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JCP Week in Review, November 24

Jared Bentley • Nov 24, 2017 at 2:18 PM

There’s been a lot of controversy and conversation when it comes to schools in Jonesborough this year, and it doesn’t show any signs of slowing.

To rebuild or to renovate Jonesborough Elementary School was the question deliberated at Monday night’s tense but cordial Washington County Board of Education workshop. By the end of the meeting, that question still stood.

At the board’s request, Mayor Dan Eldridge, Finance Director Mitch Meredith and architect Tony Street spoke about the project’s alternatives, the costs associated and how financing each option could be achieved.

 

Street said building a new school onto the additions completed in 1997 and 1980, and eliminating the circular facility would cost an estimated $26.11 million, about $5.55 million more than the County Commission has currently authorized to spend.

There were also discussions of the option to delay the project, but construction costs are expected to rise in the coming years, and the cost of borrowing will also rise beginning Jan. 1 if the Republican tax plan goes into effect.

The other option, which is widely unpopular among Jonesborough parents and Board of Education Member Mary Beth Dellinger, entails renovating the current circular building.

To get all the details and find out more as the project moves forward, read Zach Vance’s article on our website.

In other school construction news, Washington County and Johnson City leaders are in agreement over the layout of the proposed Boones Creek athletic facility, now they have to figure out what it will cost.

The joint task force met for a third time Tuesday at the Memorial Park Community Center and analyzed a conceptual rendering of the facility with four 300-foot diamond fields and one 225-foot field, a layout that would fulfill most of the city’s needs and all the county’s needs.

Questions include the use of grass or turf, architectural costs, and how the two entities will eventually share costs as partners. The task force is hoping to have some solid numbers on the proposal by its next meeting, on Dec. 13.

Local residents along the Nolichucky River and members of American Whitewater have recently started working to “keep the Nolichucky free-flowing” for generations to come.

Only about one-third of one percent of rivers are federally protected under the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. With next year marking its 50th anniversary, activists and local outdoor enthusiasts say “there is no better time to build a movement around the iconic Nolichucky Gorge.”

Tennessee has already recommended that the seven-mile stretch between Poplar, North Carolina, and Unaka Springs, Tennessee, be recommended by the U.S. Forest Service for protection under the act.

Years after US Nitrogen constructed a pipeline along the river in Greene County, some residents believe more needs to be done to protect the river’s ecosystem.

Outdoor sports enthusiasts come from all across the country to enjoy the Nolichucky and its ecosystem, and our region needs to take pride in that fact, and become more involved in its preservation.

To find out what people are doing and how you can help, read Brandon Paykamian’s excellent article on our website.

If you need any more evidence of the effects of opioids on our region, Johnson City police have now begun carrying an overdose reversal drug in their vehicles.

A dose of naloxone can literally mean the difference between life or death for someone experiencing the symptoms of an opioid overdose. Sold under the brand name Narcan, naloxone is an opioid antagonist administered through injection or nasal spray that immediately counteracts the symptoms of an opioid overdose.

Johnson City officers were trained on the use of naloxone following a curriculum approved through the Tennessee Department of Health. In addition to the patrol officers, other units will receive naloxone training in the near future.

More than 1,600 Tennesseans died from from drug overdoses in 2016, according to the Tennessee Department of Health.

During this holiday of thanks, I am thankful that the opioid epidemic has not touched me directly, as it has so many others. If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, or any harmful effect brought on by drug use, please - seek help. You can’t fix a problem until you admit it is a problem, and take steps to correct it.

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