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Officials with the Tennessee Department of Transportation say funds from the Highway Trust Fund, which makes up half of their budget, are dwindling fast. Earlier this week, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to extend funding through May, but TDOT officials say they are still preparing for the possibility of a depleted fund—and that could impact us here in Cumberland County. Officials say the widening of Peavine Road could be stalled along with the I-40 truck ramp expansion, pending funding. Officials say current construction projects will continue, as they are already funded.
Roane County Commissioners have voted to place the words “In God We Trust” on the county courthouse. Commissioner Randy Ellis says he proposed the idea after numerous church leaders and pastors asked for assistance in adding the motto to the building. The resolution passed with just one commissioner- Steve Kelley- voting against. Commissioners are seeking assistance from the community to help pay for the project.
The Roane County Sheriff's Office is sending a warning out to all residents after open mail was found in a ditch in Kingston. Officials say they believe the thieves are looking for mailboxes that may contain checks or credit cards containing identity information that can be easily compromised. The opened pieces all contained Roane County mailing addresses, but police say the thefts are occurring in adjacent jurisdictions as well.
The Tennessee Education Lottery Corp has had a record year with $1.4 billion in sales. Officials say this year's sales provided more than $337 million for targeted educational programs including college scholarships and grants, after-school programs for children and an initiative to make schools more energy efficient. In all, the lottery has provided more than $3 billion for education since ticket sales began a decade ago.
Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam says the truck stop company he co-owns can start putting the fraud investigation behind it after it struck a deal with prosecutors. The agreement does not protect anyone at Pilot from prosecution and requires the company to cooperate with an ongoing investigation. Pilot Flying J. has agreed to pay a $92 million fine and acknowledge that employees cheated customers. Haslam is not involved in the day-to-day operations of the company that is co-owned by his brother, Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam.