Regional News Roundup: Niota, Tenn., gauging interest in May National Train Day event

Officials in Niota, Tenn., plan to restore the 1854-era Niota Depot, the oldest standing depot in the state. A chimney collapse damaged some parts of the building listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The depot building houses city offices and is used for government meetings.

Niota gauging interest in May National Train Day event

NIOTA, Tenn. - The mayor of Niota, Tenn., wants to get the word out that Tennessee's oldest standing depot could become a great site for a National Train Day event on May 12 if railroad enthusiasts would be willing to get on board for the celebration.

photo A train passes the Niota City Hall Tuesday, January 31, 2017, during renovations to the 16-decade-old building in northern McMinn County, Tenn.

Mayor Lois Preece has issued a letter to test the waters for interest in a railroad festival in Niota.

The depot in Niota will be 164 years old this year - making it one of the oldest depots in the country - and recently has undergone renovations to bring the pre-Civil War building back to its former glory.

The Niota Depot is the only surviving Civil War-era depot along the East Tennessee and Georgia Railroad line, according to officials and historical information posted on the property.

Interested participants should contact Niota officials in city hall at 423-506-9413 or email the town mayor at

CPD investigating person shot on South Lyerly Street

CHATTANOOGA -Chattanooga police are investigating a person shot in the 1700 block of South Lyerly Street after midnight Thursday, according to the Chattanooga Police Department.

Officers located the victim, 19-year-old Croshun Laedrick Brooker, suffering from a gunshot wound.

Brooker was transported to a local hospital with injuries that were not life-threatening.

Rhea County Fair wins top Tennessee honors

NASHVILLE - The Rhea County Fair won the top award among dozens of competing county, regional and state agricultural fairs when the Southeast Tennessee county's event was named the "Champion of Champions Fair" for 2017, according to a Wednesday evening news release from the Tennessee Department of Agriculture.

The Rhea County Fair was also among the 54 fairs recognized with the Award of Merit based on agriculture, educational value, overall operations, and the promotion of local interest and community spirit.

In 2017, the department said, nearly three million visitors attended county, regional, and state fairs in Tennessee, which generated $12 million in gross receipts. More than 18,000 volunteers devoted their time, resources and efforts to fairs which had more than 201,000 agricultural exhibits and 22,000 agricultural exhibitors showcasing livestock, farm crops and other agricultural exhibits.

The 20th Annual Fair Showcase, a statewide competition held during the convention, consisted of 472 entries from 42 fairs in 36 categories. To see a list of these winners, 2018 fair dates and other fair information, please visit

Cities get low-interest loans for water treatment projects

NORTH GEORGIA - Two cities and a town in North Georgia received low-interest loans from the state and the EPA for water treatment projects, according to a Thursday news release from State Sen. Jeff Mullis, R-Chickamauga. The loans include:

» $1.15 million to Chickamauga to replace water mains and old meters with an automatic meter reading system. The new system is supposed to reduce water loss. The money comes from the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund loan.

» $3 million to Fort Oglethorpe to rehabilitate sewer lines and replace two pump stations. This money comes from the Conservation Water State Revolving Fund.

» $4.3 million to Trion to install new sludge pumps, belt press units and thickeners at the local water pollution control plant. This money also comes from the Conservation Water State Revolving Fund.

The Georgia Environmental Finance Authority awarded the loans.