Staff Photo by John Rawlston / TVA workers control and monitor the system's electric grid at the TVA power operations center Thursday, Aug. 27, 2015, in Chattanooga, Tenn.

Hot weather sets TVA power peak

This week's heatwave pushed electricity consumption in the Tennessee Valley to its highest level in nearly a decade.

On Thursday, when temperatures across TVA's 7-state region averaged 92 degrees, power demand for TVA peaked at 30,340 megawatts at 6 p.m. Eastern time as air conditioners ran at high levels to keep homes, offices and factories cool amid the sweltering heat and humidity.

TVA spokesman Scott Fiedler said Thursday's power peak was up from the 30,209-megawatt peak the previous day and was the highest summer load for TVA since July 26, 2012. Power usage Thursday was still well below the 33,482-megawatt peak TVA reached in the summer of 2007 when temperatures were above 100 degrees across the Tennessee Valley.

Thursday's power peak was the 14th highest July peak and the 60th highest overall summer peak in TVA's history, Fiedler said.

Despite initial heat advisories issued for Chattanooga Friday, the power peak for the entire Tennessee Valley Friday was not expected to be as high as Thursday's peak.


Walmart requiring workers to wear masks

Walmart is requiring that all workers at its headquarters as well as its managers who travel within the U.S. be vaccinated against COVID-19 by Oct. 4.

The world's biggest retailer is also reversing its mask policy for its employees working in stores, clubs, distribution facilities and warehouses. Going forward, they will be required to wear masks in areas with high infection rates, including Tennesssee, even if they have been vaccinated.

The moves are part of a series of sweeping measures Walmart announced Friday to help curb the spread of the virus and drive more of its workers to get the shot in the arm.

The vaccine mandate excludes frontline workers, who the company says have a lower vaccination rate than management. But it's hoping that managerial employees, who represent just a fraction of its 1.5 million workers, will serve as inspiration.

"We're hoping that will influence even more of our frontline associates to become vaccinated," Walmart spokesman Scott Pope said.


WRCB-TV names Callie Starnes as manager

Callie Starnes, news director for WRCB-TV, has also been named station manager for Chattanooga's NBC affiliate.

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File photo / Callie Starnes

Starnes, who joined Channel 3 in 2008 after graduating from Berry College, will serve as station manager until the end of the year when she will become WRCB-TV's general manager at the same time Pam Teague, the current general manager for Channel 3, is promoted to the chief operating officer of Sarkes-Tarzian, the parent company of WRCB-TV. After serving as an anchor and investigative reporter for several years, Starnes was named assistant news director. Starnes served as relationship manager at a Chattanooga public relations before being named news director in 2016.

"Callie truly deserves the opportunity to lead Channel 3 as its General Manager," said Tom Tolar, the retiring Sarkes Tarzian chief operating officer who previously served as WRCB-TV's general manager. "She is passionate about providing outstanding service to our viewers, community, and advertisers. Her leadership and focus have produced impressive results for the Eyewitness News Team."

Starnes has been honored with multiple Regional Edward R. Murrow Awards and recognized by the Tennessee Associated Press for investigative reporting. She is a fellow with the Carole Kneeland Project for Responsible Journalism. Starnes is a 2021 member of Leadership Tennessee Next and a 2012 graduate of the Chattanooga Women's Leadership Institute's Women Mentoring Women program.


Inflation is up 4%, highest since 2008

The Federal Reserve's preferred measure of inflation climbed by 4% in June compared with a year earlier, as a rebounding economy and strong demand for goods and services helped to push prices higher.

The gains in the Personal Consumption Expenditures inflation index were the fastest since 2008, but in line with economists' expectations. That rapid pace is not expected to last — and how much and how quickly it will fade is the economic question of the moment.

Inflation has been surprisingly quick this year. Economists knew prices would post strong increases as they were measured against weak figures from 2020, when costs for many common purchases slumped. But the jump in recent months has been more intense than most were expecting.

That is partly because supply bottlenecks have emerged across America's reopening economy. Computer ship shortages pushed up the prices of electronics and delayed automobile production, causing used car prices to surge as people scrambled to find vehicles. Employers are struggling to hire back workers fast enough to meet returning demand, and wages and prices at restaurants and some other service providers have begun to move higher.

— Compiled by Dave Flessner