Local Updates from ABC News Radio for Chattanooga.


Deployed Airman Dresses as Santa Claus to Surprise Son in Mt. Juliet

(MT. JULIET, Tenn.) -- Aaron Williams, a kindergartner from Mt. Juliet, Tenn., was surprised at his school Tuesday by his dad, a member of the U.S. Air Force, who dressed as Santa Claus, white beard and al.

Senior Airman Nicholas Williams is in the middle of a year-long deployment to South Korea, and 6-year-old Aaron thought his dad would not be home to celebrate Christmas. Then Tuesday morning, when Aaron and his classmates at Lakeview Elementary School gathered in the library, Santa Claus appeared, and a teacher asked who wanted to pull Santa's beard. It was Aaron who, by chance, raised his hand first.

"It took him a few times of tugging on the beard and it wasn't until it came off that he saw," Tiffany Brown, the school's assistant principal, told ABC News. "He stopped laughing and went into kind of awe and his first word was very clearly, 'Daddy.'"

"There wasn't a dry eye in the room," she added.

Williams will have 28 days at home with his family before returning to South Korea through May to complete his military tour, WKRN reports.

“I couldn’t ask for really anything more than to be home for Christmas,” Williams told the station.

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Nashville Man Wins "The Voice" Season 7 

(NASHVILLE, Tenn.) -- Craig Wayne Boyd, a country musician from Nashville who represented Blake Shelton's team, was named the champion of season 7 of The Voice Tuesday night.

Boyd, who triumphed over Matt McAndrew, Chris Jamison and Damien, all members of Adam Levine's Team, will now earn a recording contract.

After the announcement, Boyd sang the original song he debuted on Monday's show.

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Haslam Announces New Tennessee Health Care Program

(NASHVILLE, Tenn.) -- Gov. Bill Haslam unveiled a two year pilot program on Monday that will provide health care coverage to Tennesseans who currently don’t have access to health insurance or have limited options.

The Insure Tennessee plan program prepares members to transition to private coverage and promotes incentives that chooses preventative and routine care instead of unnecessary use of emergency rooms.   

“We made the decision in Tennessee nearly two years ago not to expand traditional Medicaid,” Gov. Haslam said.  “This is an alternative approach that forges a different path and is a unique Tennessee solution.  This plan leverages federal dollars to provide health care coverage to more Tennesseans, to give people a choice in their coverage, and to address the cost of health care, better health outcomes and personal responsibility.

The program will not create any new taxes for Tennesseans and will not add any state cost to the budget, according to the governor’s office.

The Tennessee Hospital Association says the industry will cover any additional cost to the state, and the program will automatically end if federal funding or support from the hospitals is modified in any way.

Insure Tennessee offers several options of coverage for individuals below the poverty line, which is $16,100 for an individual and $27,300 for a family of three.  Tennesseans 21 to 64 years old will be offered a choice of the Healthy Incentives Plan or the Volunteer Plan.

Haslam announced that he plans to call a special session to focus on the proposal after the 109th General Assembly convenes in January.

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Yamaha Jet Boat to Expand Tennessee Operations 

(NASHVILLE, Tenn.) -- The largest manufacturer of sports boats in the country will add up to 150 new jobs in an expansion of its Monroe County facility.

The $17.7 million expansion of the  facility in Vonore, Tennessee will add more than 36,000-square feet of production and office space.

Yamaha is the largest manufacturer of 19-foot to 24-foot sports boats in the nation, and just completed an expansion of the same facility in 2013.  

The company plans to be operational in the new location by late 2015, with production slated to begin in mid-to-late 2016.

“We want to congratulate Yamaha on this expansion and thank the company for its continued investment and new jobs that will be created in Vonore,” said Gov. Bill Haslam in a statement. “Yamaha is a brand known around the world, and it says a lot that they are expanding here in Tennessee.

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Chattanooga Authorities Investigating Robbery

(CHATTANOOGA, Tenn.) -- Authorities in Chattanooga are looking for information following a Thursday evening robbery.

According to the Chattanooga Police Department, a woman was getting into her car at 2100 Hamilton Place Boulevard around 6:40 p.m., when she was approached by a man who put an object to her neck and demanded her purse. The suspect then fled the scene.

The victim's purse has been recovered.

Anyone with information can contact the police at 423-698-2525.

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