Dialogue: Recode Knoxville

Knoxville’s zoning ordinances haven’t been fully reviewed in about 50 years. But in that time the entire country has seen a rise in urbanization, as more people than ever are returning to cities. In this edition of Dialogue , an in-depth look at Recode, Knoxville’s review of old ordinances, and the effort to bring those codes into the modern age. Host Victor Agreda is joined by Jesse Mayshark , spokesman for Mayor Madeline Rogero's office; policy advisor Bill Lyons ; and Metropolitan Planning...

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A settlement with the US Environmental Protection Agency and other environmental groups means the Tennessee Valley Authority is shuttering 18 of its oldest coal-fired power plants. WUOT’s Chrissy Keuper reports on the resulting job cuts at those facilities… 

The University of Tennessee’s director of student judicial affairs has been fired after officials say she refused to cooperate with an investigation. Jenny Wright is being investigated over alleged inappropriate relationships with student-athletes. The university has hired an attorney to investigate those allegations. University officials say they won’t release any details about the accusations or about the students who may be involved.

Haslam To Veto Ag Gag Bill

May 14, 2013
Governor's Office, February 2012.

Knoxville, Tenn. - Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam will issue the second veto of his term on a controversial bill centered on livestock abuse.                                                 

The bill would have made it illegal to video or photograph livestock abuse without turning in the evidence within 48 hours.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee submitted 34,000 signatures urging a veto earlier this month; executive director Hedy Weinburg says she commends Haslam's decision. 

Number of Tornadoes in Tennessee Above Average

May 13, 2013
http://www.picturestoryblog.com/2010/01/tornado-sewanee-tennessee-using-the-camera-you-have.html

The National Weather Service says the number of tornadoes in the US this year is way down. But WUOT’s Chrissy Keuper reports the numbers in Tennessee are above average for the year…

Y-12 Protesters Will Stay in Jail

May 13, 2013
Transform Now Plowshares

A judge has ruled that three protesters will stay in jail until their sentencing in September and that releasing them would be too lenient. Sister Megan Rice, Michael Walli and Greg Boertje-Obed were convicted last week of sabotaging and damaging federal property last July at the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge. The three face up to 30 years each for the crimes. Their sentencing is scheduled for September 23 of this year.

Retrial of Christian-Newsom defendant begins today

May 13, 2013
Police Photo

A Nashville jury is in Knoxville today to begin hearing testimony in the retrial of George Thomas, one of five people originally convicted and sentenced for participating in the 2007 carjacking, rape, torture and murder of Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom.  In 2009, a Hamilton County jury found Thomas guilty for his role in the crimes and he was sentenced to life without parole.  However, he was granted a retrial when it became apparent the presiding judge Richard Baumgartner was abusing painkillers during the trial.  In November of 2012, a jury convicted co-defendant Vanessa Colem

Smoky Mountain Visitation Down for First Part of 2013

May 12, 2013
nps.gov

The National Park Service reports a drop in visitors to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park during the first four months of 2013, compared to the same period in 2012.  Statistics show 1,620,340 visited the park between January and April.  That represents a drop of 359,202 visitors.  Rangers suggest the closure of Newfound Gap Road between Gatlinburg, Tenn. and Cherokee, North Carolina is the most likely reason for the decrease.  The road was closed January 13 after a landslide wiped out approximately 200 feet of road surface. 

Y-12 Protesters Remain in Jail, Await Judge's Decision

May 9, 2013
Matt Shafer Powell

Three nuclear protesters convicted in a federal court May 8 remain in jail while  U.S.

Tennessee DOE Offers Signing Bonuses For Teachers

May 9, 2013
Christine Jessel

The Tennessee Department of Education will give teachers with the state’s highest evaluation scores signing bonuses to teach in the state’s lowest-performing schools. The Tennessee Department of Education is offering districts across the state enough money to give each new teacher at a priority school a $7,000 signing bonus.  In Knox County, one school is a priority school: Sarah Moore Greene Elementary, whose principal recently announced he would overhaul school staffing this year.

Tennessee ACLU urges veto of 'Ag Gag' bill

May 7, 2013
aspca.org

The American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee says it has collected 33,000 signatures on a petition that urges Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam to veto the so-called "Ag Gag" bill.  The bill would require anyone taking photos or videos of livestock abuse to immediately turn that footage over to law enforcement. Late last month, the ACLU sent Haslam a letter asking for a veto; today it submitted a petition to follow up on the letter. ACLU officials claim the bill is unconstitutional. 

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