Local News Stories from 92.3 WNPC
Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Expanded childcare for essential workers
The Tennessee Department of Human Services (TDHS) is expanding support for essential workers who are serving their communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. All categories of essential workers identified in Governor Bill Lee’s Executive Order 22 are now eligible for the COVID-19 Essential Employee Child Care Payment Assistance Program. This change makes the program available to essential workers in the financial, religious, utility and hotel industries among others. Existing applicants who fit into one of the expanded categories do not need to apply again, even if they were previously denied or their application is still in process. TDHS is reviewing and reevaluating those previously submitted applications under the expanded employment categories. Additionally, the program has been expanded to provide payment assistance until mid-August 2020 to help essential employees stay on the job through the summer. Applications for the COVID-19 Essential Employee Child Care Payment Assistance program will be accepted online at https://tdhs.service-now.com/relief. After an essential employee is approved for the program, TDHS will make arrangements to pay for child care at the TDHS licensed or TN Department of Education regulated program where the child is currently served. Regardless of when an application was submitted or approved, the benefit will be effective on the first day of the program, April 15, 2020, if the child was in care at that time. For those parents whose children are not already receiving care at a licensed program, a list of licensed child care agencies that are open and able to accept children of essential workers is available on the TDHS website https://www.tn.gov/content/dam/tn/human-services/ . Once the child is enrolled in care and the essential employee is approved for payment assistance, TDHS will make arrangements to pay for that child care as well.

COVID 19 Update
The confirmed COVID-19 case count for Tennessee is now 20,607 as of Monday including 338 deaths, 1,594 hospitalizations and 13,073 recovered. Tennessee has an additional 462 cases since Sunday. Local number: Cocke County 20 cases and 2 remain ill; Jefferson 27 cases and 3 remain ill; Greene County 47 cases and 3 are still ill; Hamblen County 26 cases and 5 are still ill, and Sevier County 72 cases and 6 are still ill.

Southerland pursuit and arrest
Jefferson City police recently arrested a Cocke County woman following a pursuit. Officers were made aware of a car chase on Highway 92 coming from the Dandridge area. Reports indicated that the suspect vehicle was traveling at a high rate of speed on the wrong side of the highway with no headlights just before midnight. Jefferson City officers joined in the pursuit and then attempted to deploy spikes strips near George Avenue but the suspect car suddenly swerved in their direction nearly striking two officers. The car chase continued to Broadway Boulevard and eventually stopped on Highway 11E, just west of the Knox County line where the female suspected crashed and fled on foot. Jefferson City officers and Jefferson County Sheriffs' deputies gave chase and apprehended the female driver. She was identified as Tasha L. Southerland, 36, of Newport. Southerland was charged with two counts of aggravated assault on a police officer, felony evading, resisting arrest and felony reckless endangerment. She was jailed in the justice center.

Appeals court says suspension of driving privileges is OK
Tennessee residents with overdue traffic fines can have their driver's licenses suspended for not paying traffic related fines, according to The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. The Appeals Court has reversed a preliminary injunction in response to a 2017 class-action lawsuit that had ruled suspension of a driver's license solely for not paying traffic fines violated the 14th amendment. The ruling was made based on a similar Michigan case that ruled that the suspension of driver's licenses for unpaid traffic fines did not violate the constitution. The preliminary injunction that stopped Tennessee from revoking driver's licenses for unpaid fines was issued in 2018. The lawsuit represents more than 34,000 Tennesseans who have had their driver's license suspended and can't pay to reinstate them. More than 250,000 driver's licenses were suspended between 2014 and 2018. The appellate court's decision considers a Michigan case, Fowler vs. Benson, which upheld that state's policy to suspend driver's licenses for unpaid traffic fines. The Sisxth Court opinion says the Michigan case is nearly identical to Tennessee's policy for driver's license suspensions for unpaid fines and was the basis of the ruling. Neither state policy "requires the state to consider the driver's ability to pay before assessing the suspension," according to the opinion.

Lottery sales lag 2019 numbers
The Tennessee Lottery’s sales for this fiscal year are tracking behind last year’s record-setting performance. The lottery’s fiscal-year-to-date sales were down 3.5% through the end of April compared to last year. During the previous fiscal year, the lottery set records with $1.81 billion in gross sales and a $447.1 million in contributions to lottery-funded education programs. Through the first three quarters of the current fiscal year, the lottery has made $302 million in contributions to lottery-funded education programs, down from $329 million through the first three quarters of the last fiscal year. Contributions have been down in each quarter of this fiscal year compared to last year. Since its inception, the lottery has contributed more than $5.38 billion to designated education programs.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

  • Expanded childcare for essential workers
  • COVID 19 Update
  • Southerland pursuit and arrest
  • Appeals court says suspension of driving privileges is OK
  • Lottery sales lag 2019 numbers

    Monday, May 25, 2020

  • Solar is growing in the Valley
  • Kedar is being sought
  • Memorial Day
  • Sunday COVID 19 stats
  • Ft. Loudon Lake drowning

    Saturday, May 23, 2020

  • Franklin charged with carjacking
  • Burns is #1 at Walters State
  • TDECD confertence is cancelled
  • Memorial weekend boating
  • COVID 19 Update

    Friday, May 22, 2020

  • New executive order
  • Cocke County Partnership meet
  • McBride mower injury
  • COVID 19 Update

    Thursday, May 21, 2020

  • Cosby Elementary receives Dollar General grant
  • Mills injured in Sunday crash
  • C&C Pawn damaged by fire
  • Buford lawsuit