Gaines Melvin Briley. a prominent businessman, politician and military veteran from Portland, has died from heart complications at age 81, reports The Tennessean. In the 1950s, his young entrepreneurial spirit encouraged him to launch Briley and Jernigan Insurance and Real Estate Agency in partnership with his brother-in-law, Joe Jernigan. For about 30 years, Briley was a partner in the flourishing business that still operates as Jernigan and Cage Insurance in Portland.
…Briley was also instrumental in the 18-year legislative career of state Rep. Mike McDonald, who knew the late politician for 40 years and considered him a mentor.
“I’ll certainly miss his friendship,” said McDonald, a former Volunteer State Community College professor. “Melvin made Portland a better place, and he’s highly respected by the entire community.”
Briley’s political career expanded beyond Portland when he helped manage the campaigns of former Congressman William Anderson and former Gov. Buford Ellington. Briley served Sumner County as a state representative in the 86th and 87th General Assembly sessions from 1969-72. During that time, he played an instrumental role in bringing Volunteer State Community College to Gallatin. The college was established in 1971.
Democratic candidate Steve Glaser, his wife and law practice owe nearly $88,000 to the Internal Revenue Service in delinquent taxes, penalties and interest, according to The Tennessean. Glaser is seeking the House District 44 seat being vacated by Rep. Mike McDonald, D-Gallatin. Federal and state tax collectors have filed at least 15 liens against Glaser for unpaid personal income, unemployment and business taxes as far back as 1988 and as recently as Aug. 14. The debts total more than $158,000, according to records on file with the Sumner County Register of Deeds.
Glaser, an attorney and former Portland city judge, conceded he owes the IRS back taxes but said he could not recall how much.
“I’m not ashamed of anything,” he said. “I’m doing the best I can to live in the world like everybody else. In life, you’re going to have successes and failures. It’s what you do about it that matters, and I’m paying my taxes.”
Glaser resigned as Portland’s city judge on Aug. 20, stepping down from a position he had held for nine years, to focus on his race against Cottontown Republican William Lamberth, a Sumner County assistant district attorney.
“I’m not a perfect candidate; I’ve had ups and downs just like everyone else. If the voters are looking for the perfect candidate, I’m not him,” Glaser said.
The liens against Glaser range from $82.43 in 2008 to $55,540 for unpaid federal income taxes between 1988 and 1992.
Of the $158,000 in total liens filed, records indicate Glaser has been released from $70,237 in back taxes owed from 1988 through 1994, 2001 and 2002.
News release from state comptroller’s office:
The former school bookkeeper of Beech Elementary School stole more than $17,000 from the school and nearly $2,000 from the school’s picture vendor, an investigative audit performed by the Comptroller’s Division of Investigations in coordination with the Sumner County Sheriff’s Department has revealed. Investigators found that between July 1, 2008, and September 15, 2010, the former bookkeeper, Penny Knight, used different schemes to perpetrate her thefts.
Ms. Knight used more than $13,000 in school funds to pay her personal bills and loans as well as to pay for personal purchases of electronics, groceries and other items. She concealed this activity by creating false invoices and other documents, while altering others. Ms. Knight also forged the signatures of school personnel on the invoices, receipts and checks.
Voting Foulup in Dickson, Too?
At least two voters in Dickson County have experienced the same kind of incorrect ballot problems that affected at least 2,266 early voters in Shelby County, the state Democratic Party and a Dickson lawmaker said Monday. HERE. DesJararlais Has a Primary
Despite some suggestions to the contrary, Congressman Scott DesJarlais says he’s not taking his victory in the 4th Congressional District primary for granted. He’s even bought one TV ad in the primary season. HERE.
House Finance Chairman’s Finances
Rep. Charles Sargent is taking some heat for collecting 80 percent of his campaign money from outside his Williamson County District. Sargent’s challenger, Rob Hathaway, is a political newcomer who said voters are tired of feeling like their voice is shouted down by giant checks and special interests. Sumner Money Sizeups
The Tennessean has stories on campaign financing in Senate District 16, an open seat, and on two Sumner County House races (including Debra Maggart’s District 45. Non-endorsements Noted
There’s a flap over the Hamilton County Education Association not endorsing two longtime members in ongoing races. Rogers Gets an Endorsement
Courtney Rogers has been endorsed by state Sen. Kerry Roberts… and also has a press release taking a swat at Rep. Debra Maggart for using her state office phone number in campaign materials. HERE..
News release from Sumner County Education Association:
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A Sumner County chancery judge ruled in favor of the Sumner County Education Association in its lawsuit against the Sumner County Board of Education in a lawsuit filed last year by the Sumner County Education Association (SCEA).
The lawsuit was filed as a result of the school board’s decision to impose a unilateral increase in Sumner County teachers’ share of their insurance premiums. The court ruled that the school board’s actions were unlawful and ordered the board to repay nearly $1 million in wrongfully withheld premiums to Sumner teachers. Those still working in Sumner County schools will be paid by a premium adjustment over 12 months beginning October 15. Teachers who have left the system are to be paid in a lump sum.
“This is an important victory for the teachers of Sumner County and the Sumner County Education Association,” said Dr. Alzenia Walls, Station Camp High School teacher and SCEA president. “The school board chose ignore its obligations to its teachers and SCEA, leaving us no other option than to file this lawsuit to stand up and fight for the benefits promised to teachers. We feel vindicated by this outcome and hope it reminds teachers they still have a voice in Sumner County.”
This is the second of two lawsuits filed by SCEA in 2011. The first lawsuit grew out of restrictions imposed by the Board of Education on the activities and communications of SCEA and its representatives. SCEA and Walls claimed that those restrictions violated the First Amendment and state law. In late December the federal court issued an injunction against the board of education as a result of those restrictions. Earlier this year, the Sumner County Board of Education approved a settlement of the first lawsuit.
“The resolution of these lawsuits enables SCEA and the Sumner County Board of Education to begin rebuilding our relationship,” said Walls. “We all want what is best for our students and teachers. Bringing closure to these matters allows us to all come together and work in the best interest of Sumner County schools and students.”
A two-page oral sex encounter by an awkward teen at boarding school in the coming-of-age novel Looking for Alaska was deemed too racy by Sumner County schools last week, The Tennessean reports. The district banned the book from its assigned classroom reading list, becoming at least the second in the state, after Knox County in March, to keep students from reading it together in class.
The teen novel is the first in several years to be stripped from Sumner classrooms. Wilson, Rutherford and Williamson county schools say they haven’t banned the book or any titles in recent years. Metro schools didn’t have information on the book as of Monday.
“Kids at this age are impressionable. Sometimes it’s a monkey see, monkey do,” said parent Kathy Clough, who has a freshman and a senior at White House High School, where the book had been assigned reading. “I’m going to trust that my school board made the right choice. … If they feel like this book is a little too graphic, I’m all for it.” Debate over censorship
As many as 500 books are challenged each year, more often by a parent or school administrator and mostly for being too sexually explicit or containing too much foul language, according to the American Libraries Association.
The challenges ignite debate over censorship of books in public schools and how much control a parent should have, as Tennessee lawmakers have passed a bill to deter teachers from promoting “gateway sexual activity.”
News release from Sumner County Education Association:
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – On April 3, 2012, the Sumner County Board of Education approved a settlement of a federal court lawsuit filed last year by the Sumner County Education Association (SCEA) and its president Dr. Alzenia Walls.
The lawsuit grew out of restrictions imposed by the Board of Education on the activities and communications of the SCEA and its representatives. The SCEA and Walls claimed that those restrictions violated the First Amendment and state law. In late December the federal court issued an injunction against the board of education as a result of some of those restrictions.
Under the terms of the settlement approved by the parties, the director of schools will send a letter to all teachers clarifying that the law in fact allows teachers and their associations like the SCEA to engage in many activities and communications that the board previously restricted. The Board also agreed to restore payroll deduction of SCEA dues and to reimburse the SCEA a sum of $50,000 for attorneys’ fees and expenses incurred by the SCEA in pursuing the settled case.
In an effort to improve relationships between the administration of the school system and its teachers, the director will participate in meetings with SCEA representatives at least quarterly to discuss educational subjects and teacher concerns.
“This is a good settlement for the SCEA and for teachers in Sumner County,” Walls said. “It vindicates the principles that led us to believe at the outset that this lawsuit was necessary. We are especially gratified that the director welcomed our proposal to meet regularly to discuss educational and employment concerns. We hope board members will choose to join us in those meetings and that this will mark the beginning of an improved relationship between the Sumner County Board and its teachers.”
Retired Lt. Col. Courtney Rogers of Goodlettsville picked up her petition Friday to seek the Republican Primary nomination for House District 45. The seat is currently held by Rep. Debra Maggart who has filed her petition for the Aug. 2 state primary, reports the Gallatin News. Rogers lived in HD45 even before the recent legislative redistricting. The newly drawn district lines add the rest of Goodlettsville in Sumner County and then swings up the western side of the county through Millersville and White House. The newly added areas are totally untested turf for Maggart who has not had a primary challenge since winning a seven-way open-seat Republican primary in 2004, according to election results at the Secretary of State’s Office.
“I did pick up a petition for State Representative of the 45th District,” Rogers confirmed Sunday. “I want to offer people a choice. Right now I am trying to qualify and I am trying to build a team. It’s early in the process.” Rogers spoke of the importance of unity and restoring values.
Rogers retired in 2008 after 28 years of active Air Force and Air National Guard duty. Her father, Ralph Marion Dryden Jr, served as a helicopter pilot of Marine 1 for three presidents, Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson. Marine Major Dryden was killed in action in the Republic of Vietnam 28 July 1968 at the height of the war’s worst fighting following the Tet Offensive that led President Johnson to decide not to seek reelection.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The American Civil Liberties Union and the Sumner County, Tenn., Board of Education have agreed on policies to be followed in the aftermath of a suit claiming educators were promoting Christianity.
In a consent decree announced Wednesday, schools officials cannot advance their personal religious beliefs to students. Religious symbols and items may not be publicly visible to students. School officials cannot encourage or solicit prayer at school functions.
Additionally, course materials and choral music must have a clear pedagogical purpose.
An attorney for the board did not return an after-hours telephone call from The Associated Press for comment on the decree.
The ACLU claimed the school system had an unconstitutional pattern of religious activities.
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has opened a criminal investigation into allegations of wrongdoing by former Sumner County Administrator of Elections Darlean McDougal, reports the Tennessean. Investigators are looking into allegations that McDougal destroyed documents and took items from the election office, said TBI public information officer Kristin Helm.
Sumner County District Attorney Ray Whitley requested the investigation after members of the Sumner County Election Commission asked for the probe.
On Nov. 15, the election commission voted to replace McDougal, a 39-year employee. They appointed Lori Atchley, a Hendersonville Realtor and construction business owner, as the new election administrator. Atchley’s appointment became effective immediately after the vote and Election Commission Chairman Art McClellan directed McDougal to clean out personal items from her office.
Election commission members said that no one from the board accompanied McDougal to clear out her personal belongings.