BRISTOL — Each year, the Tennessee Development District Association, of which the First Tennessee Development District is a member, recognizes state legislators that have made significant contributions for their specific Development District.
This year’s honoree is Representative Gary Hicks, who serves the Ninth District, which includes Hancock and Hawkins counties.
Chris Craig, executive director of the FTDD presented Hicks with his award during the District’s Semi-Annual Board Meeting. The meeting, held in Bristol, was attended by city and county mayors from across the region.
“We called on Rep. Hicks, Chairman of the House Finance Subcommittee, several months ago to advocate restoring funding which was cut from the state budget for the First Tennessee Development District and each Development District last year,” Craig said. “Representative Hicks carried a budget amendment to restore the District’s full funding that was lost last year.”
Not only did Representative Hicks carry the amendment to restore full funding to the state’s nine development districts, he continued to advocate on their behalf as the Senate and House conferenced to pass a final budget this year, Craig said.
After receiving his award, Hicks thanked the staff of the FTDD for their leadership on economic development and infrastructure projects that have benefited not only his constituents in Hancock and Hawkins counties, but have also benefitted residents across Northeast Tennessee.
Though Tennessee Governor Bill Lee signed an Executive Order on July 3 granting mayors in 89 counties the authority to issue local mask requirements, Hawkins Co. Mayor Jim Lee told the Review that, at this point, he isn’t planning to mandate it.
“While our densely populated urban areas continue to have the highest COVID-19 case rates, our local governments expressed a need for greater flexibility in addressing a rise in cases and that includes setting stronger expectations around masks,” said Gov. Lee in a Friday press release. “This targeted approach ensures we protect both lives and livelihoods and safely keep our economy open in Tennessee. We encourage every Tennessean across the state to use a face covering or mask, make sure to socially distance and wash hands frequently.”
Mayor Lee told the Review that he is in constant contact with both TDH (Tennessee Department of Health) and TEMA (Tennessee Emergency Management Agency) and had plans both Monday and Tuesday of this week to speak with other county and health officials on the topic.
“I want to make the best decision for the community,” he said. “At this point, I’m not going to mandate masks. I am asking everyone in Hawkins County to use sound judgement, restraint, and discretion. Let’s not go backward. I do believe we should wear a mask and maintain social distancing, but I’m not comfortable with our government mandating it.”
He went on to add that he fears a mask mandate could lead to a stigmatization of “citizens who cannot wear a mask due to a medical condition.”
“The World Health Organization has changed its stance on wearing face masks during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Mayor Lee said. “People over 60 and people with underlying medical conditions should wear a medical-grade mask when they’re in public and cannot socially distance. I worry that citizens who cannot wear a mask due to a medical condition will be stigmatized. There are potential privacy concerns as people who cannot comply due to a medical condition could be compelled to disclose personal medical information, which is a violation of federal law.”
Both Mayor Lee and Governor Lee agreed that wearing a mask in public can help prevent another lockdown.
“Importantly, wearing a cloth face covering is a simple step that each Tennessean can take to slow the spread of the virus, which prevents having to take more drastic and disruptive measures for our economy and job market, like requiring the closure of businesses,” reads the Governor’s order.
“Nobody wants to go back to lockdown mode,” Mayor Lee said. “Wearing a mask in public will help our economy by keeping businesses open.”
Governor Lee also outlined certain restrictions within his order. Should a county mayor require citizens to wear masks, this rule must allow for the following exemptions:
Sunday, July 5 marked the tenth straight day of 1,000-plus daily COVID-19 case counts in Tennessee. More information and daily case counts can be found at https://www.tn.gov/health/cedep/ncov.
ROGERSVILLE — Striggersville Vol. Fire Department will host the East Tennessee Antique Tractor Association Pull this Saturday, July 11, at the VFD, 697 Caney Creek Road, near Rogersville.
Weigh-in begins at 1 p.m. with the pulling starting at 2 p.m.
Food and drinks will be available, along with Italian Ice, deep fried Oreos® and Twinkies®, games, activities, and more.
Admission is $5 for adults, $2 for children under five, and no fee for children under one.
If raining, the event will be postponed until July 18.
For more information call 423-293-2495 or 293-2496.
KINGSPORT – UETHDA and Head Start this week announced participation in the Child and Adult Care Food Program for locations in Hawkins and Hancock counties. Meals will be provided at no separate charge to eligible children/adults without regard to race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability served at: SNEEDVILLE — 216 Harrison Street, 423-733-8132; CHURCH HILL — 1006 North Central Avenue, 423-272-6184; CHURCH HILL — 1115 Goshen Valley Road, 423-863-1003; ROGERSVILLE — 400 Fugate Street, 423-272-6325; and, SURGOINSVILLE — 3327 US 11 W, 423-345-3527. Participation is limited to those persons who meet USDA Income Eligibility Guidelines for July 1, 2020 through June 30, 2021. For more information, visit www.uethda.org.
KINGSPORT – UETHDA and Head Start this week announced participation in the Child and Adult Care Food Program for locations in Hawkins and Hancock counties.
Meals will be provided at no separate charge to eligible children/adults without regard to race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability served at:
SNEEDVILLE — 216 Harrison Street, 423-733-8132;
CHURCH HILL — 1006 North Central Avenue, 423-272-6184;
CHURCH HILL — 1115 Goshen Valley Road, 423-863-1003;
ROGERSVILLE — 400 Fugate Street, 423-272-6325; and,
SURGOINSVILLE — 3327 US 11 W, 423-345-3527.
Participation is limited to those persons who meet USDA Income Eligibility Guidelines for July 1, 2020 through June 30, 2021.
For more information, visit www.uethda.org.
ROGERSVILLE — U.S. Senate candidate Dr. Manny Sethi, pictured here at the recent Reagan Day Dinner, will visit with local supporters at a Meet & Greet campaign stop, hosted by the Hawkins Co. Republican Party, at Occasions on the Square, in downtown Rogersville, on Thursday, July 16, at 2 p.m.
Supporters and the public are welcome to attend.
The 2020-2021 school year may be unlike any other, thanks to COVID-19.
Hawkins County School administrators are working to finalize the re-entry plan for school in the fall and plan to announce their plan following a Board of Education meeting on Wednesday, July 8 at 10 a.m.
Director of Schools Matt Hixson told the Review on Monday that, at this point, the system is still planning to “open as usual, with necessary precautions, on August 4.”
During the July 8 meeting, he plans to provide a summary of the back-to-school plan to the board, and, pending board approval, will release the plan following board action.
As of June 11, Hixson released a statement noting that the system was forming procedures for the following three back-to-school models:
1. Regular in-class model (with health precautions in place)
2. Hybrid model, consisting of assigned student times to be on campus (if limited in-person contact is required)
3. Full virtual model (used only in the event of a mandated shut down)
“We know students need to be in school and it is our desire to open in August, as planned, as long as it is safe to do so,” he said at the time. “Please be assured that we are currently collaborating with our regional health experts and other school systems to research health and safety guidelines for both our students and staff as we develop our reentry plan.”
He went on to add that the system is applying for their share of the CARES Act allocations for Hawkins County Schools to provide them the technological resources necessary for online learning, should they need to enact the hybrid or full virtual model in the future.
“I want to thank you for your input, concerns, ideas, survey responses, and questions,” Hixson said. “These have helped guide our decisions and ultimately, the development of our plan to move forward.”
Stay tuned to the Review for updates on this story. An updated version of this story containing the board’s decision will be available on our website, https://www.therogersvillereview.com/, shortly after the 10 a.m. meeting and in the Weekend edition.