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Tennessee official: Fear of virus not reason to vote by mail

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee election officials say the fear of contracting the coronavirus doesn’t meet the criteria to vote by mail due to illness in the state. Elections Coordinator Mark Goins said Tuesday the determination was made in consultation with the attorney general's office. Officials are advising their local counterparts to prepare as though all 1.4 million registered voters who are at least 60 will vote by mail in the August primary election due to the coronavirus pandemic. The guidance comes in Tennessee’s COVID-19 election contingency plan, which was prepared by the state Division of Elections. Two lawsuits seek to allow voting by mail for all Tennessee voters.


Tennessee county leads US in virus cases per capita

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee's Trousdale County has the highest per capita coronavirus infection rate in the U.S. and Bledsoe County has the fifth. That's according to an Associated Press analysis. In both counties, the high infection rates are attributable to their local prisons. Trousdale County has 1,363 cases of the virus. Nearly all of those are from the Trousdale Turner Correctional Center where 1,299 inmates and 50 workers have tested positive. Bledsoe County has reported 604 cases including 586 at the Bledsoe County Correctional Complex. Nearly all the inmates completed 14 days of isolation without becoming ill. Two Trousdale prisoners and one Bledsoe prisoner have died after testing positive.


Civic leader Fred L. Davis dies in Memphis; marched with MLK

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Civic leader and businessman Fred L. Davis has died in Memphis, Tennessee. Davis supported the 1968 sanitation workers’ strike in Memphis and marched with the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. He was 86. A media representative for the Davis family said he died Tuesday at his home in Memphis. Davis had been ill for several months. Davis was elected to the Memphis City Council in 1967. He supported Memphis sanitation workers who went on strike in 1968 to protest dangerous working conditions and low pay. Davis joined King on a march down Beale Street that turned violent in March 1968.


As Trump urges reopening, thousands getting sick on the job

NEW YORK (AP) — Even as President Donald Trump urges getting people back to work and reopening the economy,  an Associated Press analysis shows thousands of people are getting sick from COVID-19 on the job. That surge of infections in food-processing plants as well as at construction sites and elsewhere underscores the high stakes for communities as they gradually loosen restrictions on business. Even the White House has proven vulnerable, with positive coronavirus tests for one of President Donald Trump’s valets and for Vice President Mike Pence’s press secretary. Of the 15 counties with the highest per-capita rates of new infections most are homes to meatpacking and poultry-processing plants.


Man charged with placing target at NAACP leader's home

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Police in Tennessee have charged a man accused of placing a bullseye-like target in the front yard of Nashville’s NAACP president. Nashville Metro Police announced Monday that 63-year-old Roy E. Brown was charged with intimidation. The agency says Brown told police he had known NAACP leader Rev. Keith Caldwell for years and thought the target looked like a flower and would look nice in his yard. Caldwell has said he viewed the target as “an act of intimidation,” but in a Facebook post Monday he said it no longer appeared the act was racially-motivated. Caldwell said he would advocate for Brown’s case to be heard in mental health court.


Park: Crowds stayed manageable during reopening of Smokies

GATLINBURG, Tenn. (AP) — Officials say crews had to rescue one hiker and dealt with congestion in a few popular places when the Great Smoky Mountains reopened over the weekend, but crowds stayed manageable. Park spokeswoman Dana Soehn said officials evaluated weekend events on Monday and determined conditions weren't overwhelming for staff or visitors. Major roadways, most trails and some restroom facilities became accessible for the first time Saturday when the Smokies became one of the country’s first national parks to reopen after closing in March to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Soehn says officials will continue a social media campaign aimed at helping visitors plan a safe visit that includes social distancing.