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Friday, December 02, 2016

Chimney Top Fire Update
The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development will have its Mobile Job Center in Cocke County next week to help workers displaced by recent wildfires, to file for unemployment benefits and look for new jobs. Two mobile job centers are currently open and assisting workers in Pigeon Forge. Workers in Cocke County will be able to access the services of the Mobile Job Center starting Monday, December 5. It will operate Monday and Wednesday, 9:00am-4:00pm at the Newport Community Center, and on Tuesday, 9:00am-4:00pm at the National Guard Armory on the Cosby Road. The federal Incident Command for the fire said Thursday the wildfire has been determined to be human-caused and is currently under investigation. Agents with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are helping the National Park Service and local authorities to investigate the origin and cause of the fire. More than a dozen federal agents, including several certified fire investigators, are on the scene. "We're not looking at a criminal investigation right now," Knight said. There are 13 confirmed fatalities according to Dean Flener of TEMA. More than 85 injuries have been reported and more than 1,000 structures lost. Although Sevier County received significant amounts of moisture Wednesday, more will be needed. "We had really good rain, but not enough to make up the deficit. Don't let this rain give you a false sense of security," Michael Proud, Incident Meteorologist, warned. He said warmer weather, wind and decreased humidity will increase fire activity. "The fire is not out, it is just knocked down,"added Mark Jamieson, Operations Section Chief. Fires are out in Sevier County but continue to burn in the national park. n "This is such a tragedy; it is difficult seeing others suffer." Mike Dueitt, Incident Commander for the Southern Area Red Team expressed. "It will take take time for this community to heal." Duett says the fires are 10% contained after burning an estimated 17,859 acres and being fought by 458 total personnel But Sevier County tourism officials are telling the nation that their community is open for business. Gatlinburg Mayor Mike Werner, who lost his home and business, on Thursday talked about the resilience of his community saying, “If you want to help Gatlinburg, come back and visit us. We’re gonna be back…we’re gonna be better than ever.” City Manager Cindy Ogle said plans are to open Gatlinburg’s downtown Parkway and River Road to the public on Monday. The National Park Service also announced that the Townsend, entrance into Cades Cove, the popular Great Smoky Mountains scenic drive, is open to the public. On Thursday Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam issued an Executive Order suspending certain state laws in order to ensure wildfire and severe weather disaster survivors have access to important health care services, consumer rights protections, and availability of state services as they recover. “The citizens affected by the wildfires and severe storms have already been through so much, we want to make it easier for them to receive the care and services they need as they begin to pick up the pieces and rebuild their lives,” Haslam said. “The state is doing and will continue to do everything we can to support the victims and survivors of these devastating disasters.”

Fire Update
The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development will have its Mobile Job Center in Cocke County next week to help workers displaced by recent wildfires, to file for unemployment benefits and look for new jobs. Two mobile job centers are currently open and assisting workers in Pigeon Forge. Workers in Cocke County will be able to access the services of the Mobile Job Center starting Monday, December 5. It will operate Monday and Wednesday, 9:00am-4:00pm at the Newport Community Center, and on Tuesday, 9:00am-4:00pm at the National Guard Armory on the Cosby Road. The federal Incident Command for the fire said Thursday the wildfire has been determined to be human-caused and is currently under investigation. Agents with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are helping the National Park Service and local authorities to investigate the origin and cause of the fire. More than a dozen federal agents, including several certified fire investigators, are on the scene. "We're not looking at a criminal investigation right now," Knight said Thursday afternoon. There are 11 confirmed fatalities according to Dean Flener of TEMA. More than 45 injuries have been reported and more than 700 structures lost. Although authorities have not confirmed identities of the victims, family members of three individuals who were staying in cabins at Chalet Village, say the bodies of their relatives have been identified. The name of Alice Hagler was released by her son, and relatives also released the names of Jon and Janet Summers. The couple from Memphis, were with their sons Branson, Jared and Wesley celebrating a birthday. The sons are being treated for burns at the Vanderbilt Burn Center. The Cobbly Nob area continues to burn. The Incident Command says a total of 17,108 acres have been impacted and more than 400 firefighters utilizing more than 100 engines are working to control the flames. On Thursday, officials said there was zero containment of the fire. Although Sevier County received significant amounts of moisture Wednesday, more will be needed. "We had really good rain, but not enough to make up the deficit. Don't let this rain give you a false sense of security," Michael Proud, Incident Meteorologist, warned. He said warmer weather, wind and decreased humidity will increase fire activity. "The fire is not out, it is just knocked down,"added Mark Jamieson, Operations Section Chief. But Sevier County tourism officials are telling the nation that their community is open for business. Gatlinburg Mayor Mike Werner, who lost his home and business, on Thursday talked about the resilience of his community saying, “If you want to help Gatlinburg, come back and visit us. We’re gonna be back…we’re gonna be better than ever.” City Manager Cindy Ogle said plans are to open Gatlinburg’s downtown Parkway and River Road to the public on Monday. The National Park Service also announced that the Townsend, entrance into Cades Cove, the popular Great Smoky Mountains scenic drive, is open to the public. On Thursday Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam issued an Executive Order suspending certain state laws in order to ensure wildfire and severe weather disaster survivors have access to important health care services, consumer rights protections, and availability of state services as they recover. “The citizens affected by the wildfires and severe storms have already been through so much, we want to make it easier for them to receive the care and services they need as they begin to pick up the pieces and rebuild their lives,” Haslam said. “The state is doing and will continue to do everything we can to support the victims and survivors of these devastating disasters.”

On-line sales tax is debated
A proposed Department of Revenue rule requiring large out-of-state retailers to collect state and local sales taxes on purchases made by Tennessee residents likely is unconstitutional and would be face a court challenge. Eleventh District Representative Jeremy Faison, R-Cosby, who chairs the House Government Operations Committee says enacting the tax would mean legal costs for litigation the state can't win. The lawmaker adds that many lawmakers are opposed to any new taxes. Gov. Bill Haslam argues that consumers who buy goods online or from a catalog from out-of-state retailers are supposed to pay a sales tax. But the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that retailers cannot be required to collect taxes from purchasers unless the company has a physical presence in the buyer’s state. A number of other states are also considering similar rules, and several have already passed laws to require sales tax collections. Those regulations however are being challenged in court..

Powerball winners
Twenty Tennessee coworkers at a metal manufacturing plant will split about $420 million from last Saturday's Powerball jackpot. The North American Stamping Group workers claimed the $420.9 million jackpot on Tuesday. The cash value would be about $12.7 million before taxes per person. The ticket purchased by the group matched all six Powerball numbers and was sold in Lafayette. The group usually bought about $120 worth of tickets every Wednesday and Saturday to support education and the state of Tennessee. Kevin Southerland, one of the winners, said he and a majority of his coworkers plan to keep working, although some may quit their job.. “All these people have always had a heart to help people and be there for people,” he explained. “We can do that if we don’t have any money. Now we can do more and help more. There’s going to be a lot of people blessed.”

Friday, December 02, 2016

  • Chimney Top Fire Update
  • Fire Update
  • On-line sales tax is debated
  • Powerball winners

    Thursday, December 01, 2016

  • Smokies fire update
  • Parrottsville Christmas parade
  • Darnell arrest
  • Cocke County fire
  • No classes at Smoky Mountain Elementary

    Wednesday, November 30, 2016

  • No classes at Smoky Mountain Elementary
  • Fire update
  • Gatlinburg/Smokies update
  • Tennesseans are chartitable

    Tuesday, November 29, 2016

  • NO SCHOOL
  • Latest Wildfire update
  • Ober Gatlinburg update
  • Fire update
  • Park closed
  • Fire and wind update
  • Fire, wind and outages

    Monday, November 28, 2016

  • Thanksgiving Day ATV mishap
  • Domestic disturbance leads to meth charges
  • Warmer winter is predicted
  • Big Powerball winner in Tennessee
  • TVA to continue it's Clean Energy policy
  •    

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