Local Updates from ABC News Radio for Tricities.


Tennessee Soldiers to Receive Debt Relief in Lending Scheme Settlement 

(NASHVILLE, Tenn.) -- One hundred Tennessee soldiers are set to receive more than $400,000 in debt relief as part of a nationwide lending scheme settlement.

Tennessee Attorney General Bob Cooper joined 12 state attorneys Tuesday in announcing a total of $92 million in debt forgiveness for about 17,000 U.S. soldiers and other consumers alleged to have been harmed by company Rome Finance.

Officials say Rome Finance offered consumers contracts to buy computers, video game consoles, televisions, and other products, typically sold at mall kiosks near military bases. The paperwork promised instant financing with no money down, with the company serving sometimes serving as the initial creditor.

The deal affects servicemen once stationed at Fort Campbell, Kentucky.

"My office recently published a consumer manual for service members, and we work closely with Ft. Campbell consumer counselors," Cooper said. "Soldiers shouldn't have to worry about being cheated when they buy a car, a computer or some other product or service."

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TN Dept. of Safety and Homeland Security Seeks Reaccreditation

(NASHVILLE, Tenn.) -- The Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security is seeking reaccreditation from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc.

TDSHS Commissioner Bill Gibbons said on Monday that the agency will host CALEA assessors next month to prove they comply with the commission's list of 475 standards. Part of the assessment will also include phone comments made by department personnel and members of the community.

Law enforcement agencies must reapply for accreditation with CALEA every three years.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Four Tornadoes Reported in Eastern Tennessee

(KNOXVILLE, Tenn.) -- Four tornadoes were reported in eastern Tennessee on Sunday, with an unknown number of homes destroyed.

The tornadoes were located in the eastern portion of the state, particularly in Claiborne County. Patsy Pierce, a Claiborne County resident said she survived the storm by hiding in the bathtub.

"I just heard this loud pop and then I came to the front and I seen debris going everywhere," Pierce said. "I walked back through and got some pillows from my bedroom and when I walked out of it, the windows came out." She then got into the bathtub, covering herself with the pillows until the storm passed.

"When I came out it was raining in my dining room and all that debris and all that was laying outside," Pierce added.

There were no immediate reports of residents being injured or killed by the storms, however.

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State Board of Education Gives Preliminary Approval for Cursive Writing Standards

(NASHVILLE, Tenn.) -- The Tennessee State Board of Education gave preliminary approval on Friday to a plan that would set cursive writing standards for elementary school students.

According to the Nashville Tennessean, the plan will now be passed over to Tennessee teachers and principals before the board makes a final decision on the proposal this fall. The proposed standards would begin in second grade and conclude in fourth grade.

Previous cursive standards lacked performance measurements, the Tennessean said.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Invasive Pest Causes Quarantines in Seven More Counties

(NASHVILLE, Tenn.) -- Seven more Tennessee counties have been placed under quarantine due to the possible presence of an invasive insect that destroys ash trees, bringing the total number of affected counties around the state to 34.

According to the Tennessee Department of Agriculture, the Emerald Ash Borer was confirmed to be present in Fentress, Morgan and Rhea counties, with quarantines extended to Clay, Macon, Overton and Pickett counties out of precaution.

The insect is destructive and has spread to 24 states since it was introduced to the United States in the 1990s. It was first found in Tennessee in 2010.

Residents are urged not to transport firewood, to use local firewood and burn all firewood before leaving a camp site.

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