Tag Archives: healthy

State Parks, at age 75, Making More Money With Leaner Raccoon Mascot

Tennessee’s state park system turned 75 this year, and if visitation is any indicator, the yearlong celebration has been a resounding success, according to the News Sentinel.
An estimated 31 million people visited Tennessee’s 54 parks in 2012.
According to Brock Hill, Tennessee’s deputy commissioner for parks and conservation, that’s a 1 million increase over last year.
“It’s been a great year for us to reconnect with folks,” Hill said. “We’ve tried to engage a whole new generation of people who previously weren’t going into parks, people who were even afraid of the woods.”
Tennessee’s park system was established by legislation in 1937. Most of the early parks were developed through Depression-era programs like the Civilian Conservation Corps, the Works Progress Administration and eventually the Tennessee Valley Authority.
….This year, Tennessee parks teamed up with the Tennessee Department of Health to promote healthy eating and healthy hikes. They even tweaked the image of the parks’ mascot, Ramble the Raccoon, to make him look leaner and stronger.
A limited edition 75th Anniversary Passport is available at state parks, and the park’s Junior Ranger program is offered at 24 parks — double the number from a few years ago.
Revenues were up this year at Tennessee’s seven resort parks. Each year, the parks’ restaurants and inns generate about $36 million — enough to cover their operating costs as required by the General Assembly.
Tennessee is one of only eight states in the U.S. that does not charge park entry fees. The parks operate on about $75.4 million a year and receive additional appropriations for capital and maintenance projects
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Budgeting Decisions: Filmkakers vs. Child Abuse?

The Tennessean has a couple of interesting stories on state budget issues that, perhaps, present a bit of a contrast.
One features entertainment industry folks lamenting that the state doesn’t give away enough incentive money to movie producers so that they are enticed to film in Tennessee.
Even as states like Louisiana, Georgia and North Carolina sweeten the pot for filmmakers, Tennessee’s film fund, along with proposed legislation to expand incentives, is not gathering steam under Gov. Bill Haslam’s administration…. Whereas other states cover up to 30 percent of an in-state film’s production, sometimes without spending limits, Tennessee offers filmmakers a 17 percent production discount.
The other features concerns over the pending end to funding for Healthy Start, a program that aims to prevent child abuse and neglect in enrolled families.
The state spends a little over $3 million a year on the program, which is funded through DCS and administered by the state Health Department. There are eight community-based agencies throughout the state, including Middle Tennessee sites in Nashville and Shelbyville.
The Metro Public Health Department serves about 160 to 180 families in the program annually and has seen significant outcomes, said Dr. Kimberlee Wyche-Etheridge, director of the Family Youth and Infant Health Bureau. Families stay in the program for three to five years and are offered services to improve parent-child interaction and decrease dependency on public assistance, among other things.
“It’s not a quick fix of one or two home visits, but it’s a long-term commitment to a family to get them in a place where the child’s well-being is optimized,” she said.

Note: The Haslam administration is opposing both new handouts to the film industry and renewed funding for Healthy Start.