State of Tennessee Newsroom https://www.tn.gov/news en Tim Jones Honored With National Pumphandle Award https://www.tn.gov/news/51139 51139 at https://www.tn.gov/news NASHVILLE – Tim Jones, MD, has been named the 2017 recipient of the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists’ Pumphandle Award. Jones serves as Tennessee state epidemiologist and assistant commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Health Communicable and Environmental Disease and Emergency Preparedness, or CEDEP division.   The CSTE Pumphandle Award, which recognizes outstanding achievement in the field of applied epidemiology, is aptly named as a reminder of an 1854 effort to prevent the spread of cholera in London, England. Physician John Snow,          attempting to find the source of a cholera epidemic, removed the pumphandle from a well he believed was providing contaminated drinking water.  His simple action saved numerous lives.  “We are very fortunate to have a clinical and scientific leader of Tim’s caliber at the helm of our infectious diseases and emergency response ship at TDH,” said TDH Commissioner John Dreyzehner, MD, MPH. “Not only is he exceptionally    deserving  of this prestigious recognition but he has shared his expertise and shepherded the careers of many others in our public health enterprise that further magnify his impact.”    Jones has authored more than 150 peer-reviewed publications, works as a reviewer for 29 journals and serves on the editorial board of five journals, including as chairman of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and    Mortality  Weekly Report. He has held multiple leadership positions with CSTE, including service as president in 2013–2014, has testified before the U.S. Congress, and has served on numerous national advisory committees for the CDC,  the  Food and Drug  Administration and the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials.   As state epidemiologist and assistant commissioner for CEDEP, Jones oversees a staff of more than 200 public health professionals and manages a budget greater than $200 million, including 28 federal grants. He has been a subject matter expert and consultant on foodborne disease to the World Health Organization, has worked as an on-site CDC advisor in numerous  countries and served as the Polio Eradication Project Consultant for the Republic of Yemen. He was named the “Public Health Worker of the Year” in Tennessee in 2005 and received the Tennessee Public Health Association Dr. William Schaffner Public Health Hero Award in 2016.  He also practices as a volunteer physician and serves as chairman of the Board of Directors for Siloam Family Health Center, a non-profit, faith-based indigent care clinic in Nashville. Jones received his medical degree from Stanford University and completed postgraduate training in family medicine and maternal-child health. He cared for underserved populations as a family practitioner in Salt Lake City, Utah before joining the CDC’s Epidemic Intelligence Service in 1997, assigned to the Tennessee Department of Health. He led an investigation into a cluster of LaCrosse encephalitis cases which eventually helped identify a new carrier for the disease, the Asian tiger mosquito. Following this effort, he joined the Tennessee Department of Health as a general medical epidemiologist and directed the FoodNet active surveillance program. Within two years he was promoted to deputy state epidemiologist and has served as the state epidemiologist in Tennessee since 2007. In 2012 he was promoted to assistant commissioner. Jones has worked with numerous multistate outbreaks and epidemics including the emergence of West Nile Virus, the H1N1 influenza pandemic, fungal meningitis, Ebola, Zika virus and many others, resulting in recalls, reduced poor health and countless lives saved. Health Mon, 26 Jun 2017 18:58:00 +0000 Tennessee Receives Federal Disaster Assistance for Memorial Day Weekend Storms https://www.tn.gov/news/51134 51134 at https://www.tn.gov/news FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Friday, June 23, 2017 CONTACT: Dean Flener, TEMA 615-741-0430 Tennessee Receives Federal Disaster Assistance for Memorial Day Weekend Storms Nashville, Tenn. – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam announced this evening 12 counties will receive federal aid assistance through a Presidential Disaster Declaration as the recovery process continues in several areas from the severe storms and straight-line winds of May 27, and May 28, 2017. “Local, state, and federal partners came together in a collaborative effort to assess impacts rapidly so we could have accurate storm damage data and illustrate our need for a disaster declaration to President Trump,” Haslam said. “I am grateful to all the first responders, emergency managers, and community members who have united to help others recover from the impact of these storms.” Tennessee counties included in the Presidential Declaration are:  Blount, Cumberland, Fayette, Knox, Loudon, Morgan, Putnam, Rhea, Roane, Sevier, Shelby, and Smith. These counties are now eligible for the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Public Assistance program, which will allow government entities and certain private non-profits to apply for reimbursement of specific, eligible expenses from the emergency. More information on FEMA’s Public Assistance program is at: https://www.fema.gov/public-assistance-local-state-tribal-and-non-profit. There was no decision from FEMA on Gov. Haslam’s request for Individual Assistance for Shelby County. Severe storms began moving across Tennessee on Saturday, May 27, 2017, bringing strong, straight-line winds, hail, and flooding. At the height of the severe storms in Shelby County, more than 180,000 Memphis Light, Gas, and Water customers were without power.  In the storms' aftermath, city and county officials began an intense, coordinated effort to restore power, clear debris, and take care of basic human needs of residents. As the storms moved across the state through the weekend, another 19 counties, in middle and east Tennessee, reported local power outages, downed trees and blocked roads, and damage to homes.  About the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency: TEMA’s mission is to coordinate preparedness, response and recovery from man-made, natural and technological hazards in a professional and efficient manner in concert with our stakeholders. Follow TEMA on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, and, at www.tnema.org.   Financial Institutions Sat, 24 Jun 2017 04:31:00 +0000 State Fair and Exposition Commission to Meet https://www.tn.gov/news/51127 51127 at https://www.tn.gov/news NASHVILLE – The Tennessee State Fair and Exposition Commission will meet June 29 at 2 p.m. CDT at the Ed Jones Auditorium, located at Ellington Agricultural Center, 416 Hogan Road in Nashville. The meeting is open to the public. Some Commission members may participate by electronic means.  The agenda includes a report on the results of the recent Market Assessment and Financial Feasibility Study for the Tennessee State Fair and discussions on adopting bylaws, a Conflict of Interest policy and a Procurement policy for the State Fair and Exposition Commission. The Tennessee State Fair and Exposition Commission was created by the Tennessee General Assembly in 2012 to select and supervise a Tennessee not-for-profit corporation for the purpose of operating a fair or exposition, and to grant exclusive use of the name “Tennessee State Fair” or “Tennessee State Exposition.”  The commission comprises nine members including the commissioners of Agriculture, Tourist Development and Economic and Community Development; the University of Tennessee Dean of Extension; the president of the Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation; an appointee by the mayor of the host county; and three appointees by the governor.  For more information, contact the Tennessee Department of Agriculture at 615-837-5103. Agriculture Fri, 23 Jun 2017 20:44:00 +0000 Over $33.4 Million in Water and Wastewater Construction Loans Awarded https://www.tn.gov/news/51117 51117 at https://www.tn.gov/news Gov. Bill Haslam and Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) Commissioner Bob Martineau today announced that seven communities and one Utility District have been approved to receive over $33.4 million in low-interest loans for water and wastewater infrastructure improvements. “The State Revolving Fund Loan Program helps citizens enjoy a better quality of life by assisting communities with current and future infrastructure needs for improved environmental health,” said Haslam. Tennessee’s Clean Water State Revolving Fund Loan Program has awarded more than $1.7 billion in low-interest loans since its inception in 1987. Tennessee’s Drinking Water State Revolving Fund Loan Program has awarded more than $297.6 million in low-interest loans since its inception in 1996. “Drinking water infrastructure is a priority for TDEC and the residents of Tennessee,” said Martineau. “This Program enables local communities to provide safe, clean and affordable drinking water year after year.” Through the SRF Program, communities, utility districts, and water and wastewater authorities can obtain loans with lower interest rates than most can obtain through private financing. Interest rates for loans can vary from zero percent to market rate based on each community’s economic index. Loans utilizing EPA grant funds can include a principal forgiveness component. TDEC administers the SRF Program in conjunction with the Tennessee Local Development Authority. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency provides grants to fund the program, and the state provides a 20 percent match. Loan repayments are returned to the program and are used to fund future SRF loans. The funding order of projects is determined by the SRF Program’s Priority Ranking Lists that rank potential projects according to the severity of their pollution and/or compliance problems or for the protection of public health. Two Wastewater Loans were announced today for the following recipients: The City of Millersville (Sumner & Robertson Counties) - The City of Millersville will receive $518,000 for an Infiltration and Inflow Corrections project. The project will be funded with a 20-year, $466,200 loan with an interest rate of 0.28 percent and $51,800 in principal forgiveness that will not have to be repaid. The Town of Parrottsville (Cocke County) - The Town of Oak Parrottsville will receive $200,000 for a Wastewater Treatment Plant Improvements project. The project will be funded with a 20-year, $170,000 loan with an interest rate of 0.81 percent and $30,000 in principal forgiveness that will not have to be repaid. Four Traditional Wastewater Loans were announced today for the following recipients: The City of Greenbrier (Robertson County) - The City of Greenbrier will receive $2,163,700 for a Wastewater Treatment Plant Upgrades Projects. The project will be funded with a 20-year, $2,163,700 loan with an interest rate of 0.52 percent. The City of Memphis (Shelby County) - The City of Memphis will receive $25,000,000 for modifications and upgrades to the existing treatment processes and the addition of disinfection facilities at the T. E. Maxson Wastewater Treatment Plant. The project will be funded with a 20-year, $25,000,000 loan with an interest rate of 0.75 percent. The Town of Oakland (Fayette County) - The Town of Oakland will receive $1,010,365 for a Collection System Expansion and Improvements project. The project will be funded with a 20-year, $1,010,365 loan with an interest rate of 1.60 percent. The City of Oak Ridge (Anderson/Roane Counties) - The City of Oak Ridge will receive $3,100,000 for a Pump Station Rehabilitation and Improvements project. The project will be funded with a 20-year, $3,100,000 loan with an interest rate of 1.69 percent. A Drinking Water Loan was announced today for the following recipient: The City of Cleveland (Bradley County) - The City of Cleveland will receive $1,000,000 for a water distribution system improvements and finished water storage project. The project will be funded with a 20-year, $800,000 loan with an interest rate of 1.60 percent and $200,000 in principal forgiveness that will not have to be repaid. Two Traditional Drinking Water Loans were announced today for the following recipients: The City of Cleveland (Bradley County) - The City of Cleveland will also receive $195,000 for a water distribution system improvements and finished water storage project. The project will be funded with a 20-year, $195,000 loan with an interest rate of 1.60 percent. The Smith Utility District (Smith County) - The Smith Utility District will receive $250,000 for a Water Main Line Replacements project.  The project will be funded with a 20-year, $250,000 loan with an interest rate of 0.76 percent. Any local government interested in the SRF Loans, should contact the State Revolving Fund Loan Program, Tennessee Tower, 12th Floor, 312 Rosa L. Parks Ave., Nashville, TN 37243, or call (615) 532-0445. Additional information about the SRF Loan Program may be found online at http://tn.gov/environment/topic/wr-srf-state-revolving-fund-program#sthash.XRnskyKu.dpuf.  Environment & Conservation Fri, 23 Jun 2017 13:56:00 +0000 Weekly East Tennessee Construction Report for June 22-28, 2017 https://www.tn.gov/news/51114 51114 at https://www.tn.gov/news ANDERSON COUNTY, US441 Norris Freeway between Knox County Line and SR 61: Motorists should be alert for possible daily lane closures between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. through this resurfacing project.  Motorists should be alert for workers present, slowed traffic and use extreme caution in this area. BLOUNT COUNTY, SR 33 between Cumberland Street and East Street: Through July 7, 2017, motorists should be alert for possible lane closures during daylight hours through this utility replacement project.  Motorists should be alert for workers present and use extreme caution in this area. BLOUNT COUNTY, SR 33 at Old Knoxville Pike: Motorists should be alert for possible lane closures at various times through this intersection improvement project.  Motorists should be alert for workers present and use extreme caution in this area. BLOUNT COUNTY, SR 35 between US 129 and Ellis Avenue: Motorists should be alert for lane closures through this intersection improvement project.  Motorists should be alert for workers present and use extreme caution in this area. BLOUNT COUNTY, US 129 at Louisville Road: Motorists should be alert for possible lane closures, lane shifts and narrowed lanes through this intersection improvement project.  Motorists should be alert for workers present and use extreme caution in this area. BLOUNT COUNTY, SR 336 between Reagan Mill Road and Montvale Road: Motorists should be alert for possible temporary lane closures during daylight hours through this resurfacing project.  Motorists should be alert for workers present, slowed traffic and use extreme caution in this area. CAMPBELL COUNTY, I-75 North and South between Mile Markers 129 and 135: Motorists should be alert for possible lane closures between the hours of 8 p.m. and 6 a.m. the following morning through this resurfacing project. Motorists should be alert for workers present, expect potential delays and use extreme caution through this area. CAMPBELL COUNTY, I-75 North and South between Mile Markers 135 and 140: Motorists should be alert for possible temporary lane closures between the hours of 7 p.m. and 6 a.m. the following morning through this project. Motorists should be alert for lane shifts, narrowed lanes, closed shoulders and use caution as crews construct truck climbing lanes through this area.  Motorists should be alert for slowed or stopped traffic, expect potential delays and use extreme caution through this area.   CAMPBELL COUNTY, I-75 North and South near Mile Marker 141: Motorists should be alert for possible lane closures nightly, expect potential delays and use extreme caution through this bridge repair project. CAMPBELL COUNTY, I-75 North and South between Mile Markers 145 and 148: Motorists should be alert for possible temporary lane closures between the hours of 7 p.m. and 6 a.m. the following morning through this project. Motorists should be alert for lane shifts, narrowed lanes, closed shoulders and use caution as crews construct truck climbing lanes through this area.  Motorists should be alert for slowed or stopped traffic, expect potential delays and use extreme caution through this area.   CAMPBELL COUNTY, SR 297 near East Paul Lane: SR 297 is reduced to one lane controlled by a temporary traffic signal through this bridge repair project.  This reduction will remain in place around the clock.  Motorists should be alert for this new condition, be prepared to stop, and use extreme in this area. CARTER COUNTY, US 321/SR 67 at SR 91: Motorists should be alert for lane closures in place through this area as crews perform roadway repairs.  Motorists should be alert for workers present, expect delays and use extreme caution in this area. COCKE COUNTY, I-40 East between Mile Markers 437 and 444: On Monday, June 26, 2017 through Thursday, June 29, 2017, motorists should be alert for possible lane closures between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. as crews perform bridge inspections.  Motorists should be alert for workers present, slowed traffic and use extreme caution in this area COCKE COUNTY, US 321/SR 73 Wilton Springs Road Bridge over the Pigeon River: The Wilton Springs Road Bridge over the Pigeon River between Hartford Road and SR 32 is reduced to one lane (11 foot width) around the clock and controlled by a temporary traffic signal through this bridge repair project.  Motorists should be alert for this new traffic pattern, expect potential delays and adjust travel times accordingly. Motorists may encounter short stoppages of traffic at various times while crews offload construction materials.  Traffic in excess of 11 feet in width should use alternate routes.  This project is estimated to be complete on or before October 31, 2017. COCKE COUNTY, US 25/SR 9 between SR 107 and the North Carolina Line: Motorists should be alert for possible lane closures daily during daylight hours as crews perform roadway resurfacing.  Motorists should be alert for flag persons directing traffic and use extreme caution through this area. COCKE COUNTY, SR 160 between Buckner Road and the Hamblen County Line: Motorists should be alert for possible lane closures daily during daylight hours as crews perform roadway resurfacing.  Motorists should be alert for flag persons directing traffic and use extreme caution through this area. GREENE COUNTY, SR 172 between Spear Dykes Road and N. Wesley Chapel Road: SR 172 in this area is reduced to one lane around the clock and controlled by a temporary traffic signal through this bridge repair project.  Motorists should be alert for this new traffic pattern, expect potential delays and adjust travel times accordingly. GREENE COUNTY, SR 349 between SR 340 and SR 35: Motorists should be alert for possible lane closures during daylight hours through this resurfacing project.  Motorists should be alert for workers present and use extreme caution in this area. HAMBLEN COUNTY, SR 160 at Merchants Greene: Motorists should be alert for lane shifts near this intersection. Motorists should expect possible rolling roadblocks and short duration traffic stops as crews perform bridge construction. Motorists should be alert for changing conditions and use extreme caution in this area. HAMBLEN COUNTY, SR 160 South near Sugar Hollow Road: SR 160 South is reduced to one lane in this area as crews construct ramps.  Motorists should be alert for workers present, changing conditions and use extreme caution through this construction project.  HANCOCK COUNTY, SR 63 between SR 33 and Mulberry Gap Road: Motorists should be alert for possible lane closures between the hours of 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. through this resurfacing project.  Motorists should be alert for workers present and use extreme caution in this area. HANCOCK COUNTY, SR 66 between the Hawkins County Line and the Clinch River: Motorists should be alert for possible lane closures between the hours of 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. through this resurfacing project.  Motorists should be alert for workers present and use extreme caution in this area. JEFFERSON COUNTY, SR 66 near South White Pine Road: Motorists should be alert for possible temporary lane closures between the hours of 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. and use extreme caution as crews perform work in this area.  JEFFERSON COUNTY, SR 92 Bridge across French Broad River in Dandridge: Motorists should be alert for possible temporary lane closures with flag persons directing traffic in this area at various times through this bridge construction project. Motorists may encounter short stoppages of traffic in both directions at various times while crews offload and set bridge beams. Motorists should be alert for workers present, expect potential delays and use extreme caution through this area. For project information, go to https://www.tn.gov/tdot/topic/sr-92-bridge-replacement JEFFERSON COUNTY, SR 341 between I-81 and SR 66:  Motorists should be alert for workers present, new traffic patterns and use extreme caution in this area. JOHNSON COUNTY, US 421/SR34 between the Sullivan County Line and SR 91: Motorists should be alert for possible lane closures through this resurfacing and bridge repair project.  Motorists should be alert for workers present and use extreme caution through this area. KNOX COUNTY, I-40 East and West between Mile Markers 395 and 405: Motorists should be alert for possible nightly lane closures on Sunday through Thursday between the hours of 8 p.m. and 6 a.m. the following morning through this resurfacing project. Motorists should be alert for workers present, expect delays and use extreme caution through this area. KNOX COUNTY, I-640 West between Mile Markers 7.5 and 5: Motorists should be alert for lane shifts, closed shoulders, reduced speeds and use extreme caution through this construction project. KNOX COUNTY, US 129/SR 115 Alcoa Highway between Maloney Road and Woodson Drive: Motorists should be alert for possible temporary lane closures and brief rolling roadblocks at various times through this construction project.  Motorists should be alert for workers present, reduce speed and use extreme caution through this area. For project information, go to https://www.tn.gov/tdot/topic/sr-115-alcoa-highway-maloney-to-woodson KNOX COUNTY, SR 62 (Oak Ridge Hwy. /Western Ave.) between Schaad Road and I-640: Motorists should be alert for possible temporary lane closures throughout this widening project.  Motorists traveling in this area should be alert for workers and equipment present and be alert for changing traffic conditions and use caution through this area. For updated project information, go to https://www.tn.gov/tdot/topic/sr-62-western-ave-schaad-rd-to-copper-kettle KNOX COUNTY, SR 62 Western Avenue between Texas Avenue and Major Avenue: Motorists should be alert for possible temporary lane closures with flag persons directing traffic in this area at various times through this construction project. Motorists may encounter short stoppages of traffic in both directions at various times as crews move equipment. Motorists should be alert for workers present, expect potential delays and use extreme caution through this area. For project information, go to https://www.tn.gov/tdot/topic/sr-62-western-ave-texas-to-major KNOX COUNTY, SR 33 Broadway at I-640: Motorists should be alert for possible lane closures on Broadway underneath I-640 to occur between the hours of 8 p.m. and 5 a.m. the following morning as crews perform bridge work. Motorists should be alert for lane shifts in this area. Motorists should use caution and be alert for workers and equipment present through this interchange improvement project.  For project information, go to https://www.tn.gov/tdot/topic/i-640-interchange-at-north-broadway KNOX COUNTY, SR 33 North Broadway between Depot Avenue and Fifth Avenue: Motorists should be alert for possible lane closures and lane shifts through this area between the hours of 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. as KUB contractors perform utility work.  Motorists should be alert for workers present, expect potential delays and use caution through this area. KNOX COUNTY, SR 33 Maynardville Highway between Temple Acres Drive and the Union County Line:  Motorists should be alert for possible temporary lane closures with flagging personnel present at various times as work continues through this widening project.  Motorists should be alert for workers present, new traffic patterns and use extreme caution in this area. KNOX COUNTY, SR 131 Emory Road Bridge over Kerns Branch near Beeler Road in Harbison Crossroads: Motorists should be alert for possible temporary lane closures with flag persons directing traffic in this area at various times through this construction project..  Motorists should be alert for workers present and use extreme caution in this area. KNOX COUNTY, SR 169 Middlebrook Pike at Weisgarber: Motorists should be alert for possible lane closures between the hours of 9 a.m. and 3 p.m., and from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. the following morning as crews perform work in this area. Motorists should be alert for lane shifts, narrowed lanes and use extreme caution through this intersection improvement project. KNOX COUNTY, SR 332 Northshore Drive between Northshore Hills Blvd. and Southern Railroad Bridge: Motorists should be alert for possible nightly lane closures on Sunday through Thursday between the hours of 8 p.m. and 6 a.m. the following morning through this resurfacing project. Motorists should be alert for workers present, expect delays and use extreme caution through this area. LOUDON COUNTY, SR 1 near Wheeler Drive and Dixie Lee Junction: Motorists should be alert for possible temporary lane closures with flagging personnel present at various times as work is performed through this construction project.  Motorists should be alert for workers present, traffic shifts and use extreme caution in this area. For project information, go to https://www.tn.gov/tdot/topic/state-route-1-dixie-lee-junction LOUDON COUNTY, US 321/SR 73 between SR 2 and City Park Drive: Motorists should be alert for possible lane closures and lane shifts at various times through this project. Motorists should be alert for changing conditions, workers present, construction equipment and use extreme caution through this area. For project information, go to https://www.tn.gov/tdot/topic/sr-73-fort-loudoun-dam MONROE COUNTY, I-75 North and South between Mile Markers 59 and 67: Motorists should be alert for possible nightly lane closures on Sunday through Thursday between the hours of 8 p.m. and 6 a.m. the following morning through this resurfacing project. Motorists should be alert for workers present, expect delays and use extreme caution through this area. MORGAN COUNTY, SR 29 between Old Highway 27 and Cumberland Mountain Circle Road: SR 29 is reduced to one lane around the clock and controlled by a temporary traffic signal through this bridge repair project.  Motorists should be alert for this new traffic pattern, expect potential delays and adjust travel times accordingly.  This project is estimated to be complete on or before October 31, 2017 MORGAN/ROANE COUNTY, US27/SR29 between Whetstone Road and SR 61:  Motorists should be alert for new traffic patterns, closed shoulders and possible temporary lane closures with flagging personnel present at various times throughout this construction project. Motorists should be alert for reduced speeds and use extreme caution in this area. SCOTT COUNTY, SR 63 between Water Plant Road and Park Road in Huntsville: Motorists should be alert for possible lane closures daily during daylight hours through this bridge widening project. Motorists should be alert for workers present, expect potential delays and use extreme caution through this area. SULLIVAN COUNTY, I-81 North between Mile Markers 59 and 63: Motorists should be alert for possible lane closures nightly between the hours of 7 p.m. and 6 a.m. the following morning as crews perform work through this truck climbing lane construction project.  Motorists should be alert for lane shifts, reduced speed limits, expect potential delays and use extreme caution in this area. SULLIVAN COUNTY, I-81 South between Virginia State Line and Exit 74: I-81 South is reduced from three lanes to two at this location as work is performed constructing the Welcome Center exit ramp. Motorists should be alert for changed conditions and use extreme caution in this area. SULLIVAN COUNTY, I-81 South Ramp to US 11W North (Exit 74A): On Thursday, June 22, 2017, this exit ramp will be temporarily closed between the hours of 8 p.m. and 6 a.m. the following morning as crews place a high friction surface treatment on this ramp.  Motorists on I-81 South wishing to access US 11W North during this time should use Exit 1 in Virginia.  Motorists should be alert for this temporary condition, follow detour, and use extreme caution in this area. SULLIVAN COUNTY, US 11W South Ramp to I-81 South at Exit 74 in Bristol: On Thursday, June 22, 2017, this ramp will be temporarily closed between the hours of 8 p.m. and 6 a.m. the following morning as crews place a high friction surface treatment on this ramp.  Motorists wishing to access I-81 South during this time should use US 421 to Exit 1 in Virginia.  Motorists should be alert for this temporary condition, follow detour, and use extreme caution in this area. SULLIVAN COUNTY, SR 1 between Indian Trail Drive and Pendleton Road: Motorists should be alert for possible nightly lane closures on Sunday through Thursday between the hours of 7 p.m. and 6 a.m. the following morning through this resurfacing project. Motorists should be alert for workers present, expect delays and use extreme caution through this area. SULLIVAN COUNTY, SR 93 between SR 126 and Orebank Road: Motorists should be alert for possible daily lane closures as crews install cable barrier through this area. Motorists should be alert for workers present and use extreme caution through this area. SULLIVAN COUNTY, SR 357 over SR 75: Motorists should be alert for possible lane closures on SR 357 and SR 75 during daylight and nighttime hours through this bridge repair project.  Motorists should be alert for workers present and use extreme caution in this area. WASHINGTON COUNTY, I-26 East and West between Mile Markers 8 and 17: Motorists should be alert for possible lane closures nightly on Sunday through Thursday between the hours of 8 p.m. and 6 a.m. the following morning through this resurfacing project. Motorists should be alert for workers present, expect delays and use extreme caution through this area. WASHINGTON COUNTY, I-26 East at SR 67 (Exit 24): Motorists should be alert for construction activity, possible lane closures and changing conditions around the exit and entrance ramps and use extreme caution through this construction project. WASHINGTON COUNTY, SR 34 between Jonesborough City Limits and Claude Simmons Road: Motorists should be alert for lane closures and lane shifts through this construction project.  Motorists should be alert for changed conditions, workers present and use extreme caution through this area. WASHINGTON COUNTY, US 321/SR 34 Bridge over Limestone Creek neat Log Mile 1.75: US 321/SR 34 is reduced to one lane in each direction through this bridge replacement project.  The southbound traffic has been shifted onto the northbound side.  These lane closures and lane shifts will remain in place around the clock during construction.  Motorists should be alert for changed conditions, lane shifts, reduced speeds and use extreme caution through this area. WASHINGTON COUNTY, SR 381 between Indian Ridge Road and Skyline Drive: Motorists should be alert for possible lane closures between the hours of 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. as crews perform work in this area.  Motorists should be alert for workers and equipment present and use extreme caution in this area.   For information on statewide interstate construction motorists can access the Tennessee Department of Transportation SmartWay website at https://smartway.tn.gov/traffic TDOT is now on Twitter.  For up to the minute traffic information in Knoxville and the Tri-Cities follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/knoxville511. For statewide travel information follow www.twitter.com/TN511 Road Closures Transportation Fri, 23 Jun 2017 12:55:00 +0000 State Fire Marshal’s Office, Scott Co. Fire Departments to Install Free Smoke Alarms June 24 https://www.tn.gov/news/51111 51111 at https://www.tn.gov/news NASHVILLE – The Tennessee State Fire Marshal’s Office (SFMO) will join forces with several Scott County fire departments to install free smoke alarms in homes throughout Scott County on Saturday, June 24, 2017. Working in conjunction with local volunteers, organizers plan to target 1,000 homes throughout the county during the one-day canvass. The door-to-door event is part of the SFMO’s “Get Alarmed, Tennessee!” program which aims to prevent fire deaths in Tennessee through the provision of smoke alarms and fire prevention education. Since the “Get Alarmed” program’s inception in 2012, the SFMO has distributed over 148,000 smoke alarms statewide to 503 partnering organizations and have documented 186 lives saved from an installed "Get Alarmed!" smoke alarm. Who: The State Fire Marshal’s Office (SFMO) and multiple Scott County fire departments   What: “Get Alarmed, Tennessee” smoke alarm installation event. “Get Alarmed Volunteer” orange emergency vests will be used for identification purposes.   When: 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. (EDT) Saturday, June 24, 2017.   Where: Volunteers will meet at the Huntsville City Hall, located at 3053 Baker Highway, Huntsville, TN.   Contact: If you live in Scott County and need a smoke alarm, please utilize the SFMO’s online alarm request form. For more information about this outreach event, contact SFMO Community Risk Reduction Coordinator Alex Daugherty at 615-574-0240. ### Commerce & Insurance Thu, 22 Jun 2017 21:19:00 +0000 Summer Heat Jumpstarts Tennessee’s Growing Season https://www.tn.gov/news/51110 51110 at https://www.tn.gov/news NASHVILLE-- Tennessee’s wet and muddy spring quickly gave way to a hot and sunny summer. For the state’s farmers and for the customers who wait anxiously for seasonal you-pick farms and farmers markets to open, the race is on to fill buckets, market booths, pantries and home freezers with local produce. Fruits in particular have relatively brief growing seasons, and the recent turn in the weather caused blueberry and blackberry crops to ripen rapidly. Early peaches are available at some Tennessee orchards. Warm temperatures and sunshine are necessary for fruits to develop sweetness and finish maturation, so farm and farmers market visitors are experiencing an unexpected abundance of berries. A regular sprinkling of pop-up storms kept plants plump, even in the sweltering heat. Depending on varieties and location, blueberry harvests stretch from June through most of the month of August. Peach season extends from mid-June through August and blackberry harvest will be in full swing from the latter part of June through July. Garden produce has also picked up speed, and early summer favorites like summer squash, zucchinis, green beans and cucumbers have abruptly hit farmers markets with color and variety. To make the most of this summer sweetness, consumers can use the Pick Tennessee mobile app, or visit the Pick Tennessee website at www.PickTnProducts.org to find farms and markets nearby.  Pick Tennessee Products is the Tennessee Department of Agriculture’s program to connect farmers to consumers, listing directories of farms, farmers markets and seasonal recipes. To learn more about Tennessee’s farm related activities, artisan and farm direct products, follow Pick Tennessee on social media. Agriculture Thu, 22 Jun 2017 20:34:00 +0000 Marion Co. Woman Charged with TennCare Drug Fraud https://www.tn.gov/news/51109 51109 at https://www.tn.gov/news NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A Marion County woman is charged with TennCare fraud involving doctor shopping, which involves going from doctor to doctor in a short period of time to obtain prescription drugs, using TennCare as payment. The Office of Inspector General (OIG), with the assistance of the Marion County Sheriff’s Office, today announced the arrest of Melysa McDaniel, 40, of Whitwell. She is charged with four counts of doctor shopping for the painkiller Hydrocodone, using  ennCare healthcare insurance benefits as payment. "Doctor shopping and using TennCare as payment is a big mistake because state tax dollars are being used to pay for drugs intended for distribution or abuse,” Inspector General Manny Tyndall said. “We appreciate and value the hard work of the healthcare providers across the state and their efforts in helping us develop these cases.”  District Attorney General J. Michael Taylor is prosecuting. TennCare fraud is a Class D felony punishable by up to four years in prison. The OIG, which is separate from TennCare, began full operation in February 2005 and has investigated cases leading to more than $3 million being repaid to TennCare, with a total estimated cost avoidance of more than $163.6 million for TennCare, according to latest figures. To date, 2,854 people have been charged with TennCare fraud. Through the OIG Cash for Tips Program established by the Legislature, Tennesseans can get cash rewards for TennCare fraud tips that lead to convictions. Anyone can report suspected TennCare fraud by calling 1-800-433-3982 toll-free from anywhere in Tennessee, or visit the website and follow the prompts that read “Report TennCare Fraud.” TennCare Fraud TennCare Fraud Thu, 22 Jun 2017 19:55:00 +0000 Tennessee Sees Significant Decreases in County Jobless Rates https://www.tn.gov/news/51093 51093 at https://www.tn.gov/news May 2017 Unemployment Remains on the Decline in All But One County NASHVILLE – Following the lowest state unemployment rate in nearly 20 years, Tennessee’s county unemployment rates for May 2017 have decreased in 94 counties and remained the same in 1, according to data released today by the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development (TDLWD). Davidson County has the state’s lowest major metropolitan rate at 2.1 percent, a decline from 2.7 percent during the prior month. Knox County’s rate is 2.5 percent, decreasing from April’s 3.1 percent. Hamilton County declined from its previous month’s rate of 3.6 to 2.9 percent while Shelby County has an unemployment rate of 3.5 percent, a decrease from 4.4 percent in April. Specific county information for the month of May is available online at http://tn.gov/assets/entities/labor/attachments/Labor_Force_Estimates%2C_May_17.pdf. “We continue to see a substantial drop in the unemployment rate of our metropolitan areas, which is great,” said TDLWD Commissioner Burns Phillips. “But the most encouraging numbers are coming from Tennessee’s distressed counties, many of which saw a significant drop in their unemployment rates.” Rhea County’s 5.1 percent makes it the only area in the state with an unemployment rate above 5.0 percent in May. That figure represents a 1.5 percent drop from its revised April 2017 rate, one of the largest rate decreases for the month. The remaining 94 counties have unemployment rates of 4.8 percent or lower. Cannon County was the only area not experiencing any change. “This shows that job growth in Tennessee isn’t exclusive to our major metropolitan areas; people are returning to the workforce in every corner of our state,” Commissioner Phillips said. “We continue to focus our resources on those Tennesseans who are still out of work, but the numbers show we are making progress.” Preliminary unemployment rates have fallen for both Tennessee and the United States. Decreasing by seven-tenths of a percentage point, the state rate is 4.0 percent for May. The national rate fell a tenth of a percentage point to 4.3 percent for the month. The state and national unemployment rates are seasonally adjusted, while the county unemployment rates are not. Seasonal adjustment is a statistical technique that eliminates the influences of weather, holidays, opening and closing of schools, and other recurring seasonal events from economic time series. The Economic Analysis and Labor Force Estimates are prepared by the Employment Security division’s labor market information specialists. The division reports metrics and contextual information as it relates to employment, income, and population in Tennessee. Economical issues are narrated in monthly newsletters and additional resources are available on Jobs4TN.gov. The state unemployment release for June 2017 will be published on Thursday, July 20, 2017 at 1:30 p.m. CT. -###-   Download News Release Labor & Workforce Development Thu, 22 Jun 2017 18:30:00 +0000 Aircraft Owner Pleads Guilty to Tax Evasion in Marshall County https://www.tn.gov/news/51108 51108 at https://www.tn.gov/news NASHVILLE - The Special Investigations Section of the Tennessee Department of Revenue conducted the investigation that led to Wednesday’s guilty plea of Robert Johnston to tax evasion, a Class E felony. Circuit Court Judge Forrest Durard, Jr. accepted Johnston’s guilty plea to one count of tax evasion. Judge Durard placed Johnston on one and a half years of probation and suspended his sentencing until December 21, 2018. A Marshall County Grand Jury previously indicted Johnston for tax evasion after he filed a false document with the Department when he registered his airplane.  “The Department of Revenue promotes voluntary taxpayer compliance by educating taxpayers, aggressively pursuing criminal sanctions and demanding accountability when taxpayers engage in fraudulent activity," Revenue Commissioner David Gerregano said. "This indictment underscores the Department's ongoing efforts to enforce Tennessee's tax laws." The Department pursued this criminal case in cooperation with District Attorney Robert Carter’s office.  Citizens who suspect violations of Tennessee's revenue laws should call the toll-free tax fraud hot line at (800) FRAUDTX (372-8389). The Department of Revenue is responsible for the administration of state tax laws and motor vehicle title and registration laws and the collection of taxes and fees associated with those laws. The Department collects about 87 percent of total state revenue. During the 2016 fiscal year, it collected $13.5 billion in state taxes and fees and more than $2.6 billion in taxes and fees for local governments.  To learn more about the Department, visit www.TN.gov/revenue. Revenue Thu, 22 Jun 2017 18:26:00 +0000