A disaster declaration has been approved by the federal government for the state of Tennessee following the frigid winter weather we had back around Christmas. Federal Emergency Management Agency assistance will be made available to augment state, local and tribal recovery efforts in areas affected by the severe winter storm from December 22nd through the 27th. Funding is available to the state and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations for emergency work and the repair or replacement of facilities damaged in Cocke, Coffee, Davidson, Greene, Henderson, Knox, Maury, Perry, Putnam, Shelby and Washington counties. The arctic blast forced the Tennessee Valley Authority to implement rolling blackouts across the Southeast amid record demand for power. The nation’s largest public utility has since appointed an independent panel to study what led to the decision to implement the blackouts.