- Associated Press - Friday, July 4, 2014
Tennessee man claims $259 million Powerball prize

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - A man with a winning $259 million Powerball ticket claimed what officials are calling the largest jackpot ever won in Tennessee, and says he plans to use most of the money to support the performing arts.

Roy Cockrum of Knoxville appeared Thursday at the Tennessee Lottery headquarters in Nashville to claim the prize. He plans to accept a lump sum payment of $115 million.

Cockrum, 58, bought the ticket at a Kroger store in Knoxville on June 11. Before becoming a millionaire, he worked for 20 years as an actor and stage manager for theater and TV productions.

He later became known as Brother Roy, as he followed a call to religious service with The Society of Saint John the Evangelist, an Episcopal religious community in Cambridge, Massachusetts. According to the society’s “Rule of Life,” members of the monastic order take “lifelong vows of poverty, celibacy and obedience in an enduring fellowship.”

Cockrum said he plans to use most of the money to start a foundation that will support performing arts organizations around the country.

“It’s going to be my job to work very hard to make sure that every single penny of this prize is a blessing to whoever it touches,” he said during a news conference. Beyond that, Cockrum had little to say and let lottery officials do most of the talking.

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5 things to know about Tennessee’s electric chair

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - A law took effect this week in Tennessee making it the first U.S. state to have the option of executing death row inmates with the electric chair if drugs for lethal injections are not available. Billy Ray Irick, who was convicted of murder in the death of a 7-year-old girl he was babysitting in 1985, is the next Tennessee death row inmate scheduled to be executed, on Oct. 7. Corrections officials have said they have no lethal injection drugs on hand but are confident they can obtain them when needed. Here are five things to know about the state’s electric chair:

THE RETURN OF ‘OLD SPARKY’

Tennessee is one of several states to nickname its electric chair ‘Old Sparky.’ The chair was built out of the gallows used by the state before it abolished hangings in 1913. A replacement chair was built in 1989, but it kept the old wooden back legs. The original chair that was retired after 125 electrocutions is now on display at the Ripley’s Believe It Or Not museum in Gatlinburg, while the new chair is stored in the state’s execution chamber in Nashville alongside the lethal injection equipment.

CHAIR REVISIONS

Fred Leuchter, the Massachusetts man who rebuilt Tennessee’s electric chair in 1989, has taken issue with subsequent decreases in the voltage and duration of the jolts, arguing that they make it more likely for the inmate to feel pain and to “cook the executee and boil his blood.” But Leuchter said his concerns have been ignored because of statements he’s made in the past claiming historians have inflated the number of Holocaust victims during World War II.

MOST RECENT ELECTROCUTION

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Army issues ‘worst-case’ scenarios for reductions

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - Army bases and surrounding communities across the country would lose up to 80 percent of their military and civilian workforces if maximum cuts in both budget and force size go into effect at the end of the decade, according to worst-case scenario projections.

The report comes as the Pentagon and Congress are at odds over proposals to trim the size of America’s military after 13 years of war in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The new findings, issued last week by the U.S. Army Environmental Command at Fort Sam Houston in Texas, double the projected loss from a 2013 report. Now, in the Army’s “worst-case” scenario, the force would fall from a 2012 level of 562,000 to 420,000 by 2020.

The projections concentrate on the most severe possible cutbacks, and they illustrate the potential fallout for communities whose economy is closely linked to military facilities. The report is likely be cited by opponents of base reductions as a sign of hardships to come.

Posts such as Fort Campbell, a sprawling facility on the Kentucky-Tennessee line and home of the 101st Airborne Division, would lose half its civilian and military workforce - about 16,000 people - and take an economic hit of $863 million, according to the report. At Fort Knox, the iconic Kentucky base that recently lost its only fighting brigade, the civilian and military workforce would be 5,527 by 2020, from 13,127 in 2011, the projections show.

Other installations around the country would see similar reductions, including Fort Drum in New York, home to the 10th Mountain Division, which would take an $877 million economic hit under the projections.

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Nashville Zoo announces plans to expand

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Officials say a major expansion is coming to the Nashville Zoo that includes more animals, more exhibits and more workers.

Zoo spokesman Jim Bartoo told The Tennessean (http://tnne.ws/1o4n35D) that more details of the expansion will be released next week.

“We’ve got exciting things planned,” he said.

He said the expansion plans are in addition to a campaign launched in 2012 to raise $130 million for a 30-acre African exhibit.

Metro officials decided last month to allot the zoo $10 million, but the money can’t be spent unless the zoo is able to raise dollar-for-dollar matching private investments.

Bartoo says zoo officials hope to spur donations with the expansion announcement.

Copyright © 2016 The Washington Times, LLC.

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