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A great community newspaper serving Halls and Fountain City

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  • By Jake MabeKnox County Clerk Foster Ar-

    nett has moved the countys sat-ellite offi ce from its 15-year spot in Halls Cen-ter to a space in Crossroads Cen-tre (near the for-mer Walmart). It opened May 31.

    Arnett calls it a nicer space with far better

    parking, says the lease came up last month and he thought it was prime time to move, an idea he brought before County Commis-sion last December.

    He says the main reason is to utilize more usable space while saving money.

    Arnett says the offi ce had 3,298 square feet upstairs in the former location, including common ar-eas, and 4,162 square feet in the basement. He says the basement is damp and unusable, adding that employees worked there until 2.5 years ago and it held his inventory unit, which he moved to the Clerks offi ce basement downtown.

    We still had to pay (rent) even though we could not use

    (the downstairs).He said the old site was all

    chopped up, too dark and con-tained tons of wasted space, in-cluding the front area, which he said was largely decorative and included a fi sh pond/wishing well structure, which he said was a hazard he removed in 2014.

    He says total rent which in-cluded space for employees of the Knox County Trustee and the Knox County Sheriffs Offi ce was $4,932.87 a month. He says his current rent is $3,503.64 for 3,200 square feet.

    Were all in the same room, enabling our employees to work much more effi ciently. He calls the move, a good, fi scally sound decision for our taxpayers and staff, and stressed the move was discussed at the commission meeting and workshop. The info is on Arnetts website and a neon sign, put up in April, remains just inside the old site, directing pa-trons to the new location.

    County fi nance director Chris Caldwell confi rmed the monthly rent on the former site, and says total monthly rent on the new site which also covers Trustee Ed Shouse and Sheriff Jimmy JJ

    Jones satellite offi ces is $5,256 for 4,800 square feet. Renova-tion cost is $100,000 $60,000 of which was reimbursed by U.S. Properties Group, from which the new site is leased, and $40,000 of which was set aside (as part of an original $175,000 estimate) last December in fi scal year 2015 county surplus funds.

    Shouse said he had no problem at the other site, that his employ-ees work there eight months out of the year, and says he met with Arnett and someone from the Sheriffs Offi ce several times to look at new locations after Arnett expressed interest in moving. But he says the fi nal decision to move his offi ce was his alone.

    We take in checks and quite a bit of cash. I didnt see how the numbers would work to go it alone to hire (security) and rent 350 square feet. Nobody said this, but I was also worried about people saying that they used to conduct their county business in one place and now would have to drive to two or three other places.

    Knox County Sheriff Jimmy JJ Jones staffs two employees at the Halls precinct.

    We just want to continue to be

    VOL. 55 NO. 23 June 8, 2016www.ShopperNewsNow.com | www.facebook.com/ShopperNewsNow

    (865) 922-4136

    NEWS (865) 661-8777

    news@ShopperNewsNow.comSandra Clark | Ruth White

    ADVERTISING SALES(865) 342-6084

    ads@ShopperNewsNow.com Amy Lutheran

    Patty Fecco | Beverly Holland

    CIRCULATION(865) 342-6200

    shoppercirc@ShopperNewsNow.com

    BUZZ

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    By Betty BeanTwo weeks ago, Amber Roun-

    tree, who served on a task force that studied disparities in aca-demic performances among Knox County students, told her school board colleagues theres some-thing badly wrong with the states funding formula for education.

    You need to be talking to your state legislators about the fact that the BEP (Basic Education Plan) is broken, and our kids are not get-ting what they need, said Roun-tree, who said that working on the task force taught her that most student disparities are caused by poverty, regardless of ethnicity or disability.

    We all have to come together as a community. We have to all reach out to come up with a solu-tion.

    When asked to elaborate, Roun-tree said Knox County Schools greatest need is for additional so-

    Rountree Brooks

    Rountree calls state funding formula broken

    cial workers and guidance coun-selors. She said these positions have never been adequately fund-ed by the BEP, which was created by the Education Improvement Act of 1992 to settle a lawsuit fi led by a group of small school systems that challenged the way the state distributed money between urban and rural school districts.

    The BEP was updated in 2007 (becoming BEP 2.0), but leaders of the states larger school systems complain that the state has sim-ply shifted the burden for paying

    for education to urban districts like Knox County. Periodically, lawmakers consider bills requir-ing the state to fully fund the BEP, but those measures invariably get punted to a summer study com-mittee black hole.

    Rountree said many of the en-hancements included in the BEP 2.0 reforms have never been fully funded guidance counselors and social workers among them.

    Whatever money (Gov. Bill) Haslam put forth this past year hasnt enhanced that area.

    She said Moreland Heights El-ementary School shares a social worker with Pleasant Ridge El-ementary.

    Thats one person trying to meet the needs of 800-plus stu-dents, she said. I dont think theres a perfect solution, but the way were doing it now is obviously not working. Were at the bottom of the barrel with educational

    funding, and Im not sure how anyone in the state can rah-rah the virtues of the BEP.

    Rountree said she feels a lack of connection with representa-tives at the state level like when Bill Dunn was trying to push his voucher bill through, saying he had a letter from the school board, when in reality it was a letter from (board chair) Doug Harris. The majority of the board did not support Dunns bill. And the con-versations Ive had with Harry (Brooks), Im not sure he thinks the BEP needs to be fi xed.

    Brooks, who chairs the House Education Administration and Planning Committee and served on a task force convened by Gov. Bill Haslam to work on fi nding more money for education, said that state government has worked hard

    To page A-3

    Foster Arnett

    Looking for space Clerk moves satellite offi cea presence in Halls, Jones said, and provide an easier way for folks to get their business done without having to go downtown.

    County Commission voted unanimously (with Amy Broyles absent) to approve the move in Jan-uary. Commissioner Charles Busler, whose district includes Halls, says he was told that all the rooms will be larger than what they had, and says a majority of people has told him they like the move.

    Others have complained about inadequate access for those who are disabled or need assistance, includ-ing Halls resident Kenneth Riffey, who visited the new site June 2.

    He said the facility has no pub-lic restroom and no handicapped parking.

    I had to park about 100 feet from the entrance, Riffey said.

    Arnett said its the property owners responsibility to provide handicapped parking. He cited security as a reason for no public restroom.

    Former County Clerk Mike Padgett, who launched satellite offi ces in Knox County, wanted a

    Nicholas Gibbs open house

    The Nicholas Gibbs Histori-cal Society will host an open house 11 a.m. Saturday, June 11, at the original log home of Nicholas Gibbs, 7633 E. Emory Road. There will be food, mu-sic and an opportunity to learn local history. Bring a fold-ing chair and a potluck dish. Everyone is invited. In case of rain, the meeting will be moved to Clapps Chapel UMC, located just past the homesite. Info: Joe Longmire, 687-0314.

    Opals Million Dollar Duck

    The worlds most kind-hearted hoarder is, once again, having to fend off numb-skulled crooks looking to swindle her.

    Eccentric but sweet Opal Kronkie lives near the city dump, and operates Opals Antique Junk Shop, which is a nice way of saying her home is a mess. Shes visited by local actors Desmond and Queenie, the stars of a nearby summer-stock company. While rooting through Opals treasures, they come across a painting of a dead mallard and an apple. Mistaking this for valuable artwork from a museum, the two devise a plan to buy the painting for next-to-nothing, and return it for a handsome reward.

    Its the story line of Opals Million Dollar Duck, a comedy coming soon from the Powell Playhouse.

    It will be performed at 7 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday, June 23-25, with a 2 p.m. Matinee on Saturday at the Jubilee Banquet Facility on Callahan Road. Tickets are $10 with a $5 senior discount for the matinee and can be pur-chased at the door or online at powellplayhouse.com

    Dinner is $15 and lunch ($10) before the matinee. Meal reservations: 865-938-2112.

    To page A-3

    Benefi t sale June 10-11 in Luttrell

    A benefi t/garage/yard sale is planned in memory of Union County resident Sarah Howe, 28, who died in a car accident Feb. 3 leaving behind two young boys. Donations from family and friends include personal items, antiques, col-lectibles, glassware, books, jewelry, scrubs, tools, furni-ture, swing set, and clothing house, shed and carport are full. Cash only, no credit/debit cards. Rain or shine Friday and Saturday June 10 - 11 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Redbud Circle, Luttrell 37779.

    brings tears at Morning Pointe

    Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett and Knox County Commissioner Bob Thomas present a certifi cate to United States Army veteran Earl Hoff meister.

    By Cindy TaylorIt was an emotional afternoon May 27 with many

    tears shed when staff and residents at Morning Pointe Pow