Friday, May 1, 2009

The Latest News

The Cookeville city council is looking at ways to be more equitable to people who use very low amounts of water, but the council still wants to city to be able to pay for improvements that will be necessary down the road for the water treatment plant. The council held a work session Thursday to discuss water and sewer rates. They went over a report from the firm of Raftelli Financial Consultants, which recommended that the city implement what's called a base charge for their water service. That's basically a fee that everyone pays which covers the cost of printing and mailing bills and reading meters, but not the actual cost of water. However, the firm also recommended a rate hike for water customers, depending on their usage. Right now, everyone gets a minimumu bill based on 2,000 gallons a month of usage, but about 25 percent of the city's customers don't actually use that much. They would see a price break next year under the plan presented yesterday, while most everyone else would see the cost of their water and sewer service going up. The question now is how much and whether a large initial increase is better than several small hikes over a number of years.

The power of technology has now cost a Cookeville police officer his job. Authorities say Officer Robert Cantwell has resigned over an incident in which he took a cell phone photo of a dead body at the scene of a wreck and then sent that photo to other officers, including Chris Ferguson, who reportedly sent it to someone else. Ferguson has been suspended for five days and Cantwell has resigned after an investigation of the matter which apparently first came to light when the photo utlimately got back to a member of the victim's family. Chief Bob Terry says he is now working on a policy for the use of cell phones and other devices, but says he is "amazed and disgusted" that the event took place. He says he has personally apologized to the victim's family.

Tennessee State Senator Dolores Gresham will address more than twelve-hundred-fifty Tennessee Tech University graduates during spring commencement beginning at ten a.-m. on Saturday, May ninth, in Hooper Eblen Center. Gresham is the chairwoman of the Senate Education Committee. As a Senator for the twenty-sixth district, she represents Chester, Crockett, Fayette, Hardeman, Hardin, Haywood, McNairy and Wayne counties in West Tennessee. Students graduating from T-T-U this spring hail from twenty-six states including Tennessee, seventy-six Tennessee counties and eighteen foreign countries. They represent forty-one undergraduate fields of study and twenty-one graduate fields. Following spring commencement, T-T-U will have granted more than sixty-five-hundred degrees.

Four Tennessee Tech University saxophone students are set to compete in the prestigious Fischoff Chamber of Music Competition in South Bend, Indiana. They are members of a group called the Appalachian Quartet that is one of only a dozen ensembles from the United States and Canada selected for round two of the prestigious Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition. It is set to be held at Notre Dame University on May eighth. The Appalachian Quartet is made up of Andrew Allen of Gainesboro, Nicholas Dearing of Knoxville, Benjamin Elsberry of Nashville and Jacob Stanfield of Pulaski. The four are students of TTU saxophone professor Phillip Barham. From the dozen ensembles competing in the quarterfinal round, six winners will advance to the final round, where the top three ensembles will be selected.

The adage about teaching a person to acquire his own food in order to eat for a lifetime is one Tennessee Tech University’s schools of agriculture and human ecology have taken literally in a project that creates a partnership with faculty and students at DeKalb County High School. With a two-year, two-hundred-thousand dollar U-S-D-A grant, the university has established hydroponic growing systems for tomatoes and lettuces at DeKalb County High. The purpose of the project is to see if growing their own vegetables helps the students make healthier food choices. T-T-U principal investigators Melinda Anderson and Janice Branson say they hope to expand the project to include several other high schools in the future.