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Local political science professor discusses U.S. Senate races in Georgia

Local political science professor discusses U.S. Senate races in Georgia

CATOOSA COUNTY, Ga. (WDEF) – The race for the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Johnny Isakson in Georgia has a large field.

It’s a special election with no primary, and it includes multiple Republicans and Democrats.

“Everyone is thrown together, basically, in the same pool, and you have a situation where coming in second could be good enough to win,” Dalton State Political Science Professor Dr. Ken Ellinger said.

Among the sea of candidates, the ones who appear to be leading the pack are Democratic candidate Reverend Raphael Warnock, and Republican candidates, incumbent Kelly Leoffler and U.S. Rep. Doug Collins.

To win the race, the candidate must have 50 percent of the votes.

Ellinger predicts Warnock will come in first place, but foresees a runoff with the Republican candidate winning the seat.

“That’s going to be the only question on election night is who is going to get the more votes Congressman Collins or Senator Leoffler,” he said.

“Senator Leoffler was the handpicked candidate of Governor Kemp and also the choice of President Trump, but Collins is a very strong Trump supporter and many people voting for Trump will also vote for Collins.”

This isn’t the only U.S. Senate race in Georgia.

Ellinger said that this is a rare time when voters can vote in both U.S. Senate races at the same time.

“David Perdue and Jon Ossoff are both spending millions of dollars and other outside groups are spending many more millions of dollars trying to get one of them elected,” he said.

Ellinger said that for Republicans, winning both races are important to help them maintain control of the Senate.

“They only have a 53 to 47 advantage, and they don’t want to lose control of the senate. And, I can assure you that they are counting on holding onto both of these Republican Senate seats in Georgia,” Ellinger said.

Voters in Georgia have one more day to early vote on Friday.

Election Day is Tuesday.

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Northeast Alabama deputy dies from COVID-19

Northeast Alabama deputy dies from COVID-19

FORT PAYNE, Alabama (WDEF) – A Dekalb County, Alabama deputy has died from COVID-19.

49-year-old Mickey Bowen had served 21 years with the sheriff’s office, working both in the Detention Center and most recently as a transport deputy.

Bowen had recently been promoted to Chief Executive Assistant in the Detention Center.

The sheriff’s office says he died at U-A-B Hospital in Birmingham on Tuesday.

Visitation will be tomorrow at the Crossville Memorial Chapel from 1 to 3 central, with the funeral to follow.

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Tow truck convoy will honor fallen driver in Marion County

Tow truck convoy will honor fallen driver in Marion County

JASPER, Tennessee (WDEF) – There will be a tow truck convoy to remember one of their own this weekend in Marion County.

They are honoring Robert Clayton who died late Tuesday night in a crash on I-24.

The Monteagle Service driver was helping out a stranded motorist west of the Kimball/South Pittsburg exit.

Troopers say he was pulling back on the interstate with a vehicle in tow when an 18 wheeler ran into him from behind.

The funeral service will be at Jasper Memorial Funeral Home at 11 AM (CST) on Saturday.

The Convoy begins at 1 PM at the Funeral Home and will go through Kimball and Jasper.

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Weather Update: Thursday Night’s Forecast – October 29th, 2020

Weather Update: Thursday Night’s Forecast – October 29th, 2020

Tennessee Valley (WDEF): Much Cooler And Drier Weather Ahead!

Mostly cloudy skies will continue through the night time.  A passing spotty shower or two will move through, otherwise cooler by morning with lows in the upper 40’s to near 50.

Breezy and cool for Friday with decreasing morning clouds.  Highs in most areas will stay in the upper 50’s.  Clear and chilly Friday night with lows by Saturday morning close to 40.

Lots of sunshine returns Saturday with highs near 65.  Partly cloudy, continued mild for Sunday with highs back in the 60’s.  Turning colder Sunday night with lows in the 30’s Monday morning with a possible freeze for the mountains.

69 & 45 are our seasonal highs and lows. The seasonal afternoon highs as well as the early morning lows are now on the way down! Daylight Saving Time, by the way, ends at 2am this coming Sunday Morning, November 1st.

Make sure you & your family stay in touch with us. Remember the Storm Team 12 app can always bring you the latest weather alerts for your location as well as Titan Radar. Download it for free from your app store – just search WDEF Weather”. 

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Fire at Park Ridge Apartments in East Ridge

Fire at Park Ridge Apartments in East Ridge

EAST RIDGE, Tennessee (WDEF) – The top of a unit of the Park Ridge Apartments has been gutted by an afternoon fire.

It broke out after 4 PM.

The apartments are in the 700 block of Frawley Road.

East Ridge fire officials report that two residents were taken to the hospital.. their conditions are unknown.

16 apartments were damaged by the fire, displacing 28 residents.

Fire units from Chattanooga, Catoosa County, Rossville and Hamilton County all assisted fighting the blaze.

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School bus drives into ditch on Signal Mountain

School bus drives into ditch on Signal Mountain

SIGNAL MOUNTAIN, Tennessee (WDEF) – The Hamilton County school system say one of their buses drove into a ditch this afternoon on Signal Mountain.

It was heading to pick up students at Thrasher Elementary at the time.

No students were on board and the driver was not injured.

The school system has pulled the bus out of service so it can be inspected.

A different bus and driver went on to pick up the students.

“The safety of our students & staff remains our top priority, & we will take appropriate action to ensure this incident isn’t repeated.”

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Weather Update: Thursday Afternoon’s Forecast – October 29th, 2020

Weather Update: Thursday Afternoon’s Forecast – October 29th, 2020

Tennessee Valley (WDEF): Zeta Packed Quite A Punch, But The Outlook Is Quickly Improving!

The remainder of this Thursday, October 30 is looking much, much, better! We should see decreasing clouds, breezy conditions, and continued warm. Highs today will hit the mid and upper 70’s.

It will be windy as well for a few hours, perhaps gusting to 30 to 40 mph with a few power outages already occurring on this Thursday morning.  The worst of the weather is expected across Northeast Alabama and Northwest Georgia, but locally heavy rainfall totals are likely in both Southeast Tennessee & Western North Carolina.

Drier later Thursday afternoon with some sunshine and highs back in the upper 70’s.  A brief shower possible Thursday night and cooler by Friday morning with lows closer to 50.  Drier, breezy, and cooler Friday with highs closer to 60.  Lots of sunshine for Saturday with dry and cool weather for Halloween!

70 & 46 are our seasonal highs and lows. The seasonal afternoon highs as well as the early morning lows are now on the way down! Daylight Saving Time, by the way, ends at 2am this coming Sunday Morning, November 1st.

Make sure you & your family stay in touch with us. Remember the Storm Team 12 app can always bring you the latest weather alerts for your location as well as Titan Radar. Download it for free from your app store – just search WDEF Weather”. 

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New Tennessee Unemployment Claims Down to 7,770

New Tennessee Unemployment Claims Down to 7,770

NASHVILLE, TN (WDEF) – New unemployment claims in Tennessee dropped to 7,770 from 9,873 the week before. Continuous unemployment claims keep dropping with 70,982 down from 77,740 the week before. There have been 899,368 claims since March 15. These numbers are from the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce.

New Hamilton County claims dropped down to 403. Shelby County continues to see the highest number of new claims in the state with 1,408. Davidson County was the second highest with 968.

Statewide Data:

Week Ending DateNumber of New Claims FiledContinued Claims
March 14, 20202,70216,342
March 21, 202039,09616,098
March 28, 202094,49234,570
April 4, 2020116,141112,438
April 11, 202074,772199,910
April 18, 202068,968267,053
April 25, 202043,792324,543
May 2, 202037,319321,571
May 9, 202029,308325,095
May 16, 202028,692314,487
May 23, 202026,041310,126
May 30, 202022,784302,260
June 6, 202021,417292,234
June 13, 202019,925280,593
June 20, 202021,155266,596
June 27, 202022,256262,224
July 4, 202025,843256,645
July 11, 202022,431251,924
July 18, 202025,794243,405
July 25, 202019,461242,397
August 1, 202011,690224,093
August 8, 202010,036208,810
August 15, 202013,806204,726
August 22, 202010,988191,204
August 29, 202012,035184,781
September 5, 202011,706176,388
September 12, 202010,771163,791
September 19, 202011,313152,195
September 26, 20209,802138,727
October 3, 20209,839125,238
October 10, 202010,14590,507
October 17, 20209,87377,740
October 24, 20207,77070,802
Claims Since March 15899,368
Southeast TennesseeNew ClaimsContinuous Claims
Hamilton County4033,844
Bradley County1381,050
McMinn County61442
Rhea County57367
Marion County33256
Polk County9113
Grundy County16110
Meigs County24133
Bledsoe County1175
Sequatchie County7149

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Deadly Shooting Wednesday Night at Standifer Gap Road

Deadly Shooting Wednesday Night at Standifer Gap Road

Chattanooga, TN (WDEF) – The Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a deadly shooting at Standifer Gap Road that occurred Wednesday night. Officers responded to the 8000 block of Standifer Gap Road around midnight.

There is one deceased victim, whose identity is being withheld until they are able to notify the next of kin.

The investigation is ongoing.

HCSO Conducting Shooting Investigation on Standifer Gap Road. For more details, visit: https://t.co/yBglA5TkN1 pic.twitter.com/E5jCJlpJRA

— Hamilton County Sheriff's Office (@hcsotn) October 29, 2020

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Prayer vigil after Meigs County crash

Prayer vigil after Meigs County crash

MEIGS COUNTY, Tenn. (WDEF) – In a pavilion in Decatur, Meigs County community members turned to each other and their faith during a prayer vigil Wednesday night.

“It was, it was devastating just hearing about that especially in our community and our driver and our students as well and just hearing about the two deaths that we did have. It’s devastating,” Michael Stewart said.

The vigil came a day after a deadly crash involving a Meigs County school bus.

The event was organized by Watts Bar Church.

“We’re just hosting a time of prayer to lift up our families, lift up these families and come together as a community where it’s not about anything else, just making sure that we are here for you,” Watts Bar Church Pastor Kelly Goins said.

People held candles while there was prayer for healing and peace.

The crash killed the school bus driver, young student and injured others.

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Health officials discuss why Covid-19 cases are going up again

Health officials discuss why Covid-19 cases are going up again

CHATTANOOGA (WDEF) – According to the health department, cases have started trending up in the past few weeks.

The week ending on September 12th, the county was averaging 59 new cases a day.

As of the end of the October 24th week, the county is now averaging 103 new cases a day.

Administrator Becky Barnes said “I would say that the largest drivers of our increase are our lack of appropriate mask wearing, lack of social distancing, small gatherings without precautions, family spread continuing to leave her at home while ill or while awaiting a test result pandemic, cooler weather shorter days and more time spent indoors.”

There are 110 new cases in the county today.

The health department is urging people to do their part to lower the numbers of new cases.

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Gov. Bill Lee asks Tennesseans to pray for Meigs County families

Gov. Bill Lee asks Tennesseans to pray for Meigs County families

NASHVILLE (WDEF) – Tennessee Governor Bill Lee held his first news conference in two weeks since self-isolating after exposure to a Covid-19 person on his security detail.

Neither his wife or himself got sick or tested positive.

But he began his briefing by remembering the victims of the Meigs County bus crash.

“Our hearts are with our neighbors in Meigs County, and we will continue to keep their community in our prayers.”

The Governor also encouraged people in the region to donate blood.

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Catoosa bus driver fired for impairment after running into a pole today

Catoosa bus driver fired for impairment after running into a pole today

A Catoosa County bus driver has been terminated, after school officials say she may have been impaired while driving this morning.

The Catoosa County School District says Tonya Knight, had one student on the bus, when she hit a pole while turning around at a gas station.

This happened near the fire hall in Fort Oglethorpe.

No one was hurt.

The student was returned to school safely.

The school district says when the officer working the wreck questioned Knight, he was suspicious she was impaired, and arrested her.

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Student, mom and community react to Meigs school bus crash

Student, mom and community react to Meigs school bus crash

DECATUR, Tennessee (WDEF) – Residents in Meigs County are mourning after that tragic Wreck.

News 12’s Kenan Scott shows us how the community has been showing their support.

It was a parent’s worst nightmare. A bus carrying 22 school children crashing into a utility vehicle on Highway 58 – resulting in two deaths and several students being critically injured.

Many members of the community are still reeling from the traumatic event. An outpouring of support has been seen with local businesses such as Dixon Barbecue and Cheesecakes, which is offering free food tonight for police officers and first responders to the incident.

In Cleveland, Director of Schools Russell Dyer shared this photo on social media of bus drivers having a moment of prayer before morning routes.

Brandy Eustice, the mother of one of the students who rode the bus that day, says that the incident will be with students for the rest of their lives.

“I was scared, but I was numb. I don’t know how to explain it, I was just numb. My mind was blown. I was just worried about all the kids, you know, safety. Not just the physical injuries but the mental injuries too. This is gonna be with them for the rest of their lives.”

M.J. Vaughn, who was riding the bus that day, described the scene in graphic detail – saying that he even saw another student’s foot get crushed during the impact.

“Horrifying. There was kids screaming for the bus driver, there was glass everywhere, broken windows, bent seats. Kids couldn’t even get up or walk.”

The accident occurred in along this road, resulting in the death of a seven year old girl and the bus driver. Today, residents of Meigs County are coming together to support the victims and their families in any way they can.

Reporting in Meigs County Kenan Scott News 12 Now.

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Blood Assurance says people have responded to Meigs bus crash call

Blood Assurance says people have responded to Meigs bus crash call

CHATTANOOGA (WDEF) – Blood Assurance has been extending their hours since the Meigs County bus crash, and people have responded.

After the wreck last night, hundreds of people lined up to donate blood to help those who were involved.

Caitlin Stanley tells us “We extended our hours all throughout our Chattanooga centers and our Cleveland center. We stayed open until 10 p.m. but we had donors lined up just willing to give back. The support was incredible. The community really came together and we saw some donors until almost one or two A-M yesterday. Overall throughout our entire service area, we saw 6 hundred and 34 donors yesterday.”

You do need to make an appointment before arriving, you can do that through blood assurance’s website

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Weather Update: Wednesday Night’s Forecast – October 28th, 2020

Weather Update: Wednesday Night’s Forecast – October 28th, 2020

Tennessee Valley (WDEF): Zeta Packing A Quick Punch Late Tonight Through Thursday Morning!

The remnants of Hurricane Zeta will move in later tonight with some heavy rain moving in from the Southwest.   Some flash flooding possible by Thursday morning with rain totals between 1-3″, especially across North Georgia.

It will be windy as well for a few hours, perhaps gusting to 30 to 40 mph with a few power outages possible Thursday morning.  The worst of the weather is expected across Northeast Alabama and Northwest Georgia.

Drier later Thursday afternoon with some sunshine and highs back in the upper 70’s.  A brief shower possible Thursday night and cooler by Friday morning with lows closer to 50.  Drier, breezy, and cooler Friday with highs closer to 60.  Lots of sunshine for Saturday with dry and cool weather for Halloween!

70 & 46 are our seasonal highs and lows. The seasonal afternoon highs as well as the early morning lows are now on the way down! Daylight Saving Time, by the way, ends at 2am on Sunday, November 1st.

Make sure you & your family stay in touch with us. Remember the Storm Team 12 app can always bring you the latest weather alerts for your location as well as Titan Radar. Download it for free from your app store – just search WDEF Weather”. 

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Community Reeling From Tragic Meigs County School Bus Crash

Community Reeling From Tragic Meigs County School Bus Crash

MEIGS COUNTY, Tenn. (WDEF) – It was a parent’s worst nightmare. A bus carrying 22 school children crashing into a utility vehicle on Highway 58 – resulting in two deaths and several students being critically injured.

Many members of the community are still reeling from the traumatic event. An outpouring of support has been seen with local businesses such as Dixon Barebecue and Cheesecakes, which is offering free food tonight for police officers and first responders to the incident.

In Cleveland, Director of Schools Russell Dyer shared this photo on social media of bus drivers having a moment of prayer before morning routes.

Brandy Eustice, the mother of one of the students who rode the bus that day, says that the incident will be with students for the rest of their lives.

“I was scared, but I was numb. I don’t know how to explain it, I was just numb. My mind was blown. I was just worried about all the kids, you know, safety. Not just the physical injuries but the mental injuries too. This is gonna be with them for the rest of their lives,” says Brandy Eustice.

M.J. Vaughn, who was riding the bus that day, described the scene in graphic detail – saying that he even saw another student’s foot get crushed during the impact.

“Horrifying. There was kids screaming for the bus driver, there was glass everywhere, broken windows, bent seats. Kids couldn’t even get up or walk,” says M.J. Vaughn.

The accident occured in along this road, resulting in the death of a seven year old girl and the bus driver. Today, residents of Meigs County are coming together to support the victims and their families in any way they can.

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Preliminary report on Meigs County school bus crash

Preliminary report on Meigs County school bus crash

DECATUR, Tennessee (WDEF) – The Tennessee Highway patrol has released their preliminary report on the Meigs County school bus crash.

They identify the bus driver who was killed as 53 year old Lisa Dillard.

The Utility Truck was heading north on Highway 58 when it ran off the side of the road, over-corrected and lost control.

The truck crossed into the path of the school bus.

The bus driver and a 7 year old student on the bus were killed.

8 other students were injured.

At this point, there are no charges in the crash, but the investigation is ongoing.

Also today, the National Transportation Safety Bureau opened a safety investigation into the crash.

An investigators arrived at the scene on Wednesday.

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Weather Update: Wednesday Afternoon’s Forecast – October 28th, 2020

Weather Update: Wednesday Afternoon’s Forecast – October 28th, 2020

Tennessee Valley (WDEF): Zeta Could Pack A Punch Later On Tonight & The First Half Of Thursday!

Cloudy and muggy through the morning with rain moving in from the South.  Morning lows in the mid & upper 60’s. Lots of patchy dense fog as well.

Things get even wetter as we go through the day Wednesday, with more rain and a few storms moving in from the South. Otherwise, lots of clouds and humid, with highs in the lower & possibly mid 70’s.

The remnants of Hurricane Zeta will move in later Wednesday night with some heavy rain and windy conditions likely.   Some flash flooding possible by Thursday morning with rain totals between 2-4″, especially across North Georgia.

It will be windy as well for a few hours, perhaps gusting to 30 to 40 mph with a few power outages possible Thursday morning.  The worst of the weather is expected across Northeast Alabama and Northwest Georgia.

Drier later Thursday afternoon with highs back in the upper 70’s.  A brief shower possible Thursday night and cooler by Friday morning with lows closer to 50.  Drier, breezy, and cooler Friday with highs closer to 60.  Lots of sunshine for Saturday with dry and cooler weather for Halloween!

70 & 46 are our seasonal highs and lows. The seasonal afternoon highs as well as the early morning lows are now on the way down! Daylight Saving Time, by the way, ends at 2am on Sunday, November 1st.

Make sure you & your family stay in touch with us. Remember the Storm Team 12 app can always bring you the latest weather alerts for your location as well as Titan Radar. Download it for free from your app store – just search WDEF Weather”. 

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Golden Apple Award Winner – Valley Christian Academy’s Erika Kyle

Golden Apple Award Winner – Valley Christian Academy’s Erika Kyle

Riceville, TN (WDEF) – Ericka Kyle has spent her entire life in McMinn County. Now she devotes her days teaching elementary students at Valley Christian Academy. She is this week’s Golden Apple Award winner.

Dana Moody, Former Principal, Valley Christian Academy, “Miss Kyle is one of the most loving, caring, just kind and genuine people that you would ever meet. You can just tell she is right where she needs to be.”

Erica Kyle, “Ericka Kyle is a wife, a mother, a kindergarten and first grade teacher, and aunt. Growing up I was always influenced by my great grandmother my Mamy. She was a third grade teacher for many, many, years in McMinn County schools. And she is passed now, and it’s going to get me emotional… I just miss her. I just want to you know live by her example. I have one student in here and he warms my heart every day. He will come up to me and say, Miss Kyle can I just have a hug. And I am like yes you can. Anytime that they want a hug, I am willing to give them a hug. Because maybe, maybe not him but maybe they just don’t get hugs at home.”

Dana Moody, “She, she is doing just what the Lord I think has put in her life and she is a fantastic teacher.”

Erica Kyle, “I teach to influence students. To give them a better perspective of the world that we are living in today. And it is really hard for me to stand in a broken world. And tried to tell kids things that maybe they do not hear every day at home. That Christ loves them and that he died for them and in the end as long as they believe that everything is going to be OK. And I know behind me it says love one another. And that is one of my favorite Bible verses. Because if everyone in the world loved one another then we wouldn’t be living in the times like we are right now.”

Presented by News 12 Now and Food City, the Golden Apple Award honors outstanding teachers in the Tennessee Valley. To nominate a teacher you feel is deserving of the award, visit wdef.com/goldenapple.

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