1. Sources: Jeremy Pruitt accepts coaching job; deal not finalized
Local 8 Sports contributor Chris Low of ESPN says Pruitt has accepted the deal with UT, but both parties are still finalizing it. Chris told Local 8 News during our 11pm broadcast Wednesday night, "... both sides plan for Pruitt to be the next head coach at Tennessee and they're working out the final details. There may be some conversation as to whether or not he's gonna be Alabama's defensive coordinator through the playoffs. I think they'll probably work through that, Kirby Smart did a couple years ago." Chris went on to say he's confident Pruitt wants the job and told Tennessee as much, but again, they're just truing to work out the details. Jeremy Pruitt is a guy that fits the profile Phillip Fulmer was looking for, somebody who brings a defensive presence, a guy who's SEC tested and someone who's a very good recruiter.
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2. Surge in California fire brings new evacuations
VENTURA, Calif. (AP) - A surge from the biggest of the wildfires burning in Southern California has forced several thousand more people to evacuate in a community of artists and resorts.
Ventura County sheriff's Sgt. Eric Buschow says flames have been creeping closer and slowly surrounding the town of Ojai (OH'hi), and on Tuesday night increasing winds brought them close enough to expand evacuation orders there.
Flames, now about 4 miles away, were visible from the city's downtown for the first time on Tuesday night, and ash was raining down.
Parts of Ojai were already under evacuation orders, and the entire valley surrounding it had been under a voluntary evacuation advisory since the fire broke out on Monday.
The new evacuations meant most of the town of about 7,000 people was under mandatory orders.
Nearly 30,000 people are under evacuation orders for the fire.
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3. Serious shortage of saline IV bags at local hospitals due to Hurricane Maria r
A nationwide shortage of saline bags is hitting hospitals here in East Tennessee.
East Tennessee Children's Hospital uses a large number of saline bags for everything from rehydrating patients to mixing medications and keeping wounds clean during surgery.
Puerto Rico produced most of the saline bags out there before Hurricane Maria knocked out power limiting production.
"We are concerned. It isn't critical, but it's serious because we're having to meet daily and take stock of what we have and make sure we're able to meet the needs of patients," East Tennessee Children's Hospital Chief Medical Officer Joe Childs said.
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4. Senate barrels ahead on tax overhaul
The Senate's narrow GOP majority prevailed in a 51-47 vote on Wednesday to begin talks with House lawmakers on reconciling the two bills.
The Senate bill narrowly passed in the wee hours Saturday. The House bill, also calling for tax cuts totaling about $1.5 trillion over the next decade, passed in mid-November.
Both measures would bring the biggest overhaul of the U.S. tax system in three decades. Both offer steep tax cuts for businesses and more modest tax breaks for families and individuals. They double the standard deduction to $12,000 for individuals and $24,000 for couples.
Among the major differences: For personal income taxes, the House bill shrinks the current seven brackets to four, while the Senate version keeps seven.
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5. Zaevion Dobson murder trial underway in Knox County
Emotional testimonies during the Zaevion Dobson murder trial took jurors back to the night the Fulton football standout died while shielding friends from a barrage of bullets.
Christopher Drone Bassett, Kipling Deshawn Colbert and Richard Gregory Williams III all face first-degree murder charges in connection with the Dec. 17, 2015, death of the Knoxville teen who was posthumously honored for his courage.
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