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  • Town of Erwin decides barbeque stand has to leave town

    By Callan Gray,
    Published On: Oct 22 2014 10:34:41 PM CDT
    Updated On: Oct 22 2014 10:41:33 PM CDT
    ERWIN, Tenn. -

    A barbeque truck has been kicked out of downtown Erwin.

    Hillbilly Butts and Brisket BBQ has been serving customers off North Main Street in Erwin since June without a problem. Now the town has decided the business has to close up shop, or move by November 15.

    “We invested all of our funds, all of our savings, everything we had into getting it set up,” said Lewis Carsten, the owner.

    They told us they don’t understand why they're being told to close the barbeque stand.

    “We crossed our T's we dotted our I's,” said Carsten. “We talked to the people and the people told us 'Come on man, we love the idea'.”

    Erwin's code enforcement officer gave them a letter last Thursday that said they were violating a zoning code and had to shut down.

    Carsten said it didn’t make sense since they had a lease with the property owner and, he said, the town gave them permission to set up.

    “We went to the county courthouse we talked to them, we came here and talked to these folks,” said Carsten. “Nobody gave us any indication there would be any issues at all.”

    On Wednesday, the planning commission and board of zoning appeals decided to uphold the decision to close down the barbeque stand.

    “We've had others interested that we have said no to,” said City Recorder Glenn Rosenoff. “The town does not permit that at this particular time.”

    Rosenoff said the town has offered to help the business relocate.

    “I told them that staff would help them find somewhere,” he said. “We would provide staff to evaluate any of the buildings to see whether or not they met minimum codes to be a brick and mortar restaurant.”

    Carsten said he and his family were planning to save up money over the winter to buy a building but they don't have that money yet. He told us, for now, they’ll stay on the road.

    “We’re gonna find someplace and we're going to keep cooking,” said Carsten.

    City Recorder Glen Rosenoff told us they are reviewing the zoning laws to figure out if there's a way to include food trucks. He said they're looking at existing rules in surrounding counties and towns to figure out which locations work best and what safety provisions they need to include.

    The proposed zoning ordinance could be voted on as early as November.

  • NYC doctor tests positive for Ebola

    By By Ray Sanchez and Shimon Prokupecz CNN
    Published On: Oct 23 2014 02:52:48 PM CDT
    Updated On: Oct 23 2014 09:48:58 PM CDT
    Mayor de Blasio Ebola news conference
    NEW YORK (CNN) -

    A Doctors Without Borders physician who recently returned to New York from West Africa has tested positive for the Ebola virus, becoming the first diagnosed case in the city, authorities said late Thursday.

    The doctor, identified as Craig Spencer, 33, came back from treating Ebola patients in Guinea October 17 and developed a fever, nausea, pain and fatigue Thursday. He is in isolation and being treated at New York's Bellevue Hospital, one of the eight hospitals statewide that Gov. Andrew Cuomo designated earlier this month as part of an Ebola preparedness plan.

    Spencer, who is hospitalized in intensive care, went for a jog, may have gone to a restaurant, traveled the city's vast subway system and went bowling before feeling ill, but authorities stressed that the likelihood of him spreading the virus was low.

    "We want to state at the outset there is no reason for New Yorkers to be alarmed," Mayor Bill de Blasio told reporters late Thursday.

    Health officials said three people who had been in contact with Spencer -- his fiancée and two friends -- were healthy and would be quarantined and monitored. A fourth, a car service driver, had no physical contact with the patient and was not considered at risk.

    Dr. Mary Travis Bassett, New York City's health commissioner, said Spencer completed his work in Guinea on October 12 and left Africa two days later via Europe. He arrived at John F. Kennedy Airport on October 17. She said he exhibited no symptoms during his journey or any time afterward until Thursday morning. He had been checking his temperature twice a day.

    Spencer went for a three-mile jog and visited a bowling alley in Brooklyn named The Gutter prior to feeling symptomatic Thursday morning, Bassett said. The bowling alley has been closed. He also traveled on three subway lines. Authorities are checking his MetroCard to determine where else he went.

    "At the time that the doctor was on the subway he did not have fever ... he was not symptomatic," according to Bassett, who said the chances of anyone contracting the virus from contact with Spencer were "close to nil."

    De Blasio and Bassett were joined by Gov. Cuomo at a news conference to allay concerns about the spread of the virus, especially via public transportation.

    "We are as ready as one could be for this circumstance," Cuomo said, adding that the situation in his state is different than what happened in Texas, where a man from Liberia was diagnosed with Ebola and two health care workers who treated him later contracted the virus.

    "We had the advantage of learning from the Dallas experience," Cuomo said.

    De Blasio added, "Ebola is very difficult to contract. Being on the same subway car or living near someone with Ebola does not put anyone at risk."

    The physician, employed at New York's Columbia Presbyterian Hospital, has been in isolation at Bellevue since he was taken there by emergency personnel Thursday morning.

    His Manhattan apartment has been isolated.

    Earlier Thursday, de Blasio -- without naming the doctor being treated -- said that "careful protocols were followed every step of the way" in the city's handling of the case. The hospitalized doctor has "worked closely" with health officials, the mayor said.

    The doctor exhibited symptoms of the Ebola virus for "a very brief period of time" and had direct contact with "very few people" in New York, de Blasio told reporters.

    On his Facebook page, Spencer posted a photo of himself in protective gear. The page indicates he went to Guinea around September 18 and later to Brussels in mid October.

    "Off to Guinea with Doctors Without Borders (MSF)" he wrote. "Please support organizations that are sending support or personnel to West Africa, and help combat one of the worst public health and humanitarian disasters in recent history."

    In a statement, Columbia Presbyterian Hospital said the doctor was "a dedicated humanitarian" who went to "an area of medical crisis to help a desperately underserved population."

    "He is a committed and responsible physician who always puts his patients first," the hospital statement said. "He has not been to work at our hospital and has not seen any patients at our hospital since his return from overseas."

    The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had people packing up to go to New York on Thursday, and a specimen from the physician was to be sent to CDC headquarters in Atlanta for testing, an official familiar with the situation told CNN's Elizabeth Cohen.

    In a statement Thursday, Doctors Without Borders confirmed that the physician recently returned from West Africa and was "engaged in regular health monitoring." The doctor contacted Doctors Without Borders Thursday to report a fever, the statement said.

    The doctor began feeling sluggish a couple of days ago, but it wasn't until Thursday, when he developed 100.3-degree fever, that he contacted Doctors Without Borders, authorities said.

    The case came to light after the New York Fire Department received a call shortly before noon Thursday about a sick person in Manhattan. The patient was taken to Bellevue.

    Mark Levine, a city councilman who represents the doctor's Manhattan neighborhood, said earlier Thursday, before news broke of the doctor's positive test, that city health department workers were canvassing the area, distributing information on the disease door-to-door, according to CNN affiliate WABC.

    "The goal right now is to make sure people don't panic," he said.

    The health department said a special ambulance unit transported a patient suffering from a fever and gastrointestinal symptoms.

    Bellevue Hospital is designated for the "isolation, identification and treatment of potential Ebola patients" in the city, the statement said.

    "As a further precaution, beginning today (Thursday), the Health Department's team of disease detectives immediately began to actively trace all of the patient's contacts to identify anyone who may be at potential risk," the health department statement said.

    "The chances of the average New Yorker contracting Ebola are extremely slim," the statement said, adding that the disease is spread by direct contact with the bodily fluids of an infected person.

    Ebola has killed nearly 5,000 people, mostly in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. But fears about its spread has mounted since the first person diagnosed with the disease in the United States was hospitalized in Texas last month.

    Thomas Eric Duncan, who had flown from Liberia to Dallas, died on October 8. Two nurses who treated him became infected with the virus and are undergoing treatment, with the cases raising questions about the ability of local and federal officials to deal with an outbreak in the United States.

    Starting Monday, all travelers coming to the United States from Ebola-affected areas will be actively monitored for 21 days.

    In addition, all U.S.-bound passengers from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea must land in one of the five U.S. airports with enhanced screening for Ebola: New York's John F. Kennedy International, Washington Dulles, New Jersey's Newark Liberty International, Chicago's O'Hare International and Hartsfield-Jackson International in Atlanta.

  • Fragile X Syndrome - A little boy's story

    By Samantha Kozsey,
    Published On: Oct 23 2014 05:28:44 PM CDT
    Updated On: Oct 23 2014 05:37:40 PM CDT

    Meet Rashaad. He is in need of a service dog to help him lead the life of a 'typical' 7-year-old.

    Fragile X Syndrome is a genetic condition that causes a range of developmental problems and learning disabilities. It affects only about one in 4,000 males and one in 8,000 females. 

    Children with Fragile X face a lifetime of challenges. One family's mission to get their son the help he needs.

    Rashaad is a 7 year old boy, who like most other kids his age, has a lot of energy. Unlike most children, he was born with a genetic condition called Fragile X Syndrome. Fragile X kids have learning disabilities, sensory issues, and trouble with social interaction.

    Chelsey Hagy, Rashaad's mom, says, "He's impulsive, he bites, he kicks and hits and get over stimulated too where he acts out and doesn't know what to do but fight it."

    Because Rashaad is unable to control his feelings and actions, his family lives in constant fear for his safety. He visits Mountain States Rehabilitation several times a week to learn skills to help him with some of those daily activities and experiences.

    Jenny Dorsey, Occupational Therapy Assistant, says, "You want to prepare them when they are out with everyone else and that they are safe and that they can function at the highest level they possibly can."

    Research has shown service dogs are a medical tool that can help a child like Rashaad with emotional outbursts and even prevent risky behavior. It's his family's hope that a service dog from '4 Paws for Ability' will help bring stability and a sense of calm to his life 24-hours a day.

    "He grinds his teeth, flaps his hands and such and when he does this the dog will be a distraction and provide him with sensory therapy," Chelsey said.

    The dog would also be trained to stop Rashaad's impulsive behavior, even tracking him if he takes off as he did while our news crew was with him. "It's going to make him more independent and it's going to make him safer," Chelsey said. And ultimately give him a shot at a life like other 7-year-olds.

    Rashaad's family needs to raise $14,000 for their dog from '4 Paws for Ability'. Once the money is raised, Rashaad will go through training with his dog and will bring him home.

    A fundraiser is being held to help raise the money. You can attend a Halloween party Saturday at 7pm at the Woodman of the World in Bristol, Va.

    You can also donate directly to '4 Paws for Rashaad' by clicking on "4 Paws for Rashaad."

    Learn more about "4 Paws For Ability,  Inc."

    Learn the facts about Fragile X at this website.

  • Bristol, TN Police search for attempted armed robbery suspects

    Published On: Oct 23 2014 04:26:43 AM CDT
    Bristol, Tennessee Police Department
    BRISTOL, Tenn. -

    Bristol, Tennessee Police are searching for two suspects in an attempted armed robbery.

    According to police, two African American men tried to rob the victim at gunpoint in the parking lot behind 620 State Street on Wednesday night.

    Police say the two men took off after the victim ran back inside the building.

    We're told the suspects were last seen on Shelby Street, possibly near 7th St.

    The two were described as both being in their 20s, one wearing a dark colored hoodie, the other wearing a light colored one. 

    Anyone with information should call 423-989-5568,  423-764-TIPS (8477) or send e-mail to

  • Former public library foundation director's court date delayed

    By Cassandra Sweetman, Multi-Media Journalist,
    Published On: Oct 23 2014 06:25:12 AM CDT
    Updated On: Oct 23 2014 04:18:31 PM CDT
    BRISTOL, Va. -

    UPDATE 5:15 p.m.: Anita Foster-Machado's court date was postponed.

    We'll have more information on the new date as it's available


    A local woman charged with embezzling thousands is due in court Thursday. 

    Anita Foster-Machado is charged with six charges of felony embezzlement.

    Foster-Machado is the former executive director of the Bristol Library Foundation. She was arrested on August 20th on the embezzlement charges. 

    Bristol, Va. police say between August 2010 and June 2013 she spent approximately $20,000 with the foundation's credit card.

  • Craft breweries leading to new business in Johnson City

    By Callan Gray,
    Published On: Oct 23 2014 10:48:38 PM CDT
    Updated On: Oct 23 2014 10:56:47 PM CDT
    JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. -

    Craft breweries bring almost $450 million to Tennessee each year, according to the Brewers Association, a national organization of craft brewers.  Now those breweries popping up all around the Tri-Cities.

    Johnson City Brewing Co. will officially open on Saturday as the first brewery of its kind in Johnson City.

    “We pretty much run the gamut from light to dark and we're just looking for feedback how can we do this better,” said Eric Latham, one of the co-owners.

    Latham told us he started out as a home brewer, and then joined up with about 20 others, to open Johnson City's first craft brewery.

    “When you're a micro-brewing community, you can collaborate and work together and it only benefits us to do so,” he said.

    They’ve already been talking with brewers at local places like Depot Street in Jonesborough, and Sleepy Owl in Kingsport.

    It’s a growing community. The Brewers Association estimates there are at least 35 craft breweries in Tennessee, producing more than 98,000 barrels of beer each year.    

    “[They’re] popping up so much all over the place you kind of have generic type of microbrews,” said Latham. “It’s strange to say a traditional recipes, which is you have to have something light, you have to have something hoppy, you have to have something brown and you have to have something dark.”

    They're also using some regionally produced ingredients to make custom blends.

    All of this has created a new market in the Tri-Cities for businesses like The Atlantic Ale House in Johnson City. They won't make the beer but they will sell it, all from local breweries.

    “We were traveling to Knoxville and Asheville to go to tap houses like this and we decided one day to create our own,” said Jenny Lockmiller, one of the co-owners.

    Lockmiller said they'll have 16 regional beers on tap.

    “The Sawtooth in Knoxville, Sleepy Owl, Holston River Brewing,” she listed. “We've talked to Johnson City Brewing.”

    It’s a list Eric Latham of Johnson City Brewing Co. thinks will grow.

    “I think there’s two or three other ones that are coming along,” said Latham. “I sure hope so.”

    Johnson City Brewing Co. opens Saturday, Oct. 25 from 1 p.m. to 10 p.m. They are located in Suite 104 of the King Building at 300 East Main Street in downtown Johnson City.



  • Bristol's Cultural Heritage Sculpture unveiled

    By Jim Conrad,
    Published On: Oct 23 2014 04:12:59 PM CDT
    Updated On: Oct 23 2014 05:20:03 PM CDT

    From idea to reality took five years but a permanent sculpture showing Bristol's cultural heritage is unveiled in front of the library.

    BRISTOL, Va. -

    Just like the iconic Bristol sign links two states and two cities together, so does a new sculpture unveiled by Art in Public Places in front of the library.

    The permanent piece of art has been in the works for quite some time. We discovered it took five years from concept to reality.

    An idea born from the gateway city of Saint Louis comes to life in downtown Bristol. Bristol's Cultural Heritage Sculpture officially became a permanent fixture in front of the Bristol library.

    Creative minds and a generous patron brought the art piece to life. "Five years ago when I initially got the idea for the sculpture after driving past the gates of the Saint Louis Zoo, and it just took that long from the initial idea until today," says Art in Public Places' Mary Jane Miller.

    The fantasy artwork was provided by internationally known illustrator Charles Vess, who was brought the idea by Miller. "The more I looked at it the more I thought about the young person on the train, passenger train coming to Bristol, hopes in their hearts, dreams in their head.  Why not make it happen here? It just flew out," Vess said.

    Making it happen in Bristol took a project manager and a fabricator and lots of hours of artistic give and take. "With any project you've got to be a little bit flexible.  We're translating a cartoon basically, an artist illustration into a three dimensional object.  So there has to be translations, there has to be some give and take in the process. That part was a learning process for everybody involved," project manager Val Lyle said.

    Also bringing it from the page to a three and half ton piece of steel took ideas from all involved. "When you do an illustration it's on a page and you see it at this angle and a three dimensional sculpture you're walking all the way around it so you have to think about what it's going to look like from this angle and that angle, whether it will stay interesting," Vess adds.

    Visitors and citizens alike will have lots of time to ponder the sculpture since it is a permanent piece.

    The process of how it came together will be subject of an art exhibit at the library early next year.

  • Fire destroys Castlewood funeral home

    By Cassandra Sweetman, Multi-Media Journalist,
    Published On: Oct 22 2014 10:20:48 AM CDT
    Updated On: Oct 22 2014 12:30:33 PM CDT

    Firefighters spend all day making sure funeral home fire is completely extinguished


    Firefighters are keeping a close eye on the smoking remains of a funeral home that burned down in Castlewood Wednesday morning.

    No one was injured and no bodies were in the holding funeral home at the time. Someone driving past saw the flames and called 911 a little after 3 a.m. Wednesday.

    The St. Paul Fire Department arrived on the scene, but quickly realized there wasn't much they could do. The fire was mostly in the back of the building, but the structure of that section made it too dangerous to enter.

    Chief Earl Carter says at that point all you can do is play defense. "It was beyond containing. At that point you just let it burn itself out, put out the hot spots," he said.

    Carter says there were no people or bodies in the building at the time. He says they will be on the site all day putting out any flames that light, which could take hours because they still have not been able to get into the basement.

    Carter says they do not know at this time how the fire started.

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    A bear cub wanders into an Oregon convenience store, surprising shoppers as she walks the aisles. The animal was trapped and will be released back into the wild next year.

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