Friday, June 14, 2013

June 14, 2013 Industrial Board Recommends Another One-Year Extension for Freedom Energy Diesel Project

At Wednesday's Industrial Board meeting, the Board voted to recommend that City Council give another one year extension to Freedom Energy Diesel to develop a coal-to-gas plant at the East Tennessee Progress Center.

In June 2011, 116 acres in the ETPC was sold at a deeply discounted price to D4 Capital Holdings, LLC which transferred the property to Freedom Energy Diesel, LLC for construction of a $405 Million dollar plant that would use new technology to convert coal into gas/diesel. The head of FED is David Wild of Morristown.

The IDB named FED "Project Victory."

Despite D4 and/or FED assurances that round-the-clock construction of the plant would begin, the City included in its June 2011 deed that if construction had not begun within one year, then the property would revert to the City of Morristown.

One year later, June 2012, grading had taken place but no construction of the facility had begun and no product was being shipped. FED asked for and was granted a one-year extension to go "overseas" for financing. David Wild spoke at that IDB meeting. See the council and IDB video here.

Now another year later, June 2013, no construction of the facility has begun and no product is being shipped. FED has asked for another extension. The second one-year extension is broken into two phases---6 months (December 31, 2013) to obtain and present proof that it has the financing in place for the project and then another 6 months (June 30, 2014) to begin construction.

No member of the IDB asked FED representative David Wild any questions about the status of the project before voting on the extension.  [IDB Chairman Jack Fishman said City Council had requested that the IDB make a recommendation.]

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

June 11, 2013 Industrial Development Board Meeting Tomorrow

The Industrial Development Board (IDB) of the City of Morristown meets tomorrow at 1 PM for a called meeting at the Chamber of Commerce building at 825 West First North Street.

The meetings are typically in the basement of the Chamber building.

Notice of IDB meetings is not usually found in the public notice section of the local "news"paper."

To find out about these meetings, you have to go to the Chamber building and check the bulletin board every day or you have to go to City Hall to see if notice of an IDB meeting has been posted on the city bulletin board or you can check the city website to see if a meeting is listed on the city calendar of events.

IDB meetings are open to the public.
Tomorrow's meeting begins at 1 PM.
[Most recent IDB "public meetings" have begun at 7:30 AM or 8:00 AM.]

According to the City website, the IDB agenda is as follows:

Approval of summarization of May 8, 2013, meeting.
Consider approval of grading in ETPC (East Tennessee Progress Center).
ETPC property agreement discussion.
Consider request for TIF exclusions.
"Any and all other business that may properly come before the Board."

Friday, June 07, 2013

June 7, 2013 Judge Kurtz "Stacks" Thomas' Two Life Sentences

After convicting George Thomas in connection with the murder of Channon Christian and Chris Newsom, the jury in the George Thomas re-trial meted out two life sentences with the possibility of parole.

On June 4, Judge Walter Kurtz stacked those two life sentences and added on another 25 years for the rape conviction, leaving Thomas to serve approximately 120 years in prison before he is eligible for parole. 

[Thomas' first conviction in the Christian-Newsom case was thrown out and a re-trial granted when the presiding Judge, Richard Baumgartner, was charged in connection with a pill scandal. Baumgartner made a plea deal in state court and resigned but was later convicted in federal court of lying to investigators.]

During Tuesday's sentencing, Kurtz expressed dismay at the extreme violence and "gratuitous depravity" shown in commission of the crimes. He also noted the unimaginable suffering that the victims endured in the last hours of their life.

Kurtz then "stacked" the two life sentences with parole that the jury had meted out and tacked on another 25 years for the rapes of both victims, effectively ensuring that Thomas will never live to apply for "parole."

Thursday, June 06, 2013

June 6, 2013 D-Day and Dwight D. Eisenhower

                                                             Dwight David Eisenhower

Click here and read Eisenhower's famous D-Day speech. Better yet, click on the "play" button at the website and hear Eisenhower deliver the speech to men who would give their all on June 6, 1944, for their fellow countrymen and for oppressed peoples in Europe.

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

June 4, 2013 Bid Results for the Fourth Downtown Millennium Bid Opening

The Downtown Millennium Square Parking Garage pre-bid meeting was held on May 2, 2013.

Several potential bidders, including at least two local contractors, showed up.

Only two contractors actually bid on May 22.

Southern Constructors (Knoxville) bid $1,524,620.00
Merit Construction (Knoxville) bid $1,625,754.43

A TDOT Transportation Enhancement grant will provide most of the funding to build the Millennium parking garage on the property of the Millennium Square Partners (MSP).  MSP has to make up the difference between the grant funding and the cost of construction.

The Millennium Square Partners are James and Mira Craine, David and Tim Wild, Hiram Jones, Tom Jones, Sid Boyd, and Bill Young. 

While the City, TDOT, MSP, and architects Brewer, Ingram & Fuller appear to be having plenty of discussions about this fourth bidding, there are few public comments and few/no reports in the "news"paper at this time.

Here is the pre-bid video: