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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Tennessee Sees Increase In Number, Variety Of Ticks

May 27, 2013
Graham Hickling

Researchers at the University of Tennessee's Center for Wildlife Health say Tennessee is becoming a sort of "meeting place" for different varieties of ticks, a tangible result of a changing climate.  Each new species of tick brings its own bacteria and viruses, complicating the task of diagnosing and treating tick-borne illnesses.  The Center's Dr.

The Island, Facebook.com

  An opening day's getting closer for a Sevier County attraction almost a decade after construction first began.

The Pigeon Forge attraction “The Island” is scheduled to open in mid-June.

“The Island” was originally “Belle Island” back in 2003. That attraction got as far as holding job fairs for potential employees - then its backers ran into financial trouble. 

The development, then 80% complete, sold in foreclosure for $23.9 million in 2009; it sat vacant until 2011 when it was sold as part of a city deal that would also create an events center.

More Arrests Made In Alleged Investment Scheme

May 24, 2013
knoxnews.com

U.S.

facebook.com / Breastfeeding Welcome Here

The Knox County Health Department is working with area businesses to create welcoming spaces for moms who breastfeed their kids. 

While Tennessee law says a mother can breastfeed her child in any location, public or private, Knox County Health Department director Martha Buchanan says a new partnership will work to encourage more people to accept the practice.

http://www.polarisproject.org/state-map/tennessee

The Trafficking in America Task Force Conference begins May 23 in Nashville and Tennessee now has one of the nation’s most comprehensive programs to combat human trafficking. Trafficking is defined as coercive adult prostitution and any sexual exploitation of children. State legislators passed 12 new laws that will go into effect this year, which include harsher criminal penalties for traffickers, allow more time for prosecutors to bring charges against alleged traffickers and include trafficking as grounds for the termination of parental rights.

Knox County Sees Slight Increase in Unemployment Rate

May 23, 2013
Tennessee Department of Labor And Workforce Development

Knox County's unemployment rate rose two-tenths of a percentage point in April, but it still remains the lowest among Tennessee's metropolitan counties. The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development reports a rate of 6.4% in Knox County, up from March's rate of 6.2%.  When compared with other Tennessee counties, Knox County has the fourth-lowest unemployment rate in the state.  Williamson County in Middle Tennessee has the lowest.  Despite a drop of more than one full percentage point in the last month,

Brandon Hollingsworth, WUOT News

In downtown Knoxville, the historic Henley Street Bridge will not re-open next month, as state transportation officials had hoped. The project has been plagued not just by construction delays, but by concerns over worker safety. WUOT’s Brandon Hollingsworth reports.

http://www.isfracking.com/well-fracking-in-tennessee/

A legislative committee has approved the state’s first regulations for extracting oil and natural gas from wells, a practice known as fracking. Yesterday’s vote by the General Assembly’s joint committee on government operations means the rules will go into effect next month. One motion would have required companies to periodically test water wells within a mile of the drilling sites, to disclose all the chemicals they use, and to file plans on what to do with leftover waste water, but that motion did not pass.

Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury

An audit by  the Tennessee State Comptroller's Office reports thousands of dollars in donations and adoption fees were stolen from the Morristown-Hamblen Humane Society between 2009 and 2011.  The audit was requested by Hamblen County Mayor Bill Brittain when an employee of the animal shelter discovered several receipts had been backdated so that they wouldn't appear in daily collection reports.  In all, the comptroller's office believes a total of $51,130 has been stolen.  That money was supposed

Carter Hearn / http://pubs.usgs.gov/gip/ocoee2/.

 A new study from the University of Tennessee shows visitors who went whitewater rafting on the Ocoee River last year pumped $43.3 million dollars into a 30 surrounding counties. 

The study’s author, U-T Hospitality and Tourism Management economist Steve Morse, found the Ocoee was also last year’s most-visited whitewater river in the U.S.

"This study shows that tourism and visitor spending at the Ocoee River is fueling small businesses, creating jobs, worker paychecks and taxes in rural Tennessee," Morse says.

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