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Local News Stories from 92.3 WNPC
Thursday, November 15, 2018

Consolidated Cocke County social services
A group of Cocke County social service agencies gathered Wednesday to talk about plans for a centralized structure which will house all the groups. Jeannie Birdwell, who is the spokesperson for Newport/Cocke County Senior Center/Senior Social Services, said plans call for an 11,900 square-foot building to be situated on three plus acres that Cocke County has donated on Cope Boulevard. "It's a combination of Douglas Cherokee Economic Authority, Head Start, Central Charities(Breadbasket), SCHAS(senior homecare assistance)and ETHRA," Birdwell said. The facility will include a loading dock for Breadbasket as well as a commercial kitchen for preparation of meals for seniors as well as for the Headstart students." Birdwell has applied for grants, and some of the needed money will have to be borrowed locally. Then each organization housed in the facility will pay rent toward the cost. There is no timeframe for a groundbreaking, pending financing. According to Birdwell the cost of the structure is expected to be in the $1.5 to $1.8 million range depending on the amount of excavation that will be required. "We have hired an architect, and we want to move ahead with the project as quickly as possible. But that will depend on Cocke Countians buying into this project because it is for the entire county. Hopefully people will understand that this is a project that will be worth sacrificing for."

Cocke County home destroyed by fire
A double-wide home on the Edwina-Bridgeport Road in Cocke County was destroyed by fire Wednesday morning. Cocke County Firefighter Robert Cashen said the call to the Julia Collins residence came in at 6:45 am. Firemen were told that the power had been turned off to the home and the Collins residents were in the process of moving out. They reportedly had started a fire in the fireplace prior to leaving the home before the fire was discovered. Firefighters with the Cosby and Grassy Fork Volunteer Fire Departments responded as well and assisted in extinguishing the blaze. And sheriff's department personnel handled traffic control. Cashen said the American Red Cross also provided assistance to the Collins family. The 2,100 square foot home and contents were destroyed with the loss estimated at $90,000.

Haney conviction upheld
The Tennessee Court of Appeals has upheld the conviction of a Cocke County man convicted of sexual battery Shannon Haney, 48, Holley Street, Newport, was convicted of the offense involving a 14 year-old female acquaintance but was cleared of two counts of rape involving the same victim. Circuit Court Judge Rex Henry Ogle gave Haney a six-year sentence as a career offender, meaning he will be eligible for parole after serving 60 percent of the term. Haney had argued that there was insufficient evidence for a guilty conviction, but the court held that the evidence was sufficient for a rational juror to find the defendant guilty of sexual battery beyond a reasonable doubt. The appeals court set bond for the defendant at $25,000 and gave him 30 days to appeal the decision to the Tennessee Supreme Court.

Deer monitoring
The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency will be collecting deer biological data on Saturday, the opening day of the rifle season, at various locations across East Tennessee. Data to be collected will include deer age estimates, antler measurements, and Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) surveillance samples. With the addition of Internet checking in and the TWRA On the Go mobile application, less than half of harvested deer are brought to a checking station. The newer methods for big game checking have made it more difficult for TWRA to collect data that greatly aids in managing the state’s deer population. As concerns over the potential spread of CWD into Tennessee increase, TWRA has amended a rule regarding importation restrictions on deer, elk, moose, and caribou carcasses harvested anywhere outside of the state. TWRA encourages hunters that harvest a deer on the opening day to bring it by one of the checking stations or locations; Including Mantooth Custom Meat Cutting in Bybee and Two Bucks Processing in Dandridge.

Stargazing at Cades Cove
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park, in cooperation with the Smoky Mountain Astronomical Society, will offer a stargazing program in Cades Cove on Saturday, November 17, 2018 beginning at 5:30 p.m. Experienced astronomers and numerous telescopes will be on hand to provide a discovery of the fall sky’s position of stars, galaxies, and constellations, including the Milky Way. In case of rain or cloud cover where night skies are not visible, the program will be canceled. “National Park areas often offer a wonderful opportunity to stargaze,” says Superintendent Cassius Cash. “Parks across the country monitor and manage for natural night sky conditions in much the same way as we do to protect our air and water. Visitors are often amazed at the number of stars that can be seen simply by entering into the natural darkness of Great Smoky Mountains National Park.” All participants should park at the orientation shelter at the entrance to the Cades Cove Loop Road. A park ranger will walk with the group one-third of a mile to a nearby field to the viewing location. As the Cades Cove Loop Road is closed at sunset to motor vehicles, participants are not allowed to drive to the viewing site or to park within the Loop Road. Those planning to attend should wear comfortable walking shoes, dress warmly, and bring a flashlight. Participants are encouraged to bring a lawn chair or blanket for sitting, along with binoculars which can be used for stargazing. To preserve the integrity of the telescope lenses, smoking is not allowed near them. Carpooling is strongly encouraged as parking is limited. The program is subject to postponement due to rain or cloud cover. If the weather is questionable, call the day of the event to confirm that the program will take place at 865-448-4104 or follow the park’s Facebook page at www.Facebook.com/GreatSmokyMountainsNPS.

Lamotte murder
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is asking for the public’s help in it's effort to piece together information regarding a homicide that took place more than 30 years ago. In April 1985, the body of a young female was found partially decomposed along Interstate 81 in Greene County near Exit 44. TBI Special Agents ruled the case was a homicide. Autopsy results revealed the victim died approximately three weeks before her body was discovered. A sample of the victim’s remains was submitted and a DNA profile for the victim was developed. This week, the victim was identified as 17-year-old Elizabeth Lamotte, who was missing from New Hampshire. Lamotte was last seen in November 1984, but it wasn’t until last year that detectives located members of her family and obtained DNA samples from them. Those samples ultimately resulted in Lamotte being identified. Now TBI Special Agents are asking for the public’s help in developing new leads in the case. Anyone with information regarding Lamotte’s murder, specifically knowledge about individuals she may have been with her in the days before she died, is asked to call the TBI at 1-800-TBI-FIND (1-800-824-3463).

Thursday, November 15, 2018

  • Consolidated Cocke County social services
  • Cocke County home destroyed by fire
  • Haney conviction upheld
  • Deer monitoring
  • Stargazing at Cades Cove
  • Lamotte murder

    Wednesday, November 14, 2018

  • Senior Citizens Thanksgiving Dinner
  • Newport City Council
  • Cocke County Finance Committee
  • Amazon coming to Nashville
  • Lee to review open records

    Monday, November 12, 2018

  • Classical concert
  • Sanderlin/Toby pursuit and arrest
  • Empower planning a tiny home community
  • Allison died of smoke inhalation
  • Byrd charged in Sunday stabbing
  • Commodity distribution
  • Gas prices

    Sunday, November 11, 2018

  • Allison fire death
  • Office on Aging Thanksgiving

    Friday, November 09, 2018

  • Cocke County School Board meets
  • Inmates Warren and Mantooth face charges
  • KCCB electronics recycling
  • After Thanksgiving hikes
  • Small/Johnson indicted federally

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