Governor Haslam To Dedicate Virgin Falls State Natural Area On Wednesday

Monday, December 9, 2013

Governor Bill Haslam, along with leaders from the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services and Tennessee Parks and Greenways Foundation will be officially dedicating the purchase of Virgin Falls State Natural Area this Wednesday at 10 a.m. at Welch’s Point, Bridgestone Firestone Wilderness, Welch Cemetery Road, Sparta.

Through the support of a number of private/public partnerships, the state acquired the land in November 2012. Prior to that, Virgin Falls had been under private ownership, but managed by the state as a natural area for nearly 40 years. Working closely with the Tennessee Parks and Greenways Foundation, the state of Tennessee was able to purchase the 1,551-acre parcel near Sparta through a combination of funds from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency and private donations. 

A favorite hiking destination for decades, Virgin Falls features a waterfall that exits a cave at the top of a cliff and then disappears into a second cave at its base. Nature lovers have noted the existence of unique flora and fauna and amateur geologists have explored the composition and structure of its many caves.  

Other officials in attendance will be:

Bob Martineau, Commissioner, Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation

Ed Carter, Executive Director, Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency

Mary Jennings, Field Supervisor, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – Department of Interior

Brock Hill, Deputy Commissioner, Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation

Kathleen Williams, President and CEO, TN Parks & Greenways Foundation

Dr. Chuck Womack, Chairman of the Board, TN Parks & Greenways Foundation




350 Unum Employees To Participate In Day Of Caring

Unum will continue its annual tradition of giving back at the Day of Caring on  Friday . 350 employees, including President and CEO Rick McKenney, will volunteer alongside students from Howard High School at the Lookout Mountain Conservancy. Employee volunteers will work in groups focused on clearing brush, laying dirt and gravel, prepping a pollinator garden and cleaning ... (click for more)

Emerging Disease Further Jeopardizes North American Frogs

A deadly amphibian disease called severe Perkinsea infections, or SPI, is the cause of many large-scale frog die-offs in the United States, according to a new study by the U.S. Geological Survey.    Frogs and salamanders are currently among the most threatened groups of animals on the planet. The two most common frog diseases, chytridiomycosis and ranavirus ... (click for more)

Jury Hears About Incident Behind Food Lion That Authorities Say Led To Triple Murders In Lookout Valley

A Criminal Court jury on Thursday was told about an incident behind the Food Lion on Brown's Ferry Road that authorities say was the motive for an April 9, 2014, massacre at a Lookout Valley trailer park. Brandon Jackson said the incident five days earlier involved Derek Morse, who is standing trial on three counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted first-degree ... (click for more)

Firefighters Battle 2-Alarm Apartment Building Fire

More than a dozen people were forced from their homes early Thursday morning when fire broke out in their apartment building.   The Chattanooga Fire Department received the alarm at  2:58 a.m.  and responded to Rainbow Creek Apartments at  7604 Standifer Gap Road  with six fire companies. Seeing a significant amount of fire upon arrival, a ... (click for more)

September Is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

The calendar fills up quickly in September as families return to a packed routine after quieter summer days. Unfortunately, your health might take a backseat to your busy schedule. So make a note on your calendar that September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, and remind yourself—or the men in your life—about the importance of a healthy prostate.   Prostate cancer is ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: McQueen & Her TVAAS

If I am reading my Ouija Board right, I suspect the Hamilton County School Board will vote to allow a controversial “partnership” to be formed with the state Board of Education tonight at its monthly meeting. State Education Commissioner Candice McQueen has said she will demand the one-sided partnership to take over the operation of five at-risk schools in Hamilton County and, if ... (click for more)