Nashville Mayor Karl Dean sees “devastating effects” on Metro government if the legislature approves “an ill-thought-out bill giving satellite cities including Forest Hills, Belle Meade and Oak Hill the power to create their own city services,” says Gail Kerr — and she agrees with him. It’s an effort being pushed by three out-of-county state representatives who live miles from Nashville but who suddenly feel the need to dip in our Kool-Aid. Why? The likely motivation is because they want the financial campaign support of rich Republicans in those three areas. The sponsors are Rep. David Alexander, R-Winchester, and Sen. Jim Tracy, R-Shelbyville. Alexander signed on only because the main backer, Rep. Joe Carr, R-Lascassas, has hit the limit of bills he can file.
It all started with a codes violation.
A house along Timberwood Road in Forest Hills burned down and neighbors grew frustrated when the owner wouldn’t make repairs. They thought Metro wasn’t cracking down fast enough. So Forest Hills officials decided to create their own court, a violation of the Metro Charter. Metro sued and Forest Hills lost. They are appealing. Officials in those upscale suburbs got together and went to their buddies in the legislature.
News release from Division of Forestry, state Department of Agriculture:
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Predatory beetles that feed on hemlock woolly adelgids (HWA), an invasive pest killing swaths of hemlock trees from eastern Tennessee to the Cumberland Mountains, were released Tuesday at Martha Sundquist State Forest in Cocke County. The release was an effort by the Tennessee Department of Agriculture Division of Forestry (TDF) to protect young eastern hemlock seedlings from the invasive exotic pest, which is responsible for killing many, if not most, of the mature hemlocks in the state forest.
“Martha Sundquist State Forest is a good site for these beetles to be released because there is a healthy population of HWA to sustain them,” said Douglas Godbee, TDF Forest Health Forester. “We will monitor these beetles over the next couple of years in hopes that they will reproduce, become an established population, and continue to prey on HWA in order to eventually control the HWA population.”
Native to Asia, the hemlock woolly adelgid (Adelges tsugae) is a small, aphid-like insect that threatens the health and sustainability of eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis) and Carolina hemlock (Tsuga caroliniana) in the Eastern United States. It feeds at the base of the needles and can quickly populate all needles of a tree, sucking the sap and ultimately causing mortality within 3 to 10 years of infestation. The potential ecological impacts of this exotic pest are comparable to that of Dutch elm disease and chestnut blight. HWA was first reported in the U.S. in 1951 near Richmond, Va., and has since spread to 17 states, from Maine to Georgia.
ERWIN, Tenn. (AP) — The U.S. Forest Service has completed its purchase of a large undeveloped tract of land in the Appalachians.
The tract, known as Rocky Fork, is nearly 10,000 acres and lies in Unicoi and Greene counties in East Tennessee. The Johnson City Press (http://bit.ly/WvsG15) reported $5 million in funding from the USDA helped it finalized the purchase of 1,200 acres — the last section that was privately owned.
Preserving as much of Rocky Fork as possible became a priority of the U.S. Forest Service when it acquired the first parcel of it in 2008 as the land went up for sale.
In all, the Forest Service has spent $40 million to keep 7,667 acres open for public use. The Conservation Fund owns about 2,000 acres of the tract.
“This final Forest Service acquisition is huge, not only in the number of acres, but in potential economic impacts,” District Ranger Terry Bowerman said in a statement about the purchase. “It will also help conserve and protect many outstanding natural and scenic resources. This is truly a dream come true for many people.”
U.S. Sens. Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker are once again asking Congress to add nearly 20,000 acres of wilderness in East Tennessee to the Cherokee National Forest, according to Michael Collins.
The two Tennessee Republicans recently re-filed legislation that would expand the amount of federally designated wilderness in the national forest to about 86,000 acres. If approved, the change would mark the first time the forest’s wilderness areas have been expanded in a quarter-century.
“I grew up hiking the mountains of East Tennessee, and I know that if we conserve these wildlife areas and preserve these landscapes, we’ll give the next generations the same opportunity,” Alexander said in a prepared statement.
The Tennessee Wilderness Act of 2011 “takes an important step toward protecting the natural heritage that is so important to Tennesseans and the millions of tourists who visit each year looking to experience pristine nature for themselves,” Alexander said.