General Assembly Approves Legislation Aiding Morgan County

Thursday, April 17, 2014

The state senate approved a house amendment and sent to the governor legislation sponsored by Senator Ken Yager (R-Kingston) to assist Morgan County in attracting vendors to turn the former Brushy Mountain Penitentiary into a tourist attraction.  

Senate Bill 1708, which aims to recruit new jobs to the area, directs a portion of the state and local sales tax proceeds from items sold in the project to the Morgan County Industrial Board for 20 years.  The funds, which only exclude the portion of the sales tax used for education, will help retire the bonds that the county intends to issue to pay for the property and infrastructure for the site. 

“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for Morgan County to bring a significant private investment into the county,” said Senator Yager.  “This will be a major job creator and passage of this legislation was critical to assist in paying for the infrastructure for the project.”

Brushy Mountain Penitentiary is in the final year of a five-year decommissioning by the Tennessee Department of Corrections.  If the project does not move forward, the facility will essentially be abandoned by TDOC at the end of this year.

A private consortium has come forward to help develop and renovate the site into a tourist attraction, including a “moonshine” distillery.  In November, voters in Morgan County, which is a dry county, overwhelmingly approved a measure to allow the distillery to operate.  

“This project has the potential to revitalize our economy.  I am very pleased the committee has approved it,” Senator Yager said. 

The bill is co-sponsored by Rep. John Mark Windle (D-Livingston) in the House of Representatives. 


Sound Living Counseling Celebrates Grand Opening Aug. 30

Sound Living Counseling will celebrate its Open House and Dedication with ribbon cutting ceremony on Aug. 30 from  11:30 a.m. –4 p.m.  The Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce will coordinate this event, taking place at 6727 Heritage Business Court, Suite 720. Sound Living Counseling is a center expanding to serve the needs of people in the community. The mission ... (click for more)

UNUM Hosts Back To School Bash For Chambliss Children

UNUM hosted its annual Back to School Bash for the school-aged children spending the summer at Chambliss Center for Children.   This year more than 175 UNUM employees came out to host a special day on our campus that included inflatables, games, a petting zoo, snow cones, face painting, hot dogs, burgers and more. They also stuffed 125 backpacks full of the required ... (click for more)

Nashville Man Arrested By TBI For Trafficking 12-Year-Old Texas Girl For Sex

Special Agents in the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation’s Human Trafficking Unit, working alongside local and federal partners, have arrested and charged a Nashville man accused of trafficking a 12-year-old from Texas for the purposes of commercial sex. On Friday evening, the TBI received information from the U.S. Marshals Service about the possible whereabouts of a Texas ... (click for more)

Michael Ford Sentenced To More Than 13 Years In Prison On Drug Charges

Michael Shawn Ford has been sentenced to 13 and a half years in prison on drug charges. On April 20, 2105, Ford was arrested at his house in East Ridge. Police found him hiding in the closet with a laundry bag which contained a loaded pistol and 7.9 grams of crystal meth. Officers said that two backpacks were found in the same bedroom, one with 257.3 grams of crystal meth ... (click for more)

Olympic Events On The Ocoee River Made History – But It Wasn’t Easy

It started with a simple “what if” question while Atlanta officials were working on a bid to host the 1996 Summer Olympic Games.  A group of amateur kayakers from the city began asking themselves: “What if Atlanta’s bid is successful? Then where would the Olympic whitewater canoe and kayak races be held?”  To some of the members of that group, the answer was obvious. ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Today’s Offensive Word

A respected Knoxville business owner, Lois McGinnis, called the classifieds desk at the Knoxville News-Sentinel on Tuesday and politely asked to place an ad she wanted to appear on Thursday: “Store closing sale – Cedar Springs Christian Store –Clinton Highway location. All merchandise, fixtures, slat walls must go. Sale through August 13, phone 865-XXX-XXXX.” But on Thursday ... (click for more)