published Tuesday, January 15th, 2013

Top 5 things to know in the Chattanooga area today (with video)

1) NO REPRIEVE FROM RAIN LIKELY UNTIL THURSDAY

Chattanooga and the surrounding area have had a wet week, and the soggy weather is expected to continue through Wednesday.

The rainfall prompted the National Weather Service to issue a flood watch for southeastern Tennessee, North Georgia and North Alabama. The watch is in effect until Wednesday morning. Heavy rain and flooding caused some road closures in Chattanooga and the surrounding areas Monday evening.

2) TENNESSEE GOV. BILL HASLAM PUSHING SCHOOL VOUCHERS

Gov. Bill Haslam's embrace of a limited school voucher program is drawing praise from a leading legislative proponent but dismay from the state's largest teachers group and a Chattanooga representative.

Haslam, a Republican, told reporters Monday that he plans to push a limited education voucher bill in the Legislature this year. The poorest children in Tennessee's worst-performing schools would be eligible, the governor said.

3) GROUPS CALL FOR OUSTER OF U.S. REP. SCOTT DESJARLAIS

A prominent conservative blog and a well-financed family values group are calling for U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais' ouster, adding to the national voices wanting new representation in Tennessee's 4th District.

An anti-abortion Jasper physician who promotes a family friendly agenda, DesJarlais supported his ex-wife's two abortions in the 1990s and later had sexual relationships with several female patients and co-workers, court documents show. Some of that information didn't emerge until after DesJarlais won re-election in November.

4) 21-YEAR-OLD RINGGOLD WOMAN CHARGED IN FATAL CRASH ON I-24

A 21-year-old Ringgold, Ga., woman faces a charge of vehicular homicide after she told Chattanooga police investigators she was driving in excess of 100 mph to pick up her sick child when she lost control of her car on Interstate 24.

Ariel Cathleen Campbell, who told police she had been partying all night with her husband at a friend's house, lost control of her Chrysler Concord on I-24 on Oct. 26.

5) LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN BOULDER TO STAY ON ON TRAIL FOR NOW

A huge boulder that rolled down the side of Lookout Mountain, Tenn., sometime on New Year's Eve and planted itself in the middle of the popular Hardy hiking trail will stay put for a while.

A department official had discussed having TDOT workers break up the boulder by hand-drilling holes 8 to 10 feet deep and filling them with expanding grout that fractures rock. But officials have decided to hold off on boulder removal during the rainy season because of concern that loose rock could come down on workers.

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