Press Releases

Haslam Requests SBA Disaster Recovery Assistance for Severe Flooding

Press release from the Office of Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam; July 31, 2013:

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam has requested assistance from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to help individuals and businesses in Sullivan County and its contiguous counties recover from the severe storms and flash flooding that occurred on July 20-21, 2013.

The additional Tennessee counties that would be eligible for SBA loans are Carter, Hawkins, Johnson and Washington as damage to homes and businesses occurred in multiple locations.

A joint Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA) and SBA damage survey shows more than 88 homes and 65 businesses in Sullivan County sustained minor/major damages and loss of inventory. There was one reported death due to the storm.
“Tennesseans continue to recover from this storm, and SBA assistance would help these communities restore their homes and businesses,” Haslam said.

The SBA provides low interest disaster loans to homeowners, renters, businesses of all sizes, and private, non-profit organizations to repair or replace real estate, personal property, machinery and equipment, inventory and business assets that have been damaged or destroyed in a declared disaster.

From July 20 to July 21, 2013, a severe weather front in east Tennessee spawned numerous severe wind shears and strong thunderstorms with straight-line winds often exceeding 30 miles per hour, according to the National Weather Service. Flood and wind damage occurred in multiple locations.

Press Releases

Former Hawkins Co. Judge Indicted on 41 Counts of Theft

Press release from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation; May 31, 2012:

Nashville, Tenn. – The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and the Tennessee Attorney General’s Office have investigated a case against a former Hawkins County, Tenn. judge which has resulted in him being indicted by the Davidson County Grand Jury on forty-one counts of theft.

Former Hawkins County General Sessions Court Judge James “Jay” Taylor, age 41, of Rogersville, Tenn. was indicted on 36 counts of theft more than $500 and less than $1,000, three counts of theft over $1,000 and two counts of theft less than $500. Taylor turned himself into authorities on the charges this morning and was booked into the Davidson County Jail. Between September 15, 2010 and July 27, 2011, Taylor filed numerous false claims with the Administrative Office of the Courts requesting payment for services as appointed legal counsel in cases where he did not perform legal services. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation launched an investigation into allegations of bribery and theft against Taylor at the request of the 3rd Judicial District Attorney General’s Office in August of 2011. The theft offenses named in the indictments occurred in Davidson County where the Administrative Office of the Courts is located and are being prosecuted by the Davidson County District Attorney General’s Office and Tennessee Attorney General’s Office.

TBI’s investigation on Taylor in Hawkins County is currently open and ongoing. Taylor’s bond in the Davidson County Jail is set at $175,000.

Press Releases

Disaster Designation for Hancock, Hawkins Cos. Requested

Press release from the Office of Gov. Bill Haslam; May 31, 2012:

Warm winter and spring with an April freeze has impacted farmers

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam today announced he has requested a secretarial designation of natural disaster for Hancock and Hawkins counties due to April’s freeze.

Haslam made the request in a letter to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. A secretarial designation would make farmers eligible to apply for lost income recovery, low-interest loans and other disaster assistance through the USDA Farm Service Agency.

“I understand that weather is always an unpredictable factor in farming, and the unusually warm winter and spring coupled with an April freeze has no doubt impacted some farmers,” Haslam said.

Farmers in Hancock and Hawkins counties reported significant yield and quality losses for mixed forages and heavy damage to fruit crops as a result of the freeze. The area experienced a dramatic drop in temperatures and heavy frost April 7 – 24.

“I want to thank Gov. Haslam for recognizing that farming is a tough business. It’s important that we help farmers recover when they have unexpected losses because they are important to local economies,” state Agriculture Commissioner Julius Johnson said.

For the latest information on crop conditions and progress statewide, visit the USDA National Agricultural Statistics, Tennessee Field Office at The Tennessee Crop Weather report is made available each Monday at 3 p.m. Central Daylight Time April through October.