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Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Animal shelter discussions continue
The Newprt City Council meeting Tuesday evening again discussed the current status of animal control in the city. The Friends of the Animal Shelter which owns the Newport shelter, has asked Newport and Cocke County to each contribute $100,000 annually to fund the operation. In the past the city operated the facility, however it has deteriorated and currently is being upgraded by the Friends group. Another building at the site is being used to house strays from outside the city. The city is using a building on Woodlawn Avenue to house it's animals temporarily. There have been charges of mismanagement by all of the parties involved. However Newport Alderman Jeff Fancher who is attempting to broker an agreement involving all parties, reminded the council that "it is easier to catch flies with honey than with vinegar." Fancher said in June, 103 stray animals were brought the the shelter from the county and 18 from the city. The disparity of animals from the city and county has been a sticking point, because last year Newport contributed $230,000 toward the shelter operation compared to $60,000 from the county. Fancher said he had scheduled a meeting recently with county officials, however they didn't show for the meeting. He also expressed concern regarding the negative postings regarding the shelter that recently have surfaced on social media. Alderrman Roger Gribble who frequently is at odds with the other four council members of the council, was critical of the decision to open a temporary shelter. He said at least $5,800 that was earmarked for upgrades to city hall, were diverted to the Woodlawn Avenue shelter upgrade. Gribble also alleged that equipment owned by the Friends group was taken from the animal shelter and moved to the Woodlawn site, "after secret meetings." But City Manager James Finchum denied secret meetings, admitting he didn't contact Gribble about the Woodlawn project because he knew he was opposed to the move. Both Fancher and Finchum said they do not like the temporary site but the city had no alternative after the Friends shelter was closed. Chief of Police Maurice Shults talked about the importance of the city having animal control. And Joan Lambert, long involved in animal shelter activities, told the audience she appreciates the cooperation of the county and friends group. And she posed a question..."Can we just calm down and stop throwing accusations?" In other council action; Planner Gary Carver presented a proposed Downtown Master Plan, which may include planting of trees on some downtown streets. Alderman Fancher said he is hopeful the council can move on implementing the plan which sets out priorities through 2030. That plan is to be reviewed annually, and modifications made if needed. Another ordinance was approved which will require the construction of sidewalks on the Cosby Road and West Highway 25/70, when a site is developed. Carver said he is hopeful that state highway grants will be available in future years to add sidewalks on areas that have no sidewalks. The council agreed to prohibit heavy trucks on McMahan Street, and to divert them from North Street, onto West Main Street. Another ordinance places a $10.50 fee on each ticket paid in city court. That revenue is earmarked for the cost of a new computerized record system in the Police Department Alderman Mike Hansel presented a certificate of appreciation to Parks and Recreation Director Tim Dockery for the good work of his department, as part of National Parks and Recreation Month. And Vice-mayor Mike Proffitt expressed his appreciation to Mark Robinson and Jeremy Shelton who are responsible for enforcing city regulations. Mayor Connie Ball said he receives lots of comments from out-of-town visitors regarding the beautiful city park. Several persons were re-appointed to local boards; Jimmy Lee will remain on the Newport Beer Board, and Debbie Wylie and Blake Briggs will remain on the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board.


Return to Today's News Stories - Front Page

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

  • Cocke Grand Jury
  • Fletcher Ervin obit
  • Agribusiness grants
  • Dolly to record children's CD
  • Cocke County energy grant

    Tuesday, August 15, 2017

  • Tax freeze for seniors
  • KOA Lane fire
  • Lee touts vouchers
  • Seniors and opiods
  • Comments on Sunday officer involved shooting

    Monday, August 14, 2017

  • Shooting Update
  • Cocke County officer involved shooting fatality
  • McMahan charges are pending
  • Clevenger injured in Saturday incident
  • Morris arrested on drug charges
  • Help to protect the Golden-Winged Warbler
  • Gas prices expected top drop

    Sunday, August 13, 2017

  • Smokies offers new education initiative
  • Roe recuperating following surgery
  • New truancy guidelines
  • Munsey sentenced

    Saturday, August 12, 2017

  • Newport camper fire
  • Cocke and Newport schools closed for solar eclipse
  • Newport man is victim of hit and run
  • Medical helicopter costs
  •    

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