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Church child care center closes amidst fraud claims against pastor

After allegations of theft against a former Gatlinburg church pastor, the church's day care center shut its doors Thursday.

Former pastor of Gatlinburg Presbyterian Church, Ronald Lukat, has not been charged with a crime. But a police report shows he admitted to officers that he did not pay state or federal taxes on the daycare.

Anti-liquor group requests changes before Pigeon Forge liquor vote

Pigeon Forge's new liquor-by-the-drink election is in one month, and the anti-liquor group that challenged the election is asking for changes before the new vote.

Concerned Churches and Citizens of Pigeon Forge filed a formal request with the Sevier County Election Commission. It wants non-resident property owners to vote by provisional or challenged ballots. The group is referring specifically to people who register to vote, but who own only a small percentage of a piece of property.

The Sevier County Election Commission says they will not honor the request.

A wedding is just the beginning of a life together

A wedding day is a celebration of love and a time to remember and a time to start fresh.

Then comes marriage.

An expert on the subject shared some advice.

David and Trish Faulkner tied the knot 44 years ago in Jellico, Tennessee.

He remembers what made his wedding day so special.

"I had the right girl," David Faulkner said.

Forty Four years ago, David Faulkner also became a Southern Baptist Pastor.

His calling took a different path about 25 years ago. That's when he started marrying couples at wedding chapels in Gatlinburg.

Clingman's Dome Road to be opened earlier, weather permitting

A popular destination in the Smokies will be opening earlier than usual, weather permitting.

Officials with the Great Smoky Mountains National Park will open Clingmans Dome Road as February 15, as long as weather conditions allow. 

In past years, the road has been closed from December 1 through March 31.

The road could still be closed in the case of winter weather.  It will not be plowed or salted.

Gatlinburg pastor accused of stealing from church

An East Tennessee pastor has been accused by his congregation of stealing funds from his church.

William Ball, a church member at the Gatlinburg Presbyterian Church, filed a complaint with the Gatlinburg Police Department in late December that accused former pastor Ronald Lukat of charging $3,600 to the church's credit card for personal use. Ball said that Lukat, who was also the treasurer of the church's daycare, also did not pay more than $40,000 to the federal government and the state.

"We haven't determined yet how deep the rabbit hole's going to go," he said.

Sevier County cabin burns, firefighters keep flames from spreading

A fire at a Sevier County cabin sent thick, dark smoke into the air that could be seen for miles.

The fire happened started shortly after 1:00 pm on Wednesday on Hawkeye View Road in Sevierville.

At least two fire departments, Sevier County Volunteer and Caton's Chapel Volunteer,  fought the blaze, which was on a winding, narrow mountain road that was difficult to reach. 

New Smokies backcountry fees start Wednesday

New backcountry camping fees start Wednesday in the Great Smoky Mountains, but a new website makes reservations easier for campers.

After two years of researching the idea, park officials decided to implement a $4 dollar fee per day per person for backcountry campers.

That money will be used to off-set the cost of a brand new reservation website, and two new rangers who will solely focus on taking care of the backcountry.