Friday, August 16, 2019

Governors Rural Opportunity Summit
Tennessee officials this week met with representatives from the state's 15 distressed counties to talk about ways the state can assist those counties. The Governor’s Rural Opportunity Summit looked at how state departments are serving rural areas, specifically distressed counties. Executive Order 1 issued by Governor Bill Lee also required the departments to provide suggestions for future improvements. “With 15 distressed counties in the bottom 10 percent of the nation in terms of poverty, average income and unemployment, we have serious work to do and I believe we are up to the challenge,” the governor said. Representatives from Cocke County included; Mayor Crystal Ottinger, Newport Mayor Roland Dykes III, Director of Schools Manney Moore and Dr. Rich Lloyd representing local non-profits. Newport Mayor Roland Dykes III is back from the Summitt and talked about the event on Thursday. "I think Governor Lee is definitely and passionately committed to seeing this effort through. He wants to see the prosperity we see in other parts of the state, extend out to the distressed counties also." Dykes said he talked to several commissioners about ways the state could help to promote tourism as well as well as infrastructure needs. "I learned that we are not in near as bad shape as some other counties. We have alot of things to offer that many of these other communities are pleading for. We have alot of things to work with, but it all comes down to money." The mayor said the governor promised to provide whatever assistance is needed to extend prosperity to the local community "and we are going to see if they follow through with that." He said the governor did not offer specifics except to commit to marketing grants. "Everything that is going to happen will depend on the funding to make it happen. I think they are committed to direct grant or assistance from state personnel but we will have to see how it works out". Mayor Ottinger said the various workshops allowed for an open discussion of local problems, and because all of the cabinet members were present a broad range of issues were addressed. "We talked about the need for a satellite campus for higher education and workforce training infrastructure upgrades, preparing for an economic downturn, providing agriculture grants for smaller communities, tourism and highway department. We talked about things that are working and things that are not." The mayor said the state often provides grants for studies to pinpoint the assets and weaknesses of a community but it does not provide follow-up funding to implement the needed changes. "We also talked about important programs that are not offered here locally, and that opened some eyes. Like the fact that we do not have an American Job Center except for a visiting mobile umit. We have no local facility to help the dislocated worker or youth work and training." Ottinger said each county was evaluated and then all of the distressed counties were evaluated as a whole. "We agreed this does not need to be a flash in the pan with one meeting a year. This needs to be continual with open communication, also understanding that years of issues that have caused us to be a distressed county, won't be fixed overnight."

Return to Today's News Stories - Front Page

Thursday, February 27, 2020

  • White Pine fire injures five
  • Charity Fine funeral arrangements
  • Steiner injured in freak accident
  • "Prison party" photos
  • Legal marijuana

    Wednesday, February 26, 2020

  • NU electric rates to increase
  • Snow is in the forecast
  • Lakins arrest
  • Proffitt arrest
  • Lakeway area volunteers are honored
  • Rural Tennessee business is growing faster than its cities
  • The search continues for Evelyn Boswell

    Tuesday, February 25, 2020

  • Sparks pursuit
  • Kathy Holt is sentenced
  • Sparks pursuit
  • Bledsoe shooting
  • Partnership offers business advice
  • Celebrating our Success
  • Local Tennova rankings
  • Last day of Early Voting

    Monday, February 24, 2020

  • Boswell search continues
  • Weekend drug arrests
  • Cocke voting
  • Volunteer Fire Department grants
  • State Recreation Grants

    Saturday, February 22, 2020

  • Human Services new program
  • Atkins charged
  • Medic needs blood
  • Lowe's theft
  • DFA to acquire Dean Food
  • Commodity distribution