Articles by Jonathan Mattise

Tennessee Community Devastated by Fires Doubtful Climate Change Poses Future Risk

Bob Bentz had just installed underground utility lines and paved a new road when wildfires roared through the eastern Tennessee treetop canopy he wanted to transform into a $30 million adventure park. A year later, after the blaze killed 14 …

Judge Orders Tennessee Valley Authority to Remove Coal Ash at Power Plant

A federal judge on Friday ordered the nation’s largest public utility to dig up its coal ash at a Tennessee power plant and move it to a lined waste site where it doesn’t risk further polluting the Cumberland River. U.S. …

Prosecutors Unable to Prove Arson Against 2 Youths in Tennessee Wildfires

Prosecutors have dropped arson charges against two juveniles in connection with the Tennessee wildfires that killed 14 people and tore through thousands of homes and businesses in November, a law enforcement official said Friday. In December, District Attorney General Jimmy …

Tennessee Valley Authority, Environmental Groups Await Decision on Pollution Case

The Tennessee Valley Authority finished a four-day trial Thursday in which environmental groups accuse the utility’s power plant outside Nashville, Tennessee, of illegally polluting the Cumberland River with coal ash. Still, a decision in the case may not come for …

Police Testify Driver in Deadly Tennessee School Bus Crash was Speeding

The 24-year-old driver in a Tennessee school bus crash that killed six children was speeding about 20 miles per hour over the 30 mile-per-hour limit, police testified Dec. 14, drawing tears from their families in court. Johnthony Walker also was …

Tennessee Wildfire Damage Estimated at $500M

Deadly wildfires caused more than $500 million in damage as they tore through a tourism community in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains and killed 14 people, local officials estimated Tuesday. Sevier County Mayor Larry Waters put a dollar …

Tennessee Wildfires That Killed 14 Allegedly Started by 2 Juveniles

Authorities on Wednesday charged two juveniles in an East Tennessee wildfire that killed 14 people and destroyed or damaged more than 1,700 buildings in an iconic tourism spot at the foot of the Great Smoky Mountains. Officials offered few other …

Businesses Unharmed in Tennessee City Devastated by Wildfires Set to Reopen

Chirping and beeping filled the air as Marion Paul fired up her Gatlinburg video arcade Monday, the first time she’s seen her business since deadly wildfires set much of the city ablaze a week ago. Sooty floors needed dusting. Spoiled …

Residents Return to Tennessee City Demolished by Fire

Charlotte Moore needed a phone charger. “I’ll just get it at home,” she shrugged. Then she remembered that her home was gone. The realization came as she made the familiar drive up to the top of Laurel Mountain in the …

Tennessee Wildfire Death Toll Rises to 7; City of Gatlinburg Surveys Damage

Three more bodies were found in the ruins of wildfires that torched hundreds of homes and businesses in the Great Smoky Mountains area, raising the death toll to seven, a Tennessee mayor said Wednesday. Search-and-rescue missions continued, and Sevier County …