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Morning round-up: News of interest in Tennessee

February 24th, 2014 7:56 am by Associated Press

Morning round-up: News of interest in Tennessee

Trees illegally cut at Percy Priest Lake

NASHVILLE — State wildlife officials are looking for individuals who illegally cut down trees at Percy Priest Lake.

The Tennessean reports Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency officers recently found 24 Bald Cypress trees cut down by chainsaws.

The trees are the property of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and removing them violates federal law.

Officials say the individuals who cut down the trees then sank them in the lake to use as fish attractors.

"What we think happened is they went out and cut off the tops of these trees, which have a lot of branches on them, and they probably drug them out into the lake so that they could fish over top of them," said TWRA spokesman Doug Markham. "It's just somebody who is selfish and too lazy to drag their own stuff out there so they cut down the fisherman's trees."

Bald Cypress trees, which are a member of the redwood family, can grow to 120 feet. TWRA reservoir biologists plant the water-tolerant trees near lakes to help keep the shoreline intact and minimize erosion.

Authorities probe 2 explosions at Tenn. plant

TOONE — Authorities are investigating two explosions at a manufacturing plant in western Tennessee that injured an employee.

The Jackson Sun reports the first blast happened around 10:50 a.m. Saturday at the Kilgore Flares plant in Toone. The second explosion occurred around 9:30 p.m.

There were no injuries in that incident, but authorities said Kilgore employee Michael Chism suffered severe burns in the first blast and was flown to the Regional Medical Center in Memphis where he's listed in critical condition.

Kilgore makes air and naval decoy flares for the military.

Hardeman County Sheriff John Doolen said the company wasn't allowing authorities inside the building until the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives served a warrant.

Chuck Stout, vice president and general manager of Kilgore, released a statement Saturday afternoon saying the company was cooperating with law enforcement.

Bodies found inside submerged car

Williamsburg, Ky. — Authorities say three bodies were found inside a car submerged in a Whitley County creek.

According to WKYT-TV, 39-year-old Shannon L. Kier, his wife, 29-year-old Susan Kay Kier, and their son, 2-year-old Lee Isaac Patrick Kier were pronounced dead around 10:30 Saturday morning.

Whitley County Coroner Andy Croley said the bodies were found in the flooded Jellico Creek, which flows into the Cumberland River.

Officials say deputies were searching for the family from Jacksboro, Tenn., after a relative called police Friday night and reported them missing.

Authorities say a relative discovered the vehicle after the creek waters receded.

Priscilla Presley's Tupelo visit 1st in decades

TUPELO, Miss. — Tourists at Elvis Presley's birthplace got a surprise bonus — a glimpse of the singer's ex-wife, Priscilla Presley, making her first visit since the last time she saw Elvis, in the early 1970s.

She was given the keys to the city Saturday, and said she was taken aback the first time Presley showed her his childhood home.

"There were no additions when I was here last, there was just the little house he was born in," she said. "Coming here for the first time I was so shocked to see the place. Two rooms! I don't know how they lived — and with his grandmother and father and, of course, Gladys."

Presley was 13 when his parents, Vernon and Gladys, moved to Memphis, Tenn., in 1948. He had his first recording contract in 1954, a year after graduating from high school.

Chonda Best of Jasper, Ala., made an impulse visit to the museum in Tupelo with her son Noah.

"We went to the flea market and then decided to swing by here so my son could see the birthplace of Elvis," she told the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal. "We were so surprised to see her."


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