Tag Archives: lafollette

Damaging Storm K.Os Power Grid.

There was widespread tree damage in Campbell County after the severe thunderstorm hit Friday night.

Friday night’s powerful thunderstorm brought straight line winds approaching 80 mph across the entire area around 11 pm. This storm wreaked havoc on the power grid, downing lines, causing breakers to blow on transformers and sending thousands of people into darkness.

The outages peaked around midnight with over 6000 customers in the LUB footprint in the dark. Jellico Electric and Water also had widespread outages.

As of 12:00pm Saturday LUB’s outage map showed 1950 customers are without power. Down slightly from the 2075 estimated at 7:30am that morning. There were power lines down on Pinecrest Road and Hatmaker Ridge Road that we at the Times witnessed in person, with more lines down and poles broken in other areas.

There was intense tree damage around the Pinecrest area as well as the Back Valley Road area, Davis Chapel, and several other areas around Campbell County. There were trees down in most areas of the county in at least isolated fashion. One tree in Pinecrest fell on a car as it traveled. Another fell on a truck as it sat in a driveway on Hatmaker Ridge.

LUB and Comcast were in the area working on restoring both power and cable to homes in the region throughout the weekend. LUB completed their repairs late Sunday with no word on whether all Comcast customers were restored. Kenny Baird of LUB noted that this outage was more widespread than the outage from the intense thunderstorm that caused major flash flooding two weeks ago. That was also a major outage that required a lot of man hours from LUB workers. They have definitely had a busy month in June as the area has seen round after round of intense storms.

Initial Damage Assessments Arrive in Wake of Flood.

Scenes like this one at Cave Springs are common in the Long Hollow area. Cost estimates for repairs are beginning to arrive.

One week ago this evening, LaFollette and eastern Campbell County was experiencing the worst flash flooding in living memory. There were dramatic evacuations, water rescues, a local LUB worker Dayne Deavours would, emerge as a life-saving hero and damages were being incurred that would devastate many local families, businesses and churches.

A week and one massive community effort later – an effort featuring good-hearted citizens, dedicated Campbell County Road Dept workers, Campbell County Sanitation Dept workers, City of LaFollette workers, LUB workers, a group of college students, emergency relief workers from other counties, civic organizations, and teams from TEMA – a considerable amount of clean-up and some of the repair work has started in the hard hit areas.

The road is still long and very expensive for those effected. The cost estimates so far for the Campbell County Road Dept come in at 4.5 million dollars with that number likely to grow according to figures provided to County Mayor E.L. Morton from Road Superintendent Ron Dilbeck. Major problems are in the Long Hollow, Sugar Hollow and Demory areas but other areas saw problems as well. High Knob/Fox Den Lane saw damages as well as Pleasant Ridge. The Glade Springs area saw road and ditch damage. There was bridge and culvert damage as well as multiple mudslides on Ivydale Road. Road underpinning will be the major repair need, as underpinning was washed away in many of these locations, leaving the pavement very fragile. Also culvert repair and clean out will be a key need. The 4.5 million dollar figure is likely to climb.

The county also incurred damages at the recycling center. Water approximately 18 inches deep flooded the center. The plan is to remove sheet rock up to the water line, remove the floor tile, deep clean with mold preventative and repair those damages. The county also lost approximately 25 percent of the recyclable cardboard that was stored on-site. Mayor Morton estimated total damages to the center at $225,000 dollars.

LaFollette Middle School incurred damages to several classrooms and the cafeteria. Director of Schools Jennifer Fields told The Volunteer Times that the estimated cost of repairs there is $25,200 dollars. The hope is for these costs to be covered by insurance but how much of them that would be covered isn’t yet known.

Damages done to county citizens and City of LaFollette citizens as well as the City of LaFollette government have started to be calculated by TEMA Regional Supervisor Todd Jones. The initial assessment comes in at 6.4 million dollars in damages with that number likely to rise as assessments continue according to LaFollette City Administrator Jimmy Jeffries.

According to Mayor Morton, in order for FEMA aid to help the governmental agencies, the total loss to infrastructure must reach 9 million dollars. However, all private citizens who have submitted for FEMA aid will be decided on a case by case basis.

The Volunteer Times will release updated numbers as we receive them from the various agencies.

LaFollette City Council approves beer sales on Sunday

Not since prohibition has a thirsty traveler been able to buy a beer in LaFollette on any given Sunday. However, the LaFollette City Council changed that January 4 by approving an ordinance allowing just that.

“It’s been pretty good,” said LaFollette Exxon employee Keishia Morris. “We’ve been working every Sunday since it started,” she commented about co-worker Connie Reid and herself.

The new city ordinance states that no alcohol can be purchased between midnight and 10 a.m. on Sundays which allows beer sales from 10 a.m. until midnight on Sunday. This includes bars (establishments selling alcohol for on-site consumption), as well as stores (establishments selling alcohol for off-site consumption). While bars cannot sell beer after midnight, the ordinance does allow “such beverages to be consumed, or to be opened for consumption, on or about the premises” between midnight and 12:15 a.m. These establishments, a business whose primary business is alcohol sales, must be vacated by 12:15 a.m.

January 9 was the first Sunday beer was available for purchase inside the city limits of LaFollette. Food City, among other businesses, display a sign on the front door indicating that beer can be purchased after 10 a.m. on Sunday.

LaFollette City Administrator Cade Sexton said the move to change the beer ordinance was brought to the council following a November 2010 Caryville referendum allowing that city to permit the sale of liquor, both by the drink and in a package. LaFollette councilwoman Stephanie Grimm and councilman Wayne Kitts voted against the ordinance that night, just as they had on the first and second reading of the ordinance during previously held meetings. The ordinance was supported by councilmen Hansford Hatmaker and Joe Bolinger. Mayor Mike Stanfield broke the tie vote on all three readings by casting his vote in favor of the ordinance’s approval.

While the change of LaFollette’s ordinance doesn’t address liquor, Sexton said that beer sales on Sunday will likely stop residents from traveling to neighboring cities to make a purchase on Sundays. This, he says will increase revenue brought in from beer sales.

“Instead of someone driving outside the city for beer, now they can stop at one of the stores or gas stations here,” said Sexton.

Connie Reid agreed.

“We have regulars who come in one Sunday now,” Reid said of the LaFollette Exxon’s Sunday beer sales.

“The ones who are going to drink are going to do it,” Reid said, pointing out that she doesn’t drink beer any day of the week. “All that revenue went to Lake City before. Now it stays here in town.”

“I think [my sales are] going up,” said Manuel Zapien, Manager of El Peublito. “Some customers buy beer.”

Zapien stated that a majority of the restaurant’s Sunday business comes from hungry churchgoers.

“People come from church and they don’t drink after they’ve finished church.”

“As to the increase in revenue, Sexton said, “We won’t know for two or three months how it will effect our revenue.”

National prohibition of alcohol became effective in January 1920 through the 18th amendment. In 1933, Congress approved the 21st amendment, the only amendment in the U.S. Constitution that repeals another amendment. The 21st amendment also allowed local governments to decide how to regulate alcohol sales and consumption. During this time, many municipalities and counties established their territory as “dry.” Some municipalities and counties have never re-legalized alcohol since prohibition, while others have opted to regulate times of sale. Three states: Kansas, Mississippi and Tennessee are considered entirely dry by default.  This means that counties must specifically authorize the sale of alcohol in order for it to be legal and subject to state alcohol control laws.

LaFollette’s alcohol ordinance now allows for alcohol sales everyday. Monday through Saturday, beer can be purchased all day, except from midnight to 6 a.m. On Sunday, beer cannot be sold between midnight and 10 a.m. LaFollette currently has 16 businesses with alcohol sales permits including six gas station/delis, five restaurants, three retail stores and two bars.