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Marijuana Arrests
3:52 pm
Thu June 13, 2013

Knox County Blacks More Likely To Be Arrested For Pot Possession Than Whites

Credit Dohduhdah via Wikimedia Commons

In a county where nearly 87% of the population is white, blacks in Knox County are arrested for marijuana possession more than six times as often as whites.  That's despite statistics that show marijuana use among blacks and whites is similar.  The findings were revealed in a recent study of FBI crime data by the American Civil Liberties Union.   The ACLU concluded blacks in America are 3.73 times more likely to be arrested for possessing pot than whites.  At 4.0, Tennessee's disparity rate is slightly above

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From Foster Care To College, Part Three
9:30 am
Thu June 13, 2013

From Foster Care To College, Part Three: A Little Help Improving The Odds

Kenyetta Windmon-Smith, one of about two dozen students involved with the Alabama REACH program, after her finals outside the University of Alabama's Ferguson Student Center.
Credit Dan Carsen

 

To understand this story, you have to understand something that happened in 2010.

It's fall. Students arrive on campus in SUVs driven by family who help unload furniture and other things they'll need for their new lives. But one young man, who came from a foster home and had not been to orientation, shows up holding nothing but his admissions letter.

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Occupy Nashville
6:06 am
Thu June 13, 2013

Federal Court Rules In Favor Of Occupy Nashville Protestors

Katy Wolf, left, Lamercie Saint Hilaire and other protesters sing 'We Shall Overcome' at a candlelight vigil on Legislative Plaza during an Occupy Nashville Rally in 2011. / John Partipilo / File / The Tennessean

A federal judge has ruled that the state unlawfully arrested members of Occupy Nashville during the group’s protest encampment on War Memorial Plaza. In October 2011, the Tennessee Highway Patrol arrested 55 people on charges of misdemeanor criminal trespassing. The American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee filed suit in 2011 on behalf of the members of Occupy Nashville. Judge Aleta Trauger ruled that those arrests violated First Amendment rights to free speech. The ruling means state officials must pay all monetary awards and attorneys’ fees. 

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Spraying For Mosquitoes
3:59 am
Thu June 13, 2013

Mosquito Spraying For West Nile Virus Begins Today

Credit http://health.state.tn.us/factsheets/wnv.htm

A wet spring means lots of standing water, which makes a prime breeding  ground for mosquitoes. And a routine weekly test confirmed West Nile Virus in South Knoxville mosquitoes this week. It's the first positive report of West Nile Virus in mosquitoes for Knox County. 

“To date, Knox County has had no confirmed cases of West Nile Virus in humans,” said Knox County Health Department Environmental Health Director Ronnie Nease. “By spraying to reduce the population of mosquitoes, we hope to reduce the potential of mosquito-to-human transmission,” he says.

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Boy Scouts
1:44 pm
Wed June 12, 2013

Some ET Churches Considering Split With Boy Scouts

Credit bsamuseum.org

Members of the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Houston, Texas today have passed a resolution opposing the recent decision by the Boy Scouts of America to accept gay scouts.  And while the resolution doesn't encourage individual churches to sever ties with their affiliated troops, Baptist churches throughout the country are considering just such a move.  In East Tennessee, at least three churches are weighing their options, but not all are Baptist.  Scout Executive Larry Brown of the Great Smoky Mountains Council of the Boy Scouts of America wouldn't identify the specific churches, b

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Methamphetamine in Tennessee
6:37 am
Wed June 12, 2013

Tennessee Once Again First In US In Meth-Lab Seizures

Ninth Judicial District Attorney General Russell Johnson (left), Tennessee State Senator Ken Yager (center), Tennessee State Senator Mike Bell (right) - Photo by Bob Fowler, Knoxville News Sentinel
Credit http://www.knoxnews.com/photos/2013/jun/11/356913/

Tennessee legislators, prosecutors and police from all over East Tennessee gathered in Kingston for the yearly meeting of the Ninth Judicial District’s Drug Task Force. Officials say Tennessee is once again first in the nation in the number of methamphetamine labs found by law enforcement. State Senator Mike Bell says next session, he’ll introduce legislation that would require prescriptions for cold medicines containing pseudoephedrine.

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From Foster Care To College, Part Two
3:59 am
Wed June 12, 2013

From Foster Care To College, Part Two: An Uphill Climb

Credit Christine Jessel

Last September, Briyana Dunn was enrolled at Pellissippi State Community College through a Department of Children's Services program for former foster care kids.

"I started from A and right now I feel like I’m all the way on like R - I’m getting to my Z," she said then.

But it didn’t work out. Briyana says she spiraled into a depression after a hard breakup with a boyfriend. She stopped turning in assignments - then she started missing classes.

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Y-12
4:51 pm
Tue June 11, 2013

Chlorinated Water Spill At Y-12 Results In Fish Kill

A sign near East Fork Poplar Creek in Oak Ridge advises against swimming, wading or fishing.
Credit Oak Ridge Today

Officials from the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge say a spill of chlorinated water over the weekend killed approximately 8500 minnow-sized fish and almost 30 salamanders.  A Y-12 statement says about 6,000,000 gallons of the water poured into East Fork Poplar Creek on Saturday when a pipeline burst.  Crews from Y-12 were able to contain the spill and inspections on Sunday revealed no additional casualties of fish or other aquatic wildlife.  Biologists from nearby Oak Ridge National Laboratory predict the long-term effect of the spill on fish and salamanders will be minimal.  

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State Layoffs Blocked
6:42 am
Tue June 11, 2013

Governor Haslam's Plan To Lay Off State Employees Blocked By Restraining Order

Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam had planned to lay off more than 200 state workers this month, but a Davidson County judge has issued a temporary restraining order on the move following a lawsuit filed by state employees. The suit charges state officials with violating a law concerning the 60-day notice for affected employees. It claims that though officials gave notices throughout the month of April, they did not comply with part of the law that says employees that are to be fired must receive career counseling, testing, and job placement assistance.

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From Foster Care To College, Part One
3:59 am
Tue June 11, 2013

From Foster Care To College, Part One: Getting To "Z"

Briyana Dunn at Pelissippi State Community College, September 2012.
Credit Christine Jessel

Briyana Dunn would be the kid who picks you up and dusts you off after the school bully pushes you down - even though she might laugh at you a little first. She’s a no-nonsense, nonstop talker who makes up in sass what she lacks in stature.

It’s hard to reconcile the sunny person Briyana is today with the girl she was: An angry runaway cops hauled into juvenile custody at 16; the girl who, a year later, landed in a psychiatric care facility for youth. She’s just so … upbeat.

Briyana started college in Knoxville when she aged out of state custody.               

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