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Local News Stories from 92.3 WNPC
 
Thursday, January 18, 2018

No school
FYI...Cocke County schools closed on Friday, January 19.

Fine shooting incident
Two individuals face charges following a shooting incident Wednesday evening at a residence on Epley Road in Newport. Cocke County Deputy Sgt. Mx laughter said he responded to the 11 pm incident, to find that Joshton Andrew Fine, 22, of Knoxville had been taken to the Newport Medical Center by private vehicle. A female at the scene, Angela Thompson, a resident of the home, told officers she was in her bedroom when she heard a "pop", and found Fine standing in the hallway with a gunshot wound to the face. She said she and Fine were the only occupants of the home at the time of the shooting. The woman admitted to earlier using methamphetamine. Later Michael Paul Runyon, 40, Edwards Way, Newport, told investigators that several people were in the home when the shooting occurred. He said Fine was seated at the kitchen table when he shot himself in the face. A search of Thompson's room revealed multiple needles and syringes, as well as Xanax.She is charged with Possession of Xanax and Drug Paraphernalia, as well as Filing a False Police Report. Runyon was taken into custody on five outstanding warrants charging him with Child Support and Failure to Appear violations. Fine was flown to the UT Medical Center and at last report was in the Trauma Center ICU.

Tennessee lottery celebrating 14 years
Tennessee Lottery officials are celebrating the lottery's 14th anniversary, and reporting that the program has raised $4.4 billion for education programs along with a record-setting second quarter. "The results we have achieved have funded more than a million scholarships and grants and now help make possible the Governor's Drive to 55 initiatives along with so many other education programs," says Rebecca Hargrove, the Lottery's president and CEO. The Tennessee Education Lottery sold it's first tickets on Jan. 20, 2004. Officials say that since the Tennessee Education Lottery began, the program has seen: * Nearly $17.5 billion in gross ticket sales. * More than $12.1 billion paid out to players. * Retailers received more than $1.1 billion in commissions to retailers for the sale of lotto tickets and scratch-off tickets. * And the Tennessee lottery had 228 winning tickets worth $1 million or more. Since the first college scholarship awards began going to qualified students, under the Tennessee Promise program, lottery-funded programs now include multiple scholarships and grants as well as an after-school program and energy efficiency grants for K-12 schools. Last year the program was expanded to adults with the ReConnect program. A portion of lottery reserves are placed in an account to fund the Tennessee Promise and ReConnect programs, to help high school graduates and adults to attend two-year colleges and technical schools tuition-free.

Brooks backs off school vouchers
A Tennessee lawmaker who has been pushing for a school voucher plan in Tennessee has had a change of heart. Republican Rep. Harry Brooks of Knoxville has taken steps to follow through on a promise not to pursue school voucher legislation this year. Proponents of school vouchers and charter schools want the state to siphon off funding from public schools and shift it to funding for private schools. Vouchers allow public school children to use taxpayer money to go to private schools. Supporters say vouchers give parents choices. Opponents point out that vouchers will drain funding from public schools.

Southerland appointed to committees
State Senator Steve Southerland (R-Morristown) has been appointed to serve on the Senate Ethics Committee. The announcement was made Tuesday as the 110th General Assembly opened the 2018 legislative session. The appointment to the Ethics Committee is in addition to being re-appointed Chairman of the Senate Energy, Agriculture and Natural Resource Committee, a member of the Senate Government Operations Committee and a member of the Joint Fiscal Review Committee. "I am very pleased with these appointments," said Senator Southerland. "The General Assembly will deal with many important issues this year. I look forward to working with my colleagues to ensure that we maintain high ethical standards and to find solutions to the challenges we face." The Senate Ethics Committee is responsible for enforcement of the Senate Code of Ethics and for recommendations of modifications to the Code of Ethics. Senator Southerland formerly served as a long-time Chaplain for the Senate Republican Caucus.

Voting procedures in Tennessee are secure
Tennessee's top election officials say the integrity of voting procedures in the state are secure against cyber attack. Secretary of State Tre Hargett and state Elections Coordinator Mark Goins told Senate State and Local Government Committee members that Tennessee wasn't among the 21 states the U.S. Department of Homeland Security notified late last year about attempted breaches of their systems by Russians in the 2016 elections. An investigation is underway into allegations that Russian hackers tried to sway the presidential election to their candidate, Donald Trump. Goins and Hargett said federal officials initially wouldn't share information about attacks with Tennessee and other states. However Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security personnel have since provided training for Tennessee election officials. President Trump has alleged voter fraud by undocumented residents based on the CrossChecks program, but a group of academics last year found that program registered a number of "false positives." Other studies found no evidence of fraudulent voting Goins said Tennessee works to verify what CrossCheck sends to Tennessee. During the 2016 election, Republican officials' purges of infrequent voters in Tennessee and other states, triggered complaints that their efforts disenfranchised legitimate voters. Complainants sued Ohio and won in the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, which covers Tennessee. That case is now before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Smoky Park camping fees to increase
Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials announced a fee increase for frontcounty campgrounds and picnic pavilions effective March 1, 2018. Over the past year, officials reviewed public comments, operating costs, and projected budget levels to determine the rate increases which range from 10% to 25%. The rate increases are necessary to meet the rising costs of operations, reduce a backlog of maintenance requirements on park facilities, and initiate needed improvements. Park officials are also improving the efficiency of campground management by adding three campgrounds to the national reservation system through Recreation.gov. “Park visitors have long enjoyed camping and picnicking across the park in spectacular settings that offer space for relaxation and renewal,” said Superintendent Cassius Cash. “Maintaining and servicing these facilities in the mountains presents a unique set of challenges and, with increasing costs, these fee increases are necessary to ensure the continual care and operation of these special places.” The park operates nine open campgrounds, seven group campgrounds, six picnic pavilions, and five horse campgrounds. The current fees have not been increased since 2006 or earlier at any facility aside from Cataloochee Campground which had an increase in camping fees in 2011 when it was added to the reservation system. In addition to fee increases, the park is also adding Abrams Creek, Balsam Mountain and Big Creek campgrounds to the National Recreation Reservation System to improve operational efficiency. Beginning in early March of 2018, all sites will require advanced reservation and payment prior to arrival in the park through Recreation.gov either online or by phone. By placing these three geographically remote campgrounds on the reservation system, the park can reduce campground operation costs by eliminating the need for staff time for the collection of fees. The reservation system also provides a more efficient process for visitors to secure an overnight stay without traveling to the remote locations to check for vacancies. By law, the park retains 100 percent of the camping and pavilion fees. The fees are used primarily to operate these facilities. This includes maintaining buildings, grounds, and utilities, providing visitor services, and funding rehabilitation projects, such as road resurfacing and replacing picnic tables and grills. Some revenues are also used to maintain park infrastructure and other special projects beyond these sites. Over the years, the park has had to compensate for rising costs from inflation by reducing visitor services, delaying maintenance repairs and improvements, and, at many sites, shortening the length of the season when facilities are open, having a particularly adverse impact on visitors during the shoulder seasons. The park completed a 2016 comparability study with campgrounds in the surrounding communities and the study revealed that, while park camping fees in the park have remained mostly constant since 2006, campgrounds in the surrounding communities have continued to rise. Even with the fee increase, park campgrounds will remain among the least expensive in the area. For more information about campground facilities in the park, please visit the park website at https://www.nps.gov/grsm/plany ourvisit/carcamping.htm.

Alzheimer research initiative announced
In an effort to expand Alzheimer's disease research on the campus of The University of Tennessee Medical Center, a major fundraising initiative is underway to support research at The Pat Summitt Clinic. The announcement comes as the medical center celebrates The Pat Summitt Clinic's one year anniversary. The Alzheimer's Research Initiative represents the evolution of the clinic as it continues to fulfill the organization's mission to serve through healing, education and discovery, and grows toward becoming a nationally recognized Alzheimer's disease center. Legendary basketball coach and teamwork expert, Pat Summitt envisioned a place in East Tennessee where patients, families, caregivers, and leading medical experts would work collaboratively to improve care and support, educate future physicians and clinicians, and conduct ground-breaking research in the field of Alzheimer's disease and other dementias. Inspired by coach Summitt's vision, The Pat Summitt Clinic opened its doors in January 2017, supported in part by a grant from The Pat Summitt Foundation, allowing the medical center to increase the capacity of Alzheimer's patients to address the growing need in the region. Today the clinic, the first and only of its kind in the region, serves approximately 3,500 patients in East Tennessee. That number is expected to increase to approximately 6,000 within the next five years. The initiative Miles is leading will directly support the research focus at the clinic. There are currently an estimated 5 million cases of Alzheimer's disease in the nation. That number is expected to more than triple, to 16 million, by the year 2050. According to Dr. Roberto Fernandez, medical director of The Pat Summitt Clinic, the fundraising initiative will provide for significant expansion of the multi-disciplinary research being conducted at the facility, with a focus on the structure, function, behavior, and pathology of the brain as well as how each is impacted by Alzheimer's disease. "As Alzheimer's moves closer to becoming an epidemic in our country, it is imperative that we increase our research initiatives to ultimately seek a cure for this disease," Fernandez said. "We greatly appreciate the passion that Amy Miles brings to the Alzheimer's Research Initiative on behalf of all those impacted by Alzheimer's disease and other dementias. She does so also in memory of Pat Summitt and demonstrates much of that same powerful and positive spirit that the coach brought in working to defeat Alzheimer's disease."

Thursday, January 18, 2018

  • No school
  • Fine shooting incident
  • Tennessee lottery celebrating 14 years
  • Brooks backs off school vouchers
  • Southerland appointed to committees
  • Voting procedures in Tennessee are secure
  • Smoky Park camping fees to increase
  • Alzheimer research initiative announced

    Wednesday, January 17, 2018

  • Cocke Juvenile Court
  • No Cocke County school
  • Closings
  • Weather update
  • Cocke Circuit arrest warrants issued
  • Abbott charged
  • Bond scam
  • TBI has been dipping into it's Rainy Day Fund.

    Tuesday, January 16, 2018

  • No Wednesday school in Cocke County
  • Please conserve power
  • EDC wants input
  • Cushman faces new charges
  • Gas prices
  • School closings

    Monday, January 15, 2018

  • No school in Cocke County
  • Arrowood arrest
  • Dr. Martin Luther King Day
  • Valentine is the new rescue squad Capyain
  • Family of four die in West Tennessee home fire
  • 250K Tree Day in Tennessee

    Friday, January 12, 2018

  • Jefferson County Grand Jury
  • January 23...mark it on your calendar
  • Tennessee fire safety
  • TDOT is ready
  • Friends of the Animal Shelter open for business
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