- Associated Press - Monday, February 24, 2014
Trees illegally cut at Percy Priest Lake

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - State wildlife officials are looking for individuals who illegally cut down trees at Percy Priest Lake.

The Tennessean (http://tnne.ws/1fLeR65) reports Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency officers recently found 24 Bald Cypress trees cut down by chainsaws.

The trees are the property of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and removing them violates federal law.

Officials say the individuals who cut down the trees then sank them in the lake to use as fish attractors.

“What we think happened is they went out and cut off the tops of these trees, which have a lot of branches on them, and they probably drug them out into the lake so that they could fish over top of them,” said TWRA spokesman Doug Markham. “It’s just somebody who is selfish and too lazy to drag their own stuff out there so they cut down the fisherman’s trees.”

Bald Cypress trees, which are a member of the redwood family, can grow to 120 feet. TWRA reservoir biologists plant the water-tolerant trees near lakes to help keep the shoreline intact and minimize erosion.

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Authorities probe 2 explosions at Tenn. plant

TOONE, Tenn. (AP) - Authorities are investigating two explosions at a manufacturing plant in western Tennessee that injured an employee.

The Jackson Sun (http://bit.ly/1nYyXOE) reports the first blast happened around 10:50 a.m. Saturday at the Kilgore Flares plant in Toone. The second explosion occurred around 9:30 p.m.

There were no injuries in that incident, but authorities said Kilgore employee Michael Chism suffered severe burns in the first blast and was flown to the Regional Medical Center in Memphis where he’s listed in critical condition.

Kilgore makes air and naval decoy flares for the military.

Hardeman County Sheriff John Doolen said the company wasn’t allowing authorities inside the building until the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives served a warrant.

Chuck Stout, vice president and general manager of Kilgore, released a statement Saturday afternoon saying the company was cooperating with law enforcement.

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