Friday, July 22, 2016

'Inside Tn' on Sunday to feature commission candidates, 1-hour show

This Sunday, we'll hosting a special one-hour edition of Inside Tennessee (WBIR 10News) that begins at 9 a.m.

The show will include candidates from the Knox County Commission district races. The election is Aug. 4.

All the candidates were invited but District 1 independent Tyrone LaMar Fine was a no-show:

District 1:
Michael Covington (R)
Evelyn Gill (D)


District 6:
Brad Anders (R)
Donna Lucas (D)

District 8:
Dave Wright (R)
Donald Wiser (I)

District 4:
Hugh Nystrom (R)
Marleen Kay Davis (D)

Thursday, July 21, 2016

State Rep. Daniel shoves opponent on radio program, says 'lost my cool'

Daniel, left, Hall, right
A political forum on live Knoxville radio involving the four men running for a state House seat erupted into a physical confrontation Thursday evening when state Rep. Martin Daniel confronted former Rep. Steve Hall and pushed him, witnesses said.

Daniel later acknowledged Thursday he'd "lost my cool" in the moment.

Daniel and Hall, vying in the Republican primary for the 18th state House seat now occupied by Daniel, exchanged words on NewsTalk 98.7 shortly after 6 p.m. Thursday.

When Daniel said at the start of the show that he was the only businessman among the four candidates, Hall exclaimed that Daniel was a liar, noting he had been in business himself.

Hall repeated the accusation, the station's recording shows.

"Don't be calling me a liar, Mr. Hall. I'm telling you. Don't be calling me a liar," said Daniel, who also is a lawyer.

According to host Hallerin Hilton Hill, Daniel then went over to where Hall, a former city councilman as well as legislator, was sitting in the station studio.

When Hall stood up, Daniel then shoved him, Hill told listeners.

Read the entire story, which includes more statements from the candidates, RIGHT HERE.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Knox Sheriff: Thanks for the support

In light of the recent police shootings in Dallas and Baton Rouge, Knox County Sheriff J. J. Jones issued a statement thanking the community for their support, but protesting recent action he feels takes necessary tools away from law enforcement.

Statement from Sheriff Jimmy “J.J.” Jones:
I want to thank all the people who have publicly supported the Knox County Sheriff’s Office through the years and especially during these trying times. We have received numerous letters, emails, and texts showing support for the tireless work of our officers who go about their jobs everyday with diligence and dedication. Many of you have anonymously paid the restaurant tab for officers, prayed for us, and offered hugs and encouragement. We deeply appreciate your support!

The weekend slaying of three more police officers in our country highlights that our officers face even more peril than ever before. We have a president who banned a valuable defense department program called the Military Surplus Program 1033 which provided much needed tactical equipment to law enforcement departments all over the country for free. This reckless action was for political value only with no thought to the safety of our officers and citizens. We ask our police to go in harm’s way but by an executive order deny them the best equipment. Equipment that is now being destroyed or worse, handed over to other countries that are fostering the very violence we are experiencing in our country. We are in a world now where officers are not only fighting lawlessness but terrorism and lack the necessary tools to fight back. The officers of the Knox County Sheriff’s Office will proudly continue to do the job they love, protecting and serving Knox County.

Knoxville Police Depart touched by local support after officers killed

The Knoxville Police Department has seen an outpouring of community support following the slayings of officers in Louisiana Sunday and Texas earlier this month.

KPD employees say they consider the officers killed in the attacks in Baton Rouge and Dallas as part of their larger law enforcement family.

Waving outside the Knoxville Police Department, flags at half-staff serve as a seemingly constant reminder that tensions, unlike these banners, are as high as they can be.

However, that's not stopping David Corbin from applying to the Knoxville police academy.

"You're always going to have bad or good people in anything you do, and I feel like sometimes the bad gets focused on quite a bit," Corbin said Monday afternoon, before his interview for the academy. "I try not to let it hinder me too much, because no matter what is going on, I'll be - to my best ability - the good."

The good can be found in the many gestures of thanks from community members to KPD in the wake of the recent killings of law enforcement officers. In the past week, the Knoxville Police Department has received cards, baked goods and flowers from community members wishing to say thanks and express their support for local law enforcement.

"Showing us that they really support us has really made a lot of difference here," Lt. Susan Coker said.

She shared an experience she had last week, when she was at a store in uniform and a woman approached her.

"She asked me if she could hug me, and, of course, I said, 'Sure,' because I was excited that someone cared enough," Coker said, with a smile on her face.

The Tennessee Association of Chiefs of Police is asking all law enforcement officers in the state to "shroud" their badge this week. That means putting a black elastic band over the center of the badge as a sign of mourning.

Rest of story RIGHT HERE.

E-911 bd to take up radio contract

The Knox County E-911 Board of Directors is set Tuesday morning to vote in a special meeting on a multimillion-dollar contract with Motorola Solutions for a new radio system.

The meeting is set for 10 a.m. in the multi-purpose room at 605 Bernard Ave.

Board members have pondered for more than a year acquiring a new system, with an estimated cost of more than $8 million.

Harris Communications won a bid for the contract, but the board declined to sign off on it. Some members, led by Sheriff Jimmy "J.J." Jones, said they preferred to stick with Motorola, with whom the communications district has worked for years.

Responders use the 25-year-old radio system to talk to each other. Knox County's is considered old, with parts often hard to replace.

In addition, the area E-911 Center is preparing to join the Tennessee Valley Regional Communications System. Joining the existing system would serve as an alternative to running its own system.

Jones argues joining the existing regional system will save taxpayers money.

The regional communications system, launched in 2010, is based in Chattanooga. It serves a number of emergency providers including the Blount County Sheriff's Office and those in North Georgia.

Monday, July 11, 2016

State lawmakers looking to take ‘surprise' out of medical bills

If you have received a surprise medical bill please send an e-mail to 10Listens@wbir.com with details. 

State lawmakers are looking to curb what’s called “balance billing,” a practice that happens when a patient goes to a hospital covered by insurance but later learns the physician who treated him or her is out-of-network.

The unsuspecting patient is then on the hook for the costs that the insurance company refuses to pay. That portion of the bill, dubbed the “balance,” often amounts to thousands of dollars.

It’s all legal.

But lawmakers – who are hearing more and more from their constituents – are fed up with the practice.

“At the very least, people should have notice when their health insurance does not cover the cost and when that is the case, they should be able to get some idea of how much out-of-pock cost they will have to cover,” State Sen. John Stevens, R-Huntingdon, told WBIR 10News. “People should be able to budget. Under the current system, that is impossible.”

State Rep. Ron Travis, R-Dayton, agreed.

“In a perfect world, I would like everyone to know exactly what their bill will be,” Travis said. “I don’t want to be surprised because someone wasn’t in my network. I shouldn’t be out another $10,000 to $20,000 because somebody I didn’t check wasn’t in my network. I think if you’re not in the network, you shouldn’t get paid any more than those in it.”

Travis and Stevens sponsored a move earlier this year to create a task force that will look at what they call “surprise billing” and come up with solutions for the General Assembly to approve.

The 18-member task force is expected to begin work in August. Members have yet to be appointed but it will be comprised of two state senators; two state representatives; a member of the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance; an official from the state’s Department of Health; six healthcare providers and six representatives from the insurance industry.

Full story right HERE.

Letter: KPD Chief thanks community

David Rausch
Letter to the Knoxville Community,

Thank you to all of you who have called, sent letters, emails, messages, personal contact and dropped off food in support of the women and men of the Knoxville Police Department.

The outpouring of support has been tremendous and humbling. We strive every day to assure that we provide fair, equal, and Constitutional policing for our community. The sanctity of life is our primary focus.

We attempt to be engaged from the officer on the street to the Chief’s Office with all in our neighborhoods. These efforts are to assure that tragic events that have happened over the past week in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Falcon Heights, Minnesota, Johnson City, Tennessee, and Dallas, Texas do not happen here.

We have had a number of calls wanting to hold events for our employees at KPD at various locations throughout the city. We really do appreciate this show of support and desire to show our officers you are there for them.

The challenge of having events is that it pulls officers away from their duties when they are on the job and away from their families when they are at home.

We have found the best way to show officers how you feel is to tell them publicly when you see them. Others like our Chaplains Corps and the Cookie Crusaders have provided goody bags to the officers as they are leaving their roll calls.
If you would like to arrange to do something like this, please contact my office and our team can coordinate with you. There have been offers of financial support as well, and we ask you to consider donating to the Knoxville Public Safety Foundation, a foundation that supports the needs of local first responders, that can be contacted at www.publicsafetyfoundation.org

These are challenging times and those of us in law enforcement service in the City of Knoxville remain committed to assuring the safety of all in our community.

Thank you again to all of you who have been so very kind and considerate of those in blue serving you.

Humbly,
David Rausch
Chief of Police

5th District commish, BOE candidates featured on WBIR 'Inside Tennessee'

On Sunday, we had the 5th District candidates running for Knox County Commission (John Schooner, incumbent and Republican, and Sheri Ridgeway, Democrat) and the non-partisan school board (Susan Horn and Buddy Pelot) featured on Inside Tennessee.

You can find the links to the discussions right HERE.

Next Sunday, we'll feature a special hour-long show and include more commission races.

National Federation of Independent Business endorses Martin Daniel

Martin Daniel
The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), Tennessee’s leading small business association, has endorsed candidates in 28 state legislative primary races, including incumbent Representative Martin Daniel in the District 18 race.

“I am honored to be endorsed by the National Federation of Independent Business," Daniel said. "As a small business owner, I understand their importance to our Tennessee economy, and I will continue to support and work with NFIB on issues that impact small business.”

In addition to this endorsement, the National Federation of Independent Business has recently named Representative Daniel as a “Guardian of Small Business.”

State primaries are scheduled for Aug. 4, with early voting from July 15-30. Daniel faces Bryan Dodson, Steve Hall and James Corcoran in the Republican primary and will face a Democrat challenger in the Nov. 8 general election.

As always, send me your political items for publication consideration.

Friday, July 8, 2016

GOP to hold election rally on Monday

Knox County Republicans are invited to join in a pre-election rally on Monday.

The event, which starts at 5 p.m., will include a number of officeholders and candidates running in the Aug. 4 election.

The Knox County Republican Party and the West Knox Republican Club are partnering in this combined “Get Out The Vote” rally, and the club’s annual cake auction fundraiser, according to a release.

The event will include free hamburgers, hot dogs, and "all the fixin’s at our indoor picnic" at Rothchild’s Catering and Conference Center.

Those who attend also can participate in the bidding for cakes provided by candidates and elected officials.

Knoxville Mayor Rogero, Democrats will rally prior to early voting

The Knox County Democratic Party will hold a rally for the Aug. 4 county general election next Thursday evening.
Early voting then starts the following day, July 15.

The rally takes place at 5:30 p.m. at the party headquarters at 311 Morgan St. in the Old City.

Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero will speak at the event, as will the 11 Democrats who are running for county and state office. (The state general election is in November.)

“We are thrilled that 11 candidates have stepped up to the plate to give Knox County residents a choice at the polls in August and November," said Cameron Brooks, Chair of the Knox County Democratic Party, in a statement. "Our message of supporting Knoxville’s working people we hope will have resonance that will lead us to victory this year.”

More information on the candidates can be found RIGHT HERE

Thursday, July 7, 2016

League to host 3 political forums

The League of Women Voters of Knoxville/Knox County will co-sponsor a number of forums for Knox County commission and state House candidates participating in the Aug. 4 general election.

The first one kicks off Saturday from 3-5 p.m. at the YWCA on Cruze Street with the District 1 and District 8 candidates.

Confirmed candidates attending: Michael Covington, Tyrone LaMar Fine, Dave Wright and Donald Wiser.

The next forum is set for July 12 from 6:30-7:30 p.m. at the East Tennessee History Center on Gay Street and will feature the candidates in the contested Republican primary race for the 18th District state House seat.

Confirmed candidates attending: James Corcoran, Martin Daniel, Bryan Dodson and Steve Hall

The third forum is set for 7 p.m. July 18 at the Emporium on Gay Street. It will feature commission districts 4, 5 and 6.

Confirmed candidates attending: Hugh Nystrom, Marleen Kay Davis, John Schoonmaker, Sheri Ridgeway, Brad Anders and Donna Lucas.