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Local News Stories from 92.3 WNPC
Monday, July 23, 2018

Newport sexual incidents
A Newport man was arrested Saturday in connection with two alleged indecent exposure incidents. Steven Gregory Ball, 18, Sherwood Drive, Newport, allegedly drove through Ford's Cruz Thru on West Broadway and exposed himself to the 18 year-old female clerk. After the incident, Ball drove away without waiting for the change from his purchase. Prior to that incident, two females aged 15 and 18 told police they were seated in the Newport Towne Center when Ball pulled up and offered to expose himself. He drove away when the females said they were calling the police. Ball was arrested Sunday by Newport Patrol Officer Brandon Cassidy on two counts of Indecent Exposure. Melvin Dunlap, 79, West Main Street, Newport was also arrested Saturday by Newport Detective Scott Lamb. An 18 year-old male reported that Dunlap asked him to come by his house and while there Dunlap propositioned him and then grabbed him sexually.

Robinson arrests
A Newport man was jailed Saturday after he fled from Newport officers. Randall Robinson, 57, Ruble Avenue, Newport was traveling on Jones Circle when his vehicle developed mechanical problems. Newport Sgt. Matthew Elliott came by, finding the auto parked in the roadway. When the officer approached Robinson, the subject fled, his auto hit the curb and the oil pan was ruptured. Still Robinson continued to flee for two blocks until the car stopped. As Officer Elliott again approached, Robinson nearly hit the cruiser on two occasions as he attempted to drive away. An open bottle of whiskey was found in the Robinson auto and the subject now faces charges of DUI, Failure To Obey A Police Officer, Evading Arrest, Open Container and Improper Lane Change.

Friday night power outage
The Newport Utilities electric system experienced a severe weather event Friday night. High winds and lightning created outages at approximately 9:00 pm, with a peak outage count of 600 customers. Curtis Williamson, Manager of Engineering Operations, said the outages were scattered throughout most of the Cocke County communities, with Bybee and Parrottsville communities most affected. Crews worked throughout the night and till noon on Saturday to restore service.

Federal opioid program
Federal law enforcement officials have announced Operation Synthetic Opioid Surge (S.O.S.), a new program that seeks to reduce the supply of deadly synthetic opioids in high impact areas and to identify wholesale distribution networks and international and domestic suppliers. As part of Operation S.O.S., the Department will launch an enforcement surge in ten districts in the country with some of the highest drug overdose death rates, including the Eastern District of Tennessee. Each participating U.S. Attorney’s Office will choose a specific county and prosecute every readily provable case involving the distribution of fentanyl and other synthetic opioids, regardless of drug quantity. The surge will involve a coordinated DEA Special Operations Division operation to insure that leads from street-level cases are used to identify larger scale distributors. According to U.S. Attorney J. Douglas Overbey, statistics from the Knox County Drug Related Task Force, show in 2018 there have been 164 overdose deaths in Knox County alone. This is from only one of the 41 counties that make up the Eastern District of Tennessee. Sadly, statistics show that Tennessee, and in particular east Tennessee, has one of the highest overdose death rates in the country. The U.S. Attorney’s Office will work with our federal, state and local law enforcement partners to prosecute every readily provable case involving the distribution of synthetic opioids in Knox County, regardless of drug quantity”.

Restoring wildlife
The introduction of the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act (S.3223) has been introduced this week in the United States Senate. Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander is one of the co-sponsors of the bipartisan legislation that recommends funding for those fish and wildlife species of greatest conservation need across the country. “Senator Alexander has championed several wildlife-related issues specific to Tennessee and his leadership on this national issue will be instrumental,” said Ed Carter, executive director of the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency. “His longtime personal interest in wildlife and the outdoors allows a unique personal connection as an advocate for this critical legislation.” The legislation recommends that Congress authorize $1.3 billion annually from energy development on federal lands and waters to the existing Wildlife Conservation Restoration Program to conserve the full array of fish and wildlife. This solution, proposed initially by leaders of the energy, outdoor recreation retail, manufacturing, and automotive sectors and well as sportsmen’s/women’s and other conservation groups is complementary to existing natural resource conservation and outdoor recreation programs. It will not require taxpayers or businesses to pay more, but instead allows all Americans to become investors in fish and wildlife conservation. The Senate bill complements the House version introduced in December 2017 which has gained strong, bipartisan co-sponsorship due to its innovative approach to solving America’s wildlife crisis, with the current list of co-sponsors growing to more than 75 members. Tennessee has one of the most diverse populations of fish and wildlife in the country,” said Pandy Upchurch, assistant chief for the TWRA Biodiversity Division. “While some of our species are thriving, others are continuing to face increasing challenges.” There are 1,499 species in Tennessee considered to be species of greatest conservation need, including 79 animals listed as threatened or endangered. At the request of Congress, every state has developed a State Wildlife Action Plan to assess the health of their state’s fish and wildlife and outline conservation actions necessary to sustain them. The Restoring America’s Wildlife Act will help Tennessee implement its State Wildlife Action Plan. This will help address important wildlife issues that have been traditionally underfunded, and is now the nation’s core program for preventing endangered species listings.

Early voting
Josh Blanchard, Cocke County Administrator of Elections says a total of 2057 Early Voters cast In-person ballots through Saturday. Add in Absentee ballots returned, and a total of 2134 Cocke Countians have voted thus far.

Monday, July 23, 2018

  • Newport sexual incidents
  • Robinson arrests
  • Friday night power outage
  • Federal opioid program
  • Restoring wildlife
  • Early voting

    Saturday, July 21, 2018

  • Legal aid seminar for seniors
  • Clark to play Pebble Beach
  • Tennessee's unemployment remains low
  • US Supreme Court gets Tennessee abortion law appeal

    Friday, July 20, 2018

  • Graham on local job prospects and Conagra
  • West Virginians arrested in Jeff County robberies
  • Jobless numbers for Tennessee
  • Alexander on tariffs

    Thursday, July 19, 2018

  • Buckner arrest
  • Martin couple found
  • Lewis arrested on meth charges
  • Fraudulent IRS scam
  • East TN Artscapes is moving
  • Best Western thefts
  • Alexander on healthcare
  • Ozone keeping visitors away

    Wednesday, July 18, 2018

  • Myers incident
  • Cocke budget process
  • SNAP food guidelines
  • Phoenix Closures becomes Phoenix
  • RAM in Jeff County
  • Opiod lawsuit

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