Drug Overdoses Spike in Nashville, MNPD Hands Out Narcan to Homeless

Metro Nashville Police Department handed out kits for Narcan, medicine that can treat drug overdoses in emergency situations, to about 40 homeless people on Monday in response to a spike in overdoses on Sunday and Monday.

Detectives are investigating the overdose spike, according to an MNPD press release. In only one incident downtown, eight individuals overdosed together, causing two fatalities while the other six were revived with Narcan.

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Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs Most Proud of Not Raising Taxes During His Tenure, Says ‘We Have to Make Sure Our People Are Being Taken Care Of’

Glenn Jacobs

Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs said the accomplishment he’s most proud of since assuming office in 2018 is his and his team’s work to avoid raising taxes for county residents.

Jacobs said that while it is becoming “more difficult” to construct a budget amid economic challenges resulting from decisions made at the federal level, his administration is “doing everything that we can to be creative and think outside the box” to avoid raising taxes.

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Democrat State Rep. Gloria Johnson to Run for Two Offices at Same Time: Re-Election to TN House and Longshot Bid for U.S. Senate

Democrat State Representative Gloria Johnson (D-Knoxville) intends to file for reelection to the Tennessee House of Representatives despite being five months into her longshot U.S. Senate bid to unseat incumbent Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), according to a report by Knox News.

Johnson is one of the “Tennessee Three” lawmakers who commandeered the House floor to demand gun control in the wake of the Covenant School last year.

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Knox County Deputy ‘Seriously Wounded’ in Shootout, TBI Investigating

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) is investigating after a fatal officer-involved shooting in Knox County Sunday night that left a deputy “seriously wounded.” 

“TBI special agents are investigating the circumstances surrounding a Sunday night fatal officer-involved shooting in Knox County, which also left a deputy seriously wounded,” TBI said on X, formerly known as Twitter. 

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Knoxville Mayor Urges General Assembly to Pass Red Flag Laws During Special Session

Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon released a statement on Thursday in support of Governor Bill Lee’s call for a special session in the General Assembly, set to convene on Monday.

“As Mayor of Knoxville, public safety is my top priority. I support the Governor’s call for a Special Session to consider legislative measures to make our communities safer,” Kincannon’s statement said. “While there are many perspectives on how to accomplish these goals, the conversation must continue to include all parts of our state and all communities.”

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KUB Fiber Internet Expands in Knoxville

Knoxville’s utility company, Knoxville Utilities Board (KUB),  announced this week that its fiber internet has expanded to more than 4,100 South Knoxville homes and businesses.

KUB Fiber, a municipally-run broadband network, is the largest municipal fiber network in the nation, approved unanimously by the Knoxville City Council in 2021. The project, worth over $700 million, is expected to expand over the next seven years and install approximately 5,000 miles of fiber.

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Knox County Gets $2 Million in Water Contamination Settlement

Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs released a statement Tuesday announcing a $2 million payout from Monsanto, a former agricultural chemical and seed company that Bayer acquired several years ago. The payout is part of a class action lawsuit in which several municipalities participating in the Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) program experienced contamination in their creek and/or lake sediment. 

The lawsuit against Monsanto resulted in a settlement of $500 million in total. Knox County’s portion of the settlement represents compensation for the contamination of the Fort Loudon Reservoir and Lower Clinch Reservoir with PCB (polychlorinated biphenyls). 

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New Price of Tennessee Smokies Stadium in Knoxville Inflates to $114 Million

Knoxville city leaders recently announced the new multi-use stadium that will host Tennessee Smokies games and other events in the city is now estimated to cost $114 million – up from the project’s original estimate of $65 million. 

According to the city, the inflated final guaranteed maximum price (GMP) for the stadium is due in part to “inflation and record-high construction costs.”

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Report Says Tennessee Schools Spent COVID-19 Funds on Unrelated Projects

A new report by the Beacon Center of Tennessee says that $4 billion worth of federal COVID-19 relief funding allocated to Tennessee’s school systems was largely spent on items unrelated to COVID-19. 

“The data suggests that Tennessee public schools have budgeted or spent millions of dollars on areas that had little to nothing to do with COVID or student performance,” said Beacon Research Associate and report author Jason Edmonds. “School districts across the state budgeted tens of millions of dollars for ‘indirect costs’ without any further explanation and also funded pet projects such as walk-in coolers and retractable bleachers.”

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Tennessee Civil Asset Forfeiture Brought in $16M in Funds in 2021, But Transparency Lacking

Police traffic stop

In 2021, law enforcement in Tennessee seized $16 million worth of cash and $15.8 million was forfeited in court. But according to annual reports from Tennessee’s Department of Safety and Homeland Security, departments used just $195,000 of those funds.

Each year since Tennessee law began requiring those disclosures in 2018, similar numbers have appeared.

In 2020, $15 million was seized, $8.4 million was forfeited in the courts but just $1,980 was recorded as being used. In 2019, $12 million was seized, $12 million was forfeited and just more than $300,000 of the proceeds were used.

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Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs Explains Problem with Red Flag Laws and How Biden Administration Is Hypocritical

In an interview with The Tennessee Star, Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs explained why red flag laws are bad, how the Biden administration is hypocritical on the gun issue, and how the real topic of conversation should be securing the safety of schools. 

“I think the most important thing to remember is we already have laws on the books to give the government the ability to get weapons out of the hands of people suffer from mental health issues, but the key thing is those existing laws give them due process,” Jacobs’ said, referencing the fact that Baker laws exist in all 50 states already.

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Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs Says Cancel Culture Makes U.S. Look Weak to ‘Fascists’ like Putin

Glenn Jacobs speaking on a stage

Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs pushed back on accusations that he was “pro-Putin” after a portion of a series of Sunday tweets were amplified, leading some to believe that he supported the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

“Unfortunately what has happened on the Left with the Russiagate investigation – which was a hoax – is that when Republicans say something that involves Putin they get tied to him by the Left,” Jacobs told The Tennessee Star. “Putin and brutal dictators like him look for weakness. In order to deal with people like him you need to project strength.”

“I do not support Putin,” the Knox County mayor said. “I’m for liberty and freedom. Putin is the antithesis of that.”

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Knox County Health Department Officials Announce New COVID-19 Deaths, Some of Which Actually Occurred Last Fall

Knox County Health Department officials announced 39 additional COVID-19 deaths among county residents on Wednesday for the current reporting period of January 16 through January 22. But Knox County Health Department officials also said 10 of those deaths occurred not this month but in previous months. They said they will add those deaths to their charts according to their dates of death.

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Knox County Mayor Creates Skilled Trades Academy and Regional Training Center to Bring Tradesmen to County

The Knox County Mayor announced in a press release that he was close to beginning the Skilled Trades Academy and Regional Training Center (START). The academy was explained as “a training school designed to attract, train, and retain a quality workforce in the construction industry.”

Mayor Glenn Jacobs said in the press release that the Knox County community is committed to opportunities for everyone to thrive. “This academy does that by advancing alternative pathways for students and residents while ensuring that our growing workforce will be ready and able to meet the needs of our trade businesses.”

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Knox County Sheriff Tells President Biden He Will Not Enforce Mask Mandate

A local sheriff has responded to President Biden’s COVID vaccine mandate for businesses with 100 or more employees. Sheriff Tom Spangler, of Knoxville, Tennessee sent Biden a letter telling the President that he would not be enforcing the mandate on his staff.

Spangler said in his letter that enforcing the mandate was unconstitutional and was putting the lives of the people of Knoxville at risk.

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Commentary: Teacher Codes of Conduct Offer Alternative to Critical Race Theory Bans

The firing of Matthew Hawn, a high school teacher in Sullivan County, Tennessee, recently made national news and seemed to confirm fears that newly-enacted state bans on critical race theory (CRT) would have a chilling effect on teacher speech. Hawn, a 16-year veteran tenured teacher and baseball coach, had assigned students in his contemporary issues class Ta-Nehisi Coates’s essay, “The First White President,” and a spoken word poem from Kyla Jenée Lacey called “White Privilege.” One headline declared, “A Tennessee teacher taught a Ta-Nehisi Coates essay and a poem about white privilege. He was fired for it.” A Georgetown professor tweeted, “This really seems extreme and a harbinger of what is to come.”

But contrary to news coverage and social media chatter, Hawn wasn’t fired for violating the state’s newly passed CRT ban. Really, he was dismissed for failing to adhere to the Tennessee “Teacher Code of Ethics,” a seldom-invoked but sensible state requirement for teachers to provide students access to varying points of view on controversial topics. Not only did Hawn fail to follow this code when he assigned the contentious poem and Coates’ essay from The Atlantic, which contains claims such as, “With one immediate exception, Trump’s predecessors made their way to high office through the passive power of whiteness,” he also later asserted that “there is no credible source for a differing point of view.” (Hawn recently denied making such a claim, though he declined to explain why the district attributed this statement to him.)

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Ohio Village Enacts Mask Mandate, Affects Local School

When a local school district decided not to require masks for students and staff, a small north central Ohio village decided to take matters into its own hands.

Gambier, a town of about 2,500 people about 60 miles northeast of Columbus, enacted a mask mandate during an emergency village council meeting Monday, encompassing nearly all public buildings, including an elementary school.

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Knox County Mayor Won’t Impose New COVID Restrictions or Mask Mandates as Delta Variant Spreads

Glenn Jacobs

Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs won’t impose any new restrictions or mask mandates, even with the rise of the Delta variant and regular cases. The mayor made this declaration in response to National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAIH) Director Dr. Anthony Fauci’s interview with CNN anchor Jake Tapper. Fauci revealed that he and other public health officials were considering renewed guidance recommending masks for fully-vaccinated individuals.

“As we once again hear talk about lockdowns and mandates across the country, I feel it is important I make it clear that under no circumstances will I issue any new COVID restrictions,” stated Jacobs. “Vaccines are now readily available across the country for those who want them, and our economy cannot sustain another devastating lockdown. I have faith in the people of this county to make the decisions that benefit their families best.”

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Knox County School Board Considering Hire of Outside Consultant to Decide on Putting Law Enforcement Back in Schools; Mayor Says It’s a ‘Waste of Taxpayer Dollars’

The Knox County Schools (KCS) Board of Education is considering whether to hire an outside consultant for reinstating law enforcement in their schools. In a letter submitted to the Knox County Board of Education (KCBOE) last week, Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs said that the proposed facilitator would be a waste of taxpayer dollars.

“Please let this letter serve as official notification that I strongly oppose using taxpayer dollars to pay an outside consulting firm to tell the district what every parent in Knox County already knows: armed law enforcement officers are a necessity in schools,” wrote Jacobs. “[I] simply cannot ignore that physical security is absolutely critical in keeping our students safe at school. I am deeply disturbed that any governmental body would even consider removing law enforcement from any of our schools.”

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Five Sponsors of Bill Enabling Randy Boyd’s Taxpayer-Funded Baseball Stadium Received More Than $90,000 in Campaign Funds from Individuals with Ties to the Project

Five of the eight sponsors of the bill that will enable a taxpayer-funded stadium for Randy Boyd’s minor league baseball stadium in Knoxville received a total of more than $90,000 in campaign contributions from several individuals who are involved with the proposed project.

All but one of the legislators are from the Knoxville area and all but one are Republicans while three are freshmen.

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Former Knox County Court Clerk Pleads Guilty to Theft

A former employee of the Knox County General Sessions Court Clerk’s office has pled guilty to theft of more than $1,000 after an investigation by the Tennessee comptroller’s office.

The comptroller investigation revealed former deputy clerk Steve Harmon stole at least $6,577 from the office between January and October 2019. Harmon was placed on administrative leave in October 2019 and was fired in November 2020.

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Knox County and City of Knoxville to Consider Establishment of a Sports Authority, First Step to a Taxpayer-Funded Stadium for Multi-Millionaire Randy Boyd’s Tennessee Smokies Baseball Team

The establishment of a sports authority that is the first step to a taxpayer-funded stadium for the Tennessee Smokies minor league baseball team owned by multi-millionaire Randy Boyd will be considered by the Knox County Commission at the regularly scheduled work session scheduled for Monday, December 14.
The application for the establishment of The Sports Authority of the County of Knox and the City of Knoxville was signed by Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs, City of Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon, County Commission Chair Larsen Jay, City Councilmember Gwen McKenzie, well-known local teacher and coach Tommy Schumpert and Dan Brown.

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Analysis: Republican Crossover Voting for Democrats in August 6 Primary Election in Knox County

Analysis of the Knox County voting data for the August 6 primary and general election reveals difference-making Republican crossover votes for Democrat candidates.

At the same time there was the primary election for state and federal level offices, there was also a county general election race.  In a combined primary/general election, voters can pull a Republican, Democrat, or general election only ballot.

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