News

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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