There’s nothing like a hard dose of reality for county commissioners who may be complacent about county jail overcrowding. Sullivan County commissioners got it in spades recently from Dr. Martha Parker, who has worked under contract at the Sullivan County Jail for three years.
If you’re an Interstate 26 daily commuter who especially dreads the Friday rush hour trip between Johnson City and Kingsport, now’s the time to speak your piece. The Tennessee Department of Transportation is engaged in the first study of I-26 since it became an interstate.
The name given to a region — place branding — is what drives initial interest in attracting visitors, residents and businesses. Think The Big Easy for New Orleans or the Outer Banks of North Carolina. But what if you’re from Scott or Wise County in Virginia, or Sullivan and Hawkins County in Tennessee? Where do you say you’re from?
The county has known for years that it was facing two major projects: new schools and a new jail. School expansion and renovation needs have been addressed with a $140 million project now underway. Next up is the jail.
All they had to do was ask for a financial update. But Sullivan County Commissioners Hershel Glover, Dwight King and Joyce Crosswhite tied it to an empty threat to halt construction of West Ridge High School, needlessly stirring waters that had finally calmed after contracts for the new high school had at last been signed.
Sponsors say the bill would allow firefighters and EMS personnel to protect themselves when they respond to emergencies in rural areas where law enforcement response times are slower due to the distance required to arrive at a scene.
Where previous visitors had only to sign in, the new system requires formal identification such as a driver’s license, which is scanned. The system then checks local and remote databases before issuing a printed visitor pass containing the visitor’s photo and location within the school that’s being visited.
Kingsport’s new animal adoption center is close to becoming a reality. With $2 million already pledged, PETWORKS has launched its capital campaign to secure the remaining $1.5 million to build a 17,000-square-foot animal shelter and dog park on a 3.5-acre site on Stone Drive.
The infamous Hog Wild Saloon is, or soon will be, so much dust blowing in the wind, and there’s no doubt that’s what many Kingsport residents want, rather than a renovation.
Sullivan County taxpayers are paying the price for the county’s foot-dragging on building more jail cells. And the longer the county keeps kicking this can down the road, the higher the final cost.