July Pennington Gap meeting

The town of Pennington Gap held their monthly meeting on July 21, at 6:00 pm at the Community Center.

Presentations of tourism was a big discussion at the meeting.

Rance Garrison, presented a proposal that the town consider a community cultural arts program.  He proposed having an art gallery, a small recording and editing studio, small stage, and an annual music and arts festival.

The arts is to bring the younger generations into the community.  This is still in planning stage.

Chris Sturgill of Spearhead Trail presented about the success of St. Paul and discussed different programs that Spearhead Trails will be in charge of for the Pennington Gap trail.

Some programs in ATV, motorcycles and children safety courses.

Board approved to endorse the Spearhead Trail for the Tobacco Commission Grant.

Coal mine shut down

Another coal mine will be laying off employees in Wise County.  Cumberland River Coal's Pine Branch #1 of Arch Coal and a second mine in Letcher County, KY will be shutting down.

Employees will have 60 days severance pay and 90 days of insurance coverage.

One of the employees was told that cheaper price of natural gas, tougher EPA regulation on coal-fired power plants and coal prices rising is the reason for the closing of the mine.


The Wise County Remote Area Medical (RAM) was held on July 18-20. 

Governor Terry McAuliffe visited the clinic to discuss health care issues and concerns in the region.

McAuiffe stated that his teams is working hard to close the coverage gap, and also stated that where Lee County lost the hospital, that this isn't about politics anymore, it's about saving people's lives.

The University of Virginia's College at Wise housed 570 of the volunteers for the clinic.

Chancellor Donna Henry and her daughter, Maggie also helped by volunteering.

The Lee County RAM will be on September 13 & 14, at the Lee County Airport in Jonesville, VA

37 projects funded

The Harlan Fiscal Court approved 37 projects that will be funded through single county coal severance funds for the fiscal years 2015/16.

The court approved to move all senior citizen centers to the top of the list, and the other projects will be followed with the same amount of disbursements for the fiscal year 2016 with the exception of Harlan Fiscal Court debt retirement will be $700,000 and waterline ands sewer projects will be $600,000 for the total disbursement of $1,646,000.

Once the court approves the prioritized list, the first 31 projects should be funded within the next six months.

Hospital Authority Website

The Lee County Hospital Authority has a website that gives information about the loss of Lee Regional Hospital.
The site will allow citizens to sign a petition, like about on Facebook and also get up dates about the hospital.

High Knob

The tower at High Knob is finally finished. The new tower stands above Norton and is made of quartzite sandstone and concrete. The roof is made of metal. The old tower was made of wood and opened in 1978
The renovated started in 2013 and the reason for the new renovated tower is due to arsonists on Halloween of 2007.
The new tower is taller than the original tower by 11 to 16 feet standing about 4,223 feet.

School Board

The Lee County School Board held their July meeting on Tuesday, July  15, 2014 at 7 pm.
Many things were discussed at the meeting.
The County-Wide In-Service will be on August 15, at 9:00 am at Lee High School.  Guest speaker will be Dr. Steven R. Staples, 
Superintendent of Public Instruction.
The General Assembly got the official budget approved and the budget committee had to amend the recently approved budget for the schools. The net loss between the budgets is over $76,000.
Many of the board members thanked the budget committee for working so hard on the new budget.

Middlesboro Task Force

The Middlesboro City Council held a special called meeting voting in favor having a Cumberland River Drug Task Force which is a part of High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Task Force.  The area is will be covering is Bell, Harlan and Knox counties.
The goal is to rid the drug trafficking in the area.

Continuous Jonesville town meeting

Continuous to Jonesville town meeting.

A town citizen spoke to the council about the increase in taxes.  He asked the council to consider a tax relief for seniors. A member from council stated that if the town could get into better shape, the town would like to offer a relief.  The council is currently working on past administration mistakes to pay back a large amount of debt.

The Jonesville Fire Department got approval from the council to open a CD account with Powell Valley Bank for $60,000.  Also approved is to put Mayor, Marilyn Humfleet and another member of the council onto the Jonesville Fire Department’s bank account. 

New members Jerry Harris and Tommy Livesay was also presented at the meeting.

Board of Supervisors

Board of Supervisors held their July meeting on Tuesday, July 15, 2014 at 5 pm.

For the departmental reports;

The department of building inspection issued permits for LMU Bovine Teaching facility in Ewing as well as O’Reilly’s automotive store that will be located in Pennington Gap.

Litter Control and recycling stated that there is a tentative date set for an Electronics Day to allow citizens to bring their old stuff to be recycled, and is currently working on complaints in the county.