County-wide clean-up set for Saturday

HUNTSVILLE, Tenn. — The annual Vivian Smith Scott County Looks Good To Me county-wide clean-up will be held Saturday, April 22, 2017.

The event begins with registration at 9 a.m. and continues until 12 p.m. Residents are urged to get involved and spend the morning cleaning up a road of their choice within their community.

There will be several registration locations throughout Scott County, each of which will be manned by county commissioners. In the 1st District, the registration location will be Fairview School. In the 2nd District, the registration location will be Robbins School. In the 3rd District, the registration location will be the Scott County Office Building. In the 4th District, the registration location will be Helenwood Baptist Church. In the 5th District, the registration locations will be Pine Hill Community Center and Winfield City Hall. In the 6th District, the registration location will be Oneida High School. And, in the 7th District, the registration location will be Burchfield School.

A community cookout will follow the clean-up, beginning at 12:30 p.m. at the Scott County Office Building in Huntsville. The cookout is free and prizes will be awarded.

The county-wide clean-up is a collaborative effort of the Scott County Mayor’s Office and the Scott County Litter Program, the Scott County Recycling Center, the Scott County Sheriff’s Department, the Scott County Road Department, the Scott County Board of County Commissioners and the Scott County Chamber of Commerce.

Boys & Girls Club to host car show

ONEIDA, Tenn. — The Boys & Girls Club of the Cumberland Plateau will host an antique car show Saturday, April 22, 2017.

The show will begin at 9 a.m. and continue until 1 p.m. The registration fee for all automobiles and motorcycles is $10. A free dash plaque will be presented to the first 25 cars, and each registration includes a free pancake breakfast.

Admission is free for spectators. There will be a pancake breakfast for $5, and bounce house admission will also be $5.

Continue reading at DiscoverScott.com…

Health Department offers free flu vaccines

HUNTSVILLE, Tenn. — Flu season is here, with seasonal influenza cases now reported across Tennessee. The Scott County Health Department is working to protect the entire community by providing flu vaccinations at no charge to area residents on a first come, first served basis. A small amount of vaccines is still available and to ensure they can be used to protect health will be provided at no charge to patients until vaccine supplies are depleted. Patients may walk in to request a flu vaccine any time during regular clinic hours or appointments can be made to receive flu vaccine, and are now being scheduled at the clinic.

“Anyone, even healthy people, can get the flu and serious problems related to the flu can happen at any age. Vaccination is the best protection against the flu, and the Scott County Health Department recommends that everyone six months of age and older get a flu vaccine every year,” said Art Miller, County Director. “It takes about two weeks to be protected after you get the flu vaccine, so we want everyone who hasn’t had their flu shot to get one right away to help keep our community healthy.”

The flu vaccine is especially important for people at high risk for serious illness or death from influenza such as the elderly, pregnant women and young children, as well as healthcare workers and family and friends of anyone at high risk. Expectant mothers should be vaccinated during pregnancy to protect themselves and pass protection on to their unborn babies.

Both adults and children may receive the free flu vaccine at the clinic.

Call the Scott County Health Department at 663-2445 today to book your appointment. The clinic is located at 344 Court St. in Huntsville and open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.

Hospital will open as Big South Fork Medical Center

ONEIDA, Tenn. — Scott County’s new hospital will open this spring as Big South Fork Medical Center, it was announced Monday.

Rennova Health Inc., the Florida-based company that purchased the hospital facility from Pioneer Health Services, said in a news release Monday morning that the new name is the result of the “Name Your Hospital” community involvement campaign that the company conducted on Facebook.

“We want to thank everyone who participated on Facebook to offer many great ideas,” the hospital said in a release. “We narrowed down the ideas to the five most popular suggestions and sent three qualified recommendations to the local Chamber of Commerce for final selection. This was truly a community effort.”

Tony Taylor, administrator of the hospital, said that allowing the community to choose the hospital’s name shows Rennova’s commitment to Scott County.

“I have been a part of this community for over three years now and it is encouraging that the new owner for this hospital wanted the community to take the lead in naming it,” Taylor said. “This name represents our market very positively. We are very appreciative to the community for participating and naming the facility, as this is more than just a building that sits on a hill. We are part of the community, we are here for you.”

The hospital said there will be several announcements made as the core management team works towards reopening the hospital. While the exact opening date is uncertain, the hospital expects to begin receiving job applications March 1 and will soon announce a web portal for the online application process.

“The opening of Big South Fork Medical Center is a day our business community has anxiously awaited for the past eight months,” said Ben Garrett, president of the Scott County Chamber of Commerce. “The benefits of the hospital’s reopening will extend well beyond the obvious, which is our residents having access to quality health care close to home. Community hospitals are vital to the economic health of rural communities like ours. The new hospital will play a vital role in Scott County’s efforts to recruit new industry and sustain our existing small business community. Thank you to Rennova Health and Mr. Tony Taylor for their faith in Scott County, their investment into our community, and their diligent efforts to quickly work through the process of breathing new life into our hospital.”

Improvements to be made to O&W Bridge

Improvements are coming to the historic O&W Railroad Bridge in the Big South Fork National River & Recreation Area.

The Scott County Chamber of Commerce announced in July 2016 that it has received grant funding through a tourism grant to fund a $97,000 project to replace all timbers on the century-old bridge. The grant was facilitated by the Industrial Development Board of Scott County, and supported by the Tourism Committee of the Chamber of Commerce.

Work on the bridge was originally expected to begin at the conclusion of the fall tourism season in November. However, an unexpected delay in the release of funding has resulted in the project being delayed.

» Continue reading at DiscoverScott.com…

Winter sights await at Grand Gap

Stand on the edge of the cliffs that line the Big South Fork of the Cumberland River and a few of the small streams flowing into it between Leatherwood Ford and Station Camp, and it isn’t hard to imagine the Cherokee Indians that once inhabited these lands before the white man arrived standing on the rock outcroppings, scouting the river valley below.

When it comes to aerial views (from foot) of the Big South Fork, it’s hard to beat any one of the dozen or so marked overlooks scattered about the rim of the gorge north and south along the river. But if your idea of taking in the scenery and getting away from the day-trippers that head to places like East Rim and Blue Heron, it’s hard to beat a hike along the Grand Gap Loop.

A 6.8-mile loop trail along the west rim of the river gorge, Grand Gap Loop offers views that are simply spectacular — especially during the winter months, when there is no foliage to limit visibility.

» Continue reading at DiscoverScott.com…

Tis the season for flu prevention

HUNTSVILLE — On Nov. 1, Scott County Mayor Dale Perdue and county health department director Art Miller met to kick-off the promotion of the importance of the flu vaccine. Perdue is asking all county citizens to take advantage of the flu vaccine being offered at the Scott County Health Department and other local health providers and pharmacies in Scott County.

The Scott Health Department is currently providing flu vaccine and will provide clinics at the local schools within Oneida and Scott County.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Tennessee Department of Health report that the influenza (flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses.  It can cause mild to severe illness.  Serious outcomes of flu infection can result in hospitalization or death.  Populations such as young children and elderly are at a higher risk for serious flu complications.

“The most effective defense against the flu is to be vaccinated,” stated Miller.

The CDC reports the flu vaccine will protect against the influenza viruses that research indicates will be most common during the season. This includes an influenza A (H1N1) virus, an influenza A (H3N2) virus, and one or two influenza B viruses, depending on the flu vaccine.

“Good health habits such as covering your cough, washing your hands often and people who are sick should stay home to recover and to prevent spreading illness to co-workers and friends can assist in preventing the spread of germs such as the flu as we enter the flu season,” said Miller.

Schedule your appointment today for your flu shot by calling the Scott County Health Department at 663-2445 or contact your provider.

Burning ban in effect for Scott County

HUNTSVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam has imposed a temporary ban on open fires in Scott County and 50 other counties in Middle Tennessee and East Tennessee.

As a severe drought continues to worsen across the region, Governor Haslam on Monday responded to the growing number of wildfires in Tennessee by issuing the burning ban. The ban applies to campfires and the burning of vegetation, construction debris and household items. It does not apply to grills or similar enclosed devices, although residents are urged to be cautious about how grill ash is disposed of, either by waiting until the ashes have cooled or dousing them with water.

As of Wednesday, Nov. 16, there were 67 active wildfires in Tennessee, encompassing some 23,000 acres, according to the Tennessee Division of Forestry. There were no active wildfires in Scott County.

The U.S. Drought Monitor currently classifies Scott and surrounding counties as being in a severe drought.

Highland Telephone certified for gigabit internet speeds

SUNBRIGHT, Tenn. — Highland Telephone Cooperative was certified today as a Gig-Capable Provider by NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association. Highland earned this award after more than six years of work to replace its copper network with an all-new fiber optic network. Because of the new system, the cooperative is able to deliver world-class gigabit broadband speeds to the people of Morgan and Scott counties in Tennessee and McCreary County, Kentucky.

The gigabit speeds are 100 times faster than the top speed many Americans can receive in their homes.

“This gigabit certification caps off years of careful planning, investing and building a brand-new fiber network for our area,” said CEO Mark Patterson. “All along, we knew our commitment was worth the effort so our friends and families in this area could keep their rural lifestyle without sacrificing world-class connectivity.”

To build the fiber network capable of bringing gigabit speeds to the region, Highland crews and contractors ran more than 2,700 miles of fiber — enough to stretch from the cooperative office in Sunbright, Tennessee, to Vancouver, British Columbia. The $66 million investment is already improving the region’s quality of life, health care options, educational opportunities and economic outlook.

“Our area lacks interstates and many economic advantages that other communities enjoy, and we’ve suffered through some extremely high unemployment in recent years,” Patterson says. “An asset like a gigabit-capable network can be our competitive edge when it comes to bringing in industry and growing existing businesses.”

While gigabit speeds are a major tool for economic development, the speeds will also add convenience to the daily lives of those in Highland’s service area. For example, Highland members with a 1 Gbps internet connection can download a two-hour, high-definition movie in as little as 25 seconds. Downloading that same movie on a 10 Mbps connection would take about 55 minutes.

NTCA Chief Executive Officer Shirley Bloomfield lauded HTC for its commitment to innovation and service.

“I applaud Highland for its commitment to delivering the internet’s fastest speeds — an accomplishment worthy of much praise considering the challenging circumstances small, community-based telecommunications providers operate under in serving some of our country’s most rural and remote communities,” Bloomfield said. “By building a gigabit-capable network, Highland has not only overcome these challenges, but also shattered conventional benchmarks for broadband speed to enable cutting-edge technologies that drive innovation and promote economic development in their communities, region and nationwide.”

More information about the NTCA Gig-Capable Provider certification program is available at www.ntca.org/gigcertified.

County audit conducted

HUNTSVILLE, Tenn. — The Tennessee Comptroller’s Office has completed its annual audit of Scott County’s basic financial statements for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2016, resulting in only minor findings.

The Comptroller’s office on Nov. 8, 2016, released the findings of the audit. In the Office of Director of Finance, the audit found that a scheduled principal payment on a capital outlay note had not been made. In the offices of Clerk & Master and Register of Deeds, the audit found that duties were not segregated adequately.

Specifically, auditors noted that the finding in the Office of Director of Finance was due to a staff member not understanding the rule of repayment provisions authorized for debt instruments.

“As soon as the error was presented to the Finance Department, the principal payment was made to the bank,” the audit noted. “The finance director discussed the procedures of the repayment of debt instruments with the staff member. The finance director will be reviewing the debt schedule each month for that fund. The finance staff will attend continuing education courses that pertain to GASB updates and changes to state law pertaining to accounting, purchasing and budgeting.”

In the offices of Clerk & Master and Register of Deeds, the finding regarding inadequately separated duties was a repeat finding.

“A resolution to correct this deficiency was never suggested; therefore this clerk had no idea on how to correct this to the audit’s satisfaction,” Clerk & Master Jane Lloyd noted.

“It really didn’t hinder or make the office operate in a better manner, but I made these corrections to comply with the state requirement so that federal funds would not be withheld from the county,” Register of Deeds Benjie Rector noted.

Both offices submitted a plan for corrective action as a result of the audit. In the Clerk & Master’s office, the clerk will be responsible for making bank deposits. In the event that she is absent, the bookkeeper will take deposits to the bank. The bookkeeper will not issue manual receipts, and the chief deputy will not issue checks. The actions were put into place on July 1, 2016.

The complete audit is available for inspection.