- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 6, 2015
Obama, Bidens to visit Tennessee on Friday

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - President Barack Obama will be in East Tennessee this week to discuss new plans to help people go to college.

A White House official said Monday that Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Biden’s wife, Jill, will appear Friday at Pellissippi State Community College in Knoxville. They will also travel to Techmer PM in Clinton, Tennessee, to highlight manufacturing job creation.

Obama is also traveling to the Detroit area and Phoenix earlier in the week.

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Obama tests his sway against a GOP-run Congress

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama this week will test whether he still has the sway to keep Washington focused on his own priorities, even as a new Republican-run Congress descends on the Capitol eager to take him on.

Fresh off a two-week vacation, Obama immediately began ramping up for his State of the Union address - his best chance to set the agenda for 2015 on his own terms. Obama will roll out new executive steps and proposals for Congress this week on home ownership, higher education and manufacturing jobs - a similar menu to the one Obama has offered in years past.

Republicans have an entirely different blueprint for the start of the year. In full control of Congress for the first time of Obama’s presidency, they planned an all-out offensive against his policies on immigration, foreign policy and the environment.

In a sign of their divergent paths, just as lawmakers arrive in Washington to start the new Congress this week, Obama was heading out of town. He planned to spend most of the week in Michigan, Arizona and Tennessee showcasing how his own economic policies are fueling the economic recovery.

The State of the Union comes early this year, on Jan. 20, and it is Obama’s first with Republicans in control of both House and Senate.

Obama’s speechwriters have been crafting the speech for weeks, both in Washington and in Hawaii, where the president spent two weeks on the golf courses and beaches of Oahu with his family and a handful of friends. The White House has been also been reaching out to Democratic-aligned policy groups to solicit input on the speech.

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Teen charged with reckless endangerment after rescue

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (AP) - A Middle Tennessee teen is facing a charge of reckless endangerment after crews were called out to a water rescue.

The Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office told media that 18-year-old Clinton Cole Powers drove into rushing water covering part of a roadway Sunday and his truck ended up in Stones River.

A statement from the agency says Powers was rescued by swift water technicians from the Emergency Medical Services’ Special Operations Response Team.

“The swift water technicians negotiated the swift water rapids and paddled into the eddy behind the vehicle to rescue the victim,” Adam Rose, the Special Operations Response Team’s supervisor, said in the statement.

A passenger in the truck, 21-year-old Brentan Mihm, swam to shore.

“Both victims were very lucky they did not drown today,” Sheriff Robert Arnold said. “There were two high water signs posted and the water was up and unstoppable.”

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3-year highway project in Chattanooga nearing completion

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) - A Tennessee Department of Transportation official says the three-year reconstruction of U.S. 27 in Chattanooga is nearly complete.

TDOT spokeswoman Jennifer Flynn told the Chattanooga Times Free Press (https://bit.ly/1Aw5Hse) that the $105.6 million road project is the most expensive the agency has undertaken in southeastern region of the state.

The project turned four lanes of highway into six through lanes, with eight in the more heavily congested areas.

The project, which began in December 2011, is expected to wrap up this year.

Tony Newman is construction, engineering and inspection manager for Volkert Inc., the company overseeing the project for TDOT.

Newman says project is in its final stage, but final paving and pavement markings will have to be done when temperatures are warmer.

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