Sports Briefs

Colts owner arrested

1)Colts Jims IrsayThis mug shot provided by the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Department shows Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay.


Authorities say Irsay is in jail after being stopped on suspicion of drunken driving. Hamilton County Sheriff’s Department Deputy Bryant Orem says Irsay was arrested Sunday night, March 16, 2014, in the northern Indianapolis suburb of Carmel.


Several Schedule IV bottles of prescription medication were found in Irsay’s car. “Multiple prescription drugs were discovered in pill bottles,” police said. “These Schedule IV prescription drugs were not associated with any prescription bottles found in the vehicle.” Irsay was detained, with bail set at $22,500.


Lady Gamecocks enter tournament as No. 1 seed

Photo by Travis Bell/Sideline CarolinaFor the first time in school history, the South Carolina women’s basketball team (27-4, 14-2 SEC) enters the NCAA Women’s Tournament as a No. 1 seed.

Coach Dawn Staley and the Gamecocks are headed to Seattle in the Stanford regional to play Cal State Northridge (18-14, 12-4 Big West) in their first tournament game on March 23.


Five Tennessee teams invited to NCAA Women’s Tournament

Tennessee, Middle Tennessee, Vanderbilt, UT Chattanooga and UT Martin are all headed to the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament.

The Lady Vols earned the top seed in the Louisville Region after finishing 27-5 and winning the SEC Tournament title.

Tennessee faces 16th seeded Northwestern State Saturday at 3 p.m. in Knoxville.  The winner of that game faces the winner of Southern Cal and St. John’s in round 2.


Meighan Simmons is SEC Player of the Year

4)Meighan simmons

Tennessee guard Meighan Simmons has been named the Associated Press SEC Player of the Year.

Simmons, a five foot, nine inch senior, averaged 16.2 points per game, leading the Lady Vols to a 27-5 record and SEC tournament title. Tennessee also claimed a top seed in the upcoming NCAA tournament.

In Tennessee’s final 12 games of the regular season, Simmons averaged 20.5 points per game and shot 49.7 percent from the field. She also averaged 15.3 points per game in the SEC Tournament.

ETSU named as Olympic training site

Officials at East Tennessee State University say the school has been designated as an official U.S. Olympic training site for canoeing and kayaking.

Administration and athletic officials told the Johnson City Press  that means the national slalom team members will visit the Johnson City campus at least twice this year for strength and conditioning training.


Johnny Majors back at home after heart surgery6)Johnny Majors

Johnny Majors is back at home after undergoing successful heart surgery. Major underwent a heart valve procedure at UT Medical Center on March 6.

Majors, 78, former UT coach and a runner-up for the Heisman trophy in the 1950s while playing for the University of Tennessee.



King Purnell Joins United Community Bank as Regional President of Tennessee

 KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – (March 10, 2014) – United Community Bank is pleased to welcome King Purnell as Regional President of Tennessee. In his new role, Purnell will be responsible for overseeing the operations of the bank’s nine offices located throughout eastern Tennessee, which includes branches in Cleveland, Farragut and Knoxville.

“It is an absolute honor to welcome King to United Community Bank,” said Bill Gilbert, Director of Banking for United Community Bank. “He is an exceptional leader, and I have a great deal of respect for the experience he brings to our team. His drive and vision, coupled with a rich history of building deep relationships in this region, will be tremendous assets to the customers we serve in Tennessee.”

Purnell has more than 37 years of banking industry and general business experience. He began his banking career with Trust Company Bank in Atlanta, where he managed a team of commercial lenders in the metropolitan banking division. He later relocated to Knoxville and became the Executive Vice President of Eastern Tennessee for SunTrust Bank. Shortly after, Purnell was promoted to President and was responsible for implementing and rolling out the commercial line of business strategy in all markets in Tennessee.

In his most recent role, Purnell served as Executive Vice President and Line of Business Manager of Commercial Real Estate Lending for First Tennessee in Memphis. He established the Commercial Real Estate Line of Business for the bank, which consisted of eight offices, 50 employees and a portfolio of $1.5 billion in commitments.

“The Tennessee market offers a lot of potential for a bank like United Community Bank,” said Purnell. “The bank’s success is a direct result of its emphasis on relationships and customer service. United Community Bank is known as ‘the bank the service built.’ I look forward to helping the bank reach its full potential in Tennessee, and I am extremely proud to lead such an incredible team of bankers.”

Purnell earned his bachelor’s degree in Finance from the Terry College of Business at the University of Georgia. He holds an MBA in Finance and a master’s degree in Accounting and Taxation from Georgia State University.

Purnell serves as Treasurer for the Cherokee Country Club and is an active member of the Knoxville Industrial Development Board. He has served as Chairman of several organizations, including the American Heart Association, Knoxville YMCA, Project In-Roads, and Robert Morris and Associates.

Purnell lives in Knoxville with his wife, Denise. They have two children and three grandchildren.


About United Community Banks, Inc.                                   


Headquartered in Blairsville, United Community Banks, Inc. is the third-largest bank holding company in Georgia. United has assets of $7.4 billion and operates 102 banking offices throughout north Georgia, the Atlanta region, coastal Georgia, western North Carolina, east Tennessee and western South Carolina. United specializes in providing personalized community banking services to individuals and small to mid-size businesses and also offers the convenience of 24-hour access through a network of ATMs, telephone and on-line banking. United’s common stock is listed on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the symbol UCBI.  Additional information may be found at United’s website at

What to do when your kids lie about drug use


These days, kids are faced with non-stop pressure to drink or take drugs. Even if they know their parents don’t approve, some choose to lie and sneak around.


Their parents, meanwhile, are often in denial. It’s difficult to accept that their son or daughter would deceive them. They want to believe their excuses, no matter how outlandish.


No parent wants to think their child is using drugs or drinking alcohol. It’s easier to ignore the problem and pretend nothing’s wrong. But avoiding the issue doesn’t make it go away. It will only get worse.


Parents should listen to their instincts. If you feel something is wrong, act right away. Teens can progress from social use to dependence or addiction very quickly. The earlier you intervene, the more effective you will be.


If you suspect drug use, investigate further. Learn to recognize the signs of substance abuse, including side effects and common drug paraphernalia. Look for radical behavior changes. Watch for missing alcohol, medicine bottles or money. Ask questions about your child’s friends, what their values are and how they like to spend their free time.


If you still have concerns, it’s time to have a talk. Don’t be surprised if they act upset or defensive. To keep the conversation from escalating, following these five steps for effective conversations:

  • Explain Your Suspicion: Tell them what you have observed. Inquire (in a non-judgmental tone) about their behavior.
  • Listen Actively: Allow your child to give an explanation without interruption. Suspend your pre-conceived beliefs until you hear them out.
  • Stay Calm: Your child may admit to things you don’t want to hear. Don’t yell or threaten. Encourage them to honest without the risk of punishment.
  • Show Concern: Remind them that you love them and want them to make positive choices. Talk about the importance of good health.
  • Get Help: Your child may need a professional assessment. There are great facilities in the area that can determine if a medical intervention is necessary.

Most kids are making good choices about drugs, so don’t jump to conclusions. Be an engaged parent while still allowing them their freedom and independence.


source: Metropolitan Drug Commission

Haslam’s free tuition proposal advancing in House

haslam(AP) — Gov. Bill Haslam’s proposal to create a community college program for all high school graduates is a step closer to a full House vote.

The “Tennessee Promise” legislation advanced out of the House Education Committee on a voice vote.

The proposal would cover a full ride at two-year schools for any high school graduate, at a cost of $34 million per year.

The measure was amended to change lottery scholarship amounts. Initially, the bill sought to lower the current $4,000 lottery scholarship amount at four-year colleges to $3,000 for freshmen and sophomores, but increase it to $5,000 for juniors and seniors.

The amended version makes the amount $3,500 for freshman and sophomores, and $4,500 for juniors and seniors.

The move is meant to encourage students to consider going to two-year colleges first.

TVA applies for landfill permit

coal_ash_spill_greer2GALLATIN, Tenn. (AP) — The Tennessee Valley Authority has filed for a permit to build a 54-acre landfill near Gallatin to store coal ash.

TVA spokesman Scott Brooks told WSMV-TV in Nashville that the landfill would hold leftover ash and gypsum that needs to be stored in a dry facility.

Sierra Club spokesman Chris Lunghino says it is critical that the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation ensure the landfill is well-engineered and well-sited because coal ash can be toxic.

TVA is still paying to cleanup a massive coal ash spill in 2008 in Kingston in eastern Tennessee.

TVA says the landfill should be ready to operate as soon as construction on the air controls is completed next year.

NYC explosion kills 3, injures 60 or more


A New York City firefighter climbs on top of the remains of building that collapsed after explosion on Park Ave. and 116th Street in New York, March 12, 2014.

A New York City firefighter climbs on top of the remains of building that collapsed after explosion on Park Ave. and 116th Street in New York, March 12, 2014.

(AP) — A gas leak triggered an earthshaking explosion that flattened two apartment buildings on Wednesday, March 12, killing at least three people, injuring more than 60 and leaving nine missing. A tenant said residents had complained repeatedly in recent weeks about “unbearable” gas smells.

By evening, rescue workers finally began the search for victims amid the broken bricks, splintered wood and mangled metal after firefighters spent most of the day dousing the flames. Heavy equipment, including back hoes and a bulldozer, arrived to clear the mountain of debris where the two five-story East Harlem buildings stood. Flood lights were in place. Thermal imaging cameras were at the ready to identify heat spots — bodies or pockets of fire.

Firefighters work the scene of an explosion that leveled two apartment buildings in the East Harlem neighborhood of New York.

Firefighters work the scene of an explosion that leveled two apartment buildings in the East Harlem neighborhood of New York.

The recovery was facing hardship in the form of the weather, which was expected to drop into the 20s with rain. Some parts of the debris pile were inaccessible because of a sinkhole caused by a subsurface water main break, officials said.

The fiery blast, on Park Avenue at 116th Street, not far from the edge of Central Park, erupted about 9:30 a.m., around 15 minutes after a neighboring resident reported smelling gas, authorities said. The Con Edison utility said it immediately sent workers to check out the report, but they didn’t arrive until it was too late.

The explosion shattered windows a block away, rained debris onto elevated commuter railroad tracks close by, cast a plume of smoke over the skyline and sent people running into the streets.

Police said two women believed to be in their 40s were among the dead.

Hunter College identified one as Griselde Camacho, a security officer who worked at the Silberman School of Social Work building. Hunter, in a statement on its website, said she had worked for the college since 2008.

At least three of the injured were children; one, a 15-year-old boy, was reported in critical condition with burns, broken bones and internal injuries. Most of the other victims’ injuries were minor and included cuts and scrapes.

Fire officials said some people were unaccounted for, but cautioned they may not have been in the buildings.

A tenant in one of the destroyed buildings, Ruben Borrero, said residents had complained to the landlord about smelling gas as recently as Tuesday.

A few weeks ago, Borrero said, city fire officials were called about the odor, which he said was so bad that a tenant on the top floor broke open the door to the roof for ventilation.

The fire department said a check of its records found no instances in the past month in which tenants of the two buildings reported gas odors or leaks.

Jennifer Salas lived in one of the buildings. She told The New York Times her husband, Jordy Salas, and her dog were in the building at the time of the collapse and were missing.

“There’s six floors in the building; each floor has one apartment,” she said. “Last night it smelled like gas, but then the smell vanished and we all went to sleep.”

Edward Foppiano, a Con Ed senior vice president, said there was only one gas odor complaint on record with the utility from either address, and it was last May, at the building next door to Borrero’s. It was a small leak in customer piping and was fixed, he said.

The block was last checked on Feb. 28 as part of a regular leak survey, and no problems were detected, Foppiano said.

Records at the Department of Housing Preservation and Development indicate the agency responded to complaints from a tenant and cited Muramatsu in January for a broken outlet, broken plaster, bars over a fire escape, a missing window guard and missing carbon monoxide and smoke detectors.


A man receives medical attention.

A man receives medical attention.

City building records don’t show any work in progress at either address, but the building owned by the Spanish Christian Church had obtained permits and installed 120 feet of gas pipe last June.

A National Transportation Safety Board team arrived in the evening to investigate. The agency investigates pipeline accidents in addition to transportation disasters.

NTSB team member Robert Sumwalt said investigators would be looking at how Con Edison handles reports of gas odors and issues with the pipe and would be constructing a timeline of events.

Just before the explosion, a resident from a building next to the two that were destroyed reported smelling gas inside his apartment and thought the odor might be coming from outside, Con Ed spokesman Bob McGee said. Con Ed dispatched two crews two minutes after the 9:15 a.m. call came in, McGee said. But they didn’t get there in time.

The tragedy brought the neighborhood to a standstill as police set up barricades to keep residents away. Thick, acrid smoke made people’s eyes water. Some people wore surgical masks, while others held their hands or scarves over their faces. Witnesses said the blast was so powerful it knocked groceries off store shelves.

A Red Cross center was set up at a public school, where about 50 people had gathered, including some who were searching for loved ones.

Suspect in Holly Bobo case pleads not guilty

Holly-Alex(AP) – A Tennessee man pleaded not guilty Tuesday, March 11, to charges of kidnapping and killing 20-year-old nursing student Holly Bobo, whose highly publicized disappearance happened almost three years ago.

Despite an arrest in the case, there are plenty of questions authorities have yet to answer. What was the connection between the suspect, Zachary Adams, and Bobo? How did she die? And have authorities found her body?

In the days following Adams’ arrest, authorities have been tight-lipped about evidence in the investigation, saying only that it is ongoing.

Adams appeared in a Decatur County courtroom Tuesday and was arraigned on charges of especially aggravated kidnapping and first-degree murder. Adams was shackled at the wrists and wore a black and gray striped shirt during the hearing, which lasted less than five minutes. Relatives and friends of Bobo attended the hearing.

Attorney Jennifer Lynn Thompson entered the plea on Adams’ behalf. Circuit Court Judge Charles Creed McGinley asked Adams if he understood the charges, and Adams replied, “Yes, sir.”

Nashville defense attorney David Raybin, a former prosecutor, said the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation must have had some sort of break in the case, given the recent flurry of activity, including multiple search warrants. Raybin said prosecutors may have decided charge Adams because they didn’t want the case to get any colder.

“They may have concluded that they will never find a body and the case is not going to get any stronger,” Raybin said. “Witnesses die and evidence evaporates. It could be that it was now or never.”

In Parsons, near where Bobo disappeared in West Tennessee, townspeople were looking for closure.

“There’s a lot of unanswered questions,” said Ronda Philpott, who attended the school where Bobo’s mother taught. “At this point in time, it’s believed that Holly’s deceased and the most important thing now is for her poor family to have some peace.”

Prosecutors are considering asking for the death penalty if they get a conviction.

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