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Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Smith seated on Newport City Council
Newport again has a five member city council. Roger Gribble died in late August, and the council decided to accept applications from city residents who want to serve on the body until next year's election. A total of four candidates were considered. But at the Tuesday evening council meeting, Vice Mayor Mike Proffitt made a motion to appoint Steve Smith, and the move was supported by the other members in attendance, Aldermen Mike Hansel and Bobby Knight. Smith is retired as a supervisor with Norfolk Southern Railroad after 30 years of service. He expressed appreciation to the council for the appointment saying he is very interested in working toward the city obtaining the downtown railroad depot, possibly for a library or a restaurant. City Planner and Grants Writer Gary Carver told the council that the city received several major grants totaling $620,000 during a three day period in September. Much of the money will go toward the upgrade of the former Tanner School. Although the structure at the intersection of the Cosby Road and Mulberry Avenue has deteriorated in recent years, upgrades now can begin in earnest. Upgrades to the structure are expected to total $1 million, and the state had earlier donated $250,000 to the plan. Now the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) has contributed $250,000 and the Wright Family Foundation established by the family that owns the SI Group, Inc. will contribute $50,000. Roland "Trey" Dyke who chairs the Tanner Preservation Alliance thanked Carver for his efforts in obtaining the grants, saying fundraising has been a nearly seven-year effort. When it is reopened, the Tanner Building is expected to house the operations of the Cocke County Partnership, the Newport Senior Citizens Center as well as to serve as a Tourism Information Center for Cocke County. City Manager James Finchum said the funding now will be adequate to make the needed upgrades. The Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program, awarded funding for a stormwater improvement project in downtown Newport. The estimated cost of the project is $400,000. The city will provide a 20% local match ($80,000). The project will replace a storm drainage system that was labeled “woefully inadequate” by engineers who conducted the downtown stormwater study. The upgrade will be Phase I of a multi-phase improvement effort to encourage business expansion and retention, property rehab and development, and overall economic development in the downtown area. The Community Development Block Grant is one of the longest-running programs of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and funds local community development activities such as affordable housing, anti-poverty programs, and infrastructure development. The council voted to hire a new firefighter, Patrick Sheldon, to serve as a fill-in employee primarily while other firefighters are on vacation or off duty for other reasons. Finchum said good progress is being made toward an agreement on the operation of the Newport Animal Shelter. Both Newport and Cocke County have put $100,000 in their respective budgets for shelter operational costs this fiscal year. The council recognized city firemen as part of Firefighter Month, and also recognized Drs. Foster, Steele and Eisenhower for their many contributions to the city. The optometrists will cut the ribbon on their new Crowe Lane office on October 16, and former UT Football Coach Phil Fulmer will be on hand from 5-7 pm. Glenn Ray of Newport Utilities reported the first cable was installed Tuesday for the new fiberNet which is to provide Internet service to all of NU customers. Jeff Kyker called on the council to purchase his property at the corner of Woodlawn Avenue and Broadway. He suggested in addition to paving the lot which currently is used for parking, the property should be landscaped.

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Monday, February 19, 2018

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  • Tennessee Senate action
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    Saturday, February 17, 2018

  • Cocke schools talk safety
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    Friday, February 16, 2018

  • Arrest made in "Kill list"
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    Thursday, February 15, 2018

  • NU water leak
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    Wednesday, February 14, 2018

  • Newport City Council talks property tax cut
  • More candidates qualify
  • Arwood/Prevost arrests
  • Cocke County Grand Jury returns indictments
  • Walters State enrollment is up
  • Trump wants to sell TVA

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