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The iconic Ocoee Whitewater Center near Ducktown, Tennessee — host of the whitewater slalom event for the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta — has burned to the ground.
Polk County EMA Director Steve Lofty said Tuesday in a telephone interview the fire had already engulfed about 90% of the structure by the time a full fire response got to the scene on the Ocoee River.
Lofty said fire crews were already in the area — about two miles away — putting out a tractor-trailer fire, when dispatchers first learned of the fire at 11:53 p.m. Monday.
There is no known connection between the two fires.
Polk County Executive Robby M. Hatcher said Tuesday in a telephone interview the loss is a blow to the rafting community and Polk County as a whole.
U.S. Forest Service officials said it’s too soon to say whether the center will be rebuilt.
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is investigating the cause of the fire, Miller said. No one is allowed on site until their investigation is complete. That means the center and some associated trails are closed.
The Ocoee region’s whitewater businesses shouldn’t see too much impact, according to Ocoee River Outfitters Association President Ryan Cooke.
Cooke said he hoped the bad news about the fire doesn’t keep anyone away from the river and its outfitters. All the Ocoee outfitters will be open for business, and rafting this coming weekend.
In news today…
The best day yet for early voting was on Tuesday as 751 people voted early in Bradley County. The running early count stands at 5,794 votes, with two days left to vote early. The final two days are today and tomorrow, 9am-6pm at the three Bradley County early voting sites: Bradley Square Mall, the Bradley County Election Commission, and The Planet Fitness plaza on APD-40.
Also in news today…
Cleveland State Community College has finalized plans for its Spring 2022 Commencement Ceremony. Approximately 414 degrees and certificates will be awarded during the graduation ceremony. The ceremony will be held on Friday, May 6, at 5:30 p.m. in the L. Quentin Lane Center.
Cleveland State President, Dr. Bill Seymour, will be the speaker of the ceremony.
After seven years at the college, Seymour will be retiring, and his last day in office will be June 30th.
For those unable to attend the Cleveland State Community College Spring 2022 Commencement Ceremony, the event will be streamed live and can be viewed at mycs.cc/graduation.
Amid one of the tightest labor markets in history, Food City is seeking to recruit hundreds of full- and part-time workers as cashiers, cake decorators, meat cutters, pharmacy technicians and warehouse and stocking personnel.
On Thursday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Food City will host hiring events across East Tennessee and parts of four other states, including each of Food City’s 27 supermarkets in the Chattanooga area.
People interested in traveling should apply for Food City’s retail stocking and reset teams as well as numerous truck driving positions with the grocery chain.
Food City, which operates the most grocery outlets in the Chattanooga region, is among hundreds of local employers seeking to hire more workers with unemployment now below 3% in metropolitan Chattanooga.
Food City did not disclose starting wages, which may differ across its five-state footprint depending upon local conditions. But the family-owned grocery chain said its benefits include training, health care coverage, dental plans, 401(k) retirement accounts with a 3% company match, vacation accrual, vision coverage and company-paid life and disability plans, plus an employee stock ownership plan.