- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 17, 2015
Many Southern states get their 1st major blast of winter

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - It’s the South’s turn to suffer from the snow, freezing rain and sleet in a storm that brought back memories of one from the same time a year ago.

After weeks of snow in the Northeast, winter weather had moved through Arkansas and Kentucky and was headed east. While even small amounts of frozen precipitation can bring the region to halt, the worst was yet to come: temperatures in the single digits in areas where electricity was threatened by coatings of ice on power lines.

This February storm arrived on Presidents Day, when many schools and businesses were already closed. But the day isn’t a state holiday in North Carolina so schools let out early Monday and by the afternoon officials were canceling classes Tuesday. College campuses, including from Appalachian State University in the western part of the state and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, canceled afternoon classes Monday.

In central Kentucky, home to much of the state’s signature thoroughbred industry, horses kept warm by galloping through the deep snow, pausing occasionally to shake it off from their thick winter coats. Ned Toffey, general manager of Spendthrift Farm in Lexington, said the horses enjoy running in the snow because it gives them a nice cushion as opposed to the harder, packed earth.

Still, some weren’t quite ready for the winter blast.

RL Doss said he had already used his 1987 GMC Suburban - which can haul up to three-quarters of a ton with ropes and chains - to rescue several people and their cars on the hills surrounding Frankfort. Cars were fishtailing and sliding off the slick roads.


Cassius Cash begins job as new superintendent of Smokies

GATLINBURG, Tenn. (AP) - Growing up in Memphis, the son of a homicide detective and a cosmetologist, Cassius Cash didn’t dream of one day being the superintendent of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

He was set, instead, on being a doctor.

As a pre-med student in biology at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, however, the pathway for the Smokies’ new leader came to a crossroads.

On the way to band practice - he played in the band for 15 years - Cash heard some talk that the U.S. Forest Service was on campus conducting interviews.

A junior in a science field, Cash thought why not interview? It might be good practice.

“The only thing that came (to mind) was Smokey the Bear,” Cash said with a smile Thursday morning from his office at park headquarters, where he was beginning his fourth day on the job.


Judge issues no-contact order against NASCAR’s Kurt Busch

DOVER, Del. (AP) - A Delaware judge has ordered NASCAR driver Kurt Busch to stay away from his ex-girlfriend Patricia Driscoll and not communicate with her.

The judge issued a no-contact order Monday after holding a hearing that stretched over four days in December and January.

Driscoll sought the order in November, claiming that Busch assaulted her after she showed up unannounced at his motorhome at Dover International Speedway in September. She also filed a criminal complaint that has yet to be acted upon by the Delaware attorney general’s office.

Busch denies assaulting Driscoll. He says she ignored his repeated requests to leave his motorhome.

A Dover police detective testified that Busch told him Driscoll’s head “tapped” the wall when he cupped her face in his hands and told her again to leave.


State of emergency declared as road conditions deteriorate

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - A state of emergency has been declared as a winter storm making its way across Tennessee has led to poor road conditions and major traffic problems.

The Tennessee Emergency Management Agency issued the declaration at 9 p.m. Monday.

The agency said in a statement posted online that the declaration came as motorists were backed up on Interstate 40 and part of I-24 was closed due to an earlier backup.

TEMA has requested that the state National Guard deploy a 10-person crew with Humvees for motorist wellness checks.

Weather forecasters earlier urged motorists to stay off the roads. A wintry mix of sleet and freezing rain was expected to create up to a half-inch of ice on roads in parts of Middle Tennessee, and three-quarters of an inch in parts of West Tennessee.

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