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Archives 01-04-2006

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Southeast corner of square is history
Industrial park receives $850,000 federal grant
New law to strenghten courthouse security

 

 

Southeast corner of square is history

Dewain E. Peek/OCN staff
A crew from Mid-State Construction demolishes the southeast corner of the Livingston square on Monday, Jan. 2 while Livingston Fire Department personnel water down the area to minimize the chance of sparks igniting the debris. The block of buildings is being cleared away for construction of Millard Vaughn Oakley Public Library, which will replace Overton County Public Library as the county's library.

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EDA grant helps UCDD to plan development

A $55,000 U.S. Economic Development Administration grant will enable Upper Cumberland Development District to develop an economic development strategy for its 14-county region, acccording to U.S. Representative Bart Gordon.

UCDD covers Cannon, Clay, Cumberland, DeKalb, Fentress, Jackson, Macon, Overton, Pickett, Putnam, Smith, Van Buren, Warren, and White counties.

Elements of UCDD's Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy will include an analysis of current economic conditions and prioritizing potential projects designed to foster future development, UCDD Deputy Director Larry Webb said.

Gordon said, "Efforts to lure good-paying jobs to the region are necessary if we want to improve the quality of life and ensure our children have a bright future. Top-notch businesses look at a variety of factors when deciding to locate in a community.

"Good roads and schools, adequate power and water supplies, and a plentiful workforce are some of the things these companies consider. Agencies like the Upper Cumberland Development District have helped the region immensely."

Gordon said he would continue to work with local and state officials and agencies to ensure the Upper Cumberland area has an aggressive economic development plan.

Wendy Askins, UCDD executive director, said, "Our agency has enjoyed a long and productive relationship with EDA, and we look forward to continued cooperation and mutually beneficial results."

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New law to strenghten courthouse security

A new state law, effective January 1, could generate millions of dollars to bolster courthouse security in 94 counties, without costing taxpayers a penny.

Knox County opted out of the bill, which was enacted by the General Assembly during the 2005 legislative session.

The statute also simplifies the system used by court clerks to collect fees in civil and criminal cases. Under the new law, most fees will become uniform across the state, shifting to flat fees applying to categories of judicial proceedings. The existing law, adopted in 1974, includes 120 different dollar amounts or percentages to be collected for various services performed by court clerks. Fees for the same services also vary from county to county.

Elizabeth Sykes, interim administrative director of the courts, said, "This legislation was the result of months of study and work by a Tennessee Judicial Council committee and others who were committed to coming up with a revenue neutral uniform system of clerk fees. As they are now, there is an incredible lack of uniformity from one county or court to the next."

The bill adopted this year was amended as it worked its way through the legislative process to add $2 to continuance fees, raising the state-mandated fee to $7. Beginning with the new year, the additional $2 will be collected for every continuance in every court.

The money will remain in the counties where it is collected and must be used for courthouse security.

"A number of tragic incidents across the country in recent years has put the spotlight on the critical need to make our courthouses safe and secure," Sykes said. "But, it has been difficult for some counties to come up with money to buy the equipment and pay personnel to make sure that the public, judges, lawyers, parties in court cases, and everyone who uses our courthouses can be assured they are safe facilities.

"This is going to make it possible for counties to provide courthouse security without relying on taxpayers to foot the bill."

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Overton County News
415 West Main Street
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Livingston, Tennessee 38570
tel 931.823.6485
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