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Hawkins career technical center planned for Phipps Bend

SURGOINSVILLE — A plot of land at the intersection of Technology Drive and Phipps Bend Road soon may be home to a Career Technical Education center.

The new CTE facility proposed for the Phipps Bend Industrial Park is moving forward. It is to serve students and adults across Hawkins County.

The project is to be across from the Tennessee College of Applied Technology location in the park. Transfer of the property ownership is contingent on the school system finding funding in the next three years.

Hawkins County Schools CTE Supervisor Brandon Williams said plans should move forward more quickly than that. “We would like to get this project rolling just as quickly as possible.”

The roughly 27,000-square-foot project likely will cost between $5 million and $7 million, but certainly should be less than $10 million, Williams said.


Williams and Director of Schools Matt Hixson met with the Hawkins County Industrial Development Board on Sept. 15, during which the board approved moving forward with the project. That was on the heels of a Sept. 14 vote of approval by the Phipps Bend Joint Venture Board.

The proposal also must be approved by the Kingsport Economic Development Board, which is scheduled to meet at 10 a.m. on Oct. 5 in the Eastman Room of the Kingsport Chamber of Commerce in the Press Building downtown.

“We’re on about step three of 2,000,” Williams quipped in a Monday interview.

Earlier this year, Hixson and Williams asked the Board of Education to allow them to begin exploring the idea of a new CTE facility offering programs to students from all three high schools in Hawkins County: Volunteer, Cherokee, and Clinch.

“We’re not going to shutter our programs at Cherokee or Volunteer,” Williams said.

He added that a machine tool program could be one of the offerings at the new center since that CTE program is more expensive but in demand by local industries. He said it also is in line with Gov. Bill Lee’s agenda to promote CTE.


The Joint Venture Board voted unanimously to work with the other partners, the two industrial development boards and the Tennessee Valley Authority, to find a way to make the property available to the school system.

Williams said that motion came with the caveat that the property would not change ownership until school officials have identified funding sources for the proposed center. The motion also came with a three-year time limit that could be extended as needed if the project is progressing, Williams said.

“We offer several programs of study within CTE, but not every program is available at all three high schools. Students at Clinch, for example, currently only have two CTE options, engineering and teaching as a profession,” Williams said in an email.

He said elsewhere in the region, the Greene Technology Center houses CTE offerings for Greeneville City and Greene County schools. Across the state line in Scott County, students from Gate City, Rye Cove and Twin Springs attend CTE courses at a central facility.

The location near Stony Point just outside the Surgoinsville city limits is not geographically centered among the three high schools. Hixson and Williams said they believe the proximity to local industries and the Hawkins County TCAT facility (a satellite campus of TCAT Morristown) was more beneficial than a center located equidistant from each school.

“We want to strengthen existing relationships and build new partnerships to expand work-based learning opportunities within these industries,” Williams said in the email.

“If we end up housing programs in this building that are not offered at the TCAT facility, we would also work with TCAT to open the building to adult learners after high school students leave for the day,” William said in the email.

Additionally, Williams said the school system wants to open the center to industry partners in Hawkins County to conduct training for their employees when needed and to see the facility help recruit new industry to the area.

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On Sunday, the Kingsport Times News will take readers to downtown Bristol, with a special focus on dining, entertainment, and shopping along historic State Street, the dividing line between the Tennessee and Virginia sides of the Twin City. We’ll give you parking tips and info about keeping track of upcoming entertainment options, and two reporters will reveal what they ‘purchased’ on a daily ‘budget’ of $200 each.

Biden promises 'relentless diplomacy' to skeptical allies


UNITED NATIONS — President Joe Biden summoned the world’s nations to forcefully address the festering global issues of the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change and human rights abuses in his first address before the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday.

He also decried military conflict and insisted that the United States is not seeking “a new Cold War” with China.

But while stressing to fellow world leaders the urgency of working together, Biden avoided addressing criticism from allies about the chaotic U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan and a diplomatic tempest with France.

Instead, Biden used his address before the annual gathering of world leaders to make his case that the United States remains a reliable international partner following four years of President Donald Trump’s “America first” foreign policy.

“We’re opening a new era of relentless diplomacy, of using the power of our development aid to invest in new ways of lifting people up around the world,” Biden said.

The president offered an impassioned plea for cooperation, to friends and adversaries, arguing that overcoming a daunting list of crises “will hinge on our ability to recognize our common humanity.”

Biden said the U.S., under his watch, had reached a turning point with the end of military operations in Afghanistan last month, closing out America’s longest war. That set the table, he said, for his administration to shift its attention to intensive diplomacy at a moment with no shortage of crises facing the globe.

“Today, many of our greatest concerns cannot be solved or even addressed by the force of arms,” he said. “Bombs and bullets cannot defend against COVID-19 or its future variants.”

Biden offered a robust endorsement of the U.N.’s relevance and ambition at a difficult time in history, and sought to reassure wary allies of U.S. cooperation.

He pledged to double U.S. financial aid to poorer countries to help them switch to cleaner energy and cope with the “merciless” effects of climate change. That would mean increasing assistance to about $11.4 billion a year — after five months ago doubling the amount to $5.7 billion a year. The Biden administration set a 2024 goal to reach the $11.4 billion mark.

As part of the fight against climate change, rich nations for many years have promised to spend $100 billion a year in climate help, but a new study shows that they’re $20 billion a year short. Biden said his new commitment would help rich nations reach their goal.

In climate negotiations there’s a dramatic rich-poor nation gap. Developing nations and others are reluctant to curb emissions further of heat-trapping gases without help from developed nations, which — in the words of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson — are “the guys that created the problem.”

Biden seemed to look past the mounting skepticism he’s faced from world leaders in the early going of his presidency, including criticism that Biden has given too little weight to allies’ concerns on issues that have ramifications for America’s friends on the world stage.

Eight months into his presidency, Biden has been out of sync with allies on the ending to the U.S. war in Afghanistan. He has faced differences over how to go about sharing coronavirus vaccines with the developing world and over pandemic travel restrictions. And there are questions about the best way to respond to military and economic moves by China.

His recent blow-up with France was born out of a three-way agreement between the U.S., Britain and Australia that undercut a more than $60 billion French submarine deal in favor of a plan to equip Australia with nuclear-powered submarines.

The move is expected to give Australia improved capabilities to patrol the Pacific amid growing concern about the Chinese military’s increasingly aggressive tactics.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said Monday there was a “crisis of trust” with the U.S. as a result of the episode.

Biden wasn’t so concerned. Asked by a reporter as he arrived at the U.N. on Tuesday how he planned to repair relations with the French, Biden responded with two words: “They’re great.”

In an interview before meeting with Biden on Monday, U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres told The Associated Press that he was concerned about the “completely dysfunctional” U.S.-China relationship and the possibility it could lead to a new Cold War.

The secretary-general did not back off his concerns about the U.S.-China tensions as he addressed leaders at the opening of Tuesday’s gathering. “It will be impossible to address dramatic economic and development challenges while the world’s two largest economies are at odds with each other,” he said.

Biden sought to play down concerns about China tensions escalating into something more, saying: “We are not seeking a new Cold War or a world divided into rigid blocs.” Notably, Biden didn’t utter the word “China” in his 34-minute address.

More broadly, he put a heavy emphasis on the need for world leaders to work together on the COVID-19 pandemic, to meet past obligations to address climate change, to head off emerging technology issues and to firm up trade rules.

“We will choose to build a better future. We, you and I, we have the will and capacity to make it better. Ladies and gentlemen, we cannot afford to waste any more time,” he said. “We can do this.”

Biden limited his time at the United Nations due to coronavirus concerns. He met with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison in New York following his speech, before heading back to the White House for a busy week of diplomacy in virtual and Washington settings.

Morrison and Biden did not comment on the flap with the French when they appeared briefly before the media at the start of their meeting.

Johnson, the British prime minister, made passing reference to the new security alliance that paved the way for the submarine deal when he met with Biden later Tuesday at the White House. Johnson said that creation of the alliance, dubbed AUKUS, has “great potential to benefit the whole world.” The British leader made no mention of the French uproar.

The president’s advisers were still arranging Tuesday for Biden to hold a call with French President Emmanuel Macron, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said. French government spokesman Gabriel Attal said Sunday that Macron, who was among many world leaders who did not attend the UNGA in person, is expected to speak to Biden in the coming days.


Madhani reported from Washington. Associated Press writers Seth Borenstein, Matthew Daly, and Darlene Superville in Washington, Jonathan Lemire in New York and Edith Lederer at the United Nations contributed to this report.

Salvation Army starts annual giving season

KINGSPORT — With the resurgence of the pandemic and less than 100 days until Christmas, the Salvation Army is digging in for another challenging season of need.

As thousands of people continue to struggle with the impacts of pandemic poverty, the Salvation Army of Greater Kingsport is calling on everyone to help individuals and families overcome the threat of eviction amid the holiday season.

For example, 14% of households are still behind on their rent, and up to 5% are facing imminent eviction. The Salvation Army estimates it will need to raise $125,000 to keep individuals and families in their homes this holiday season and into the new year in the greater Kingsport region.

“With the resurgence of COVID-19, we anticipate requests for service to increase by more than 50% this holiday season,” said Capt. Aaron Abram from the Salvation Army. “With the public’s generosity, we will continue to provide help and hope to over 5,400 individuals and families in need.”

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the Salvation Army of Greater Kingsport has provided 19,400 meals, 1,340 food boxes/cards, 292 emotional and spiritual care sessions and 6,400 nights of shelter.

Now more than ever, the Salvation Army needs everyone’s help. The following options are available for those wishing to support their neighbors in need:

• Enlist in Love’s Army with a sustaining gift of $25 per month.

• Visit RegistertoRing.com and sign up to volunteer to ring bells at a red kettle.

• Donate digitally with Apple Pay, Google Pay, PayPal and Venmo at any red kettle this Christmas season.

• Donate cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin or Ethereum for the first year ever.

• Ask Amazon Alexa to donate by saying, “Alexa, donate to The Salvation Army,” then specify an amount.

• Give any amount by texting “KETTLES” to 51555.

• Provide new toys and clothing through the Salvation Army Angel Tree for local children of families in need.

Every donation helps hope march on for those in need, and all gifts stay within the community in which they are given. Visit SalvationArmyUSA.org to donate or learn more about how you can help this year.

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