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Dems Call for Special Session
AP Thursday July 21, 2016
House Democrats in Tennessee are calling for a special session to expel a Republican lawmaker accused of sexually harassing at least 22 women to block him from receiving a lifetime pension.
Democratic Caucus Chairman Mike Stewart said Wednesday that state Rep. Jeremy Durham of Franklin will automatically qualify for a pension starting at $300 per month in November, even if he loses his primary next month.
Durham suspended his re-election campaign earlier this month after a state attorney general's office released a report alleging that he had sexually harassed at least 22 women.
The lawmaker has said nearly all of the allegations are either false or taken out of context, but stopped short of resigning his seat. Early voting is already underway, and Durham's name remains on the ballot.
McMinnville Receives Grant
Jay Walker Thursday July 21, 2016
McMinnville is one of 29 communities in Tennessee that will receive Tourism Enhancement Grants. Gov. Haslam and Economic and Community Development Commissioner Randy Boyd announced Wednesday that 29 communities will receive over $999,000 in grants to assist communities with tourism infrastructure assets.
The grants assist counties and cities in improving local assets to increase the economic impact of tourism.
The City of McMinnville will receive $28,500 in grant funding. The City of Manchester will also receive a grant of $41,510.
The grants were jointly funded by the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development and the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development with the Assistance of the Appalachian Regional Commission.
One Airlifted After Crash
Jay Walker Wednesday July 20, 2016
One person was airlifted following a crash at the intersection of the 70s Bypass and Mullican Street Tuesday evening.
According to McMinnville Police, a 1997 Jeep Wrangler, driven by 20 year old Jessica Spicer was westbound on the bypass and made a left turn on to Mullican. Police say the Jeep turned into the path of an eastbound 2015 Nissan van, driven by 32 year old Tori Watts of McMinnville, causing the crash.
A passenger in the Jeep, 19 year old William Briar Ward of Rock Island was injured and was airlifted to Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga. Watts was treated for minor injuries at River Park.
Spicer will be cited for failure to yield the right of way.
White County Quarantined for Beetle
Sparta Expositor Wednesday July 20, 2016
White County is the latest in Tennessee to be quarantined for an invasive pest targeting ash trees.
Officials have detected Emerald Ash Borer in the eastern section of White County. An adult beetle was recently captured in a trap near Old Railroad Grade Road. With this discovery, White County joins 48 other counties in quarantine with a prohibition on the movement of ash trees and ash tree products.
The emerald ash borer is a destructive forest pest that can kill an ash tree within three years of infestation. It was first detected in Tennessee in 2010.
Human tend to contribute to the spread of the pest by unknowingly transporting the insects through infested nursery stock, firewood and other ash products.
Lottery Sets Record
AP Wednesday July 20, 2016
The Tennessee Education Lottery contributed $394 million to education programs for the fiscal year ending June 30, a record high contribution that is $46 million more than last year's record.
According to a news release, the lottery had over $1.6 billion in total sales last fiscal year, also a record. The lottery set monthly total sales records in 11 of the 12 months of fiscal year 2016 and set quarterly records for all four quarters.
Instant game sales brought in a record $1.3 billion in fiscal year 2016. Drawing-style game sales set a record of nearly $323 million. That record was fueled by an unprecedented $1.58 billion Powerball jackpot.
Total sales since the lottery's inception are more than $15 billion, and total contributions to education are more than $3.8 billion.