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Local News Stories from 92.3 WNPC
Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Sevier County home invasion
Sevier County authorities say two Cocke County men have been charged in connection with a Tuesday morning home invasion in Sevierville The Sevier County Sheriff’s Office said Russell Davis, 35, and Marshel Cromuel, 34, were arrested in Pigeon Forge a short time after the incident and charged with attempted murder and aggravated burglary. Deputies said they received a call at around 8:53 a.m. from neighbors about a home invasions and shots fired at a residence on Hilltop Lane in Sevierville. The caller said the two suspects had driven away in a red truck. When officers arrived at the home they found the resident ,Armando Morales, uninjured. He told deputies the two men had knocked on his door and asked if they could cut firewood. After he told them no, he said they fired into his door, then kicked it open to enter the residence. Morales said he was armed and returned fire, forcing them to leave. He says the men shot out a window as they drove away. A neighbor saw the two men getting into their truck with guns, followed the two men and gave police a description of the vehicle. The truck was spotted a short time later on Veterans Boulevard in Pigeon Forge Police and the occupants were arrested as suspects in the home invasion. Cromuel, Myers Circle, Newport,a former Cocke County corrections officer pleaded guilty in 2011, to possession of oxycodone and alprazolam pills with the intent to sell and deliver, attempted introduction of contraband into a penal institution and the attempted sexual contact with an inmate. He was ordered to serve nine months of a four year sentence with the balance on supervised probation, and also pay a $2,250 fine. He later was charged with attempting to influence a witness and was charged with coercion of a witness.

CF Group fire
A Tuesday evening fire in the CF Group plant on West Highway 25/70,in Newport, heavily damaged an upholstery station. Cocke County Fire Training Officer Robert Cashen said the blaze was reported at 8:22 pm. The fire was contained by sprinklers, however it was extinguished by firefighters who were on the scene within three minutes. Cashen said the cause of the fire has not been determined however it may have been electrical in nature because it started around an electrical box. The dollar loss has not been determined and the plant is expected to be operational today.

Cocke teen injured
A 17 year-old Cocke County teen was injuured this morning when his 2006 Honda left Intersate 40 near the 437 milemarker. Trooper Jeff Coffey with the Tennessee Highway Patrol said was west bound at 1:28 am when his vehicle left the roadway on the right, spun around, and the rear of the vehicle struck a tree. The Cocke County Fire Department and Newport Rescue Squad responded to the scene, along with First Call EMS. The teen, who was not pinned in the auto, was flown to the University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville with non-life threatening injuries.

Newport Utilities finalizes RGE loan
The Newport Utilities board meeting agreed Tuesday to serve as the facilitator for a $750,000 USDA zero interest loan for RGE USA, a plastics firm in the industrial park. General Manager Glenn Ray said the utility will serve as a loan and grant facilitator for all local USDA grants, and he said several local firms may qualify for such loans. Six months ago Ray participated in a conference call with company officials in London, England. TVA, as well as local and state officials also were involved in the conference. The dialogue resulted in incentives from the state and TVA, but it did not finalize the USDA loan, so the utility board passed a resolution on Tuesday authorizing the loan. RGE also is required to secure a letter of credit from a local bank to guarantee the 10 year loan. The firm plans to add 22,000 square feet to the plant, renovate the interior, purchase new equipment and build a 20,625 square foot pad, with a total investment of $4 million. Ray also updated the board on a proposal to offer broadband service. A survey is underway underway, and may be expanded into the county to determine "if there is a feasible business plan indicating there is enough interest in the community to make it feasible for Newport Utilities to pursue offering broadband and fiber." Results of the study are expected in February. Currently the study is confined to homes and businesses in Newport, but it could be expanded to selective areas in the county, or the county as a whole. All three sections of the Grassy Fork waterline are under construction. The water tank will be installed in December and the project is expected to be complete in late Spring. Engineer Clint Hammonds said progress is being slowed in one area after a large section of limestone was encountered. The body agreed to extend the contract with Brockwell Construction for another year. The firm helps with emergency repairs, as well as wastewater and waterline extensions. Grants are being used for 80 percent of the cost and the utility is picking up the balance. The Grassy Fork Elementary School and the fifty customers, who will be served are not required to contribute to the cost because of the large grants. The new sludge dryer has been moved into the wastewater treatment plant. Supervisor Carroll Proffitt said a portion of the roof had to be removed to place the larger new dryer, and the roof is to be back on today. Customer Service Manager Carmen Lichty reported a recent customer survey has been completed, and all benchmarks were improved from last year with the exception of the customer's perceived value of service. Human Resources Manager Connie Frisbee reported that although Blue Cross Blue Shield is hiking rates by more than 30 percent in some areas, the utility saw an increase of just 6.3 percent. The lower rate is partially the result of the utility's decision to self-fund a health reimbursal arrangement. Frisbee said that move saved the utility more than $250,000 over the last two years. Manager of Finance and Accounting Sherry Frisbee reported that the utility is paying more than $1.4 million this year in in-lieu of tax payments. Newport will get $1.1 million, Cocke County nearly 309,700, Sevier County $6,700 and Jefferson County $4,800. Member Bill Lewis suggested funds collected in the "rounding-up" program might be used toward repairs to the Tanner Cultural Center. Customers are encouraged to round up their bill to an even dollar with the extra funds going to Douglas Cherokee Economic Authority to assist those who cannot afford their power bill. Lichty said the board has a policy of assisting programs that benefit county-wide programs, however Ray agreed to research the legal restraints of the program. Member Roland "Trey" Dykes, III, suggested the utility might include a fund raiser flyer in the bill mailings. The board was told a total of 54 employees have gone through flagger training, a requirement of OSHA, and that there is a continuing effort to boost the IT security of the utility.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

  • Sevier County home invasion
  • CF Group fire
  • Cocke teen injured
  • Newport Utilities finalizes RGE loan

    Tuesday, November 24, 2015

  • Thanksgiving travel is cheaper this year
  • I-40 challenge
  • TVA profits increase
  • Haslam defends his Syrian refugee position
  • Whitlock Road fire

    Monday, November 23, 2015

  • Teens arrested following drug search
  • Beasley escape arrest
  • Carter burglary
  • Newport fire
  • TVA revenues surpass $1 billion

    Friday, November 20, 2015

  • Tennessee re-finances it's debt
  • Jobless rate drops in Tennessee
  • Be aware of holiday scams
  • SI Group Community Advisory Panel
  • Partnership proposes to sell former NPI plant

    Thursday, November 19, 2015

  • Keys enters guilty plea
  • Mantooth injured in Wednesday crash
  • Bailey home damaged by fire
  • Cameron charged with child neglect
  • Royal Spa raided

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