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Lunch with Mayor Burchett

By R. Neal, Tue, 2015/09/01 - 11:41am

Have lunch with Mayor Burchett at Sam & Andy's in Fountain City, Thursday, Sept. 3 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. More info...

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City traffic advisories for Boomsday, U.T. home games

By R. Neal, Tue, 2015/09/01 - 11:35am

City officials today announced stepped up traffic enforcement for Labor Day weekend, traffic info for Boomsday, traffic, parking and shuttle info for U.T. home games, and more.

Bonus, the Cumberland Ave. Merchant's Association is hosting the first ever "Brick by Brick" pre-game block party for the U.T. opener against Bowling Green Saturday in Nashville. The block party will be from 2 to 4 PM. on Cumberland Ave, which will be closed between 18th Street and North 19th Street for the party.

More details on all of the above in the press release after the break....

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The beast has more than one belly:

By Bbeanster, Mon, 2015/08/31 - 2:20pm

From the Mountain Press:

Sheriff Seals tells SC Tea Party of suspicious activity


SEVIERVILLE — Sevier County Sheriff Ron Seals told the Sevier County Tea Party last week that some of his officers, working in an off-duty capacity as private security, contacted the U.S. Department of Homeland Security after seeing troubling behavior at Tanger Outlet Center in Sevierville.

Prompted by an audience member’s statement about women in burqas spending long periods of time in shops without making purchases, the sheriff indicated officers had seen similar behaviors.

“We have some officers up there … they’re officers, but they hire them, off-duty police officers, primarily to work traffic, and they’ve noticed the same lady running around up there … taking pictures with a camera,” Seals said. “We got the information. We passed it on to Homeland Security. They’ve addressed it, and I don’t think anything else actually came of it.

“We thought maybe they’re doing that to maybe see what days there’s a big crowd up there.”


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Cades Cove this morning

By R. Neal, Mon, 2015/08/31 - 1:40pm

Click image for bigger/more...

It was a beautiful morning. We saw some deer, turkeys and a bear. The bear saw the deer. The deer saw the bear. The deer took off.

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Angry Ohio GOP Demands Cuyahoga NP Be Renamed for Palin

By Somebody, Mon, 2015/08/31 - 12:34pm

Furious about President Obama's interference in a decades-old feud that actually currently pitches Republicans against Republicans, the Ohio GOP Congressional delegation is demanding that Ohio's Cuyahoga Valley National Park be renamed for Alaska's former governor and GOP gadfly, Sarah Palin.

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EPA Moves Ahead With Water Protection Rule Despite Court Ruling

By jbr, Sun, 2015/08/30 - 9:05am

I am surprised Tennessee was not on list of states in that lawsuit.

from NBC News ...

The new rule would force a permitting process only if a business or landowner took steps that would pollute or destroy the affected waters — those with a "direct and significant" connection to larger bodies of water downstream that are already protected. That could include tributaries that show evidence of flowing water, for example.

In practice, the rule means that developers can no longer pave over wetlands and oil companies can no longer dump pollution into streams unhindered, restoring Clean Water Act protections to more than half the nation's streams, supporters say. But opponents call the rule an example of federal overreach and fear a steady uptick in federal regulation of nearly every stream and ditch on rural lands.

EPA Moves Ahead With Water Protection Rule Despite Court Ruling

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Into the Belly of the Beast

By Mark Harmon, Sat, 2015/08/29 - 11:22pm

Earlier today (Saturday, Aug. 29) Gloria Johnson and I went to a legislative forum sponsored by Americans for Prosperity (Koch Brothers), Tennessee Liberty Alliance, and Republican Liberty Caucus of Tennessee. Video of the entire event is linked here. Feel free to share your reactions.

Initial thoughts: some serious factual errors, logical errors, bad public policy, and plenty of fodder for future columns. Also, why is that Republican logo behind the panel when the officially non-partisan AFP is sponsoring?

The entire event

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Big Brother is (was?) listening at the courthouse

By R. Neal, Sat, 2015/08/29 - 3:41pm

Local reporter Dan Andrews spotted something off at the courthouse. Action was taken:

Just spoke with PBA Chief Dale Smith.He states he has no idea who put sticker there and has no knowledge of device

— Dan Andrews (@knoxcounty) August 25, 2015

Final PBA Chief confirms listening devices were placed at entrances of govt buildings while he was on vacation. Purpose was to monitor...

— Dan Andrews (@knoxcounty) August 27, 2015

At this time I am advising anyone who enters the City County Building use caution before saying anything verbal. Just got a response...

— Dan Andrews (@knoxcounty) August 27, 2015

Purpose of listening device was to monitor security guard interactions with public. However the PBA Chief has turned off the devices 4 now

— Dan Andrews (@knoxcounty) August 27, 2015

WATE: Knoxville courthouse audio recording shut down after privacy questions

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Status of State Action on the Medicaid Expansion Decision

By jbr, Fri, 2015/08/28 - 4:35pm

What made me check this was Florida just declared state of emergency because of storm.

From the Kaiser Family Foundation …

Current Status of Medicaid Expansion Decision

Adopted the Medicaid Expansion: 31 states (including DC); Adoption of the Medicaid Expansion under Discussion: 1 state; Not Adopting the Medicaid Expansion at this Time: 19 states

The full state-by-state list

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so this is it ...

By michael kaplan, Fri, 2015/08/28 - 3:18pm

Cottage Landing, up to 87 student housing units (348 rooms), requiring ridgetop removal that is dumping huge boulders into the valley to the west of the site. Here's a satellite image apparently taken a few weeks ago. Anyone wishing to view the environmental damage in progress should take a drive up Cherokee Trail. Note, too, the huge slice of the ridge taken for the construction of Quarry Trail to its east. Erosion is being mitigated by the construction of retaining walls (seen as grey lines) and the planting of kudzu on the steep slope.

The project is in the county, and was approved by the MPC in March, 2013.

All members of City Council, County Commission, and the MPC should take (or be taken on) a tour of the site to see the mess. It's really hard to believe this is happening in 2015 ...


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Tivo deal alert

By R. Neal, Fri, 2015/08/28 - 9:20am

If you're thinking about getting a Tivo or upgrading your old one, Tivo has a pretty good deal going right now.

You can get the four tuner Roamio for $149, or $49 refurbed (which I believe has the same 90 day parts/labor and one year parts warranty).

As part of the deal, they are also offering lifetime service for $249, which is half price and the first time I've ever seen it discounted this much. It stays with the device, not the user, but it makes the Tivo hold its value and easy to resell if you upgrade in the future.

So, for $300 you can get a Tivo Roamio (refurb) with lifetime service. That's a pretty good deal.

More info: TiVo Super Savings Sale

(Wonder if this means they are getting ready to bring out a new model?)

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Knoxville Jazz Festival

By jbr, Fri, 2015/08/28 - 7:12am

Starts tonight at 8 pm

August 28-29


plus: Vintage Jazz Films · Jazz Tour · Jam Sessions · Master Classes

Knoxville Jazz Festival

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City Council candidate forum

By R. Neal, Thu, 2015/08/27 - 7:48pm

The South Knoxville Neighborhood and Business Coalition City Council candidate forum is underway.

Follow @meganboehnke for live updates...

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NLRB rules in joint employer decision - refines standard for determining joint-employer status

By Mike Knapp, Thu, 2015/08/27 - 5:50pm

Here's some good news.
NLRB Statement
Board Issues Decision in Browning-Ferris Industries

In the decision, the Board applies long-established principles to find that two or more entities are joint employers of a single workforce if (1) they are both employers within the meaning of the common law; and (2) they share or codetermine those matters governing the essential terms and conditions of employment. In evaluating whether an employer possesses sufficient control over employees to qualify as a joint employer, the Board will – among other factors -- consider whether an employer has exercised control over terms and conditions of employment indirectly through an intermediary, or whether it has reserved the authority to do so.

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EPA fines Rep. Andy Hold for illegal hog waste dumping

By R. Neal, Thu, 2015/08/27 - 4:47pm

The EPA announced today a $177,500 fine against state Rep. Andy Holt for illegally discharging 800,000 gallons of waste from his hog farm into public waterways.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Region 4, issued an Administrative Complaint, Docket No. CWA-04-2015-4506,that assesses an administrative penalty up to the statutory maximum of $177,500 to Andrew H. Holt and Eleanore F. Holt, d/b/a A & E Livestock (Respondent), 461 Jewell Store Road, Dresden, Weakley County, Tennessee, under the authority of Section 309(g)(2)(B) of the Clean Water Act (CWA), 33 U.S.C. §1319(g)(2)(B).

Holt can still request a hearing or a settlement conference. Rep. Holt is vice chair of the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee. There were previous allegations that TDEC higher management ordered an investigator to lay off.

The full complaint and notice of enforcement action...

PREVIOUSLY: State rep hog farmer under EPA microscope

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How much money do U.S. families need to get by?

By jbr, Wed, 2015/08/26 - 5:04pm

from CBS News …

Take the federal poverty cutoff for a family of four, which stood at $23,850 last year. That income level is about half of what a family of four would need to get by in the country's least expensive metropolitan area -- Morristown, Tennessee. The researchers estimate that a two-parent, two-child family in the town of roughly 30,000 would require gross income of $49,114 simply to cover rent, taxes, food, transportation, child care and other basics.

How much money do U.S. families need to get by?

EPI Calculator

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Plans for Midway Business Park revived

By Treehouse, Wed, 2015/08/26 - 10:34am

But hey, they're planning walking trails!


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U.S. tax cuts don't pay for themselves -Republican-appointed official says

By jbr, Wed, 2015/08/26 - 12:43am

from Reuters ...

The new Republican-appointed director of the Congressional Budget Office delivered some bad news on Tuesday to the party's "Reaganomics" devotees: ...

"No, the evidence is that tax cuts do not pay for themselves," Hall said in response to a reporter's question. "And our models that we're doing, our macroeconomic effects, show that."

U.S. tax cuts don't pay for themselves -Republican-appointed official says

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Court: City Council must vote on Pryor Brown surface parking lot

By R. Neal, Tue, 2015/08/25 - 12:32pm

From the Tennessee Court of Appeals, Knoxville:

This is an appeal from a judgment in a certiorari review action. The petitioner sought approval for the construction of a surface parking lot as a use permitted on review in Knoxville, Tennessee. The Metropolitan Planning Commission denied the application.

The petitioner appealed the denial to the Knoxville City Council, which failed to vote on the matter. The trial court upheld the de facto denial, holding that the Knoxville City Council had not exceeded its jurisdiction, followed an unlawful procedure, acted illegally, arbitrarily, or fraudulently, or acted without material evidence to support its decision.

The petitioner appeals. For the reasons discussed herein, we reverse and remand this case to the trial court with instructions to remand to the Knoxville City Council for a definitive ruling on whether the requested surface parking lot is permissible as a use permitted on review.



Pryor Brown Doomed?

Pryor Brown Garage Still Structurally Safe After Roof Collapse

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Mayor Rogero announces promotions, new economic development team

By R. Neal, Mon, 2015/08/24 - 2:52pm

(L-R) David Brace, Sheryl Ely, Chad Weth

Mayor Rogero's office today announced that David Brace will be promoted to Public Works director, and Chad Weth will be promoted to Public Service director to replace Brace. Sheryl Ely, a Senior Planner with the City of Oak Ridge, will join Weth as the new Deputy Director of Public Service.

Also, the mayor's office announced a new Economic Development Team comprised of Christi Branscom, Deputy to the Mayor and Chief Operating Officer, Deputy to the Mayor and Chief Policy Officer Bill Lyons, incoming Director of Redevelopment Dawn Michelle Foster and incoming Deputy Director of Redevelopment Anne Wallace.

More info and bios in the press release after the break...

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