Health department opens clinic Saturday for flu shots

The Blount County Health Department will offer H1N1 flu vaccine from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 24, at the Blount County Health Department.

No appointment is necessary to receive the vaccine. The H1N1 flu vaccine will be provided at no charge. The entrance for this mass clinic will be in the back of the building.

The type of H1N1 flu vaccine being distributed is both the Flu Mist and flu shot.

The Flu shot is best for: Pregnant women, people who live with or care for infants younger than 6 months of age, health care and emergency medical personnel, anyone from 6 months through 24 years of age, anyone from 25 through 64 years of age with certain chronic medical conditions or a weakened immune system.

As more vaccine becomes available, these groups should also be vaccinated: Healthy 25 through 64 year olds, adults 65 years and older. The Federal government is providing this vaccine for receipt on a voluntary basis.

The Flu Mist is best for: The nasal-spray flu vaccine is approved for use only in healthy people, without chronic disease, 2-49 years of age who are not pregnant. It is also available for healthy persons 50-64 years old who are health care workers or caretakers of a baby under six months old.

If you are not among these groups, you will not be able to receive the H1N1 vaccine on this day.

No shortage of 2009 H1N1 vaccine is expected. However, initially only limited quantities and types of vaccine will be available. The Tennessee Department of Health expects to receive enough H1N1 vaccine in coming weeks so anyone who wants to receive it can do so.

The Blount County Health Department will continue to announce future H1N1 clinics. Also, information about upcoming clinics and vaccine availability are on the Tennessee Department of Health Web site at http://health.state.tn.us/H1N1.htm.

Rick Wilson named one of top K-8 principals in nation

John Sevier Elementary School principal Rick Wilson was has been named one of 63 outstanding elementary and middle school principals from schools across the nation and abroad. He has been named a 2009 National Distinguished Principals (NDP) by the National Association of Elementary School Principals.

Wilson is principal of John Sevier Elementary School in Maryville. Wilson and the other principals will be honored Friday, Oct. 23, at an awards banquet at the Capital Hilton Hotel in Washington, D.C., as part of a two-day program.

The event is funded by VALIC, a provider of defined contribution plan services in the United States to public education employees in the K-12 market.

The NDP program, which is held in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Education, will feature an address by Secretary of Education Arne Duncan at the awards banquet. NAESP and the U.S. Department of Education started the program in 1984 to recognize public and private school principals who make superior contributions to their schools and communities. The distinguished principals are selected by NAESP state affiliates, including the District of Columbia, and by committees representing private and overseas schools.

“Great principals are leaders who can change belief systems, support teachers, and ensure all students have access to good instruction and opportunities to reach their academic potential,” Duncan said. “We need thousands of great instructional leaders like the NDP Class of 2009 to instill the belief that every child can learn, help turnaround the most chronically underperforming schools, and replicate models of success that can be found throughout our nation.”

NAESP Executive Director Gail Connelly commended the 63 principals for being role models for school leadership. “For the past 26 years, our National Distinguished Principals program has provided us with the opportunity to recognize many of our nation’s most accomplished principals-everyday heroes-who work tirelessly to drive school performance and student achievement,” she said. “Principals empower teachers, galvanize parents and communities, and most important, ensure innovative learning environments so that the children they serve can reach their highest potential.”

Build an orange Power T with Keep Blount Beautiful

Keep Blount Beautiful is recruiting volunteers to fill hundreds of bags to create the Power “T” at McGhee Tyson Airport when the University of South Carolina football team comes to town on Oct. 28.

Dubbed The Big Orange Trash Bash Clean Up, the event is an effort to clean up Blount County’s roadsides.

Volunteers can clean up roads anytime before Oct. 25. Call Keep Blount Beautiful to pick up trash bags, gloves, vests - all of which are provided by the Metropolitan Knoxville Airport Authority. All the orange bagged litter will be displayed at the McGhee Tyson Airport to welcome the South Carolina Gamecocks on Saturday, Oct. 31, with the world’s largest trash bag T symbol. Free T-shirts will be given to the first 150 volunteers.

Community Action Agency requesting weatherization program contractors

The mission of Blount County Community Action Agency is to provide services and develop resources with partnering agencies to meet basic needs and improve lives of low income individuals, elderly, and disabled in Blount County.

One program which makes this possible is the Weatherization Assistance Program. The goal of this program is to make energy efficiency improvements to homes of eligible low-income households to offset heating and cooling consumption. Weatherizing for the long-term helps reduce utility bills year after year.

In addition to the regular yearly funding amount for this program, Blount County Community Action Agency - Weatherization Assistance Program has received an additional $1,260,904 through the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act (ARRA) for the grant period of June 9, 2009 through Sept. 30, 2010 (or until funds are expended).

This will enable Blount County Community Action Agency to weatherize a minimum of 164 eligible homes in addition to those weatherized under our regular program.

Blount County Community Action Agency contracts with energy auditors and contractors to provide the work of inspection and completing the weatherization work on each home. In order to bid on the weatherization jobs in Blount County, a contractor must be pre-approved by Blount County Community Action Agency - Weatherization Assistance Program Coordinator, Mitzi Long.

While weatherization contractors are required to have a license and insurance, there is a packet of information that must be completed and returned prior to approval. The Tennessee Department of Human Services (DHS) and the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) provides training classes for this program that meets U. S. Department of Energy standards.

Contractor training is a one-day training class with modules on how to install DOE approved weatherization measures on homes, including installing insulation, air and duct sealing, and correcting safety issues in a home. This class is based on the Southeast Weatherization Field Guide.

Due to the high demand for these classes, contractors interested in attending this training should call 1-877-830-3304 to get on the waiting list, and they will be notified when the training is scheduled.

Contractors who bid on a Weatherization Assistance Program job will be subject to the federal Davis Bacon Act. Contractors are not required to own a blower door in order to bid on weatherization jobs, but may, at their discretion, choose to lease one from Blount County Community Action Agency in the process of installing weatherization measures.

If a person is interested in applying to be an approved energy auditor or contractor for the Blount County Community Action Agency - Weatherization Assistance Program, please contact Mitzi Long at 865-983-8411, ext. 24.

Trick or Cans returns to help Food Connection

For the 12th year Blount County residents can expect high school students at their door Halloween night. Instead of expecting candy for their sweet tooth, they’ll be asking for cans and non-perishable food items for the Blount County Community Food Connection.

Emily DeLozier, a member of New Providence Presbyterian Church, is helping coordinate the event. “It is run by high school students from all four schools. There are kids from all four schools involved in it,” she said. “Last year we had over 250 students who helped with it and brought in over 9,000 pounds of non-perishable food items.”

DeLozier said groups of students pass out fliers in mailboxes the week before Halloween to let residents know they will be coming back on Halloween to collect non-perishable food items. “They all have a T-shirt that says ‘Trick or Cans,’ to let people know who they are. People can leave the food by their mailbox if they prefer not to have someone by their door,” DeLozier said. “If they don’t get a flier, they know not to expect someone to come to their house. If there are people who want to donate and don’t get a flier, we will be at New Providence Presbyterian Church parking lot 5 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. that day to load up.”

DeLozier said the students go out and pick up the bags of food and bring them to New Providence, load them onto a truck and deliver them to the Food Connection the next day.

The cost of the 2008 effort was about $1,300. Anyone who wants to donate money to offset the cost of T-shirts or the truck rental can contact DeLozier at 865-256-5403 or New Providence Presbyterian Church at 865-983-0182.

Chamber looking for 2010 Business Excellence nominees

Nomination forms and applications are now available for the annual Blount County Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Awards.

These awards are given at the Chamber’s annual dinner in February and the Chamber encourages businesses to fill out the application and give their company the recognition it deserves as one of Blount County’s best.

“These awards allow us to recognize businesses not only for best in class practices, but to also thank them for their contributions to Blount County and its citizens,” Existing Industry and Excellence Award Committee Chair Kristi Foxx said.

The categories for this year’s awards are: Business Manufacturing, Business Service, Business Retail, and Non-Profit/Governmental. “We have a diverse mix of business here and encourage everyone to participate as we all strive to continue making Blount County a great place to live and work.” Foxx said.

The winner’s for each category will win recognition at our annual meeting in 2010, an outdoor sign displaying your award to the community, a press release to the local media, and a special listing in our membership directory for the year 2010.

Applications and nomination forms are available online at www.blountchamber.com and at the Chamber office. “In an effort to go green and reduce our paper usage, we felt like having the awards available online would increase participation and also make it easier for companies to fill out.” said Fred Forster, President/CEO for the Blount County Chamber of Commerce.

The application deadline is Nov. 6. To submit an application, or if you have any questions about the Business Excellence Awards, please contact Bill Eanes at 865-983-7715 or beanes@blountindustry.com.

Submit nominees for United Way Volunteer Award

United Way is looking for Blount County’s volunteer of the year. Earlier this week, the organization began accepting nominations for its first Live United Volunteer of the Year Award, which the organization will present at its annual meeting in January.

The award will be offered in two categories: One to honor a group/business and one to honor an individual.

Regina Jennings, who chairs the Year of Caring committee that developed the award, wants the award to be an opportunity for the community to show appreciation to the unsung volunteers in Blount County.

“A lot of volunteer hours go unnoticed...not that they’re even asking for recognition,” Jennings said. “But sometimes it’s nice to recognize somebody that really puts a lot of goodwill into the community.”

Anyone interested in nominating a group or individual for the award should contact United Way of Blount County at 865-982-2251 or visit liveunitedblount.org/volunteeraward to download a nomination form.

United Way of Blount County supports programs that address health, education, and self-sufficiency. For more information or to give to United Way, visit www.liveunitedblount.org or call 865-982-2251.

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