory over Columbian Yohnny Perez, to regain world championship status.The boxer is being hailed the world over for his impressive performance against Perez after he snatched the IBF bantamweight title from him last year.Agbeko is now enjoying well deserved break but wants to spend time with his family who stood behind him in rough times.He said he will be in Sogakofe for the Christmas festivities and to spend time with his two children.Source: Joy Sports/Ghanalast_img read more

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Vikings reportedly fine Stefon Diggs more than $200K for missing practices, meetings

first_img Giants’ Saquon Barkley on timetable for return: How can anyone tell me how long I’ll be out? Drew Brees injury update: Saints QB (thumb) throws weeks after surgery Multiple teams have inquired about trading for Diggs, but it’s reportedly unlikely he’ll be moved before the Oct. 29 trade deadline. However, Minnesota could revisit these talks in the offseason.Diggs signed a five-year, $72 million extension before the 2018 season, but is off to a slow start in 2019 and has tallied 13 receptions for 209 yards and a score this season.He isn’t the first Vikings receiver to voice frustration with the team’s performance this year.Wideout Adam Thielen said Minnesota has to “be able to throw the ball” last week following the team’s 16-6 loss to the Bears. Since making that statement, Diggs has racked up more than $200,000 in fines for unexcused absences from practices and meetings, according to ESPN. This included team meetings on Monday and Tuesday as well as two practices.Despite his absence, Diggs is expected to be active Sunday when the Vikings take on the Giants in New York. Related News The Vikings are cracking down on Stefon Diggs for missing team practices and meetings amid trade speculation.While the Minnesota receiver hasn’t confirmed or denied that he wants to be dealt, he said there is “truth to all rumors” earlier this week. Patriots’ Jonathan Jones won’t be fined for hit on Bills QB Josh Allen, report says Minnesota (2-2) will attempt to correct its offensive struggles against New York (2-2) at 1 p.m. ET.last_img read more

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Mayo Clinic: Early signs of testicular cancer often noticeable

first_imgDEAR MAYO CLINIC: Are there ever early signs of testicular cancer? If so, what are they? What treatments are available?ANSWER: Yes, there are early signs of testicular cancer that are often noticeable, particularly when males do regular testicular self-exams. Identifying testicular cancer in its early stages is important because, as with many kinds of cancer, the sooner it is detected, the better the chance for successful treatment.Testicular cancer occurs in the testicles, which are located inside the scrotum, a loose bag of skin underneath the penis. The testicles produce male sex hormones and sperm for reproduction. When compared with other types of cancer, testicular cancer is rare. But in the United States, testicular cancer is the most common cancer in males between the ages of 15 and 34.The most common early sign of testicular cancer is a firm lump within or enlargement of a testicle. These nodules or masses are usually painless. To catch testicular cancer in its earliest stages, I recommend that my patients get in the habit of performing testicular self-exams once a month. A good time to do this is during or after a shower because the heat from the water relaxes the scrotum, making it easier to find anything unusual.The testicles are usually smooth, oval and somewhat firm. It is normal for one testicle to be slightly larger than the other. Also, the cord leading upward from the top of the testicle is a normal structure within the scrotum. If you notice any new lumps or bumps, or any other changes during a self-exam, make an appointment to have them evaluated by your doctor. Blood tests, imaging exams such as ultrasound and other diagnostic tests can help your doctor determine if a lump may be testicular cancer.Fortunately, even when cancer has spread, testicular cancer often responds well to treatment and, in most cases, a cure is possible. But if you notice any changes in a testicle, particularly new lumps or enlargement, make an appointment to see your doctor as soon as possible.– R. Houston Thompson, M.D., Urology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn.last_img read more

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APNewsBreak: Medicare bought meds for dead people

first_imgWASHINGTON | Call it drugs for the departed: Medicare’s prescription program kept paying for costly medications even after patients were dead.The problem was traced back to a head-scratching bureaucratic rule that’s now getting a second look.A report coming out Friday from the Health and Human Services Department’s inspector general says the Medicare rule allows payment for prescriptions filled up to 32 days after a patient’s death — at odds with the program’s basic principles, not to mention common sense.“Drugs for deceased beneficiaries are clearly not medically indicated, which is a requirement for (Medicare) coverage,” the IG report said. It urged immediate changes to eliminate or restrict the payment policy.Medicare said it’s working on a fix.Investigators examined claims from 2012 for a tiny sliver of Medicare drugs — medications to treat HIV, the virus that causes AIDS — and then cross-referenced them with death records. They found that the program paid for drugs for 158 beneficiaries after they were already dead. The cost to taxpayers: $292,381, an average of $1,850 for each beneficiary.Medicare’s “current practices allowed most of these payments to occur,” the report said.Of 348 prescriptions dispensed for the dead beneficiaries, nearly half were filled more than a week after the patient died. Sometimes multiple prescriptions were filled on behalf of a single dead person.Investigators don’t know what happened to the medications obtained on behalf of dead people, but some may have been diverted to the underground market for prescription medicines. The report said HIV drugs can be targets for fraud since they can be very expensive; one common HIV drug costs about $1,700 for a month’s supply, it said.Medicare is the government’s premier health insurance program, providing coverage to about 55 million seniors and disabled people. Prescription coverage delivered through private insurance plans began in 2006 as a major expansion of the program. But it’s also been a target for scams.The report did not estimate the potential financial impact across the $85 billion-a-year Medicare prescription program known as Part D. But investigators believe the waste may add up to millions of dollars.“The exposure for the entire Part D program could be significant,” said Miriam Anderson, team leader on the report. “The payment policy is the same for all drugs, whether they are $2,000 drugs to treat HIV or $4 generic drugs.”In a formal response, Medicare agreed with the investigators’ recommendations.“After reviewing this report, (Medicare) has had preliminary discussions with the industry to revisit the need for a 32-day window,” wrote Marilyn Tavenner, the Obama administration’s Medicare chief.Medicare had originally maintained that the date of service listed in the billing records could instead reflect when a pharmacy submitted bills for payment. That billing date might have actually occurred after a prescription was filled, since some nursing home and institutional pharmacies submit their bills in monthly bundles.However, the inspector general’s investigators found that about 80 percent of the prescriptions for dead beneficiaries were filled at neighborhood pharmacies, undercutting Medicare’s first explanation. As for the remainder, the investigators said they didn’t see any reason pharmacies can’t report an accurate date of service.Investigators said they stumbled on the problem during an examination of coverage for AIDS drugs dispensed to Medicare beneficiaries. Sexually transmitted diseases are an increasingly recognized problem among older people.That earlier investigation raised questions about expensive medications billed on behalf of nearly 1,600 Medicare recipients.Some had no HIV diagnosis in their records, but they were prescribed the drugs anyway. Others were receiving excessively large supplies of medications. Several were getting prescriptions filled from an unusually large number of pharmacies.Prescription drug fraud has many angles. When the high price of a drug puts it out of reach for certain patients, it can create an underground market. And some medications, like painkillers and anti-anxiety pills, are constantly sought after by people with substance-abuse issues.___last_img read more

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Potential Cristiano Ronaldo goal record controversy

first_img Cristiano Ronaldo has an excellent chance to over-take Raul Gonzalez as Real Madrid’s all-time goalscorer, but there is debate over how many goals he needs to do so.  CEST There is potential controversy lying in wait this weekend when Real Madrid take on Granada. Sport EN But thanks to a goal in 2011, which deflected off Pepe, Marca and Real Madrid claim he has 322 to his name so far. Officially it was given to Pepe but if Ronaldo scores one goal on Saturday against Granada, some people will no doubt be claiming that he has equalled the record, while others keep their powder dry until he actually does. Cristiano can avid all problems by scoring three goals – something that could easily happen, given he has netted eight in two games and Madrid put nine past Granada last season at the Santiago Bernabeu. center_img Raul notched 323 goals in a Madrid shirt in 741 games. 16/09/2015 Upd. at 18:25 Ronaldo has 321 goals and needs two more to level the Spanish legend, and three to surpass him. At least that’s what most people think. Watch Pepe’s deflected goal here:last_img read more

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Srikkanth says sorry for England, Australia debacle

first_imgChief selector K. Srikkanth has apologised for the first time for the team’s dismal performance in the last few series and admitted that it is a transitional phase in Indian cricket.”I take responsibility as chief selector for what has happened. I accept the blame. I say sorry to the Indian public for doing badly. But we will bounce back ,” Srikkanth said in Aaj Tak’s Seedhi Baat programme.However, the former opening batsman said it was time to look to the future.”We have to look forward rather than crib about things that went wrong. Why cry over spilt milk?””I don’t believe in giving excuses. Sometimes you win, sometimes you don’t,” he said.Srikkanth believed that India was going through a cricketing recession.”This is a stressful period for Indian cricket, and the best way to emerge from this stress is to go through it. Look at Australia, England, West Indies, Pakistan, Sri Lanka – all cricketing nations have gone down in the dumps but have emerged stronger. You can’t be on top all the time. It’s a cycle and all cricketing teams go through it,” he said.India has suffered back-toback 0-4 whitewashes in England and Australia during Srikkanth’s tenure.One of the bright spots in recent times has been the emergence of Virat Kohli and the chief selector lauded his mental strength.”Virat is willing to take responsibility in a crisis situation. He is a fighter. That shows his character,” he said.Srikkanth denied that skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni is over-burdened with leading the team in all three formats.He also refused to be drawn on issues regarding the rift between Dhoni and Virender Sehwag.Srikkanth also believed that Sachin Tendulkar should continue playing for as long as he wants.”Sachin is doing a great job, leave him alone! Leave the decision of retiring to Sachin – he knows what to do and what not to do. He has achieved a humanly impossible target,” he signed off.advertisementlast_img read more

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Axel Springer Buys Business Insider

first_img Blodget said BI was not running a sales process when Axel Springer came calling, but Axel’s earlier investment made an impression. “We were not looking to sell the company,” he said. “When they approached us and asked us if we would consider it, based on our experience with them we were excited.” On the call Axel Springer said a no-debt value of $390 million for BI is based on 6x 2016 revenues.  “Business Insider knows how to reach the 18-24 year olds, where and how they want to read news,” he said. “Which brings us to the main reason for the success of Business Insider, the digital storytelling. Punchy headlines, engaging visuals and fast-breaking news. It’s a combination of being serious and fact-driven but on the other hand entertaining. That leads to a very attractive audience.” For his part, Blodget also sees major potential in paid content. “There’s a limit to the depth of journalism and content you can produce with only and advertising model,” he said in the call. “We can go much deeper with a subscription model and Axel Springer has incredible expertise with subscriptions.” Axel Springer has made good on earlier reports that it was close to buying business news site Business Insider. The company, which already owned a 9 percent stake, announced this morning that it’s buying another 88 percent for $343 million based on a full value of $442 million. Döpfner pointed out that BI has already started a paid content model, with BI Intelligence and its recently launched Tech Intelligence, and sees that as an opportunity to hedge ad revenues. “They’re already monetizing with regards to ad revenues and they’ve already started the paid content model. We hope we can do more things on that front since Axel Springer has been an early mover and player with subscription models.” Following the deal, Axel Springer projecting 30 percent annualized revenue growth. BI is expecting a 50 percent growth rate for 2015. Axel Springer expects BI to break even by 2018 including growth investments.  Moving forward, Döpfner says the first priority will be continued growth in reach (“It’s all about growth”), then more monetization and then boosting profits.  Axel Springer CEO Mathias Döpfner said on the call that the deal was attractive for mainly two reasons—BI’s millennial audience, with numbers describing one in four visitors as a business millennial, and the potential for a much bigger subscription platform. Founder and CEO Henry Blodget and COO Julie Hansen will stay with the company, remaining “significantly committed” on the equity side, said Blodget in a conference call. But Blodget is also betting heavily on distributed content and the recent alpha launch of BI’s more generalized content brand Insider is a result of that. “Instead of publishing on a website, we will be placing the stories where the readers are—on social platforms. We launched Insider on social. It’s very video heavy and that could grow to be very broad in terms of what we do.”last_img read more

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