Jonesborough OKs speed tables, drainage pipes

At its Jan. 11 meeting, the Jonesborough Board of Mayor and Aldermen approved the installation of five speed tables on South Cherokee Street, hoping the move would reduce speeding and accidents on the road.
Accidents are common occurences at the intersection of South Cherokee and Woodrow Avenue, with motorists coming down the hill too fast and sliding into the guardrail, Town documents stated. Residents of the street also say speeders make it impossible or extremely dangerous to back or pull out of their driveways, according to the report.
One improvement the Town has already made is to put in skid-resistant asphalt, said Mayor Kelly Wolfe.
There have been no accidents on South Cherokee since the special asphalt was put in, said Jonesborough Police Major Matt Rice.
Still, officials decided more measures needed to be taken to reduce accidents.
With the approval of the speed tables, the BMA also approved the option to add more if needed, as well as the installation of an island just north of Green’s Hill subdivision, and the lowering the speed limit on South Cherokee and install signs.
Aldermen Mary Gearhart and Terry Countermine voted to approve, with Alderman Chuck Vest voting against the measure because of the number of speed tables.
He said he thought the number would irritate residents who had to go over the tables often.
“It’s not that hard to take them out if the locals are unhappy,” said Town Administrator Bob Browning.
Also at the meeting, the Town voted to proceed with a plan to improve drainage along McCoy Circle and Louise Lane.
Over the past few months, residents of those two streets have been coming before the BMA to voice concerns about drainage issues.
One main drainage ways for that area come through under Jackson Boulevard across from the car wash near the east entrance of McCoy Circle, and the other comes from under Jackson in front of Jonesborough Elementary School near the west entrance to the circle.
Recent large volumes of rain have brought those concerns to a head, especially with the drainage way that comes from the car wash area. Water from the Lowe’s and McCoy property come down this drainage way.
Because of the rains and the detention pond at Lowe’s (which was inspected and found to have no defects), water held in the pond is let out over a longer period of time.
“While it helps with the front-end volume, the multi-day flow of water after the rains have stopped can be aggravating,” a Town report said.
In the circle, the drainage way passes in front of a number of houses, where water often stands and makes it hard to care for lawns.
After Town officials and engineers examined the property, it was proposed that an 8-inch tile pipe be laid in the drainage way, and two of three 12-inch pipes in the curve under McCoy Circle be replaced with ones of better material.
But to go through with the plan, the Town must get property owners to sign easements to work on private property, an agreement which would hold the Town harmless for any unintended results.
The BMA voted to install two 8-inch pipes after several residents of McCoy Circle and Louise Lane said one pipe would not carry the water away fast enough. The project is contingent on the Town getting approval from all the residents affected.

Child of Alcatraz

Local resident Don Bowden spent time on Alcatraz in the 1950s, but not as a prisoner.
Bowden was just 13 when his family moved to Alcatraz so his father could work as a prison foreman there.
His memories of the three years he spent at Alcatraz are vivid, and the memorabilia in his possession is extensive.
Bowden has several Alcatraz Alumni Association yearbooks, a number of newspaper articles, a magazine containing an article about the children of Alcatraz and their daily trips to the mainland for school, boat schedules, the identification card that got him off the island to attend school every day, an old recipe book with a piece of the rock island attached, and much more.
Bowden said the cost of living on Alcatraz was reasonable – only $35 a month for his family to live in a spacious apartment overlooking the bay.
“That $35 also covered utilities and the laundry, but later, for $5 a month more, we moved into a new apartment with a view of San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge,” he recalled. “It was a beautiful place to live.”
Water was transported to the island by barge, and the inmates did the laundry. But using the prison laundry was not without risk. One of the letters in Bowman’s possession addresses the loss of a dress belonging to his mother.
Apparently an inmate damaged the garment beyond repair in an act of revenge against a shop foreman. The identity of the culprit was unknown at the time the letter was written, on Dec. 18, 1959.
The families lived on the far end of the island and were almost completely isolated from the compound where America’s most notorious criminals were housed. They were also physically isolated from the mainland, and had an extensive list of rules (a copy of which Bowden has in his possession) that had to be followed.
“Families of the prison guards had to live on the island,” Bowden said. “If there was an escape attempt, they had no way to get in touch with guards if they were living on the mainland and no way to get them back in time to be of much help.”
Children rode a passenger boat called the Warden Johnston to and from school every day in all kinds of weather.
some of Bowden’s favorite memories of his time on Alcatraz are of the big boat.
“All of the kids went to school in San Francisco,” he said. “Think about this: my brother started first grade in 1958 and he was probably 5 or 6-years-old. The first day my mother took him. The second day he gets on the boat with all the kids from Alcatraz, gets off at the long, curved pier out there, walks to the top of the hill there and crosses Bay Street and catches a city bus and rides half-way to Market Street and Bay Street, gets off the bus and walks about a block and a half to go to school in San Francisco, and then back that afternoon. There’s a scary thought, don’t you think?”
“And we rode through that heavy fog across the Bay with only a horn to let other ships know we were out there,” he continued, “but that is how we got to school every day.”
Named the Warden Johnston, the big boat transported employees, their families, and prisoners to the island, making fourteen trips a day, although Bowden doesn’t recall being on the boat at the same time as the prisoners. Passengers rode in a glassed-in cabin with a view, but prisoners were stowed below deck with only tiny portholes to see where they were headed, but he does remember seeing prisoners walking off the boat, their hands and feet shackled to prevent escape.
Some time ago, Bowden saw local model-builder Sandy Osgood on television, and was inspired to meet with him about building a model of the Warden Johnston.
“I saw him on TV and so I called him and later met with him to talk about the project,” said Bowden. “He said it would cost $600 to a $1,000 to build it, so I said, ‘let’s do it!’ Then I got in touch with the alumni association and told them about it and they said they wanted it and would buy it. Now I want him to build one for me, too.”
Bowden’s memories of Alcatraz have grown more precious with the passage of time, and he has returned to the island a number of times in recent years. He is active with the Alcatraz Alumni Association which includes former inmates, employees and their children. He is also a volunteer tour guide, taking visitors all over the notorious prison facility and sharing his memories of a remarkable childhood spent on the big rock in San Francisco’s Bay.

Erwin man helps Bowden remember his days at Alcatraz

By Mark A. Stevens
Erwin Record Publisher
[email protected]
Erwin resident Sandy Osgood’s hobby has taken him to an unlikely place – the nation’s most notorious prison.
It’s not anything illegal – but rather his skills as a shipbuilder that have led him there.
Osgood recently completed a 32-inch-long replica of the Warden Johnston, a boat that, from 1945 until 1963, made 12 trips a day between San Francisco and the infamous Alcatraz island prison.
“It’s exciting to have something I’ve built placed there,” Osgood said. “It’s really nice.”
Once completed, Osgood’s replica of the Warden Johnston was sent to be put on display at Alcatraz, which is, today, managed by the National Park Service. More than a million people visit the island fortress each year for tours of the prison that once held Al Capone and hundreds more of the nation’s most notorious criminals.
The chance for Osgood to have his work on display for tens of thousands to view came about after Don Bowman, a former Alcatraz resident who currently lives in Jonesborough, heard a television report about the Erwin “shipbuilder,” known to many as “Captain Easy.”
Bowden has lived in Jonesborough for about seven months, but when he was growing up, he was one of hundreds who lived on Alcatraz with family members. Ira Bowden took a job on the island as a general administration foreman and brought Don and the rest of the family to live there in the apartments provided for families.
Their only transportation to the mainland of San Francisco for shopping and for schools was aboard the Warden Johnston.
Bowden became interested in having a replica of the Warden Johnston built after seeing Osgood featured in a “Cable Country” segment on WJHL-TV.
“I was watching the news and saw Sandy,” Bowden said, “and I said, ‘Wait a minute, maybe I could get that guy to do a re-creation of the boat.’”
A few days later, Bowden and Osgood met at a café in downtown Jonesborough and worked out the details that would bring the Warden Johnston – albeit on a much smaller scale than the 65-foot boat that sailed the rough waters of San Francisco Bay – to life once again.
Both men agreed that Osgood would probably earn only about a dollar an hour for the task at hand, but both also said it was more about preserving a piece of history than making money.
“It will certainly be noted that Sandy made the model and acknowledge Erwin, Tenn.,” said Bowden, who lived on Alcatraz from 1958 to 1960.“There will be a lot of interest in a replica of the Warden Johnston.”
Osgood, a retired sea captain who has lived in Northeast Tennessee for the past decade, took up model shipbuilding only in recent years.
“I build boats that don’t have a kit,” the 70-year-old said.
Osgood originally began creating the Warden Johnston from nothing but old photos of the boat, but he eventually was able to obtain original blueprints of the ship, which helped him get the details just right.
“I’ve been a modeler for about 10 years now,” he said, “and I guess I’m getting pretty good at it.”
Every inch of Osgood’s model represents about two feet of the original 65-foot diesel-motorized boat that was built in 1945 and continued its daily transportation until the federal prison closed in 1963.
But for people like Bowden, the boat was more than a means of transportation. It was a way of life and a link to the mainland. It was as essential to the island residents of Alcatraz as were cars, buses or cable cars to the people who lived in San Francisco.
The Warden Johnston ran almost hourly from 6:30 a.m. to just after midnight each day to the Rainbow Pier at the foot of Van Ness Avenue in San Francisco. On each trip, the boat could transport about 65 passengers, which consisted of correctional officers, family members and even inmates.
“It was really cool to ride,” Bowden said. “At the time, we all liked riding the boat. It wasn’t just fun, though, it was our connection to the island.”
Bowden said Osgood’s model will bring back special memories for the alumni association’s members.
“Think of it this way,” he said. “A lot of people have fond memories of a favorite car from years ago. Well, to us, this was our car.”
Bowden, now 64 years old, was 13 when he and his family moved to Alcatraz. When his father took another job, the family left behind their island home when he was only 16 in 1960 – three years before the prison was closed.
Apartments were available to workers for only $40 a month, which included all utilities and even laundry service. After hours, family members enjoyed parties and social time. There was a community hall, a bowling alley, Ping-Pong table and a playground.
Osgood said he’s happy to be involved in a project that will mean so much to people like Bowden.
“If I ever get out to California,” Osgood said, “it’ll be nice to see something I’ve done on display for so many people to see.”

After 15 years, Washington County Election Commission’s website gets a facelift

For the Washington County Election Commission, a lot has changed in the way they’ve done business during the last 15 years.
But it seems at least one thing has managed to stay the same — its website.
Even that is changing now, thanks to a much-needed facelift to the site.
“It’s the first time it’s been messed with since the mid-1990s,” said Washington County Election Commission Administrator Connie Sinks of the organization’s newly launched site, “We wanted to give it a new look and give people more access.”
A web designer has been working on the site for the last six months to give it an updated look and more value to the citizens of Washington County.
“The guy doing it has won awards for other work he has done,” Sinks said. “I think it’s going to look really nice when it’s all finished.”
Already the site is a vast improvement from its former self, Sinks said.
“But it’s not done yet,” she said. “We’re going to put a lot more information up there and links to what the state is doing.”
Currently the site provides Internet viewers with a list of deadlines for upcoming elections, a list of elected and appointed officials in Washington County and several other bits of information.

Public hearing on stream relocation draws a crowd, State gets earful of opposition

The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation held a public hearing on Thursday to hear comments regarding an application to relocate a portion of a stream on property located on Highway 11-E across from Persimmon Ridge Road.
The applicants, John Molder and Sonja Bailey, are requesting the state water quality permit in order to construct a service station and convenience store on the northeast corner of New Hope Road and Highway 11-E. The proposed development would require the relocation of 245 feet of a stream on the property and would impact .094 acres of wetland.
Two dozen people attended the public hearing despite a bout of winter weather that created dangerous driving conditions by the time the meeting concluded. A handful of those in attendance chose to speak publicly against the stream relocation, airing concerns about potential pollution, possible loss of aquatic life and the unintentional loss of wetlands.
“The scope of this project is very large,” said Jeff Dupre, a Jonesborough resident. “It’s the establishment of a polluting business. We’re going to wind up with a lot of stuff going into that creek that we don’t want.”
Tim Tate, a resident of Meadows Subdivision, which is located directly behind the property in question, said he also had “grave concerns” about the proposed project.
“Things like this will certainly impact the water flow,” said Tate, who questioned whether an environmental impact study had been done on the property.
Jonesborough resident Charles Gutierrez said he was “opposed to any construction near a water source” and expressed concern over “piecemealing” the 4.4 acres of wetlands in that area rather than looking at them as a whole.
“This is one of our last wetlands in Jonesborough,” Gutierrez said. “It should be protected.”
Local environmentalist Frances Lamberts spoke at length about her concerns with the possible relocation of the stream, emphasizing the need for flow data and a stream assessment before a decision is made.
“Without prior data as to what we currently have, we cant really say, and I don’t think TDEC can say, that there won’t be any impact,” Lamberts said.
Robert Mumford, another resident of Meadows subdivision, wondered what the “unintentional” results of the project would be.
“Any time you change a stream, you are liable to do something unintended,” Mumford said. “I worry you’ll drain the wetlands above there.”
Several individuals who spoke expressed concern regarding the project’s proposed car wash while others questioned what would happen to water quality if a gas leak occurred. As it stands, the project map shows four gas pump stations located exactly where the stream currently cuts through.\The applicants’ attorney, Todd Wood, spoke on behalf of his clients, explaining the plan and its impact in an attempt to alleviate some of their concerns
He explained that the entire property is approximately 5 acres in size, with .2 acres of wetlands within its boundaries. That .2 acres is a part of 4.4 acres of total wetlands in the surrounding area.
In order to build the gas station, Wood said 245 feet of the 285-foot-long westerly stream needs to be relocated. However, Wood said the stream isn’t what a “lay person” might consider a stream.
“It’s a stream that is maybe about 12 inches deep upstream,” he said, noting that downstream, the body of water becomes more of a “ditch.”
“Where the wetland stops is where it resembles a ditch,” Wood said. “The only time it had water was when it was raining.”
According to the application, the stream will be rerouted into a 310-foot “meandering channel.”
Wood said the relocation of the stream would be beneficial, as it would “provide a better habitat” for aquatic life and it would “take a stream that is not of high quality itself” and make it better. He also said the project includes additional measures to protect the surrounding environment, including a retaining wall and drainage system.
The public comment period will remain open until the end of the business day on Jan. 22.
Following the closing of the comment period, TDEC officials will review the application and determine whether to deny a permit, issue one or issue a conditional permit. Should TDEC issue a permit to the applicants, those individuals who made public comment at last week’s hearing have the right to appeal the decision.

Teacher evaluation methods in question

Gov. Phil Bredesen was in the Tri-Cities last week to announce that he will exercise his authority to call for a special session of the Tennessee General Assembly focusing on education, including both K-12 and higher education.
 At the heart of the session is Bredesen’s recommendation for a new way of evaluating teachers in Tennessee – a method that would use students’ test results as the main form of measuring educators’ success in the classroom.
The special session starts today, coinciding with the start of the regular legislative session.
Local educators are anxiously awaiting the decisions that come out of those meetings.
Washington County Director of Schools Ron Dykes called the test score method of evaluating teachers’ effectiveness “absurd.”
“Unfortunately, we have come to live and die by standardized testing,” he said. “How successful a student becomes is based on many things. They are with other influences 17 hours of the day while teachers are with them for only seven hours. It is absurd to base the effectiveness of teachers on that one day of testing.
“Teachers do no fear accountability, but they do fear having their accountability and effectiveness measured by inaccurate methods.”
David Crockett High School Principal Carmen Bryant said she welcomes a “more rigorous curriculum and standardization across the state so that parents and students know what is expected.”
But, she warned, using testing data as the main method of evaluation for teachers, “just isn’t good practice.”
Bredesen’s determination to affect change quickly in Tennessee’s educational system appears to hinge on the federal government’s Race to the Top competition where states will compete for a share for more than $4 billion in Recovery Act funds. Race to the Top applications are due on Jan. 19. The U.S. Department of Education has said the states that will be the most competitive will be those that already have policy changes in place at the time of application.
 In order to be competitive for those funds, Bredesen is advocating more vigorous use of student performance databases for teacher evaluation. In order to be in the running for a share of the federal Race to the Top money, the data would need to account for about 50 percent of the evaluation standards, he said.
The compilation of student performance data in grades K-12 was part of the “Value Added Assessment” system, which started in 1992 to try to measure, through standardized testing, the academic gains of students in every classroom.
However, in the past, and as a compromise with the Tennessee Education Association, the statute barred the use of the data as a means for evaluating teachers.
“The way the state evaluates a teacher’s performance right now is the TVAAS assessment – Tennessee Value Added Assessment System,” Bryant said. “When students take an end of course test, there is a score they are expected to get. If they are expected to get a 40, but they only score a 35, which may be passing, this will not score well for the teacher.
“But in other cases, a student who is expected to score a 30 may score a 50. And that is so far above what was expected, that it gives the teacher more points.”
Bryant called the current evaluation system “complicated and confusing” and said she believes a variety of factors lead to a student’s success. While Bryant agreed the current evaluation methods could use some work, “using the results of standardized tests is not a true indicator of how a teacher is doing,” she said.
“For instance, we have a lot of students coming up to the high school that are performing well below their grade level,” Bryant says. “Let’s say they’re performing at a 5th grade level when they get to the 9th grade, but by the end of the year, the teacher has brought them up to a 7th or 8th grade level. That is making wonderful progress, but that won’t be reflected in a standardized test. The standards aren’t a true test.”
Terry Crowe, Jonesborough Middle School principal, agreed that the 50 precent test score evaluation is unbalanced and suggested tracking student progress for at least three years.
“That way you can get a truer view of the student academic progress and all responsibility for their performance won’t land on one teacher,” he said.
Still, Bredesen is saying the time is right to bring student performance back to the table for teacher evaluation — a move, he says, which will offer Tennessee the opportunity to get its share of federal funds.
“Tennessee is really the envy of the national education community because we have one of the oldest and most robust databases of student performance anywhere in the country,” Bredesen said. “What we don’t do, however, is effectively use that information to help improve teacher quality and drive changes in the classrooms.”
The Bredesen administration is in negotiations with TEA to decide how much the data will be factored into teacher evaluation.

Bredesen’s plan:
–Use student performance data among the factors in deciding whether to grant tenure.
–Require student performance data to be used in evaluating teachers, accounting for at least half of the evaluation criteria.
–Require annual performance assessment of teachers.

County schools push back TCAPs

While the snow and cold gave Washington County students and their teachers several days off from school, some officials are concerned about the loss of instruction time needed to prepare for the upcoming Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program, or TCAPs and year-end Gateway testing.
And partly to blame, the snow days will postpone the beginning of the TCAP testing.
TCAPS, which are currently scheduled for April 5, will be delayed until April 7, according to Director of Schools, Ron Dykes.
“We’re doing this because we can,” Dykes says. “We have the extra instruction time available in the schedule and we’re going to take it.”
With five days less instruction, Dykes says that he wants to give students a little more time to get ready for their tests.
“You know, we live and die by standardized tests anymore,” Dykes says. “The more days we can have to prepare, the better.”
“It puts us in a position to score higher. We strive for that all throughout the year. We are very protective of our instructional time.”
But, he adds, the only thing that overrides that is the safety of children.
“It is that and that alone that results in these inclement weather cancellations. We will never jeopardize student safety.”
Washington County has 13 built-in snow days. So far, only five days have been used.
But those missed days can be crucial, according to David Crockett High School principal, Carmen Bryant, who says she worries about the loss of valuable instructional days.
“Even though the high school doesn’t take the Gateway tests until the first week of May – I am still concerned, Bryant says.
“We started our new semester on January 4, and because of snow days, those classes that are just a semester-long – 18 weeks – haven’t even met yet. Those teachers still haven’t seen their students. That puts them a week behind already.
And as for the classes that are year-long?
“Those teachers are ready to come back to school,” Bryant says. “Especially the math teachers. They are always worried about being behind, so that is a serious concern.”
“When you’re out for Christmas break and come back, students’ minds are sort of shut down. It takes a few days to get things back to normal in the best of circumstances. But now, to come back and then miss a week of school – it’s going to hurt.”
Jonesborough Elementary School principal Lisa Lady, on the other hand, says she doesn’t think it’s time to “panic” yet.
“Our teachers do a phenomenal job,” Lady said. “And they have a complete ‘prescription’ of what they need to do in front of them. They know what is required to get the students ready for TCAPs.”
“But I hope we don’t miss any more school,” she adds. “If we do, we could have a problem.”

Beating the winter weather blues with Beulah

Beulah Maloney moved to Telford in 1942 and has lived there ever since. She lived through many storms and unusual weather events during all that time, but said she can’t remember a winter snow event that lingered like this recent one.
Maloney does recall a storm six or eight years ago though that produced at least six inches of snow that covered everything in sight and stayed on the ground for days.
“It was so heavy they had to get a ladder to get the snow off of the roof,” she said. “We were afraid the roof would cave in if we didn’t get it off. This time, it seems the snow has just kept on falling and has lingered on the ground even longer than usual.”
Maloney, who still has her driver’s license at the age of 91, said she doesn’t dare drive in the snow.
“I never have,” she said. “Well, I did once, when I worked at the Klopman Mills. It started snowing and I couldn’t stay over there, so I got one of the men to drive behind me all the way home. There’s not much you can do when you get caught out in it but try to make it home safely and once you are there, stay put.”
A dedicated member of the Telford United Methodist Church, Maloney has watched her town change over the years, and remembers Telford as a “nice little village” when she first moved there.
“Back then they kept the yards mowed, and the fences mended and painted,” Maloney said. “The porches and windows were kept clean and everybody had gardens with flowers and vegetables, but it’s not like that anymore.”
Maloney is one of seven children and was married for three decades before her husband died 40 years ago.
“I’m the only one left, and some times I wonder why I’m still here,” she said. “But I live for every day that I can get; I wouldn’t miss it for nothin’ in the world.”
Even the recent cold weather snap and never-ending snow haven’t dampened Maloney’s spirits.
“Don’t complain about the snow,” she quipped. “It’ll leave after a while.”

Weathering the storm

With 900 miles of roadways to maintain, Washington County Roads Superintendent Johnny Deakins has a big job to do every day of the year. Add the multiple inches of snow that fell throughout the last month, and it suddenly becomes an even larger job.
Deakins’ road crew includes 89 employees who help run 32 snow plows throughout the county during a snow event like the one last week.
However, the county doesn’t run plows at night and cannot pre-salt before a snowfall because there is not a budget for it, Deakins said.
“We have to wait until we know a snow event is coming,” he said. “We are reactive rather than proactive, and we pretty much have to play it by ear. But when we get three or four inches of snow falling in a day and laying on the ground, we are on the road with the plows.”
Similarly, the Town of Jonesborough’s reaction to a snow is determined by the “totality of the event,” according to Craig Ford, town operations manager.
“(Last Thursday night), the snow came late in the evening and was a dry snow,” Ford said. “Our crews spent all night pushing it and then spreading salt, but it wasn’t really effective until Friday. This week’s snowfall is packing, which causes a sheet of ice to form underneath and it is extremely dangerous. That’s when the salt really helps.”
Another winter storm, this one in December, had county, town and state crews scrambling to clean up the 8 to 9 inches of snow that blanketed the region’s roadways.
Deakins said his crew worked 32 hours straight, spreading a mixture of raw salt, additives and limestone in order to clear the county roads. The town’s crews also worked around the clock to keep the roads safe for driving. During the December storm, area highways like Interstate 26, which is maintained by the Tennessee Department of Transportation, saw road conditions that left motorists stranded for hours. The weather was so dangerous it even forced the local mall to shut its doors for a part of the weekend before Christmas.
“That snowfall on Dec. 18 was wet, deep and heavy and it caused tremedous problems,” Ford recalled. “We were overwhelmed with the number of accidents from that one. It was late Friday afternoon when that one hit. There was a lot of traffic on the road, and it turned bad really fast.”

Jonesborough company creates new ‘Germ Terminator’ for shopping carts

Lines of shopping carts rest only a few steps from the front entrance of supermarkets and department stores. Customers maneuver them from aisle to aisle, and by the time they’ve finished, shoppers have left more than just their fingerprints behind.
At the ETSU Innovation Laboratory, carts containing hidden viruses, pathogens, and other common germs enter one of the labs. Seconds later, they come out germ free.
Inside that room is the Germ Terminator, a new shopping cart sanitation system developed by Fleet Cleaning Supply, a company based in Jonesborough.
Though it is referred to as a “system,” the actual device occupies only 4×6 feet of floor space.
One might say it is similar to a small car wash, but the Germ Terminator doesn’t use water, soap, or other chemicals. Instead, it has four ultraviolet fixtures with a total of eight UV bulbs that do all the work.
Paul Stamm, chief financial officer for Fleet Cleaning Supply, describes the sanitation process as “simple.”
After the carts are gathered together, they are pushed through the Germ Terminator and expelled through a set of self-closing doors and are then ready for customer access.
“The unit provides the user with a germ-free cart in a matter of seconds,” said Fleet Chief Executive Officer Danny Glenn. “This green technology has no effect on environmental conditions.”
During the development phase of the device, faculty members from East Tennessee State University’s Department of Environmental Health tested and certified the carts and determined that the Germ Terminator kills 99.9 percent of all pathogens, viruses, molds, yeast, and algae.
The Germ Terminator is available for purchase, and a patent is pending. For more information, contact Fleet Cleaning Supply at (423) 753-4096 or 956-3450.

Fowler announces candidacy for County Clerk of Washington County

Tony Fowler announced his candidacy in the Republican primary for the office of County Clerk of Washington County.
Fowler is a lifelong resident of Washington County and currently lives in Telford with his wife, Darlene and their 5-year-old daughter, Terra.
He is a 1988 graduate of David Crockett High School.
Fowler served as a bail bondsman in the First Judicial District and is a licensed private investigator in Tennessee.
He currently serves as the regional sales manager of an automotive marketing and consulting firm.
“Having worked for the past 15 years in the automotive industry, I feel that I bring a wealth of experience to the County Clerk position,” Fowler said. “Being the general manager of a major automotive group brought the challenges of being responsible for various transactions concerning proper documentation, customer care, managing employees and keeping the company viable while working under a budget.”
Fowler said his experience has taught him that customer satisfaction is an important key to success.
“I will use my years of experience to serve the citizens of Washington County in the friendliest and most respectful way possible,” Fowler said. “I will also serve the citizens with professionalism and gratitude for enabling me to serve them as their county clerk. When elected I will be accessible at all times.”
The Republican primary is set for May 4.
Others who have picked up papers to run for the county clerk position include Sheila Haren, Ron England and Kathy Storey.

County must replace road signs by 2015

By Kate Prahlad
Assistant Editor
[email protected]
Washington County will have to spend around $200,000 on a federal unfunded mandate to replace the county’s 10,000 road signs by 2015.
The current signs will either have to be replaced, or refaced, in order to make them a higher reflectivity, said Johnny Deakins, superintendent of the Washington County Highway Department.
“I guess they got a panel of people together who decided since the population was getting older in the United States that signs needed to be seen better at night at a longer distance,” Deakins said.
By 2010, the majority of the U.S. population will be 45 years and older, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
All states that receive federal funding have to replace the road and street signs with higher-visibility ones by 2015, and all street-name signs must be replaced by 2017.
3M is the only company that makes the high-reflectivity signs, Deakins said.
“We can reface old signs,” Deakins said. “We’re going to be doing a lot of that.”
In November, the county transferred $76,000 to the County Highway Department to pay for the sign replacements in two county zones. There are five total zones in the county.
“We’ve got three zones left to do,” he said. “[For replacements in the next three zones], it’s going to cost us around $200,000 to $225,000.”
Replacement should start in early 2010, he said.

ACS offers scholarships for young survivors

Young cancer survivors preparing for higher education may be eligible for scholarships from the Mid-South Division of the American Cancer Society.
The Society’s Mid-South Division will award $1,000 scholarships to eligible individuals who have fought cancer and are attending an accredited university, college or vocational/technical school.
Awards for the 2010-2011 academic year will be announced in April 2010.
“Childhood cancer survivors have faced incredible challenges,” said Angel Strange, quality of life director for the Mid-South Division of the American Cancer Society. “Awarding these scholarships is our way of helping the students to build a promising future.”
To be eligible, applicants must be under 25, have had a cancer diagnosis before age 19 and be a resident of Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Tennessee, or Floyd or Clark counties in Indiana and a United States citizen.
Candidates must also have a GPA of at least 2.5 or GED equivalent and been accepted to an accredited school.
Since 2001 the American Cancer Society Mid-South Division has provided more than 1,500 college scholarships to childhood cancer survivors.
Through this program, the American Cancer Society has invested more than $1.5 million back into our local communities.
Applications must be postmarked on or before February 1, 2010, for consideration for the upcoming academic year.
Scholarships will be awarded based on financial need, leadership, academic achievement and community service.
For more information on the scholarship program or to obtain an application, call 1-800-227-2345 or visit

Proposed changes at Persimmon Ridge intersection include signal, gas station

A pair of plans for property near Persimmon Ridge Road could have its intersection with Highway 11-E seeing major changes if approved.
Last month, Town officials moved forward on a contract with the Tennessee Department of Transportation in which TDOT agrees to do $270,000 worth of safety improvements at the intersection of 11-E and Persimmon Ridge Road.
“This is a much-needed project, and as you may know, we are trying to develop an even better plan that will reduce safety issues with Ben Gamble Road and New Hope Road,” a Town report states. “Signalization is part of this project, which is much needed at the intersection.”
Plans are also in the works to align Ben Gamble Road and New Hope Road with Persimmon Ridge to help with safety issues.
Jonesborough Mayor Kelly Wolfe said the Town has had discussions with the people who own property around the intersection about how their land will be affected.
The Town will most likely have to purchase the triangular piece of land at the corner of Ben Gamble, which officials have discussedwith the owner, Wolfe said.
On the other side of the intersection, at the northeast corner of New Hope Road and 11-E, is a piece of property that could also see changes if proposed plans for it move forward.
A convenience store and service station is proposed for the southwest corner of that lot. But first, the applicants – John Molder and Sonja Bailey – must get a permit from the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation because putting a service station in the area, which is 0.094 acre, would require the relocation of a small tributary of Little Limestone Creek, a move which some Jonesborough residents are protesting.
“It is indeed a very small stream. I’ve walked it several times,” said local environmentalist Frances Lamberts. “It’s tiny and there is not year-round flow. Part of the channel is interrupted.”
But the issue, Lamberts said, is not the size of the stream, but its job in a larger water system.
“It contributes to a whole stream development there,” she said. “It’s part of the headwater of streams that confluence later, and it brings much-needed clean water to Little Limestone Creek, which has already had its burden of pollution.”
The TDEC document announcing a Jan. 7 public hearing on the permit describes “two unnamed tributaries,” and the one to be moved as “the westerly stream” with “little flow in a fairly straight channel with essentially no canopy.”
Of the westerly stream, 245 of its existing 285 feet would be moved into a new 310 feet of “meandering channel,” the TDEC document states.
Molder said he can’t really comment on the matter at hand, adding that the decision is in the state’s hands.
“We’re not moving a stream,” he said. “All it is, is runoff from a stream…People have misunderstood and thought it was a stream. We are relocating runoff.”
Wolfe noted that he and Town officials have seen no plans for any gas station, but he is aware there has been a request to alter part of the stream that runs through the property off Persimmon Ridge.
Whether to grant the property owners permission to alter the tributary’s path is a TDEC matter, and no part of that decision belongs to the Town, Wolfe said.
“At this point, until someone files a formal request with the Town, it’s not a matter we’re addressing,” Wolfe said.
The main impact may not necessarily come from the re-routing or re-engineering of the stream, but from covering up and putting asphalt over the 0.094 acre of wetland, Lamberts said.
She noted that from Headtown Road to Persimmon Ridge Road, approximately a 3.2 mile-stretch, there are seven gas stations, which equates to one every 80 yards.
Lamberts reiterated that the Town should have some say in what develops at that intersection.
“Fifty yards away, there are six acres ready to be developed,” she said. “If the Town could mediate, there must be some way to move the gas station across the road without an impact on the developer.”
It doesn’t look like the convenience store lot would be affected by any traffic signalization; in fact, the signal may make it easier and safer for traffic to get to the proposed gas station and convenience store.
“We have an obligation to look out for the safety and welfare of the people of Jonesborough,” Wolfe said. “Once plans are presented, which they have not been yet, we would be happy to assess the situation.”

But, to say the Town needs to stop this type of development at this point is “definitely premature,” he added.

“There’s obviously a concern over private property rights and the ability of folks to utilize the property however they want,” he said. “That needs to be kept in mind.”

Local author James uses storytelling background to write his suspense novels

When reading the Patrick Bowers’ novel series by local author Steven James, be warned: Don’t try to second guess him. He may make a move and catch you off guard.
Steven James is a tall, thoughtful man who expresses himself beautifully, so much so that one might never guess what is really going on under that calm exterior.
James is a writer of suspense novels, books filled with complicated situations and bloodthirsty characters. He is also an oral tradition storyteller with a master’s degree in fine art from East Tennessee State University. Storytelling influences his work, making it fast-paced, vibrant and full of imagery.
“My first degree taught me how to think, but my degree in storytelling taught me how to talk,” James said. He lives in this area, but travels extensively teaching writing and storytelling workshops, telling stories and gathering material for his suspense novels.
Believable, and sometimes horrid, characters strengthen his suspense novels. Some are so real that the hair on your neck may rise just thinking about them.
Standing beside those wretched fiends, however, are equally believable people you’ll want to know better — vulnerable characters who want to do right, but find themselves tempted to join the other side at times — all stuff right out of the world of storytelling, which is not just for children.
“Storytelling for me is creating characters that you can care about,” James said. “The struggle is to find balance. My characters are multidimensional people who need to solve both their internal and external problems and I want them to grow into people you can identify with.”
Consider Pat Bowers, the protagonist in the series. Bowers is an FBI criminalist whose knowledge of state-of-the-art law enforcement technique elevates him to an elite status in the world of crime investigation.
He’s also a widower and step-dad to a daughter he loves but barely knows. It’s all very complicated, but when Pat Bowers is on the scene, everything will turn out alright.
“The things that make a great story are characters we want to see overcome struggle,” James said. “I always try to create characters that I care about and want to see succeed, then I take them deeper into the situation they are dealing with. The resolution is a surprise.
“These books (the Patrick Bowers series,) are about death, good and evil,” he said. “But they are also about relationships. I try to keep them believable and still surprise the reader. My task is to climb into the characters, even the antagonists, get to know them and get back out.”
Read about the series, which includes The Pawn, The Rook, and The Knight, which came out last month,at The Bishop will be on the shelves in 2010, adding to James’ interesting lineup of 25 publications.
James will teach a ‘weekend of in-depth instruction and manuscript critique’ at Emmanuel School of Religion February 25-28. The workshop will accept only ten writers, so if you have a novel in the works and want some up close and personal advice, go to for more information.