(NASHVILLE) — State Senator Ken Yager (R-Kingston) and Representative Dennis Powers (R-Jacksboro) today announced that two Campbell County health centers have been chosen for federal funding for expansion of COVID-19 testing.  The funds were awarded by the U.S. Health Resources and Services (HRSA) as part of the U.S. response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Community Health of East Tennessee, Inc. in LaFollette will receive $180,289 and Dayspring Health, Inc. in Jellico will receive $242,719.  Both are federally qualified health centers.

“The key to keeping our communities safe as our economy continues to open is aggressive testing,” said Sen. Yager.  “These community health centers are very important in this effort and I am very pleased that these two in Campbell County will receive these funds as part of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  I also want to thank our congressional delegation for their help in securing these needed funds.”

“I’m very pleased these health centers will receive additional resources to aid in the fight against COVID-19,” said State Rep. Dennis Powers. “Until there is a vaccine, testing will play a critical part in slowing the spread of this potentially deadly infection and limiting hospitalizations.  I appreciate President Donald Trump and our leaders in congress for making these funds available in our community.”

The funding for health centers is part of the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act, signed into law by President Trump on April 24th.  In addition to providing funding for small businesses and individuals financially affected by COVID-19, it provides grants for hospitals and healthcare providers, and increased testing capabilities to help track the spread and impact of the coronavirus.

Across the U.S., health centers are currently providing more than 100,000 weekly COVID-19 tests in their local communities.

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Earlier this year, I wrote an editorial encouraging constituents in the 12th senatorial district to complete the 2020 census form which has been mailed. At the halfway mark in time set aside to complete and return the forms (or go online), COVID-19 happened.

The population count influences funding for local programs and services that are critical to the well-being of our communities.  This includes funding for local schools, roads, fire departments, emergency services and hospitals.  It also affects the distribution of state shared revenues and grants to Tennessee counties which are used to provide vital services for many local citizens.

In addition, the census count determines how many congressional seats we will have in the U.S. House of Representatives, as well as the apportionment of state legislative and local government districts in 2021.  An undercount means that we will not receive the full measure of representation we deserve.

There are many ways for citizens to serve their community and shape our future.  One important way is to stand up and be counted.   We have been afforded more time to make this happen.  Due to COVID-19, the Census Bureau’s field data collection activities were suspended until June 1.  President Trump has asked Congress for 120 additional calendar days to deliver the final apportionment counts.   This gives us the additional time needed to get these forms returned.

Citizens can respond<https://2020census.gov/en/ways-to-respond.html> to the questionnaire online, by mail or by phone.  It takes less than 10 minutes to complete.   Also, encourage your family and friends to participate.  Many people have been distracted due to these extraordinary times and have forgotten to return their forms.  A friendly reminder is a big help in ensuring that we increase participation in our counties.

We can all shape our community’s future by participating in the 2020 Census.  Let’s get over the finish line so we can fully be counted.  It is well worth the effort.

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Census Return Rate as of May 7, 2020

National Self-Response Rate 57.3%
Tennessee Self-Response Rate 56.7%
Self-Response Rate of Counties in the 12th Senatorial District
Campbell: 45.9%
Fentress: 41.3%
Morgan: 49.4%
Rhea: 47.3%
Roane: 55.6%
Pickett: 41.1%
Scott: 49.2%

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — State Senator Ken Yager (R-Kingston) and Representative Dennis Powers (R-Jacksboro) announced today that the city of LaFollette in Campbell County will receive a $1.48 million grant from the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) for Phase 4 of construction of sidewalks along both sides of W. Beech Street and South Tennessee Avenue.

The project includes Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) upgrades, crosswalks, curb and gutter, a retaining wall, and drainage improvements.

“This is a very sizable grant and I was very pleased to support it,” said Senator Yager, “This will make downtown LaFollette more accessible for pedestrians and a beautiful attraction for local citizens and visitors to enjoy.  These improvements will help area businesses and the future impact on our community’s economic development is undeniable.  I appreciate TDOT for recognizing the local need and congratulate our local officials who helped secure a successful grant application.”

“These grant dollars will play a critical role in our efforts to improve the overall health and quality of life for the citizens of LaFollette,” said Representative Powers. “I believe they will also have a significant impact on our city’s economic future, and I want to congratulate our local leaders on their successful application. It was an honor to support their efforts, and I appreciate TDOT’s investment in our community.”

The competitive TAP grant program began providing funds to local governments in 1991. More than $317 million in grants has been distributed by the department since to improve access and provide a better quality of life for the people of Tennessee. The money has gone to 267 communities across the Volunteer State to build sidewalks, bike, and pedestrian trails and to renovate historic train depots and other transportation-related structures.
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KNOXVILLE ― The Tennessee Valley Authority announced Thursday it will partner with local power companies by providing $2 million in matching funds to support local initiatives that address hardships created by the COVID-19 pandemic. This initiative is part of a comprehensive portfolio of assistance programs that TVA is providing to support communities and customers across the Valley. 

The COVID-19 Community Care Fund will help amplify vital work being done by nonprofit organizations to support families and businesses affected by pandemic conditions.

Local power companies will have the opportunity to identify organizations for which they will seek matching funds for existing or new community initiatives. The fund is intended to help sustain and improve the quality of life in the Valley and support economic recovery.    

“In the spirit of public power, we are honored to partner with local power companies to address the unprecedented challenges facing those we serve,” said Jeannette Mills, TVA executive vice president and chief external relations officer. “TVA has a mission of service to make life better for the people of the Valley, and providing these funds to address immediate needs is one way we can help ease the burdens on families and communities.” 

The COVID-19 Community Care Fund is part of a broader effort by TVA and local power companies to support communities with resources, programs and assistance and reinforce the strength of public power in the Tennessee Valley.

TVA is also providing up to $1 billion in need-based credit support to provide financial stability and assist local power companies in their efforts to support their customers through these challenging financial conditions. In its role as regulator for local power companies, TVA is providing the local power companies with more flexibility to meet immediate customer needs in a fair, consistent manner. TVA is also working to identify additional potential funding from federal, state, and local government stimulus programs to help mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 in the Valley.

The Tennessee Valley Authority is a corporate agency of the United States that provides electricity for business customers and local power companies serving nearly 10 million people in parts of seven southeastern states. TVA receives no taxpayer funding, deriving virtually all of its revenues from sales of electricity. In addition to operating and investing its revenues in its electric system, TVA provides flood control, navigation and land management for the Tennessee River system and assists local power companies and state and local governments with economic development and job creation.

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The Tennessee Wars Commission announces the awarding of over $109,000 in grants to fund six projects in six counties across the state. Since 1994, the Tennessee Wars Commission, a division of the Tennessee Historical Commission, has supported over one hundred different projects that preserve, protect, and interpret the military heritage of Tennessee from the period of the French and Indian War through the Civil War. Awards granted in this cycle represent the second largest distribution from the fund. “The Wars Commission grant fund is an opportunity for a wide variety of communities to enhance war-related sites and further our collective knowledge of these historical events,” said Wars Commission Program Director Nina L. Scall. Projects funded this year include: Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park in Davidson County received $10,000 in support of programming to better interpret Tennessee’s African American participation in the Civil War.

Camp Blount Historic Site Association in Lincoln County received $25,000 to complete fabrication and installation of the Tennessee Volunteer Statue at this important War of 1812 encampment site. Historic Cragfont in Sumner County received $5,000 to research and present the home front story of Sumner County and Castalian Springs during the Civil War, focusing on life for the enslaved community and the citizens of Castalian Springs at that time. Johnsonville State Historic Park in Humphreys County received $11,500 to bolster the site’s living history program, which features artillery and infantry firing demonstrations, by purchasing a 10-pound Parrot artillery piece, a reproduction Springfield Musket, and cannongrade black powder.

Parkers Crossroads in Henderson County received $48,180 to expand the historic park’s collection of field artillery pieces.

Slave Haven Underground Railroad Museum in Shelby County received $10,000 to hire a public historian. The consultant’s research will focus on contraband camps and the events of the Civil War, their social impact in Memphis, and their connection to the historic site to inform exhibition updating at the site.