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State Prohibits Open-Air Burning for 7 Counties, More Expected

Press release from the Tennessee Department of Agriculture; June 29, 2012:  

NASHVILLE – State Agriculture Commissioner Julius Johnson has issued a burn ban for Cheatham, Dickson, Gibson, Giles, Marshall, Maury and Sumner counties. The burn ban is effective immediately and will remain in place until further notice.

The ban applies to all open-air burning including leaf and woody debris and construction burning, campfires, outdoor grills and other fire activity outside of municipalities where local ordinances apply.

Under state law, the commissioner of agriculture, in consultation with the state forester, has the authority to issue burn bans at the request of county mayors under certain weather conditions. Requests from county mayors for a burn ban are considered in consultation with the state forester based on a number of factors including weather, climate, fire danger, fire occurrence and resource availability.

“We’re working with local officials to take action when requested and where appropriate to reduce the risk to citizens, property and emergency workers,” Johnson said. “With the extremely dry conditions and little prospect for rain anytime soon, we want to encourage the public to use good judgment and to avoid situations that can cause fire, even in areas not covered under a burn ban.”

A violation of a Commissioner of Agriculture Burn Ban is considered reckless burning and is punishable as a Class A misdemeanor which carries a fine of $2,500 and/or up to 11 months 29 days in jail.

The burn ban does not prohibit the use of fireworks. However, citizens should check for local restrictions and are encouraged to attend public displays as an alternative to shooting fireworks themselves for the Fourth of July holiday.

In areas not under a burn ban, the public is asked to refrain from debris burning until significant precipitation is received and to avoid other activities that could cause fire.

State and local firefighters are seeing an increase in fire activity statewide. Major causes include sparks from field equipment and vehicles, escaped debris burns, discarded cigarettes, lightening, campfires, arson and fireworks. Citizens can help support their local fire departments by checking for and following local burn restrictions and quickly reporting any wildfire.

Counties currently under a burn ban, additional fire safety tips and wildfire information can be found on the TDA Division of Forestry’s wildfire prevention website at www.burnsafetn.org.

Note: A press release from TDA will not necessarily be released for each new county added to the list of the Commissioner of Agriculture Burn Bans. Please check www.burnsafetn.org for updated information.

Magneti Marelli to Expand Pulaski Operation

Press Release from the Tennessee Department of Economic & Community Development; June 11, 2012:  

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bill Hagerty announced today that Magneti Marelli will expand its Pulaski outfit, a $53.7 million investment that will create 800 new jobs.

Magneti Marelli is a top global automotive systems and components supplier, and a new automotive lighting operation will be housed inside the company’s existing Pulaski facility.

“Congratulations to Magneti Marelli on this announcement,” Haslam said. “Our Jobs4TN economic development strategy includes strong emphasis on several industry clusters, such as the automotive industry, in which the state holds a distinct competitive advantage and on expanding existing Tennessee businesses. The addition of this lighting operation to the Pulaski site is welcome news to Giles County and the state.”

“This is great news for Pulaski, and I am grateful to the company for their continued confidence in our state,” Hagerty said. “This announcement is a testament to the exceptional workforce in Pulaski and the surrounding areas, and the creation of these new jobs will have a large impact on the residents of this area. With the strongest balance sheet in the United States, Tennessee stands out to global companies like Magneti Marelli who undertake a worldwide review in determining where to locate and expand their operation.”

Along with manufacturing sites in Juarez and Tepotzotlan, Mexico, the Pulaski operation rounds out the company’s lighting division. Magneti Marelli’s lighting division is one of the world leaders in the automotive lighting sector, having supplied about 20 million headlamps and about 22 million rearlamps to global carmakers in 2011.

“What a great day for the citizens of Giles County,” Janet Vanzant, county executive, said. “Today’s good news means jobs, and that is always good. Magneti Marelli has been a great corporate citizen for several years, and we all welcome this expansion. I want to thank the State of Tennessee, our local economic development office and all the other partners that contributed to the success of this project.”

“What a wonderful day in Pulaski,” Mayor Pat Ford said. “Magneti Marelli’s announcement today has to be the biggest economic development project in the history of Pulaski and the jobs that will be created are sorely needed. I want to thank Governor Haslam, Commissioner Hagerty and his staff for helping us with this project. Magneti Marelli is already is a valued member of our industrial family and I know the lighting division will be successful in our community.”

“Today’s announcement is good news for Giles County, but this project is going to have a very positive impact throughout all of southern middle Tennessee,” Dan Speer, executive director, Pulaski-Giles County Economic Development Council, said. “A great deal of hard work and cooperation went in to this project, and I too would like to thank Gov. Haslam, Commissioner Hagerty, along with the entire ECD staff, TVA and the local Workforce Development Board. Many people contributed to the success of this project, and I particularly would like to thank plant manager Kim Ketchum and her management team for their invaluable contributions.”

“TVA congratulates Magneti Marelli on their decision to locate a new automotive lighting manufacturing operation that expands its existing site in Pulaski,” said John Bradley, TVA senior vice president of economic development. “We are privileged to work with Magneti Marelli and economic development partners, including the State of Tennessee, PES Energize, City of Pulaski/Giles County leaders, to facilitate jobs growth.”

Magneti Marelli has 83 production units, 11 research and development centers and 26 application centers in 18 countries. Magneti Marelli’s 34,000 employees work on electronic systems; lighting; powertrain; suspension systems and shock absorbers; exhaust systems; plastic components and modules; and motorsport and aftermarket parts and services.

Anti-Tax Tootin’ in Giles Co.

Horn-honking motorists stepped up the pressure on Giles County officials Monday, who dropped their bid for a county wheel tax, WKSR in Pulaski reports.

County commissioners were set to consider a resolution asking the Tennessee Legislature for permission to enact a $50 wheel tax. One commissioner said the resolution had already been pulled from the agenda Friday, and state Rep. Eddie Bass said there would not be time to pass the bill this legislative session, which may end this week.

But as WKSR reports, a healthy dose of the First Amendment in the form of “car horns blaring from the street below” surely didn’t hurt.

Meanwhile, the budget talks in Cookeville are heavy on the honey, low on the vinegar.

The city estimates it will take in $100,000 in tax from liquor sales in the first full year for package stores to be permitted there, the Herald-Citizen reported last week. The city’s $21 million proposed budget for the 2012 represents a more than 5 percent increase over this year, with no property tax increase.