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Local News Stories from 92.3 WNPC
Thursday, January 19, 2017

Smith shooting
A Cocke County man sustained a hand injury Wednesday morning as a slept when his handgun discharged. Jason Donald Smith told Cocke County Deputy David Moriarty that he was sleeping at about 1 a.m. in his Cosby Highway home, when he moved his hand under his pillow where his weapon was located. When the .38 handgun discharged, the round struck the palm of his hand, and exited the back of his hand. The 25 year-old Smith drove himself to the Newport Medical Center for treatment.

Gas and diesel fuel tax likely to increase
Gas prices in Tennessee could soon go up, but the price increase is designed to fund a major road building program across the Volunteer State. Governor Bill Haslam has proposed a 7 cent per gallon gas tax hike, and If passed, it would be the first gas tax hike since 1989. Haslam said the 7 cent increase would generate an estimated $278 million a year in new transportation funding. That would help to cut into the state's $6 billion backlog in transportation projects. But to offset the tax hike, the governor is proposing to cut taxes on groceries, manufacturing companies who invest in the state, and people earning income from stocks and bonds. "We have traditionally paid for roads in Tennessee by the people who use those roads, and it's important that we keep doing that," Haslam said. "It's important that we have a road plan that can address the real needs that we have." The governor's road funding plan would also: Raise the tax on diesel by 12 cents per gallon. Increase car registration fees by $5. Add a 3 percent charge on cars rented in Tennessee Charge electric vehicles $100 per year to drive on Tennessee roads and charge higher taxes for vehicles running on natural gas. his plan would also allow cities to hike their local sales tax to pay for mass transit projects.

Assistance for workers dislocated by wildfires
The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development announced Wednesday that the Department has received a $5,8 million grant from the United States Department of Labor to assist in recovery efforts following the wildfire in Sevier County last November. The National Dislocated Worker Grant, with $2 million released initially, will create disaster relief employment for individuals to assist in clean-up and recovery efforts following the wildfire. The fire killed 14 people, damaged 2,460 structures, left damage of more than $800 million and burned 17,000 acres. Hundreds of workers were dislocated as a result of the wildfire. The federal grant is expected to help approximately 200 Tennessee workers. “This will allow the state of Tennessee to not only put people back to work, but it will also accelerate the clean-up and recovery process in an area of our state that saw so much devastation late last year,” Commissioner Burns Phillips said. The Department had six of its mobile American Job Centers at a disaster assistance center located in Pigeon Forge and Newport. Hundreds of workers utilized the additional resources for more than two weeks. Just over 1,000 workers dislocated by the wildfire are now receiving unemployment benefits.

Sneed sentence
Judge Ben Hooper is hearing cases this week in Cocke County Criminal Court. During a Tuesday session, the judge put on his counselor hat while addressing the courtroom full of defendants, telling them that only they can decide to change the direction of their life. He again decried the effect drugs are having on the community, saying drugs are the reason his caseload has increased by 456 percent in recent years. The court accepted a guilty plea from Mason Sneed, 21, Ridge Road, Hartford, who faces 32 charges in a total of 17 cases. The offenses ranged from jail escape, setting fire in the jail, assault and a number of burglaries and thefts. Sneed was charged along with three other defendants, in the various offenses. And he also may have committed burglaries in Greene County according to Asst DA Tonya Thornton. She told the court that Sneed also has outstanding cases in Jefferson County. The defendant was given a 10 year sentence, was ordered to make restitution and may not have contact with his victims or their families.

Trooper Mark Self has died
A Tennessee Highway Patrol officer who for years was assigned to Coke4 and Jefferson Count6y has died following a battle with cancer. Mark Keith Self, 42, Jefferson City, died Tuesday. He was a 20 year veteran of the Tennessee Highway Patrol and a lifetime member of the Newport Rescue Squad with several years of dedicated service to the EMS field. Trooper Self graduated from King University with a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice, and was part of the Manley Church and Magna View Baptist Church family. The family will receive friends from 4:00 pm – 7:00 pm, Friday, January 20, 2017 at Manley Baptist Church, Morristown. The funeral services will be held 12:00 noon Saturday, at Manley Baptist Church, with Rev. George Miller and Rev. Tony Buchanan. Burial will follow in Resthaven Memorial Gardens. Family and friends may sign guest register on-line at: www.manesfunerahome.com. Arrangements by Manes Funeral Home.

Twelve year-old is shooting victim
Cocke County authorities are being assisted by the Tennessee Bureau of investigation and Tennessee Department of Children’s Services, in the investigation of the death of a 12 year-old boy in the Centerview Community. Cocke County Sheriff Armando Fontes identified the victim as Justin Golden. He reportedly was a Sixth grader at Centerview Elementary School. The shooting took place at the boy’s residence while the parents were in bed Tuesday evening at 10:04 p.m. " E-911 was called by the mother of the child and she informed dispatch that her son had apparently shot himself," the sheriff said. Officers attempted to render first aid and CPR on the scene until EMS arrived to transport the child to the emergency room. The office of Fourth Judicial District Attorney General Jimmy Dunn was notified, and a short time later the TBI arrived to assist in the investigation. "We are looking into the circumstances involved in the situation and we are awaiting a forensic evaluation to be completed, in the ongoing investigation," Sheriff Fontes said. He declined to provide additional details regarding the death until a determination has been made as to how the incident occurred. "Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and every person affected by this tragedy. I urge all citizens to step up and pray for everyone affected by the tragedy," the sheriff said." The Centerview Community is a close community and this situation has already affected the lives of many."

Thursday, January 19, 2017

  • Smith shooting
  • Gas and diesel fuel tax likely to increase
  • Assistance for workers dislocated by wildfires
  • Sneed sentence
  • Trooper Mark Self has died
  • Twelve year-old is shooting victim

    Wednesday, January 18, 2017

  • Cocke Corrections Partnership
  • Cocke County Legislative Body
  • Latest Kids Count stats for Cocke and Jefferson counties
  • Smoking is costly

    Tuesday, January 17, 2017

  • Cocke County A&I Fair changes fair date
  • Every Students Succeeds Act
  • Tennessee leads the nation in bankrupties
  • American Healthcare Reform Act
  • Tobacco usage in Tennessee

    Monday, January 16, 2017

  • Offices closed
  • Five arrested in meth bust
  • New efforts to control horse soring
  • Gatlinburg Fire Chief Greg Miller addresses Newport Rescue Squad
  • Two vans destroyed in weekend fires

    Sunday, January 15, 2017

  • Rathbone Logging named in lawsuit
  • The future of healthcare
  • Forum planned on politically divided country
  • Hickman family arrested

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