Several Chattanooga Neighborhoods Added to EPA List of Most Toxic Places

Several Chattanooga neighborhoods are considered among the U.S.'s most toxic places, The Times Free Press reports. The Environmental Protection Agency recently added the Southside Chattanooga Lead Site to its Superfund National Priorities List, making it a top priority for cleanup. The area — which was home to industrial operations that used toxic material as fill and topsoil — tested nearly four times higher than the EPA's benchmark for unsafe lead levels.

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Tullahoma Tax Dispute Headed to Supreme Court

An ongoing lawsuit between the City of Tullahoma and the Coffee County Board of Education (CCBOE) is headed to the Tennessee Supreme Court, the Tullahoma News reports. The suit stems from the county’s interpretation of two different state statutes regarding collection and distribution of liquor-by-the-drink taxes. The city won the case in the Coffee County Chancery Court but lost when CCBOE appealed the decision. The case is scheduled to be heard by the Tennessee Supreme Court on Oct. 4.

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Environmental Groups Sue TVA Over Grid Access Charge

Five environmental groups have filed a lawsuit against the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) in an attempt to block a new grid access charge scheduled to begin next month, The Chattanooga Times Free Press reports. The plaintiffs maintain that the planned TVA rate changes and cutbacks in renewable and energy efficiency programs will discourage consumers from investing in solar, wind and energy efficiency projects and harm the environment as a result. The new grid access charge is set to take effect Oct. 1 and will require municipalities and power cooperatives to pay a mandatory electricity fee regardless of their energy usage. You can view the complaint here.

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Loudon County Election Commission Affirms City Employee's Exclusion from Ballot

The Loudon County Election Commission on Monday affirmed a decision by the Lenoir City Council contesting candidate Earlena Maples’ qualification for the November ballot due to her 37-year tenure at Lenoir City Utilities Board (LCUB), the Lenior City News-Herald reports. During the meeting, Maples filed a motion contesting council members Mike Henline, Douglas “Buddy” Hines, Jennifer Wampler and Jim Shields from being on the ballot which the election commission will address on a later date. Maples may still opt to take the matter to chancery court.

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City of Franklin Seeks Assistant City Attorney

The city of Franklin is seeking an Assistant City Attorney to provide legal services and representation to assigned departments, commissions, and committees — representing the city, its officials, and employees in civil cases. The Assistant City Attorney will also draft ordinances, resolutions, leases, contracts, court pleadings, etc., relating to lawsuits and/or other municipal concerns. Interested candidates can learn more about the position and apply using this link.

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Murfreesboro City Employee Forced to Resign Over Use of CBD

A Murfreesboro Parks and Recreation Department was forced to resign after testing positive for cannabinoids due to CBD-containing products she uses to treat her anxiety, the Daily News Journal reports. Even though CBD products — derived from the hemp plant — are legal in Tennessee, they contained a trace amount of THC in the capsules she was taking, violating the city’s regulations to be a Drug-Free Workplace. Though hemp-derived CBD oil has minimal amounts of THC, standard drug tests can’t tell the difference between hemp products and marijuana.

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Cyber-attack Concerns Leads TVA to Boost Security Efforts

The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) is investing heavily in monitoring systems and equipment for its recently opened Cybersecurity Operations Center in Chattanooga, the Chattanooga Times Free Press reports. The TVA sees tens of thousands of attempts daily to hack into the company’s networks, the report says. With recent concerns of attacks using these means, including new evidence of attempted Russian cyber-attacks against American power utilities, the TVA is employing a staff of 38 TVA employees and another 20 to 30 contract workers devoted solely to cyber-security. The TVA is the nation's largest government-owned power utility, with 29 power-generating dams, seven nuclear reactors and multiple connections to the Oak Ridge nuclear weapons production arsenal.

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Cameras Catch Airbnb Guests Illegally Entering Neighbor's Home

Four men illegally entered a woman's South Nashville home last Friday while she was cooking dinner for her young daughter, WKRN News reports. The men were staying at an Airbnb on 9th Circle South in Edgehill, where they hopped over a barrier separating the third-floor balconies of the properties, breaking into the house of Amy Allen. Allen was notified of the intrusion by her security system, which also filmed the ‘bnb’ burglars in action. Allen said she called the police and began looking through her surveillance video when she discovered that the guests from next door had been in her home previously and had stolen a bottle of alcohol.
Airbnb rentals remain a contentious topic in Nashville, leading the city to establish a designated hotline to field complaints about short-term rental properties. Since September 2017, Metro Codes has received 1,581 calls on the complaint hotline.

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Former Nashville Councilman Loniel Greene Jr. Dies at 37

Loniel Greene Jr., an Iraq War veteran and former Metro Nashville councilman, died Wednesday after being hospitalized last week, the Tennessean reports. Greene was elected District 1 councilman in 2015 and served less than five months before resigning in January 2016 amid legal issues. His family said he suffered a cardiac arrest on July 8. Additional details of his death have not been released. Greene was 37.

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TVA Invites Public Input on Proposed Updates to Natural Resource Plan

The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) is soliciting public opinions regarding updating its 2011 Natural Resource Plan, according to a press release on its website. The 2011 plan organized TVA’s work into six resource areas but did not include all of TVA’s Natural Resource efforts. In the 2020 Natural Resource Plan, TVA proposes 10 focus areas that encompass all the Natural Resource functions.
TVA is hosting four open house meetings to obtain input, answer questions and receive comments. The sessions will be from 5–7:30 p.m. local time at the following locations:
  • July 25 at Pellissippi State Community College in the College Center Room, 10915 Hardin Valley Rd., Knoxville
  • July 26 at Chattanooga State Community College in Rooms 124-126, 4501 Amnicola Highway, Chattanooga
  • August 1 in the TVA Multi-Purpose Building, Room MPB 01202, 101 Reservation Road, Muscle Shoals, Alabama
  • August 2 at Paris Landing State Park in Conference Room A, 400 Lodge Road, Buchanan
  • August 6 – Webinar. Please register in advance of the webinar at www.tva.gov/nrp.
Written comments can be sent to Matthew Higdon, NEPA Compliance, Tennessee Valley Authority, 400 West Summit Hill Drive, WT 11D, Knoxville, TN 37902-1499. Comments also may be submitted on the project website at www.tva.gov/nrp or by email at NRP@tva.gov.
NOTE: Those with special needs who wish to attend any open house should contact TVA at least a week in advance at (865) 632-6113.
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