2014 January 19 Archive: January 2014

Archive: January 2014

Archive: January 2014

Tennessee Unemployment Benefit Tax Information Now Available
January 28, 2014

   1099-G Forms Provided Online And Mailed To Claimants
NASHVILLE – Recipients of Tennessee unemployment benefits during 2013 can now access the information they need for income tax purposes on the state Department of Labor & Workforce Development homepage: https://tdlwd.tn.gov/ui1099/. They can also go straight to the log-in page: https://tdlwd.tn.gov/ui1099/login.aspx.
By entering their birth date or the same PIN they used to certify or inquire on their unemployment claim, claimants can view a summary of total unemployment benefits paid to them, view the total amount of federal income tax withheld, and print a summary of this information.
(IMPORTANT – The birth date must be entered in the exact format requested on the form.)
The department also began mailing the IRS Form 1099-G to more than 172,000 benefit recipients on January 14, 2014. The forms will reach claimants no later than January 31, 2014. The U.S. Postal Service will not forward 1099-G forms.
Recipients of unemployment benefits are not required to submit a copy of their 1099-G form with their income tax return. If claimants do not receive their form in the mail and do not have access to the Internet, they may send a written request, including their name, address, date of birth, Social Security number, and phone number, with signature, to:
Special Services Unit
Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development
220 French Landing Drive
Nashville, TN 37243-1002
Questions concerning repayments that are not shown on the total amount of the IRS Form 1099G should be referred to the Internal Revenue Service at (800) 829-1040.

Charter commissioners set Valentine’s Day deadline
January 27, 2014

   According to a memo sent to his fellow charter commissioners last week, Vice-Chairman Joe Barden IV would like to see the charter question on the ballot in early May. “In order to place the charter referendum on the May 6 ballot we must file the charter by February 14; so we have work to do to finalize this document for filing,” Barden wrote.
The Brownsville Haywood County Charter Commission will meet today at 5pm at the Justice Complex. It will be the 18th meeting of the commission. The panel started its work last summer.
Discussion will likely focus on comments from the three public hearings held in December and January.
If the charter commission makes their self-imposed deadline, the referendum would be held on the same date as the intended Democratic Judicial Primary. So far no candidates have announced that they will participate in the primary election.

Haywood High brings home awards in 29th Academic Decathalon
January 27, 2014 – By Rita Hathcock

   Two Haywood High School Academic Decathlon teams competed in the West Tennessee Regional competition Saturday, January 25, 2014, and won 52 medals, 4 plaques, and the second and fourth place trophies. The Purple team scored second in Super Quiz and second overall. The White team scored third in Super Quiz and fourth overall
Individual medal winners were as follows:
Ricarnicea Johnson – Bronze Medal in Super Quiz
Dannon Eubanks – Silver Medal in Super Quiz
Ryan Watson – Bronze Medals in Super Quiz and Math
Milena Mans – Bronze Medal in Super Quiz, Copper Medal in Math
Dontai Anderson – Silver Medal in Super Quiz, Bronze Medal in Math
Nikki Cummins – Bronze Medal in Super Quiz, Copper Medal in Math
Camry Williams – Copper Medals in Math and Music, Bronze Medal in Super Quiz, Silver Medal in Art
Marco Romero – Bronze Medal in Super Quiz, Gold Medal in Math
Will Clinton – Silver Medals in Super Quiz and Math, Bronze Medal in Language and Literature
Chars Edwards – Copper Medal in Math, Bronze Medal in Art, Silver Medals in Super Quiz, Economics, and Music
Kia Davis – Copper Medals in Math and Music, Silver Medal in Super Quiz
Peyton Antwine – Bronze Medal in Music, Silver Medal in Super Quiz
Symphony Timberlake – Bronze Medals in Art and Super Quiz
Jaylon Douglas – Copper Medal in Social Science, Bronze Medals in Super Quiz, Science, Music, Language and Literature, and Economics, Silver Medal in Math
Brent Ward – Copper Medals in Social Science, Science, and Art, Silver Medals in Math, Economics, and Super Quiz
Emma Baumheckel – Copper Medals in Math, Music, Language and Literature, and Economics, Bronze Medal in Science, Silver Medals in Art and Super Quiz, Gold Medal in Social Science
Jaylon Douglas, Brent Ward, and Will Clinton won plaques for scoring fifth overall in their divisions. Emma Baumheckel won a plaque for being the third highest scorer in her division. Ryan Watson was the highest scoring member of the HHS White Team, and Emma Baumheckel was the highest scoring member of the HHS Purple Team.
This year is the 29th year for Academic Decathlon competition in Tennessee. For the twenty-ninth consecutive year, Haywood High School will advance to state competition. Other West Tennessee schools participating were Madison Academic Magnet High School (first place), Obion County Central High School (third place), and Liberty Technology Magnet High School (fifth place).
State competition will be held on the Austin Peay State University campus in Clarksville, February 28- March 1.
Mr. John Thomas and Miss Glynn Bridgewater are the HHS Academic Decathlon coaches, and they join the teams in thanking faculty, staff, administrators, and student volunteers who has helped in the teams’ success.

Brownsville Regional Planning Commission Reveals Business Data
January 24, 2014

   -Joe Sills (@joesills)
BROWNSVILLE, Tennessee (January 23, 2014) – Discussion at Thursday evening’s Regional Planning Commission meeting centered around possible restructuring of city zoning to enhance protection of gateways into the city and an update on the Main Street Brownsville proposal.
Regional planner, Tom Skehan presented several rezoning strategies for the commission to consider, with the goal of updating some of Brownsville’s 30 year-old zoning ordinances. The ordinances were last updated in 2008, but still need some work according to Mayor Jo Matherne. “The environment out there is changing, and we should, I think begin to address it,” stated Matherne. “Solar farms are beginning to pop up everywhere and there may be an opportunity to take advantage of some of that as tax income.”
City of Brownsville Planning Director Sharon Hayes updated the commission on the results of a business survey from the proposed Main Street Brownsville corridor. The study concluded that the corridor, which Brownsville has applied for, held 671 jobs in December of 2013. Additionally, the property value of the proposed Main Street corridor exceeded $29 million.
The study also released a business by category analysis of the corridor, which yielded some interesting results. Within the corridor, Brownsville has:

  • 27 Barbershops or Salons
  • 14 Restaurants (2 of which serve alcohol)
  • 6 Banks or other financial services
  • 6 Furniture stores
  • 5 Accounting services
  • 5 Lawfirms
  • 5 Physicians
  • 4 Groceries
  • 4 Special Interests (Fitness, Karate, Tattoos, Dance)
  • 3 Newspapers, magazines or radio stations


Those, combined with a number of other businesses add up to 671 jobs as of December, 2013. An infographic of the results can be seen on the Point5Digital Facebook page www.facebook.com/NewsTalk1015.

Emergency shelter available during cold snap
January 23, 2014

    With forecasts for temperatures plunging into single digits and wind chills below zero, the Haywood County Emergency Management Agency has opened two heated shelters. The shelters are at the Parks and Recreation Building at 100 Boyd Avenue and at City Hall in Brownsville.
EMA Director Robert Parks says additional information is available by calling 731-780-3311 or 731-443-0807

Interstate 40 Westbound at Exit 42 in Fayette County Closed to Remove Bridge
January 23, 2014

   Traffic will utilize exit ramps to detour around closure
MEMPHIS, Tenn. ñ Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) contract crews will close a short section of I-40 West at Exit 42 in Fayette County this weekend to continue demolition of the original SR 222 bridge that crosses over the interstate. SR 222 over I-40 will also be closed during the demolition process. The closures are as follows:

    • Saturday, January 25, 2014, 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
    • Sunday, January 26, 2014, 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

 

         During the closure, traffic on I-40 West will be routed up the off-ramps at Exit 42 and back down the on-ramps to reenter I-40. Traffic on SR 222 will not be able to cross over I-40 during the closures. Message boards will be placed in the area to alert motorists to the closure. The Tennessee Highway Patrol and TDOT HELP Trucks will also be on-site to assist with traffic.

 

         The work is part of a $10 million project to construct a new interchange at I-40 and SR 222 in Fayette County.

 

         For travel and TDOT construction information, visit the TDOT SmartWay web site at

www.tn.gov/tdot/tdotsmartway/

      or download the new TDOT SmartWay mobile app from the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store for Android. Travelers can also dial 511 from any land-line or cellular phone for travel information or can follow us on Twitter at

www.twitter.com/TN511

      for statewide travel information. Drivers are reminded to use all motorist information tools responsibly. Drivers should refrain from texting, tweeting or using a mobile phone while operating a vehicle. TDOT advises drivers to “Know before you go!” by checking traffic conditions before leaving for your destination.

 

Tornado Safe Space at Haywood Middle School Update
January 21, 2014

    The tornado safe space at Haywood Middle School is underway. A foundation has been laid and blocks are being set in place. The shelter will join others at Haywood Elementary and the Criminal Justice Complex.
The school safe zones are only open to the public when school is not in session. The shelter at the Justice Complex is open at all times during periods of severe weather.

 

Final metro charter public meeting last night
January 17, 2014

   The Brownsville Haywood County Metro Charter Committee hosted their third and final public hearing last night.
During the three two-hour sessions, they’ve heard at least two consistent themes – add more representatives to the metro council and fix the law enforcement strategy.
The committee’s draft makes room for ten elected metro council members. One person would be elected from each of the county’s ten legislative districts. Citizens addressing the committee insist ten isn’t enough. At last night’s meeting, John Ashworth told the committee he thought twenty was the right number. There are currently twenty members of the Haywood County Commission.
While the proposed charter no longer includes elected positions for trustee, register of deeds, county clerk and assessor of property, it does include an elected sheriff. Under the current proposal, the sheriff would be responsible for duties described in the state’s constitution – serving process and running the county jail – but not necessarily for law enforcement. The draft describes a system in which the metro council and the mayor can decide whether the sheriff also is in charge of the countywide police department or if, instead, a police chief is hired. There have been a number of people who told the committee that the sheriff’s duties should include the constitutional and law enforcement duties.
Next steps
The charter commission will reconvene – the next date isn’t yet firm – to assess the public hearings and consider changes. Once their work is complete and the charter is submitted to the Haywood County Election Commission, a referendum will be held for voters to decide the fate of consolidating Brownsville and Haywood County’s governments.

 

Robinson’s Eagle Scout project gives a little more
January 16, 2014

    Haywood Schools student Grayson Robinson raised the funds and found help to build a flag stand at the football stadium where now stands an American Flag, a Tennessee Flag and a HCS flag flying high. Grayson is earning his Eagle Scout award and the flag installation is his Eagle project. This week he donated $314.17 in extra funds to have the flagpole stand repaired at Haywood Middle School.
School Superintendent Teresa Russell said that Grayson has given the schools gifts that “will keep on giving for years to come.”

 

TRAFFIC ALERT – Interstate 40 Eastbound at Exit 42 in Fayette County Closed to Remove Bridge
January 16, 2014

   Traffic will utilize exit ramps to detour around closure
Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) contract crews will close a short section of I-40 East at Exit 42 in Fayette County this weekend to begin demolition of the original SR 222 bridge that crosses over the interstate. SR 222 over I-40 will also be closed during the demolition process.
The closures are as follows:
ï Saturday, January 18, 2014, 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
ï† Sunday, January 19, 2014, 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. †
During the closure, traffic on I-40 East will be routed up the off-ramps at Exit 42 and back down the on-ramps to reenter I-40. Traffic on SR 222 will not be able to cross over I-40 during the closures.†† Message boards will be placed in the area to alert motorists to the closure. The Tennessee Highway Patrol and TDOT HELP Trucks will also be on-site to assist with traffic. †
The work is part of a $10 million project to construct a new interchange at I-40 and SR 222 in Fayette County. †
For travel and TDOT construction information, visit the TDOT SmartWay web site at www.tn.gov/tdot/tdotsmartway/ or download the new TDOT SmartWay mobile app from the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store for Android. Travelers can also dial 511 from any land-line or cellular phone for travel information or can follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/TN511 for statewide travel information.†

 

Stanton Program Hopes to Boost Haywood County Learning with Artificial Intelligence, Free Wifi
January 15, 2014 – By Joe Sills (@joesills)

   Stanton, TNó A new educational program sponsored by the Town of Stanton hopes to prepare Haywood County students for high-paying manufacturing jobs by using an artificial intelligence tutoring system and free, city-wide wifi.
The program, which utilizes a scientific concept called knowledge space theory, would be available for free to Haywood County students, and use artificially intelligent software called ALEKS to replicate a human tutor. ìKnowledge space theory is used to mimic you, a human tutor, interacting with me as a human student,î explained Stanton Mayor Dr. Allan Sterbinsky.
ALEKS is an acronym for Assessment and Learning in Knowledge Spaces.
According to Sterbinksy, there are currently 180 highly-skilled maintenance worker positions waiting to be filled in neighboring Madison County in the next 3-5 years. Those jobs hold an average salary of $63,000. And with the 1,700-acre Haywood County Megasite in Stantonís backyard, Sterbinsky feels more of those positions may be headed towards Haywood County residents.
Those positions require strong math, reading and communication skillsóskills that the majority of Haywood County students do not currently score well in. Presently, 65% of Haywood County students fail state math tests.
The small townís mayor says ALEKS can help fix that.
“We want to be part of the solution,î says Sterbinsky. ìWe want to help citizens obtain their GED. We want to help elementary and high school students improve math and reading skillsÖ teachers in Haywood County are already maxed out, they already have enough work to do, so we’re giving these tools to the parents and church members.”
Students can sign up to participate in Stantonís ALEKS pilot program on Friday, January 31st at 7:00pm at the Stanton Town Hall.
The only tools students would need to utilize ALEKS are an internet connection and web browser; but Stanton hopes to give even further help by providing one of those requirements using free, town-wide wifi services. “Those will be up within the next three to six months,” remarked Sterbinsky.
The Stanton Mayor holds a Ph.D. in Educational Research from the University of Memphis, and has recently completed a 600-student study using ALEKS in Jackson, TN. That study ,
conducted with one of the top 100 researchers in the worldóUniversity of Memphis Institute for Intelligent Systems professor Xiangeng Huóconcluded that ALEKS worked as advertised. According to that study, “T (knowledge space theory) allows for a precise description of what the student knows, does not know, and is ready to learn next.”
Students using human tutors and ALEKS scored evenly on tests conducted during the study.
Now, Sterbinsky hopes to use that knowledge to give Haywood County students more job opportunities by partnering with the Advanced Maintenance Technician Program at Jackson State Community College (JSCC). The goal is to reach JSCCís program entrance requirements of a 19 score on the ACT or 350 on the SAT.
Stanton’s artificial intelligence tutoring program kicks off on Friday, January 31st, 7:00pm with an orientation meeting at Stanton Town Hall. There, students can sign up to participate in the programís initial pilot study on a first-come first-serve basis.

 

BPD offering citizens police academy
January 9, 2014

    If you’re interested in learning more about police work in Brownsville, participation in the Brownsville Police Department’s Citizens Police Academy may be for you.
Applications for the six-week course are being accepted through January 17. The twice-monthly two-hour sessions will include information about the structure and operation of the BPD, how legal statues are applied, introduction to the officers of the BPD and police equipment and techniques.
Applications are available at the main office at 118 North Lafayette Street, and on the City of Brownsville web site, www.brownsvilletn.gov.

 

Tomcats #2 in AP polls
January 8, 2014

   A real Tennessee sports fan – even one as far away as East Tennessee – knows the name Tomcat. They recognize Tomcat as the name of the basketball and football teams with a long, long history of winning. This year’s Haywood High boyís Tomcat basketball team is keeping the reputation alive with a 13-0 record. Yesterday the Associated Press named the Cats the #2 AA team in the state.
Kendall Dancy is the Tomcat’s head coach.

 

Frigid temps close schools, open warming station
January 7, 2014

    Single-digit overnight lows and daytime highs that arenít much warmer, coupled with wind chills that dip “the feel” below zero, have prompted leaders to close schools today.
Yesterday Parks & Recreation offered their building on Boyd Avenue as a warming station.
Temperatures today are forecast to get into the 20ís but school officials havenít said what their plan is for tomorrow, yet.
Parks & Recreation says those who canít find a warm enough place can depend on using their building at least until tomorrow.

 

Cold weather taxing electric grid, utilities warn ó ask for help
January 7, 2014

   NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) ó The Tennessee Valley Authority says it is preparing for heavy electric demand because of the arctic weather blowing into the state.
The public utility serving nearly all of Tennessee and parts of six neighboring states said it expected demand to reach 32,000 megawatts on Tuesday, close to the 32,572 megawatt winter record set in January 2009, when temperatures in the TVA region averaged 9 degrees.
Parts of the state were facing the prospect of single-digit temperatures and wind chills as much as 15 to 18 degrees below zero as the air mass crossed the state Sunday evening and Monday morning.
The TVA has suspended all non-essential maintenance work to minimize the risk of power interruptions.
Southwest Electric Membership Electric Co-opp issued a statement this morning requesting that customers reduce their consumption as much as possible by “turning down your thermostat, turning off unnecessary lights and limiting the use of electric heaters if possible.” Southwest said “we expect this alert to be lifted by midday once temperatures begin to rise.”

 

Tenn. flag easy to fly upside down
January 7, 2014

   NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) ó Tennessee’s flag is easy to fly upside down. It has even been seen flying that way above the state Capitol. That’s because it’s not easy to tell when the flag is right-side up.
The three-star symbol in the middle of the flag represents West, Middle and East Tennessee.
WPLN-FM reports many people want to fly the flag so that the three stars are arranged like a triangle with one over two. But that’s not right. According to a directive made law in 1905 by the Legislature, “the highest star shall be the one nearest the upper confined corner of the flag.”
The mistake is easy to make. In 1976, the U.S. Postal Service released a commemorative stamp with the three-star design upside down.

 

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