HealthConnections: Why Are Rural Hospitals Closing?

Polk County is the very southeast corner of Tennessee. Its population is just shy of 17,000. It’s known for its whitewater rafting and was once the epicenter of Tennessee’s copper industry. And, at this moment, it has no hospital. The Copper Basin Medical Center closed this month, not only leaving Polk Countians without immediate medical care, but becoming the tenth rural hospital in the state to close since 2010. Today, we look at the challenges rural hospitals face.

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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The Knox County Health Department says 2010 vaccination guidelines have been adding up to weeks of middle school absenteeism across the county.

Sixth graders now need a proof of immunization certificate for chicken pox - tetanus - diphtheria and pertussis before they can start seventh grade.

But Mary Ann Harrison, nurse manager of the Immunization Program at the Knox County Health Department, says as many as 40% of rising seventh graders in Knox County public schools last year didn’t get the shots.

tva.com

Saturday May 18th marks an important anniversary in the history of the Tennessee River Valley.  It was on that date in 1933 that President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the bill that created the Tennessee Valley Authority.  Throughout those 80 years, the agency has been the focus of both glowing praise and fervent criticism, all while fighting for its existence in the halls of Congress. To mark the occasion of the 80th anniversary, WUOT’s Brandon Hollingsworth sat down with Pat Ezzell, the TVA's resident historian.

George Thomas Found Guilty Again in Christian-Newsom Murders

May 17, 2013
Tennessee Department of Correction

A Davidson County jury has found George Thomas guilty on all 38 counts related to the 2007 kidnapping, rape, torture and murder of Christopher Newsom and Channon Christian, including a charge of first degree felony murder. Following its verdict, the jury also sentenced him to life in prison with the possibility of parole.  During the past week, Thomas' attorneys attempted to portray him as a passive observer to the crimes, but for the second time, a jury has determined him to be an active participant.   Thomas was originally convicted and sentenced to life without parole in 2009, but the c

guamdawr.org

Estimating the impact of humans on other species often involves a lot of guesswork, especially when considering the past. Alison Boyer is with the University of Tennessee's Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Department. Boyer and her fellow researchers have been putting together an estimate of how many species of land birds have gone extinct on islands in the Pacific Ocean.

Knoxville Lawyer Nominated for US District Court Seat

May 17, 2013
Tennessee Bar Association

The first female president of the Tennessee Bar Association and longtime Knoxville lawyer Pamela L. Reeves has been nominated for a seat on the US District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee. President Barack Obama announced the nomination yesterday. If confirmed by the Senate, Reeves would replace US District Judge Thomas W. Phillips, who is retiring this summer. Reeves graduated from the University of Tennessee in 1976 and from UT's George C. Taylor College of Law in 1979. She was Tennessee Bar Association president from 1998 to 1999.

Southwings

An alliance of environmental groups says the federal government violated the Endangered Species Act in granting mining permits at two East Tennessee mines. The lawsuit claims the Office of Surface Mining and the US Fish and Wildlife Service did not consult the most current scientific research in considering the impact of surface mines at Zeb Mountain and David Creek on fish. The suit claims dissolved minerals in wastewater are increasing salt in streams to unendurable levels, threatening the endangered blackside dace and Cumberland darter.

George Thomas Jury Deliberations Go Into Second Day

May 16, 2013

A jury determining the fate of murder suspect George Thomas enters a second day of deliberations Friday morning.  Thomas is being retried for his role in the 2007 carjacking, rape, torture and murder of Christopher Newsom and Channon Christian.   Jurors are being asked to decide whether Thomas was an active participant in the crimes against the young couple or if he was simply a passive observer.  Prosecutors have failed to produce forensic evidence connecting him to the actual crimes, but they say the murders required a "team effort" and Thomas "was on that team".

http://www.knoxnews.com/news/2013/may/15/rep-faison-says-hell-push-for-lowering-dui-level/

This week, the National Transportation and Safety Board recommended that states lower the DUI threshold from point 0.08 to 0.05.  The Knoxville News Sentinel reports that that’s a standard for more than a hundred countries and next year, State Representative Jeremy Faison of Cosby says he’ll file legislation to lower the legal standard in Tennessee to 0.05.

Pilot/Flying J CEO Jimmy Haslam Addresses Trucking Executives

May 16, 2013
Christine Jessel

Pilot/Flying J CEO Jimmy Haslam stood before a large crowd of trucking executives gathered in Indianapolis this morning at the Scopelitis Transportation Seminar and told them he knew nothing about an alleged scheme to defraud some of his company's trucking customers.  Last month, agents from the IRS and FBI raided Pilot's Knoxville headquarters in search of evidence to support the accusation that some members of the Pilot/Flying J sales staff were taking money promised to some of the company's clients in the form of rebates and discounts.  At this morning's seminar, Haslam spelled out a fi

Lauren Blankenship- Arithmomania Has Twelve Letters

May 16, 2013

Unless you spend a lot of time doing crossword puzzles or tweeting, counting the number of letters in a word might seem like a pointless endeavor.  But for a tiny segment of the population, the urge to count letters is irresistible, sometimes to the point of distraction.  WUOT’s Lauren Blankenship knows a lot about counting letters.  She's been doing it since she could read.  As part of WUOT's Next Wave Radio Project, Lauren filed this reflection...

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