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Gas tax hike becomes reality

Gov. Bill Haslam’s proposed gas tax hike has become reality, passing both chambers of the Tennessee General Assembly on Wednesday.

The proposal, which was Haslam’s signature legislative initiative this year, was once thought to have an uphill battle to approval, but passed the House with 22 votes to spare.

By | April 20th, 2017|Categories: News|0 Comments

Fentress County sheriff faces federal charges

Fentress County Sheriff Chucky Cravens, who resigned last week amid an FBI probe, will face federal charges, as investigators allege that he had sex with inmates.

Information released by the Department of Justice on Thursday indicates that Cravens had inappropriate contact with four different inmates at the Fentress County Jail. Allegedly, Cravens used his position as sheriff to provide additional benefits to three of the inmates in exchange for sexual relationships.

Specifically, the U.S. Attorney’s Office alleges that the sheriff personally transported the inmates from jail to visit relatives, allowed them outside of jail to smoke cigarettes, and provided money to relatives to be deposited in the inmates’ commissary accounts.

By | April 20th, 2017|Categories: News|0 Comments

Much rain possible

It hasn’t been an especially wet week thus far for much of the northern Cumberland Plateau, as unpredictable convective precipitation has focused mainly on areas to our south. But that should change as we get into the end of the week, as a more organized system interacts with the very moist air mass that remains in place across the entire region.

For now, the GFS forecast model indicates about 2.5 inches of rain for the northern plateau through Sunday. But because most of the precipitation will be convective in nature, that’s only a rough baseline number. Rainfall could be much heavier where the stronger storms set up, especially if training occurs — meaning that multiple storms impact the same area.

In its forecast discussion this afternoon, the National Weather Service’s Morristown office pointed out that training could occur Thursday night into Friday, as a cold front moves through the region, because upper level flow will be almost parallel to the frontal boundary.

Rain chances decrease early in the day on Saturday, but then increase again later on Saturday, as the lower level jet increases. Strong thunderstorms are possible Friday and Saturday afternoons, particularly Saturday, and rain chances continue into Sunday as a short wave system rotates around the base of the trough that is going to develop over the region this weekend.

In a hazardous weather outlook posted this afternoon, NWS-Morristown says some storms “could be strong to possibly severe from the mid-afternoon to early evening” on Friday, with the main concerns being quarter-sized hail, damaging downburst winds up to 60 mph, heavy rainfall and lightning. The frontal boundary on Saturday will again produce a chance for strong to severe storms late Saturday afternoon and evening, the NWS said in the outlook, “producing large hail, strong damaging winds, heavy rainfall and frequent lightning.”

The NWS pointed out in the hazardous weather outlook that localized flash flooding is possible late Saturday and Saturday night.

There have been some indications of a cool-down late in the month, but the latest runs of the GFS aren’t depicting this. According to the forecast model, most of next week will be dry before the next system arrives as we get into the following weekend, April 29-30.

By | April 19th, 2017|Categories: Weather|0 Comments

Another legend topples himself

Bill O’Reilly — arguably the biggest name in the history of cable news — will join Bill Cosby on the list of legends whose sexual perversion crumbled the empire they had worked so hard to build.

By | April 19th, 2017|Categories: Pop Culture|0 Comments

Facebook looks to eliminate the smart phone

Along with TVs and a bunch of other stuff:

Facebook is once again putting itself into direct competition with Google and Apple, trying to create yet another parallel universe of apps and tools that don’t rely on the smartphones’ marketplaces. As The New York Times notes, Zuckerberg has long been disappointed that Facebook never built a credible smartphone operating system of its own.

This time, though, Facebook is also declaring war on pretty much everyone else in the tech industry, too. While it’ll take at least a decade to fully play out, the stuff Facebook is talking about today is just one more milestone on the slow march toward the death of the smartphone and the rise of even weirder and wilder futures.

By | April 19th, 2017|Categories: Technology|0 Comments

Who’s next?

Syria. ISIS. North Korea.

Who’s next?

Enrique Peña Nieto might want to start building that wall himself. For better or worse, this president seems prepared to kick tail and take names.

By | April 14th, 2017|Categories: Politics|0 Comments