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Tuesday, November 21, 2017

CLB session
The Cocke County Legislative Body(CLB)agreed Monday evening to ratify an agreement with the Friends Animal Shelter, but only for a month. Prior to the meeting, Linda Daniels of the Steele Away group pointed out that her group has adopted out 800 dogs and previously were self-sufficient. But in recent months since the Friends Shelter was closed, her group has taken in sick and injured animals and so she asked for assistance from the county. The shelter was closed in July for renovation after Newport opted out of an operating agreement. Another resident, Angie Chandler said she believes tax dollars should go only for animal control, and should not go to rescue and foster programs. Anne Fontaine of the Friends group said she would like to see the veterinary clinic at the shelter revitalized, and she said if the county would contribute $25,000 toward that project she would match that funding. The Friends group had agreed to house the cats and dogs if Newport and Cocke County each agreed to provide funding of $100,000 annually. Although Newport has not yet inked the agreement, the CLB was told the city will come on board if the county approves funding. Last week the Steele Away group had asked for county funding, arguing it has rescued, fostered and cared for animals while the Friends shelter was being renovated. And so the Finance Committee had voted to recommend $25,000 in funding for the group. Last evening however, the full CLB defeated that motion. CLB Chair Clay Blazer also had concerns saying while both groups do great work in the community "the issue of them not getting along is a problem." He went on to say he doesn't think the city will sign on to the proposed agreement with the Friends Shelter. "And that is upsetting to me. I'm not sure that while we were going through our budget talks, we would have reached this agreement with the Friends, if we had not thought we would have a joint venture, so that is problematic." Blazer went on to say he believes both the Steele Away group and the Friends provide important services to the community. The initial vote on the pact with the Friends was defeated when Commissioner Mitch Fine voiced objection to the agreement because of a recent conflict between the Friends group and the Steele Away Rescue and Foster group. Fine said he would vote for funding only if the opposing groups agree to work together. Mayor Crystal Ottinger then asked the body what to do with local aggressive animals because without the shelter agreement there is nowhere to house them. After Sheriff Armando Fontes agreed to attempt to broker an agreement, between the Friends and Steele Away, Fine agreed to funding for one month. In other action, the body agreed to transfer funding from two sheriff's department employees who have retired, to fund four jail employees. They also transferred $97,500 to jail medical needs, but the body was told by Finance Manager Anne Bryant-Hurst that another $100,000 likely will be needed before the end of the fiscal year. The body approved the appointment of Brittany Vick to the position of County Attorney at the recommendation of Mayor Ottinger. Vick who is in private practice in Newport, replaces Carter Moore who recently was appointed to a Circuit Court seat. Daryl Brady was introduced as the new Field Representative for Congressman Phil Roe. He said a Roe representative will be in the Cocke County annex to assist local residents, from 2 till 4 this afternoon. Larry Roosa of Campbell Road talked to the commission about issues he is having with his road. He said he has not been able to persuade the highway commission to address the problems, and so he asked the CLB to study the issues. And Sara Carraway expressed similar concerns regarding Summer House Hollow Road in Del Rio. She argued her road is dangerous. Commissioner Love Henderson in response to the road concerns suggested it would be helpful if a road commission member was to attend each CLB meeting, to address citizen road issues.

Brown/Dalton arrest
Two residents of Columbia Way, Newport were jailed Monday evening by Ccoke County authorities. Deputy Aaron Loveday said he responded to a crash report on Woodson Drive to find a pickup truck had smashed through a gate and fencing. At the scene were Avery Brown, 36, and Danielle Dalton, 33, who said they were at a nearby home when their 1991 Chevrolet truck was stolen. They told Deputy Loveday that they chased the stolen truck down the road before it crashed. But nearby resident, Charlie Huff, told the officer he saw the crash and thereafter saw Brown and Dalton exit the vehicle. Dalton then admitted she was driving when the truck left the roadway, leaving damage of $1,200. Both occupants then were charged with filing a false police report, and Dalton also is charged with driving on a revoked license, violation of the registration law, no insurance and vandalism over $1,000.

Dandridge crash
Both drivers were injured in a Monday afternoon traffic crash on Highway 92 at the Weigels store in Dandridge. Dandridge Sgt. Chris Fair said the 12:08 pm collision occurred as Thomas Keim, 28, of Texas, operating a 2012 Ford Focus, crossed the highway into the path of a northbound 1994 Ford pickup operated by James Foster, Jr, 64, of Dandridge. Both drivers were taken by Jefferson County EMS to the University of Tennessee Medical Center where they were listed in stable condition. No charges were filed.

Thanksgiving travel
AAA predicts 1.1 million Tennesseans will travel for Thanksgiving, and millions more will travel through our state over the holiday weekend. But Thanksgiving travelers will not be delayed by construction on Tennessee roads during this busy travel holiday. TDOT will halt all lane closure activity on interstates and state highways in anticipation of higher traffic volumes across the state. All construction related lane closures will be stopped at noon on Wednesday, November 22, through 6:00 am Monday, November 27. Says TDOT Commissioner John Schroer, “This is the most traveled holiday of the year. Halting road work during this busy time will provide maximum capacity on our highways and help alleviate congestion, especially during the predicted peak travel days of Wednesday and Sunday.” While all lane closure activity will be stopped, workers may be on site in some construction zones. Long-term lane closures will also remain in place on some construction projects for motorists’ safety. Motorists are reminded to drive safely and obey the posted speeds, especially in work zones. Drivers convicted of speeding in work zones where workers are present face a fine of up to $500, plus court fees and possible increased insurance premiums. The Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security and TDOT are partnering with law enforcement across the state for the I-40 Challenge, with the goal of having zero fatalities on the 455 miles of I-40 in Tennessee. On the peak travel days of Wednesday, November 22nd and Sunday, November 26th, the Tennessee Highway Patrol will have troopers stationed every 20 miles on I-40, along with increased law enforcement on all highways.

Tennessee economic report
Six years of year-over-year growth coupled with historically low unemployment rates indicate Tennessee’s economy won’t slow down anytime soon, according to a report by the Secretary of State's office. There were 9,326 new entity filings in the third quarter of 2017, representing a 4.8 percent increase compared to the same time last year. “Every quarter these reports confirm that Tennessee’s leaders have created a wonderful climate where businesses can thrive. Hopefully, this marked success attracts more businesses to call the Volunteer State home,” said Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett. The Tennessee Quarterly Business and Economic Indicators report is created to provide a periodic snapshot of the state’s economy based on a variety of information, including new business data from the Division of Business Services. The state’s unemployment remains at a record-breaking 3 percent in October after first hitting the milestone in September. Tennessee’s unemployment rate is now well below the current national average of 4.1 percent. The national economy grew 3 percent in the third quarter compared to the quarter before it thanks to more jobs, growing housing starts, declining auto sales and falling gas prices nationally.

Thanksgiving lunch at Feed My Sheep
A traditional Thanksgiving Day Meal of Turkey & dressing, ham, vegetables, homemade dessert, rolls, and drinks is being offered free to everyone on Thanksgiving Day. Lunch will be served from 11am-1pm @ Feed My Sheep Ministries, 125 C Avenue in Newport; you can call 423-625-3130 if you want to volunteer or for additional information.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

  • CLB session
  • Brown/Dalton arrest
  • Dandridge crash
  • Thanksgiving travel
  • Tennessee economic report
  • Thanksgiving lunch at Feed My Sheep

    Monday, November 20, 2017

  • Jefferson City bank robbery
  • Newport DCS investigation
  • Former ETSU coach is indicted
  • Fuel prices to drop
  • Middle Tennessee tornados

    Sunday, November 19, 2017

  • Artscapes exhibition

    Saturday, November 18, 2017

  • Monica Denton heads back to prison
  • Tennessee jobless
  • Thanksgiving travel

    Friday, November 17, 2017

  • ACA enrollment
  • Cocke County Partnership meeting
  • Pridemore is being sought
  • Narcan program
  • Environmental standards are relaxed
  • Pro bono work in Tennessee
  • VietNow settlement
  • State jobless remains at record level
  • Major scam

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