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What happened to Corker's VW promise? 1 thing to know in today's Tennessee roundup

March 1st, 2014 8:25 am by Associated Press

What happened to Corker's VW promise? 1 thing to know in today's Tennessee roundup

No sign of expansion at plant where UAW dealt loss

NASHVILLE — Friday marked the end of the two-week period within which U.S. Sen. Bob Corker promised Volkswagen would announce another line at its factory in Tennessee if workers there rejected representation by the United Auto Workers union.

So far, there's little sign of any pending announcement.

Workers at the Chattanooga plant ended up voting 712-626 against the UAW, in an election the union claims was tainted by threats and intimidation from Republicans like Corker, Gov. Bill Haslam and state lawmakers.

The UAW last week filed a challenge with the National Labor Relations Board, seeking to have results voided and a new election to be held.

The appeal cited warnings from GOP lawmakers that a pro-union vote would endanger key state incentives to secure the new line at the plant, and Corker's statements that a vote against the union would be followed in short order an expansion announcement.

"If the UAW is voted down they're going to come here immediately, within a two week period, and affirm they're going to build a line here," Corker told The Associated Press the day before the conclusion of the three-day vote.

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Search warrants executed in Holly Bobo case

CAMDEN — The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has been searching in Decatur and surrounding counties and conducting interviews in the case of a nursing student who has been missing nearly three years.

Holly Bobo was 20 years old when she disappeared from her family's rural west Tennessee home near Parsons in April of 2011. Her brother told police he saw a man wearing camouflage leading Bobo into the woods.

Search warrants have been executed, and on Friday, state and federal agents were at a home in the Benton County community of Holladay. WSMV-TV reported there were also cadaver dogs on the property.

TBI director Mark Gwyn told reporters at the scene that the investigation there could continue for several days. He said they hope to return Bobo home to her parents.

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Jury convicts former student in school shooting

JACKSBORO — A former Campbell County High School student who was accused of killing an assistant principal and wounding two other school officials was acquitted of first-degree murder Friday.

The Knoxville News Sentinel is reporting that jurors instead convicted Kenneth Bartley Jr. of reckless homicide for the November 2005 shooting of Vice Principal Ken Bruce. The jury also acquitted Bartley of two counts of the attempted murders of assistant principals Gary Seale and Jim Pierce.

Bartley was 14 years old when he shot and killed Bruce during a confrontation in the principal's office. Bartley, now 22, has already served more than eight years in prison while awaiting trial. On Friday, his attorney said he could be free within a matter of hours.

Senior Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood set bond for Bartley at $7,500.

The verdict was a blow to the victim's widow, Jo Bruce.

"We believed in the justice system, and it failed us today," Bruce said after the verdicts were read.

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AG: Cities should pay school districts

CHATTANOOGA — A legal opinion released by Tennessee Attorney General Robert Cooper says the law requires cities across the state to pay any unremitted liquor taxes to school districts.

The Chattanooga Times Free Press reports that the opinion says municipalities can't negotiate a lesser payment or offset costs with land or local-option sales tax revenue. However, it says cities don't have to pay all at once— they can set up a payment plan.

Hamilton County school officials said they are happy with the opinion.

"It's wonderful news. It's the best news since Santa Claus," said school board member David Testerman. "Our school system is in desperate need of funds."

Lacie Stone, who is Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke's spokeswoman, said Thursday officials were still reviewing the opinion to see what it meant for the city. The attorney general's legal opinions don't carry the force of law, but indicate what position the state's top legal official would take if a lawsuit were filed.

The newspaper reports the city owes more than $11 million to the school district after not paying it a portion of the liquor tax for nearly a decade.

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