Writing Clips

How did these fired rogue deputies get their badges back?

Members of this secret brotherhood of deputies were fired after top sheriff’s brass described their initiation rites, tattoos and secret black book of shootings as the markings of a criminal street gang. But four of those deputies have won back their sheriff’s badges over the objections of the department, a Times investigation found. – Los Angeles Times

The Squeeze and the Spread

Blount County sought help from a Wall Street firm to save its failing insurance fund. The plan worked — but now mom-and-pop pharmacies are losing hundreds of dollars every time they fill a prescription for a public employee. Some have gone bankrupt. – The Maryville Daily Times

Live in your car? California law can be harsh

An obscure towing violation is used in some neighborhoods to punish its homeless people, critics say. An analysis of parking citation data shows what kinds of neighborhoods. – USC Annenberg Media

Sheriff favors contractor who pays him personally

In an open bid for what might be the county’s most lucrative private contract, the sheriff’s department has already signaled a winner. City Tele-Coin’s president donated thousands to the sheriff’s re-election campaign, and gave his college-age daughter a high-ranking job she had no previous experience in. – The Maryville Daily Times

Tariffs carry Blount impact

One of the biggest employers in Blount County says they are “deeply worried” about President Trump’s promise of a trade war with China. The Japanese company’s recent multi-billion dollar investment in the area could be at risk. – The Maryville Daily Times

Families on the border fear end of open enrollment

A school district change to its enrollment policy could devastate property values for hundreds of homes. – The Liberty Hill Independent

Recovery from opioid addiction is possible

The opioid epidemic’s death toll is staggering, and many caught in its grip feel there is no escape. But recovery is possible. – The Maryville Daily Times

Man credits recovery to addiction court program

Blount County has in recent years emphasized rehabilitation over punishment for criminal offenders struggling with addiction. Daniel McQueen is grateful for it. – The Maryville Daily Times

“Big loud booms:” Mysterious tremors shake neighborhood

For years a neighborhood has been rattled by earthquakes, but houses just a few streets over don’t feel a thing. Experts and neighbors aren’t quite sure how to explain it. – The Maryville Daily Times

Liberty Hill Police transfer signals rising divide at City Hall

Some officials describe it as a simple house cleaning measure. City Administrator Greg Boatright calls it the mayor’s latest move to assert personal control over city operations. – The Liberty Hill Independent

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