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Education
9:12 am
Wed September 18, 2013

Governor Responds to Open Letter From Local Superintendents

Tennessee Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman

Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam said he was disappointed that 60 local-level school superintendents across Tennessee have signed on to a letter asking Haslam to ease off on education reforms being implemented by state Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman. His response to that letter was both conciliatory to the school administrators and firm in favor of classroom reforms.

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Union County Feud
12:53 pm
Tue September 17, 2013

Knox County Schools Security Officer Arrested Following Deadly Feud

Michael Woodby (left) and Kevin Waggoner (right) confront each other in a video shot by Waggoner and submitted to local news outlets. Waggoner has been arrested and faces a criminal homicide charge in Woodby's death.
Credit Kevin Lee Waggoner via the Knoxnews.com

A Knox County school security officer has been arrested  after allegedly shooting and killing his Union County neighbor Monday night.  Kevin Waggoner of Luttrell has been charged with criminal homicide.

A spokesperson for the Knox County Schools would not reveal the location of the school where Waggoner works.  Waggoner has been employed by the school system for slightly more than two years. 

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Education
2:22 pm
Mon September 16, 2013

Senate Education Committee Will Review State's Common Core Education Standards

Protest poster.
Credit Steve Rhodes via Flickr Creative Commons.

Another battle over Common Core education standards may be brewing in Tennessee. Tennessee’s Senate Education Committee is scheduled to review and hear testimony on new Common Core State Standards later this week. Committee chairman Dolores Gresham says the hearings will allow parents - teachers - and politicians a chance to air their concerns. Nashville’s WPLN reports local activists plan to bring a list of grievances to the meeting with particular objections to upcoming social studies standards. 

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Speed Limits
4:30 am
Mon September 16, 2013

City Looks To Public For Speeding Solution

Credit WUOT News, Matt Shafer Powell

The City of Knoxville tried building speed bumps and rumble strips.  It put up new speed limit signs and in some cases, lowered speed limits.  It even put police patrols on a rotation.  But nothing seems to prevent lead-footed drivers from tearing through the city's neighborhoods and down its side streets.

So city officials are looking to residents of those neighborhoods for ideas.

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Renegade Mountain homicide
4:01 pm
Fri September 13, 2013

Cumberland County Man Arrested In Quadruple Homicide

Credit Tennessee Bureau of Investigation

Police have arrested a Crab Orchard man for the murder of four young people on Renegade Mountain in Cumberland County.

TBI investigators say they arrested 26 year-old Jacob Allen Bennett Friday.  Bennett was already in custody in Rhea County after being arrested Thursday night on a parole violation.  . 

The bodies of Danielle Jacobson, 22, Steven Presley, 17, Dominic Davis, 17 and John Lajeunesse, 17 were discovered in a parked vehicle Thursday morning by a resident of this former resort community.  All four victims had been shot to death.

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Environment
2:05 pm
Fri September 13, 2013

University of Tennessee Puts Fracking Plan On Hold

Cumberland Forest.
Credit http://forestry.tennessee.edu/CUForest.html

The University of Tennessee has put a fracking plan on hold after receiving no bidders from potential industry partners. Last week, the University received a “no-bid” response letter from CNX gas company. In the letter, CNX said the project was not economically viable under the university’s terms. UT had proposed opening university-owned land in the Cumberland Forest to hydraulic fracturing, using revenue from the project to research its environmental impact.

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TN DCS & TN Dept of Health
9:38 am
Fri September 13, 2013

State Agencies Providing Cribs For Infants

Credit http://safesleep.tn.gov/datapage.shtml

Tennessee ranks 5th in the US for the number of infants who die before their first birthday, and the state’s Department of Children’s Services and Department of Health are trying to change that.

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Gay Street Parking
4:30 am
Fri September 13, 2013

City Of Knoxville Targets Gay Street Parking Violators

Parking signs on Gay Street say there's a two-hour limit, but the limit is rarely enforced. That's about to change.
Credit WUOT News, Matt Shafer Powell

The signs next to the free parking spaces on Gay Street say there's a two-hour limit between 6:00 am and midnight.  However, the more savvy downtown drivers realized a while ago that two-hour limit was rarely enforced. 

That's about to change.

Beginning Sunday, September 15, the Public Building Authority will take over Gay Street parking enforcement duties from the Knoxville Police Department. And while the KPD was often too busy to enforce the two-hour limit, the PBA is making it a priority.

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Zeb Mountain
4:11 pm
Thu September 12, 2013

Judge Approves Agreement That Shuts Down Controversial Coal Mine

Credit ILoveMountains.org

Over the past decade, National Coal LLC's Zeb Mountain coal mine on the Scott/Campbell county border has become a rallying point for environmental groups and East Tennessee residents opposed to the practice known as "mountain-top removal".   Mountain top removal is a process by which the summit or summit ridge of a mountain is removed to expose the coal seams that lie beneath.  After the coal is mined, the summit is replaced to mimic the original contour of the mountain.

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Oak Ridge Schools
9:19 am
Wed September 11, 2013

Oak Ridge City Funding Issue Could Mean School Closure

Credit http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/files/2013/03/closed.jpg

The Oak Ridge City Schools could close October 1st unless the city addresses a funding issue. The Knoxville News Sentinel reports that Oak Ridge City Schools could close unless the city finds $250,000.

The state gave notice that it would withhold almost $1.9 million a month from the school system, unless the city meets state-mandated funding.

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