Day 312 in the search for Rhonda Kitts Daugherty 

Pictures & stories surrounding the Rhonda Daugherty case are found by clicking the yellow ribbon

NHUNmMANPhoto from home:  Dogwood blooms - Dogwood winter. (04/15/thout an administrator since the fall of 2013, the city says it will soon be seeking to fill



         Cougar Football 2015

Aug 21 Gibbs L 12-7

Aug 28 at Central L 28-0

Sep 04 Lenoir City W 34-13

Sep 10 at Grace W 33-28

Sep 18 at Clinton W 41-35 OT

Sep 25 Cocke Co. HC W 42-0

Oct 02 at Farragut

Oct 09 Bell County

Oct 16 Karns

Oct 23 Open date

Oct 30 at Oak Ridge


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Get the Time & Temp anytime, call 423.566.8463, a service of Terry's Pharmacy

   Friday's games

Final Score

Bell County 41 - Campbell 31

Oneida at Jellico - 7:30 PM

WLAF’s “Business of the Day” today is:

BOWMAN JEWELERS – Downtown La Follette…since 1933

Shop local.  It helps all of us.

Photo from home 

     CHET’s CEO Teresa Dabney was totally surprised when popular TV News Anchor Alan Williams presented her with gifts at Thursday’s annual CHET retreat.  Dabney’s staff of 100 or so held the well kept secret until Thursday.  More pictures and the story are further down this page.

Cougars host Bell County on Friday at 7:30 PM

Oneida at Jellico Friday at 7:30 p.m.

Northbound SUV tears out new guardrail

Non-life threatening injuries

     In a one-person, one-vehicle wreck, a man suffers non-life threatening injuries on Thursday night.  Reports coming in to WLAF are that just after 8PM is when a late model SUV took out about 20-feet of new guardrail on the south side of the 25W underpass at the B & B Market.  Officials on the scene indicate the SUV came into the curve too fast.  (10/09/2015 – 12:30 PM – DAVID GRAHAM PIX)

Bridge open for weekend only

Now through Monday morning


Fields of Faith recap

   Click here to see Alaynah Carney’s creative work. It’s a quick recap of this year’s Fields of Faith.



Rain gear a must for tonight’s Cougars game

Showers & storms are likely

Bell County comes to town this evening to take on the Campbell County Cougars.  Rain, like on three other game nights this season, is likely for this tonight’s 7:30 PM interstate match-up.  Gusty winds, heavy rainfall, and frequent lightning are the main threats from this afternoon and evening’s storms.

WLAF has all the coverage on radio FM 100.9 and AM 1450 with Les Martin and Brent Allen behind the mics.  Air time is 7:00 PM.  The live telecast airs over  WLAF-TV 12 joins the game in progress at 8:00 PM.(10/09/2015 - 6:00 AM)

Let Robbins Guttering beautify your home


Siding, Guttering, Windows, and more – Robbins Guttering 423.566.5461

La Follette’s pride surfaces for Saturday’s big ATV event

Family fun for young and old


Liza Jeffries (L) & Ann Thompson put the finishing touches on downtown décor.

This is the scene in front of Tabatha Smith’s office at the Fleet Building.

Stan Foust (L) and Nick Thompson, along with Jimmy Jeffries (in the background), dropped off bales of hay.

It’s sports time from WLAF's David Graham

     WLAF’s David Graham Sports Report is just a click away right here.  (10/09/2015 – 6:00 AM)

Join WLAF for food, fun, & prizes after tonight's CCHS game

     You’re invited to stop by Fazoli’s after the Cougars game tonight.  Patrick Pebley of the Volunteer Times joins WLAF’s Jim Freeman for the postgame show from Fazoli’s where they’ll be talking about the game with Bell County as well as giving away prizes.  Fazoli’s also shows the game live over its big screen television.(10/09/2015 - 6:00 AM)

LA Cruizers big show is tomorrow

Rain washed out annual event’s initial date

     Maybe the weather will be perfect on Saturday, October 10.  Because it sure wasn’t Saturday, September 26.  Heavy morning rainfall washed out the annual LA Cruizers open car, truck, and motorcycle show.  The rain date is tomorrow, October 10, from 10AM to 3PM. 

One of the treats every year at the LA Cruizers’ big event is WLAF’s David Graham behind the mic as the master of ceremonies.  Dave keeps the crowd on its toes all day long.

That means there’s still time for you to buy a $5 raffle ticket for your chance to win a 2001 Lincoln L-S.  Cruizer members are selling tix now through the 3PM give-a-way on October 10. (10/09/2015 - 6:00 AM)

Dabney delights in surprise

TV anchor delivers special presentation

Everyone in the house knew what was coming.  Except Teresa Dabney.  The almost 10-year CEO of Community Health of East Tennessee (CHET) never saw Thursday’s lunch time surprise coming out of the blue.  Until it landed. 

Longtime television and radio personality Alan Williams was the keynote speaker at Thursday’s CHET retreat.

Dabney just thought that longtime, beloved television news anchor Alan Williams of WLVT-TV CBS 8 of Knoxville was on hand to deliver a pep talk to the entire CHET staff.  And he did.  But after his uplifting message of how everyone’s job is important and why it’s important to keep a positive outlook, he nearly surprised Dabney to tears.

It wasn’t until he began by quoting one of Dabney’s favorite lines of “I’m older than dirt” that she knew something was up.  At which time he presented her with a dirt cake made of pudding and crushed Oreos, among other ingredients.  To a standing ovation, Williams also handed her a gift card that came from a joint donation of the 100 or so staff members and members of the CHET board of directors.

A standing ovation seemed only fitting after everyone in attendance helped pull off the surprise for Dabney.

And about the surprise.  It all started months ago.  Credit goes to Penny Etter, CHET’s compliance officer, who, along with the rest of the event organizers was able to keep quiet about Thursday’s big surprise.  Dabney said she was overwhelmed. 

 Dabney’s Day and Williams appearance were featured during WVLT-TV’s Thursday evening news.

The lunch time fun was a part of an annual day-long event where everyone under the CHET umbrella comes together at one location for planning, training, and bonding.  This year, it was held at the La Follette United Methodist Church.

Rickard Ridge Restaurant catered a delicious barb-b-cue lunch.

CHET serves more than 5,000 Campbell Countians annually through its health clinic, domestic violence shelter, developmental center, and other branch services. (10/09/2015 - 6:00 AM)

 Name of shooting victim released

La Follette woman dies from a gunshot wound

The name of the woman found dead late last night in the yard of her Pleasant Ridge area home has been released by the Campbell County Sheriff’s Department.  Officials tell WLAF News that 59-year old Joyce Ann Ross, a mother of five and grandmother of 17, died from a single gunshot wound to the torso, according to preliminary reports.

It’s being described as a domestic related incident that is still under investigation.  CCSD Investigators spent the night, morning, and all day today preparing and executing search warrants for evidence related to the incident.

Just before 10:30 PM Wednesday night, a call came in to 9-1-1 Dispatch saying that there was a white female lying injured and unresponsive in the yard of a home at 610 Quail Run Lane in La Follette.  It turned out that the body was that of Ross, and that it was in the yard of the home where she lived.

The investigation is still ongoing and will continue. An autopsy will be performed to determine the official cause of death. (10/08/2015 - 5:00 PM)

ATV Festival is Saturday; things you need to know

New Beech Street Bridge opens for Saturday event

By Susan Sharp 

Saturday promises to be a day packed with family fun, door prizes and the best ATV trails this area has to offer.

The Big Creek ATV Fall Festival will kick off at 10:30 am. The all-day event will offer food, live music, kid’s activities, fireworks and three organized rides.

“We have several kinds of vendors, including food and crafts vendors” said La Follette City Administrator Jimmy Jeffries

Bands will provide music throughout the day with the first performance beginning at 11 am.

“This festival has grown beyond our expectations,” Jeffries said.

Saturday’s event has been several years in the making. Once the plans were finalized, a Facebook page devoted to the event was established. Currently, it has over 3,000 likes. Jeffries said that while he can’t attach a number to the riders expected to turn out on Saturday, he is expecting a crowd.

Riders from Ohio, Alabama and Arkansas have indicated they will attend. Area campgrounds and hotels are also booked for the weekend, Jeffries said.

At 10:30 am, the downtown streets will be closed to accommodate the ATV traffic. Festival goers will be permitted to ride all day and there will be an ATV Corral set up for people to showcase the recreational vehicles for sale.

The committee festival is asking riders refrain from riding off highway vehicles (OHV) on State Highway 25W and State Highway 63. Riding on these roads is a violation of state law and could result in fines and/or confiscation of OHV. This may also jeopardize future ATV festivals, according to the festival’s Facebook page.

The committee is further asking that OHVs in the city of La Follette remain on city streets indicated for use in order for car/truck traffic to by-pass safely.

Jeffries said the Beech Street Bridge, which has been closed for repairs, will be open on Saturday to help with traffic flow through the city.

“We won’t stop traffic, but, it will be slowed down a bit” said Jeffries. “We will have alternate routes on the north and south sides of the city.”

At 11 am the planned rides will begin. The first trail will take riders to the elk view towering. The 20 mile ride is estimated to take around two and a half hours and promises to be the easiest course. The second trail will travel across Walnut Mountain to the Top of the World. This 35 mile ride promises a “breath taking view.”

The ride that will take the longest and offer the biggest challenge, is a 40 mile, five hour ride to the Short Mountain- Meadow Branch area.

Riders are also encouraged to find their own trails throughout the day. 

And if Campbell County’s scenic beauty, food and music aren’t enough to draw people to the festival, there are also door prizes.

Among the items that will be given away are ATV helmets, various gift baskets and an assortment of ATV paraphernalia. You must be present to win, according to the festival’s Facebook page.

The event will run until 10 pm with a huge fireworks show from Pyro Shows set to launch at 9:30 pm.

For more information about the Big Creek ATV Fall Festival contact Jimmy Jeffries at 423- 562-4961, visit or contact Cindi Reynolds at the Campbell County Chamber of Commerce at - 6:00 AM)

Indictments handed down

The following indictments were returned the by the Campbell County Grand Jury:

- Jennifer Ellen Trout Greca- public intoxication; possession of a schedule IV controlled substance; introduction of contraband into a penal facility

- April Gentry- DUI with a minor present; DUI

- Tonya Faye Heatherly- driving on a revoked driver’s license (second offense); violation of the Tennessee Financial Law

- Lauren Ashley Jones- possession of a schedule II controlled substance; possession of a drug paraphernalia (10/08/2015 - 6:00 AM)

      5th annual Fields of Faith a success

The Birdsongs opened the evening Wednesday at Fields of Faith at CCHS

Bright Gray sings at Fields of Faith

"Property rights: Private citizen feels city should take action against property owners"


La FOLLETTE—A neighboring dumpster was the dominant grievance Nevada Avenue resident Bob Robbins brought before the city council Monday night.

“I think it’s a slap in our face that a dumpster would be put across the street from a taxpayer’s house,” Robbins said. “It’s on their property, but who’s gonna smell this every day?”

This dumpster was installed at an up and coming apartment complex for low income and elderly tenants, and is being developed by an agency out of Knoxville.

“The site plan was approved by the proper authorities,” Public Works Department Head Jim Mullins said. “It is being built according to that site plan.”

 Bob Robbins addresses the council about issues on Nevada Avenue.  “We’re crossing a line here.” – City Attorney Reid Troutman in reference to the city’s proposed involvement in a private property dispute.

Robbins expressed concerns tenants will leave trash bags on the ground around the dumpster.

Mullins explained the city has a litter policy.

“If they don’t keep it cleaned up, we can see to it that they do,” Mullins said.

Robbins voiced apprehension the truck that empties the dumpster will make noise and damage the street. He reiterating that, although aware the dumpster sits on somebody else’s property, he feels its presence in the neighborhood is like a “slap in the face.”

“Ain’t no respect for people that lived on the street for 40 years,” Robbins said.

There are currently no tenants living in the apartments, but Mayor Mike Stanfield estimated the dumpster is emptied three times a week.

Council member Bob Fannon suggested having the trash picked up only once a week to avoid damage to the road.

However, the property owners have a contract with a company that uses small dumpsters and picks the trash up with small trucks, Mullins said.

The council discussed the possibility of asking the property owners to move the dumpster.

Council member Joe Bolinger asked if Codes Enforcement Officer Stan Foust and Mullins could meet with the owners to discuss moving the dumpster.

While Mullins didn’t think he could “leverage” the owners into moving the dumpster, he believes the city can have the property owners put a fence around it.

Council member Ann Thompson suggested writing a letter to the owners.

However, Foust and City Attorney Reid Troutman pointed out there isn’t much the city can do.

There are other apartment complexes that use dumpsters, and the city can’t dictate where owners place them, Foust said.

The situation involves private property, Troutman said.

“We’re crossing a line here,” he said.

Because in this particular instance the property owners took the city’s sidewalk, the council has an issue, Fannon said.

The property owners dug up or covered the city’s sidewalk—which will be restored, Mullins said.

Robbins also addressed the council about drainage problems on Nevada Avenue.

“The water is running (on to) our property,” Robbins said.

The developer filled the drainage ditch with dirt and put sod on top of it.

The problem with the ditches will also be solved, Mullins said.

The drainage issues begin further up the street, said Butch, another citizen who lives on Nevada Avenue.

“The apartment has compounded the whole problem,” he said. “Made it worse.”

Butch would appreciate anything the city could do, he said.

“We can curb that side of the street,” Mullins said. “I think (we’ll) take care of most of your problems.”

Fannon continues to seek a solution to lost revenue

In the on going quest to recoup lost revenue, Fannon suggested the council send letters to the 27 La Follette businesses that use Jacksboro addresses suggesting they get mail boxes at the LaFollette Post Office. This would be a preventative measure to keep these businesses from losing mail if the city decides to change their addresses in the future.

“We don’t want to cut off their mail supply,” Fannon said.

Fannon also spoke with Rep. Dennis Powers, whom he hopes will help La Follette receive a list of the names of LaFollette businesses whose sales tax revenue goes to Jacksboro every month. This way, the city of La Follette can file a Situs Report on a monthly basis to recover lost revenue.

The council is currently awaiting more information from Troutman before pursuing an action to change the zip codes. The council had received information that if the city was sued, it could only talk about the fact that it changed the zip codes. Fannon feels this is too limited, and doesn’t present the council the opportunity to present enough of a case— one that would involve the revenue the city has lost because of the incorrect zip codes.

“I think Bob can take responsibility, so if anybody goes to jail,” Hatmaker joked.

However, Hatmaker made it clear he supported Fannon in pursuing a solution to regaining LaFollette’s revenue.

“It’s our money, clear as a whistle, and they’re getting it,” Hatmaker said.  “(That’s) big bucks, it ain’t small bucks. Let’s take on the federal.”

Fall Festival

The city of La Follette will host the Big Creek ATV/UTV Fall Festival this Saturday from 1 p.m. to 10 p.m. This block party will encompass not only downtown LaFollette, but also surrounding trails, as visitors will be able to ride in and out of the mountain on ATVs via the Cumberland trail. Over 40 vendors will sell food and crafts. There will be games, live music, a LA Cruizers Car Show, and kids activities.  A fireworks show will be held at 9 p.m. Those who register for the grand prize drawing—a $1250 ATV/UTV Trailer—must be present to win. For more information, go to or

Mullins needs $15,000 to begin work on Belle Meade

In order to accommodate two potential businesses, La Follette needs to install 708 feet of a storm water sewer at Belle Meade.

While the La Follette Public Works Department can accomplish the task, Mullins estimated it would take $15,000 worth of concrete pipe.

“It’s something we’ve got to do,” Bolinger said.

City Administrator Jimmy Jeffries suggested Mullins meet with City Finance Director Terry Sweat to see where he could find $15,000 in the budget.

The council passed a motion to authorize the project if the $15,000 is found.

Danielle Massengill

The council approved hiring Danielle Massengill as a full-time police officer. Massengill, currently a part-time officer, will begin her tenure as a full-time officer on Oct. 17 with an annual salary of $27,540.

Michael Satkowski

The council approved hiring Michael Satkowski as a full-time police officer. Satkowski, currently a part-time officer, will begin his tenure as a full-time officer on Oct. 17 with an annual salary of $27,540.

Destroying hard drives

The council approved destroying old computer hard drives that belong to the police department. The hard drives have to be destroyed, and the last time this was done they were incinerated, Jeffries said

Council authorizes Public Works transactions

The council authorized Mullins to trade two old trucks for one new dump truck and a 30-foot equipment trailer.

Post Office

The council approved paying the utility bill for the old Post Office building. The Campbell County Historical Society has been using the building for six months. However, the utility bill has been about $32 lower since the CCHS began using it.

Beech Street

Beech Street will be open Saturday, but will be closed again a few days next week.(10/07/2015 - 6:00 AM)

Postmark LaFollette opens October 10 with “Dispatch” exhibition

The Campbell County Historical Society presents the first program in a five part series of historical, cultural, and arts exhibitions and displays with added activities and events at the former La Follette Post Office, on South Tennessee Avenue, beginning Saturday, October 10 at 10 a.m.

The kick-off program, free to the public, is titled, Dispatch, and will run through November 14. The exhibit is an overview of Campbell County’s industries, arts, occupations, challenges, interests and notables during expansion and transitional cycles from 1900 through 1950. The exhibit consists of photographs, narratives, multi-media presentations, and selected artifacts.

Added events and activities for opening day include a “Trailmix” welcome in support of the city sponsored guided ATV Trail Rides in the Cumberland Mountain and the accompanying Big Creek Festival in downtown La Follette.

Also on opening day, an award winning short documentary, Merry Death Collector, featuring local entrepreneur, Arnie Meredith, will be screened at 30 minute intervals from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The film maker, Ben Murphy, will be on hand to share his film and to discuss the making of the documentary with visitors. Meredith will join the film maker for a 1 p.m. screening and discussion.

On November 5, the first of two photography classes for youths, ages 11 to 14 will be held at the former post office in downtown La Follette. Rachel Boillot, an accomplished photographer with a published collection of her photography, will provide instructions. The resulting photographs by the students will be presented in a special exhibition at a later date. Parents may pick up a registration form during the open exhibit hours at the former post office at 119 S. Tennessee Avenue, or at the Campbell County Historical Society museum located at 235 E. Central Avenue. There is no fee, however, the classes are limited in size and will be on a first come basis.

Other programs and activities for the year-long project include ongoing oral history interviews with various Campbell County residents. The newly collected oral histories, which began in September, will be combined with a collection of older recorded interviews to produce a special multi-media oral history exhibition scheduled for July, 2016.

During the month of December, the Postmark La Follette project will present a delightful winter holiday display created, sponsored, and produced by the talented Campbell County Junior Leadership under the direction of their faculty advisor, Gina Adrian. Two additional major exhibitions, plus an arts filled program, will round out the schedule through September, 2016.

The Postmark LaFollette project is also tasked as the lead entity to compile local county data requirements for a national study on the economic impact of public events sponsored by non-profit and volunteer organizations engaged in arts, cultural and historic programs.

Regular hours of operation for the “Dispatch” Exhibit are: Thursdays & Saturdays 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and Fridays 2 to 8 p.m. Group tours may be scheduled on other weekdays or at other times during the exhibition period. School groups, service organizations, and other groups may contact the Postmark LaFollette project at the Campbell County Historical Museum telephone: 423.566.3581 or email: PostmarkLaFollette@g.mail. com.

The Postmark LaFollette project is funded in part by a creative place making grant from the Tennessee Arts Commission and by a local match donor, the in kind services of project partners, and by donations from individuals and corporate sponsors. The project venue is generously provided by the City of LaFollette.  (10/07/2015 - 6:00 AM)

Release violators turned over to TDOC

Last week, Eighth Judicial District Criminal Court Judge Shayne Sexton found the following individuals in violation of their supervised release and remanded them to Tennessee Department of Corrections (TDOC) custody:

-Benny Ray Dykes had previously pled guilty to violation of habitual motor vehicle offender bar, and received a suspended sentence of one year supervised by TDOC. He was found guilty of violating the terms of his release and was sentenced to serve his one year sentence in TDOC custody.

-Alan Arthur Eaton had previously pled guilty to theft of property over $1,000, and received a suspended sentence of three years supervised by TDOC. He was found guilty of violating the terms of his release and was sentenced to serve his three year sentence in TDOC custody.

-David Lee Foust had previously pled guilty to violation of the sex offender registry, and received a suspended sentence of two years supervised by TDOC. He was found guilty of violating the terms of his release and was sentenced to serve his two year sentence in TDOC custody.

-Jacent William Jones had previously pled guilty to burglary, two counts of theft of property over $500, and evading arrest and received a suspended sentence of four years supervised by TDOC. He was found guilty of violating the terms of his release and was sentenced to serve his four year sentence in TDOC custody.

The above violators were prosecuted by the Office of District Attorney General Jared Effler. (10/06/2015 - 6:00 AM)

Rain or shine, Pink PALS walkers commemorate Breast Cancer Awareness Month


Despite rain and gray skies, over 25 people attended the walk designed to raise awareness about the disease, breast cancer, that strikes without warning.  The walk is crossing North 4th Street. (Photo courtesy of Sheila Falls)

Everybody got in on Saturday morning’s walk, including this pooch who turned out in pink. (Photo courtesy of Sheila Falls)

Food show returns to Knoxville Convention Center

Food City hosts the huge event

The Food City Food Show will return to the Knoxville Convention Center on Friday, October 16th and Saturday, October 17th from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.  Food City is once again teaming with media partners Knoxville News Sentinel, Volunteer TV 8 and WIVK FM 107.7.   

“We would like to thank our customers, associates, media partners and celebrity chefs for making our Food City Food Show such a huge success.  We have an outstanding line-up planned for this year and I’m confident everyone will be pleased with the results,” said Steven C. Smith, Food City president and chief executive officer.

The Food City Food Show will feature live cooking demonstrations with celebrity chefs throughout the day, in addition to product sampling, tasty recipes and exclusive money-saving offers from over 150 food vendors.   

Advance tickets are on sale now at Knoxville area Food City locations for only $8.00.  Tickets will also be available at the event for $10.  Children 6 and under are admitted free of charge.

Event proceeds will benefit the United Way of Greater Knoxville.  United Way of Greater Knoxville ‘brings together resources to improve the lives of people in our community by helping them achieve their potential for self-sufficiency.’  For more information on the Food City Food Show, visit the website at  (10/06/2015 - 6:00 AM)

Labor Day 2014 to Labor Day 2015 in your county mayor's office

A message from Mayor Morton

On Labor Day, 2014, I began the work many of you asked me to do in your behalf.  I spent the majority of my time and staff energy doing that work and little time talking about it.   With the first year complete, and some work done in key areas you and I discussed during campaign season, it is time to write you. This year included a large volume of work in and on County government and key components of community and economic development.   

While there is plenty of work left to do, our work in government included: Eliminating a $700K debt for a government office and ambulance building in Jellico; Cutting my budget by $23K; Cutting Building Maintenance by $30K; Cutting Litter Control by $46K; Cutting the County Park by $4K; Eliminating four drive home vehicles from Ambulance, Tax Enforcement and Building Maintenance departments; Posting jobs vacancies so you can apply; Hiring County Citizens through interviews; Hiring your Road Superintendent; Opening the new jail; Seeking and gaining Citizen input through community meetings and open public meetings; Re-establishing a functional Animal Shelter;  Zero budget growth in Sanitation, Ambulance and Animal Control services, Healthcare insurance savings over $200K and much needed work underway on some very rough county roads.  You and I talked about making these changes, cuts and savings.  That is why I am happy to report reduced costs and more Citizen input to County government.

I will continue to work hard for these efficiencies every day I am in office because that is what you asked me to do.  We continue however to face federal, state and judicial mandates in the toughest economy of our lifetime.  They have resulted in costs that neither you nor I want.  Those costs include a jail with annual operating costs of $1.5M and new State education funding requirements over $250K per year.  Your Ambulance Service is up against a $300K Medicare reimbursement deficit.  Strangely, a California community saw a $300K Medicare reimbursement increase in funding the minute we lost ours.  This happened all across Appalachia.  I travelled to the Capitol and met your Congressmen and Senators and asked them to help, as our Ambulance Service faces a sink or swim year.  What I found is that no one in government can eliminate it but the Secretary of Health and Human Services and she refuses to do so.   I will continue to fight to correct what appears to be a crooked subsidy to California. I was not involved in the decision to build the jail.  Sheriff Goins had little, if any input to that decision and none of us can impact State education requirements.  We are however, responsible to operate our ambulance service, fund our jail, buildings, grounds and schools.  Looking at these added costs and having no growth, options were and are few.

I could choose to (1) Veto the budget and most likely have a judge carry out budgeting in our behalf, under penalties and reduced state funding, or (2) Deny your other elected County Officials funding, which has resulted in courts often overturning budgets in the past.  What I proposed last year was to spend $1.2M from fund balances to hold the property tax rate down.  That offset 18 cents for a $1.99 rate in 2014/15.  This year I made proposals that eliminated 23 cents and I am still frustrated with the remaining $2.25 rate.

I want your tax rate to be lower and I will continue to work for it.  So what opportunities do we have?

During last year’s campaign I said we should aim at I-75 then, aim our piece of I-75 at the business world. That is what we are doing.  Our interstate properties continue to draw prospects and we are marketing aggressively.  We have joined with City Councils to market and offer these industrial properties and we continue to do so to earn new jobs.  You did not want a full time Industrial Developer and we heard you.  We cut it out of the proposed budget and we are fighting on with what we have.  We are talking to, learning about and working with our existing industries to anticipate needs and show them we support them and help them grow.  We have an opportunity to expand broadband access to existing businesses, industrial parks, schools, colleges and libraries through federal grants and workforce investment.  This will also enable more affordable home access.  This will elevate our worker training levels more quickly in the short term when business prospects ask for it…and they do.  It creates a more competitive stance to win automotive manufacturers. We hosted industrial site consultants in February to learn more about today's needs and demands for relocating companies and how best to market to them.  We are working to identify good future properties so we are ready after the 80 available acres in the county go into business.  We have studied the specifications of the A&S Building and while we do not own it, we provide as much information as needed when requests come in.  By the end of October, Campbell County will have our first heavy rail head just minutes from a switch accessing two rail lines and I-75.  We have quality offerings and I am committed to competing them to win industrial business and jobs.

The Chamber Retail Committee began work this week to support our retailers and help start new businesses.  I serve on that Committee and it has great support from the business community.  We are seeing the third fastest receipt growth in the state in restaurant, tourism, hotel and recreation businesses.   This creates a large number of temporary tax payers.  The state Tourism Commissioner spent a day with us last month to see our attractions.  He is a farmer and former NASCAR promoter for Richard Childress, Dale Earnhardt and Bristol Motor Speedway.  He helped schedule UT vs Virginia Tech.  He knows Tennessee and he knows his stuff.  After his visit, he more than tripled state funds for Campbell County tourism promotion.  He believes we can grow tourism, automotive manufacturing, retail, transportation, agriculture and other businesses in an “all the above” approach.  I do too. 

Your County Commissioners have a plan to take advantage of this increase in visitors and visitor spending.  They propose a referendum to consider increasing your sales tax from 9.25% to 9.75% next spring.  This allows visitors to share the load in the 2017 budget and beyond (around a Million bucks a year).  If I didn’t believe it would reduce your property tax and overall tax burden, I would say so.  If you vote for it, I am committed to reducing your property taxes to get as close as possible to that $1.99 rate so many of you clearly advocated.  Your Commissioners tell me they will back this plan.  I believe them.  If you are unsure about it, you have my veto as insurance.

Every day, a hundred Kentucky and Illinois coal cars travel through Morley, Duff, LaFollette and Jacksboro to Bull Run, where the generators can now burn our Appalachian coal.  Kingston can too.  TVA published its 10 year plan last month and Bull Run and Kingston remain dedicated to coal for ten years. I solicited the TVA Board (it’s on video on the TVA website) to buy Campbell County Coal when operators begin production, hopefully by the first of the year.   In addition to well-paid mining, heavy equipment, trucking, mechanic and production jobs, the fuel and parts supply chains create spending power that churns through our suppliers, gas stations, restaurants, clothiers and grocery stores.

Having gone through a full budget cycle and business year, I see potential for $100K in efficiency gains in your Sanitation Department through scheduling, training and role alignments, equipment updates and improved processes.  Sheriff Goins is beginning to offset jail operating costs this year by housing state inmates when space is available and our crime stats are improving.  Coal severance taxes can potentially provide some relief if mine operators can reach production.  Our Teachers are producing Reward Schools. This community re-established an extinct Elk population a full ten years ago now.  Retail and hospitality sales are up. Our Animal Shelter euthanasia rate is as low as any in the region.  We have two winning high school football teams.  Some think those things could not happen here.  Some say we can’t win.  We can.  We will.

Honored to Serve You,

E.L. Morton (10/06/2015 - 6:00 AM)

Hutson hovers high above Campbell County

Eagle One is sending back some great pix

     “Let me fly it, Poppy.”  That’s all it took for WLAF’s Charlie Hutson to hand over the controls of the newly acquired Eagle One to his daughter, Lindsey.  Eagle One is a drone with a built-in camera that now allows Hutson One “and” Hutson Two to fly a camera high above Campbell County snapping pictures just for you. 

Hutson hovers over the new Beech Street Bridge on Sunday afternoon.

C-Hut, as we call Charlie Hutson, says Eagle One flies about 250 feet or so up, has a full-mile circumference, and operates on a battery that has about a 20-minute life.  It weighs less than two-pounds and is lifted skyward by four propellers.  The new addition to C-Hut’s photo artillery allows him, er-uh, Lindsey, to go high up for a picture and still be about a half-mile from the site. 

 Many folks are wondering when the new bridge will open while many others are hoping it will be open in time for this Saturday’s Big Creek ATV Fall Festival.

C-Hut notes that Eagle One will automatically “come home” when the battery begins waning.  So, from today forward, Charlie Hutson aka Poppy and C-Hut, and Lindsey will be sharing pictures with us from high and low around Campbell County.  (10/05/2015 – 6:00 AM)

 Recovery court holds graduation; helps addicts move forward

By Susan Sharp 

The Eighth Judicial District Recovery Court provides an encompassing view of addiction.

From participants being brought into the courtroom in jail jumpsuits accessorized with shackles to graduates whose new found self-respect is worn on their faces, recovery court sees it all.

That was the scene when the court convened on Wednesday.

(Left to right) Jessica Mason, Jessica Lowe, Nikita Bransetter, Judge Shayne Sexton, Eric McCloski, Josh Neubert and Aaron Field following last week’s recovery court graduation.

Kicking off its afternoon session with its largest graduating class to date, six members were congratulated for completing the 18 to 24 month program. Participants come into the program in the throes of addiction, facing prison, mounting court costs and often times restitution to their crime victims.

To graduate, all of those issues must be resolved. For those who sign on for drug court, they know it will be a long hard road- one where relapse is waiting around every corner.

And while the graduation took center stage, when court began, there was sobering a reminder as to how much is at stake.

Katie Jo, a young, attractive woman, approached the bench in her shackles and pink jail garb. Criminal Court Judge Shayne Sexton, who has done double duty by presiding over recovery court from its inception, asked her what has happened. Katie Jo has clearly relapsed.

She begins a meandering explanation for her setback. What can be gleaned from Katie Jo’s dialogue with Sexton is not new to the court. She was sober, had completed the first phase of a recovery program and was slated to graduate soon. She was looking forward to having her own home and a job. Then she became involved in a relationship. He, too, was an addict, and they relapsed together.

It is agreed that Katie Jo will return to her sober living house and take another run at sobriety.

A few participants later, Austin approaches the bench.

“How are you doing,” Sexton asked.

Austin, too, is wearing shackles and a jail jumpsuit.

“I am sick,” he says shaking his head.

Sexton pushes him for more information.

“I am disgusted with myself,” Austin says.

Through this exchange, it is revealed that Austin is the man Katie Jo began dating and eventually relapsed with.

“What led to your relapse,” Sexton continued.

“I get depressed even when things are going good,” Austin told the court. ‘” I never get depressed when things are going bad.”

He also had months of sobriety behind him and was on track for graduation when he began using again.

Drama among the participants is common, so when Katie Jo abruptly stands to speak, the recovery court team is unfazed. Sexton allows her to weigh in the question of the couple’s shared relapse.

She gives the exact date the pair began using again. For her it is easy to remember, because it is the day she discovered she was pregnant with their child.

“It just sent everybody down,” Katie Jo said, rather unapologetically.

“What is disturbing is that you would use when you found out when you were pregnant,” Sexton said.

After some further questioning, Austin is allowed to return to the recovery house that he initially lived in when he began recovery court.

“Relapse and reoffending run hand-and-hand for addicts,” Sexton later said. “The recovery court team tries to respond as quickly as possible when one of our participants relapses.”

Often, jail time is part of the sanctions for an infraction of the rules. It is not meant to be punitive but rather beneficial, according to Sexton.

“We want them to cool their heels and see what went wrong so we can deal with it,” the judge said.

This is where recovery court differs from criminal court - it sees the addiction as part of a larger problem and attempts to assist with it.

Recovery court is not easy under the best of circumstances. That is why having the graduation ceremony as a part of the court session is so significant, Sexton said.

“They (the participants) need to know there is an end,” he said.

For the six who graduated, their end was poignant.

Sexton deemed the six a “close knit” group who had not only their own ups and downs but had undergone some with the recovery team as well.

“They had been through a great deal,” Sexton said. “I am so proud of these men and women for committing to their recovery. Each now has full-time employment and is taking care of themselves and their families in a law abiding, clean sober environment.”

Jessica Lowe, one of the graduates and a Campbell County native, wasn’t worried about the past last week. As a graduate, whose court and legal obligations had been atoned for, she was only looking forward.

Lowe, who has been sober for 20 months, summed up her recovery court experience saying, “I went from being a junkie to being somebody.”

Her substance use began at the age of 12 in an attempt to fit in at school.

By her senior year in high school, she was “eating pain pills.”  At 18, she found a pain clinic who treated her scoliosis with a cocktail of over 400 pills a month. Between selling the pills for $30 each and taking them, within 10 days those pills were always gone. This was a vicious cycle for Lowe- get the pills, take the pills, sell the pills, need more pills. That was the treadmill of her life until 2014 when she was arrested yet again.

That is when she was offered recovery court. It was an option that Lowe quickly exercised.

She offers a story about a conversation with her 12- year- old son that validates her decision to join the program.

“We were in the car the other day and he told me he was proud of me,” Lowe said as her eyes began to tear up. “I thought I would have a junkie for a mom for the rest of my life, but I don’t,” Lowe said her son shared with her.

“It’s those little moments,” Lowe said of her newfound sobriety.(10/05/2015 - 6:00 AM)

Cemetery tour re-set for Saturday

Rain forces date change

     This year's History in Stone Cemetery Tour, to be held at Glade Springs
Baptist Church Cemetery
, 360 Glade Springs Road, is rescheduled.  It’s this Saturday, the 10th, at 2:00 p.m. The program is free and open to the public. Anyone with an interest in local history is encouraged to attend.  For more information please contact (10/05/2015 - 6:00 AM)

Cougars host Bell County on Friday at 7:30 PM

Oneida at Jellico Friday at 7:30 p.m.

Things you need to know about the ATV Fest

Coming Saturday, October 10 to La Follette

The ATV FALL FESTIVAL committee kindly asks that everyone refrain from riding Off Highway Vehicles (OHV) on TN State Highway 25W and TN State Highway 63 on October 10th. This is in violation of TN State Law and could result in fines
and/or confiscation of your OHV. This may also jeopardize future ATV Festivals. We also ask while driving your OHV in the City of
LaFollette that you remain on city streets indicated for your use in order for car/truck traffic to by-pass safely.
The BIG CREEK ATV FALL FESTIVAL has set aside a full day on October 10th for you to enjoy your ATV/UTV's. Our Police Department and Event Staff will be on hand to help you have a safe and fun day.

During the Big Creek Fall Festival, attendees will be able to access the North Cumberland Wildlife Management Area from the Festival location in Downtown LaFollette, TN. For those who are unfamiliar with the area or enjoy the company
of other riders, 3 of the rides will be organized and directed by professional riders. These rides are FREE but space is limited. We highly recommend you PRE-REGISTER for these rides by emailing your name, ride # and time to

Ride #1 – Elk Viewing Tower – will depart at 11:15AM, 1:00PM, and 3:00PM
Approximate ride time is 2 ½ hours (please indicate your preferred departure time).

Ride #2 – Walnut Mountain/Top of the World – will depart at 11:30.
Approximate ride time is 4 ½ hours

Ride #3 – Short Mountain/Meadow Branch will depart at 11:00 AM.
Approximate ride time is 5 hours.

Unguided riders may pick up a FREE NCWMA trail map at the registration tent.Details of each organized ride are shown on our website

ALL rides will leave from the LaFollette City Parking Lot located behind city hall.
ALL riders must register at registration tent before departing. Festival and rides are FREE.
ALL riders are required to have a TWRA PERMIT, and are subject to TWRA rules and regulations.

THE BIG CREEK ATV FALL FESTIVAL is a family event and we kindly ask for your consideration in limiting alcohol consumption.  (10/02/2015 – 1:00 PM)

What’s in a name?

County elk needs a handle; contest being held

By Susan Sharp

The Campbell County Mayor’s office, along with the chamber of commerce is hoping to get the county’s school children involved in a project.

They want the children to help name the elk pictured on the county logo.

Manuel Mesa, a local artist, has been instrumental in the development of an art project that bears the elk’s resemblance, according to Campbell County Deputy Mayor Andy Wallace.

Mesa organized several children in the painting of tiles that when assembled together are a picture of the elk.

Eventually, the tiles will be mounted and placed on permanent display at the new justice center.

But first, the elk needs a name.

School aged children in the county are being asked to help name the animal that currently lacks a moniker.

A two-part contest is being held to determine what its name will be.

The first portion of the contest asks for children through the 12 th grade to submit a possible name for the large mammal. Students have until Oct. 23 to submit a name for the elk.

Coloring sheets will be distributed to the county elementary schools and information sheets about the contest to the middle and high schools. Paper ballots are available at all the county’s public libraries. The ballots will be submitted to the chamber of commerce. Volunteers will be picking up the ballots from each school or the ballots can be dropped off at the chamber office. There will also be a survey monkey site set up for submissions.

Each child is asked to submit only one submission.

Of the submissions, three will be available for Campbell Countians to vote on.  People will be able to vote with paper ballots or online. This portion of voting will end Nov. 24.

The winner will be announced at the Campbell County Christmas Parade on Dec. 5. The child that submits the winning name will win an Android Tablet complete with a case, along with a guided ATV ride to Hatfield Knob to see the elk. The winner can bring one adult to accompany them on the trip. (10/02/2015 - 6:00 AM)

Going Pink: T-Shirts Support Campbell County Cancer Association


JACKSBORO—Jacksboro Fire Chief Jason Shetterly arrived at Thursday’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting in a navy t-shirt sporting the fire department’s logo in pink.

JFD Chief Jason Shetterly took time to stop by WLAF on Thursday and show off the sharp looking T-shirts he and fellow firefighters are selling to benefit the CCCA.

In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the Jacksboro Fire Department is selling t-shirts for $15, with all proceeds benefiting the Campbell County Cancer Association.

“Breast cancer has (affected) a lot of folks,” Shetterly said. “We just thought this would be the best way to help. It’s not a lot, but if we can help raise a couple thousand dollars.”

Over the past three years, citizens who have seen Jacksboro fire fighters wearing t-shirts with the department’s logo wanted their own. In August, Shetterly obtained permission from the board to sell t-shirts, with the proceeds benefiting a local charity. At the time he mentioned the CCCA.

While the fire department has been selling the shirts for three weeks, the fundraiser didn’t fully launch until October.

“Really didn’t get started until today,” Shetterly said.

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, and the fire department didn’t want to take emphasis away from that.

The shirts can be purchased at the Jacksboro Fire Department at any time. However, this Saturday, members of the fire department will be at Jacksboro Methodist Church’s bazaar and the Shield of Faith Community Church’s annual event selling the t-shirts. Purchases can be made with cash or a check made out to the Campbell County Cancer Association.

Fire Department seeks uses for old equipment

The fire department hopes to sell 15-year-old self-contained, breathing apparatuses and give old sets of turn out gear to a volunteer fire department.

Fire Departments aren’t allowed to mix and match breathing apparatuses from different brands, Shetterly said. The old equipment is a different brand than what the department currently uses. Hancock County has offered to purchase the gear for $1,500.

JFD isn’t allowed to sell old turnout gear, but can give it to a volunteer fire department. Shetterly is seeking a volunteer fire department that can use it.

Hurst to pursue recompense

The board gave City Attorney Stephen Hurst permission to begin the legal process of recouping money Jacksboro spent cleaning a piece of private property that was in violation of code.

Street Department

The board accepted a $1,120 bid from Doyle’s Tire Shop for tires for the street department’s dump truck and a $620 bid from Doyle’s Tire Shop for tires for a pick up truck. Officials also approved spending $870—$700 for parts and $170 for labor—for Jeff Harold to repair a broken main spring in the dump truck.

Patrol Car

The board approved paying Jacksboro Body Shop $521.20 to repair the Police Department’s 2013 Dodge Charger.

Recycling old computers

The board gave approval to “dilapidate” seven old computers and dispose of them. These computers have been replaced with new equipment, Mayor Jack Cannon said. They will be taken apart and recycled.

“That way they don’t go to the (landfill),” he said.

Road Block

Open Arms Ministry was given approval for a Dec. 3 roadblock.(10/02/2015 - 6:00 AM)

October is domestic violence awareness month

Community Health of East Tennessee (CHET) is recognizing the month by hosting two events.

The first is the Break Free 5k to held Saturday at Cove Lake State Park. Runners can stop by the CHET administrative offices for a registration form or register the day of the race. Early registration has a $25 fee, while day of registration is $30.

Later this month, on Oct. 23, the annual chili cook off will be held at Idlestone Lodge from 6 pm until 8pm. The cost is $5 per ticket. Chefs and tasters are needed.

Having a month set aside to recognize domestic violence helps to underscore that it is a cross cultural issue. National statistics have revealed that one in four women will experience domestic violence in their life.

For more information on domestic violence or these events, call 562-1156. (10/01/2015 - 6:00 AM)

LA Cruizers move big show to October 10

Rain washes out annual event

     Maybe the weather will be perfect on Saturday, October 10.  Because it sure wasn’t last Saturday.  Heavy morning rainfall washed out the annual LA Cruizers open car, truck, and motorcycle show. 

The rain date is October 10 from 10AM to 3PM.  That means there’s more time for you to buy a $5 raffle ticket for your chance to win a 2001 Lincoln L-S.  Cruizer members are selling tix now through the 3PM give-a-way on October 10. (09/28/2015 - 6:00 AM - CHARLIE HUTSON PIX)


Cougars host Bell County on Friday at 7:30 PM

Jellico is home with Oneida Friday at 7:30 p.m.




It has been brought to our attention that the story on Monday night’s county commission meeting contained an error in reporting the number of committee assignments given to each commissioner.

In tabulating the numbers, we failed to include the Budget & Finance Committee, which automatically includes every member of the commission.

Instead of two committees, Scott Stanfield actually sits on three. Cliff Jennings and Forster Baird serve on four, instead of the three stated in the news article while Rusty Orick was assigned to serve on twelve different committees.

The majority of the commissioners were assigned to serve on between four and seven committees, but counting Budget & Finance will actually serve on five to eight committees.

Some of these advisory committees, such as delinquent tax, waterline extension and cable TV, seldom meet unless an issue comes up involving one of those subjects. Others, such as environmental services, insurance & personnel and building & grounds are more active while the beer board, FMS and budget & finance committee must meet on a regular monthly basis. (09/22/2015 - 1:30 PM)

Commission chooses new ‘pro-Marlow’ members to serve on FMS Committee

The Campbell County Commission held another marathon meeting Monday night, but this time the subject wasn’t taxes, budgets or even a request for donation of a county-owned building to a group seeking to build a housing project for homeless veterans. That discussion was postponed until the next night.

Instead the commission spent most of the evening making committee assignments after rejecting last year’s method of allowing Mayor E. L. Morton to assign committee memberships subject to a vote of approval.

Rusty Orick started the process off by pointing out that several committees had more than five members and during the past year had failed to attract a quorum for scheduled meetings. Orick suggested that the commissioners from each district decide who would represent their district on each committee and that non-statutory committees consist of only five members with one from each district.

County Attorney Joe Coker pointed out that the commission could adopt any method they wished for the non-statutory advisory committees, but cautioned them to have their discussions in public to avoid violating the open meetings law.

Orick’s reward (punishment) for suggesting the lengthy process was to be nominated to serve on eleven different committees, by far the most of any other commissioner. Most members of the commission were elected to serve on from four to seven of the 19 committees, while Scott Stanfield declined to be re-nominated for several of his former committee assignments and ended up serving only on two. Cliff Jennings and Jellico Mayor Forster Baird, both often failing to attend committee meetings during the past year, each drew only three committee assignments.

The most contentious vote came when it was time to vote on nominations to the Financial Management (FMS) Committee. The four commissioners who were on the committee last month when it voted to replace Finance Director Jeff Marlow were all removed.

Forster Baird made the motion to nominate a new slate of commissioners, stating that he felt every member of the commission should have an opportunity to serve on the important FMS Committee. He then nominated Johnny Bruce, Marie Ayers, Orick and Dewayne Kitts. All four had voted last month against the motion to replace Marlow. Ralph Davis, Whit Goins and Charles Baird, who had voted against retaining the Finance Director in July, would all lose their FMS seats.

Davis countered by nominating Scott Stanfield and Cliff Jennings, both also having voted to replace Marlow, but neither nomination made it to a vote as Baird’s four nominees were all approved first. Bruce was elected by a vote of 9-6, Orick by 10-5 and Ayers and Kitts by 13-2.

The request from the Tennessee Coalition to End Homelessness for a donation of the county-owned building that houses the Veterans’ Service Office and the La Follette office of the County Clerk was postponed until a recessed commission meeting at 6:00 p.m. tonight (Tuesday, Sept. 22), when the proposal can be discussed in detail without other agenda items interfering.

Several commissioners had questions and comments about the project anyway, Jennings asking why it is not a City of La Follette project since the proposed housing units would be inside the city. Morton pointed out that both La Follette and the county are being asked to partner in the project, providing all of the matching funds for a $250,000 grant from THDA to purchase the land. The non-profit coalition would then have to find another $1.9 million to construct a proposed veteran’s center and 32 residential units.

“If it’s not 100 percent for veterans, I’m against it,” Davis observed, referring to earlier statements from TVCH representatives that some low-income or elderly residents might be approved for the units if enough veterans did not apply.

The commission also voted 13-2 to allow the Sanitation Department to begin charging commercial customers for brush brought into the Towe String Road facility. The cost to the county for accepting brush from commercial businesses that trim trees and remove brush totals around $17 a ton, the commission was told. This includes the cost of handling and incinerating the brush and the cost of hauling the remaining ash to the Scott County landfill.

The commission voted unanimously to begin charging commercial interests $17 per ton for brush disposal with the new charges going into effect on October 15.

Commissioners also suspended the rules to take up an item not on the agenda, to decide on a new temporary home for the Campbell County Ambulance Service station in Jellico.

Mayor Morton pointed out that the current unheated building being used for the ambulance station cannot be occupied when cold weather arrives. He suggested that the county has possession of a house on Douglas Lane that, with some repairs and renovations, could be used to house the Ambulance Service and possibly the Sheriff’s Department satellite station.

The house has been in county ownership through delinquent property taxes since 2009, when it failed to attract a bid at the courthouse sale, possibly because potential buyers expected the structure to be redeemed by the previous owners.

The house was again offered for sale in June but the commission rejected the highest bid as being too low. Morton explained that some leakage in one bedroom indicates the structure might need a new or repaired roof, along with a closed carport to shelter the ambulance and a central heat & air unit.

“These improvements would add to the structure’s value when we again place it on sale,” Morton pointed out while adding that there is enough money already existing in the Ambulance Service capital budget to cover the improvements.

Jellico Mayor Forster Baird pointed out that the environmental survey and site preparation for city-owned property that is being considered for construction of a new ambulance station “will take at least six months.”

Ayers then offered a motion to approve relocation of the ambulance station to the Douglas Lane site. The motion passed unanimously with Ralph Davis agreeing to inspect the house along with Ambulance Director Bruce Perkins and then seek estimates on the costs involved to get it ready for occupancy. (09/22/2015 - 6:00 AM)            

Local medical group needs nurse

Opening at Cumberland Gap Medical

     Cumberland Gap Medical in La Follette is in need of another nurse for its staff.  CGM offers a fun, family friendly, professional atmosphere along with competitive pay.  Interested nurses need to 423.201.9799. (09/21/2015 - 6:00 AM)



Cougars visit Farragut on Friday at 7:30 PM

Jellico at Midway Friday at 7:30 p.m.



ATV ride is just weeks away

By Susan Sharp

In just a few weeks, La Follette will offer a unique viewing of the area’s fall colors.

On Oct. 10, the city will play host to the Big Creek ATV Fall Festival. The all-day event will offer food, live music, kid’s activities, fireworks and three organized rides.

Beginning at 10:30 am, the downtown streets will be closed to accommodate the ATV traffic. Festival goers will be permitted to ride all day and there will be an ATV Corral set up for people to showcase the recreational vehicles people want to sell.

At 11 am, the planned rides will begin. The first trail will take riders to the elk view towering. The 20 mile ride is estimated to take around two and a half hours, promising to be the easiest course. Moving up the challenge scale in the second trail. Riders will travel across Walnut Mountain to the Top of the World. This 35 mile ride promises a “breath taking view.”

The ride that will take the longest and offer the biggest challenge, is a 40 mile, five hour ride to the Short Mountain- Meadow Branch area.

Riders are also encouraged to find their own trails throughout the day. 

When people are ready for a breather, they can return to the downtown area where multiple vendor tents, bounce houses and a climbing wall will be set up.

The event will run until 10 pm.

For more information about the Big Creek ATV Fall Festival, contact La Follette City Administrator Jimmy Jeffries at 423.562.4961 or Cindi Reynolds at the Campbell County Chamber of Commerce at  (09/18/2015 - 6:00 AM)

Heatherly seeks early warning system for Caryville


CARYVILLE—Alderwoman Vickie Heatherly suggested looking into an early warning system for the town of Caryville.

“With all the storms,” Heatherly said. “We as a city do not have a (type of) warning system.”

Heatherly described the delay in receiving messages from non-local warning systems, mentioning the possibility of a tornado.

There are some warning systems that send alerts to people’s phones. However, Heatherly talked to Jacksboro Mayor Jack Cannon. Jacksboro’s warning system uses horns. Heatherly talked about how people could be out mowing their lawns without their phones. She had also referenced the recent incident where many people lost cell phone reception.

“If we could get quotes,” Heatherly said. “It’d be worth it to save one life.”

She asked Fire Chief Eddie Hatmaker to gather more information.

Brown speaks to board about fair housing and CDBG grant

Gwen Brown, AICP Principal with Brown Pearman Russell, spoke to Caryville leaders last night about fair housing.

Brown began with a summary of Fair Housing Law—such as Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits “exclusion from participation in, denial of benefits of, and discrimination under federally assisted programs on grounds of race, color or national origin.”

“How do we as a community recognize discrimination?” Brown asked.

In answer to her own question, she gave several examples, including: refusing to rent or sell a home to someone based on race, color or national origin, saying housing is unavailable to people when it actually is and selectively showing apartments or homes to groups of people only in certain neighborhoods.

Brown also addressed impediments to fair housing.

Gwen Brown gives her presentation on fair housing to the Caryville Board of
Mayor and Aldermen.

Until 2013, each county prepared its own analysis of impediments to fair housing, but since then, the state handles this task, and has provided a study that is over 300 pages.

“There were some impediments to fair housing that were reported,” Brown said, referring to the state report.

In the private sector, such impediments included failure to make reasonable modifications for people with disabilities. In the public sector, impediments included a lack of local fair housing ordinances or policies. 

The state analysis included a list of actions and measurable objectives to fix each impediment.

“Are we in compliance with this?” asked Vice Mayor Glenn Smith, who was filling in for Mayor Chris Stanley as chairman.

Caryville’s federal programs are in compliance, Brown said, but she hasn’t looked at the ordinances.

Brown’s presentation fulfilled a United Stated Department of Housing and Urban Development requirement that every project funded through a Community Development Block Grant involve a fair housing activity.

Caryville applied for a Community Development Block Grant in 2014 to improve roadway drainage in Park Place, East Maple Street and Bruce Gap Road.

Smith asked about the time frame for completing the project.

The project needs to be completed by 2017, Brown said.

“We have advertised that project (twice),” she said.

The first time there was one bid that wasn’t competitive, the second time there were no bids.

“Decided we would wait,” Brown said.

Several local contractors are currently busy with other contracts. Brown hopes when they finish they will look at this project more favorably. Brown said she would wait until October to talk about bidding again

Caryville seeking officers

The decision to hire an assistant police chief turned into a discussion about the need for more police officers.

One officer is leaving at the end of the month, Alderman Dewayne Gibson said. The word is another will be leaving after that.

“I don’t think it (the job posting) should just be for an assistant,” he said.

Police Officer Anthony Branam told the board the department is currently one police officer short but will soon be three short.

City Attorney Kathy Parrott advised the board not to advertise the position for assistant chief, but to post the position for a police officer and let the mayor and police chief bring a recommendation for an assistant chief before the board.

Smith asked if the board could take applications since the officer hadn’t left his position yet.

The board knows the position will become available at the end of the month, Parrott said.

Board approves purchase of a Salt Spreader

The board approved purchasing an eight-foot salt spreader from Geiser Services for $5,401 for the Street Department.

Smith asked if the money was in the budget.

Street Department Head David Muse said the board would have to amend the budget.

Caryville Street Department seeking part-time employee

A resignation within Caryville’s Street Department has left a part-time position open. Last night the board approved advertising for the open position.

“We are going to be needing somebody this winter pretty bad,” Alderman Lloyd Lawson said.

The Board also:

·        Approved spending $1,100 for tech support for the library’s circulation.

·        Approved the purchase of tires from White’s Tires for $784.16 for the police department.

·        Approved spending $933 to repair the street department’s 2005 F550 at Harrell’s Mobile Repair. (09/15/2015 - 6:00 AM)

Commission asked to donate building for housing project for homeless vets

County commissioners spent over half of a three-hour workshop on Monday night asking questions and discussing a request to donate the county-owned Beck Building, housing the Campbell County Veterans’ Office, to a non-profit group that is planning a low-cost housing project for homeless, disabled and low-income veterans.

John Cordell, representing the Tennessee Valley Coalition to End Homelessness, outlined the group’s plans to build a 32-unit housing project on land formerly occupied by the Del Rio trailer park in LaFollette, which would also include a community center planned to house the offices of the Veterans’ Service officer.

The new office would have the advantage of a large meeting room located on the ground floor. The current office contains a meeting room only on the second floor that is inaccessible to disabled veterans, Cordell pointed out.

TVCH plans to apply for a $250,000 matching grant from the Tennessee Housing Development Agency to acquire the five-acre tract from Lonnie Hatmaker and develop infrastructure for the site. The Coalition plans to use in-kind contributions from the City of La Follette and the county-owned building to represent the local $250,000 match.

Commissioners had a long list of questions about the proposal, including what would happen to the La Follette satellite office for the County Clerk that is presently housed in the Beck Building. Cordell said that the Clerk’s office would continue to be located in the building if that is the wish of the county. TVCH would utilize the building as offices and a fitness center when the project is developed.

Other commissioners questioned whether the county would end up having to pay for the space in a building it now owns once the deed is transferred, while some suggested a revision clause needs to be in the deed in the event that the final stages of the project fail to materialize.

Once the $500,000 goal for land acquisition and infrastructure costs is reached, the completion of the community center and initial living units will cost another $1.9 million. The total cost for the project will be around $3,050,000. Cordell explained, with rent for each living unit ranging from $230 to $395 a month, according to size of the unit and income levels of tenants.

The goal is for veterans to save enough and receive job training that will enable them to eventually purchase the unit instead of paying rent, he added.

Rusty Orick pointed out that the county originally paid $312,000 for the Beck Building and it is currently appraised at $396,000. He asked if the county might be better served by pledging the $150,000 match from the undesignated fund balance and then selling the Beck Building to cover the pledge with the balance available for other purposes.

Cordell also said that in TVHC’s service area, there are presently 481 veterans who are officially recognized as homeless. That area, however, is broad, including Knox, Blount and Anderson counties and ranging as far as Cocke County. A spot check of Campbell County identified at least 20 veterans who are considered homeless and several commissioners asked whether Campbell County veterans would receive priority over those from Knoxville and other counties.

County Attorney Joe Coker was asked to research several legal questions pertaining to the proposed transfer and the commission will again take up the discussion at their regular meeting next Monday.

Some commissioners complained about the short notice for a subject containing so many unanswered questions. Mayor E. L. Morton explained that the commitment and asking price for the land just became available. TVCH must meet a September 25 deadline for applying for the matching grant from THDA, leaving the commission with little time to debate the matter before they must make a decision.

Also on the agenda for the September 21 meeting will be a request from  residents in the Duff and White Oak communities. Melinda Poore, representing the citizens who have been attending commission meetings to pursue road improvements, told the commission that residents plan to meet with Road Superintendent Ron Dilbeck this week to determine how much it will cost to pave the sections of Duff Road that are in most urgent need of repair.

“Mr. Dilbeck is doing all he can to help us, but we request that the county commission appropriate enough money from the special capital projects fund set aside for road paving to address our needs,” Poore pointed out.

She added that Fifth District residents realize that there are other areas of the county that also desperately need road paving, but ‘We feel that our area has contributed millions of dollars in coal severance tax to the county that has been used in other districts while traffic from coal and logging trucks has deteriorated our roads. We feel we deserve your support for our request.”

The recently passed county budget included a special capital projects fund of over $500,000 that is planned to pay for paving projects over the next two years while being drawn down each year to cover expected decreases in state education funding.

The commission will also discuss a proposal from Morton and the Environmental Services Committee to impose a $17 per ton fee on brush disposal from commercial tree services and other commercial customers that haul brush to the Towe String Road facility. Morton explained that the cost to the county of handling and incinerating the brush and hauling the ash to a landfill is currently $16-17 per ton while the county handles around 150 tons each month, costing taxpayers over $28,000 a year.   (09/15/2015 - 6:00 AM)              

Cause of death still not known

Update on Siwinski death

By Susan Sharp

The autopsy results of woman found dead on Friday evening are still pending.

Janie Siwinski, 56, was found unresponsive on the floor of a Jacksboro vapor shop that she owned with her husband Mike.

Foul play is not suspected in Siwinski’s death, Jacksboro Police Chief Danny Chapman said earlier today.

An autopsy was ordered given her age and the absence of any outstanding medical issues, according to Chapman. Currently, there is no further information in the matter and Chapman was unsure when the medical examiner’s office would have preliminary report that specified her cause of death.

Siwinski and her husband, Mike, were the co-publishers of the Christian-Journal newspaper.  (09/14/2015 - 1:30 PM)

Fresh new program set to teach children about substance abuse

Terry’s Pharmacy leads the way with innovative approach

By Susan Sharp

An innovative new program is set to change the way school children learn about substance abuse.

Generation Rx will be introduced in Campbell County Schools within the next six weeks. Generation Rx, developed and funded in collaboration with The Ohio State University College of Pharmacy, the Cardinal Health Foundation and the APhA Foundation is an educational program that increases public awareness of prescription medication abuse and encourages health care providers, community leaders, parents, teens, and college students to actively work to prevent abuse, according to the program’s website.

The program is designed to have an impact in two ways. The first is it teaches children the dangers of substance abuse from a practical standpoint in that the presentations are taught by pharmacy school students from South College of Knoxville. The other impact is on the pharmacy students- it allows them to gain real world experience in giving the presentations they are later graded on. The fourth year pharmacy students take part in Generation Rx as part of their clinical rotations, Phyllis Clingner of Community Health of East Tennessee (CHET) said.

Generation Rx, an early drug prevention program, is making its way to Campbell County thanks to Raewyn Snodderly. Snodderly, a La Follette pharmacist with Terry’s Pharmacy, was approached by the South College Pharmacy School Dean recently. Snodderly then approached the Campbell County Anti- Drug Coalition who in turn pitched the idea to CHET, who gave its endorsement.

With everyone on board, it was time to contact the Campbell County Board of Education, who gave its approval last week.

At this point, the next step will be to establish a pilot program.

Clinger said the creation of the program locally will be “slow” with the pilot program being allowed several months to refine the curriculum.

 According to Clingner, it appears Generation Rx will begin with the LEAP afterschool program offered in the county’s elementary school. The expectation is that Generation Rx will eventually make its way into all of the county’s elementary schools with fourth, fifth and sixth graders reaping most of the benefits from the course.

Once the program gains footing, then the pharmacy students could be in the schools as many as five days a week, given this is part of their clinical rotations, Clingner said.

“The sky is the limit,” Clingner said. (09/14/2015 - 6:00 AM)


Husband finds wife body at family business

By Susan Sharp

A Jacksboro woman has been found dead at a family owned business.

Janie Siwinski, one of the two publishers of the Christian Journal Leader, was found by her husband Mike, on Friday evening, according to Jacksboro Police Chief Danny Chapman.

Janie Siwinski’s body was discovered around 7:30 pm at the vapor shop owned by the couple on Main Street in Jacksboro, Chapman said.

Chapman declined further comment on the case but did say an autopsy was being performed. (9/12/15 6:15pm)

  Drama nothing new for Savage

Once would-be bridge jumper claims bear attack

Michael Savage seems to crave the spotlight.

On Friday, the man, who is no stranger drama, had yet another theatrical life event.

Savage claimed he was attacked by a bear.

WLAF’s Susan Sharp wrote on Friday that the 27-year old Savage, of La Follette, called 911 early that morning with allegations he had been attacked by an animal with “dark coarse hair.”

File photo of Michael Savage courtesy of the Campbell County Sheriff’s Department

Savage said he was walking home at 6 am from the Demory community when the alleged animal attack took place. He then walked nearly three miles to his West Chestnut Street home in La Follette where he called for help.

Savage’s injuries included “claw marks and puncture wounds,” Matthew Cameron, Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency information specialist said at the noon press conference on Friday.

However, since Friday, TWRA has said there is no evidence to corroborate Savage’s story.

This is the same Michael Savage who forced traffic to be slowed and diverted on America’s busiest interstate almost two-years ago. On the morning of January 12, 2014, Savage sat on the south side railing of the Exit 134 south bridge that spans I-75 at Caryville. He was threatening to jump. It took officers less than half-an-hour to eventually wrestle Savage from the concrete barrier. No one was injured in Savage’s escapade. 

Savage, however, was taken to the LaFollette Medical Center for evaluation and a warrant was issued for him. (09/09/2015 – 3:30 PM)

School board votes to give one-time $500 bonus to classified employees 

Orick returns as chairman; Bane is vice-chairman

The Campbell County Board of Education, having been denied additional funding from the county commission to provide raises for non-certified employees, voted unanimously Tuesday night to give a one-time bonus of $500 to maintenance workers, office employees, cooks and all other classified personnel.

After Johnny Byrge offered the motion on the bonus, Finance Director Jeff Marlow asked for clarification on whether part-time employees would receive the full $500 bonus or a pro-rated fraction of that bonus.

“I believe everyone should receive the same bonus,” Byrge replied. He also included cafeteria cooks in his motion even though they were able to receive a two percent raise through federal funds in the current school budget.

All nine board members present supported the bonus, which will be paid from the school system’s undesignated fund balance.

The board also heard two proposals for drug awareness programs in the schools. Representatives of Community Health of East Tennessee (CHET) and Terry’s Pharmacy announced that they plan to offer a free after-school pilot program using pharmaceutical students to educate children about the dangers of drug abuse.

The program will start in elementary schools, the board was told, because recovery court statistics indicate that many drug dependent adults start using drugs around age 10.

Paul Sweat also offered to provide a puppet theater presentation in schools that carries an anti-meth message. Chairman Mike Orick promised to “run this by our board attorney and if everything is OK, start right away.”

Orick was elected to another term as board chairman on a unanimous vote after he was the only person nominated for the chair. Clint Bane was nominated to serve as vice chairman by Byrge and Orick then nominated Jellico representative Crystal Creekmore for a second term as vice chairman. After Creekmore failed to gain enough votes for election, Bane was approved for the post by a vote of 7-1 with Orick abstaining.

The board also voted unanimously to approve Faye Heatherly’s candidacy for vice president of the Tennessee School Board Association. Heatherly has served for most of her tenure on the school board as Campbell County’s representative to the statewide association.

Before adjourning, the board also discussed some changes in the schedules for SRO officers because two officers have left and replacements will need to attend police academy before assuming duties. For the time being, Elk Valley and Jellico Elementary will share an officer’s time until a new officer can be hired and trained for the job.

Elk Valley is also facing a significant period without use of a gym, the board learned, as the gym floor at the school is too weak to be used safely. Money has been donated by the Baird family to repair the gym and make other improvements at the school, but the bidding process and actual work of replacing the floor after a bid is approved could take up to 90 days before it is completed.  (09/09/2015 - 6:00 AM)     

 County, private ambulance service move to settle feud, work together

A years-long feud between the Campbell County Ambulance Service and the privately operated Vital Care Ambulance Service may soon be a thing of the past, following a recommendation from Mayor E. L. Morton and the county commission’s EMS Committee to allow the two services to share employees.

Morton told committee members Tuesday night that he is prepared to adopt a policy that would allow the county service to use Vital Care personnel on a part time basis and to reverse a policy that forbade county EMTs from working part time for the private competitor.

“This makes good fiscal sense in that we’re looking at $40,000 to $60,000 in overtime pay this year. Using off-duty Vital Care personnel as part time employees will save the county money,” Morton pointed out.

He added that most county EMTS work for other services in neighboring counties on a part-time basis to make ends meet. “If they can work instead for a service here in Campbell County, it will save them travel and keep the money at home. It’s a win-win,” Morton said.

Ambulance Director Bruce Perkins added, “Both services need to work together. We’re both here to save lives.”

Morton added that a lawsuit filed by Vital Care operator John Bond against the county is still in the court system but hopefully can be resolved and dismissed if the two ambulance services can establish a good working relationship. The lawsuit was filed when the county under previous leadership blocked city E-911 systems from calling Vital Care for emergencies.  (09/09/2015 - 6:00 AM)

Bear story not panning out

Victim goes shopping

By Susan Sharp

While authorities continued to investigate an alleged bear attack, the victim went shopping and later gave a television interview.

Michael Savage, 27, of La Follette, called 911 on Friday morning claiming he had been attacked by an animal with “dark coarse hair.”

Savage said he was walking home at 6 am from the Demory community when the animal attack took place. He then walked nearly three miles to his West Chestnut home where he called for help.

His allegations prompted the Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency (TWRA) and the Campbell County Sheriff’s Department to launch an investigation as well as urge citizens to be alert for wild animals.

Savage’s injuries included “claw marks and puncture wounds,” Matthew Cameron, Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency information specialist said at the noon press conference on Friday.

However, since Friday, TWRA has said there is no evidence to corroborate Savage’s story.  Furthermore, Savage was spotted at an area Walmart later that day, in a hospital gown, where his picture was taken and quickly spread on social media.

On Monday, Savage was interviewed by a Knoxville television station where he asserted that his injuries were not self- inflicted.

The CCSD is considering this case an ongoing investigation. (09/08/2015 - 6:00 AM)

Authorities investigate alleged bear attack

By Susan Sharp

While a Campbell County man is alleging that “an animal with coarse dark hair” attacked him in the early hours of this morning, authorities are working to confirm the exact nature of the attack.

At a noon press conference held at the Lonas Young Memorial Park, Matthew Cameron, Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency information specialist, Campbell County Sheriff Robbie Goins and County Mayor EL Morton assured the community there was little need for concern of other attacks at this juncture.

“Public safety is our number one concern,” Cameron said.


(Left to right) Campbell County Sheriff Robbie Goins, Matthew Cameron, Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency information specialist  and County Mayor EL Morton assured area citizens at a press conference there is no cause for alarm after a man reported a bear attack early Friday.

Michael Savage claims he was walking home from a friend’s home in the Demory community around 6 am when he was attacked by the yet to be identified animal. Despite his injuries, Savage was able to walk nearly three miles to his West Chestnut Street home where he called for help, it was learned at the press conference.

When emergency responders arrived, they saw Savage had what authorities deemed “pretty substantial” injuries. According to Cameron, these injuries included “claw marks and puncture wounds.” Savage was taken to the local emergency room and then transferred to UT Hospital. His exact condition is not known at this time.

TWRA has sent pictures of Savage’s wounds to “bear experts in the western U.S.” and hope to have their input later today.

Cameron said TWRA could not confirm or rule out it was a bear, so until it can definitively know, the agency will “treat this like a bear attack.” This includes having TWRA agents comb the area where Savage claims he was assaulted by the bear and putting bear traps out.

In the event a bear is captured, Cameron said it will be tested to see if it is the perpetrator. If so, it will be euthanized.

Morton said he was allowing TWRA to take the lead in this investigation because this is their area of expertise. He did note that citizens should not be overly alarmed but they should take precautions such not leaving food out for animals to find. He also reassured citizens that the park is safe and encouraged them to use it over the holiday weekend.

Goins said he will have extra patrols in the area until the investigation is completed. In the event people have concerns about wildlife attacks, the sheriff said to call 911. (09/04/2015 - 1:30 PM)

Campbell County man attacked by bear?  Wildcat?

Press conference at noon at Young Park

     Officials with the Campbell County Sheriff’s Department say it appears a man was attacked by a wild animal of some type and, as a result, was taken to the hospital.  It’s believed the man, 27-year old Michael Savage, was attacked in the area of Young Park in the pre-dawn hours of this morning close to 6:00 a.m.  Sheriff Robbie Goins calls Savage’s wounds “severe and significant injuries ” and pleads for citizens in that area to be aware and extremely cautious for the presence of a bear in that area. Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency was immediately notified of the incident and has responded accordingly with officers and an open investigation.  WLAF’s Susan Sharp is working this developing story and will have more information as the day moves along.  The TWRA is leading the investigation, and is holding a press conference at for noon today at Young Park.(09/04/2015 - 10:45 AM)

City council agreed to reduce speed limit on 25W as it crosses downtown


La FOLLETTE—The La Follette City Council voted to reduce the speed limit to 30 miles per hour on 25W as it crosses the downtown area.

The affected area will begin at 9th Street and end at Walter’s Funeral Home.

“We’ve had problems with people flying through there,” Mayor Mike Stanfield said. “Especially those big trucks.”

Stanfield said he spoke to Jellico Police Chief Chris Anderson about borrowing an electric sign that makes drivers aware of their current speed in relation to the speed limit.

The council’s action will take affect when signage is complete, but Stanfield hopes to use Jellico’s sign before the speed limit is enforced in order to give citizens warning.

“I don’t want to see anyone get a ticket,” Stanfield said.

Council delays responding to letter from USPS

The council decided to delay its quest to change the zip codes of La Follette businesses. In certain cases businesses—such as Po-Hos, Charlie’s Pizza and the Shepherd’s Home Thrift Store—are located within La Follette, but are assigned a Jacksboro zip code. The tax revenue from these businesses has been going to Jacksboro instead of La Follette.

The La Follette City Council has sought to stop this by changing such businesses’ zip codes from 37757 to 37766. However, a letter from the law department of the United States Postal Service warned that such an action is a “prohibited intrusion by local government on the Postal Service’s federally authorized activities.”

The council decided to wait another month to respond to this letter in order to receive counsel from City Attorney Reid Troutman.

The city leaders had also filed a Situs report in order to recoup lost revenue. Stanfield told the council Rachel Hall from the Tennessee Financial Control Division found $31,415 had gone to Jacksboro that should have gone to La Follette. This money will come back to the city of La Follette.

Council spends $6,500 towards Downtown Revitalization

After expressing concerns, the council agreed to pay McGill and Associates $6,500 for a cost estimate for the Downtown Revitalization Plan.

For about two years, the City of La Follette has been planning to restore downtown. From streets that aren’t pedestrian friendly to a lack of entertainment, the Downtown Revitalization Plan is intended to solve many problems in La Follette.

Once McGill and Associates completes the cost estimate, the city should be ready to begin, Stanfield said.

However, city leaders were concerned about money and the Tennessee Department of Transportation when they questioned McGill and Associates Project Manager Quentin Craig.

McGill and Associates has already received $27,000 from the city, council member Anne Thompson said. She didn’t know if she wanted to pay more.

Council member Joe Bolinger said $27,000 was reasonable for the work McGill and Associates has completed. He pointed out McGill and Associates is an engineering firm that has made multiple trips to LaFollette, and the $27,000 fee also included an extension of the Cumberland Trail.

Thompson asked where the $6,500 would come from.

Stanfield said it would come from the fund balance.

City Administrator Jimmy Jeffries reminded the council it could use leftover STP money to help pay the $6,500.

Public Works Department Head Jim Mullins expressed trepidation the project would incur disapproval from TDOT. Because 25W is a federal highway, nothing can be done that restricts traffic.

Changes that come from the Downtown Revitalization Plan won’t restrict traffic, Stanfield said.

The plan originally called for angled parking on portions of 25W, Jeffries said. That is no longer part of the plan.

Jeffries asked if the cost estimate would increase La Follette’s likelihood to receive a grant.

Craig said it showed La Follette had a plan.

Council finds fault with waiving $500 fee for use of City Hall parking lot

The council sent an ordinance involving carnivals associated with 501-c3 non-profit organizations back to the drawing board.

During a public forum before the meeting, Bolinger said he didn’t agree with a portion of the ordinance that would waive a $500 fee to the city for using City Hall’s parking lot.

“They make big money out there,” Bolinger said.

People who use the parking lot also receive police protection and make a mess, Bolinger said.

Thompson agreed with Bolinger.

The council had increased the fee from $250 to $500 to finance raises for city employees, Stanfield said.

Council donated $2,000 to Food Life Services

The council approved donating $2,000 to Food Life Services.

“They’re in dire need of a fork truck pallet,” Stanfield said.

Food Life Services had also donated property on the corner of East 4th Street and East Hemlock Street to the city.

“Didn’t they buy it from you?” Council member Hansford Hatmaker asked Parks and Recreation Department Head Johnny Byrge.  “Didn’t they give you $40,000?”

Byrge said they did.

Hatmaker made a motion to donate $2,000 to FLS.

“I really appreciate you making that motion,” Stanfield said.

Most of the people at FLS are elderly and they don’t get many volunteers, he said.

Bolinger told Hatmaker he should probably amend his motion to say from where the money would come.

Hatmaker said the fund balance was probably the only place from where the money could come.

Library building account changed to special projects account

The council approved changing the name of the library building account to the special projects account.

The council originally opened the library building account with money from the flea market. Its purpose was to fund construction on the library building. After the library was complete, the account remained open. The council decided to rename the account and use it on various projects, like the amphitheatre.

Council postpones decision about paying utilities at old post office

The council postponed making a decision about a request from the Campbell County Historical Society to continue paying utilities. Thompson said she wanted to take time to look into the cost.

The CCHS had been using the old post office for seven months and will begin displays and exhibitions in October.

The council also approved:

·        Declaring a house on East Prospect surplus and auctioning it with a starting bid of $30,000. Money made from this house will go into the Special Projects account.

·        Adding Barbara Wilson to signature line on checks.

·        Adding Jeffries to the city credit card.

·        Hiring Amie Anderson as a full time dispatcher with a $22,540 salary

·        Promoting La Follette Police Officer Robert Foxx to Sergeant with a $1,500 salary increase.

·        Donating old bunker gear.

·        Declaring four fire trucks as surplus property.

·        Spending $600 on equipment for a first responder truck for the fire department.

·        Spending $2,500 on training for fire fighters.

·        Approved the only bid for an All Terrain Vehicle for the Police Department. The $12,000 bid came from Tommy’s Motor Sports and was less than the appropriated $17,000. The money to pay for the ATV will come from the Drug Fund.  (09/021/2015 – 6:00 AM)

Pulling Rank: USPS says zip codes is a federal matter

La Follette meets in workshop session


La FOLLETTE—While city leaders seek to regain tax money by changing zip codes, the United States Postal Service may stand in the way.

Because some La Follette businesses have a 37757 zip code, the state of Tennessee is sending their sales tax revenue to Jacksboro.

Therefore the city council is seeking to change all zip codes within La Follette’s city limits to 37766.

However, Helen A. Nicholas, an attorney for the United States Postal Service said in a letter to City Administrator Jimmy Jeffries, that zip codes are federal jurisdiction.

“From a legal perspective, LaFollette’s attempt to change zip codes is a prohibited intrusion by local government on the Postal Service’s federally authorized activities,” Nicholas said. “Moreover, many courts including the United States Supreme Court pre-empts attempts by state and local governments to regulate or interfere with the activities of the Postal Service.  In sum, neither state nor local government may restrict the Postal Service from carrying out its statutory mandate...”

La Follette officials have also filed a Situs report to recoup lost revenue.

If this effort is successful, $126,000 can be regained in six months, according to city recorder Joy Ellison.

Public building blocks private property

There were disagreements about what to do with a city building on North Massachusetts Avenue. The building currently blocks access to private property.

City Attorney Reid Troutman and Codes Enforcement Officer Stan Foust recommended the council vote to tear the building down.

Council member Hansford Hatmaker, agreed the building should be torn down.

“Go ahead and take our building down,” Hatmaker said.

Hatmaker sat apart from the rest of the council at one of the side tables, in order to face “the people.”

However, council member Bob Fannon expressed a desire to keep the building.

“It’s a piece of property the city really needs,” Fannon said. “We don’t have any other place to grow.”

Public Works Department Head Jim Mullins reminded the council about getting an appraisal of the private property that is being blocked by the city building.

“I thought that’s what y’all agreed on at the meeting,” he said. “I thought y’all agreed to have an appraisal done. Even if you reach an agreement, before you can legally buy it, you have to have a certified appraisal.”

Fannon suggested getting the appraisal.

Food Life Services

Food Life Services donated property on East 4th Street and East Hemlock Street to the City of La Follette. Mayor Mike Stanfield suggested each council member donate $200 out of their discretionary funds to help FLS pay for a pallet jack.

Hatmaker suggested the council donate $2,000 to FLS.

City Finance Director Terry Sweat said there isn’t $2,000 in the budget, and the council would have to take it out of the city’s fund balance.

Jeffries added the donation to the agenda and the council will decide tomorrow at its monthly meeting.

“They (Food Life Services) do a lot of good for people,” Stanfield said.

Campbell County Historical Society

Jo Anne Myers spoke to the council about the Campbell County Historical Society. The CCHS has been using the old La Follette Post Office building for seven months and will begin exhibitions and displays in October.

Myers asked the council to pay for the utilities for the building.(09/01/2015 - 6:00 AM)

Supreme court rules in Young’s case

By Susan Sharp

David G. Young vs. The City of LaFollette has thrashed about in a variety of courts for more than six years. Its latest stop was the state supreme court, which on Thursday issued a pivotal ruling that will send the case back to the Campbell County Circuit Court.

Young began his legal battle with the city in 2009 after he had been employed there as the city administrator for nearly five years. The Supreme Court’s opinion noted Young’s tenure with the city was embroiled with “controversy and litigation” for the majority of his employment. The problems reached a critical point when the, then, city clerk, Lynda White, made allegations that Young had sexually harassed her.

This is where the deluge of legal paperwork began. During the last six years Young and the city have traded legal filings in courts on each level of the state judicial system. The case is so perplexing that Justice Cornelia Clark noted in her opinion that “the background facts surrounding the disagreement between the parties in the case are convoluted and difficult to decipher.”

In an attempt to clear up some of the murkiness of the case, the supreme court looked at two issues in Young’s case. The first revolved around the Governmental Tort Liability Act (GTLA) as it applies to the Tennessee Public Protection Act (TPPA) and claims against governmental entities. The TPPA says an employee can’t be fired in relation for refusing to participate in or remain silent about illegal activities. Young has previously claimed that is why the city fired him. On this issue, the state supreme court said the TPPA was its own act and thus was set apart from any remedies that might be applied under the GTLA. For Young, this means he has no standing for filing a retaliatory discharge claim under the GTLA, as he did several years ago.

This led to the second issue for the state’s highest court- since the TPPA is “an independent statutory scheme and not subject” the conditions of the GTLA, is Young entitled to a jury trial, as he has repeatedly requested?

His attorney David Dunaway has continually argued Young was entitled to one under the state constitution while attorneys for the city have naturally said he was not.

On this question, the Supreme Court made a decision acknowledging it was “counterintuitive.” Clark penned, on behalf of the court, that TPPA claims in chancery court were entitled to a jury trial but TPPA claims filed in circuit court were not. All of Young’s filings have occurred in circuit court, therefore, he is not entitled to a jury trial on his TPPA claim in circuit court.

Clark then sent the case back to the Campbell County Circuit Court while assessing the cost of the appeal to Young. (08/31/2015 - 6:00 AM)

Updated Lady Cougar Soccer Schedule

     Here’s the updated 2015 Campbell Lady Cougar Soccer Schedule.


There is more financial aid available for students

Tennessee Achieves needs mentors

By Susan Sharp

Attending a two year school or vocational school continues to get financially easier in Tennessee.

Thanks to the Tennessee Achieves program, students who elect to attend one of these schools can do so without being left holding the financial bag.

“It is a last dollar scholarship,” said Katherine Ayers, senior counselor at Campbell County High School. While most scholarships are based on grades and ACT scores, the Tennessee Achieves is strictly a need based allotment.

According to Ayers, if a student qualifies for 90 percent of their tuition through academic achievement, Tennessee Achieves will step in and pay the remaining 10 percent. It also will step in when a student hasn’t received any academic scholarships and will pay the tuition for the student. The only thing the program will not cover is text books, she said.

However, a student must have signed up for the program and be meeting the eligibility guidelines in order to qualify.

Ayers is in the process of meeting with students to enroll them in the program.

Once the students are active in Tennessee Achieves, they must remain a full-time student, complete the FASA (the federal student aid forms) and complete eight hours of community service a year for a charitable organization.

The second tier of the program includes the students being assigned a mentor. “This is critical to the success of the program,” Ayers said of the mentors.

Mentors are given a group of students who they guide through the college application process as they offer support along the way. The mentors usually meet with the students twice and then send them reminders via texts as deadlines approach. Ayers said the encouragement the mentors provide is especially valuable to first generation college and vocational students.

Ayers said she also needs mentors at the local level. Currently, she has 29 as opposed to last year’s 52.

For those interested in being a mentor, they can apply through Tennessee Achieves at

Tennessee Achieves began in Knoxville and by 2012 was a statewide program.

In its first year, there were 493 applicants. The class of 2015, saw 54,896 applications filed for financial assistance.

In Campbell County, the number of applicants has grown from 189, in 2012, to 386 in 2015.

“This program has been an incredible difference,” Ayers said.

To enroll in the program students need to see Ayers at CCHS.  (08/24/2015 - 6:00 AM)




Warriors celebrate winning season and Coach King

Christian Academy hosts annual basketball banquet

By Susan Sharp

There was an air of festivity last Thursday night as the Christian Academy of Campbell County Warriors celebrated a winning season. There was recognition for a hard fought season that ended with a county championship. There were comments about how each player had developed in distinct ways over the season but, among all of the glory and accolades there was also something- someone missing. Coach Vic King had led the Warriors to a county championship in 2013. This served to steel his determination for a repeat in the 2014 season. “When Coach King first asked me to help him coach this team, he said we were winning the county championship this year,” said Dusty Paul, the one-time assistant and now head coach for the Warriors. “I told him okay. I was just honored to be sitting with him on the bench.” Paul played for King in middle school.

And while the young team would oblige with a repeat they did it in memory of King instead of with him. The longtime basketball coach was in his second year coaching the Warriors when health problems arose. He fought hard but just before Thanksgiving King died. It was a blow the team struggled with.

Yet, with the help of Paul and a desire to make King proud, the Warriors pulled off a victory in the final game of the county tournament beating Wynn Elementary School. Adding to the triumph, several of the players walked away with tournament honors.

Thursday night allowed the boys to enjoy their win while paying tribute to the coach who believed in them when they didn’t believe in themselves. Trophies and tributes were showered on the team who suffered a loss that most adults would struggle with. “I lost my coach my junior year,” said Starla Berry, Lady Warriors head coach. “I know how hard that can be to come back from. But these young men did it and pulled off a great season.”

“Coach King was a legend around here and we were lucky to have him,” said Ollie Medley, CACC administrator. As she addressed the players who had gathered in the gym for Thursday’s banquet, Medley held in her hand a stack of notes the Warriors had written for the King family. Each one detailed what King had meant to his team. Medley said the notes would be delivered to King’s wife, Shelly, and daughter, Katie Cave. Along with this the women will each be given a basketball signed by all of the players.

Medley also unveiled a plaque memorializing King that will hang in the CACC gym. Kevin Corner, who played on King’s first team in 1977 was on hand to represent King’s family. “I can see why he loved this place,” Corner said surveying the audience. “He was all about class and this school obviously has that. He loved you boys.” Sharing memories of when he played for King, Corner said “Our team was the alpha and you boys, you are the omega. You are the end of an era.”  (04/20/2015 - 6:00 AM)

Coach King’s Corner

     Coach Vic King left us in November 2014.  In honor and memory of him, we’ve created a “Coach King’s Corner.”  Click Coach’s picture to access Coach King’s Corner.  (03/23/2015)


This picture of Coach was snapped by Charlie Hutson on Friday, May 17, 2013, in front of the former Regions Bank (where La Follette Junior High/High School once stood).  It was where the 60th anniversary of WLAF was celebrated.   





Precinct-by-precinct.  District-by-district.  WLAF has all the final numbers.

     You asked.  WLAF delivered.  WLAF's Coach Vic King has taken all 184 pages of the election numbers and posted them right here.  Just CLICK.  (08/12/2014 - 8:00 PM)








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