Tag Archives: East

On Democrats Competing to Challenge Rep. Vince Dean (House 30)

Democrats running in their party’s state House District 30 primary say they’re in the contest in part because of concerns over where the Republican-led General Assembly is taking Tennessee, reports Andy Sher.
Brock Bennington, Sandy Smith and Brian White of East Ridge are vying for their party’s nomination in the Aug. 2 primary. They acknowledge that whoever wins will face an uphill fight to unseat Republican Rep. Vince Dean, also of East Ridge, in November.
…They said their focus will be on promoting public education and jobs-related efforts zeroing in on the district, which includes East Ridge, East Lake, East Brainerd and part of Collegedale.
“We need to be looking at real issues and not the evolution bill or the ‘gateway sexual activity’ bill,” said Smith, a retired Hamilton County teacher, calling those types of issues “red herrings.”
“I just feel we have so many more important things to deal with.”
Bennington, a private investigator for a local law firm, took aim at the 2012 “evolution” law that proponents said was needed to provide a framework to protect public school teachers who address controversies over theories like evolution and climate change.
“To me it’s a waste of our tax dollars [spending hours] debating the issue in committees,” Bennington said. “It just made us a laughingstock when corporations are looking at moving here.”
But Benningston, Smith and White all said they are conservative enough to appeal to voters in the general election. All said they support a controversial guns-in-parking lots bill that would prevent employers and others from barring handgun-carry permit holders’ ability to store weapons in their vehicles on private or public lots.
Smith, however, said schools should be excluded while White said he thinks it shouldn’t apply to universities.
White, who worked as a security guard but said he is now at home caring for his elderly father, also took issue with Dean’s support of two laws, which he contends are Dean’s main achievements. One allowed businesses in East Ridge to sell fireworks and the other bans motorcyclists from popping wheelies.
“There’s a lot of injuries” associated with fireworks, White said. “A lot of elderly people don’t like the noise. I don’t like the noise.”

‘Africanized Bees’ Sting East Tennessee

News release from the state Department of Agriculture:
VONORE, Tenn. – Tennessee’s first case of partially Africanized bees was confirmed through genetic testing last week in a colony belonging to a beekeeper in Monroe County. The colony has been depopulated and the Tennessee Department of Agriculture is working with beekeepers in the area to determine if other bees could have been affected.
State Apiarist, Mike Studer, says it is no surprise that partially Africanized bees have made their way to Tennessee considering they have already been found in other states such as Texas, Georgia, Mississippi and Florida. “I’m actually surprised it’s just now happening. We have been expecting this for some time,” Studer said. “Citizens need to be vigilant, but there’s no need to overreact. This is a situation that can be effectively managed through good beekeeping practices.
“We will be working with beekeepers to monitor their hives and to look for any signs of other aggressive bees in the area.”
Test results show that genetically, the bees were less than 17 percent Africanized, far less than the 50 percent considered by USDA to be truly Africanized. The bee colony was purchased by the beekeeper last year from an out-of-state dealer.
The most important difference between an Africanized honey bee and our domestic European honeybee is their behavior. Africanized bees are much more aggressive, defend their nests more fiercely and in greater numbers and are more likely to defend the nest when threatened by predators or adverse environmental conditions. But, the sting from a single Africanized bee is no more venomous than a European honey bee.
Africanized bees tend to colonize in smaller spaces than the docile European honeybee. Therefore, if you see honeybees in the ground, or in small openings such as flower pots or bluebird houses leave them alone and call the state apiarist immediately to assess the situation. Bees do not try to hurt people, they simply defend their territory.
If you do disturb an Africanized honeybee colony, follow these steps to protect yourself.
1. Run.
2. Cover your head with your shirt or jacket while running because Africanized bees tend to sting the face and head.
3. Never stand still or get boxed into a place outdoors where you cannot escape the attack.
4. Seek immediate shelter in an enclosed building or vehicle. Isolate yourself from the bees.
5. Do not attempt to rescue a victim without the proper protective gear and training. Doing so could make you the second victim.
State law requires all beekeepers register their colonies with the TDA and to update their registration every three years. Once registered, the state apiarist is able to contact beekeepers in the event of a disease outbreak or aerial pesticide spraying in their area. Registration also gives the beekeepers the opportunity for free inspections to make sure their colonies are healthy. Registration can be done online.
For more information on TDA’s Apiary Section or to register a bee colony, visit www.TN.gov/agriculture/regulatory/apiary.html

Williams Might Be Disqualified; Hawk Draws Mulitple Opponents (Rundown on Some ET Legislative Races)

Former state Sen. Mike Williams has become the fifth candidate to file as a candidate for the state Senate seat being vacated by the man who defeated him four years ago, but his candidacy may be blocked by the state Republican party.
As the deadline for qualifying as a candidate for the Legislature passed Thursday, several other races shaped up in East Tennessee. Among them:
-In House District 5, now held by Republican Rep. David Hawk of Greeneville, three candidates filed as candidates to oppose him in the primary. The winner will face former Democratic Rep. Eddie Yokley of Greeneville, who was the only Democrat filing a petition. The Republicans opposing Hawk, recently charged with domestic assault, are Duncan Cave of Greeneville, Ted Hensley of Chuckey and Bradley Mercer of Aston.
–Former Democratic Rep. Jim Hackworth of Clinton is seeking a rematch with Republican Rep. John Ragan of Oak Ridge in House District 33, where Ragan defeated Hackworth in 2010. Neither candidate has primary opposition, leaving the two to campaign directly against one another until the November election.

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Schedule for Gingrich’s East Tennessee Tour Monday

From the Gingrich Tennessee campaign:
Monday, March 5th – Tennessee – All events are open to the Press
Address to GOP Women’s Luncheon
1pm – 1:30pm
Kingsport/East Tennessee Republican Women’s Club
1205 N Eastman Rd
Kingsport, TN 37664
Newt 2012 Kingsport Rally
1:40 – 2:10pm
Kingsport Center for Higher Education
300 W. Market Street
Kingsport, TN 37664
Note: The GOP Women’s Luncheon is “sold out.” Those who do not already have a reservation to that event must attend the second event at the Center for Higher Education.
Newt 2012 Knoxville Rally
4pm – 5pm
Hilton Knoxville Airport – Ballroom
2002 Alcoa Highway
Alcoa, TN 37701-3163
Newt 2012 Chattanooga Rally
7pm – 8pm
TAC Air Co (FBO) – Hangar #2
1001 Airport Rd
Chattanooga, TN 37421

Newt Plans East Tennessee Trip on Monday

Former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich is planning a campaign tour through East Tennessee on Monday, the day before the state’s Republicans vote in the Super Tuesday presidential primary, according to his state campaign co-chairman.
State Rep. Tony Shipley, R-Kingsport, said it’s still up in the air whether Gingrich will travel by bus or by airplane on the journey through East Tennessee.
But he said it is firm that there will be stops in the Tri-Cities area, in Knoxville and in Chattanooga. Further specifics will be forthcoming later, possibility with more stops added, Shipley said.
State Sen. Stacey Campfield, R-Knoxville, who shares the co-chairman title in Gingrich’s Tennessee campaign, said in a blog post that Gingrich would be at Knoxville’s Sunsphere Monday afternoon and may possibly visit Oak Ridge as well.

HRA Offers Free Rides to Get a Photo ID for Voting

The East Tennessee Human Resource Agency is doing its part to help Tennesseans comply with the state’s new voter ID law, according to the News Sentinel.
Photo ID cards are being offered at no cost to registered voters at driver service centers throughout the state. And several county clerk offices, including Knox County’s, have begun offering free photo driver’s licenses to replace outdated, non-photo licenses.
ETHRA now hopes to further aid citizens’ access to the voting process by offering its extensive public transportation system for those unable to make the trip to obtain a new ID.
“It will be incorporated as part of our regular transportation program,” said Sandy Lamb, ETHRA operations and services director. “Hopefully, people won’t be discouraged from voting.”
ETHRA operates a fleet of more than 100 vehicles throughout Knox and 15 surrounding counties. ETHRA drivers complete 1,400 trips each day, helping connect people with dialysis centers, doctors’ offices, jobs, senior centers, grocery stores and more, Lamb said.

Haslam is Historical

The East Tennessee Historical Society honored Gov. Bill Haslam on Thursday night with its first annual East Tennessean of the Year Award at a celebration dinner held at the Cherokee Country Club, reports the News Sentinel.
“If there is an award for most blessed East Tennessean, that would be me,” Haslam said after accepting the award.
The board of directors of the Historical Society established the award to honor an East Tennessee history maker who is not only an ambassador for the region but who also represents integrity, dignity, leadership qualities and the volunteer spirit, according to Tennessee Supreme Court Judge Gary Wade, who is from Sevier County

Brian Noland, formerly of THEC, in Line to Head ETSU

Brian Noland is expected to be the next president of East Tennessee State University, provided the Tennessee Board of Regents approves him in a vote scheduled for Monda, according to the Johnson City Press..
If the Board approves him in a 2:30 p.m. (Eastern Standard Time) telephone meeting Monday, Noland will succeed Dr. Paul E. Stanton Jr. as the ninth president of the school.
Stanton will retire Jan. 14. Noland would succeed him Jan. 15.
Noland was one of three finalists for the presidency who interviewed on the ETSU campus in late October. Currently chancellor of the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commision, Noland said he was thrilled to be offered the chance to return to Tennessee, where he worked at the Tennessee Higher Education Commission. His wife, Donna, is also from Greeneville. His son, Jackson, is six years old.

Note: Noland also came within one vote of becoming president of the University of Tennessee in October of 2010, He was a finalist for the job and the UT Board of Trustees picked Joe DiPietro on a 11-10 vote.

TN History: East Tennessee’s Bridge Burners

In an another Civil War history lesson of sorts, the News Sentinel has provided a report on efforts against the Confederacy by Union sympathizers in East Tennessee.
They were the bridge burners of East Tennessee, Union-sympathizing citizens undertaking a daring scheme to cripple the Confederacy. Presbyterian minister William Blount Carter created the plot; Abraham Lincoln approved it. The plan was to burn nine railroad bridges in a 270-mile span from Bristol to Bridgeport, Ala., the same night.
Each band would move quietly and quickly in the chilly dark, overpower any Confederate forces or railroad guards and torch the bridge. Their acts would cut Confederate supply and troop lines. Inspired Unionist citizens would rally against occupying Confederates as a Union army swept in from Kentucky.
Part of the plan worked. Five of the nine bridges burned. Hundreds of Unionists assembled. But Federal soldiers didn’t come. Instead, Confederate authorities arrested any bridge burner they could nab and scores of other people suspected of supporting them.
….Three days after the bridge burnings, Confederates put Knoxville under martial law. It wasn’t only suspected bridge burners who were arrested. Hundreds ended up in area jails; some were sent to prison in Tuscaloosa. Kelly, who has studied the rosters, says people were even jailed for “Unionist talk.”
Almost four decades later Temple would recall the bridge burnings as “most unwise and unfortunate ” attempts that brought “untold calamities and sufferings” on East Tennessee Unionists
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Cohen Takes College Sports to House Floor

U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., made a speech on House floor Thursday to pitch the idea of University of Memphis joining the Big East Conference. The Commercial Appeal says Cohen had one minute — and no timeouts — to play the role of Rick Pitino.
On Wednesday Pitino, the University of Louisville basketball coach, campaigned for the Big East Conference to consider inviting former Conference USA rival Memphis. Cohen, a Memphian and longtime fan of Tiger athletics, picked up the conference realignment ball Thursday and took his best shots.
During a brief plea on the House floor, Cohen said he wanted to encourage ”all the Big East presidents to consider the University of Memphis for membership.”
”Memphis is a major city, home of Federal Express and International Paper and other major companies. We don’t have a professional football team in Memphis so if we get in the Big East, in essence, you are our professional football team and the city would rally around it, unlike in Dallas and Houston where they have professional (football) teams.”
Cohen referenced Pitino’s suggestion to invite Memphis during his talk, the speech coming as the Big East considers adding Boise State, Central Florida, SMU, Houston, Air Force and Navy to offset the departures of Syracuse, Pittsburgh and TCU.