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Local News Stories from 92.3 WNPC
Friday, June 24, 2016

Sales tax holiday moved up one week
Tennessee's sales tax holiday will now be one weekend earlier than it has been in the past, due to a 2016 law change. Starting this year, the sales tax holiday will be held during the last weekend in July. From July 29 through July 31, Tennessee shoppers can save nearly 10 percent on clothing, school supplies and computers, as students prepare for the back-to-school season. " We encourage Tennesseans to mark their calendars so they don't miss this opportunity to save on important items," Gov. Bill Haslam said. Under the new law, Tennessee's annual sales tax holiday will be held beginning at midnight the last Thursday of the month, through might the following Sunday night. The new law does not change any other aspects of the sales tax holiday. As in prior years, consumers will not pay state or local sales tax on clothing, school and art supplies that cost $100 or less per item and computers that cost $1,500 or less.

Dr. McCamy is honored
The Tennessee Board of Regents voted Friday to name a building on the Walters State, Morristown campus in honor of retiring president Dr. Wade B. McCamey. The building will now be known as the Dr. Wade B. McCamey Student Services Building. A resolution of appreciation presented by the TBR recognizes the growth and expansion of the school under Dr. McCamey’s leadership, It also acknowledges McCamey’s 29 years of service to Walters State and four years of previous service as president at Roane State. He was also lauded for innovative programs and services focused on student success and engagement and the college’s national reputation as a leader in using technology to enhance learning experiences. Dr. McCamey has announced plans to retire effective June 30. He has spent 46 years in education. The Student Services Building opened in 2011 and serves as a one-stop shop for student services including admissions, tutoring and financial aid. Walters State will host a retirement reception for Dr. McCamey beginning at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, June 28, in the “Z” Buda Assembly Hall and Gymnasium, on the Morristown Campus. Members of the community are invited to attend the reception.

Grocery wine sales are in the offing
Grocery stores will be able to sell wine in Tennessee beginning July 1 if they have a Tennessee ABC license. A total of 422 grocery stores statewide have received licenses to sell wine, or 73 percent of all grocery stores who have applied. Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission Executive Director Clayton Byrd said every grocery store that has a conditional letter of approval before the roll-out will be able to sell wine July 1. The ABC has received 573 applications.

US Corp seeking comment on Newport Bypass
The US Army Corps of Engineers is seeking public comment regarding plans by the Tennessee Department of Transportation to use fill dirt in it's construction of the Newport Bypass. Mark McIntosh says the areas to be impacted include the Pigeon River, French Broad River, Sinking Creek, wetlands and unnamed tributaries. Plans call for the bypass to stretch from St. Tide Hollow Road at North Highway 321,to Thinwood Drive at West Highway 25/70. The bypass is to cross both rivers. The public notice says TDOT has proposed to discharge fill material into 6.52 acres of wetlands, 203 feet of streams, permanently discharge fill material into 449 feet of stream and construct three bridges as well as 323 feet of stream impacts. Plans are for the bypass to be five lanes, and 4.8 miles in length. Comments should be addressed to; Nashville District Corps of Engineers, Regulatory Division, 501 Adesa Parkway, Suite 250, Lenoir City, TN. 37771. Or emailed to; Mark.M.McIntosh@usace.army.mil

Marina inspection report
With the arrival of summer and boating season, the Tennessee State Fire Marshal’s Office has announced that results of the public marina and dock inspection program have been posted on the Department’s website for review.   The marina inspection program was created as part of the passage of the Noah Dean and Nate Act. It was named after Noah Dean Winstead, 10, and Nate Lynam, 11, who died on July 4, 2012 after being electrocuted while swimming at the Cherokee Lake marina.   The Noah Dean and Nate Act requires that all public marinas and docks be inspected and boat dock or marina operators must comply with equipment requirements preventing possible electrical shocks and electrocution.   The state, which began the public marina and dock inspections on Jan. 1, 2015, hired a full-time marina inspector who has currently inspected 116 of the more than 300 Tennessee public marinas and docks. Commissioner Julie McPeak said “Posting the marina inspections results gives Tennesseans important information about public marinas and again demonstrates our commitment to transparency. …. It is our hope that the marina inspection program will prevent future tragedies from ever occurring.”

Jobless rates
Tennessee county unemployment rates for May, released Thursday show the rates decreased in 58 counties, increased in 11, and remained the same in 26 counties. Locally the numbers look like this............. Cocke.................4.8 percent, Jefferson.............4.2, Greene................4.1, Hamblen...............4.0, Sevier................3.4. For the month of May, Davidson County had the state’s lowest major metropolitan rate at 2.9 percent, and Knox County has 3.2 percent jobless.

Myers home fire
The home of Newport Attorney William Myers, and his wife Jane, sustained damage in a Thursday evening fire. Newport Patrol Officer William Garber said he responded to the Sixth Street, Newport home just before 11 a.m.. The officer used two fire extinguishers to quell the flames coming from an electrical short in a microwave. "The flames were reaching to the ceiling," the officer said. He was able to extinguish the fire before firefighters arrived on the scene. Newport Fire battalion Chief Tim pack said the fire and smoke damage to the kitchen is estimated at $8,000. Firefighters used fans to remove the heavy smoke from the home. No injuries resulted.

Antique farm equipment recovered
A Cocke County couple face charges after they allegedly sold stolen antique farm equipment. Barbara Cureton told Det. Lt. Robert Thornton that three tobacco setters and a cultipacker recently were stolen from a barn on her rental property on Crum Hollow Road. Officer Thornton learned that the renters at the farm, Steven David Ball, 41, and Lisa Margaret Hogate, 42, sold the three tobacco setters to the owner of Pickers Paradise on Highway 411. According to the unidentified antique dealer, she had been buying items from the couple for about two years. Although Cureton says the three tobacco setters are valued at $3,000, the operator of the store said she paid the couple $100 for the items. The cultipacker valued at $2,500 has not been recovered. Ball and Hogate are charged with theft over $1,000 and violation of probation. Hogate is charged also with failure to appear for a previous court hearing.

Cocke County power outages
Strong storms knocked out power to a number of Newport Utilities customers over night. Jimmy Robertson of the Electric Department says reports of scattered outages began at 10 p.m.. The number of customers out of power escalated when both Cosby Substations lost power from TVA at around 1 a.m.. The stations supply power to about 4,000 customers who were in the dark for about one and a half hours until TVA could re-energize the transmission line feeding the stations. NU crews worked on other scattered outages which affected about 450 additional customers. Power was restored across the service area by 7 a.m..

Black back in jail
A Cocke County man who was out of jail on charges of vehicular homicide by intoxication, is back behind bars today. Corey Black, 21, Mulberry Avenue was found passed out in his auto this morning by Newport Sgt. Donald Coakley. When the officer opened the door he detected a strong odor of marijuana, and Black reportedly admitted he had been smoking marijuana. Officers searched the vehicle and recovered just over an ounce of pot. As a result Black is charged with his second offense DUI, driving on a suspended license, possession of marijuana for resale, and violation of the implied consent law. In May the defendant appeared before Judge Ben Hooper on charges stemming from an incident in January, 2014 in which an auto left Black Mountain Road in the Grassy Fork community traveled down the mountainside for 250 to 300 feet, stopping when it crashed into a tree. Prosecutors allege Black was operating the vehicle. Passenger Chelsey Williamson, 24, Armory Road, Newport, died as a result of her injuries, and another passenger Cortney Shultz, 23, Rankin Hill Road, Newport, was injured . Bond for Black in that incident was initially set at $250,000, however Judge Hooper reduced it to $15,000 during the May hearing. The court also told the defendant "if you get into any trouble there will be no bond".

Haney trial delayed
A Cocke County Criminal Court jury trial was delayed on Thursday because of a lack of jurors. Shannon Haney, 48, Holley Street, Newport was scheduled to go to trial on two counts of rape as well as sexual battery by an authority figure. The alleged victim was a 14 year-old female. But the case was delayed when only 27 prospective jurors showed up. Circuit Court Clerk Peggy Lane told the NewsSource that she contacted 68 individuals, but had earlier excused five for cause. Plans now are to call in a special jury in September to try the case. Judge Rex Henry Ogle said the lack of prospective jurors had occurred in his court, only one time previously in his 26 years on the bench. "I'm sorry for those of you that had the goodness in your souls to serve with us today. I am very disappointed in those of your fellow jurors who did not have the pride in their community to come down here and serve with you. It is a disgrace and a shame on them." And so the court delayed the trial. Judge Ogle said he will talk with his fellow judges about the situation. While Judge Ogle said he can hold a prospective juror in contempt and cite them into court, the maximum punishment that can be meted out is a $50 fine. The procedure is for those on the juror panel to call into the jurors phone in circuit court to receive information on when to be in court for a jury trial. In the past criminal court judges cautioned prospective jurors to not listen to the radio or read a newspaper while they are seated on a jury. But during questioning on Thursday, Prosecutor Tonya Thornton cautioned the panel to stay away from social media sites while serving on the jury. She expressed concern that the panelists could be tainted by information that is posted on Facebook or another social media site.

Friday, June 24, 2016

  • Sales tax holiday moved up one week
  • Dr. McCamy is honored
  • Grocery wine sales are in the offing
  • US Corp seeking comment on Newport Bypass
  • Marina inspection report
  • Jobless rates
  • Myers home fire
  • Antique farm equipment recovered
  • Cocke County power outages
  • Black back in jail
  • Haney trial delayed

    Thursday, June 23, 2016

  • Hill arrest
  • Federal In lieu of tax payments.
  • Houston arrest
  • Forrester charged with child abuse.
  • Webb receives state resolution

    Wednesday, June 22, 2016

  • Search underway for Douglas lake drowning victim
  • Shelton charged
  • Black bear incidents
  • Weapons incidents

    Tuesday, June 21, 2016

  • CLB has a full agenda
  • Cocke Corrections Partnership
  • Moore arrest
  • Future of Smoky Mountains Visitors Center

    Monday, June 20, 2016

  • Child burns investigation
  • Elderly and Disabled forum
  • Wolbert arrest
  • Gould incident
  • ABLE accounts
  • Broadband ruling positive for rural residents
  • Tennessee tax revenues increase
  • Judge Slone receives state award

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