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US Government Shutdown
4:00 pm
Mon December 16, 2013

Federal Bills Could Reimburse States

Credit http://www.visitmysmokies.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/great_smoky_mountains_national_park.jpg

New legislation moving through the US Congress aims to repay the states for costs of reopening the national parks during October’s federal government shutdown.

The state of Tennessee, Sevier and Blount Counties, and the state of North Carolina paid the federal government $300,500 to reopen the Great Smoky Mountains National Park for five days during the shutdown.

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Ryan Loskarn
4:30 am
Mon December 16, 2013

Former Alexander Staffer To Press Court For Leniency At Bond Hearing

Ryan Loskarn is escorted from his Washington DC home by US Postal Inspectors following his arrest on child pornography charges.
Credit WJLA-TV/Associated Press

  A week ago, Ryan Loskarn was still the Chief of Staff for Lamar Alexander, Tennessee’s Senior Senator in Washington. 

Since then, Loskarn’s been fired, replaced, arrested and charged with possession and distribution of child pornography.  U.S. Postal Service Inspectors raided Loskarn’s Washington D.C. home on Wednesday and claim he attempted to hide a portable hard drive from them, one allegedly containing “hundreds” of pornographic images of children.  They also claim he offered pornographic material for download from his computer.

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Prison Phone Services
4:37 pm
Fri December 13, 2013

Families Of Tennessee Inmates Could See Lower Phone Costs

Credit americantimes.org

New regulations by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) could lower the cost of phone calls between Tennessee inmates and their families.  But prison rights advocates say the regulations don’t go far enough.

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Cocaine Ring
9:39 pm
Thu December 12, 2013

Feds Break Up Major Cocaine Ring in Knoxville

Credit justice.gov

Federal prosecutors say several local and federal law enforcement agencies have arrested 21 people in connection with an illegal drug distribution ring that involved the trafficking of $17.5 million dollars' worth of cocaine and crack cocaine.   All 21 appeared in court this week and entered "not guilty" pleas on charges ranging from conspiracy to distribute cocaine to money laundering.  One defendant also faces a felony firearms charge.   The cases will go to trial February 11.

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UHF 2013 America’s Health Rankings
7:22 am
Thu December 12, 2013

Tennessee Shows No Change In Health Ranking

Credit http://easttnmedicalnews.com/files/image/article/full_1912.jpg

An annual health report shows that Americans are making progress in improving their health, but overall, Tennessee shows no change from last year’s report.

The United Health Foundation’s 2013 America’s Health Rankings found that nationwide, notable gains were made in decreasing smoking, increasing physical activity and decreasing obesity rates.

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Urban Development
6:00 am
Thu December 12, 2013

UT Announces Major Construction Proposal

A rendering from architectural firm Lord Aeck Sargent shows what the University of Tennessee hopes its new student dorms will look like when a massive construction effort is complete.
Credit University of Tennessee

The University of Tennessee's flagship campus in Knoxville has plans to tear down six residence halls in the next five years, and replace them with seven new halls and a dining facility.

The current structures were built more than forty years ago, university officials said, and their successors will be roomier and more modern. Plans call for the demolition of the first building, Shelbourne Towers, as early as next spring, and for work to continue on the remainder of the buildings through 2018.

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History
5:50 pm
Wed December 11, 2013

Latest Volume of Jackson Papers Chronicles Tumultuous Year

Laura Eve-Moss, Daniel Feller and Thomas Coens (l to r) are studying, cataloguing and publishing the personal papers of Andrew Jackson.
Credit University of Tennessee

University of Tennessee history professor Daniel Feller didn’t know Andrew Jackson personally, and he wasn’t born until more than a century after Jackson’s administration ended. But in the past decade, Feller and colleagues Laura Eve-Moss and Thomas Coens have gotten to know Old Hickory pretty well. They’ve pored over letters, editorials, public and private statements from and to Andrew Jackson. It’s part of an exhaustive effort to chronicle his life in the written word.

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Tennessee Department of Children's Services
4:00 pm
Wed December 11, 2013

DCS Officials Say The Agency Is Improving

Chief of the Tennessee Department of Children's Services Jim Henry / Photo by The Tennessean
Credit http://archive.wbir.com/images/640/360/2/assetpool/images/130207083052_jim%20henry%20tn.jpg

State lawmakers have been investigating the operations of the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services, but DCS officials now say they can show measurable improvements in the agency and that more are on the way.

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Law
6:00 am
Wed December 11, 2013

Alexander Move Blocks Federal Court Nominee From Knoxville

Attorney Pamela Reeves, nominee for the U.S. District Court, East Tennessee.
Credit Reeves, Herbert and Anderson

Knoxville attorney Pamela Reeves has been waiting since May for a confirmation vote that could elevate her to a federal judgeship here in East Tennessee. And she’ll have to wait a little while longer.

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Knox County Cremation Fee
4:00 pm
Tue December 10, 2013

Knox County Commission To Vote On Cremation Fee

Credit http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Travel/Late_offers/pictures/2010/1/8/1262987226628/cremate-001.jpg

Yesterday, the Knox County Commission approved adding a cremation fee for residents. Yesterday’s approval means the fee will be up for a vote at the Commission’s meeting on the 16th. 

The Knoxville News Sentinel reports that if it’s passed, the new $25 cremation fee would help pay for medical examiner operations, one of which is approving cremations. The medical examiner also helps law enforcement and courts in murder and wrongful death investigations.

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