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Distracted Driving Enforcement Bus Tour Kicks Off in Cookeville on April 13
TN Dept. of Safety & Homeland Security Friday April 7, 2017

On Thursday, April 13, the Tennessee Highway Safety Office (THSO) and the Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP) will partner with local law enforcement in Cookeville for Tennessee’s first statewide distracted driving enforcement bus tour to support National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. The THP will provide a large, painted bus to transport law enforcement partners as they observe motorists for traffic violations. Officers within the bus will communicate to patrol vehicles on the road for execution of enforcement action. Throughout the tour, the THSO will be using #ThumbsDownTN to promote its third annual Thumbs Down to Texting and Driving campaign. The THSO, THP Cookeville District, Cookeville Police Department and the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office will all take part in this campaign. : Statewide Distracted Driving Enforcement Bus Tour will begin at 2:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 13 at the THP District 6 Headquarters – Cookeville 1291 S. Walnut Avenue Cookeville, TN 38501.


SRO Left Gun in Morgan Co. School Bathroom
Friday April 7, 2017

Officials in Morgan County say a school resource officer is being disciplined after he accidentally left his gun belt and gun in a school bathroom. A few days ago, a student found the weapon and reported it to the office, however, when school officials investigated, the officer had already retrieved the firearm and belt. Morgan County Director of Schools Ronnie Wilson said that the officer, who has not been named, is highly respected and the incident was handled appropriately.


Tennessee Senate OKs gun background check exemption bill
AP Friday April 7, 2017

The Tennessee Senate has passed a bill eliminating background check requirements when gun dealers occasionally sell from their personal firearm collections.

Senators voted 24-3 Thursday on the legislation by Republican Sen. Mae Beavers of Mt. Juliet. The House passed it Monday. Gov. Bill Haslam will decide to sign or veto the bill.

Beavers said the proposal mirrors what private citizens can do. She said the gun must be in a dealer's private collection for a year.

Democratic Sen. Lee Harris of Memphis wondered whether the bill would let dealers help questionable buyers circumvent background checks.

Republican Sen. Mike Bell of Riceville said it's a crime to sell to someone you know has failed a background check.


Roane County School Board votes against high school merger
WVLT Friday April 7, 2017

The Roane County Board of Education said they would not be consolidating all high schools, according to board member Hugh Melvin Johnson.

Johnson confirmed that the vote was tallied at 7-3 not to merge the schools. According to Johnson, the school board wanted "to be known as a community school area."

This decision comes after a previous proposal would combine Roane County High School, Rockwood, Harriman, Midway and Oliver Springs, totaling more than 2,200 students.

Previously, Director of Schools Leah Watkins said the idea had been talked about for years and that funding five schools in the county, plus maintenance, became too hard to keep up with.

The process would have needed school board approval before plans could progress.


GSMNP announces firefly event and lottery dates
WVLT Friday April 7, 2017

In late April, the dates of the firefly synchronization will be announced.

Synchronous fireflies (Photinus carolinus) are one of at least 19 species of fireflies that live in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. They are the only species in America whose individuals can synchronize their flashing light patterns.

Parking Passes will be distributed via a lottery on's event page.

On April 25, the dates of the event will be announced. The lottery for tickets will open on April 27 at 12 p.m., and it will close on May 1 at 8 p.m. On May 10, the results of the lottery will be announced.

According to, there will be an 'apply now' button for the lottery once it opens. You must complete the application while the lottery is open, and you will receive a confirmation when it is complete.

Entering the lottery is free of charge, but the park asked that the information applicants provide is correct. The e-mail address you use will be used to contact you.

Lottery winners must occupy the vehicle and must show photo identification that matches the name of the lottery winner before the vehicle is admitted to the parking area. Each pass if only valid for a certain date, and an arrival time between 6:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. will be given.

The shuttle fee is $1 per person, round-trip, and officials will only accept cash. There are no refunds, transfers, rain checks or changes, and the shuttle may be cancelled if weather is bad.

The National Park Service has as list of guidelines for appropriate light show behavior here.

Officials said flashlights disrupt the fireflies and disturb the vision of others. The show is best when:
-Viewers cover flashlights with red or blue cellophane,
-Viewers only use the light when walking to viewing spots
-Viewers point lights at the ground and turn them off when arriving at viewing spots

Viewers can protect the fireflies and their habitat by not catching the fireflies, by staying on the trail at all times and packing all excess garbage.


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