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In news today…
The Milken Institute’s Best-Performing Cities for 2021 report is in! While none of the largest gainers among small metros reached Tier 1 status, their ascents in the rankings were nonetheless impressive. Cleveland, Tennessee experienced the largest change of all cities – large or small – rising 186 ranks in the 2020 index. Decatur, Alabama was the top-ranked among the group, rising to 35th and placing squarely in Tier 2. Geographically, the largest gainers were all located in either the Midwest or the South.
Most of the small metros gaining in the ranks experienced a recent economic surge that was reflected in one-year gains in jobs, wages, and high-tech GDP.
Cleveland City Mayor Kevin Brooks stated: “We are thrilled to be listed in Milken Institute: Best Performing Cities in 2021 as the #1 City for Biggest Gains Among Small Cities. My thanks to the City Council for their strong support of fiscal responsibility, balanced budgets and reducing our debt to insure these Big Gains for our City. These debt reductions and fiscal stability now allows us to focus on city-wide Infrastructure improvements and downtown revitalization.”
From NewsChannel 9…
Advocates rallied in front of the Chattanooga City Courts building Monday afternoon to raise awareness for a new bill making its way through the Tennessee legislature.
Right now, people convicted of first degree murder face the death penalty, life in prison without the possibility of parole, or life in prison with the possibility of parole.
HB 1532 and SB 0561 would change that last option – making the wait time for becoming potentially eligible for parole to 25 years, as opposed to 51.
Supporters of the bill say this would not affect someone who receives a sentence of life without the possibility of parole. However, it would be retroactive for some of those inmates serving life sentences with the possibility of parole.
The cofounder of Tennessee Voices for Victims says they are against the bill, saying it’ll hurt families of victims more by requiring them to go through the parole process.
From the Chattanooga Times Free Press…
Under the American Rescue Plan approved last year by Democrats in Congress, more funding has been aimed at supporting Tennesseans with disabilities in their homes and communities. One state program, Enabling Technology, introduces gadgets to lessen dependence on in-home helpers.
Some $5.5 million is newly directed to the Enabling Technology program, which will grow from its 200 initial participants to more than 2,000.
The program aims to help those with disabilities live a more independent life and become less reliant on in-person help. Two-way audio and video communication implemented by Enabling Technology lets caregivers check in remotely.
The program also introduces various smart home devices, like tablets that can control thermostats, lights, opening doors and the like. Newer technology called Eyedriveomatic lets users control a wheelchair with their eyes. Voiceitt is another innovation that translates for people with non-traditional speech. Enabling Technology has also connected some with an app that helps the person navigate the transit system with verbal prompts. It’s all to help people reach their goals for independent living and, in some cases, employment.