|Committee partially restores funding for economic development|
During it's Monday evening meeting, the Cocke County Finance Committee voted to cut funding for the Partnership by $66,000, but on Tuesday some of the reduction was restored. Chair of the county legislative body, Norman Smith made the motion to reduce the funding, but Tuesday said he later contacted the County Technical Assistance Service and was told the county must fund economic development. He was told the move to slash funding violated state law. Smith then made a motion to withdraw the Monday action and to fund economic development, the chamber of commerce and tourism for six months. Although each of the three entities has a board of directors, overseeing it's activities, Smith said he still is told by some in the community that there is a lack of accountability. " My proposal is we fully fund the Economic Development Commission till January 1st.and at that time hopefully there can be another plan put together by the mayor's of the cities and county. There are other plans out there such as the Wilson Plan which counties have adopted, and then let them move forward with that," Smith said. So funding for economic development for the next year is set at $194,200, as well as $75,000 for tourism and $50,000 for the chamber of commerce. That translates into a reduction of $22,000 from last year. The committee agreed to meet at 4:30 p.m. on August 4th, for a final review of the budget, and the full CLB is expected to meet in special session on August 11 to approve the budget. It holds the tax rate at $2.40 but uses up about $6 million of unappropriated surplus in the school system budget. Traditionally the budget collects more in revenue than is anticipated and Finance Manager Anne Bryant-Hurst said departments usually use 94 to 95 percent of their budgeted funds. The committee also voted to recommend that the county require a contractor's license for projects valued in excess of $25,000. State officials have agreed to provide a $150,000 energy grant to upgrade the heat and air system in the courthouse if the county opt's into the building plan. The state also will provide the needed inspector for the building codes.
|McMahan talks job recruitment|
A former Cocke County mayor who now is the Regional Director in Upper East Tennessee for the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development, recently addressed the Newport Kiwanis Club. Iliff McMahan said his role is to recruit new businesses, assist existing businesses to expand and to help entrepreneurs to develop their businesses in East Tennessee. Because Governor Bill Haslam wants the state to be the leader in developing high quality jobs, he is pushing for 55 percent of the state's adults to have an advanced degree by 2025. McMahan said Business Facilitators magazine in 2013 chose Tennessee as the best state in the country for business, and trucker's magazines say the state has the best roads in the U.S. As for the operation of the state, McMahan told the group the state has the lowest debt per capita and has the second lowest state and local taxes. Other positive factors for the recruitment of jobs include the fact that the area is located within a day's drive of a large percentage of the country's population, and has relatively low utility rates. Many auto suppliers are locating in the state because of the proximity to many auto manufacturing plants. McMahan said there are three factors that are very important to prospective industry when they are looking for a community in which to locate a new plant. He said firms want to be located in a community where there is no conflict between elected officials, they want a community in which confidentiality is respected and they look for a community which has sustainable growth through a good quality of life.
|Kathy Holt granted Order of Protection|
Newport Detective James Holt was scheduled for detention and preliminary hearings on Tuesday in U.S. District Court, but they didn't happen. The 59 year-old Holt is in federal custody on charges of the illegal distribution of drugs and the possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking. He also is charged on state presentments with numerous instances of money laundering and the sale and delivery of Hydrocodone and Alprazolam within 1,000 feet of the Cocke County High School. Holt is being held without bond on the federal charges and bond is set at $500,000 on the state charges. Asst. Federal Public Defender Benjamin Sharp has advised Judge Ronnie Greer that Holt wants to waive a detention hearing and so the court issued an order saying the presumption that the defendant should be detained "is unrebutted", so the defendant will be held till trial or other orders of the court. And because the preliminary hearing was waived, the court found that there is probable cause that the offenses were committed, and that Holt committed them. As a result the court ordered Holt bound to the grand jury. Newport Alderwoman Kathy Holt, also charged in the conspiracy in state court, has been granted an Order of Protection, naming James Holt. The order, signed by Judge Rex Henry Ogle says Mr. Holt "has threatened physical harm to me on numerous occasions," and it prohibits James Holt from "abusing, threatening to abuse, hurt or try to hurt or frighten" Mrs. Holt. The petition orders James Holt to stay away from, and to move from, the couple's home on Hemlock Way. It also prohibits Mr. Holt from having firearms, and gives custody and control of the couple's pets to Mrs. Holt.
|Cook motorcycle crash|
A Sevierville motorcyclist sustained serious injuries Tuesday afternoon, when his bike left South Highway 32 in Cocke County and plunged down a 60 foot embankment. The injured cyclist was identified as Jerry Cook, 69, Avery Lane, who was operating a 2007 Yamaha at the time of the 2:13 p.m. incident. Cocke County Deputy Lt. C.J. Ball said Cook was rounding a curve when the bike plunged into the ravine, coming to rest against a tree. The Newport Rescue Squad, Cocke County Fire Department and Cosby Volunteer Fire Department assisted in moving the victim up the steep embankment. Lt. Ball said it was an hour from the time of the crash till Cook was rescued and placed in an ambulance. He was transported to the Hartford Welcome Center and then flown to the University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville for treatment of multiple fractures and internal injuries. Today Cook is in stable condition.
Wednesday, July 30, 2014Committee partially restores funding for economic development
McMahan talks job recruitment
Kathy Holt granted Order of Protection
Cook motorcycle crash
Tuesday, July 29, 2014James has bond reduced to $200,000
Committee slashes funding for Partnership
Malone sustains facial fracture
Thornton sentencing in federal court
Hunting dog killed
Reed arrested on 1998 allegation
Monday, July 28, 2014Storms knock out power
DCS and Cocke County authorities investigate home of six and 12 year-old children
Dale jailed after Saturday crash
Gaffney injured and jailed
Grooms home destroyed by fire
Sunday, July 27, 2014State charges in officer conspiracy probe
McCurry widow files suit in Cocke County crash
Friday, July 25, 2014ADA celebration
Hommel charged in alleged assault
Officer bust follow-up
James charged with murder