Severe weather expected Sunday

All of East Tennessee and the Lakeway Area is at an enhanced risk for severe storms Sunday including damaging winds, hail and isolated tornadoes, according to the National Weather Service in Morristown.

As of Friday morning, the NWS confidence in the prediction was low to moderate, but current models show all of East Tennessee, Southwest Virginia and southwest North Carolina will be at risk from Sunday afternoon into the early evening hours.

These storms could include damaging winds, quarter-size hail and isolated tornadoes.

Fred’s closing Newport store

Memphis-based Fred’s discount store chain announced Thursday it will close 159 underperforming stores across the South, including its store in the Five Rivers Plaza Shopping Center in Newport and 22 other locations in Tennessee. No other location in the Lakeway Area will be closed.

Plans are to permanently close the stores by the end of May, however, the company says 398 stores will remain open.

In a Thursday filing with the Security and Exchange Commission, the firm said, “The decision to close these stores is the result of a comprehensive evaluation of the company’s store portfolio, which examined historical and recent store performance and the timing of lease expirations, among other factors. We will make every effort to transition impacted associates to other stores where possible.”

Traffic stop leads to drug arrest

A Hamblen County man with a heavily spotted driving history owes his arrest on a felony crystal-meth charge Thursday morning to a minor tag-related violation, according to the Morristown Police Department.

The license plate on the Nissan pickup Estel Long was driving was assigned to another vehicle, according to officer Adam Winstead, who spotted the vehicle turning from South Cumberland Street into the southbound lanes of Highway 160

Long, a 52-year-old man who lives on Kenner Road in Talbott, allegedly was holding 9.7 grams of crystal meth, a glass meth pipe and $376 in suspected drug-sales proceeds. The defendant, who was whisked to the police department to be interviewed by Detective Capt. Chris Blair, allegedly said he uses meth and sells some “to get by,” according to a warrant.

Due to prior arrests for driving on a revoked license following a DUI conviction, Long can’t legally drive anymore. For this, he’s been arrested seven times before. This morning, Long remained in the Hamblen County Jail in lieu of $75,000 bond.

THP Checkpoint in Hamblen County

The Tennessee Highway Patrol will conduct sobriety roadside safety checkpoints on Sunday, May 5 at State Route 343 Buffalo Trail, ramp from U.S. Highway 25E in Hamblen County.

Impaired driving is a serious crime that kills more than 16,000 people and injures 305,000 others every year in the United States. Troopers will evaluate drivers for signs of alcohol or drug impairment. Troopers will target those who operate a vehicle while impaired and take corrective actions for other violations observed while ensuring protection of all motorists.

THP recognizes that sobriety checkpoints are highly visible and effective tools in the battle against impaired driving.