Wed
May 25 2016
07:07 am

President Obama will re-appoint Mike McWherter to a second term on the TVA Board of Directors this year. McWherter, son of the late Gov. Ned McWherter and Democratic nominee for governor in 2010, lives in Jackson in West Tennessee.

No one from Knoxville or East Tennessee now serves on the TVA board for the first time in several decades.

It is unclear if Senate Republicans will allow the nomination to be approved or hold out for the next president, which they are doing on the Supreme Court nomination to replace the late Justice Scalia. If not approved this year, McWherter would go off the board the end of this year.

Wed
May 25 2016
07:05 am

"But after 50 years, we have learned that there’s no such thing as a peaceful atom. … Nuclear power has been the greatest failure in the energy field in my lifetime.”

(link...)

Wed
May 25 2016
06:10 am

You have to wonder when TVA will get past responding to its problems by issuing more better press releases and actually deal with its internal issues?

TVA's top nuclear officials said Tuesday they have revamped management procedures, coached bosses on how to better treat workers and conducted surveys and employee meetings to better encourage and respond to safety issues raised by workers...

"It's disappointing for a company that has gone through a number of safety-conscious work environment problems repeatedly over a number of years can't recognize signs of those problems until someone else calls their attention to it," said David Lochbaum, a nuclear engineer who once worked at the NRC and now studies the industry for the Union of Concerned Scientists. "Since they are having trouble figuring out that they have those problems, there's not much confidence that they will be able to solve problems that are invisible to them."

The full piece is here

Tennessee state senators have been reimbursed for out-of-state travel for meetings from Florida to Alaska, and on topics ranging from school vouchers to the dangers of radical Islam. But GOP leaders say a Democrat’s trip to the White House doesn’t qualify.

(link...)

Tue
May 24 2016
05:05 pm

TDOT says westbound lanes will be open this evening.

Tue
May 24 2016
08:52 am
By: WhitesCreek

Sometimes I'm just stunned and saddened by what my Senators say right out loud...

Tens of thousands of Tennesseans who today are mid-management or professional employees are not going to like it one bit when their employer tells them that under this new rule they're going to be punching the time clock when they go in and out of work.

Really, Senator Alexander? What rational human being prefers to work overtime without being paid rather than punch a clock?

(link...)

Mon
May 23 2016
08:30 pm

The Rockwood City Council approved the Rockwood Forest Trails at tonight's meeting. The 4 to 5 mile trail system is to be built on land already owned by the City of Rockwood with the trail head being inside the Rockwood Sports Complex. Volunteers from various hiking, trail, and mountain bike clubs will do most of the work with Rockwood only having to supply materials for short bridges, signs, and one gate into the trail complex.

The goal is to have at least one trail loop completed by mid March of 2017 in time for the spring wildflower season. Trails are to be multi use, for walking, hiking, and mountain biking. Final trail routing will begin in the fall after leaf drop. Trail construction will begin as soon as trail routing is complete and flagged.

The preliminary trail routes are subject to change but are shown here:

Rockwood Trail

Phase one of the trail system is on City of Rockwood land. Phase two will include several hundred acres of Mt. Roosevelt State Forest located adjacent to Highway 70.

Sat
May 21 2016
09:44 am

I'd feel better about this if:
one, They were insured by the private sector...the only insurance nukes can get is from you and me in the form of the Federal Government,
two, TVA could be made to pay the damages in the event of an accident. Here's a story from the Scientific American...Wonder who pushed to have it published?

Last week, the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) submitted the first-ever permit application to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) for a small modular nuclear reactor. The TVA’s application comes as a huge milestone in the pathway of small modular reactors (often abbreviated SMRs) from the laboratory to the marketplace, and brings a glimmer of hope to the future of nuclear power in the United States.

(link...)

Fri
May 20 2016
08:03 am

There is a lovely photo in today's Roane County News. It shows a family in a pedal boat on Watts Bar Lake. None of them are wearing life vests. The adults can make their own decisions but, Please, people, make the kids wear a life vest, even when tooling around in protected waterways. You have no idea how quickly things can go wrong on the water. Nearly every single fatality on human powered watercraft involves the failure to wear a life vest.

pfd

Even inexpensive vests, around $20, are very effective for young children and infants when properly worn. Since the small sizes are quickly outgrown they may be handed down in nearly new condition. Most of them are very adjustable and fit a wide weight range. Make certain that any vest you put on a child (or adult too, for that matter) has a Coast Guard approval sticker on the inside.

This web page has decent information and a list of manufacturers and products: (link...)

Thu
May 19 2016
06:52 pm
By: WhitesCreek

Here's the article by SACE: (link...)

Here's my response:

Wind power isn't perfect but it's a danged sight better than the nuclear that Senator Alexander promotes and is certainly safer than any of the other fossil fuels. I suspect the good Senator's motives lie in his extensive investments in mountain property and the rather large donations he has received from the nuclear fuel and disposal industry.

I do take one serious exception to this article in that Kingston Tennessee was NOT destroyed, devastated, or harmed in any long term way by the geological event known as the TVA ASH Spill. We did lose 6 years of our lives to the damned thing, which could have been prevented by a strong TDEC or a competent TVA.

I object to and am angered by SACE's use of photos showing the Kingston ash disaster without an accompanying photo showing the beauty that has replaced it. Today, we have parks, trails, ball fields, and a recovered lake where our recreation industry has returned. True, it has cost TVA customers well over a Billion dollars to make our environment whole, but whole we are. We could use a little help getting the word out, if SACE would b so kind as to let the world know we are recovered and a fabulous place to live and recreate instead of portraying us as eternal victims of TVA and Coal.

It does bear mentioning that the courts found TVA completely responsible for its ash disaster but also found that the law does not allow TVA's victims to force TVA to make them whole. TVA made a token settlement that was a fraction of the true damages to Roane County. Senator Alexander wants us to turn to nuclear energy, the disasters of which cannot ever be recovered from and an industry run by an entity that could not safely pile dirt.

The ironies are magnificent.

Thu
May 19 2016
11:56 am

Of course TN Republicans are foaming at the mouth over anything Obama does and are calling for a special session of the Legislature to deal with it. I don't know about you, but frankly I get a bit uneasy when the Legislature is in session. I think we all have come to the realization that they don't work for you and me anymore, and nothing good for us ever comes from these sessions. Our Governor feels the same way.

Gov. Bill Haslam indicated on Wednesday that he sees no need for a special legislative session nor a lawsuit against the federal government on the transgender restroom issue.

The governor said he’s not sure what either would accomplish because, despite the furor among Republican lawmakers and conservative interest groups, “there’s nothing new” in the guidance the Obama administration gave schools, colleges and universities last week over allowing transgender students to use the restrooms of their gender identity and that it's not an enforcement action.

... Jay Brown, a spokesman for the Human Rights Campaign said Wednesday, "Tennessee lawmakers should learn the lessons of what happened in North Carolina, where dangerous and shameful attempts to target transgender students have harmed countless North Carolinians, done millions of dollars of economic damage to the state, damaged the state’s reputation, and cost jobs. Tennessee lawmakers who go down this road are gambling with the lives and safety of real people and their economy. The hateful bill that passed North Carolina has drawn opposition from hundreds of major employers who have said that putting transgender people at risk for discrimination is not just wrong, but bad for business.

(link...)

Tue
May 17 2016
01:27 pm

Tennessee may make alcohol more widely allowed in state parks

For the first time, people may soon be able to drink alcohol legally at campsites, picnic areas and elsewhere in Tennessee state parks.

The state department suggesting the policy change is also getting around to making changes associated with a controversial guns-in-parks bill that lawmakers passed in 2015.

The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation bans the consumption of booze in state parks unless it takes place on a golf course or within a facility licensed to sell alcohol. But the department, which oversees state parks, is proposing allowing visitors to bring their own beverages to the park, as long as they pay a fee.

"The Department currently received regular inquiries from customers interested in renting event space and serving alcohol at the proposed special events," reads the rules proposal set to go before lawmakers later this week.

"The Department is going to implement an alcohol permit fee for special events that plan to serve alcohol."

Specific fee amounts aren't included in the suggested rules change, but the department anticipates earning roughly $20,000 a year from the fees. Places where alcohol could be allowed include cabins, campsites, group camps, picnic areas and other places.

The documentation indicates the new rule would take effect in June.

The same proposed rule change includes amendments to recognize that handgun carry permit holders are allowed to carry their weapons into parks, with several exceptions. The rule notes guns still aren't allowed in the "immediate vicinity" of an athletic event or school-related event that's taking place in the park.

Department spokesman Eric Ward said the two changes were unrelated. - Tennessean (subscription)

The more I learn about Roane County's Natural history the more I love where I live!
beauty berry

A traditional folk remedy, known among people in Mississippi’s hill country for at least a century, may provide some relief without all the worries of DEET and other harsh chemicals. Scientists at the United States Department of Agriculture-Agriculture Research Service housed at the National Center for Natural Products Research at the University of Mississippi have isolated compounds in the American beautyberry plant, Callicarpa americana, that may keep chomping insects away.

(link...)

The Tennessee Senate Ethics Committee has not received a single complaint and has not met since 2005, Overbey said.

That’s despite the fact that in 2009, then-Sen. Paul Stanley, R-Germantown, faced scrutiny over allegations he had an affair with an intern. Stanley later resigned.

The House Ethics Committee has not fielded a complaint since the 106th General Assembly, which convened in 2009 and 2010, said Himes, the committee’s attorney.

(link...)

Even more incentive for future male parents to behave:

...a newborn can be diagnosed with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD), even though the mother has never consumed alcohol, Kitlinska says. "Up to 75 percent of children with FASD have biological fathers who are alcoholics, suggesting that preconceptual paternal alcohol consumption negatively impacts their offspring."

(link...)

Fri
May 13 2016
01:41 pm

This looks like a fun thing to watch Sat. and Sun.

(link...)

Haney's best job description might be "government's landlord." Through a network of companies, many of which are difficult if not impossible to identify, Haney has used sophisticated tax-exempt financing, leasebacks and public-private partnerships to build a real estate empire throughout the Southeast, with state and federal government agencies as his biggest tenants.

And campaign contributions. Lots and lots of campaign contributions.

This is well worth a read to understand how things work in the Citizens United Era (We might consider reversing that Supreme Court decision, ASAP)

(link...)

Thu
May 12 2016
07:19 pm
By: WhitesCreek

Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Director Mark Gwyn told a news conference that Donnie Lawson and Baptist minister Roger Carpenter found Gary Simpson and Carlie on Thursday in a remote wooded area only accessible by all-terrain vehicles. He said they found them in the same rural part of East Tennessee where Carlie disappeared. Gwyn said Carpenter held Simpson at gunpoint while Lawson called the police.

(link...)

Thu
May 12 2016
03:03 pm
Thu
May 12 2016
06:56 am

I wonder if we should forward this article to TDOT? Diverging Diamond Interchanges look very interesting.

Statewide implementation of DDIs has been investigated mostly by MU civil engineers who recently published three studies analyzing the safety of these inventive designs. By analyzing more than 10,000 crash reports of DDIs in Missouri and in states that have adopted the designs, civil engineers have determined that overall crashes decreased by more than 50 percent nationwide. Additionally, fatal and injury crashes decreased by more than 70 percent, proving these cutting-edge designs are efficient, effective and life-saving.

(link...)

I'm having problems with this. I had this discussion with a representative from SACE earlier this week about Clean Line, the proposal to have wind farms in Oklahoma send electrical power through TN to Florida so they can run air conditioners at the beach.

Bald eagles, the U.S. national symbol, dwindled to a low of just over 400 nesting pairs in the lower 48 states in 1963, and the species was one of the first to receive protection under the precursor to the Endangered Species Act in 1967. However, in 2007, it was removed from the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants list, and some 143,000 bald eagles and 40,000 golden eagles are said to exist today.

The administration's proposal would allow wind power companies and other power providers to kill or injure 4,200 bald eagles a year without penalty. Golden eagles could be killed only if companies take steps — such as retrofitting power poles to reduce the risk of electrocution — to minimize the losses.

(link...)

Tue
May 10 2016
05:44 pm

I want some verification of the points Holt makes in this newspaper Op Ed...

Did you know that state law actually prohibits any negative actions being taken against your credit report, driver’s license or insurance if you choose not to pay the ticket? In fact, there is no enforcement mechanism at all.

(link...)

Tue
May 10 2016
06:41 am

I have a love hate relationship with TVA. They do a lot of really good things that are worthy of lauding. They do a lot of really heinous things that deserve pointing out and condemning. This is one of the good things.

The Tennessee Valley Authority is installing roosts as part of a conservation effort to help bats that are affected by a cave fungus that is destroying their population.

White-nose syndrome gets its name from the white fungus that grows on bats noses. The infection wakes bats during hibernation. The animals then burn energy and start when they should be sleeping.

(link...)

Information on the Long Eared Bat

Sun
May 8 2016
07:01 pm

It seems to be the theme of this year's elections that Republicans represent every interest there is except the Tennessee Citizen.

Michael B. Friedman, an assistant professor who teaches public relations at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, is seeking the Democratic nomination for Tennessee's 3rd Congressional District seat.

He decided to run, he said, "because there is an obvious lack of adequate representation for the majority of the district's citizens and a complete failure or refusal to develop any meaningful solutions to help ease the current suffering of many of the district's citizens."

(link...)

Sun
May 8 2016
09:57 am

Mothers' Day Proclamation: Julia Ward Howe, Boston, 1870

Mother's Day was originally started after the Civil War, as a protest to the carnage of that war, by women who had lost their sons. Here is the original Mother's Day Proclamation from 1870, followed by a bit of history (or should I say "herstory"):

          ......................................

Arise, then, women of this day! Arise all women who have hearts, whether our baptism be that of water or of fears!

Say firmly: "We will not have great questions decided by
irrelevant agencies. Our husbands shall not come to us, reeking with carnage, for caresses and applause. Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience.

We women of one country will be too tender of those of another
country to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs. From
the bosom of the devastated earth a voice goes up with our own. It says "Disarm, Disarm! The sword of murder is not the balance of justice."

Blood does not wipe our dishonor nor violence indicate possession. As men have often forsaken the plow and the anvil at the summons of war, let women now leave all that may be left of home for a great and earnest day of counsel. Let them meet first, as women,to bewail and commemorate the dead.

Let them then solemnly take counsel with each other as to the
means whereby the great human family can live in peace, each
bearing after their own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar, but of God.

In the name of womanhood and of humanity, I earnestly ask that a general congress of women without limit of nationality may be appointed and held at some place deemed most convenient and at the earliest period consistent with its objects, to promote the alliance of the different nationalities, the amicable settlement of international questions, the great and general interests of peace.

Julia Ward Howe
Boston
1870

Fri
May 6 2016
07:55 am

The Tennessee Valley Authority will ban new floating homes on its lakes, but a divided TVA board voted Thursday to allow most of the 1,836 floating homes already on TVA reservoirs to stay in place for up to 30 more years.

Every single one of these homes is illegal and doesn't pay property tax. So now are they legally illegal? Does anybody believe they will be completely removed in 30 years?

The good news is that there are only two in Roane County.

(link...)

Darkhorse Entertainment, LLC, invites you to go back to the early Middle Ages (c. 500) and celebrate King Arthur and Camelot at the second annual Tennessee Medieval Faire, situated in Harriman just 30 miles west of Turkey Creek. This rugged outdoor festival opens on May 14 and runs the last three weekends in May, including Memorial Day.

Medieval Faire

Continued...

Wed
May 4 2016
06:51 am

Public comments on live aboard house boats on TVA reservoirs seems to have fallen into to sides. Folks who own live aboard houseboats want TVA to allow them. Everybody else supports the rather permissive slow removal over 20 years plan, which is quite generous since it has been illegal to put a live aboard house on TVA reservoirs since 1978. TVA goes all in your face on some regulations and enforces them with the full vigor of its Federal authority. On other things, such as this, its lackadaisical enforcement along the way leads to crisis management today.

The TVA Board of Directors will vote on Thursday on the Non-Navigable, Floating Homes Policy. The new policy, if approved, will require these private homes, which have been constructed on public waters, to be removed within 20 years. Until then, these homes will have to comply with the latest electrical and sanitary wastewater regulations.

It is important to remember that floating houses moored on TVA’s reservoirs take for private use this public resource. They pose navigation and safety risks, and they degrade water quality.

Full TVA statement

The floating house people said this in a letter to the Knox News Sentinel:

98 percent of the floating homes on the TVA reservoirs are moored in commercial marinas. Those marinas are lawfully contracted with TVA, and they operate within defined and established boundaries outside the main channels of travel. The marinas and their boundaries occupy .7 percent of the total surface water of the lakes.

Taking them at their word and doing a little pencil work I get that floating houses occupy 1,795 acres of public land/water in TN alone for which they pay zero property taxes. And they do this illegally! I think being given 20 years to stop committing a violation is more than generous.

Here's the letter to KNS:

(link...)

American Whitewater, Appalachian Paddling Enthusiasts, The Nature Conservancy and the Tennessee Scenic Rivers Association took an active role in advocating for Scenic River designation for Soak Creek. We would like to recognize the leadership of Tennessee State Senator Ken Yager and State Representative Ron Travis who introduced the bill and shepherded it to passage on behalf of the landowners and citizens of Tennessee.

(link...)

Lost Medicaid Funding

To date, the failure to expand Medicaid / TennCare has cost the State of Tennessee ? in lost federal funding.