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La Follette Court Assisted Living

By Charlotte Underwood

Nearly three weeks have passed since 46 La Follette Court Assisted Living residents were evacuated due to the sprinkler main freezing and bursting during the initial severe cold snap on Jan. 8th.  No one was injured and all residents were placed within three hours and back at the residence by 11 a.m. on the 10th. For Residential Care Facility Administrator Rhonda Graves, it was proof of a caring and efficient staff and community coming together.

Graves said things could not have gone smoother due to the outpouring of support from both her staff and the community, especially the city.

“When the sprinklers went off about 4:30 p.m., it set our alarm off, which called the fire department.  When they got here, water was flowing out the front door. We explained to the residents what was going on and they all understood,” Graves said.

La Follette Court Assisted Living is conveniently located at 139 N. Massachusetts Ave next to the hospital, ambulance and helipad services.

The fire department commended the facility on how quickly it was evacuated, saying it was a record, according to Graves, who said she wanted to thank her employees for their speedy response as well.  “Out of 30 employees, 26 were on site and assisting within the hour.  They are what make LaFollette Court so great,” Graves said.  The LaFollette Police Department responded and helped with assisting residents onto busses as well.

“Mayor Mike Stanfield came and got on the phone and just bang bang bang, he got it done,” La Follette Court Marketing and Activities Director Robin Baird said.

“Fire Chief Gary Byrd and Mike both stayed here until all of the residents were loaded,” Graves said, adding that she wanted to thank electrician Danny Graves and his staff for coming shortly after the pipes burst to begin repairs and inspection.  Servpro was also on site and had it dried out with large fans within two hours.

“Everyone’s response and cooperation was wonderful,” Graves said.

“I was so proud of our employees in the way they helped evacuate La Follette Court; they really showed they cared,” Stanfield said.

With a large front porch sitting area and plenty of rocking chairs, La Follette Court Assisted Living has a relaxing atmosphere in the foothills of the mountains.

Residents were quickly placed locally for two days while repairs were made and the residential facility was dried and checked thoroughly by an electrician.  Some residents went home with families; others went to Cumberland Village and Tennova Hospital Rehabilitation.  Graves said she wanted to thank everyone who helped with the placement of the residents while La Follette Court was dried and inspected.

The experience taught Baird just how much the residents care about and missed one another.

“Come Friday, they were all happy to be home. They missed each other like family.  When they were on the bus coming up the hill and saw the home, you could just hear how happy they were and checking on one another to make sure they were all right; the whole experience was heart warming,” Baird said.

“The community really came together.  I never imagined I would come into this building and see so many people working together.” Graves said.

She wanted to send out a personal thank you to “Jim Williams and staff with Servpro, Danny Graves Electric, Mike Stanfield, Johnny Byrge, Gary Byrd, the police and fire department and the city of La Follette, as well as the management and staff of Tennova Hospital and Rehab, the management and staff of Cumberland Village, along with Jay Muncy, director of the Campbell County Emergency Management and all the others who stepped up and helped in our time of need.  I appreciate it so much.”

La Folllette Court is located at 139 N. Massachusetts Ave.  A family owned and operated business, the residence was purchased by Graves’ father Ronald Lock in 2000.  Lock has another assisted living residence in Mississippi, where he is from.  When he first purchased the business, it was an independent living home, but according to Graves, he saw the need to establish a privately owned assisted living residence in the area.  At the time of the purchase in 2000, there were only eight people living in the residence, which is able to accommodate 55.  According to Graves, La Follette Court is a more “personal” residence than perhaps others with larger numbers.

Other amenities at LaFollette Court include beautiful landscaping and an on-site beauty salon.

“It’s not just a job to us, it’s a life to us, and so we want to make it a home to our residents.  It’s their home and our staff feels the same way,” Graves said, adding that the job isn’t for everyone.

“Our employees have to be kind, compassionate and caring or they don’t work here; it takes a special kind of people to care for my residents,” Graves said, adding that “at La Follette Court, we treat you like family because we care.”

La Follette Court offers a variety of standard features such as electric and cable, three delicious meals served daily, seven days a week in an elegant dining room, scheduled transportation to the mall, doctors, and other shopping activities in the La Follette area, beautiful landscaped grounds, bath and bedroom cleaning, flat linens are provided, laundry service provided for flat linens and personal items, social and recreational activities, television lounge with fireplace, sitting lounge, beauty salon, chapel and a nurse call system in rooms.  Safety features include: staff on duty 24-hours a day, a 24-hour security door system, located next to Tennova Hospital across from ambulance and helipad services, sprinkler system, smoke and fire detection system, emergency call system in each room, live-in staff and a nurse on staff.

The residence also offers support services, furniture rental if needed and guest units for out-of-town guests.  VA assistance is available for those who qualify.

At La Follette Court, we’re dedicated to providing you with the very best in care-free retirement living…we offer a first-class facility and services that cater to your every need,” Graves said.

For more information, rates, or to set up an appointment for a tour, call 423-562-6730. (01/30/2014 – 6:00 AM)

Stanfield clarifies statement from Monday night’s meeting

     Mayor Mike Stanfield came to the WLAF studio this afternoon (01/29/2014) to clarify a statement he made at Monday night’s La Follette City Workshop.  In Charlotte Underwood’s January 28th story entitled Street damages discussed by city, Stanfield was quoted as saying “That’s not true.  Mr. Arnold is a damn liar,” Stanfield said, adding again that the problem has started when dirt had been hauled out of there last year for the county jail.  Stanfield tells WLAF that he did say that, however, he says that he misspoke and meant to say “Mr. Hatmaker” rather than “Mr. Arnold.”  The mayor goes on to say that he values his friendship with Mr. Arnold and his family and hopes his misspeaking did not damage that friendship.  He goes on to say that, personally or professionally, the Arnolds have always been there for him and the city whether it be loaning a backhoe or hauling dirt to a city ball field, always at not charge.  Stanfield closes by saying that if he misspoke elsewhere, he sincerely apologizes.  (01/29/2014 – 2:20 PM)

Sheriff and police reports

By Charlotte Underwood

La Follette man arrested for vehicular assault after striking a police officer

After striking a mailbox and passing out in a field with his car still running, then waking up and striking the deputy who was attempting to help him, a LaFollette man was arrested on multiple charges, according to a Campbell County Sheriff’s report.

David Allen Elkins, 22, was arrested on Sat. Jan. 25th, after deputies received a report of a possible accident on Gladefield Drive. After arriving, officers noticed a blue Dodge Caliber with its lights on down in field. It also appeared the vehicle had struck a mailbox and several bushes in the area, according to the report. Deputies observed Elkins was passed out in the vehicle, which was running and in the reverse gear. As Deputy David Wormsley leaned in to wake Elkins, he noticed a handgun lying in the passenger seat of the vehicle. Deputy Josh Jeffers went around to secure the handgun, at which point, Elkins woke up on his own. Deputies advised Elkins who they were and that they needed to put the vehicle in park, but Elkins resisted and pushed the gas pedal, causing the vehicle to proceed backwards into the field. He hit Deputy Jeffers, knocking him 15-feet into the field, according to the report. The vehicle also struck Wormsley and narrowly missed Sgt. Mike Owens as he dove out of the way.  The vehicle then came to a stop after striking and getting “hung” on a tree. Elkins continued to fight and struggle with deputies who were attempting to remove him from the car. Elkins had an extreme odor of an alcoholic beverage and slurred speech. Without being questioned by deputies, Elkins stated he was “extremely intoxicated and did not know where he was,” the arrest report said. A fully-loaded .44 Magnum handgun was recovered, for which Elkins did not have a carry permit. Elkins consented to a blood alcohol test and continuously apologized, saying he was just “drunk.”

He was arrested and charged with vehicular assault, resisting arrest, assault, driver to exercise due care, resist frisk and halt search, illegal possession of a handgun and vandalism. Elkins has a Feb. 4 court date.

Maynardville man arrested for weapon possession

A Maynardville man arrested for unlawfully carrying a weapon, after his car was stopped on Jan. 19 because his passenger was not wearing a seatbelt, according to the Campbell County Sheriff’s Department. Nicolas Chase Holt, 19, was driving on Titus Hollow Road, when he was stopped by a sheriff’s deputy. Deputies immediately smelled marijuana coming from the vehicle, which the passenger admitted to. Holt told officers he had a concealed weapon under the seat. Officers recovered a loaded .22 caliber pistol and arrested Holt for not having a carry permit.

La Follette man arrested for aggravated burglary

A La Follette man was arrested for theft and aggravated burglary charges on Jan. 23 after an investigation by sheriff’s deputies. David Paul Orick, 27, was charged with aggravated burglary, theft of property $1,000 to $9,999 and violation of probation after he allegedly broke into a victim’s home on Mynatt Lane on or around Jan. 1. According to the sheriff’s report, Orick “busted the door to the residence” and stole $1,500 worth of property. Orick has a court date set for Feb. 4.

La Follette Police make multiple drug paraphernalia arrests

The LaFollette Police Department made several unrelated drug paraphernalia arrests over the week, according to police reports. Gary Lynn Miracle, 60, was arrested on Jan. 27th after officers stopped him for not wearing a seatbelt and found he did not have proof of insurance. After Miracle gave officers consent to search his vehicle, they recovered a burned spoon with burn marks on the top and bottom and a bent handle which is commonly used to shoot up drugs, according to the police report. Miracle was arrested and transported to the county jail.

In an unrelated drug paraphernalia arrest, Joey William Bullock, 34, was found in the parking lot of a local LaFollette gift shop on Jan. 24, where he consented to a pat down, according to the arrest report. Officers found a white sock in the front pocket of Bullock’s hoodie which contained four syringes, and one silver spoon with black residue and one white cloth with blood on it, according to the report. Bullock was arrested and transported to jail.

Amber Rose Roske, 22, was arrested for drug paraphernalia on Jan. 21, after officers performed a traffic stop on a vehicle she was a passenger in and found a syringe in the passenger seat. When asked if the syringe belonged to her, she said no, but officers noted syringe tracks on both arms and a fresh one swollen on her hand and she admitted it was from IV drug use. She was arrested and transported to jail.

Crystal L. French, 33, was also a passenger in the vehicle and was arrested for drug paraphernalia and criminal impersonation after she gave officers a false name due to having two bench warrants issued for her arrest. Both women were transported to the county jail. (01/29/2014 – 2:30 PM)

Cash for info on those who trash(ed) the CCHS field house

     This afternoon, Sheriff Robbie Goins tells WLAF that he is offering a cash reward for the “field house vandals.”  The Campbell Cougar field house was vandalized on the weekend of January 10, and the sheriff has put up a $500 reward for information that leads to the arrest and prosecution of anyone responsible for the vandalism.  If you have any information, you are encouraged to call Detective Josh Carroll at 423.562.7446. (01/29/2014 – 1:00 PM)

Zecchini will always be remembered as the "Voice of WJJT"

     His was a voice, and personality, that brought a smile to your face.  Anytime I traveled back home from a 1970s radio gig in Louisville, I generally tuned-in 1540 WJJT once I hit Whitley County, Kentucky.  Hearing the voice of Tim Zecchini, let me know I was almost home.  Well, after a battle with cancer, my ole radio friend left us on Monday.  As soon as I heard the news, I thought of that voice.  The voice of Tim Zecchini was synonymous with WJJT, Jellico’s radio station that first signed on the air in 1972*.  It’s been a few months since I last saw Tim.  It was at Jellico High School, where he last worked.  As I walked to the gym door, a voice yelled “Freeman.”  I knew instantly it was Tim.  The baseball cap and 61-year old face otherwise gave me no clues.  But Tim’s voice was the only clue I needed.  Thinking about Tim just now and his voice still brings a smile to my face.  (01/29/2014 – 12:55 PM - *Thanks to Gene Shears for helping us with the correct date, February 1, 1972.)

LUB accepts bid for steel poles

By Charlotte Underwood 

It was a brief La Follette Utility meeting on Monday evening, with the acceptance of a bid for steel poles being the only action item on the agenda, according to manager Kenny Baird.

 The board accepted the $57,986.37 bid from HD Supply for steel poles that will be used in the White Oak to Clairefield Distribution Line Extension project. In its third phase, the project has been ongoing for the past five years and is a four-phase project.

“It will probably take till spring to get the poles in and this time next year before the final phase of the project is complete,” Baird said, explaining that once complete, the line distribution would “eliminate the need for the Pruden line, which is one of our worst located lines,” Baird said.   (01/29/2014 - 6:30 AM)

WARNING:  This is a scam-Call: (786)272-9496 (Wells Fargo Account Frozen)

     Campbell County Sheriff Robbie K. Goins warns you of an ongoing texting scam.  The sheriff explains that a text will come in to your cell phone with a long distance number in the name of Wells Fargo Bank.  The text reads that your account is having “issues” or that your account is “frozen.”  Goins emphasizes not to call that phone number.  He goes on to say that when people call the number on the text they are asked to give their social security number and debit or credit card number.  As a result, people are seeing their banking/credit accounts being assessed unwarranted fees, even into overdraft.  He sadly adds that folks have fallen victim to this scam.  It is imperative that you do not respond by calling that number.  Sheriff Goins stresses to please do not give your personal information in any form related to the Wells Fargo text scam on your cell phone.  If you have questions or concerns, you should call the sheriff at 423.562.7446.(01/28/2014 – 6:00 AM)

Farmer’s market, grants, street damage and more discussed at workshop

Story and pictures by Charlotte Underwood

Farmer’s market may come to fruition in LaFollette

A farmer’s market may come to fruition in Freeman Park. That’s the word after John Branam with Campbell County’s Small Business Incubator spoke to the LaFollette Council during Monday evening’s workshop at the invitation of the mayor.

John Branam, with Campbell County Small Business Incubator, spoke to the LaFollette City Council on Monday evening about the possibility of establishing a farmer’s market in downtown LaFollette at Freeman’s Park.

Branam spoke on the positives of establishing a “true” farmer’s market for Campbell County. According to Branam, there have been efforts in the past to start a farmer’s market, but those efforts “have never taken hold.”

“Celeste Sharp with the Downtown Merchant’s Association contacted me and suggested Freeman Park as a possible location,” Branam said, explaining to the council that he was also open to other suggestions from them.

“Wherever it is located, the success would come from the consistency of its location and operating hours,” Branam said. He suggested it being open during the planting, growing and harvesting season on Saturdays from 7 a.m. to noon, with possible Wednesday evening hours being added after it grew. He explained the traffic that passed in front of Freeman Park made it a prime location. Park and Recreation Director Johnny Byrge agreed.

Branam said his reasons for speaking with the council was also to begin the process of gathering public support for the farmer’s market, because it would not happen without the “community support of every body.”

Branam was also quick to point out that it would not hurt any local vendors as they would hopefully set up and sell their fruits, veggies, plants and jams and jellies at the established farmer’s market.

“It would truly benefit everyone,” Branam said. The item was placed on the agenda for next week’s meeting.

“It’s a start,” said Mayor Mike Stanfield.

“There’s more to come from it,” Branam said.

Street damages discussed by city

Damages done to several city streets by dump trucks hauling fill dirt from LaFollette to the Bojangles’ building site and what to do about them was discussed in length during the council’s monthly workshop.

Street Department Head Jim Mullins spoke to the council about the problem that was brought to both his and code enforcer Stan Foust’s attention on Tuesday morning of last week.

LaFollette Street Department Head Jim Mullins describes the damage done to several LaFollette roads by dump trucks hauling fill dirt to the Bojangles’ construction site.

“I got a call from a man driving a garbage truck who told me to go look at 11th Street,” Mullins told the council, adding that before he made it down there, he got a call from Foust asking if he would ride down there with him to look at the road.

“When we got there, the street was in bad shape,” Mullins said, describing ruts and trenches caused by trucks hauling fill dirt. Roads damaged included 11th Street, Forest Street and Iron Street.

“We went down to the Bojangles’ construction site to speak with Mr. Arnold. I told him what the road looked like and he asked me what I wanted him to do about it,” Mullins said, adding that Mr. Arnold said he was “hauling legally.”

“I told him, ‘I don’t know about that, but I do know you are tearing the street up. It was in good shape before you started hauling dirt and now it is tore to pieces,’” Mullins said.

Mullins said he and Foust looked at a map of the property where the dirt was being removed from that was supposed to be owned by Tony Lamar, one of Arnold’s workers. According to the digital map, Lamar only owned part of what he told Arnold he owned and part of the fill dirt had been removed from land that may be owned by the Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency.

“We took the map and showed it to Mr. Arnold, who said Lamar had told him he had owned it all,” Mullins said.

“This whole problem started when they began hauling dirt out of there down to the jail last year,” said LaFollette Mayor Mike Stanfield.

Mullins told the council that Arnold said he would get the area cleaned up and would not remove any more dirt until the issue with whether or not TWRA owned the property was cleared up.

“Now this is hearsay, but I have heard he has continued to get fill dirt out of there several more times,” Mullins said, adding that he had asked Arnold to have gravel taken to the damaged roads and spread out.

“He contacted me and asked if we could spread it. We also took more gravel up there ourselves and leveled the roads out so people could get in and out, but that is just a temporary fix,” Mullins said, asking the council what they wanted to do about the problem.

“It’s the council’s decision to make about how the road should be fixed and who is responsible,” Mullins said. City Attorney Reid Troutman asked if any pictures had been taken before temporary repairs had been made. Foust said yes he had taken photos.

“Who gave them permission to be hauling dirt on the roads anyway,” asked Councilman Hansford Hatmaker.

“Mr. Arnold told me that he ran into Jimmy Jeffries, Cade (Sexton) and Mike (Stanfield) up there riding around one day and one of them told him it was okay; he didn’t say who,” Mullins said.

“That’s not true. Mr. Arnold is a damn liar,” Stanfield said, adding again that the problem has started when dirt had been hauled out of there last year for the county jail.

“Maybe it was William Baird, the county mayor who gave him permission, because it wasn’t me,” Stanfield said. Councilman Joe Bolinger asked that the item be added to the agenda.

City employees may lose Friday’s off

The issue of some city workers having Fridays off and “abusing” it came up for discussion during Monday’s city council workshop.

Councilman Hansford Hatmaker said it was not fair that just because one or two departments had problems with it, that the rest of the employees that have Friday’s off should suffer and no longer have it as an option. Not all employees have Friday’s off, according to Mayor Mike Stanfield, who said he felt it was being “abused.” Police and Fire Departments do not have Friday’s off. Employees, who do have Friday’s off, still work a 40 hour week by working 9 hour days and 8 hours one Friday a month.

Vice Mayor Joe Bolinger said he was against it as well because he felt there were times that there wasn’t enough street department employees and front office employees on Fridays. Councilwoman Stephanie Grimm said she was in support of the employees being able to have flex time and take Friday’s off since it was a benefit the city could provide to its employees at no cost to it.

“That’s something we can give out without straining our budget,” Grimm said.

“If you remember, when we started this Friday’s off thing, we said if there were any problems, we would deal with the department that had the problems; to my understanding, most of the departments aren’t having any problems with it. Don’t make everybody pay the penalty,” Hatmaker said.

The issue will be discussed and possibly voted on at the next council meeting.

City discusses grant applications

The application for several grants was discussed at the Monday evening LaFollette City Council workshop. Treasurer Terry Sweat spoke to council members about applying for both a Home Grant, which would be for the rehab of houses, and a recreation grant that could be used in various ways.

“The Home Grant is a 100-percent grant and we have got it in the past,” Sweat said, adding that he felt the council should definitely apply for the grant since it required no matching portion.

The other grant discusses was a recreation grant, that if received would be a 50/50 matching grant. The city could apply for up to $250,000, but would have to match what ever it applies for.

Councilman Hansford Hatmaker said he was only in support, if the city had the funds to match the grant.

“Well, it depends on how much the city applied for; we would just have to get together, decide what project to use it for and how much we would need,” Sweat said, adding that the matching portion of the grant could also be provided by in-kind service, such as using the street department or the recreation department to do the labor for the project.

“These grants don’t come up very often,” Sweat said, suggesting the city apply for them. The application for both grants was added to next week’s agenda. Also added, was the application for a CDBG grant, that if received would be used for sewer line work.

Items not discussed but added to the agenda for next week included the suspension and termination of a firefighter, as well as the use and misuse of city credit cards.

City credit card usage was not discussed because Councilman Bob Fannon was not present, but it, along with the firefighter personnel issue was both added to the agenda.

The mayor also announced that the city was participating in the county’s homeless count, which is taking place on Jan. 28. WLAF will have coverage and results from that count when numbers come in.  (01/28/2014 – 6:00 AM)

School Board Q & A with Donnie Poston 01/25/2014

Bartley evidence not lost

     You may have read the front page story in Saturday’s (01/25/2014) Knoxville News Sentinel concerning the Kenneth Bartley case.  The story outlines how the once convicted school shooter’s attorney Gregory P. Isaacs filed a motion to dismiss charges against Bartley.  The motion was filed after Isaacs learned that the state might have lost the statements of the two surviving victims; the only eyewitnesses, Principals Gary Seale and Jim Pierce.  A source close to the case tells WLAF that the recorded statements were never lost, but that they are in the case files of a TBI Agent who has since retired.  On November 8, 2005, the then 14-year old Bartley, a freshman at Campbell County High School, was charged with shooting Principals Seale, Pierce, and Ken Bruce.  Bruce died in the principal’s office where Bartley was summoned after it was learned Bartley had brought a gun to school that day.  Bartley pleaded guilty in April 2007 and since has been in prison.  In 2011, Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood tossed out Bartley’s conviction.  Bartley is scheduled to be tried at the Jacksboro Courthouse on Monday, February 24.  An out-of-town jury will be selected.  (01/27/2014 – 6:00 AM)

Poston’s public Q & A positive

     Late morning snow left around an inch of the white stuff on the roads and likely kept attendance down somewhat at Saturday's special school board session.  However, 51 people showed up for the event where the board, public, and Director of Schools Donnie Poston shared thoughts and addressed concerns about the state of Campbell County Schools and its direction.  School Board Chairman Rector Miller served as moderator and started by opening the floor to the public for any comments.  No one said a word.  Miller then told the nine school board members present (due to illness, Homer Rutherford was not able to attend) that they each had ten minutes to ask Poston questions and offer comments.  Poston stepped to the podium and with a grin announced "there's no school today."  That quickly broke the ice, and the questions began with Danny Wilson(1st district school board member) asking Poston about accountability.  Poston said we have an obligation to our children and that holding people accountable is happening even though some uncomfortable decisions have had to be made.  Poston adds that doesn't believe in "flash in the pan" decisions and takes time to research and learn about a situation before making a move.  Third district school board member Johnny Byrge asked Poston what was his biggest challenge.  Poston pointed to the budget as being the hardest element adding that it would be good to have the funding to take the step to the next level.  Johnny Creekmore (5th district) asked about an JROTC program for Jellico High School.  A complicated process is how Poston described it, but said he would like to see JHS have JROTC.  Creekmore stated that he and Poston don't always see eye-to-eye, but that Poston has not brought any shame to our county, and that he has the kids' best interest.  More AP (advance placement) classes were asked about by 2nd district representative Josh Parker.  Poston called on Larry Nidiffer, Secondary Education Supervisor / CTE / Transportation, for input, and Nidiffer explained that Principal Jamie Wheeler is adding AP classes each school year at Campbell County High School.  Mike Orick (4th district) touched on partnering with County Mayor William Baird where education works with the county as it develops a Megasite for industry while Scott Hill (3rd district) offered several comments.  Hill said that he feels Poston needs to be supported, and that he inherited a mess in 2010.  He went on to say that "we ten," meaning the school board, have great responsibility.  He asked Poston what can we as a board do?  Poston noted that encouraging words are as important as anything.  Hill was the most vocal of the board members in expressing his support of Poston.  Sarge Collins (5th district) asked would he go to the county commission and ask for more money?  Poston's answer was yes.  Fourth District School Board Member Eugene Lawson, who calls himself the board's "lightning rod," wanted to know "when will we get caught up?"  Lawson, who took his ten-minutes, and then some, exclaimed "52-years!"  He said I've been doing this (education) for 52-years, and Campbell County has been trying to catch up the whole time.  Lawson described progress as "awful slow" saying that our seniors are our finished product.  Poston allowed that our schools are seeing the most improvement across the board in five-years.  Lawson asked if Poston and Miller will ask for more money for the schools, and Poston said the process is underway.  The final member of the school board to speak, the chairman, Rector Miller, was optimistic and began by saying that he has no problem with Donnie Poston integrity-wise.  He also said that our schools are heading back up.  Miller asked Director Poston to identify our weaknesses.  Poston pointed out that 52% of the children are being raised by their grandparents, and that teachers have become mommy and daddy, grandma and grandpa.  He says that it's not unique here (Campbell County).  After the 90-minute meeting, Poston told WLAF that he has peace through the contract extension process, and that he welcomes concerns, criticisms, and comments.  He asks how can we go up if we don't know what people are thinking?  Chairman Miller explained to WLAF that a lot of good things came out of the meeting.  He says that the board is in unison in that this education system needs more funding, and that that will have to be addressed eventually.  Miller adds that two of the strengths this school system has are its principals and its overall commitment of our teachers.  On February 11, the school board hosts its regular session meeting with the item of extending the director of schools contract for action on the agenda.  That will be at the courthouse at 6:00 p.m.  At the end of Saturday's meeting, one school board member told WLAF News that he feels like the board will extend Poston's contract. (01/27/2014 – 6:00 AM)

 

LUB & TVA meet winter peak demand record

“We had no problems of any significance…thankfully.”  That’s what La Follette Utilities’ General Manager Kenny Baird tells WLAF.  Temperatures hovered around zero all over the LUB service area this morning at daybreak proving to be the coldest day in some 20-years.  Earlier this year, it was only a couple of degrees above zero for a low reading on January 7.

The Tennessee Valley Authority met a record-breaking winter demand for electricity Friday morning with an estimated 33,345 megawatts when the average temperature across the region hovered at 7 degrees. 

This would be TVA’s highest demand for electricity since the summer of 2007 and third - highest in TVA history. The previous winter record was 32,572 megawatts set on Jan. 16, 2009. 

Meeting the record demand required the combined efforts of TVA’s employees and generating facilities, coordination with the Valley’s 155 local power companies and large industrial customers, and the cooperation of businesses and households to conserve. 

Relying on its diversified electric generating sources, TVA received 29 percent of its power from coal - fired plants,

21 percent from nuclear plants, 24 percent from natural gas plants, 12 percent from hydroelectric dams, 2 percent from wind farms and 12 percent from power market purchases.

"For the second time this month, TVA sincerely thanks everyone across the seven state TVA service area for conserving energy and helping us provide a safe, reliable flow of electricity during this latest cold wave," said Tim Ponseti, vice president of TVA Transmission Operations and Power Supply. "The effort made by our employees and customers during this round of bitterly cold weather exemplifies the teamwork and skill required to provide low - cost, reliable power.” 

Ponseti added, “Meeting back-to-back peak loads and ensuring uninterrupted power under extreme conditions takes a network of experienced, well-trained people and a community willing to turn down their thermostat a few degrees.”

Public appeals to conserve energy are now lifted, though consumers can always find benefits from energy-saving information on TVA's EnergyRight Solutions website at http://www.energyright.com and from local power companies.

With more cold weather on the way next week, TVA is continuing its internal Conservative Operations Alert, delaying non-emergency maintenance activities at its generation and transmission facilities to minimize risks to the power supply.

TVA’s all-time peak demand record remains 33,482 megawatts, set on Aug. 16, 2007, when temperatures averaged 102 degrees.  (01/24/2014 – 1:45 PM)

Zumba with Ali is Monday & Thursday at 6:00 p.m., Saturdays at 9:00 a.m.

Listen to the Neutral Zone with Clone below


Lady Cougars 59 at Gibbs 33

Cougars 69 at Gibbs 77  

Poston poll is one-sided…again

     The results of the second annual Donnie Poston poll are similar to the 2013 poll numbers.  When the poll closed this morning at 1:00 a.m., 1,579 of you had cast ballots along with 61 telephone ballots.  Of the 1,640 votes, 94% were cast in favor of Poston as director of schools.  The 2013 poll favored Poston with 96% of the vote.  The Campbell County Board of Education will hold an open Public Forum to meet with school board members and the Director of Schools to discuss the extension of the Director of Schools Contract.  That’s this Saturday, January 25, 2014, at Noon, in the Jacksboro Middle School library.  This opportunity is for public input to share its ideas or concerns in regards to the future of education in the Campbell County Schools.  Then on February 11, the school board hosts its regular session meeting with the item of extending the Director of Schools contract for action on the agenda.  That will be at the courthouse at 6:00 p.m.  (01/24/2014 – 6:00 AM)

Coldest morning in 20+ years challenges all of us

This morning’s low hovers around zero and is taxing heating systems and challenging local utility providers.  La Follette Utilities has answered the bell in the two latest rounds of extremely cold weather.  Officials with LUB tell WLAF that power outages have been few and far between. 

The extreme winter weather conditions being experienced in the Tennessee Valley in January have resulted in record energy usage that will ultimately impact end-use power consumers through higher — perhaps significantly higher — power bills in February and March.  

Earlier this month, an arctic weather system — recognized as a polar vortex by the National Weather Service — passed through the region, causing record-setting cold temperatures that resulted in an average of 4.2 degrees across the Valley on Tuesday, January 7.  On that day, energy usage on TVA’s system set an all-time record over a 24-hour period with 703 million kilowatt-hours used.  We are pleased to report that despite these extreme weather conditions, thousands of local power company and TVA employees working together met this record demand with no major power outages or issues to the electric system.

With colder temperatures expected to continue in the weeks ahead, there are a number of steps power consumers can take to keep energy usage and costs down:

1.       Turn down your thermostat to 68 degrees or lower. For every degree you lower your heat in the 60-degree to 70-degree range, you’ll save up to 5 percent on heating costs.

2.       Set the thermostat back to 55 degrees when leaving home for an extended time. Please note that heat pumps should only be set back 2 degrees to prevent unneeded use of backup strip heating, which carries higher costs.

3.       Check air filters. Dirty air filters increase your energy usage and can also damage your heating. Be sure to use filters approved for your specific system.

4.       Caulk around windows and replace old weather stripping around doors to keep the cold air out.

5.       Reduce cold-air drafts around windows — typically seen in older homes — by using heavy-duty, clear plastic sheets or tape clear plastic film inside your windows. Ensure the plastic is sealed tightly to reduce cold-air drafts.

6.       Close your fireplace damper when not in use.

7.       Schedule service for your heating system, and ask what maintenance is required to keep it running optimally. Keep up with maintenance milestones.

8.       Open curtains on your south-facing windows on sunny days to naturally heat your home with sunlight. Close the curtains at night to reduce any chill or drafts.

You can find additional energy-saving suggestions by visiting TVA’s Energy Right Solutions website at http://www.energyright.com   (01/24/2014 – 6:00 AM)

Preliminary approval given for subdivision near College Hill

Story & pictures by Charlotte Underwood

Thursday evening’s planning commission meeting in La Follette was short, with the only agenda item being the preliminary approval of a subdivision in the College Hill area.

Surveyor Tony Crutchfield spoke to the La Follette Planning Commission on Thursday evening regarding the preliminary approval of a subdivision in the College Hill area.

Surveyor Tony Crutchfield spoke to the planning commission briefly regarding the proposed subdivision which would consist of 8 tracks of land, each over 1 acre and some as much as three acres. According to Codes Officer Stan Foust, four of the tracks of land would be within the city limits, while the other four would be within the city’s urban growth area. The commission voted to give its preliminary approval based on Foust’s recommendation as long as the 30-foot right of way designations along College Hill Road and West Hill Street were increased to 50 foot. Crutchfield said he saw that as “no problem” and that he would be back in March with an adjusted plat map that would reflect those changes.

Peter Daleo from New Jersey approached the board of zoning appeals on Thursday evening to seek a license to run a mobile food truck in La Follette along the four-lane.

After the planning commission met, there was a brief board of zone appeals meeting in which the board heard from Peter Daleo, who approached the board about changing the ordinance to allow him to have a mobile lunch truck along the four-lane in LaFollette. Daleo is originally from New Jersey, but has been living in the area for the past eight years. Foust told the board that he could not recommend it since the city had an ordinance against mobile food vehicles and temporary shelters. Daleo said he understood that, but asked the board to reconsider and allow him a year by which time he would have the old McGhee bar renovated and turned into an Italian restaurant. La Follette Mayor Mike Stanfield made a motion to allow Daleo the year he needed, but the motion died for lack of a second. Board member Ed Wheeler explained why the ordinance had been passed in the first place due to there being a problem with temporary structures along the four-lane in the past.

“I want to enhance the area, not detract from it,” Daleo told the board, suggesting the city could regulate how many licenses it issued for mobile food trucks and could therefore make some money on the licenses themselves.

Foust explained to the board that they could not issue a license for a year; once the license was issued, it was there and only the state could revoke it.

 Board member Joe Bolinger said that the board of zone appeals could not make a decision to amend the codes and that it would have to be taken before the city council.

“We are business oriented and not here to hinder business. We would love to have you in one of our empty downtown buildings,” Bolinger said, adding that some of them were empty and would be a good location for a future restaurant.

“The ordinances are in place and that’s what we are dealing with now; I think it should be a city decision,” Wheeler said, making a motion to take it before the council.

“Maybe they can do what we can’t,” said board member Winona Miller.(01/24/2014 – 6:00 AM)

Poston: ‘Schools not where I want them, but headed in right direction’

By Charles “Boomer” Winfrey

The future of Campbell County schools will be the subject of a public meeting Saturday at Jacksboro Middle School, as the Board of Education will discuss whether to renew the contract of Director of Schools Donnie Poston.

On Thursday, WLAF/Channel 12 interviewed Poston in his office about his three and a half years on the job and his goals for the future. Following are excerpts from that interview:

Looking back over the past two and a half years as Director of Schools, what do you take the most pride in having accomplished?

“The increased morale of our school employees. When I came here, the instability in leadership had left teachers and other employees with low morale and the entire system was in upheaval.

The employees had no pride in the schools and lacked confidence in their leaders. I feel we have changed that around. Even though new (state) policies have frozen salaries, I haven’t heard any complaints from staff here in the central office. Teachers are working with a new sense of pride in the direction we’re going. We’ve steadied the ship.”

Are we where you want to be on meeting testing standards and improving academics?

“Of course not. I want to see perfection and you’ll never get perfection. But we’re moving in the right direction.

Like most educators I hate to see so much reliance on testing, but there’s no other way to mark progress. We are still short of our goals but we continue to improve in most areas and most schools.

During the past year, we probably placed too much emphasis on improving math scores and it shows as reading and language arts lagged in some schools and grades. We have to find a balance that works.”

What other major challenges do feel you need to address?

“I want to add to our curriculum, to offer a greater range of subject areas, but that takes more personnel and more money.

One state official told me, ‘You’re doing miracles with the minimum.’ That’s it in a nutshell. Campbell County continues to fall in the lower one-third of systems in the state when it comes to local funding.

I would like to expand VocTech, have more college prep offerings, after school programs in every school. We just added a cosmetology program at Jellico. I’d like to see Jr. ROTC reinstated in Jellico and their band program back, but it takes money and it takes participation from the community.

That is one place where I have high hopes that all the problems with online instruction can get worked out. You can’t afford to fund a position for a Latin instructor, but you can offer Latin through a virtual academy, or any number of other subject areas that simply aren’t feasible for a school system like ours any other way.

Whether school systems create their own online academies or rely on private contractors, virtual instruction is the wave of the future.”

Test results are for the most part showing improvement but what about other benchmarks, like the graduation rate?

“When you compare graduation rates with those just a few years back, we’re vastly improved, but we fell short of our goal this year. Our target for 2013 at Campbell County High School was a 83.9% graduation rate. We ended up with 80.6%. Jellico’s rate was better, 90.4%, but still a little short of the goal.

Continued improvement of our alternative school program should help. We are nearly ready to offer alternative school in Jellico, while Sandy Wilson, who supervises the East LaFollette Learning Academy, loves her job and the challenge.

Our goal is to have an alternative school program that is not simply a holding pen for troubled students, but will prepare them to re-enter the general school population and graduate. We want to get those kids on the right path.”

What other personal goals do you have if you continue as Director of Schools during the next year?

“In addition to those things we’ve already discussed, a big challenge is going to involve a smooth transition to the new teachers’ salary structure implemented by the state, what’s it called - ‘strategic compensation.’ That is going to be more results oriented and replace the old step program.

I also want to see Campbell County partner with other systems when it comes to planning and seeking grant funding. We used to be part of the Clinch Powell Educational Cooperative, along with Claiborne, Union, Scott, Grainger and Hancock counties.

For some reason when Doctor Blevins was Director, we pulled out, but I believe it can be a positive thing and want to renew our participation.

I feel that we are on the right track in Campbell County, but we’re just beginning to approach where we want to be. We have dedicated, hard working teachers, principals and supervisors who can get us there if they remain motivated. I want to help provide that motivation.”   (01/24/2014 – 6:00 AM)

Caryville native just keeps on winning

     He was a Caryville Cardinal.  Now days, he’s a Fulton Falcon.  Tonight Jody Wright brings his Fulton High basketball team to John R.W. Brown Gymnasium to take on the (game is cancelled)Campbell Cougars.  And there are a lot of connections.  His coach at CES was Len Pierce.  Pierce was the head basketball coach two different times at Campbell County High School.  Wright’s late father, Gene, was a standout basketball player and later head basketball coach at Jacksboro High School.  The elder Wright was offered the job to replace Coach John R.W. Brown at La Follette High School when Brown went into the insurance business, but he declined. 

Jody Wright has won more basketball games (500+) than any coach in the history of Knox County basketball.  He’s also the only Knox County coach to have won two state basketball titles.  Back in the late 1980s, Wright won just two games his first year as Fulton’s head coach.(01/23/2014-6:00AM)

Launa’s Iron Skillet opens for business

Pictures & story by Charlotte Underwood

There’s a new place to eat in Jacksboro called Launa’s Iron Skillet. Owned by Jerry Hicks, the eatery is located by the old Spur station and held its grand opening on Jan. 16. Specializing in Cajun food, the venue has lots to offer in the way of home-made fare. And as Hicks says, “it’s not your typical food from this area.”

Chef Jerry Hicks hand-cuts his French fries and serves up a variety of sliders and tacos.

A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, Hicks is originally from North Carolina. He has been a chef for the past 22 years and has literally “cooked” his way around the country picking up styles and recipes along the way.  From New York to New Orleans, Cape Cod to L.A., Hicks has cooked from coast to coast and lots of places in between.

Hicks bakes fresh bread daily.

Before moving to Campbell County with his wife Lorraine and daughter Launa - which the business is named after - he was the chef at a salmon fishing lodge in northern Alaska. Among the reasons for the family’s move to the area was the school system.

“We moved down here for the schools, the family and the people. In Alaska, most of the schools are a dormitory-type setting where the kids go and stay for six months at a time,” Hicks said, adding that the family still planned to visit Alaska in the summers.

Hicks said of all the cooking styles he has picked up along the past two-plus decades, he enjoys French cooking the most, but he certainly misses the fresh seafood that he had access to in Alaska.

“There’s nothing like catching and cooking a 35 pound salmon, it kind of ruins you,” Hicks said with a laugh.

Launa’s Iron Skillet is owned and operated by Chef Jerry Hicks. The eatery specializes in Cajun-style food.

Speaking of salmon, he serves up an amazing Alaskan Salmon fish taco, but if fish isn’t your thing, he has chicken and beef, as well as fresh BBQ, braised pork, and sliders. He bakes all of his own bread and hand-cuts the French fries.

Launa’s Iron Skillet held its grand opening on Jan. 16th. It is located on Main Street in Jacksboro across from Wal-Mart.

“Stop by and try it; it’s not your typical food fare for this area,” Hicks said, inviting the public to come try some of his cooking.

Launa’s Iron Skillet is located on Main Street in Jacksboro, across from Wal-Mart.  Currently, the business is open Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 11 – 5, with some possible Sunday hours.  (01/23/2014-6:00AM)

Vote on director of schools is set for February 11

     The Campbell County Board of Education, February 11, 2014, regular session meeting will place the item of extending the Director of Schools contract for action on the agenda  That will be at the courthouse at 6:00 p.m.(01/20/2014/5:00PM)

County Commission Meeting 01-21-14

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Justice center again a hot topic at brief commission meeting

The Campbell County Commission held a brief regular monthly meeting Tuesday night, postponed from Monday due to the MLK holiday. The commissioners approved notaries, reports and committee minutes, but left any items needing discussion or debate until another night due to the inclement weather.

One motion that did not gain unanimous support was approval of budget amendments, including one that committed the county to pick up half the cost of a $240,000 overrun on the new justice center.

Sue Nance, Beverly Hall and Bob Walden all voted against the motion while Thomas Hatmaker, the only member to vote against it last week in the budget committee session, changed his vote to “yes.”

Hatmaker later said the expenditure was inevitable and if not approved, would delay completion of the justice center, but he added that he had spoken with unidentified state officials who told him the architect should have been responsible for all the costs of the overrun.

He then offered a motion to remove the Finance Director as manager of the capital projects fund and appoint County Mayor William Baird to oversee future spending on construction projects.

Baird pointed out that the motion was not on the agenda and could not be voted upon unless the commission suspended the rules. Rusty Orick then suggested that such a major change in policy needed more discussion by the jail committee before being debated by the full commission and Hatmaker agreed to defer his motion to the committee.

A jail committee meeting was then scheduled for February 10 at 5:30 p.m. before the next workshop.

Before Hatmaker could continue with the “two or three” items that he wanted to discuss, Jellico commissioner Alvin Evans made a motion to adjourn, obviously eager to get back over Pine Mountain before the roads became slippery. The other commissioners quickly approved that motion and headed for the door. (01/22/2014-6:00AM)

Response to the “one man’s opinion” stories

By Lewis Clemens
            According to Mr. Freeman of WLAF,
Campbell County deserves the
best possible. While I don’t disagree with his premise, I must disagree
that Mr. Poston is the best out there—or at least I sincerely hope not. I
recently pondered a run for the school board which led me to research and
find much of the information that I will share. I have decided, due to
personal illness, I will be unable to run, so I share my findings as a
simple note of public interest.
           I am not about to herald the wisdom of the board for wanting to
fire Mr. Poston a year ago. In fact, I believe it was largely for selfish
and politically motivated reasons that they wanted to remove him—although
if they were actually looking closely at the system as they should, they
could find many real reasons. In fact, if the board is as politically
motivated as I believe they are, they would be foolish to not extend Mr.
Poston’s contract. Mr. Poston has been quick to follow the orders of this
board, especially compared to his predecessors. Why would they remove
someone who they can so easily control? Look at his biggest critics, which
happen to be board members from Districts 1, 4, and 5 who are up for
re-election this year. One need only look at those most recently promoted
to the Central Office or as head principals and trace their connections to
these specific board members. Even on “the other side” of the mountain,
look at the moves that seemed to appease the family members of the board
member from there. Poston is the ideal director for this board, as he will
always cater to their needs, especially in an election year.
            Now aside from Poston making politically savvy moves—while
stomach churning, they are necessary for him to keep his job—let’s note the
general mismanagement of a system that has seen significant growth in the
area of management. Since Mr. Poston has taken office, numerous positions
have been added to the central office, seemingly with no purpose. There is
a Special Projects Coordinator (who failed to bring in a virtual school
program that would likely result in ruining the county’s test scores). This
individual supervises a Preschool Coordinator—which is now a full position,
as opposed to an extra $3,000 or so added onto a preschool teacher’s salary
as it used to be. There is now an attendance coordinator that writes and
implements attendance policies (however, the school board is charged with
writing and passing policies, so much of this individual’s duties are
inappropriate). There is an additional receptionist to answer the phones.
Of course, let’s not overlook the most obvious needless addition: a full
time director of safety and athletics. Even the school board could not
justify this position, so it was eliminated after two years. Of course, it
would be a poor political move for the individual holding that position to
no longer have an administrative job, so he was moved to be the Health
Coordinator. Digressing, the former Health Coordinator was removed in the
midst of a lawsuit that implied she was probably going to be fired for
political reasons. Since this move essentially proves her claim, it is
likely that the system will be paying out a nice sum in that suit. The
Health Coordinator’s salary has long been paid by a grant. However, despite
adding so many positions to central office administration, the illustrious
group missed the deadline for filing the grant, so the school system is now
paying for that salary. In addition, a former principal who retired after
the state comptroller found misconduct in his school’s finances has been
hired as an assistant to the Health Coordinator. This is in addition to
many other retired individuals who have been brought on to assist in
various ways.
            With so many unnecessary positions added, it would be unfair if
I did not note that Mr. Poston did eliminate two salaried positions: a
maintenance supervisor (just ask any principal or teacher how quickly
requests for repairs are processed now) and the Career and Technical
Education Supervisor. The latter is the most disturbing cut. The CTE
program was perhaps the most effective program in the school system and was
frequently recognized nationally. Now, the CTE teachers do not feel they
have the support they once had. More importantly, this is not a county that
has tons of jobs that require college degrees. Most employers are looking
for individuals with a specific skill, which is what the CTE program was
accomplishing. This will actually result in an employee pool in this county
that is even less prepared to work than it already way—if that’s even
imaginable.
            Of course, this goes far and beyond employment and personnel
decisions. If you talk to teachers and administrators off the record, they
will tell you about how communication from central office to the schools is
incredibly weak. Meetings and trainings are often scheduled, with those
required to attend the training given less than 24 hours notice. Despite
the large administration team, you will hardly ever see any of them going
to actually visit the schools, as was common with previous directors. This
type of mismanagement is a direct result of a leader who is either in over
his head or is largely apathetic of his day to day responsibilities. If you
were to go to his office to speak with him, he would likely spend an hour
or more telling stories from his many years of experience, but it is
unlikely you will notice him actually applying this experience into
actually doing his job, which he seems to have largely delegated to his
elementary and secondary supervisors.
            The truth of the matter is, Mr. Freeman’s crusade will be a
waste of effort. This board will no doubt renew the contract of a man who
is so quick to hire their relations and friends. He will avoid the
controversy of closing
Elk Valley, which is inevitable due to its dwindling
size, during an election year. He’s good for votes, and he’s good to do the
board’s will.
            In truth, I do not completely disagree with Mr. Freeman. I do
find it suspect that WLAF seems to present so many controversial stories
from snake handling to solar panels in such an unbiased manner—with the
exception of Boomer Winfrey’s often entertaining editorials—yet seems to
shamelessly promote Mr. Poston even within news stories outside of the
editorial realm. Mr. Freeman seems to be exaggerating the circumstances.
Due to rules of procedure, the school board cannot immediately take action
to extend Poston’s contract. Indeed, it’s almost admirable that they are
hosting a forum for public input (something they should have done before
extending Martin’s contract). Sometimes, the devil you know is better than
the devil you don’t. For now, I’m not opposed to extending Mr. Poston’s
contract for a year. In looking at relatives or political allies of the
current board members, I cannot recall one that I think would be a good
director. The reality is, Mr. Freeman, that ten men are in charge of our
school system. We democratically elect a school board to enact policies and
hire a director. I think the most appropriate form of action is to elect
new board members this fall who will either appropriately select a new
director to succeed Mr. Poston on merits, or at least those who have family
members who would actually do well in the job.
(01/22/2014- - 12:25PM)

Sheriff and police reports

By Charlotte Underwood

Law enforcement make two arrests in unrelated purse thefts

A Valley View School teacher had her purse stolen out of her classroom, which led to the arrest of a La Follette woman, according to a sheriff’s report.

Carrie Lynn Green, 25, was arrested by sheriff’s deputy Josh Carroll on Jan. 17 after he investigated the classroom theft. The victim stated that when she returned to her classroom, she noted her purse, valued at $110, was missing. The victim also told Carroll she had received word from her credit card company that someone had used her card to purchase $379.95 at Food Lion. During Carroll’s interview with Green, she told him she did take the purse and use the credit card without the victim’s consent, according to the arrest report. Green was charged with theft under $500 and fraudulent use of a credit card. She was transported to the county jail and has a court date set for Jan. 31 at 9 a.m.

In an unrelated purse theft case, Shala Denise Sanchez, 26, was arrested on Jan. 20 by LaFollette Police Officer Noah Riggs after she stole a purse out of a vehicle parked in front of a downtown LaFollette business, according to an arrest report. Witnesses saw Sanchez steal the purse, dump part of its contents out and hand them to someone else before fleeing in a white car. Sanchez was charged with theft over $500 as the contents of the purse and the purse itself was valued at approximately $600.

Man arrested for public intoxication and indecent exposure

A La Follette man was arrested on Jan. 14 for public intoxication and indecent exposure after he stepped out of a vehicle that had been pulled over for a traffic stop and began urinating on the side of the road, according to a Campbell County Sheriff’s report.

Oscar Bernabe Espana, 33, was a passenger in a vehicle that had been pulled over for nearly striking another vehicle. When Deputy James McCall pulled the vehicle over, Espana got out of the vehicle of his own accord and seemed very unsteady on his feet. He also smelled strongly of an alcoholic beverage.

After Espana urinated on the side of the road, he was arrested for his safety and the safety of others and was transported to the county jail, according to the arrest report. The driver, Lazaro Avila Vasquez, 24, of Speedwell, was also arrested for no driver’s license and failure to exercise due care.

La Follette police make drug arrests

The LaFollette Police Department made two drug arrests on Jan. 16, according to arrest reports. Jeffery Layne Kindred, 22, of Pleasant Ridge, was arrested on E. Beech Street after officers saw him getting mail out of a mail box on South Cumberland and then begin walking. When officers came in contact with him, Kindred told them it was his grandmother’s residence. Officers received consent to search him and found one white paper rolled up with a green leafy substance believed to be marijuana in the front pocket of his sweatshirt. Kindred was arrested and charged with possession of a schedule VI controlled substance. The hand-rolled cigarette was sent to the lab for identification.

Police also arrested Mark David Franklin, 34, of LaFollette for possession of a schedule III controlled substance after they found him going through the LaFollette Housing Authority property yards.

According to the report, Franklin was avoiding eye contact with the officers, which aroused their suspicions. When officers asked him if he was visiting anyone in the area he said no. They then asked him for identification. As Franklin pulled his wallet out of his pocket, a piece of aluminum foil containing half of a Suboxone strip also fell out, according to the arrest report. Franklin admitted to officers that it was Suboxone and was arrested.(01/22/2014-6:00AM)

You have the right to vote for a director of schools right here

     Since the state took away your right to vote for a director of schools, and the vote is now left up to the 10 men on the school board, WLAF would like to know, if you did have the right to vote, how would you vote?  Select “yes” to vote for Donnie Poston.  Select “no” to vote against Donnie Poston.  The school board is putting you, our students, teachers, staff, and director of schools in the same position we were in this time almost one-year ago.  Please take a moment, vote, and send the message you want sent to your school board members.  The “WLAF Poston Poll 2” closes at 12:01 a.m. on Friday (01/24/2014).  Thank you!

 

The hesitation got 'em         

"One man's opinion"

By Jim Freeman

     In my days as a sports broadcaster, I became friends with a fellow named Larry Conley.  Larry was an Ashland (Kentucky) High School Tomcat back in the 1960s.  Seems like he was even on the varsity basketball team in 8th grade.  Regardless.  Larry's high school team won like 90-something games, maybe even a hundred.  Anyway, he went on to become one of Rupp's Runts at the University of Kentucky with Pat Riley and that bunch.  In his freshman season, Coach Rupp called out to him after practice one day and asked, "Conley, who's a better coach; your high school coach or me?"  Larry said he had the right answer, but it was the hesitation that got 'em.  I'm the biggest Tennessee fan ever born, but my hat is always off to Kentucky.  Those folks know how to find the best basketball coaches, and in many cases, they know how to keep them as long they can.  If Donnie Poston happened to be the basketball coach at UK, they'd be holding on to 'em.  Here in Campbell County, we have a school board that was totally snookered by one Dr. Michael Martin here a few years ago when it had the chance to hire Donnie Poston.  Well.  After lots and lots of embarrassing local, state, and national news headlines about Martin's shenanigans, he was fired (correction;  Martin resigned).  Many of those on the board who hired Martin are still on the school board.  In retrospect, I don't think the board did much "thinking about it" when it hired Martin.  However, you are telling me that this school board has to "think about" keeping Donnie Poston on as director of schools?  If you want to keep Donnie Poston as your DOS or you want to see him go, then show up at Jacksboro Middle School at Noon on Saturday, January 25 and then again at the courthouse on Tuesday, February 11 at 6:00 p.m.  Who is in charge of this school system?  Ten men on the school board?  Or you?  Opposing view points are welcome at wlaf@1450wlaf.com and will be considered for publication on www.1450wlaf.com. (01/22/2014-6:00AM)

Why can't we have the best? 

"One man's opinion"

By Jim Freeman

     Campbell County has the most beautiful valley, mountains, and lake in the northern hemisphere.  Why just ask anyone who chose to move here.  I wasn't born here, but I got here as fast as I could.  My dad wanted to practice dentistry in a small mountain town.  So, when I was just a pup, we packed up and moved from Washington, D.C. to La Follette, Tennessee.  For me, no place else has been home except here.  When dad died back in 1989, we counted more than a thousand people who came that night during calling hours.  Jim Reynolds was last in line, and Lansden Hill even wore a coat and tie (some things you never forget).  Dad's best friend from dental school was here all weekend.  Before he left, he asked me why on earth did your dad, who graduated tops in his class and had the best hands in school, ever want to come to a place like this?  The answer came quickly.  Pete, folks here deserve the best just as much as they do at your dental practice over in Farragut.  He had no come back.  Folks, I ask you this.  Doesn't Campbell County deserve to have the best director of schools?  Why do our school board members act as if they have to "think about it" when it comes to keeping Donnie Poston in place?  Call your school board member right now and ask him.  If you want to keep Donnie Poston as your DOS or you want to see him go, then show up at Jacksboro Middle School at Noon on Saturday, January 25 and then again at the courthouse on Tuesday, February 11 at 6:00 p.m.  Who is in charge of this school system?  Ten men on the school board?  Or you?  Opposing view points are welcome at wlaf@1450wlaf.com and will be considered for publication on www.1450wlaf.com.(01/21/2014/6:00AM)

Multiple election petitions picked up

By Charlotte Underwood

Two-weeks after petitions became available, a “whole slew” has been picked up and some have even been filed already, according to Election Administrator Ann Ayers-Colvin.

“It has been a busy two-weeks,” Ayers-Colvin said, adding that of the nearly 60 petitions that were picked up, eight have been returned and filed.

The county commissioner’s race has had the most petitions picked up. For the first district, incumbent David Adkins, Anthony Dossett, Whit Goins, Robert L. Higginbotham, Paul E. Harrell, Marvin T. Rutherford and incumbent N. Marie Ayers. For the second district, Scott Kitts is the only one who has picked up a petition as of Jan. 17.  In the third district, incumbent Lawrence (Rusty) Orick, incumbent Wendell Bailey and John Scott Stanfield have each picked up a petition. For the fourth district, incumbent Johnny (Coach) Bruce, incumbent Marilyn Sue Nance, Charles Thomas Byrge, incumbent Charles (Goat) Baird, Alvin England and Ralph Grant. As far as the fifth district goes, incumbent Alvin Evans, incumbent J.L. Davis, Ronald Hutson and Forrester Baird have all picked petitions up.

As of Friday, two people had picked up petitions to run in the county mayor’s race including incumbent Mayor William A. Baird and Marvin Rutherford.

Four men have picked up petitions to run for sheriff, including incumbent Sheriff Robbie Goins, former officer holder Gary Perkins, Randy Baird and A.O. Pete Hatfield.

A total of eight individuals picked up petitions to run for the school board election. First district petitions were picked up by Marvin Rutherford, Corey Poston and incumbent Rector Miller.  Incumbent Josh Parker picked up a petition to run for the second district school board member while Virgil Kidwell is the only person who has so far picked up to run in the third district school board. Both incumbent Eugene Lawson and Clint Bane picked up petitions for the fourth district, while incumbent Johnny Creekmore has picked up for the fifth district school board member.

Three people have picked up petitions for register of deeds. These include incumbent Register of Deeds Dormas Miller and 2nd District County Commissioner Beverly Stanfield Hall.  District 1 School Board Member Danny Wilson has also picked up a petition for register of deeds.  Incumbent Joe Coker is the only person who has picked up a petition for the county attorney’s office. Incumbent Trustee Everett (Monty) Bullock is the only one who has gotten a petition to be trustee and incumbent Circuit Court Clerk Bobby Vann picked up a petition to once again be circuit court clerk. Both incumbent County Clerk Debbie Wilson and Alene Baird have picked up petitions for county clerk.

A total of 12 people have picked up petitions to be constables. Sam Ivey, incumbent James McCulley and Maynard L. Sweat picked up for the first district, while Larry R. Ford, Jimmy Mynatt and Michael W. Hembree picked up petitions for the second district. For third district constable, incumbent Bill A. Rutherford is the only one who has picked up paperwork. In the fourth district, Dewey Madison, James Edward Wilson and Samuel Phillips have all picked up petitions, while Joseph Draughn and incumbent Paul Webb each picked up papers for fifth district constable.

For 36th district state representative, incumbent Republican Dennis Powers and Democrat Virgil Kidwell each picked up petitions.

As far as judge elections go, John McAfee of Claiborne County has filed a petition for circuit court judge. Judge Shayne Sexton picked up a petition for criminal court judge and incumbent district attorney Lori Phillips-Jones of Scott County has also filed her petition for D.A. Mark Eric Blakely has filed a petition to be public defender. Elizabeth Asbury picked up a petition for Chancellor and Andy Tillman of Scott County has mailed in his petition for chancellor.  All but Asbury are currently in office.

For state committee woman in the State Senate 12th District, Liz Holiway, from Roane County has mailed her petition into the election commission office. There will be a man and woman for each party elected to the office. As of Jan. 17, no-one from within the county has picked up a petition to run for this position, according to Ayers-Colvin.

Just because someone has picked up a petition, does not mean they will run for office. Those who have picked up a petition must return it by the qualifying deadline of noon on April 3. The deadline to withdraw is one week later on April 10 by noon, according to election commission officials.

 For more information, contact the election commission office at 423-562-9777.

WLAF will continue to update the list of those who have picked up and/or filed petitions as the qualifying deadline draws closer.  (01/21/2014/4:30PM)


						

						

						

The last of Hambin’s confiscated snakes is gone

     Reports coming in to WLAF are that the last of the snakes confiscated from a La Follette church last November have been euthanized.  Back on November 7th, 53 snakes were taken in a raid by Tennessee Wildlife Resource Officers at the church where Reverend Andrew Hamblin is pastor, the Tabernacle Church of God.  In a January 8th story by WLAF’s Charlotte Underwood, she reported that out of the 53 snakes that were brought to Knoxville Zoo by TWRA, 32 had died due to poor body condition caused by anorexia that was a result of severe parasite infestation and overall stress caused by being housed in quarters that were too small.  That’s according to Michael Ogle, Knoxville Zoo Curator of Herpetology.  Today’s report is that the last of the 14 snakes have been euthanized.  Hamblin was cited for possession of Class 1 Wildlife, but earlier this month, a grand jury declined to indict him on any charges.  Hamblin said he was fighting for his freedom of religion.  (01/20/2014/1:30PM)

Listen to Tennessee Saturday Night with Tony Basilio on player below


 Lady Cougars 63 - Lady Central 32

Cougars 72 - Central 71

Egle Boniglia is Homecoming Queen

Mr. Spirit is Shayne White

Lawsuit “likely” after city terminates administrator

 "Mayor addresses accusations against police chief"

By Charlotte Underwood

According to former LaFollette City Administrator Billie Russell’s attorney Dave Dunaway, future litigation is “likely” after the city council voted to terminate Russell during a Jan. 15 special-called meeting.

On Friday, Jan. 17, Dunaway issued a statement saying the reasons the council had terminated Russell were “pretextual” in nature.

“I have considered the comments that were made by certain council members.  It appears that the reasons given were actually pretextual,” Dunaway said, adding that when Russell brought to the attention of the mayor and city council that “certain illegal and improper activities were going on in the City of LaFollette, she was berated, ostracized, and unexpected conduct was occasioned by the City of LaFollette including the filing of unwarranted grievances against Ms. Russell when it was clear that the City's grievance policy by Charter and by decision of the Tennessee Court of Appeals did not apply to Ms. Russell.”

Though a lawsuit has not been filed yet, Dunaway said there is an ample time window to do so. 

“She has one year from the date of the termination to file a wrongful termination case,” Dunaway said, adding that “in all likelihood, it will be filed.”

During the special-called meeting on Wednesday, Councilman Hansford Hatmaker agreed with Russell’s lawyer, saying the grievances filed against Russell were “illegal” because they should have been made “against the council and the city’s policies, not against Russell.” Hatmaker also made allegations that LaFollette Police Chief Jimmy Jeffries had “forced” some of his officers to sign the grievance against Russell or their “pay raises” would be affected. In total, 16 officers signed, according to Hatmaker. When WLAF contacted Jeffries on Friday, he said he “had no comment at this time.”  Due to a departmental policy, LPD officers could not be contacted and asked whether these allegations are true, because officers are not allowed to give official statements to media representatives and all questions have to go through the public information officer, which is Jeffries. Jeffries, however, does not have direct control over pay raises, according to city’s charter and policy.

“He can recommend somebody for promotion and a raise, but in the end, it is up to the council to vote on,” said LaFollette Mayor Mike Stanfield, adding that he felt the statement Hatmaker made about Jeffries was a “lie.”

“We’ve got good employees down here and Jimmy Jeffries is an excellent police chief. I can’t see him or any other department head forcing anybody to do anything against their will,” Stanfield said on Friday evening.

Dunaway said the City “has been made fully aware of Ms. Russell's inability to return to work in the work environment that was created by these events.  It is unfortunate that the City of LaFollette would terminate Ms. Russell during her time of convalescence, and before she could recover from the handicaps and disabilities she is suffering as a result of these unfortunate events.”

Also according to Dunaway, Russell was awarded a short-term disability claim last week that would convert to long-term if it extended for more than six months. Russell also has a workman’s compensation claim which is scheduled for a hearing with the Tennessee Department of Labor next week, according to Dunaway.

Russell was contacted to tell her side of the story as well, but also had “no comment yet” other than the official one made by her attorney.

Dunaway closed his statement by saying that “before working with the City of LaFollette, Ms. Russell was known as a problem solver and a proponent of positive change working on behalf of what was best for this community.  The City of LaFollette has lost a good employee.”

Mayor Stanfield said he wasn’t overly concerned with the possibility of a lawsuit regarding the termination.

“I don’t think it will go anywhere. This is a right to work state and they work at the will of the council,” Stanfield said, adding that he had yet to receive any legal paperwork from Dunaway. (01/20/2014/6:00AM)

One church 100-years, one man 40-years

     There were just three empty parking spaces and a full house on Sunday morning at Cumberland View Baptist Church (CVBC) as a milestone was celebrated.  Reverend Bobby Ray Wilson was honored Sunday for his 40-years as church pastor. 

The Sunday morning service on January 19, 2014.

It just so happens that 2014 also marks the 100th year of CVBC.  Church member Randy Daughtery quickly sums up Rev. Wilson saying that “Bobby Ray’s always there for you.”  Wilson is the only pastor the 40-year old redhead’s he’s ever known saying Wilson baptized him when he was seven-years old as Daugherty pointed toward where the baptistery used to be in the old church. 

This is the church that was re-built after the original CVBC burned.  It’s now used as a fellowship hall.

Opal Lovely, as she was listening to WLAF on her car radio while waiting for others to arrive, says she’s been attending Cumberland View Baptist Church since the 1960s.  Reverend Cillis Russell was church pastor in the late 60’s until Wilson came in 1974, and that’s when Delane Williams remembers when he first started attending CVBC. 

From the porch of the old church, the view of the Cumberland Mountains is beautiful.

Pastor Bobby Ray Wilson

His once brown hair is now all gray as Pastor Wilson tells WLAF that words cannot express what it means to him and how the Lord has blessed through these 40-years.  He goes on to say that he’s been privileged to pastor a great group of people that he feels love the Lord and desire to do what the Lord would have us to do. 

The new church, just a few years old, sits along Pinecrest Road.

As Wilson closed yesterday morning’s worship service he asked the audience to remember take at least one time a day to pray for their church.  No doubt Wilson will likely see those other three parking spaces filled. (01/20/2014/6:00AM)

Cain is king on homecoming night

     Egle Boniglia was crowned the 2014 Campbell High Homecoming Queen on Friday night at John Brown Gym.  But it was also Tucker Cain’s crowning moment on the court in a game when every point had to count.  Number 10 in the Orange-n-Blue nailed a long three-pointer from the Jacksboro corner of the gym across from the Cougar bench with three-seconds to go.  By the time clock operator Bob Holder hit the stop button, 1.2 seconds remained, and visiting Central was now in need of a miracle worker.  But none was found. 

Homecoming Queen Egle Boniglia is escorted by Roston Letner

Cain’s three-ball stood, and the Cougars nipped the Central Bobcats after 19-lead changes and 10-ties en-route to a 72-71 win.  The night capped a big week for Cain who signed to play college baseball with the Bryan Lions on Wednesday.  The Lady Cougars ran off 20-straight points in the first–half after holding the Lady Bobcats of Central to four first quarter points and coasted to a 63 to 32 victory. 

Shayne White stole hearts and ran away with the Mr. Spirit award

Campbell visits the Gibbs Eagles on Tuesday at Corryton.  WLAF has Josh Parker’s call beginning at 6:00 p.m. (01/18/2014/5:00PM – DAVID GRAHAM PIX) 

2014 Campbell High Homecoming Festivities

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La Follette Special-Called City Council Meeting 01-15-14

 

School Board meeting from 01/14/2014

 

Caryville pill pusher fesses up

     The execution of an early morning search warrant leads to a confession.  On Thursday, Campbell County Sheriff Robbie K. Goins told WLAF that his Criminal and Drug Investigation Team, along with his S.W.A.T Team executed a search warrant at the home of Walter L. Adkins.  The 53-year old Adkins has been the target of an undercover drug investigation for selling Schedule II prescription narcotics.  At Adkins’ home at 619 Meredith Road in Caryville, he gave a lengthy statement and confirmed to investigators that he did in fact purchase several items using proceeds accrued from the sale of the narcotics.  Goins adds that investigators seized thousands of dollars worth of gold, silver, and various handguns.  Also seized were rifles, $476.00 in cash, and two vehicles. The evidence collected will be presented to a Campbell County Grand Jury for Adkins’ indictment.  (01/17/2014/6:00AM) 

La Follette mailman retires after 36 years

By Charlotte Underwood

Pictures courtesy of Emma McCarty

After 36 years of faithful service through rain, snow, sleet or shine, mailman Siler A. McCarty is retiring, effective January 31.  His actual last day was on Jan. 10.  McCarty has been a carrier on rural route 1 for the past ten years.  The route covered 650 deliveries and spanned 72 miles. He began his Postal career in 1979 as the substitute carrier on rural route 3 when the post office was located on South Tennessee Avenue.

“I have enjoyed the vast majority of my job and patrons” McCarty said, adding that over the years, many his patrons became friends.

During his career, Siler has gone beyond the call of duty to accommodate and assist his customers, fellow workers, union members and has served in many capacities throughout his three-plus decades as a postal employee.  He was selected as Tennessee’s "Rural Letter Carrier of the Year" in 1997 and was awarded the prestigious "Million Mile Award" in 2008 for one million miles of safe driving on his mail route without an accident.  McCarty attributed his safe driving over the years to always paying attention to other vehicles, children and other obstacles on his route.

“Mail carriers have to be defensive drivers”, McCarty said.  He has always enjoyed his job and his customers, many of whom he has seen grown from infants into adults with children of their own.

“That has been one of the more interesting aspects of my job, watching the kids grow up and then start families of their own,” McCarty said. Another favorite part of his job as a rural mail carrier was the vast amount of wildlife he has seen over the years.

“I have seen lots of wildlife and animals over the years, including deer, turkeys, foxes, geese and even an elk one time,” McCarty said.  Like other mailmen, he has seen his fair share of dogs and even been bit by a few as well.

“I’ve been bit three or four times, not as much as some of the city carriers though,” McCarty said, adding that it was “the small dogs” that he really had to watch out for.

“The little ones have sharper teeth and they like your ankles,” McCarty with a laugh. Once, he had his thumb bit so severely by a small dog that he ended up losing one of the arteries in it.

“It’s just part of the job,” McCarty said. That’s his opinion on the rain, sleet, snow or shine policy as well.

“It’s just something you do; it’s part of the job,” McCarty said, adding that he only remembered a couple of times during his career when he was unable to deliver the mail.

“One was during the blizzard of 1993 and another was during a tremendous ice storm several years ago when the mail truck couldn’t even make it on the interstate from Knoxville,” McCarty said.

During his career with the postal service, he also served the state union, Tennessee Rural Letter Carriers' Association as a state officer from 1994-98, as the state Secretary-Treasurer.  He has been active locally, regionally, state-wide and on the national level, serving as a delegate for over two decades, and on many committees at past NRLCA National Rural Letter Carrier Conventions. 

An interesting fact about McCarty is that he also served previously as a law enforcement officer with both the Campbell County Sheriff’s Department and La Follette Police Department for 13 years before becoming a Postal employee.  He also proudly served his country during the Vietnam Conflict from 1966-1968 as a member of a Psychological Operations unit (PSYOPS) and was awarded the soldier's medal for pulling a fellow serviceman from a burning vehicle and saving his life.

McCarty said that while he didn’t have any “immediate retirement plans” he would soon get around to doing some fishing, gardening, hunting, hiking and traveling.  When asked how his wife Emma felt about him finally retiring, McCarty said he thought she “was more anxious” about it than him.

“I haven’t started cooking and cleaning the house yet, but I’ve been given my list and started gathering some cleaning materials,” McCarty said, adding that he was “just going to take it easy and see what falls into place.”   (01/17/2014/6:00AM) 

   Council terminates Russell as city administrator

By Charlotte Underwood

The La Follette City Council voted to terminate city administrator Billie Russell during a 10-minute special-called meeting on Wednesday evening.  Russell, who was the first female city administrator for La Follette, has been on sick leave since October of last year after multiple grievances were filed against her, mostly by the Lafollette Police Department.

The LaFollette City Council held a special-called meeting on Wednesday evening to discuss what to do about city administrator Billie Russell still being out on sick leave.

As the meeting got underway, Councilwoman Stephanie Grimm made the motion to “relieve” Russell “of her duties”, and quickly got a second from Joe Bolinger.  Councilman Hansford Hatmaker interrupted the vote when he asked about the lack of discussion on the issue.

“Isn’t there supposed to be discussion on this,” Hansford said, before asking the mayor for the floor to speak.

“Go ahead Mr. Hatmaker,” Mayor Mike Stanfield said.

“This is too easy to destroy somebody’s life by making a motion.  Do we want to back up and look at this thing and why you are doing what you are doing?”  Hansford said, adding that it was a “public meeting” and that the council needed to “have the public involved.”

“You need to let the public know why you people are doing what you are doing,” Hansford said.  He pointed out that the grievances were in fact not against Russell, but the city’s charters and policies, making the grievances filed against her as he termed it “illegal.”

“The council is in charge of policies and procedures.  It says right in the police department’s policies that the chief of police shall report to the city administrator and the council,” Hatmaker said, adding that if Police Chief Jimmy Jeffries had an issue with reporting to the city administrator, he should have filed a grievance against the council, not Russell. Hatmaker made accusations Jeffries had “forced” some of his officers into signing grievances as well.

La Follette Mayor Mike Stanfield had no official statement on former city administrator Billie Russell’s termination, but did say finding a replacement for her could possibly come up as soon as the next workshop or meeting.

“He told them if they did not sign, then it would have an affect on their pay raises,” Hatmaker told WLAF after the meeting was over, though he could not say which officers were allegedly forced to sign.  In all, 16 officers signed the grievance against Russell, according to Hatmaker, who said the grievance filed against Russell by Joy Ellison should have been filed against the city’s policies as well.

“So we’ve got grievances filed against the city administrator that are illegal and the tax payers are the ones who are going to pay, down the road you will pay,” Hatmaker said looking out at the audience.

Stanfield asked Hatmaker if he had voted for Russell as city administrator to begin with.

“No; my son was involved for the position, so I voted for him,” Hatmaker replied.

 The issue was put to a vote and Russell was terminated. Grimm, Bolinger and Stanfield voted yes.  Hatmaker voted “absolutely no and let the record show no,” while Councilman Bob Fannon was absent.

Hatmaker said in his opinion, the city would end up in court over the termination.

“I called John Roach in Knoxville at TML and he said to not terminate her with her on sick leave,” Hatmaker said after the meeting’s close.

Stanfield said there was no official plan on replacing Russell yet, but the topic would possibly come up at the next workshop.  (01/16/2014/6:00AM)

New State Farm agent in Brown’s old office

Story and pictures by Charlotte Underwood

Tabatha Smith is the new State Farm Insurance Agent in town.  She recently moved into John R. W. Brown’s old office in the Fleet Building on North Fifth Street to continue the same tradition of customer service that Brown was always known for.  For the past two years, since Brown’s death, the Fifth Street office has merely been maintaining existing accounts, but that is all about to change as of Feb. 1, when Smith will officially begin taking on new customers and accounts.

Tabatha Smith is the new State Farm agent in town. She is taking over the office that was formerly John R. W. Brown’s. Smith brings over seven years of State Farm experience to the table.

“I am very excited to carry on the tradition of personal customer service that John was obviously so well known and loved for,” Smith said as she watched John’s sign taken down and her new one set in place last week.  As of the beginning of next month, the office will once again be able to sell insurance policies, assist customers with auto, life, health and bank products.

“State Farm’s passion is life insurance and making sure people are taken care of and that their families are taken care of if anything happens,” Smith said, explaining that her business was not merely about State Farm Insurance products, but rather “people.”

Smith, who comes from the historic Tennessee town of Jonesborough, has purchased some property in Jacksboro with her husband Tyler.  They plan on building a house as soon as possible and becoming permanent residents of the county.  She said moving to a “home town” area like Campbell County and opening an office has always been a dream of hers.

“It has always been my dream to have an office in a good area with good people; it’s what I have literally been working towards my entire career,” Smith said.  She previously worked at a State Farm office in Knoxville for the past seven and a half years.  She said she knew she wanted to go into insurance after landing her first insurance job while attending college at the University of Tennessee.

“I was working at a restaurant and one of the customers asked if I wanted to work in his State Farm office.  I fell in love with the work and knew it was what I wanted to do with the rest of my life,” Smith said.

The ladies down at State Farm have nearly 80 years of combined insurance expertise. New State Farm agent Tabatha Smith invites the public to stop in and say hello.

The familiar faces of Carolyn Wilson, Anya Wright and Angie Smolinsky are still at the office. Long-time employee Frankie Bacon said she isn’t going anywhere anytime soon either. Combined with Smith’s expertise, the group brings over 80 years of insurance experience to the table.  Bacon alone has worked at Brown’s State Farm office for nearly 50 years, 47 of which were with John.

“When something works, don’t fix it,” Bacon said with a laugh.  She said she is so happy and excited to have another agent in the office to begin accepting new customers.

“I’m tickled to death we have a new agent.  I look forward to a long, happy and successful relationship with her, maybe not as long as I had with John,” Bacon said with a smile.

“I love it here; this place is everything I have ever wanted.  The county is beautiful, the people are so friendly and you just can’t beat that,” Smith said.

New State Farm agent Tabatha Smith, right, stands beside long-time State Farm employee Frankie Bacon, who will celebrate 50 years with the company in May.

To welcome new and old clients, there will be an open house planned at the office on Feb. 1. Smith invites the public to come by, say hi and enjoy some snacks and light refreshments throughout the day.

“Feel free to stop by any time. Come by and see Frankie, Carolyn, Anya, Angie and myself.

The office is located at 102 North Fifth Street in the Fleet Building in LaFollette.  For more information, call 423-562-3126. (01/16/2014/6:00AM)

Cougar Cain is Bryan-bound

Cougar Basketball & Baseball player Tucker Cain (orange tie) signed to play college baseball today.  Tuck signed to play for the Bryan College Lions of Dayton, Tennessee.

Back row:  L-R Sarah Cain, John Cain, parents – Mark & Melissa Cain, Anna Cain, CCHS Assistant Baseball Coach Brian Miracle.

Front row:  L-R Bryan College Associate Head Coach Clint McAuley, Tucker Cain, Bryan College Assistant Coach Jordan Day, and CCHS Head Baseball Coach Ryan Browning

(PIX COURTESY LAFOLLETTE PRESS 01/15/2014) 

1st Baptist Church of La Follette 01-12-14

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Here are pictures of what the vandals did at the Cougar Field House

(01/15/2014/10:30AM)

Poston changes retirement plans, asks school board for contract extension

The current school year may not be Donnie Poston’s last as Director of Schools after all, as Poston announced Tuesday night that he has reconsidered his decision to retire in May.

“After much encouragement from supporters, both teachers and parents, I have decided that if the board desires, I am willing to stay longer,” Poston said at the meeting. “We’re making progress in education in Campbell County and whether as an employee or a private citizen, I will continue to be involved in continuing that progress.”

Board chairman Rector Miller announced that no vote would be held that night, either on extending Poston’s contract or seeking a replacement.

“We’ll have a discussion tonight if the board wishes, and meet again with Mr. Poston before a decision on his contract is made in February. If the board votes not to extend the contract, we will develop a process for a search committee at that time,” Miller explained.

J. L. “Sarge” Collins, representing Jellico, suggested that since this is an election year, he would prefer extending Poston’s contract for only two months until after the election. “We should let the new board make that decision,” Collins suggested.

Other board members who spoke were all strongly in favor of renewing Poston’s contract for the requested year. Mike Orick, Scott Hill, Josh Parker and Homer Rutherford all declared their 100 percent support for Poston continuing as Director.

Miller stated that as chairman he would let the board make the decision, but added that a partial extension until after elections would take the school department into another school year without a clear-cut leader and he was opposed to that approach.

Other board members, including Eugene Lawson who favored replacing Poston last year, remained silent on their preferences. It was then agreed that the board will hold a meeting with Poston, open to the public, at Jacksboro Middle School at Noon on January 25.

“We will welcome public input on this matter, but the proceedings will be orderly,” Miller declared, an obvious reference to the strong but at times demonstrative support that Poston received from teachers and the public during the debate last year.

Collins then asked if the board could meet privately with Poston before a public meeting is held, but was rebuffed by board attorney Dail Cantrell.

“That would be a violation of the state open meetings law,” Cantrell pointed out.”

“Can’t we go into an executive session?” Collins asked.

“The law only allows executive sessions to discuss current or pending litigation requiring attorney-client privilege,” Cantrell explained. “This meeting will have to be public.”

While Poston’s decision was good news for at least some board members, financial news from Jeff Marlow was more sobering.

In response to questions from Lawson, Marlow explained that the downturn in enrollment among all county schools has left a $700,000 shortfall in state BEP funds. It appears that enrollment has increased since the beginning of the school year that will enable the county to make up some if not most of that shortfall, but problems remain.

“We were counting on recovering over $120,000 in coal severance tax money that the state inadvertently sent to Anderson County,” Marlow explained. “When we failed to receive the expected payments in the first two quarters, we discovered that Karen Blackburn, the state official who was supervising severance tax payments and devised the repayment plan, has retired. Her replacement had no knowledge of the money owed to Campbell County and has failed to withhold the necessary funds.”

Marlow also explained that tax revenue growth remains flat this year and any shortfall will have to be made up from the school fund balance.

“This is paying recurring costs from a non-recurring source. If that continues, you will exhaust your fund balance,” Marlow cautioned.

Gabe Keen, the coach for the Campbell County High fishing team and the CCHS golf team, urged the board to find ways to lend financial support to those sports. Instead he found himself challenged by Eugene Lawson.

“How much experience have you had with golf? Lawson asked.

When Keen replied that this is his first year as golf coach, Lawson added, “Maybe I should play you and see how good you are.”

Lawson voiced skepticism for financing a fishing team when there is still much work to be done academically. We’ve got ACT scores so far below standards that only six Campbell County students qualified to attend the University of Tennessee,” Lawson insisted. “We need to be focused on that.”      (01/15/2014/6:00AM)

Cold weather causes thousands of broken water pipes and leaks

By Charlotte Underwood

Hundreds of thousands of gallons of water leaked in the county last week during the coldest snap the area has experienced in over 20 years, according to LaFollette Utilities Manager Kenny Baird.

Frozen meters and burst water pipes plagued various areas across the entire county, but in LUB’s water district, the hardest hit areas were up the valley and in the Pinecrest area.

“We are still actually making progress today getting back to normal as far as the filling of tanks and replacement of meters,” Baird said, adding that it had been the worst case of burst pipes and frozen meters in his 20-plus years at the utility company. He attributed to large number of burst pipes to the combination of the arctic temperatures and high winds.

“The wind circulating around the pipes really hurt and caused things to freeze that otherwise may not have,” Baird said. Like the majority of the rest of the county, he also suffered a burst water pipe at his house in Jacksboro. The high school and Sun Bridge Nursing Home suffered water problems during the freeze.

Most of the frozen water lines were on the customer side, according to Baird who said utility workers stayed busy dealing with frozen meters and keeping tanks full due to leaks. On the upside, while making all the rounds to check on tanks and meters, some routine maintenance needs were taken care of such as the replacement of valves on some systems.

“Those guys worked all hours in freezing conditions, often getting soaking wet so we really appreciate them and all they do,” Baird said.

As far as main lines freezing, there were very little problems, according to Baird, who said the utility had been addressing and eliminating problem areas over the past couple of years and it had “really paid off during the recent peak weather” the area experienced. Possible future projects that will help in such situations is a water boost system up the valley, which would help with water supply issues.

As far as the electrical side of the utility, there were no wide-spread power outages, according to Baird, who said there were maybe 40 or 50 houses that were without power for about an hour until workers got it temporarily restored and then fixed.

“The money we have invested in electrical projects has definitely paid off on the electrical side as well,” Baird said.

He offered up some tips to prevent pipes and meters from freezing and bursting in the future.

“Make sure the lid is on the water meter, make sure any pipes that are exposed to an exterior wall are insulated and keep the water dripping on the really cold nights,” Baird said. For many, however, the damage is already done. To help with these unforeseen circumstances, utility customers are allowed one water adjustment a year, according to Baird. To see if you are eligible for an adjustment on your utility water bill due to a severe leak, contact LaFollette Utilities at 563-3316. The leak must first be fixed and the utility company must verify the leak has been fixed before an adjustment can be made.  (01/15/2014/6:00AM)

Sheriff and police reports

By Charlotte Underwood

Deputies follow footprints back to burglar

A Jacksboro man was arrested on theft charges after deputies followed his footprints from the home he burglarized back to his partner in crime’s home a short distance away, according to a sheriff’s report.

Steven Taylor Shoupes, 18, was arrested on Jan. 8 after a witness called the police after seeing him exit the window of the victim’s residence and go into the woods carrying what appeared to be a “VCR.”

After Sgt. Freddie White arrived at the victim’s house, he saw a piece of sheet metal covering a window, with a cinder block underneath it. White and Deputy Travis Bostic followed foot prints from the cinder block into the woods, onto a road bed and then back up through the woods before exiting in front of a residence on Suddeney Road. Deputies then spoke to another witness who had seen Shoupes and someone else exit the wooded area and carry what appeared to be a VCR into the home. According to the arrest report, Shoupes made a statement to deputies, admitting to stealing a DVD player, a Zippo lighter, lighter fluid and a large knife. He was charged with aggravated burglary, theft of property under $500 and contributing to a minor and transported to the county jail. (01/15/2014/6:00AM)

Pioneer man arrested on drug charges

A Pioneer man was arrested on several drug charges near Highway 297 on Monday, according to the Campbell County Sheriff’s Department.

Chase Alexander McDaniel, 18, was arrested and charged with possession of schedule III, schedule IV and schedule VI controlled substances after a sheriff’s deputy found him hiding over an embankment near his parked truck on Terry Creek Road. According to the sheriff’s report, Deputy Gary Jeffers was on patrol looking for a vehicle involved in a hit and run, when he noticed a truck with its headlights on. After he turned his vehicle around, the truck turned its headlights off, arousing his suspicion. When Jeffers reached the truck, he found it empty, but noticed a strong smell of marijuana coming from the vehicle and saw in plain sight a bag containing a leafy green substance and a glass pipe that appeared to have marijuana in it. A short while later, deputies found McDaniel hiding over the embankment. Deputies also located a pill bottle containing 28 and a half pills believed to be Hydrocodone. A blue dental container with two pills believed to be schedule IV and a grinder was also found. McDaniel was advised of his rights and transported to the county jail. He also garnered resisting arrest and possession of drug paraphernalia charges. (01/15/2014/6:00AM)

LaFollette woman arrested on drug charges

Riding with a wanted person and carrying her drugs and identification in the same case led to the arrest of a LaFollette woman on Jan. 9, according to the sheriff’s arrest reports.

Brooklyn Taylor Norman, 18, was arrested after sheriff’s deputies stopped a vehicle she was a passenger in and found the driver to have an active arrest warrant. The driver gave deputies permission to search the vehicle for drugs and weapons. Sgt. Darrell Mongar located two spoons with residue on them, a burnt piece of straw, a piece of foil containing a white powdery substance and four hypodermic needles in a case that also contained Norman’s identification, according to the report. She was arrested and charged with possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia. The driver was arrested on unrelated charges. Both were transported to jail. (01/15/2014/6:00AM)

Two arrested in copper theft from Jones Trailer Park

Two LaFollette men were arrested on Jan. 9 for stealing about $3,000 worth of copper from a mobile home in Jones Trailer Park, according to the Campbell County Sheriff’s Department. Beryl Teague, 24, and Raymond Mathew Teague, 29, were arrested after sheriff’s deputies conducted an investigation into the aggravated burglary, theft and vandalism to one of the residences within the trailer park which occurred around Nov. 27, 2013, according to the arrest report. When the victim had returned home to his residence, he noticed someone had stripped $3,000 worth of copper from the home, doing about $7,500 in damages to the home in order to get the copper. During the investigation, Detective Sgt. Freddie White and Detective Joshua Carroll learned that Beryl Teague, along with Raymond Teague went into the victim’s residence and stripped the copper without the owner’s consent. Both men were transported to jail and charged with aggravated burglary, theft of property $1,000 to $10,000 and vandalism over $1,000. Beryl Teague garnered an additional violation of parole charge.  (01/15/2014/6:00AM)

Domestic dispute leads to drug arrest

A domestic dispute led to the drug arrest of a Lafollette man on Jan. 7 after officers arrived at the home and found drugs laying in plain view, according to the arrest report.

Willis York, 55, was arrested after officers arrived at his apartment on the report of a domestic call. After talking to York at the door, officers went inside the residence to get out of the weather and noticed in plain sight a small plastic bag containing a large amount of round white pills on the coffee table. According to the police report, as York passed the coffee table, he attempted to hide the pills in his pocket. When asked about them, he allegedly told officers they were his Somas, but could not provide a correct container or state where he had been prescribed the medication. York was arrested and charged with possession of a schedule IV controlled substance. (01/15/2014/6:00AM)

LaFollette man arrested after stealing his boss’s truck

A LaFollette man was arrested after stealing his employer’s box truck with a load of tires and hitting another vehicle parked at Crown Point Apartments on Jan. 9, according to the LaFollette Police Department.

Johnathan B. Sexton, 24, was arrested by Lafollette Police Officer Robert Foxx after he stole a box truck from his employer, J.R. Kitts and hit a parked vehicle, the arrest report said. Foxx responded to the hit and run call and was told by witnesses that a large yellow box truck with J.R. Kitts written on the side of the door, had struck the rear of their vehicle, causing about $400 in damages. When the witnesses attempted to get the attention of the driver of the truck, he “nearly ran them over” the arrest report said. When the officer contacted Kitts, he said he was on his way to the police station to report the theft and had only just learned of it from another employee. Kitts said the value of the missing vehicle was around $20,000 and the load of tires it was carrying was worth around $3,940. Kitts said Sexton worked for him, but did not have permission to have the vehicle. An anonymous tip led officers to Sexton, who was located at a residence on Towe String Road. According to the report, he told officers he had been home all evening and that he had permission to have the vehicle. He was arrested and transported to the county jail after being charged with theft over $1,000, theft over $10,000 and aggravated assault for nearly running over the gentleman whose car he had hit. (01/15/2014/6:00AM)

Kentucky man arrested on drug and weapon charges

A Kentucky man was arrested on drug and weapon charges after he was pulled over for having a headlight out while traveling through LaFollette, according to the police report. Johnny P. Fields, of Arjay, Ky., was stopped by Officer Cody Douglas on Jan. 10th, when Douglas noticed Field’s vehicle had a headlight out and the registration had expired. In his report, Douglas noted that Fields acted “very nervous and shifty and was unable to provide any registration” for the car. Fields gave Douglas permission to search the vehicle and continued to look down at his trunk. When asked if there was anything illegal in the vehicle, Fields said no. When the car was searched, Douglas found a loaded model 35- 40 caliber Glock handgun in a black duffel bag in the trunk, along with a small blue metal pipe with a white powdery substance and a cellophane wrapper containing a white powdery substance. A green pill bottle containing 11 oval pills believed to be schedule III was also found in the vehicle, according to the arrest report. Fields did not possess a handgun permit. He told officers his boss had given him the gun for protection. He was arrested and transported to the county jail.

The passenger in his vehicle, Patricia Pridemore, also of Kentucky, was arrested as well after officers found a prescription bottle with no information on it in her clothing bag. The bottle contained Gabapentin. Pridemore was charged with possession of a medication without a prescription. (01/15/2014/6:00AM)

Just Sports 12/26/13

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Vandals paint-up Cougar football jerseys

     Everybody loves a doormat.  A winner is a different story.  During the doormat days of Campbell County High School Cougar Football, there were always pats on the backs, warm handshakes, kind words exchanged after a good drubbing.  When you win, it’s all different.  Cougar Football players, fans, and coaches are quickly learning that.  Police think that either Friday night or Saturday night someone broke into the Cougar football field house through the basement.  Luckily, all the helmets and shoulder pads are away being reconditioned.  Not so lucky though when it comes to the sharp looking CCHS custom made jerseys; that are pretty expensive.  Coach Justin Price tells WLAF that they’re hoping to save as many jerseys as they can after discovering the spray paint and field paint stored in the facility was thrown all over the building and the jerseys.  He says it takes up to a half-year to have custom jerseys created.  Given that.  The clock is already ticking.  The jersey company is working with Price through this unfortunate situation.  Investigators are already hearing rumblings of those responsible having bragged about what they did at the Cougar field house. (01/14/2014/4:45PM)

Poston has change of heart; Miller absolutely enthused

     Since October, it appeared that Campbell County Director of Schools Donnie Poston was on course to retire when his contract expires on June 30, 2014.  However, on Monday morning, Poston shared with his staff and Campbell County School Board Chairman Rector Miller his willingness to serve longer.  For how long remains unknown.  Poston could stay for a year or possibly longer.  After the goings on of a year ago when Poston wanted one more year, and the board was ready to vote him out, then had a dramatic change of heart and kept him for another year, a popular comment circulating was to give Poston an open ended contract, and let him stay as long as he wants.  In an interview with WLAF, Chairman Miller says that this is the first indication since October that Poston, a life-long friend, was going to do anything other than retire.  He adds that he wanted Poston to stay back in October saying he is absolutely enthused and happy about Poston’s decision to continue as DOS for Campbell County Schools.  Miller hammers home the integrity of Poston explaining that it’s easier for a community to invest in its schools when it has a leader with the level of integrity Poston has.  Former C.C. School Board Chairman Mike Orick describes his reaction to the news as “ecstatic.”  Orick notes that with Poston remaining the director there won’t be a lot of changes especially during an election year considering the positive momentum both Orick and Miller credit Poston with generating.  Miller pointed to the improved test scores from last school year as another reason for Poston to continue leading the school system.  Chairman Miller says that Director Poston will express his change of heart comments to the school board at tonight’s regular monthly meeting which begins at 6:00 p.m. at the courthouse.  WLAF has the story for you first thing in the morning right here.(01/14/2014/6:00AM)

Justice Center costs up again, as cell space deemed inadequate  

The Campbell County Commission voted 13-1 during a budget committee session Monday evening to approve an additional $240,000 expenditure for the uncompleted justice center, bringing the total cost of the jail, courtroom and law enforcement/judicial office complex to $12.1 million.

The latest addition to the complex will only cost taxpayers half of the amount, with the justice center architects picking up the other half, Finance Director Jeff Marlow told commissioners.

Marlow explained that state regulations were changed in 2009 to require that maximum security inmates held for over ten hours must be allotted a minimum of 35 square feet of cell space, as opposed to earlier requirements of only 25 square feet.

“Following this newer space requirement, the cells that were designed to hold two inmates can only hold one. That will leave us facing overcrowding issues again unless changes are made,” Marlow said.

Thomas Hatmaker objected to any county funds being used to correct the problem, asking, “Shouldn’t that be the responsibility of the architects?  They designed it.”

Marlow replied that after negotiations, the architectural firm has agreed to bear half of the costs, $120,000, while the county will cover the other half.

“We can’t really pinpoint whether the fault rests with the county or the architects.  Half is all we can get out of them without going to litigation and a judge is unlikely to hold them accountable for over half the costs,” Marlow explained.

He added that the county can use $90,000 that remains unspent from funds already budgeted for a railroad spur at Oswego Industrial Park, while the balance can be covered from contingency funds already in the justice center budget.

The Oswego spur is on indefinite hold, as the company wanting the spur built to service an oil recycling center has changed its plans for the immediate future.

Hatmaker failed to persuade other commissioners to vote separately on the budget amendment for the jail, and cast the only “no” vote on the package of four amendments.

Later, during the commission workshop, James Slusher criticized the commission’s decision, asking if any commissioners had ever seen a detailed construction plan for the justice complex.

Several commissioners said they had seen the blueprints, but no written set of agreements. Mayor William Baird added that the plans had resulted from numerous meetings with the sheriff, judges and district attorney’s office about what was needed to meet legal and safety requirements.    (01/14/2014/6:00AM)

Caryville establishes rainy day fund

Story and pictures by Charlotte Underwood

Caryville voted on Monday evening to establish a rainy day fund which could only be accessed by a super majority vote.  The issue was broached during a meeting several months ago by board member Vickie Heatherly who said she wanted to make sure money was there in case of emergency.  At that time, the board had agreed to revisit the issue during the January meeting.  During the meeting, board members voted to start the fund with $10,000 after a near two-year hiatus from having any form of emergency fund.  It was also approved to pay off the city’s second oldest loan payment, which is on the city hall building.  Board member Glenn Smith made the suggestion the fund could only be accessed by a super majority vote of all six council members.

“We need to build this back up and it needs to only be able to be accessed by a super majority,” Glenn Smith said.

The rainy day fund and payment of the remaining $11,063 in debt owed on the building was approved by all board members except for Heatherly and Allen Smith, who both felt there should be more money placed in the fund while the town had it in the fund.  The general fund balance is currently over $368,000, according to financials announced during the meeting.

“While we have that much money in the general fund, we should put some of it aside in case something happens,” Heatherly said.  She told WLAF after the meeting she had wanted to see at least $50,000 placed in the fund because $10,000 would not go very far in an emergency.

Members of the Caryville Board of Mayor and Aldermen voted to establish a rainy day fund and pay off the remaining debt on city hall during the Monday evening meeting.

Board member Lloyd Lawson agreed with establishing the rainy day fund, but said he also agreed with Mark Stanley who had suggested paying off city hall.  The town has been paying on the building for the past 40 years.

Board member Allen Smith said he didn’t see why they couldn’t pay off the building and place $15,000 into the emergency fund.  Board member Lisa Crawford also agreed with the $15,000 amount and paying off the building.  Board member Mark Stanley said he didn’t see the difference whether the money was in the general fund or in a rainy day fund because it got spent regardless.  He made the motion the building be paid off and $10,000 be placed to start the rainy day fund.

Mayor Chris Stanley said he felt it was a “good start” and that the rainy day fund could be “re-evaluated” come budget time in July.

“I understand both sides, but we didn’t budget a rainy day fund into the budget and we passed that budget. I think $10,000 is a good starting point,” Chris Stanley said.

“This is something we have tried to start for the past two years and now that we have a start, we can continue building on that,” Glenn Smith said.

Other business concluded during the meeting included the acceptance of the low bid of $6,824 from Meredith Fence Company to replace a 550 foot section of fence and gates at Asbury Park.  The high bid came in at $7,475.

It was also approved for Elkins Road to go out for paving bid.

“I have been working on getting money for this from the county and would like to put the project out to bid in order to get the bids locked in for a year so prices can’t go up on us,” Lawson said, explaining that the money was not in place yet, but that he felt like the town would get it.

Board member Glenn Smith announced that Caryville will soon be searching for a new building inspector after Nelson Kidd retired in December. Those interested in applying for the position must meet state requirements.

“The commissioners got money to do paving with and are breaking it up into each district,” Lawson explained.  The portion of road paved would start at the bridge and go to Butter and Egg Road, which would be a little over a mile that would get paved, widened and striped.

The council gave Gwen Brown, with Brown, Pearman and Russell approval to once again seek a Home Grant for Caryville, as well as a Community Development Block Grant.

“You have helped us with those in the past and it has done a lot of good work with building houses here,” Chris Stanley said. Glenn Smith said both grants would be a big help and needed application approval as quickly as possible since the deadline was approaching on both.

Council declared a fire truck as surplus and asked a fire department representative to check with local volunteer fire departments who may need the vehicle.  If no volunteer departments need it, the vehicle will be given to the sheriff’s department.

Glenn Smith announced that Caryville will soon be seeking a new building inspector since Nelson Kidd retired as of Dec. 31st.  Those interested in applying must meet state requirements.

Caryville board meeting times have been changed from 7 p.m. to 6 p.m. starting in February.  (01/14/2014/6:00AM)

Caryville City Council 01/13/14

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CCYBA teams honor, remember Coach Greg Brackett

     Coach Dean Wedbee tells WLAF that it was the hardest game he’s ever coached.  Saturday marked the return to action for CCYBA Basketball at the East La Follette Community Center.  The January 4 games were cancelled in memory of Coach and WLAF sports announcer Greg Brackett who passed away on New Year’s Eve. 

Wedbee’s team played the team once coached by Greg Brackett on Saturday, and in his absence Greg’s daughter, Shelby Brackett, (pictured above) coached the team and won the game. 

Carrying out Coach Wedbee’s idea, every player on the ten teams comprised of nine and ten year old youngsters wore a patch in memory of Coach Brackett. 

Brackett’s fiancée, Stacy Willoughby, and her sons, Justin and Cody, (pictured above) were also in attendance Saturday.  See David Graham’s story about his friend & broadcast partner, Coach Greg Brackett, right here - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BfcvG-DV60E
(PIX COURTESY OF DAVID GRAHAM 01/13/2014/6:00AM)

Would-be jumper is wrestled from bridge railing

     Stopping a man wanting to jump off the south Caryville I-75 Bridge took less than half-an-hour this morning.  Around 10:00 a.m., traffic flow on America’s most traveled interstate was slowed in Campbell County as north and southbound traffic was diverted around the Exit 134 Bridge where 27-year old Michael Savage of Caryville was threatening to jump.  Jacksboro Police Officer Joe “Buster” Marlow was the first policeman on the scene.  It was Marlow who eventually gained Savage’s confidence enough to allow Marlow to get close to him.  Officer Marlow then manhandled Savage off the railing with help from Campbell County Sheriff Department Deputy Josh Vann and CCSD Crisis Negotiator Darryl Chapman.  Savage was then taken to the La Follette Medical Center for evaluation.  Caryville Police Sergeant Albert Kidwell, who was assisting in traffic control, issued a warrant on Savage.(01/12/2014/7:00PM)

See how the jumper’s threat was resolved

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We knew, sadly, this day would come

     Today is a sad day here along North 5th Street.  They’re taking down our neighbor’s sign.  Every morning on my way to breakfast, I’d always look-in on John Brown.  Yep, he’d be there like clockwork at 6:30 a.m. or so at his desk at the John R.W. Brown State Farm Insurance Office here on  5th Street

Long-time State Farm employee Frankie Bacon has worked at the John R. W. Brown Insurance office for 50 years. While it was a sad day to see the sign come down, the tradition of caring customer service will continue with new State Farm Agent Tabatha Smith. See next week’s business feature on Smith right here on WLAF’s website.

On the morning his truck was there and the light was not on, I knew something was up.  The old coach who took La Follette High to the state high school basketball championship game and went on to sell insurance for nearly 60-years died a couple of days later.  And I thought then it’ll also be a sad day when they haul away his State Farm sign. 

It was a sad day on Friday when the John Brown Insurance sign came down. The long-time businessman had served the county for 60 years. That tradition of State Farm service will continue with new agent Tabatha Smith who will be featured next week’s business profile at WLAF.

Well.  Today is that day. The day they came to get the sign.  Aged by the weather, rust stained from the dripping air conditioner above it, the sign was as much a landmark as John Brown was a legend around here. Today is not as sad as the day John died back on October 21, 2011, but it’s the next closest thing. (01/10/2014/1:45PM)

HUD fails to renew security grant in Jacksboro

By Charlotte Underwood

For the first time in years, the housing authority failed to renew a security patrol grant in Jacksboro, according to Mayor Jack Cannon, who reported the news to the board of aldermen during the Thursday evening meeting.

The grant covered the cost of eight hours of security patrol a month in the housing authority subdivision located above the Baptist Church in Jacksboro. Officers doing the patrol were paid $15 an hour for doing walking patrols through the subdivision. The town has been getting the grant for over a decade.

According to the letter sent to Cannon by LaFollette Housing Authority Executive Director John Snodderly, the grant was not renewed because the extra security patrol is “no longer an eligible expense.”

Jacksboro Mayor Jack Cannon reported to the board of mayor and aldermen that Housing Urban Development was not renewing a yearly security grant which the town has been receiving for years.

Cannon said police never had any issues in the subdivision in the first place and the loss of the extra patrol “should not cause any problems.”

“Officers still do all the car patrols, they are just no longer doing the foot patrols through there,” Cannon explained.

Members of the Jacksboro council review financials and expenses during the Thursday evening meeting.

Other business approved during the meeting included paying $268 to repair a truck door handle on one of the street department vehicles and hiring James Boshears full-time at the street department. Boshears had been filling in for Dan Green who had been out with health issues and will not be returning.

Final business concluded was the second reading of the municipal flood plain ordinance which, according to Cannon, was merely housekeeping on the state mandated ordinance. Several terms and references were added or redefined, but the ordinance for all intents and purposes remains the same. (01/10/2014/6:00AM)

Grand jury hands down indictments

By Charlotte Underwood

LaFollette woman indicted on animal cruelty charges

LaFollette woman was indicted on 18 counts of animal cruelty charges after police found multiple dead puppies and malnourished animals in a downtown La Follette residence she had been renting.

According to court documents, Dawn M. Presley, 33, was indicted on Jan. 8, after a Campbell County Grand Jury heard evidence against her regarding a November 2013 incident. On Nov. 23 of last year, police were dispatched to a W. Walden Street residence in regards to legal advice pertaining to Presley abandoning the rental property with animals inside. After arriving at the home, officers could see several dead puppies inside a room of the home, along with other dogs and puppies that appeared to be alive. Animal control was contacted and in total two female pit bulls, a Chihuahua, a cat and six small puppies were found alive in the home, but were so “severely malnourished” some of them could “barely walk”, according to the arrest report. Seven dead puppies were also recovered and another medium-sized dog was found tied up behind the house. According to court documents, none of the animals had food or water and the house was full of “garbage, urine and feces.” All animals were transported to the Campbell County Animal Shelter. The rental home also had over $1,000 worth of damage to the flooring, walls, appliances and base boards, according to the arrest report. Due to this, Presley was also indicted on vandalism charges as well. She has an arraignment set in Campbell County court on Jan. 13 at 8:30 a.m.(01/10/2014/6:00AM)

LaFollette man indicted for assault

A La Follette man was indicted on Wednesday for assault after he walked up to another man at the flea market behind the LaFollette Police station and “punched him in the nose,” according to court documents. Cleo M. Miller, 73, allegedly walked up to the victim, punched him in the nose and said “you gonna keep swearing lies on people,” before walking away, according to witness reports to the police. Miller has an arraignment set for Jan. 13, at 8:30.

Indiana man arrested for not registering as a sex offender

By Charlotte Underwood

An Indiana man was arrested just before Christmas after moving to the area and failing to register on the state’s sex offender registry, according to the Campbell County Sheriff’s Department.

Matthew David Hall

Matthew David Hall, 44, Jacksboro, was arrested on Dec. 22 by sheriff’s deputy Josh Jeffers on an outstanding warrant taken by Detective Sgt. Ricky Jeffers.

Hall was convicted in Aug. of 2001 on two counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse in Indiana. Before moving here, Hall’s last known address was Highland, Indiana. (01/10/2014/6:00AM)

Footage of Big O's Robbery with sound

 

Megasite within sight

     The community with the best schools wins!  That was the battle cry from preacher, attorney, and USA Today columnist Buzz Thomas. 

Buzz Thomas

Tuesday night was "rollout night" for Campbell County Mayor William Baird's megasite project.  Baird gathered a room full of the county's business leaders along with members of the county commission and school board at the Cove Lake Park Pavilion to explain the plan.  Thomas, who also serves as executive director of Knox County's Great Schools Project and is on the state's SCORE steering committee, was one of three or four featured speakers to address the group.  Thomas hammered home the idea that better schools bring better jobs.  His comments were echoed by Mark Cain, CEO of the La Follette Medical Center, as well as Campbell County School Board Chairman Rector Miller.  Miller also sang the praises of Director of Schools Donnie Poston and the momentum Poston has generated throughout the school system.  Baird tells WLAF that the main objective Tuesday night was to inform the county commission and school board of the plan; not to ask them for more money but to get them onboard, buy-in to the idea, and get the community involved.  Baird says the development of learning academies will not add to the full plate teachers already have, but instead will involve members of the community in the learning academies (community schools).  Thomas points out that the seven community schools in Knox County have helped improve overall achievement by 30-percent.  Developing partnerships outside the county to invest in what is trying to be done here is also part of the big picture.  East Tennessee Children’s Hospital, Knox County’s Great Schools, the East Tennessee Foundation, and Tech 20/20 are a few of the partnerships that have been formed.  Schools will not be improved overnight.  Industry is not coming to Campbell County this afternoon. 

Campbell County Mayor William Baird

However, Baird thinks that by having a megasite in place and a working game plan to bring Campbell County Schools out of the bottom third of schools in the state will make Campbell County very attractive to potential employers.  The megasite sits on nearly 2,000 acres of privately owned land at Exit 141 along Interstate 75 at Caryville.  Baird says it has all the ingredients to become a premier advanced manufacturing site.  He notes that all utilities are in place, the megasite is next to I-75 (automakers alley), is within a day's drive of three-fourth's of the nation's population, and it will soon have a rail spur.  Baird expects TVA to approve the Campbell County Megasite within the next six months.  (01/09/2014/6:00AM)

Hamblin addresses the media

(special thanks to Jerry Chadwell for alerting WLAF to Hamblin’s visit with the media)

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Radio Shack offers electronics and more

By Charlotte Underwood

Locally owned and operated, Radio Shack is the place to go for all your electronic needs, according to owner Eddie Wiggins. Wiggins, who “loves everything electronic” has been in the business for 29 years and has been at the current store for the past decade. He had been in partnership with Vernon Wright for the past 10 years, but recently purchased Wright’s portion of the business and is now the owner, along with his wife Melissa.

Need a wire or cable or basically any electronic connector or part?  Check with locally owned and operated Radio Shack.

“When I went into business with Vernon 10 years ago, that was the deal; after I had ran it for 10 years I would purchase it,” Wiggins said, explaining he had always planned to own a business.

After attending college at the University of Tennessee and earning a degree in business and economics, he went to work for a Radio Shack store and loved it.

Located at 310 Main Street in Jacksboro, Radio Shack is the place to go for electronics and more.

“I love electronics and new gadgets. I love playing with the newest technology,” Wiggins said, adding that when he first started he was “green as grass and didn’t even know how to keep the 12:00 from flashing on the VCR.”

Over the past three decades, he said he has seen technology change and grow at an amazing rate. One of the best examples he could give of changing technology was cell phones. He recalled the first cell phone he ever sold anyone.

“It was to Dr. Curtis Sexton in Lake City. It cost $1,500 and was as big as a lunch pail,” Wiggins said with a laugh, explaining technology had come so far that cell phones are much more compact, available to the average Joe and even free after signing a service contract. 

Fuses, batteries, cell phone and computer accessories, radios, metal detectors and lots more are all at Radio Shack.

“Everything is always changing in this industry,” Wiggins said, adding that was part of his favorite thing about the job. However, he said what he likes best is the problem solving aspect to it.

“I love to solve problems that customers come in with; we pride ourselves on being the solution for people who have an electronic problem,” Wiggins said, adding that wasn’t something customers could get just anywhere. Wiggins said one of the most common problems people came in with was learning how to use the new electronics they had received as a gift.

“A lot of people just need to ask a few questions and see how it works,” Wiggins said, adding that Radio Shack was also unique in that the store often carried or could order those hard to find electronic parts and items.

Wiggins also announced the local Radio Shack was about to unveil and promote its very own “geek squad” computer repair and home security installation service.

With a full line of home security systems, Radio Shack will also do installation services as well.

“It’s something we have done over the years, but never promoted it,” Wiggins said, adding that the business would also be offering car stereo installations.

“Between me and my employees, we have over 45 years of Radio Shack experience,” Wiggins said, adding he wanted to encourage customers to “keep their locally owned businesses in mind.”

The store carries a variety of electronics such as scanners, home security systems, CB radios, stereo systems, speakers, emergency radios, telephones, cell phones, metal detectors, radio controlled cars, lap tops, video gaming systems, and multiple accessories that go along with all this stuff just to name a few items. Also available in store is electrical connectors, cables, TV remotes, batteries, amps, mixers, microphones, GPSs, office supplies, MP3 players, cameras, camcorders and the list goes on and on.

Owner Eddie Wiggins is doing what he loves best; providing excellent customer service and solutions.

Current sales going on at Radio Shack include free installation of Dish Network when customers sign up for service. Dish also offers high-speed satellite internet for those who live in rural areas at a price of $59.99 a month with a two-year contract requirement. Another promo going on is a free Samsung Galaxy III when customers sign a service contract with Sprint. The business is also a carrier of Memphis Car Audio products and Sirius Satellite Radio.

Rechargeable batteries and cell phones can be recycled at the store as well.

Radio Shack is located at 310 Main Street in Jacksboro and can be reached at 423-562-9652.(01/09/2014/6:00AM)

Hamblin not indicted

Story and pictures by Charlotte Underwood

After two months of praying, snake-handling pastor Andrew Hamblin had those prayers answered when a Campbell County Grand Jury chose not to indict him on class I wildlife possession charges on Wednesday. 

“It’s a weight off. I feel overjoyed; I am so blessed and have no doubt God did move in that courtroom today and all along,” Hamblin said.

The charges were levied against the 22-year-old Tabernacle Church of God preacher on Nov. 7 when the Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency seized 53 venomous snakes from his church. Hamblin entered a not guilty plea on Nov. 15 and the case was sent on to the grand jury in December.

Hamblin said after the TWRA agent testified to the grand jury for about 20 minutes, it was his turn to speak to the 12 jurors.

“I guess I was in there for about 32 minutes, but I didn’t have any doubts,” Hamblin said. After it was over, Hamblin said he returned home and got the call shortly after 2 p.m. that he “was not guilty.”

During the past two months of the legal process, LaFollette Tabernacle Church of God Pastor Andrew Hamblin has been surrounded by his supporters and church members during each legal appearance at the Campbell County courthouse.

“Basically they found no reason to indict me,” Hamblin said, adding now that the whole legal mess was over, he and the rest of his church plan on things going “back to normal.”

“Things are gonna resume just the way it was before, but without the fear and worry. The snakes belong to the church and that’s how it remains,” Hamblin said.

He said he wanted to thank everyone, even those who were just doing their jobs.

“I thank God for our D.A. She done her job and she done a fabulous job and the jurors did a good job and even if they had indicted me, they would have still just been doing their job,” Hamblin said.

As far as doing their jobs, both the TWRA and the district attorney say they will continue to do just that.

TWRA Law Enforcement Major Brian Ripley says that the Agency will continue to work with the Campbell Co. District Attorney's office and that “both he and Lori Phillips-Jones agree that our officers are properly enforcing the law and will continue to do so.”

According to TWRA spokesperson Matt Cameron, the agency is awaiting the results of two separate veterinarian evaluations before determining the snakes' fate. 

“They are still considered contraband and cannot be returned to Mr. Hamblin,” Cameron said.

Hamblin said he thanked God to be a citizen of Campbell County and that the grand jury outcome was a “sign” to the rest of the country.

“It is a sign to this state, this nation that Campbell County is still a God fearing county,” Hamblin said. He stated that the grand jury returning a no-true bill on his case was one of the biggest wins for his specific denomination since 1963 when in West Virginia the House of Delegates passed a law making snake handling a misdemeanor punishable by fines, but the state’s Senate Judiciary Committee refused to act on the bill after overwhelming support for the churches from the public.

“To some, this may not have been a big step, but to us, it’s a great leap; it’s a battle won. There might be another one tomorrow, but for now there is peace and I am thankful to God for that.”

For those that still may disagree with the way he worships, Hamblin said they would “just have to agree to disagree.”

But what of the 53 snakes that was seized by TWRA and sent to the Knoxville Zoo to be housed? Michael Ogle, Knoxville Zoo Curator of Herpetology gave an official statement on the most recent condition of the snakes.

“Out of the 53 snakes that were brought to Knoxville Zoo by TWRA, 32 have died due to poor body condition caused by anorexia that was a result of severe parasite infestation and overall stress caused by being housed in quarters that were too small. 

The majority of the surviving 21 snakes are in fair to good condition, but have also been exposed to the same pathogens and are at high risk of being infected due to the unnaturally overcrowded environment they were being kept in prior to their arrival at Knoxville Zoo. 

Unfortunately, there is no successful treatment for these pathogens, which could be fatal for any other snakes, captive or wild, that were exposed to them.  Due to the risk these snakes pose, there is no way they could safely become part of a captive conservation program or be released elsewhere.  We are currently assessing the options available to us with our veterinarians.”

Hamblin said he had “no comment” regarding the number of snakes that had died.(01/08/2014/5:45PM)

                          

Hamblin's case to be heard by grand jury
By Charlotte Underwood
A Campbell County Grand Jury is set to hear snake-handling pastor Andrew Hamblin's case today. Hamblin was cited into court on a class I wildlife possession charge after the Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency (TWRA) seized 53 venomous snakes from his church on Nov. 7.  During the preliminary hearing on Dec. 17, Judge Joe Ayers heard TWRA agent Joe Durnin testify that he had met Hamblin in the spring of 2013 while working on a separate wildlife possession case.
"At that time, he asked if I would come and take his snakes away during a church service," Durnin said. After the hearing, Ayers ruled the case be heard by a grand jury on Jan. 8. If indicted, Hamblin could face up to $2,500 in fines and 11 months and 29 days in jail.
Hamblin maintains his religious freedoms are being violated while the TWRA's official statement is that the agency was just doing its job and not to the fullest extent it could have.
"He could have been charged with 53 counts of possession, one for each snake," said TWRA spokesperson Matt Cameron. Hamblin was charged under Title 70 of Tennessee state law, which he says should exempt religious handlers from fines and jail for possession of snakes. Cameron said Hamblin "did not possess the criteria and training" to own the dangerous reptiles. Hamblin continues to ask his supporters to attend court proceedings wearing red.

La Follette City Council tables misuse of credit card issue

By Charlotte Underwood

The La Follette City Council avoided a possible fireworks show on Tuesday evening when it tabled the issue of misuse and abuse of city credit cards till next month.

Councilman Bob Fannon suggested tabling the topic until next month in order to give “council members, department heads and the city administrator” time to look at the credit card invoices from the past two years and to pay back anything that was not “sanctioned by the city.”

“I want to clarify for the press’s sake that it’s not a whole lot of money, but we need to get this cleaned up because of bad image,” Fannon said, adding that if not all the monies were paid back, then the council could make the decision to “take it.”

Councilmember Stephanie Grimm asked if those that owed money knew who they were.

“They ought to,” Fannon said.

Council members asked City Attorney Reid Troutman his opinion on the issue and Troutman said he thought the first step would be for the city to establish a “detailed policy” on what was acceptable for city credit card usage. Troutman added that he had not attended the workshop and was “playing catch-up” as far as the topic went.

“I agree Mr. Troutman, but if you have current charges on the city credit card that have nothing to do with the city, then it needs addressed now,” said Vice-Mayor Joe Bolinger.

“So we need to collect the debt and then put a policy in place?” Grimm asked.

Fannon made a motion that the issue be tabled and if the credit debts were not paid by the next meeting then the council would “take it.”

Councilman Bob Fannon, left, made a motion to table the misuse of city credit cards for a month to allow debts to be paid back to the city before the city made the official decision to “take” the money back. Councilman Hansford Hatmaker, right, said if city credit cards were “used correctly, there were no problems.”

"We don’t want this to grow into something bigger,” Fannon said.

“If credit cards are used correctly, there’s no problem with it; the only two people got city credit cards is Terry and the city administrator. Are we saying these two people are not using them right?” asked Councilman Hansford Hatmaker.

“No; I am saying credit cards have been abused in the past Mr. Hatmaker,” Mayor Mike Stanfield replied coolly. City credit card expenses were unanimously tabled till next month.

Stanfield originally brought the issue up shortly before the last workshop’s close when he handed out a report to council members listing purchases made on the city’s credit card. He also showed them a clipping from a November 2012 issue of the LaFollette Press showing a picture of former interim city administrator Cade Sexton and Hatmaker receiving an award while on a trip to Gatlinburg in 2012.

A copy of the report revealed handwritten notes marking certain items as money spent by Sexton and Hatmaker while attending a coal mining conference on Oct. 28 and 29 of last year.  During that workshop, Fannon asked if the visit was authorized by the city.

“If Cade signed it, then he authorized it; he was the city administrator at the time,” Hatmaker said.

The purchases made that had handwritten notations implying it was spent by Sexton and Hatmaker included $282.10 to Doubletree Park Vista in Gatlinburg for hotel rooms and $105.82 in restaurant food purchases, according to the copy of credit card purchases provided by Stanfield.

Stanfield said he was disappointed the issue had not been resolved immediately and that it would go for another month.

“It’s whatever the council wants, but I feel if it’s being abused, then the money ought to be paid back,” Stanfield said.

La Follette Mayor Mike Stanfield said he was disappointed the issue of misuse and abuse of city credit cards had not yet been resolved and would be tabled till next month’s meeting.

Another agenda topic tabled till next month was Friday working schedules.

Other business approved during the meeting was the appropriation of $2,000 to install fans in the library and recreation center restrooms to cut down on the smell. Jordan Reid was approved to be hired from a part-time to a full-time police officer on a starting salary of $26,520 and council gave the city attorney approval to file probate on two dilapidated houses in the city whose owners are deceased.

The fire department received approval to begin the bid process on extrication equipment as well. Fire Chief Gary Byrd also spoke to the council about approving new standard operating standards to include extrication and first responder to the job description. Fannon asked that Byrd write up the new standard operating procedures and bring to the council to read at the next workshop.

Sheriff’s reports

By Charlotte Underwood

Jacksboro woman arrested for theft

A Jacksboro was arrested on outstanding theft warrants after Anderson County deputies located her at the Blue Haven Motel in Lake City, according to the Campbell County sheriff’s Department.

Rachel Diane Abbott, 31, was arrested on Jan. 6, and held by Anderson County deputies until Campbell County deputies picked her up and transported her to the county jail. Abbott was charged on warrants for theft of property $1,000 to $9,999, theft of property under $500 and pawning or conveying rental property.

Jacksboro woman arrested for DUI

A Jacksboro woman was arrested on DUI charges after she was observed by a sheriff’s deputy traveling east in the west bound lane on West Chestnut Street.

Tarien Martha Wilder, 28, was arrested on Jan. 1 by deputy Franklin Ayers, after he saw her cross both lanes of travel and drive the wrong way in the west bound lane. After making contact with Wilder, the deputy observed she had a strong odor of alcohol and glassy blood shot eyes, according to the arrest report. Ayers administered standard field sobriety tests before arresting Wilder and transporting her to the county jail.

La Follette City Council Meeting for Tuesday, January 7, 2014

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La Follette Sing Praise 

Special thanks to Gary Carter for making this production possible

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TVA system passes peak electricity demand period today

 

Knoxville, Tennessee – The Tennessee Valley Authority power system passed a critical demand period early today (Tuesday) from the bitter cold wave and electricity use is coming down.

We appreciate all the efforts by our local power companies to reduce voltage, along with any appeals for power conservation locally during the heaviest demand period this morning.

TVA’s power system reached a preliminary peak power demand of 32,460 megawatts at 9 a.m. EST with the Valley’s average temperature at 4 degrees. This is the second highest winter peak in TVA history.

TVA’s record winter demand is 32,572 megawatts set on Jan. 16, 2009 when temperatures averaged 9 degrees, and TVA’s all-time record is 33,482 megawatts set on Aug. 16, 2007 when temperatures average 102 degrees.

TVA expects the cold weather to continue through Wednesday and electricity use to remain high. TVA is continuing an in-house conservation effort to reduce electricity use in TVA facilities.

Consumers can help reduce their power bills by using energy-saving tips available on TVA’s EnergyRight Solutions website at http://www.energyright.com and through their local power companies. (01/07/2014/4:00PM)

 

Frigid start to Tuesday

     Is it zero?  One above?  Three below?  Regardless.  It’s cold and too cold to quibble about a degree or two. 

Dispatchers at the 9-1-1 Center will not say the word “quiet” for fear of jinxing the situation.  Although it has been a quiet, but cold, overnight around the county.  Electric and water crews from La Follette Utilities worked spotty power outages and frozen water calls. 

 

Given the demand for electricity placed on LUB, it was, all-in-all, a good night as outages ranged from Deerfield to the Flat Hollow area near the dock with some frozen water concerns in La Follette. 

After a few morning flurries, a high of 14 under a mostly sunny sky is ahead today.  Nine above is the expected low for tonight.  A warming trend of 40s on Thursday and 50s Friday through the weekend will bring a balmy feel compared to the first half of the week. (01/07/2014/6:00AM-RAYMOND McGHEE PIX))

 

 

Cora E. Douglas (COURTESY CHARLIE HUTSON)

 

La Follette celebrates Douglas’s 100th

     Monday marked a milestone for Cora Douglas.  As Cora celebrated her 100th birthday, the City of La Follette celebrated her.  Mayor Mike Stanfield along with the La Follette City Council proclaimed Monday, January 6, 2014, as Cora Evelyn Douglas Day in La Follette. (01/07/2014/6:00AM)

Cold snap places demands on LUB

 

     It was a pretty good day.  That’s what La Follette Utility General Manager Kenny Baird tells WLAF on how this cold Monday went.  Baird goes on to say that he hopes it stays that way.  Just before 6:00 p.m., about 50 LUB customers in the Glade Springs area lost power, however, the power is expected to be back on in less than an hour.  Baird says they’re having a few weak spots cropping up, and he expects this type pattern to continue all night and into the morning.  A record-setting cold night of minus one presents a frigid night of challenges for Baird and his staff.  All-in-all, LUB along with TVA are expecting high demands over the next 48-hours.  (01/06/2014/6:00PM)

“Volunteers” ready to go

     Tonight at 8:00 p.m., it was five-degrees above with a wind chill of 10-below.  The volunteers at Campbell County Rural Fire Service and The La Follette Rescue Squad are ready to respond. The key word is VOLUNTEER.  Stay warm....

Photos courtesy of Charlie Hutson

David Graham's Sports Report for Monday, January 6, 2014

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TVA expects high electricity demand during cold wave

  

Knoxville, Tennessee ― The Tennessee Valley Authority expects plunging temperatures from an arctic cold wave moving across the region will produce high demand for electricity.

TVA’s bulk electric system remains secure and stable at this time.

“TVA has been monitoring and carefully preparing for this blast of potentially record-cold weather since last week,” TVA Chief Operating Officer Chip Pardee said. “We have taken proactive measures so the system remains robust and reliable for our customers and power users across the Valley.”

TVA issued an internal “Conservative Operations Alert” on Friday, indefinitely suspending all non-essential maintenance activities to minimize risk of power interruptions on TVA’s transmission system and generation facilities.

Late Sunday, TVA also initiated a “Power Supply Alert,” a precautionary declaration that an unexpected shutdown of a large generating unit or transmission system interchange could reduce TVA’s power supply reserves.

TVA is working with the region’s 155 local power companies and TVA’s directly served industrial customers to ensure an uninterrupted supply of electricity to the 9 million residents of the Valley. Electric demand is expected to be high on Monday and Tuesday, but below record levels.

Consumers can find immediate and long-term suggestions on how to reduce their energy usage and lower their power bills at TVA’s EnergyRight Solutions website and programs offered in collaboration with local power companies.

With regional temperatures forecast to be among the coldest in 20 years, TVA electricity demand is expected to exceed 31,000 megawatts on Monday evening and reach nearly 32,000 megawatts on Tuesday evening.

TVA’s all-time record winter demand was set on Jan. 16, 2009, at 32,572 megawatts when temperatures across the Tennessee Valley averaged 9 degrees. The all-time record demand on the TVA power system was 33,482 megawatts on Aug. 16, 2007, when temperatures averaged 102 degrees.   (01/06/2014/6:00PM) 

1:00 a.m. on Pleasant Ridge (COURTESY OF EMMA McCARTY)

Pleasant Ridge at daybreak (COURTESY OF EMMA McCARTY)

North 5th Street at 8:00 a.m.

V.A. clinic opening pushed back till spring

By Charlotte Underwood

Half a decade after it was promised, a VA outpatient clinic for Campbell County is finally becoming a reality. However, veterans will have to wait just a bit longer as the installation of an elevator has pushed the project’s completion date back by a couple months, according to Director Kevin Walden of Campbell County Veterans Affairs. The previous target opening date had been in late January or early February, but that has been pushed back to March or possibly even April, according to Walden.

“When that facility was constructed, they built it with the anticipation of utilizing the second and third floor so it does have an elevator shaft, but no elevator in it yet,” Walden said, adding that the project shouldn’t be delayed too much longer.

Once the clinic opens its doors, the 1,500 veterans of the county registered with VA healthcare will be able to receive primary care a lot closer to home.

“This is going to save the VA and lots of veterans a lot of money and most importantly fulfill a promise that was made,” Walden said.

The Department of Veterans Affairs announced Campbell County met the need and number criteria for a clinic five years ago, but a clerical issue caused the project to be delayed.

According to Walden, the Department of Veterans Affairs said a processing error had been made.

The delay was traced to a clerical issue of Campbell County, Ky. versus Campbell County, Tenn. on the solicitation on the website to bid for the clinic, according to Walden, who explained that because no bids were made, no clinic was built.

After the delay was identified, the VA finally got the project rolling, which is now in final stages of completion.

The clinic is being built on the third floor of the Community Health of East Tennessee building, located behind CVS Pharmacy in LaFollette.

Walden said he was glad that the need for a VA clinic in the county was finally being met.

"It was a promise to Campbell County veterans that the VA made and we need to make sure this government that promised to take care of its veterans sticks to its word, because every one of the men and women who wore a uniform made a promise to take care of this country and they have kept their promises.”

For more information on how to register for VA health care, visit the Department of Veterans Affairs website or call Campbell County Veterans Affairs at (423) 562-3531.(01/06/2014/5:30AM)

Powell 59 Cougars 57

Powell 38 Lady Cougars 24

Lady Blue Devils 55 Kings Academy 33

McCreary County 55 - Lady Cougars 53

Footage from Big O's Armed Robbery

 

If you have any information regarding this robbery please call the Campbell County Sheriff's Department at: (423)-562-7446 (updated 01/03/2014 7:30PM)

Big O’s market robbed at gunpoint

     As most folks were trying to get in out of the snow and sub-freezing temperatures on Thursday night, one man had other ideas.  Soon after 10:00 p.m. last night, east of La Follette, a white male entered Big O’s Gas Station and Convenient Store wearing a mask.  While brandishing a firearm, the masked man ordered the cashier to release money from the cash drawer to him.  The suspect took the money and left the store on-foot walking east toward the neighboring Clear Coal Company office.  It’s believed the robber was a passenger in a 2000 model white Ford Explorer that left from near the coal company heading back toward La Follette on the General Carl Wade Stiner Highway (SR 63).  Investigators are on the scene at this hour looking for more clues in the ongoing investigation.  Sheriff Robbie Goins asks that if you have any information regarding the robbery, he encourages you to call him at 423.562.7446.  (01/03/2014/NOON)

LUB accepts bids for upcoming projects; banking services

By Charlotte Underwood

Tree trimming, water line, and banking service bids topped the agenda during the Monday evening LaFollette Utility Board meeting.

According to utilities manager Kenny Baird, the utility board discussed and accepted three bids during its meeting, each of them pertaining to a different project or service. The first bid accepted was for the utility’s banking services. First Volunteer Bank was the only bank which turned in a bid. First Volunteer has been the utility’s primary banking service provider for several years, according to Baird.

The second bid accepted by the board regarded tree trimming for the utility’s primary circuit no. 224, which is the Davis Chapel and Carr Wynn Road area of the utility’s system.

“It’s about 31.4 miles that gets trimmed,” Baird said, adding that the utility had received four bids for the project, which is expected to start in around a month. The utility board accepted the lowest bid.

The highest bidder for the tree trimming was Wolf Tree Trimming with a bid over $316,000. Baird Tree Trimming had the next bid at $291,000 and Asplundh turned in a bid of $243,470.80. The lowest bid came from W.A. Kendall & Co., at $91,000. Baird said the area was a complicated section to have trimmed with a lot of back yards and septic systems to watch out for, which is why most of the bids were so high.

The final bid accepted regarded a rural development project the utility has been working on for the past year or so. The project calls for a water line to be run from Pizza Hut to where the new Bojangles’ restaurant will be. The board accepted the low bid for the project at $29,898.16 from Osborne Excavating out of Speedwell. The high bid for the project came in at $45,070. This project is expected to start in about a month as well.

The next utility meeting will be on Jan. 27 at 7 p.m. (01/03/2014/5:30AM)

Cove Lake Park opens 2014 on the move

     The 5-K Kick-Off New Year Walk began Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. at Cove Lake State Park

Tim Zupancic of Absolute Fitness led a large crowd of walkers on a 3.1 mile walk-n-park. 

Also joining in was Park Ranger Casey Hatmaker along with Friends of Cove Lake members Doug Foster, Clarence Lowe, and many others. 

Hot chocolate and coffee awaited walkers at the park’s recreation building.(01/03/2014/6:00AM)

Sheriff and police reports

By Charlotte Underwood

Jellico woman arrested on assault charges

A Jellico woman was arrested on aggravated assault charges on Dec. 23, after she allegedly pulled a handgun and cursed at three individuals, including a juvenile, according to the Campbell County Sheriff’s Department.

Campbell County Deputy Joshua Jeffers was dispatched to Low Wood Lane around 10:27 p.m. on the 23rd on the report that Lisa Regina Dople-Rookard, 50, had allegedly tail-gated her husband while he was traveling west on Highway 297. The arrest report goes on to state that Dople-Rookard followed him to his driveway and then pulled a gun on him and two other individuals with him, including a juvenile. Witnesses stated after she cursed them and pointed the gun at them, she pulled out and headed east on Highway 297. When deputies spoke with Dople-Rookard, she admitted to traveling on Highway 297 and stated she had been going to visit her mother, but denied pulling a gun. She was arrested, according to the report, “based on witness and victim statements.”

La Follette man arrested for scrapping borrowed boat

A LaFollette man was arrested on theft charges after he sold an aluminum boat for scrap while borrowing it from someone else. According to the Campbell County Sheriff’s Department arrest report, Ryan Travis Gulley, 22, was arrested on Dec. 27 for theft under $500 after he sold a 12-foot aluminum boat for scrap to Jacksboro Metals. Sheriff’s deputy Nathanial Bostic spoke to the victim and learned Gulley had permission to borrow the boat, but not to scrap it. Jacksboro Metals provided a copy of the sale invoice that had a copy of Gulley’s driver license on it. According to the report, when deputies went to his LaFollette address and advised him of his constitutional rights, he admitted to selling the boat to the scrap yard for $30.40.

Noise complaint leads to drug paraphernalia arrest

A LaFollette woman was arrested on drug paraphernalia charges after a noise compliant brought the police to her door on W. Fir Street, according to the LaFollette Police Department.

LaFollette police officers were dispatched to the residence on Dec. 28th around 10:20 p.m. on the report loud music was being played. After arriving, officers spoke with Margo Marie Paul, 54, who admitted to having the music turned up loud to “reminisce” some good times with her friend, the police report said. Officers asked her if they could step inside out of the rain and Paul agreed. After stepping inside, officers located two pipes with burnt residue in plain sight. When asked if there was any marijuana in the house, Paul said no and gave officers permission to search. After searching, deputies found a drinking straw cut in half with white powder residue inside of it as well as a bullet cartridge containing a pair of tweezers with burnt black residue stuck inside. Paul then allegedly admitted to smoking marijuana earlier in the day and that the straw was used to snort pills, according to the arrest report.

La Follette police make public intox arrests

The LaFollette Police Department made two public intoxication arrests right after the holiday.  LaFollette Police Officer Charles Duff responded to the S. Point area on Dec. 27 on the report that an intoxicated man was staggering near the roadway. After arriving, Duff located Jerry Lynn Lumpkins, 51. Lumpkins was mumbling, had a strong odor of alcohol and admitted to having six beers and “trying to get home”, according to the report. In his report, Duff stated Lumpkins was so intoxicated, he had him sit down so he wouldn’t fall down, before arresting him for fear he would continue to be a safety hazard in the roadway. Lumpkins was charged with public intoxication and taken to jail. 

Anthony Joseph Selover, 48, was arrested for public intoxication on Dec. 28 after he nearly “staggered” out in front of a police officer’s car in front of Rainbow Ford, according to the police report. Officer Brian Tiller was on patrol when he observed Selover on the side of the roadway in front of the car dealership, shortly before Selover nearly stepped out in front of his car. Tiller turned around and made contact with Selover, who according to the report had “slurred speech and smelled of alcohol.” Selover was arrested and transported to the county jail.

The march through 2014's big election year begins Friday

By Charlotte Underwood

With multiple political races coming up in 2014, it should be an exciting election year, according to Election Administrator Ann Ayers-Colvin.  For those who are interested in running politically, election petitions can be picked up at the election commission office beginning on Jan. 3. The qualifying deadline to run for office is noon on April 3rd, and all qualifying paperwork and signatures to run must be turned in by that time. The withdrawal deadline is noon on April 10th.

On the county level, August could usher in various new political officials. Political races in the Eighth Judicial District include circuit court judge, chancellor, district attorney general and public defender. Other political offices on the ballot include county mayor, county attorney, general sessions judge and five county commission districts. August will also see constable as well as school board elections in all five districts.  Other political offices up for grabs in 2014 include criminal court judge, circuit court clerk, county trustee, county clerk, register of deeds and sheriff.  According to election deputy Carol Jo Nelson, sheriff candidates need to come by the election office to pick up their packet to file with Post.

“They have to show they have so many years experience in police work and that they have had a psych evaluation,” Nelson said. The deadline for sheriff candidates to file with Post is March 20th.

On the state level, 2014 means it is time to pick a new governor.  It is not certain yet who will be running against Bill Haslam, who has already started his fundraising and campaigning efforts, both locally and in other parts of the state.

Also in state elections, there is one Unites States Senate race, as well as a U.S. House of representatives’ race, with the second and third district both included. The second district, which is Jimmy Duncan’s district, includes Jellico, White Oak, Newcomb and Wells Springs, while everything else falls in the third district, which is Chuck Fleishmann’s district, according to Ayers-Colvin.  Citizens will also get the chance to vote for a state committee executive male and female for both parties in the fall. It is also the year to vote on whether or not to retain Tennessee’s Supreme Court judges.

“Those will be the retention questions at the end of the ballot; it will simply say ‘shall such and such be retained as judge’,” Ayers-Colvin explained.

The election of a state representative will finish up the state elections.

For more information, contact the election commission office at 423-562-9777.(01/02/2014/6:00AM)

Local pizzeria serving slices for nearly 38 years

Story and pictures by Charlotte Underwood

Coming up on its 38th anniversary in the spring, Charley’s Pizza in Jacksboro is still going strong, serving up slice after slice of that pizza pie. But pizza isn’t all the Campbell County dining fixture has to offer and actually serves up “just about everything,” according to owner and operator Jerry Partin.

After nearly 40 years in the pizza business, Charley’s is a Campbell County dining fixture.

Started by Charley Baird nearly 40 years ago, Charley’s was purchased from Baird by Partin in 2008. A long-time employee, Partin has worked at Charley’s for about 33 years.

“The pizza business is something I know because Charley has taught me a lot,” Partin said of his long-time friend and mentor.

Charley’s not only has the good food that its customers have come to depend on and know, but also a family atmosphere that is hard to beat.

Charley’s Pizza Parlor opened in 1976. The business will celebrate 38 years in the spring.

“We believe in serving people like they are family, because after we’ve been here all these years, that’s what our customers are to us,” Partin said.

Charley’s Pizza opened for business in 1976.

The restaurant offers a wide variety of selections of pizza and other Italian cuisine, including a full pizza and salad buffet. Hotdogs, hamburgers and fries are another staple at Charley’s, but among the most popular item is the Philly cheese steak sandwiches, which are also available in chicken.

Whether it’s pepperoni, sausage, bacon, or a veggie pizza, Charley’s buffet has all that and more to offer.

“If you’re not in the mood for pizza or burgers and fries, we also do soups and salads,” Partin said.

Having started in the pizza business when he was 19, Partin said he “knows pizza” and he “knows people.”

Owner and operator Jerry Partin places a pizza pie in the oven at Charley’s Pizza located at 103 E. Cumberland Lane in Jacksboro.

“Anytime you can go somewhere and they know you by name, well then you know you are doing something right,” Partin said, adding that people “were his life.”

“They keep coming back to eat and that’s what keeps me going; the customers.”

Business hours are 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to midnight on Friday and Saturday. The restaurant is closed on Sundays.

Charley’s is located at 103 Cumberland Lane in Jacksboro. For more information call 562-0116.   (01/02/2014/6:00AM)

Bailey, Evans, Jeffers named All-State

     Three first-team football all-staters from Campbell County High School?  The 2013 season keeps on giving.  If a 10 & 2 season wasn’t enough, three Cougars claim all-state honors.  The Tennessee Sports Writers Association 5-A All-State High School Football honors Junior Quarterback Ethan Jeffers, Senior Linebacker Nick Bailey, and Junior Defensive Back Joseph Elkins.  (01/01/2014/6:00PM)

Carmike Movies 2 behind Woodson Shell

2140 Jacksboro Highway - La Follette - 423.562.0979

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug(PG-13)

   
   
Fri Jan 3:
7:00pm  
Sat Jan 4:
7:00pm  
Sun Jan 5:
6:15pm  
Mon Jan 6:
7:00pm  
Tue Jan 7:  

Tyler Perry's A Madea Christmas  (PG-13)

   
   
Fri Jan 3:
1:45pm  4:20pm  7:00pm  9:35pm  
Sat Jan 4:
1:45pm  4:20pm  7:00pm  9:35pm  
Sun Jan 5:
1:45pm  4:20pm  7:00pm  
Mon Jan 6:
4:45pm  7:20pm  
Tue Jan 7:  

Walking With Dinosaurs  (PG)

   
   
Fri Jan 3:
2:20pm  4:30pm  
Sat Jan 4:
2:20pm  4:30pm  
Sun Jan 5:
1:45pm  4:00pm  
Mon Jan 6:
4:30pm  
Tue Jan 7:  

Men’s winter retreat planned at GBC

     Galilee Bible Camp hosts a “men’s retreat” on Friday, January 17 and Saturday, January 18.  Start times are 7:00 p.m. Friday, 3:00 p.m. Saturday.  Cost is $25 for commuters or $40 for overnighters.  Guest speaker is John Davis.  Space is limited.  Call now 423.562.4910.  See the poster and complete the registration form at www.GalileeBibleCamp.org 

Brackett’s arrangements set

     Arrangements are complete for WLAF sports announcer Greg Brackett.  Fraker Funeral Home at Kingston is handling the receiving of friends on Friday from 5:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. 

Interment is Saturday at Clavary/Hazelwood Cemetery at Kingston

The 51-year old Brackett, a native of Kingston but made his home in Campbell County, died suddenly Tuesday morning in La Follette. 

Click here http://www.frakerfuneralhome.net/book-of-memories/1761274/Brackett-Gregory/service-details.php for more details and directions.(01/01/2014/7:30AM - DAVID GRAHAM PIX)

Highlights of 2013

By Charlotte Underwood

January

It was a tragic start to the 2013 New Year on Jan. 2, when a man died in the Caryville Industrial Park. WLAF received reports that an out-of-town worker fell to his death while working at Fabrite. 1-02-13

Wynn School was briefly closed on Jan. 7, after an early morning fire damaged two class rooms the week before.  1-07-13

Nearly a month after fire destroyed their sanctuary, members of the Fincastle Church of God returned to hold a worship service on Jan. 8th. The fire was determined to be a case of arson. 1-08-2013

LaFollette City Council voted to bid out replacement of a section of leaky roof over the part of city hall which house the police department and communications equipment.  1-09-13

A Channel 6 WATE TV crew found out and reported that while former LaFollette City Administrator Cade Sexton and Vice Mayor Hansford Hatmaker were on their way back from Memphis in Sexton’s city issued vehicle, the pair were involved in a non-injury wreck on Interstate 40. Hansford, who was driving was cited for violation of the move over law after he allegedly hit a Nissan SUV that had been pulled over by a Tennessee State Trooper. The pair had apparently attended an inmate graduation ceremony at the Mark H. Luttrell Correctional Center. Sexton and Hatmaker claimed they were looking into the possibility in starting a female inmate rehabilitation program in LaFollette.  1-10-13

The Campbell County Sheriff’s Department unveiled a new mission statement to kick off the 2013 year. “It is the mission of the Campbell County Sheriff’s Office to safeguard the lives and property of the people we serve, to reduce the incidence of fear of crime and to enhance public safety, while working with every community to improve their quality of life. Our mandate is to do so with professionalism and integrity, while at all times conducting ourselves with the highest ethical standars, to renew and maintain public confidence. Our values will evolve around Leadership, Service, Performance and Discipline.”  1-11-13

Several boats were destroyed by fire, while two other boats sank at Whitman Hollow on in mid January, according to a WLAF report. Campbell County Rural Fire Assistant Chief Daniel Lawson a 75 foot stretch of boat slip was also destroyed during the blaze. It was the second fire at a Campbell County marina in a six month period of time. 1-21-13

Interim City Administrator Cade Sexton handed a letter of resignation in to LaFollette Mayor Mike Stanfield in January. The letter state his resignation was effective immediately. The resignation followed questions regarding a wreck Sexton was involved with while traveling back from Memphis with Vice Mayor Hansford Hatmaker.  1-21-13

Campbell County conducted a Point-In-Time Count of the homeless in the county on Jan. 24. It was coordinated by the Tennessee Valley Coalition to End Homelessness.  1-24-13

The Campbell County Sheriff’s Department graduated 225 D.A.R.E. students in local schools around the county.  1-31-13

February

Hundreds of people packed the courthouse to give members of the board of education an earful when they failed to renew Donnie Poston’s contract as Director of Schools. Parents, teachers and students overflowed the courtroom.  2-01-13

A proposed bill would require post-secondary education for school board members, according to State Representative Dennis Powers, who sponsored the bill in the Tennessee House of Representatives.  2-05-13

The LaFollette City Council approved Police Chief Jimmy Jeffries to act as city administrator while the position was advertised and could be filled. Hansford Hatmaker was the only no vote. 2-06-13

The Campbell SWAT team resumed its manhunt on Feb. 7th for an individual who invaded a home on Tussey Cut Road between Duff and Morley. After getting into a shoot-out with the homeowner, the suspect left in a van. A patrol officer made contact with the van on 25W, at which point the suspect fled on foot. The manhunt forced Wynn Elementary into lockdown for one afternoon. Randy Monday was arrested the next night and charged with multiple home burglaries, according to the sheriff’s department.  2-07-13

Text-a-Tip debuted in February at the high schools. By the end of the day, more than 20 tips were sent via text involving drugs, abuse and the like, according to the county mayor. The program is available to students at Jellico and Campbell County High Schools.

The oldest living graduate of LaFollette High School, Jeanette Smith Carr passed away early Saturday morning. Many baby boomers remember her as their teacher at Ivydale or Valley View School. She was 100 years old.  2-18-13

The Point-In-Time Homeless count results came in at 604, which is about average. However, the number of unsheltered individuals, around 62, is disturbingly high, according to coordinator Deb Mikesell. The unsheltered count usually runs in the 40s.  2-19-13

Jason Fox, dubbed “the Bad Hair Bandit” was arraigned in federal court in London, KY., in late February. He robbed six banks and his total take was less than $100,000. Fox, wearing a blond wig as part of his disguise robbed banks in Campbell County and Kentucky. His wife, Tasha Fox, was also charged as the get-away driver.  2-28-13

March

The Campbell County School Board voted to extend the contract of Director of Schools Donnie Poston through June 30, 2014 during a special-called meeting. The decision capped two months of turmoil during which time Poston had received an outpouring of support from the entire county.  3-01-13

State Representative Dennis Powers was appointed to the House Republican Caucus Task Force on Energy because of his “passion of working towards 21st Century solutions,” according to House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick.  3-05-13

LaFollette Utilities won the 2013 award for Clean Water, which is given by the Tennessee Association of Utility Districts. Out of eight utilities tested in the east Tennessee region, LaFollette’s won for best water. The water is tested on the look of cleanness, the smell and the taste.  3-08-13

The Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals made public a decision backing up the awarding of a new trial to school shooter Kenneth Bartley Jr. Bartley was charged in the 2005 shooting death of Assistant Principal Ken Bruce. He agreed to a plea deal in 2007.  3-12-13

It was a cold, but sunny first day of spring with brisk chilly temperatures in the 30s and winds 10 to 15 miles per hour.  3-21-13

A total of 21 candidates threw their hat in the ring to be the next LaFollette City Administrator. The list of candidates included several local people.  3-21-13

State Representative Dennis Powers announced in March that a bill was passed to name a section of Highway 25W in memory of fallen Campbell County High School Assistant Principal Ken Bruce. The school zone section of the road in front of the high school bears Bruce’s name.  3-22-13

A year-long drug investigation yielded 63 grand jury indictments and probation violations of Campbell County’s worst drug offenders, with a total bond amount of $6,312,500. It was the largest drug roundup in a decade, according to sheriff Robbie Goins. 3-25-13

The rotary roasted Colonel Tom Stiner, a living LaFollette legend at the Church of God. 3-28-13

April

Campbell County became part of the Knoxville Metro, making nine counties total for Knoxville’s MSA. With the additions, Knoxville’s metro population jumped from 700,000 to 840,000.  4-01-13

Tennessee doctors prescribing painkillers and other controlled substances will be required to check their patients’ prescription history to prevent abuse and doctor shopping. The new requirement was signed into law last year.  4-01-13

Members of the Campbell County Honor Guard were honored collectively at the 6th annual Campbell County Good Scout Award Dinner held at the Ball Farm and Event Center. Third District Congressman Chuck Fleishmann was the special guest speaker.  4-04-13

It was a record night for the Campbell County Cancer Association’s annual telethon on WLAF-TV raising more than $32,500, topping last year’s $27,000.  4-08-13

State investigators were brought in to inspect the Campbell County Animal Shelter on Towe String Road regarding complaints from employees and others about the working environment at the shelter. County Mayor William Baird made the decision to close the shelter until the investigation was completed by the state.  4-12-13

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam announced the appointment of Andrew Tillman as the chancellor of the Eighth Judicial District Chancery Court. Tillman replaced Billy Joe White who passed away in Nov. 2012 after serving on the bench for 35 years.  4-17-13

The LaFollette Press hired a new editor Brent Schanding out of Kentucky. The newspaper also unveiled a new more modern look. Former press editor Susan Sharp sued parent company Landmark Community Newspapers for her job. The issue was eventually settled out of court.  4-17-13

According to a report issued by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, Tennessee is now number one in the country for meth use. The state has ranked among the top three since 2007 and passed Missouri for the number one spot in April. Meth cleanup costs taxpayers an estimated $1 billion a year.  4-24-13

May

Campbell County High School held its scholarship and awards ceremony, with numerous students receiving thousands of dollars worth of scholarship monies. In fact, 66 students received a full scholarship to Roane State, Walter State or Pellissippi Community Colleges. The award ceremony also marked the first year the state recognized students as “Graduating with honors” and “Graduating with distinction.”  3-03-13

After a candidate list of around 21 was narrowed down to 12, the LaFollette City Council finally cast its vote for Billie Russell as the city administrator. She is the first woman to serve as city administrator for LaFollette.  5-08-13

WLAF celebrated its 60th anniversary on the air in May. A celebration was held in the former Regions Bank in downtown LaFollette. WLAF signed on the air on Sunday, May 17 of 1953.  5-15-03

Governor Bill Haslam stopped in Caryville to sign Lynn’s Law into action. The law was written after Lynn Cameron, a 19-year-old disabled woman was abandoned at a bar in Caryville. The case sparked national debate and outrage; however, there were no laws that would allow Tennessee District Attorneys to prosecute Lynn’s mother or others like her. Soon after, State Representative Dennis Powers, in conjunction with District Attorney Lori Phillips-Jones and Senator Ken Yager began drafting Lynn’s Law.  3-16-13

254 young men and women received their high school diplomas on a Saturday in May. It was the 38th graduation for Campbell County High School and the second in a row held at the Tex Turner Arena on LMU Campus in Harrogate.  5-20-13

According to numbers, Relay for Life’s dollars were down in 2013, with the event raising only about half of what it did last year. Organizers said they felt the threat of rain and other events going on at the same time could be attributed to the lower donations. Still, $41,000 was raised and other donations continued to trickle in through August.  5-23-13

June

The Campbell County Board of Education voted Tuesday night to approve a one year contract with K12 Inc., as a partner in a virtual schools program, in which students will receive instruction online without ever having to step into a classroom. The county’s school system will act as a host district receiving state BEP dollars for each student enrolled.  6-12-23

Senator Ken Yager was co-sponsor of a bill that changed the name of all the state’s technology centers. Beginning in July, the local school will be called Tennessee College of Applied Technology at Jacksboro. The name change is to reflect the role of the centers in professional development as well as to promote their value in the higher education process.6-18-13

A full house was on hand as the 11-member Campbell County Animal Control Advisory Board met at LaFollette City Hall. The purpose of the meeting was to establish a basic framework of operating standards for the county animal shelter as well as for adoptions and rescues. The shelter has been closed since mid-April due to a state investigation of complaints that it wasn’t being operated properly.  6-19-13

On June 4, Governor Bill Haslam signed Senate Bill 745 known as the Breast Cancer Prevention Act into law in Nashville.  Present at the signing was bill sponsors Senator Becky Massey, State Representative Dennis Powers, and Dr Aaron Margulies, Dr. Kamilia Kozlowski, and LaFollette breast cancer survivor, Shelia Falls, among other who were involved in the bill.  6-20-13

There were four principal changes and one change in the central office for the 2013-2014 school year in Campbell County.  6-24-13

Storms knocked out power and downed trees all over the county in late June. Just before 1 a.m., is when calls began pouring into the 9-1-1 Dispatch Center and the LaFollette Utilities Department. Clairfield was the first and possibly worst hit area. Roses Creek, Deerfield, Powder Springs, Stinking Creek and Speedwell were other areas that received extensive damage as well.  6-27-13

July

Several new laws went into affect in Tennessee as of July 1. Guns in Parking Lots allows people with handgun carry permits to store firearms in their vehicles no matter where they are parked. School Security allows school districts to let people with police training to be armed in schools. Food Tax lowers the ales tax on groceries from 5.25 to 5. DUI-Interlock applies to Tennessee’s ignition interlock law to more drunk drivers. And the Tennessee Technology Center had its name changed.  7-01-13

LaFollette got a new Fazolis Restaurant in mid-July. The restaurant will also feature frozen yogurt.  7-03-13

The Campbell County Board of Education finally passed a budget that county commissioners would accept after several attempts. The final approved budget eliminated the $275,000 request that would have required a five-cent property tax increase.  7-22-13

Judge John Kerry Blackwood began the process of deciding whether or not school shooter Kenneth Bartley Jr., should have his new trial moved from Campbell County. It has been almost eight years since Bartley shot and killed assistant principal Ken Bruce. Blackwood eventually announced the trial would be in Feb. of 2014 in Jacksboro, but with an out of town jury.  7-26-13

August

After 41 years of providing primary and preventative care to the people of Stinking Creek and surrounding areas, the Wynn-Habersham Community Rural Health Clinic closed its doors permanently on July 29.  8-01-13

Eight months after the Fincastle Church of God was destroyed by fire, members of the congregation gathered together to dedicate the new building. The new church is bigger than the previous one.  8-02-13

The Campbell County Animal Shelter was scheduled to reopen on Aug. 5th after being closed for several months while being investigated by the TBI for being operated improperly. The investigation was still not complete. The shelter’s supervisor Betty Crumley resigned her post. Michael Aiken took over the post. The remainder of the staff with the exception of Animal Control Officer Otis Poore, will be replaced. The shelter closed on April 11.  8-02-13

County commissioners were less than enthusiastic when the president of an environmental consulting firm announced plans by Ketchen Land Company to develop a landfill in what was once the coal mining camp of Westboune. At this point in August, the issue was still being studied. County commissioners later gave a thumbs down to the project. Ten of the commissioners voted in non-support of the landfill during their meeting.  8-13-13

The virtual Cyber School project was on hold despite the start of the school year. The state said the company running the program still had not provided all the necessary documents and paperwork and urged students to enroll in their regular district school until the state made a decision.  8-14-13

Speaker of the House of Representatives Beth Harwell was the guest speaker at a luncheon hosted by State Representative Dennis Powers at the Stables. It was Powers kickoff fundraiser.  8-15-13

LaFollette began its downtown cleanup initiative in August. Then LaFollette City Administrator Billie Russell said the city wanted to send a message to residents and businesses about codes and zoning enforcement.   8-28-13

September

After a bit of public outcry, members of the LaFollette City Council voted against removing the 500-feet distance requirement between retail stores selling beer and schools and churches. Mayor Mike Stanfield cast the deciding vote, breaking the 2-2 tie.  9-04-13

It was also announced in early September that a Bojangles restaurant is coming to LaFollette and will be located near the Pizza Hut and movie Theatre. An estimated 80 employees will be hired to start out.  9-04-13

The Ken Bruce Memorial Highway in front of the high school was dedicated. Members of the Bruce family joined State Representative Dennis Powers and Sate Senator Ken Yager as well as members of the community for the dedication.  9-04-13

A grand jury heard evidence in the TBI’s probe regarding the Campbell County Animal Shelter and issued recommendations on how the shelter should be run, but did not hand down any indictments in the case. The grand jury issued findings they felt needed looked at and addressed at the shelter, according to District Attorney General Lori Phillips-Jones.  9-05-13

The Ketchen Land Company held a second public information meeting regarding the proposed coal ash landfill in Westbourne. Over 200 people packed the White Oak gym, nearly all of them vocally opposed to the landfill.  9-25-13

October

A partial government shutdown began on Oct. 1. Essential services continued, but in other branches, hundreds of thousands of workers were furloughed as other government functions were disrupted. There have been 17 government shutdowns in the past with the most recent being in 1996.  10-01-13

An official grievance was filed against then city administrator Billie Russell by several employees at LaFollette. Russell had been the city’s administrator for four months. LaFollette Mayor Mike Stanfield indicated he would have a special-called meeting to orally reprimand Russell. Russell has taken a medical leave of absence from work and obtained the services of attorney Dave Dunaway.  10-02-13

After 40 years in law enforcement, retired Caryville Police Chief Bill Widener passed away at the age of 65. Before working in Caryville, Widener was a sheriff’s deputy for 14 years.  10-03-13

The cougars jumped two spots in state rankings of the best football teams. Campbell hit the number seven spot, while Oak Ridge fell to 10 after the Cougars defeated them 27 to 14. It is the first time in the Cougars 39 year history that Campbell County has entered the poll.  10-08-13

Campbell County closed the door on the virtual school program in October, voting unanimously to notify K12, Inc., that the county intends to cancel its contract. The board had hoped the online school would bring in much needed revenue, but the application was rejected by state officials.  10-09-13

It was announced in October that Caryville will be getting a new factor in its industrial park, providing about 250 or more jobs to the area. The body armor manufacturer from Indiana is expected to open up in the old PACA building.  10-15-13

If the county had any lingering doubts about how residents of the fifth district felt about the possibility of a coal ash landfill, those doubts were laid to rest when over 125 people attended the commissioner’s workshop in October and expressed their fears about the landfill. Commissioners voted 15-0 in approval of adopting Jackson’s Law, which gives the county government a voice in whether or not to allow a landfill in its jurisdiction.  10-22-13

November

The LaFollette City Council voted to hold off on appointing an interim city administrator and to rather allow department heads to handle situations should they arise by polling the council and mayor. City Administrator Billie Russell remains on medical leave.  “We have been instructed to communicate through her attorney,” LaFollette Mayor Mike Stanfield said.  11-06-13

The LaFollette City Council voted to purchase the old LaFollette Post Office for $150,000. Though there are no immediate plans for the building, the mayor and members of the council said they were happy with the purchase and that the building was owned by the city.  11-06-13

LaFollette Tabernacle Church of God Andrew Hamblin had over 50 venomous snakes seized from a room in his church by the Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency. Hamblin was cited into court on possession of class I wildlife charges. Copperheads, rattlesnakes, cottonmouths and several other breeds of poisonous snakes were removed and are being housed at the Knoxville Zoo where some of them are being nursed back to health. Of the 53 snakes, around 5 died due to their poor condition, according to a Knoxville Zoo spokesperson. Hamblin hired attorney Mike Hatmaker to represent him in court.  11-07-13

The Lake City Board of Mayor and Aldermen voted to change the name of the town to Rocky Top, despite receiving a letter from Bryant Marketing in Gatlinburg informing the council that the company holds numerous copyrights to the name “Rocky Top.”  11-08-13

If approved by stockholders, Tennova Healthcare’s parent company Health Management Associates will be sold to Community Health Systems. The sale has been in the works for months and once completed, the $7.6 billion sale will make CHS the largest hospital organization in the country.  11-20-13

December

The possibility of housing a permanent LIFESTAR helicopter and landing zone was brought before the city council by a LIFESTAR representative. The proposal is to locate the helicopter next to the east side fire station which is located off Central Ave., near the DeRoyal factor. Before more discussion on the issue, it has to be taken before the planning commission, according to Mayor Mike Stanfield.  12-05-13

A faculty and staff reunion for former East LaFollette teachers was held on Dec. 8th at the old school. Organized by several former teachers, the event provided an opportunity for fellowship and enjoying old times.  12-08-13

County commissioners voted to transfer $500,000 that was saved through refinancing of county debt into a fund for paving roads. Each district will get $85,000 for road paving projects.  12-10-13

Parents, grandparents and guardians lined up in downtown LaFollette to participate in the annual Toys for Tots program, which served 750 children this year, helping them to have a better Christmas season. The event would not be possible without the county-wide efforts of volunteers, according to organizers.  12-13-13

Snake handling pastor Andrew Hamblin’s case has been bound over to the grand jury.  Hamblin appeared in Campbell County Court in December, regarding the Nov. 7th seizure of over 50 snakes from his LaFollette Tabernacle Church of God. Hamblin was charged with one count of possession of class I wildlife. After a two-hour preliminary hearing, Judge Joe Ayers heard enough testimony to decide the issue should go before a grand jury, which meets on Jan. 6th.   12-18-13

After several citizens said they were against it, the possibility of a LIFESTAR helicopter being housed in LaFollette has been nixed, according to Mayor Mike Stanfield. The helicopter would have been located near the east side fire station, but several residents that live in that area indicated they were against it. Locating the helicopter there would have also required an ordinance change in the city allowing above ground fuel tanks. According to Stanfield, LIFESTAR had also decided to pursue a location closer to the interstate, perhaps in the town of Jacksboro.  12-20-13

Jellico finishes 4th in Florida tourney

     At Sandestin, Florida, Jellico finished in fourth place at the Hilton-Sandestin Beach Basketball Blowout.  Coach Mike Reynolds’ Blue Devils fell to the Cookeville (Tennessee) Cavaliers this afternoon by a final of 63 to 45.  JHS has wins over Freeport Bulldogs (Florida), the Fort Dale Academy (Greenville, Alabama) Eagles, and a 64 to 47semi-final loss on Monday night to the Paxton Bobcats (Florida).  (UPDATED 12/31/2013/4:30PM) 

Fractured forecasts for 2014: Confusion reigns and Mayor Kidwell takes office

By Charles "Boomer" Winfrey 

It’s that same ol’ sad time of the year again, when every newspaper from the Bledsonian-Banner (“The only newspaper that gives a damn about Bledsoe County”) to the New York Times runs those “Year in Review” pieces.  We can now read all about the news that enraged us, terrified us or disgusted us during the past year – all over again!

The TV stations also do it, and they never seem to get the message that “nobody cares.” Well, they do get the message, but those of us in the news bizz want some time off during the holidays too – why should teachers have all the fun?  The best way to do that is by filling the airwaves and news pages with dribble that you can write back in October, such as “In August the world was shocked to learn that the Syrian regime had used chemical weapons on rebel-held villages.  Helicopters sprayed nitrous oxide gas on the towns and the residents literally died laughing.”

I’ve never been much for rehashing old news.  Instead I prefer to get a real scoop on the competition by giving you the news that hasn’t happened yet.  So without further ado, let us look at Boomer’s Fractured Forecasts for 2014:

January - The Campbell County Commission meets as a road committee to prioritize the use of money saved from re-financing old bonds, with each of the county’s five districts getting $85,000 to spend on road projects.

Things get complicated when Road Superintendent Dennis Potter informs commissioners that the cost of asphalt has gone up again and each district can afford to pave only 200 feet of highway. Agreeing that 200 feet won’t get them very far in an election year, the squires vote to invest the money in Powerball tickets instead.

February - The Town of Lake City’s effort to re-name themselves “Rocky Top” hits a snag in the state legislature when Representatives Dennis Powers and John Ragan introduce a bill to authorize the change.

A legislator from Sevier County amends the bill to re-name Lake City as “Muddy Bottom.”  A fierce debate ensues in which legislators suggest a number of other alternatives including “Rocky Topless,” “Pigeon Roost” and “Dog Patch.”  The House finally agrees on a new name for Lake City and the Town of “Confusion, Tennessee” is born.

March - Equally confused are the members of the Campbell County School Board when they begin the search for a new Director of Schools to replace the retiring Donnie Poston.  A total of 26 people apply for the job, including 21 who are related to various members of the Board of Education.

In the end it is determined that all ten board members must disqualify themselves from voting due to conflicts of interest, leaving the decision up to the only person in the school district without a relative among the candidates – a cook at Jacksboro Middle School.

April - This being election year, the Tennessee General Assembly concludes its business and adjourns early to campaign for re-election.  The only bills that are passed into law during the short session include a law that allows gun permit holders to carry their firearms into houses of worship, work places and schools.

“The best way to protect our kids from school shootings is when the kids can shoot back,” Representative J. A. Smoot (R- Turtletown) points out.  The only other bill to pass the legislature legalizes the use of poisonous snakes in religious services.

May - Campbell County and the State of Tennessee enter into negotiations to cede the City of Jellico to Kentucky.  The talks fail, however, when Kentucky agrees to accept Jellico only if Tennessee throws in its share of Cumberland Gap and Big South Fork National Parks, along with an undisclosed amount of cash.

June - Reverend Andrew Hamblin, at the first service in which he is legally authorized to handle poisonous reptiles, is promptly bitten by a Rattlesnake.  The snake dies, and Hamblin is arrested on charges of animal cruelty.

July - The county commission again passes a no-tax increase budget and again rejects Road Superintendent Dennis Potter’s request for paving funds.  The school board offers to loan the commission $1.5 million for paving projects, the School Department’s share of profits from selling solar power to TVA.

“You can pay us back with the money you make from placing solar panels on other county buildings.  Oh, we forgot.  You decided it was too risky and voted not to place solar panels on other county buildings,” school board members gloated in an open letter to the commission.

August - At long last Campbell County’s new justice center is completed and ready for occupancy.  The Tennessee Department of Corrections, however, conducts an updated prisoner survey and determines that the county’s jail cell occupancy rate has increased dramatically, leaving the new jail in need of space to house another 65 prisoners beyond the new jail’s capacity.

Finance Director Jeff Marlow’s suggestion to convert judges’ office space into jail cells is rebuffed, as is his proposal that the Sheriff arrest fewer people.  Marlow is last seen wandering into a wooded area near LaFollette, muttering something about “going to join the Skunk Ape.”

September - State and county officials again have hope for a resolution to the Jellico problem when the State of Georgia agrees to take responsibility for Jellico, if the state will throw in access to the water of the Tennessee River.

Tennessee rejects Georgia’s offer but Jellico officials finally announce they have found their own solution to the town’s financial troubles.  “We have seized 125 residential lots in the former Rarity Mountain development for unpaid taxes,” Mayor Les Stiers announces.  “We are negotiating with Ketchen Land Company to lease the land to them for a fly ash landfill.”

October – Local elections are over with most incumbents being returned to office.  One notable exception is the City of LaFollette, where voters elect eternal candidate Virgil Kidwell as Mayor by a landslide vote.  Mayor Kidwell immediately stirs up controversy by suggesting that city council hire a new city administrator, “My mentor, former Mayor Cliff Jennings.”

Councilman Hansford Hatmaker is arrested after his hands are pried away from the mayor’s neck.

November – City officials celebrate a happy ending to efforts by the town of Confusion (formerly Lake City) to land a theme park when it turns out that the unidentified “investors” who wanted to change the town’s name are all Chinese.

When informed that instead of “Rocky Top,” the town was now called “Confusion,” the investors doubled their contributions, mistakenly assuming the new name honored the Chinese philosopher Confucius.  Construction is scheduled to begin in March on the park’s first attractions, the Great Wall Water Slide and the Chairman Mao Dinner Theater.

December – The Campbell County Cougars football team, having just completed an undefeated season, wins the playoff to claim a state championship.  TSSAA immediately announces that the program is under investigation.

“We have no evidence of wrongdoing but this is Campbell County and they went undefeated. Something has to be wrong somewhere,” an attorney leading the investigation told reporters.

So there you have it, dear readers.  All of the news that may or may not happen, but many of us would like to see, if for no other reason than the sheer entertainment value.  Have a happy New Year and a prosperous 2014!   (UPDATED 12/31/2013/1:00PM)             

WLAF loses member of its sports crew

     For years, Greg Brackett of Jacksboro was a fixture on the WLAF Sports Crew.  This morning, we’re sad to report that the friendly sports announcer, coach, and fan has died.  His sidekick, Les Martin, says Brackett, as he always called him, died suddenly overnight from complications of a blood clot.  Brackett was a part of football, baseball, and sports talk coverage for WLAF over the years and also coached middle school baseball. 

Greg Brackett

Martin calls him a really good friend, and says that if there was a right way to do something, then that’s the way Brackett wanted to go.  The Kingston native’s fulltime career was in the banking industry, and he currently worked at a north Knoxville bank. 

He leaves behind a son, daughter, and fiance`.  Greg Brackett was 50-years old.(UPDATED 12/31/2013/6:30AM)

Misuse of city credit cards discussed at workshop

By Charlotte Underwood

Sparks flew at the end of a lengthy LaFollette City Council workshop on Monday night when Mayor Mike Stanfield brought up misuse of city credit cards.

LaFollette Mayor Mike Stanfield holds a newspaper clipping from a November 2012 issue of the LaFollette Press. The clipping is of a picture of former interim city administrator Cade Sexton and Vice-Mayor Hansford Hatmaker receiving an award while on a trip to Gatlinburg in October 2012. Stanfield alleges the trip was a misuse of the city’s credit card and taxpayer’s money.

Shortly before the workshop’s close, Stanfield handed out a report to council members listing purchases made on the city’s credit card. He also held a newspaper clipping from a November 2012 issue of the LaFollette Press. The clipping is of a picture of former interim city administrator Cade Sexton and Vice-Mayor Hansford Hatmaker receiving an award while on a trip to Gatlinburg in 2012.

A copy of the report revealed handwritten notes marking certain items as money spent by Sexton Hatmaker while attending a coal mining conference on Oct. 28 and 29 of last year. 

“Do you remember what that was about Hansford?” Councilman Joe Bollinger asked.

Hatmaker said he did and that it was the “coal mining thing” the city participates in each year.

Vice-Mayor Hansford Hatmaker reacts to Mayor Mike Stanfield’s accusation that his use of the city’s credit card was inappropriate.

“We don’t’ participate in that. I didn’t go to Gatlinburg; I wasn’t invited,” Stanfield said, and then continued on and asked Hatmaker why he and Sexton spent the night at a hotel.

“That’s where the conference was held,” Hatmaker replied.

“Was it authorized by the city?” Bob Fannon asked.

“If Cade signed it, then he authorized it; he was the city administrator at the time,” Hatmaker said.

This clipping shows former interim city administrator Cade Sexton and Vice-Mayor Hansford Hatmaker receiving an award on behalf of Triple H Coal while attending a coal mining conference in Gatlinburg in 2012.

“You look good holding that plaque that says H Group; you accepted a plaque for your brother’s company on tax payer’s money; this here is wrong Hansford Hatmaker. It’s like that trip to Memphis you and Cade took,” Stanfield said, adding that “the only person you are fooling is the fool sitting there.”

This clipping shows former interim city administrator Cade Sexton and Vice-Mayor Hansford Hatmaker receiving an award on behalf of Triple H Coal while attending a coal mining conference in Gatlinburg in 2012.

“You’re fighting a losing battle Mike. We’ll find out some stuff; I’ve got the big boys coming in to check on some stuff,” Hatmaker said elusively.

Bob Fannon asked that the issue be placed on the agenda to be discussed at next week’s meeting.

The purchases made that had handwritten notations implying it was spent by Sexton and Hatmaker included $282.10 to Doubletree Park Vista in Gatlinburg for hotel rooms. There were also notations made regarding purchases made at several restaurants in Sevierville and Knoxville during the period of time the trip was conducted. These totaled $105.82, according to the copy of credit card purchases provided by Stanfield.

Members of the council also listened to the city’s audit report as representatives from Pugh & Company; P.C. out of Knoxville told the board that the city had received a “clean audit report with no significant deficiencies or findings.”

Vice-Mayor Hansford Hatmaker takes a moment to speak with part-time officer Jordan Reid who will soon be moved up to full-time.

Also discussed and added to the upcoming meeting agenda was the hiring of Jordan Reid from a part-time to a full-time police officer.

“He has been working with us part-time since September and he has been out on his own for the past month and we would like to go ahead and make him full-time,” Police Chief Jimmy Jeffries said.

Other items added to next week’s agenda included appropriating $2,000 for exhaust fans in the recreation center and library restrooms as well as the need to demolish two.(UPDATED 12/31/2013/6:30AM)

Beech Street Bridge project gets go ahead

By Charlotte Underwood

Construction on replacing the Beech Street Bridge in downtown LaFollette could begin as soon as summer, after the city received a federal grant to pay for 80-percent of the $1.4 million project.

The LaFollette City Council held a special-called meeting on Monday evening before holding the regularly scheduled workshop. The purpose of the meeting was to approve and accept a matching grant from the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) that will provide 80-percent of the funds needed for the bridge replacement. The city will be responsible for 20-percent of the project’s cost, which according to street department head Jim Mullins, will be around $302,938.

“It could be a little less, it could be a little more, we won’t know until the bids come in,” Mullins said. The cost of the project includes tearing down the old bridge and completely replacing it. The old bridge, which was built in the 1930s or 1940s, according to Mullins needs replaced and has received a “very poor rating” by TDOT in the past.

Street Department Head Jim Mullins reads a letter to the LaFollette City Council stating the city was approved for a matching grant to replace the Beech Street Bridge. The city will be responsible for around $302,000 of the $1.4 million project.

“The old bridge doesn’t align with the road, it’s too narrow and there is the safety hazard of having pedestrians walking beside the track,” Mullins said, adding the new bridge would be aligned with the street and would also be wider, have shoulders and sidewalks on either side that would tie-in with the walking trail.

The council voted unanimously to accept the grant and enter into a contract with TDOT to begin the project.

“I hope to have it bid, if not let by June and then there would be about six months of construction to complete the new bridge,” Mullins said.

“That bridge was dangerous when we were little boys and now that we’re old men, it’s still dangerous,” said Mayor Mike Stanfield.(UPDATED 12/31/2013/6:30AM)

Downtown insurance fixture closing

By Charlotte Underwood

     It’s the end of an era for members of the Ben Rogers Coffee Drinkers Club with the long-time insurance provider closing its doors as of 2 p.m. Dec. 31. Rogers passed away in February of last year at the age of 89 after working right up until just a few days before he died, according to his son Jim Rogers. Jim, along with his brother Mike are retiring and selling the insurance portion of the business to E.E. Hill and Son Insurance. They will be retaining the building for a short period of time while wrapping up business details.

Kathy and Jim Rogers

The insurance business was started by their father Ben in the back of the H & K Jewelry shop on North Tennessee Avenue. What began as a small side insurance business eventually grew to be a downtown business fixture in La Follette.

“Dad was a school teacher and only started the insurance business to bring in extra income,” Rogers said, adding that his father had enjoyed it so much that he quit teaching and began selling insurance full-time.

Mike Rogers

The business moved to its current location on West Central Ave., in the early 1960s.

For years, coffee drinkers and friends of Ben Rogers have gathered at the insurance building every Saturday morning to drink coffee and talk; with the business closing, Jim Rogers said he is sad to see that coffee drinking tradition come to an end.

Gary Rogers (above), Loris Johnson (below)

“They would come in and drink coffee and then round about noon we would throw them out. I didn’t want to see it come to an end, but things change,” Jim Rogers said, adding that he and his brother had given several special individuals a “life time certificate” to the Ben Rogers Coffee Drinkers Club. Those special inductees include Jack Reynolds, Ed Balloff, Conrad Troutman and Kent Younce.

“After daddy died, they just kept coming and drinking coffee,” Jim Rogers said. He and his brother have both been in the family business for over 45 years.

“It’s going to be a real hard change,” Rogers said. (UPDATED 12/31/2013/6:30AM PIX BY CHARLIE HUTSON)

Listen to Tennessee Saturday Night with Tony Basilio using the player below


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Sheriff’s and police reports

By Charlotte Underwood

Sheriff’s deputies make multiple public intoxication arrests; woman arrested at elementary school

A LaFollette woman was arrested on Dec. 18th for public intoxication after she attempted to pick her children up from a local elementary school, according to the Campbell County Sheriff’s Department.

When the deputy arrived at the school, he found Sonya Goins, 28, had slurred speech and was unstable on her feet. Goins was given a sobriety test, which she failed, according to the arrest report. She was arrested and transported to the county jail on charges of public intoxication. She has a court date set for Jan. 3.

In an unrelated public intoxication case, another LaFollette woman was arrested on public intoxication charges after sheriff’s deputies responded to the complaint of a woman trying to push a car over an embankment on Dec. 21. When deputies responded to the location on Cave Springs Road, they found Danielle Desha Mason, 23, who told them she was under the influence of a controlled substance. According to the arrest report, Mason also told deputies she had been calling 9-1-1 for reporting accidents and trying to call ambulances and that she had been told to leave the residence she had been at.

“The defendant was outside and was self-apparent to the average prudent person that she was under the influence of drugs,” the arrest report narrative read.

Mason has a court date set for Jan. 3.(12/30/2013/6:00AM)

Jacksboro man arrested for stealing over $6,000 worth of property

Jarred Asbury, 26, was arrested on Dec. 19th and charged with aggravated burglary and theft of property $1,000-$9,999, according to the Campbell County Sheriff’s Department. Asbury allegedly stole $1,550 worth of property from one residence in Jacksboro before selling it to a pawnshop in Caryville. The arrest report also states he stole $4,500 worth of property from another residence on Towe String Road and sold that property to U.S. Standard Gold Buyers. (12/30/2013/6:00AM)

Glade Springs man garners his 34th charge

A Glade Springs man garnered his 34th charge in nine years, according to a Campbell County Sheriff’s Department arrest report.

Mark A. Winterberg, 28, LaFollette, was arrested on Dec. 19th by sheriff’s deputies on burglary and theft charges after he broke into several vehicles. He had allegedly admitted to deputies that he had broke into a car parked on Haven Lane and stole $150 worth of personal property which he later sold to Big Orange Pawn in Knoxville, according to the sheriff’s report. Winterberg also broke into another vehicle parked on Medford Lane around Dec. 13 as well as another vehicle on Minton Road. According to the report, he admitted to stealing $225 worth of property from one vehicle and $120 worth of property from another vehicle, before selling it to the pawn shop as well. According to Winterberg’s arrest record dating back to Jan. 2004, these marked his 33rd and 34th charges.

Other charges in the past included theft, vandalism, driving while suspended, violation of probation, resisting and evading arrest, assault on a police officer, giving false info to a police officer, reckless endangerment, especially aggravated kidnapping, failure to pay fines, driving while suspended, forgery  and violation of the Tennessee Financial Law, just to name a few.(12/30/2013/6:00AM)

Hit and run accident leads to arrest in LaFollette

A hit and run accident in front of the high school led to the arrest of a LaFollette man on Dec. 18th, according to a LaFollette Police Department arrest report.

Donnie Carroll, 58, was arrested after he allegedly left the scene of an accident. According to the report, Carroll allegedly “attempted to run” the victim off the road, striking the victim’s 2014 Ford Mustang on the passenger side causing possible injuries to a passenger who was transported to the hospital by E.M.S. After gaining consent to search, police found Carroll had a cell phone on his person with enough battery to report the accident. Officers also found Carroll to be in possession of a green bottle containing Gabapentin in someone else’s name. He also failed to show proof of registration and insurance. Carroll was arrested and transported to the county jail.

Saturday's final scores:

Sevier County 61 - Cougars 57    2OT

Fulton 42 - Lady Cougars 36

Jellico 63 - Ft. Dale Academy (Alabama) 38

Friday's final scores:

Seymour 47 - Lady Cougars 39

Cougars 64 - McMinn County 53

Thursday's final scores:

Lady Cougars defeat Unicoi County

Maryville wins over the Cougars

Jellico is a winner over Freeport (Florida)

Sheriff calls loss of deputy “devastating”

     A law enforcement and U.S. Army veteran has died.  Campbell County Deputy Bill Tackett passed away on Christmas Eve.  Sheriff Robbie Goins calls Tackett’s death a sorrowful and devastating loss for not only the sheriff’s office and county, but a tragic loss for our great country, Christians, and mankind in general. 

Reverend Billy Rich Tackett

Goins describes Tackett as a rare public servant who possessed more than a quality of dedicated, ethical, and unselfish public service to his country and its people.  Aside from a more than 20-year career in the Army, the Viet-Nam War veteran was a Tennessee State Trooper, and most recently a county deputy, Tackett was also the assistant pastor at the Guiding Star Baptist Church.  Billy Rich Tackett was 65-years old.(12/27/2013/6:00AM)

 Founder of Opens Arms Ministry dies

     Reverend Robert Adkins was a church pastor, a U.S. Navy veteran, a father, grandfather, and great grandfather.  However, he may best be known for what he did in the fight against hunger in Campbell County.  Adkins founded the Open Arms Ministry.  Through its food distribution program, Open Arms Ministry literally feeds thousands and thousands of people every year.  Robert Adkins, who died on Christmas Eve, was 77-years old.(12/27/2013/6:00AM)

CCHS JROTC holds fall awards ceremony 

By: C/MAJ Chris Bolton

 

            On Thursday, December 12, 2013 the Campbell County High School (CCHS) JROTC program held its fall awards ceremony.  Cadets received awards for work in the first semester of this year. All class periods attended the ceremony. Special guests included Ms. Jamie Wheeler, and Mrs. Carolyn Cox (former assistant principal of CCHS).

Cadet Jessica Baird recites the Cadet Creed.

           

     The ceremony began with a phenomenal entrance by cadets that featured   a fog machine and music. The color guard posted the colors, and select cadets recited the pledge of allegiance, the cadet creed, and the JROTC core values.  Battalion Commander Chris Bolton gave opening remarks about the program’s fall semester.  LTC Salveson recognized special guests and provided humorous comments on semester activities. One of these included the story of he, Mr. Ward, and MSG Tierney moving a “portable toilet” across Cove Lake Park with an old Blue Blazer as the tow vehicle ... (talk about old folks ready for emergencies ???). Then it was time for the awards.

Cadets wait patiently to get in line for their awards.

    

     Awards ranged from academics to athletic ribbons. The CCHS JROTC program also received a special award itself. CCHS’ Battalion received the Army’s Honor Unit with Distinction Certificate (HUD).  The HUD award is the highest unit award a JROTC program can earn. CCHS has been eligible for this award for the last 19 years (of its 21 year existence). This year is the nineteenth time CCHS has earned the award.

     Twelve cadets received the National Physical Fitness Award for scoring above fifty percent in all events of their physical test. Robert Kennedy was also awarded the Presidential Physical Fitness Award for scoring above eighty-five percent. He is the first cadet to win this award in several years.

Superior Cadet Recipients Hannah Yodice, Abbigale Kitts, Christian Ward, and John Byrge (from left to right).

Last awards to be presented were the Superior Cadet decorations.  Ms Wheeler, and Mrs. Cox presented these to Hannah Yodice for LET-1, Abbigale Kitts for LET-2, Christian Ward for LET-3, and John Byrge for LET-4.

After presentation of all awards, the ceremony ended with a closing Poem.  The poem was a story of how children feel when their parents in the service are deployed. All they want is their parents to be home. It was a touching eye opener for the ceremony’s closing.(12/27/2013/6:00AM)

Goins is proud winner of stocking

     Effie Goins picked up her giant Christmas stocking on Christmas Eve.  Goins is the winner in the annual WLAF stocking give-a-way.  Special thanks to local businesses, Designer Choice Consignment, Bowman`s Jewelers, Radio Shack, Neighborhood Urgent Care and Gifts from Above along with the hundreds of you who took time to register for a chance at winning.  Effie registered on a recent visit to Gifts from Above.

Edward Jones is business of the week

     Thursday means Charlotte Underwood is featuring a local business.  Today’s it’s Zach Sheets with the La Follette Edward Jones office.  Read Charlotte’s story and see her pictures further down this page.  (12/26/2013/6:00AM)

Planning for the future; Edward Jones can help

Story and pictures by Charlotte Underwood

It’s never too early or too late to start planning for the financial future, according to Edward Jones Investments Financial Planner Zach Sheets.

“The great thing about financial planning is it’s never too late to start investing in you,” Sheets said, adding that the “sooner the better.”

Always a “numbers guy”, Sheets spent years in the corporate management sector in the entertainment industry for Regal Cinema. Around three years ago, he decided he wanted to switch to a different profession where he could use his expertise in finances and managing in order to help people while still making a living for himself and his family.

According to Edward Jones Investments Financial Advisor Zach Sheets, it’s never too early or too late to start planning for the financial future.

“This profession is nice because you are successful if your clients do well. The best path to success here is doing a good job for the clients,” Sheet said, explaining the world of finance was based on trust and results.

After relocating his office from West Knoxville to LaFollette in May, Sheets said he loves the change to a “hometown atmosphere.”

“I wanted to move to a town where you could know the people and not be just another face in the crowd,” Sheets said.

Over the past six months, Sheets has invested himself in the community by becoming a member of the rotary, the Lions Club and the local chamber of commerce, all of which keep him busy.

“I love to participate in things going on in the community; people here will at least listen to you,” Sheets said, adding that the best part of his business was “getting to know the people across the desk, getting to be their friends and ultimately helping them towards their goals.”

Helping people realize and obtain their financial goals is what Edward Jones Investments is all about, but it doesn’t take loads of money to get started, according to Sheets, who said he wanted to dispel that financial investment myth.

“In reality you can get started in systematic investments with as little as $25 and it doesn’t cost anything to come in, ask questions and see what’s up as far as financial planning possibilities,” Sheets said, adding that planning for the financial future was important for people of all ages. Setting up an account doesn’t cost anything either. Sheets is also available to talk to people about life insurance, long-term care insurance and other important issues. Due to his profession, he is adept at finding the best plans out there for the money.

Edward Jones Investments is located at 102 N. Massachusetts Ave., Suite 10 in LaFollette, across from the Y-12 bank. For more information or to schedule a financial planning appointment, call 423-566-4010.

He offered a little bit of holiday financial advice to the readers and listeners, saying “if you receive money as a gift this holiday season, put some of that aside and if you’ve run up the credit card debt, pay that down first. And instead of buying a toy for the kids that will break in six months, start a college fund.” But the best advice he said he could offer was to “make sure you have a financial plan; just don’t wing it.”

“If you need legal advice, you go to a lawyer, if you need medical help, you go to a doctor and if you need help with your taxes, you go to an accountant so it only makes sense if you need financial advice and help, then come see me at Edward Jones Investments,” Sheets said.

Stocks, bonds, mutual funds, CDs, all of this and more is available through Edward Jones Investments, which is located at 102 N. Massachusetts Ave., in LaFollette, across from the Y-12 bank. For more information or to schedule a financial planning appointment, call 423-566-4010.  (12/26/2013/6:00AM)

2013 Christmas Parade

 

Sheriff and police reports

By Charlotte Underwood

Jellico woman arrested on assault charges

A Jellico woman was arrested on aggravated assault charges on Dec. 23, after she allegedly pulled a handgun and cursed at three individuals, including a juvenile, according to the Campbell County Sheriff’s Department.

Campbell County Deputy Joshua Jeffers was dispatched to Low Wood Lane around 10:27 p.m. on the 23rd on the report that Lisa Regina Dople-Rookard, 50, had allegedly tail-gated her husband while he was traveling west on Highway 297. The arrest report goes on to state that Dople-Rookard followed him to his driveway and then pulled a gun on him and two other individuals with him, including a juvenile. Witnesses stated after she cursed them and pointed the gun at them, she pulled out and headed east on Highway 297. When deputies spoke with Dople-Rookard, she admitted to traveling on Highway 297 and stated she had been going to visit her mother, but denied pulling a gun. She was arrested, according to the report, “based on witness and victim statements.”

La Follette man arrested for scrapping borrowed boat

A LaFollette man was arrested on theft charges after he sold an aluminum boat for scrap while borrowing it from someone else. According to the Campbell County Sheriff’s Department arrest report, Ryan Travis Gulley, 22, was arrested on Dec. 27 for theft under $500 after he sold a 12-foot aluminum boat for scrap to Jacksboro Metals. Sheriff’s deputy Nathanial Bostic spoke to the victim and learned Gulley had permission to borrow the boat, but not to scrap it. Jacksboro Metals provided a copy of the sale invoice that had a copy of Gulley’s driver license on it. According to the report, when deputies went to his LaFollette address and advised him of his constitutional rights, he admitted to selling the boat to the scrap yard for $30.40.

Noise complaint leads to drug paraphernalia arrest

A LaFollette woman was arrested on drug paraphernalia charges after a noise compliant brought the police to her door on W. Fir Street, according to the LaFollette Police Department.

LaFollette police officers were dispatched to the residence on Dec. 28th around 10:20 p.m. on the report loud music was being played. After arriving, officers spoke with Margo Marie Paul, 54, who admitted to having the music turned up loud to “reminisce” some good times with her friend, the police report said. Officers asked her if they could step inside out of the rain and Paul agreed. After stepping inside, officers located two pipes with burnt residue in plain sight. When asked if there was any marijuana in the house, Paul said no and gave officers permission to search. After searching, deputies found a drinking straw cut in half with white powder residue inside of it as well as a bullet cartridge containing a pair of tweezers with burnt black residue stuck inside. Paul then allegedly admitted to smoking marijuana earlier in the day and that the straw was used to snort pills, according to the arrest report.

La Follette police make public intox arrests

The LaFollette Police Department made two public intoxication arrests right after the holiday.  LaFollette Police Officer Charles Duff responded to the S. Point area on Dec. 27 on the report that an intoxicated man was staggering near the roadway. After arriving, Duff located Jerry Lynn Lumpkins, 51. Lumpkins was mumbling, had a strong odor of alcohol and admitted to having six beers and “trying to get home”, according to the report. In his report, Duff stated Lumpkins was so intoxicated, he had him sit down so he wouldn’t fall down, before arresting him for fear he would continue to be a safety hazard in the roadway. Lumpkins was charged with public intoxication and taken to jail. 

Anthony Joseph Selover, 48, was arrested for public intoxication on Dec. 28 after he nearly “staggered” out in front of a police officer’s car in front of Rainbow Ford, according to the police report. Officer Brian Tiller was on patrol when he observed Selover on the side of the roadway in front of the car dealership, shortly before Selover nearly stepped out in front of his car. Tiller turned around and made contact with Selover, who according to the report had “slurred speech and smelled of alcohol.” Selover was arrested and transported to the county jail.

The march through 2014's big election year begins Friday

By Charlotte Underwood

With multiple political races coming up in 2014, it should be an exciting election year, according to Election Administrator Ann Ayers-Colvin.  For those who are interested in running politically, election petitions can be picked up at the election commission office beginning on Jan. 3. The qualifying deadline to run for office is noon on April 3rd, and all qualifying paperwork and signatures to run must be turned in by that time. The withdrawal deadline is noon on April 10th.

On the county level, August could usher in various new political officials. Political races in the Eighth Judicial District include circuit court judge, chancellor, district attorney general and public defender. Other political offices on the ballot include county mayor, county attorney, general sessions judge and five county commission districts. August will also see constable as well as school board elections in all five districts.  Other political offices up for grabs in 2014 include criminal court judge, circuit court clerk, county trustee, county clerk, register of deeds and sheriff.  According to election deputy Carol Jo Nelson, sheriff candidates need to come by the election office to pick up their packet to file with Post.

“They have to show they have so many years experience in police work and that they have had a psych evaluation,” Nelson said. The deadline for sheriff candidates to file with Post is March 20th.

On the state level, 2014 means it is time to pick a new governor.  It is not certain yet who will be running against Bill Haslam, who has already started his fundraising and campaigning efforts, both locally and in other parts of the state.

Also in state elections, there is one Unites States Senate race, as well as a U.S. House of representatives’ race, with the second and third district both included. The second district, which is Jimmy Duncan’s district, includes Jellico, White Oak, Newcomb and Wells Springs, while everything else falls in the third district, which is Chuck Fleishmann’s district, according to Ayers-Colvin.  Citizens will also get the chance to vote for a state committee executive male and female for both parties in the fall. It is also the year to vote on whether or not to retain Tennessee’s Supreme Court judges.

“Those will be the retention questions at the end of the ballot; it will simply say ‘shall such and such be retained as judge’,” Ayers-Colvin explained.

The election of a state representative will finish up the state elections.

For more information, contact the election commission office at 423-562-9777.(01/02/2014/6:00AM)

Local pizzeria serving slices for nearly 38 years

Story and pictures by Charlotte Underwood

Coming up on its 38th anniversary in the spring, Charley’s Pizza in Jacksboro is still going strong, serving up slice after slice of that pizza pie. But pizza isn’t all the Campbell County dining fixture has to offer and actually serves up “just about everything,” according to owner and operator Jerry Partin.

After nearly 40 years in the pizza business, Charley’s is a Campbell County dining fixture.

Started by Charley Baird nearly 40 years ago, Charley’s was purchased from Baird by Partin in 2008. A long-time employee, Partin has worked at Charley’s for about 33 years.

“The pizza business is something I know because Charley has taught me a lot,” Partin said of his long-time friend and mentor.

Charley’s not only has the good food that its customers have come to depend on and know, but also a family atmosphere that is hard to beat.

Charley’s Pizza Parlor opened in 1976. The business will celebrate 38 years in the spring.

“We believe in serving people like they are family, because after we’ve been here all these years, that’s what our customers are to us,” Partin said.

Charley’s Pizza opened for business in 1976.

The restaurant offers a wide variety of selections of pizza and other Italian cuisine, including a full pizza and salad buffet. Hotdogs, hamburgers and fries are another staple at Charley’s, but among the most popular item is the Philly cheese steak sandwiches, which are also available in chicken.

Whether it’s pepperoni, sausage, bacon, or a veggie pizza, Charley’s buffet has all that and more to offer.

“If you’re not in the mood for pizza or burgers and fries, we also do soups and salads,” Partin said.

Having started in the pizza business when he was 19, Partin said he “knows pizza” and he “knows people.”

Owner and operator Jerry Partin places a pizza pie in the oven at Charley’s Pizza located at 103 E. Cumberland Lane in Jacksboro.

“Anytime you can go somewhere and they know you by name, well then you know you are doing something right,” Partin said, adding that people “were his life.”

“They keep coming back to eat and that’s what keeps me going; the customers.”

Business hours are 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to midnight on Friday and Saturday. The restaurant is closed on Sundays.

Charley’s is located at 103 Cumberland Lane in Jacksboro. For more information call 562-0116.   (01/02/2014/6:00AM)

Bailey, Evans, Jeffers named All-State

     Three first-team football all-staters from Campbell County High School?  The 2013 season keeps on giving.  If a 10 & 2 season wasn’t enough, three Cougars claim all-state honors.  The Tennessee Sports Writers Association 5-A All-State High School Football honors Junior Quarterback Ethan Jeffers, Senior Linebacker Nick Bailey, and Junior Defensive Back Joseph Elkins.  (01/01/2014/6:00PM)

Carmike Movies 2 behind Woodson Shell

2140 Jacksboro Highway - La Follette - 423.562.0979

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug(PG-13)

   
   
Fri Jan 3:
7:00pm  
Sat Jan 4:
7:00pm  
Sun Jan 5:
6:15pm  
Mon Jan 6:
7:00pm  
Tue Jan 7:  

Tyler Perry's A Madea Christmas  (PG-13)

   
   
Fri Jan 3:
1:45pm  4:20pm  7:00pm  9:35pm  
Sat Jan 4:
1:45pm  4:20pm  7:00pm  9:35pm  
Sun Jan 5:
1:45pm  4:20pm  7:00pm  
Mon Jan 6:
4:45pm  7:20pm  
Tue Jan 7:  

Walking With Dinosaurs  (PG)

   
   
Fri Jan 3:
2:20pm  4:30pm  
Sat Jan 4:
2:20pm  4:30pm  
Sun Jan 5:
1:45pm  4:00pm  
Mon Jan 6:
4:30pm  
Tue Jan 7:  

Men’s winter retreat planned at GBC

     Galilee Bible Camp hosts a “men’s retreat” on Friday, January 17 and Saturday, January 18.  Start times are 7:00 p.m. Friday, 3:00 p.m. Saturday.  Cost is $25 for commuters or $40 for overnighters.  Guest speaker is John Davis.  Space is limited.  Call now 423.562.4910.  See the poster and complete the registration form at www.GalileeBibleCamp.org 

Brackett’s arrangements set

     Arrangements are complete for WLAF sports announcer Greg Brackett.  Fraker Funeral Home at Kingston is handling the receiving of friends on Friday from 5:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. 

Interment is Saturday at Clavary/Hazelwood Cemetery at Kingston

The 51-year old Brackett, a native of Kingston but made his home in Campbell County, died suddenly Tuesday morning in La Follette. 

Click here http://www.frakerfuneralhome.net/book-of-memories/1761274/Brackett-Gregory/service-details.php for more details and directions.(01/01/2014/7:30AM - DAVID GRAHAM PIX)

Highlights of 2013

By Charlotte Underwood

January

It was a tragic start to the 2013 New Year on Jan. 2, when a man died in the Caryville Industrial Park. WLAF received reports that an out-of-town worker fell to his death while working at Fabrite. 1-02-13

Wynn School was briefly closed on Jan. 7, after an early morning fire damaged two class rooms the week before.  1-07-13

Nearly a month after fire destroyed their sanctuary, members of the Fincastle Church of God returned to hold a worship service on Jan. 8th. The fire was determined to be a case of arson. 1-08-2013

LaFollette City Council voted to bid out replacement of a section of leaky roof over the part of city hall which house the police department and communications equipment.  1-09-13

A Channel 6 WATE TV crew found out and reported that while former LaFollette City Administrator Cade Sexton and Vice Mayor Hansford Hatmaker were on their way back from Memphis in Sexton’s city issued vehicle, the pair were involved in a non-injury wreck on Interstate 40. Hansford, who was driving was cited for violation of the move over law after he allegedly hit a Nissan SUV that had been pulled over by a Tennessee State Trooper. The pair had apparently attended an inmate graduation ceremony at the Mark H. Luttrell Correctional Center. Sexton and Hatmaker claimed they were looking into the possibility in starting a female inmate rehabilitation program in LaFollette.  1-10-13

The Campbell County Sheriff’s Department unveiled a new mission statement to kick off the 2013 year. “It is the mission of the Campbell County Sheriff’s Office to safeguard the lives and property of the people we serve, to reduce the incidence of fear of crime and to enhance public safety, while working with every community to improve their quality of life. Our mandate is to do so with professionalism and integrity, while at all times conducting ourselves with the highest ethical standars, to renew and maintain public confidence. Our values will evolve around Leadership, Service, Performance and Discipline.”  1-11-13

Several boats were destroyed by fire, while two other boats sank at Whitman Hollow on in mid January, according to a WLAF report. Campbell County Rural Fire Assistant Chief Daniel Lawson a 75 foot stretch of boat slip was also destroyed during the blaze. It was the second fire at a Campbell County marina in a six month period of time. 1-21-13

Interim City Administrator Cade Sexton handed a letter of resignation in to LaFollette Mayor Mike Stanfield in January. The letter state his resignation was effective immediately. The resignation followed questions regarding a wreck Sexton was involved with while traveling back from Memphis with Vice Mayor Hansford Hatmaker.  1-21-13

Campbell County conducted a Point-In-Time Count of the homeless in the county on Jan. 24. It was coordinated by the Tennessee Valley Coalition to End Homelessness.  1-24-13

The Campbell County Sheriff’s Department graduated 225 D.A.R.E. students in local schools around the county.  1-31-13

February

Hundreds of people packed the courthouse to give members of the board of education an earful when they failed to renew Donnie Poston’s contract as Director of Schools. Parents, teachers and students overflowed the courtroom.  2-01-13

A proposed bill would require post-secondary education for school board members, according to State Representative Dennis Powers, who sponsored the bill in the Tennessee House of Representatives.  2-05-13

The LaFollette City Council approved Police Chief Jimmy Jeffries to act as city administrator while the position was advertised and could be filled. Hansford Hatmaker was the only no vote. 2-06-13

The Campbell SWAT team resumed its manhunt on Feb. 7th for an individual who invaded a home on Tussey Cut Road between Duff and Morley. After getting into a shoot-out with the homeowner, the suspect left in a van. A patrol officer made contact with the van on 25W, at which point the suspect fled on foot. The manhunt forced Wynn Elementary into lockdown for one afternoon. Randy Monday was arrested the next night and charged with multiple home burglaries, according to the sheriff’s department.  2-07-13

Text-a-Tip debuted in February at the high schools. By the end of the day, more than 20 tips were sent via text involving drugs, abuse and the like, according to the county mayor. The program is available to students at Jellico and Campbell County High Schools.

The oldest living graduate of LaFollette High School, Jeanette Smith Carr passed away early Saturday morning. Many baby boomers remember her as their teacher at Ivydale or Valley View School. She was 100 years old.  2-18-13

The Point-In-Time Homeless count results came in at 604, which is about average. However, the number of unsheltered individuals, around 62, is disturbingly high, according to coordinator Deb Mikesell. The unsheltered count usually runs in the 40s.  2-19-13

Jason Fox, dubbed “the Bad Hair Bandit” was arraigned in federal court in London, KY., in late February. He robbed six banks and his total take was less than $100,000. Fox, wearing a blond wig as part of his disguise robbed banks in Campbell County and Kentucky. His wife, Tasha Fox, was also charged as the get-away driver.  2-28-13

March

The Campbell County School Board voted to extend the contract of Director of Schools Donnie Poston through June 30, 2014 during a special-called meeting. The decision capped two months of turmoil during which time Poston had received an outpouring of support from the entire county.  3-01-13

State Representative Dennis Powers was appointed to the House Republican Caucus Task Force on Energy because of his “passion of working towards 21st Century solutions,” according to House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick.  3-05-13

LaFollette Utilities won the 2013 award for Clean Water, which is given by the Tennessee Association of Utility Districts. Out of eight utilities tested in the east Tennessee region, LaFollette’s won for best water. The water is tested on the look of cleanness, the smell and the taste.  3-08-13

The Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals made public a decision backing up the awarding of a new trial to school shooter Kenneth Bartley Jr. Bartley was charged in the 2005 shooting death of Assistant Principal Ken Bruce. He agreed to a plea deal in 2007.  3-12-13

It was a cold, but sunny first day of spring with brisk chilly temperatures in the 30s and winds 10 to 15 miles per hour.  3-21-13

A total of 21 candidates threw their hat in the ring to be the next LaFollette City Administrator. The list of candidates included several local people.  3-21-13

State Representative Dennis Powers announced in March that a bill was passed to name a section of Highway 25W in memory of fallen Campbell County High School Assistant Principal Ken Bruce. The school zone section of the road in front of the high school bears Bruce’s name.  3-22-13

A year-long drug investigation yielded 63 grand jury indictments and probation violations of Campbell County’s worst drug offenders, with a total bond amount of $6,312,500. It was the largest drug roundup in a decade, according to sheriff Robbie Goins. 3-25-13

The rotary roasted Colonel Tom Stiner, a living LaFollette legend at the Church of God. 3-28-13

April

Campbell County became part of the Knoxville Metro, making nine counties total for Knoxville’s MSA. With the additions, Knoxville’s metro population jumped from 700,000 to 840,000.  4-01-13

Tennessee doctors prescribing painkillers and other controlled substances will be required to check their patients’ prescription history to prevent abuse and doctor shopping. The new requirement was signed into law last year.  4-01-13

Members of the Campbell County Honor Guard were honored collectively at the 6th annual Campbell County Good Scout Award Dinner held at the Ball Farm and Event Center. Third District Congressman Chuck Fleishmann was the special guest speaker.  4-04-13

It was a record night for the Campbell County Cancer Association’s annual telethon on WLAF-TV raising more than $32,500, topping last year’s $27,000.  4-08-13

State investigators were brought in to inspect the Campbell County Animal Shelter on Towe String Road regarding complaints from employees and others about the working environment at the shelter. County Mayor William Baird made the decision to close the shelter until the investigation was completed by the state.  4-12-13

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam announced the appointment of Andrew Tillman as the chancellor of the Eighth Judicial District Chancery Court. Tillman replaced Billy Joe White who passed away in Nov. 2012 after serving on the bench for 35 years.  4-17-13

The LaFollette Press hired a new editor Brent Schanding out of Kentucky. The newspaper also unveiled a new more modern look. Former press editor Susan Sharp sued parent company Landmark Community Newspapers for her job. The issue was eventually settled out of court.  4-17-13

According to a report issued by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, Tennessee is now number one in the country for meth use. The state has ranked among the top three since 2007 and passed Missouri for the number one spot in April. Meth cleanup costs taxpayers an estimated $1 billion a year.  4-24-13

May

Campbell County High School held its scholarship and awards ceremony, with numerous students receiving thousands of dollars worth of scholarship monies. In fact, 66 students received a full scholarship to Roane State, Walter State or Pellissippi Community Colleges. The award ceremony also marked the first year the state recognized students as “Graduating with honors” and “Graduating with distinction.”  3-03-13

After a candidate list of around 21 was narrowed down to 12, the LaFollette City Council finally cast its vote for Billie Russell as the city administrator. She is the first woman to serve as city administrator for LaFollette.  5-08-13

WLAF celebrated its 60th anniversary on the air in May. A celebration was held in the former Regions Bank in downtown LaFollette. WLAF signed on the air on Sunday, May 17 of 1953.  5-15-03

Governor Bill Haslam stopped in Caryville to sign Lynn’s Law into action. The law was written after Lynn Cameron, a 19-year-old disabled woman was abandoned at a bar in Caryville. The case sparked national debate and outrage; however, there were no laws that would allow Tennessee District Attorneys to prosecute Lynn’s mother or others like her. Soon after, State Representative Dennis Powers, in conjunction with District Attorney Lori Phillips-Jones and Senator Ken Yager began drafting Lynn’s Law.  3-16-13

254 young men and women received their high school diplomas on a Saturday in May. It was the 38th graduation for Campbell County High School and the second in a row held at the Tex Turner Arena on LMU Campus in Harrogate.  5-20-13

According to numbers, Relay for Life’s dollars were down in 2013, with the event raising only about half of what it did last year. Organizers said they felt the threat of rain and other events going on at the same time could be attributed to the lower donations. Still, $41,000 was raised and other donations continued to trickle in through August.  5-23-13

June

The Campbell County Board of Education voted Tuesday night to approve a one year contract with K12 Inc., as a partner in a virtual schools program, in which students will receive instruction online without ever having to step into a classroom. The county’s school system will act as a host district receiving state BEP dollars for each student enrolled.  6-12-23

Senator Ken Yager was co-sponsor of a bill that changed the name of all the state’s technology centers. Beginning in July, the local school will be called Tennessee College of Applied Technology at Jacksboro. The name change is to reflect the role of the centers in professional development as well as to promote their value in the higher education process.6-18-13

A full house was on hand as the 11-member Campbell County Animal Control Advisory Board met at LaFollette City Hall. The purpose of the meeting was to establish a basic framework of operating standards for the county animal shelter as well as for adoptions and rescues. The shelter has been closed since mid-April due to a state investigation of complaints that it wasn’t being operated properly.  6-19-13

On June 4, Governor Bill Haslam signed Senate Bill 745 known as the Breast Cancer Prevention Act into law in Nashville.  Present at the signing was bill sponsors Senator Becky Massey, State Representative Dennis Powers, and Dr Aaron Margulies, Dr. Kamilia Kozlowski, and LaFollette breast cancer survivor, Shelia Falls, among other who were involved in the bill.  6-20-13

There were four principal changes and one change in the central office for the 2013-2014 school year in Campbell County.  6-24-13

Storms knocked out power and downed trees all over the county in late June. Just before 1 a.m., is when calls began pouring into the 9-1-1 Dispatch Center and the LaFollette Utilities Department. Clairfield was the first and possibly worst hit area. Roses Creek, Deerfield, Powder Springs, Stinking Creek and Speedwell were other areas that received extensive damage as well.  6-27-13

July

Several new laws went into affect in Tennessee as of July 1. Guns in Parking Lots allows people with handgun carry permits to store firearms in their vehicles no matter where they are parked. School Security allows school districts to let people with police training to be armed in schools. Food Tax lowers the ales tax on groceries from 5.25 to 5. DUI-Interlock applies to Tennessee’s ignition interlock law to more drunk drivers. And the Tennessee Technology Center had its name changed.  7-01-13

LaFollette got a new Fazolis Restaurant in mid-July. The restaurant will also feature frozen yogurt.  7-03-13

The Campbell County Board of Education finally passed a budget that county commissioners would accept after several attempts. The final approved budget eliminated the $275,000 request that would have required a five-cent property tax increase.  7-22-13

Judge John Kerry Blackwood began the process of deciding whether or not school shooter Kenneth Bartley Jr., should have his new trial moved from Campbell County. It has been almost eight years since Bartley shot and killed assistant principal Ken Bruce. Blackwood eventually announced the trial would be in Feb. of 2014 in Jacksboro, but with an out of town jury.  7-26-13

August

After 41 years of providing primary and preventative care to the people of Stinking Creek and surrounding areas, the Wynn-Habersham Community Rural Health Clinic closed its doors permanently on July 29.  8-01-13

Eight months after the Fincastle Church of God was destroyed by fire, members of the congregation gathered together to dedicate the new building. The new church is bigger than the previous one.  8-02-13

The Campbell County Animal Shelter was scheduled to reopen on Aug. 5th after being closed for several months while being investigated by the TBI for being operated improperly. The investigation was still not complete. The shelter’s supervisor Betty Crumley resigned her post. Michael Aiken took over the post. The remainder of the staff with the exception of Animal Control Officer Otis Poore, will be replaced. The shelter closed on April 11.  8-02-13

County commissioners were less than enthusiastic when the president of an environmental consulting firm announced plans by Ketchen Land Company to develop a landfill in what was once the coal mining camp of Westboune. At this point in August, the issue was still being studied. County commissioners later gave a thumbs down to the project. Ten of the commissioners voted in non-support of the landfill during their meeting.  8-13-13

The virtual Cyber School project was on hold despite the start of the school year. The state said the company running the program still had not provided all the necessary documents and paperwork and urged students to enroll in their regular district school until the state made a decision.  8-14-13

Speaker of the House of Representatives Beth Harwell was the guest speaker at a luncheon hosted by State Representative Dennis Powers at the Stables. It was Powers kickoff fundraiser.  8-15-13

LaFollette began its downtown cleanup initiative in August. Then LaFollette City Administrator Billie Russell said the city wanted to send a message to residents and businesses about codes and zoning enforcement.   8-28-13

September

After a bit of public outcry, members of the LaFollette City Council voted against removing the 500-feet distance requirement between retail stores selling beer and schools and churches. Mayor Mike Stanfield cast the deciding vote, breaking the 2-2 tie.  9-04-13

It was also announced in early September that a Bojangles restaurant is coming to LaFollette and will be located near the Pizza Hut and movie Theatre. An estimated 80 employees will be hired to start out.  9-04-13

The Ken Bruce Memorial Highway in front of the high school was dedicated. Members of the Bruce family joined State Representative Dennis Powers and Sate Senator Ken Yager as well as members of the community for the dedication.  9-04-13

A grand jury heard evidence in the TBI’s probe regarding the Campbell County Animal Shelter and issued recommendations on how the shelter should be run, but did not hand down any indictments in the case. The grand jury issued findings they felt needed looked at and addressed at the shelter, according to District Attorney General Lori Phillips-Jones.  9-05-13

The Ketchen Land Company held a second public information meeting regarding the proposed coal ash landfill in Westbourne. Over 200 people packed the White Oak gym, nearly all of them vocally opposed to the landfill.  9-25-13

October

A partial government shutdown began on Oct. 1. Essential services continued, but in other branches, hundreds of thousands of workers were furloughed as other government functions were disrupted. There have been 17 government shutdowns in the past with the most recent being in 1996.  10-01-13

An official grievance was filed against then city administrator Billie Russell by several employees at LaFollette. Russell had been the city’s administrator for four months. LaFollette Mayor Mike Stanfield indicated he would have a special-called meeting to orally reprimand Russell. Russell has taken a medical leave of absence from work and obtained the services of attorney Dave Dunaway.  10-02-13

After 40 years in law enforcement, retired Caryville Police Chief Bill Widener passed away at the age of 65. Before working in Caryville, Widener was a sheriff’s deputy for 14 years.  10-03-13

The cougars jumped two spots in state rankings of the best football teams. Campbell hit the number seven spot, while Oak Ridge fell to 10 after the Cougars defeated them 27 to 14. It is the first time in the Cougars 39 year history that Campbell County has entered the poll.  10-08-13

Campbell County closed the door on the virtual school program in October, voting unanimously to notify K12, Inc., that the county intends to cancel its contract. The board had hoped the online school would bring in much needed revenue, but the application was rejected by state officials.  10-09-13

It was announced in October that Caryville will be getting a new factor in its industrial park, providing about 250 or more jobs to the area. The body armor manufacturer from Indiana is expected to open up in the old PACA building.  10-15-13

If the county had any lingering doubts about how residents of the fifth district felt about the possibility of a coal ash landfill, those doubts were laid to rest when over 125 people attended the commissioner’s workshop in October and expressed their fears about the landfill. Commissioners voted 15-0 in approval of adopting Jackson’s Law, which gives the county government a voice in whether or not to allow a landfill in its jurisdiction.  10-22-13

November

The LaFollette City Council voted to hold off on appointing an interim city administrator and to rather allow department heads to handle situations should they arise by polling the council and mayor. City Administrator Billie Russell remains on medical leave.  “We have been instructed to communicate through her attorney,” LaFollette Mayor Mike Stanfield said.  11-06-13

The LaFollette City Council voted to purchase the old LaFollette Post Office for $150,000. Though there are no immediate plans for the building, the mayor and members of the council said they were happy with the purchase and that the building was owned by the city.  11-06-13

LaFollette Tabernacle Church of God Andrew Hamblin had over 50 venomous snakes seized from a room in his church by the Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency. Hamblin was cited into court on possession of class I wildlife charges. Copperheads, rattlesnakes, cottonmouths and several other breeds of poisonous snakes were removed and are being housed at the Knoxville Zoo where some of them are being nursed back to health. Of the 53 snakes, around 5 died due to their poor condition, according to a Knoxville Zoo spokesperson. Hamblin hired attorney Mike Hatmaker to represent him in court.  11-07-13

The Lake City Board of Mayor and Aldermen voted to change the name of the town to Rocky Top, despite receiving a letter from Bryant Marketing in Gatlinburg informing the council that the company holds numerous copyrights to the name “Rocky Top.”  11-08-13

If approved by stockholders, Tennova Healthcare’s parent company Health Management Associates will be sold to Community Health Systems. The sale has been in the works for months and once completed, the $7.6 billion sale will make CHS the largest hospital organization in the country.  11-20-13

December

The possibility of housing a permanent LIFESTAR helicopter and landing zone was brought before the city council by a LIFESTAR representative. The proposal is to locate the helicopter next to the east side fire station which is located off Central Ave., near the DeRoyal factor. Before more discussion on the issue, it has to be taken before the planning commission, according to Mayor Mike Stanfield.  12-05-13

A faculty and staff reunion for former East LaFollette teachers was held on Dec. 8th at the old school. Organized by several former teachers, the event provided an opportunity for fellowship and enjoying old times.  12-08-13

County commissioners voted to transfer $500,000 that was saved through refinancing of county debt into a fund for paving roads. Each district will get $85,000 for road paving projects.  12-10-13

Parents, grandparents and guardians lined up in downtown LaFollette to participate in the annual Toys for Tots program, which served 750 children this year, helping them to have a better Christmas season. The event would not be possible without the county-wide efforts of volunteers, according to organizers.  12-13-13

Snake handling pastor Andrew Hamblin’s case has been bound over to the grand jury.  Hamblin appeared in Campbell County Court in December, regarding the Nov. 7th seizure of over 50 snakes from his LaFollette Tabernacle Church of God. Hamblin was charged with one count of possession of class I wildlife. After a two-hour preliminary hearing, Judge Joe Ayers heard enough testimony to decide the issue should go before a grand jury, which meets on Jan. 6th.   12-18-13

After several citizens said they were against it, the possibility of a LIFESTAR helicopter being housed in LaFollette has been nixed, according to Mayor Mike Stanfield. The helicopter would have been located near the east side fire station, but several residents that live in that area indicated they were against it. Locating the helicopter there would have also required an ordinance change in the city allowing above ground fuel tanks. According to Stanfield, LIFESTAR had also decided to pursue a location closer to the interstate, perhaps in the town of Jacksboro.  12-20-13

Jellico finishes 4th in Florida tourney

     At Sandestin, Florida, Jellico finished in fourth place at the Hilton-Sandestin Beach Basketball Blowout.  Coach Mike Reynolds’ Blue Devils fell to the Cookeville (Tennessee) Cavaliers this afternoon by a final of 63 to 45.  JHS has wins over Freeport Bulldogs (Florida), the Fort Dale Academy (Greenville, Alabama) Eagles, and a 64 to 47semi-final loss on Monday night to the Paxton Bobcats (Florida).  (UPDATED 12/31/2013/4:30PM) 

Fractured forecasts for 2014: Confusion reigns and Mayor Kidwell takes office

By Charles "Boomer" Winfrey 

It’s that same ol’ sad time of the year again, when every newspaper from the Bledsonian-Banner (“The only newspaper that gives a damn about Bledsoe County”) to the New York Times runs those “Year in Review” pieces.  We can now read all about the news that enraged us, terrified us or disgusted us during the past year – all over again!

The TV stations also do it, and they never seem to get the message that “nobody cares.” Well, they do get the message, but those of us in the news bizz want some time off during the holidays too – why should teachers have all the fun?  The best way to do that is by filling the airwaves and news pages with dribble that you can write back in October, such as “In August the world was shocked to learn that the Syrian regime had used chemical weapons on rebel-held villages.  Helicopters sprayed nitrous oxide gas on the towns and the residents literally died laughing.”

I’ve never been much for rehashing old news.  Instead I prefer to get a real scoop on the competition by giving you the news that hasn’t happened yet.  So without further ado, let us look at Boomer’s Fractured Forecasts for 2014:

January - The Campbell County Commission meets as a road committee to prioritize the use of money saved from re-financing old bonds, with each of the county’s five districts getting $85,000 to spend on road projects.

Things get complicated when Road Superintendent Dennis Potter informs commissioners that the cost of asphalt has gone up again and each district can afford to pave only 200 feet of highway. Agreeing that 200 feet won’t get them very far in an election year, the squires vote to invest the money in Powerball tickets instead.

February - The Town of Lake City’s effort to re-name themselves “Rocky Top” hits a snag in the state legislature when Representatives Dennis Powers and John Ragan introduce a bill to authorize the change.

A legislator from Sevier County amends the bill to re-name Lake City as “Muddy Bottom.”  A fierce debate ensues in which legislators suggest a number of other alternatives including “Rocky Topless,” “Pigeon Roost” and “Dog Patch.”  The House finally agrees on a new name for Lake City and the Town of “Confusion, Tennessee” is born.

March - Equally confused are the members of the Campbell County School Board when they begin the search for a new Director of Schools to replace the retiring Donnie Poston.  A total of 26 people apply for the job, including 21 who are related to various members of the Board of Education.

In the end it is determined that all ten board members must disqualify themselves from voting due to conflicts of interest, leaving the decision up to the only person in the school district without a relative among the candidates – a cook at Jacksboro Middle School.

April - This being election year, the Tennessee General Assembly concludes its business and adjourns early to campaign for re-election.  The only bills that are passed into law during the short session include a law that allows gun permit holders to carry their firearms into houses of worship, work places and schools.

“The best way to protect our kids from school shootings is when the kids can shoot back,” Representative J. A. Smoot (R- Turtletown) points out.  The only other bill to pass the legislature legalizes the use of poisonous snakes in religious services.

May - Campbell County and the State of Tennessee enter into negotiations to cede the City of Jellico to Kentucky.  The talks fail, however, when Kentucky agrees to accept Jellico only if Tennessee throws in its share of Cumberland Gap and Big South Fork National Parks, along with an undisclosed amount of cash.

June - Reverend Andrew Hamblin, at the first service in which he is legally authorized to handle poisonous reptiles, is promptly bitten by a Rattlesnake.  The snake dies, and Hamblin is arrested on charges of animal cruelty.

July - The county commission again passes a no-tax increase budget and again rejects Road Superintendent Dennis Potter’s request for paving funds.  The school board offers to loan the commission $1.5 million for paving projects, the School Department’s share of profits from selling solar power to TVA.

“You can pay us back with the money you make from placing solar panels on other county buildings.  Oh, we forgot.  You decided it was too risky and voted not to place solar panels on other county buildings,” school board members gloated in an open letter to the commission.

August - At long last Campbell County’s new justice center is completed and ready for occupancy.  The Tennessee Department of Corrections, however, conducts an updated prisoner survey and determines that the county’s jail cell occupancy rate has increased dramatically, leaving the new jail in need of space to house another 65 prisoners beyond the new jail’s capacity.

Finance Director Jeff Marlow’s suggestion to convert judges’ office space into jail cells is rebuffed, as is his proposal that the Sheriff arrest fewer people.  Marlow is last seen wandering into a wooded area near LaFollette, muttering something about “going to join the Skunk Ape.”

September - State and county officials again have hope for a resolution to the Jellico problem when the State of Georgia agrees to take responsibility for Jellico, if the state will throw in access to the water of the Tennessee River.

Tennessee rejects Georgia’s offer but Jellico officials finally announce they have found their own solution to the town’s financial troubles.  “We have seized 125 residential lots in the former Rarity Mountain development for unpaid taxes,” Mayor Les Stiers announces.  “We are negotiating with Ketchen Land Company to lease the land to them for a fly ash landfill.”

October – Local elections are over with most incumbents being returned to office.  One notable exception is the City of LaFollette, where voters elect eternal candidate Virgil Kidwell as Mayor by a landslide vote.  Mayor Kidwell immediately stirs up controversy by suggesting that city council hire a new city administrator, “My mentor, former Mayor Cliff Jennings.”

Councilman Hansford Hatmaker is arrested after his hands are pried away from the mayor’s neck.

November – City officials celebrate a happy ending to efforts by the town of Confusion (formerly Lake City) to land a theme park when it turns out that the unidentified “investors” who wanted to change the town’s name are all Chinese.

When informed that instead of “Rocky Top,” the town was now called “Confusion,” the investors doubled their contributions, mistakenly assuming the new name honored the Chinese philosopher Confucius.  Construction is scheduled to begin in March on the park’s first attractions, the Great Wall Water Slide and the Chairman Mao Dinner Theater.

December – The Campbell County Cougars football team, having just completed an undefeated season, wins the playoff to claim a state championship.  TSSAA immediately announces that the program is under investigation.

“We have no evidence of wrongdoing but this is Campbell County and they went undefeated. Something has to be wrong somewhere,” an attorney leading the investigation told reporters.

So there you have it, dear readers.  All of the news that may or may not happen, but many of us would like to see, if for no other reason than the sheer entertainment value.  Have a happy New Year and a prosperous 2014!   (UPDATED 12/31/2013/1:00PM)             

WLAF loses member of its sports crew

     For years, Greg Brackett of Jacksboro was a fixture on the WLAF Sports Crew.  This morning, we’re sad to report that the friendly sports announcer, coach, and fan has died.  His sidekick, Les Martin, says Brackett, as he always called him, died suddenly overnight from complications of a blood clot.  Brackett was a part of football, baseball, and sports talk coverage for WLAF over the years and also coached middle school baseball. 

Greg Brackett

Martin calls him a really good friend, and says that if there was a right way to do something, then that’s the way Brackett wanted to go.  The Kingston native’s fulltime career was in the banking industry, and he currently worked at a north Knoxville bank. 

He leaves behind a son, daughter, and fiance`.  Greg Brackett was 50-years old.(UPDATED 12/31/2013/6:30AM)

Misuse of city credit cards discussed at workshop

By Charlotte Underwood

Sparks flew at the end of a lengthy LaFollette City Council workshop on Monday night when Mayor Mike Stanfield brought up misuse of city credit cards.

LaFollette Mayor Mike Stanfield holds a newspaper clipping from a November 2012 issue of the LaFollette Press. The clipping is of a picture of former interim city administrator Cade Sexton and Vice-Mayor Hansford Hatmaker receiving an award while on a trip to Gatlinburg in October 2012. Stanfield alleges the trip was a misuse of the city’s credit card and taxpayer’s money.

Shortly before the workshop’s close, Stanfield handed out a report to council members listing purchases made on the city’s credit card. He also held a newspaper clipping from a November 2012 issue of the LaFollette Press. The clipping is of a picture of former interim city administrator Cade Sexton and Vice-Mayor Hansford Hatmaker receiving an award while on a trip to Gatlinburg in 2012.

A copy of the report revealed handwritten notes marking certain items as money spent by Sexton Hatmaker while attending a coal mining conference on Oct. 28 and 29 of last year. 

“Do you remember what that was about Hansford?” Councilman Joe Bollinger asked.

Hatmaker said he did and that it was the “coal mining thing” the city participates in each year.

Vice-Mayor Hansford Hatmaker reacts to Mayor Mike Stanfield’s accusation that his use of the city’s credit card was inappropriate.

“We don’t’ participate in that. I didn’t go to Gatlinburg; I wasn’t invited,” Stanfield said, and then continued on and asked Hatmaker why he and Sexton spent the night at a hotel.

“That’s where the conference was held,” Hatmaker replied.

“Was it authorized by the city?” Bob Fannon asked.

“If Cade signed it, then he authorized it; he was the city administrator at the time,” Hatmaker said.

This clipping shows former interim city administrator Cade Sexton and Vice-Mayor Hansford Hatmaker receiving an award on behalf of Triple H Coal while attending a coal mining conference in Gatlinburg in 2012.

“You look good holding that plaque that says H Group; you accepted a plaque for your brother’s company on tax payer’s money; this here is wrong Hansford Hatmaker. It’s like that trip to Memphis you and Cade took,” Stanfield said, adding that “the only person you are fooling is the fool sitting there.”

This clipping shows former interim city administrator Cade Sexton and Vice-Mayor Hansford Hatmaker receiving an award on behalf of Triple H Coal while attending a coal mining conference in Gatlinburg in 2012.

“You’re fighting a losing battle Mike. We’ll find out some stuff; I’ve got the big boys coming in to check on some stuff,” Hatmaker said elusively.

Bob Fannon asked that the issue be placed on the agenda to be discussed at next week’s meeting.

The purchases made that had handwritten notations implying it was spent by Sexton and Hatmaker included $282.10 to Doubletree Park Vista in Gatlinburg for hotel rooms. There were also notations made regarding purchases made at several restaurants in Sevierville and Knoxville during the period of time the trip was conducted. These totaled $105.82, according to the copy of credit card purchases provided by Stanfield.

Members of the council also listened to the city’s audit report as representatives from Pugh & Company; P.C. out of Knoxville told the board that the city had received a “clean audit report with no significant deficiencies or findings.”

Vice-Mayor Hansford Hatmaker takes a moment to speak with part-time officer Jordan Reid who will soon be moved up to full-time.

Also discussed and added to the upcoming meeting agenda was the hiring of Jordan Reid from a part-time to a full-time police officer.

“He has been working with us part-time since September and he has been out on his own for the past month and we would like to go ahead and make him full-time,” Police Chief Jimmy Jeffries said.

Other items added to next week’s agenda included appropriating $2,000 for exhaust fans in the recreation center and library restrooms as well as the need to demolish two.(UPDATED 12/31/2013/6:30AM)

Beech Street Bridge project gets go ahead

By Charlotte Underwood

Construction on replacing the Beech Street Bridge in downtown LaFollette could begin as soon as summer, after the city received a federal grant to pay for 80-percent of the $1.4 million project.

The LaFollette City Council held a special-called meeting on Monday evening before holding the regularly scheduled workshop. The purpose of the meeting was to approve and accept a matching grant from the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) that will provide 80-percent of the funds needed for the bridge replacement. The city will be responsible for 20-percent of the project’s cost, which according to street department head Jim Mullins, will be around $302,938.

“It could be a little less, it could be a little more, we won’t know until the bids come in,” Mullins said. The cost of the project includes tearing down the old bridge and completely replacing it. The old bridge, which was built in the 1930s or 1940s, according to Mullins needs replaced and has received a “very poor rating” by TDOT in the past.

Street Department Head Jim Mullins reads a letter to the LaFollette City Council stating the city was approved for a matching grant to replace the Beech Street Bridge. The city will be responsible for around $302,000 of the $1.4 million project.

“The old bridge doesn’t align with the road, it’s too narrow and there is the safety hazard of having pedestrians walking beside the track,” Mullins said, adding the new bridge would be aligned with the street and would also be wider, have shoulders and sidewalks on either side that would tie-in with the walking trail.

The council voted unanimously to accept the grant and enter into a contract with TDOT to begin the project.

“I hope to have it bid, if not let by June and then there would be about six months of construction to complete the new bridge,” Mullins said.

“That bridge was dangerous when we were little boys and now that we’re old men, it’s still dangerous,” said Mayor Mike Stanfield.(UPDATED 12/31/2013/6:30AM)

Downtown insurance fixture closing

By Charlotte Underwood

     It’s the end of an era for members of the Ben Rogers Coffee Drinkers Club with the long-time insurance provider closing its doors as of 2 p.m. Dec. 31. Rogers passed away in February of last year at the age of 89 after working right up until just a few days before he died, according to his son Jim Rogers. Jim, along with his brother Mike are retiring and selling the insurance portion of the business to E.E. Hill and Son Insurance. They will be retaining the building for a short period of time while wrapping up business details.

Kathy and Jim Rogers

The insurance business was started by their father Ben in the back of the H & K Jewelry shop on North Tennessee Avenue. What began as a small side insurance business eventually grew to be a downtown business fixture in La Follette.

“Dad was a school teacher and only started the insurance business to bring in extra income,” Rogers said, adding that his father had enjoyed it so much that he quit teaching and began selling insurance full-time.

Mike Rogers

The business moved to its current location on West Central Ave., in the early 1960s.

For years, coffee drinkers and friends of Ben Rogers have gathered at the insurance building every Saturday morning to drink coffee and talk; with the business closing, Jim Rogers said he is sad to see that coffee drinking tradition come to an end.

Gary Rogers (above), Loris Johnson (below)

“They would come in and drink coffee and then round about noon we would throw them out. I didn’t want to see it come to an end, but things change,” Jim Rogers said, adding that he and his brother had given several special individuals a “life time certificate” to the Ben Rogers Coffee Drinkers Club. Those special inductees include Jack Reynolds, Ed Balloff, Conrad Troutman and Kent Younce.

“After daddy died, they just kept coming and drinking coffee,” Jim Rogers said. He and his brother have both been in the family business for over 45 years.

“It’s going to be a real hard change,” Rogers said. (UPDATED 12/31/2013/6:30AM PIX BY CHARLIE HUTSON)

Listen to Tennessee Saturday Night with Tony Basilio using the player below


Check this out on Chirbit 

Sheriff’s and police reports

By Charlotte Underwood

Sheriff’s deputies make multiple public intoxication arrests; woman arrested at elementary school

A LaFollette woman was arrested on Dec. 18th for public intoxication after she attempted to pick her children up from a local elementary school, according to the Campbell County Sheriff’s Department.

When the deputy arrived at the school, he found Sonya Goins, 28, had slurred speech and was unstable on her feet. Goins was given a sobriety test, which she failed, according to the arrest report. She was arrested and transported to the county jail on charges of public intoxication. She has a court date set for Jan. 3.

In an unrelated public intoxication case, another LaFollette woman was arrested on public intoxication charges after sheriff’s deputies responded to the complaint of a woman trying to push a car over an embankment on Dec. 21. When deputies responded to the location on Cave Springs Road, they found Danielle Desha Mason, 23, who told them she was under the influence of a controlled substance. According to the arrest report, Mason also told deputies she had been calling 9-1-1 for reporting accidents and trying to call ambulances and that she had been told to leave the residence she had been at.

“The defendant was outside and was self-apparent to the average prudent person that she was under the influence of drugs,” the arrest report narrative read.

Mason has a court date set for Jan. 3.(12/30/2013/6:00AM)

Jacksboro man arrested for stealing over $6,000 worth of property

Jarred Asbury, 26, was arrested on Dec. 19th and charged with aggravated burglary and theft of property $1,000-$9,999, according to the Campbell County Sheriff’s Department. Asbury allegedly stole $1,550 worth of property from one residence in Jacksboro before selling it to a pawnshop in Caryville. The arrest report also states he stole $4,500 worth of property from another residence on Towe String Road and sold that property to U.S. Standard Gold Buyers. (12/30/2013/6:00AM)

Glade Springs man garners his 34th charge

A Glade Springs man garnered his 34th charge in nine years, according to a Campbell County Sheriff’s Department arrest report.

Mark A. Winterberg, 28, LaFollette, was arrested on Dec. 19th by sheriff’s deputies on burglary and theft charges after he broke into several vehicles. He had allegedly admitted to deputies that he had broke into a car parked on Haven Lane and stole $150 worth of personal property which he later sold to Big Orange Pawn in Knoxville, according to the sheriff’s report. Winterberg also broke into another vehicle parked on Medford Lane around Dec. 13 as well as another vehicle on Minton Road. According to the report, he admitted to stealing $225 worth of property from one vehicle and $120 worth of property from another vehicle, before selling it to the pawn shop as well. According to Winterberg’s arrest record dating back to Jan. 2004, these marked his 33rd and 34th charges.

Other charges in the past included theft, vandalism, driving while suspended, violation of probation, resisting and evading arrest, assault on a police officer, giving false info to a police officer, reckless endangerment, especially aggravated kidnapping, failure to pay fines, driving while suspended, forgery  and violation of the Tennessee Financial Law, just to name a few.(12/30/2013/6:00AM)

Hit and run accident leads to arrest in LaFollette

A hit and run accident in front of the high school led to the arrest of a LaFollette man on Dec. 18th, according to a LaFollette Police Department arrest report.

Donnie Carroll, 58, was arrested after he allegedly left the scene of an accident. According to the report, Carroll allegedly “attempted to run” the victim off the road, striking the victim’s 2014 Ford Mustang on the passenger side causing possible injuries to a passenger who was transported to the hospital by E.M.S. After gaining consent to search, police found Carroll had a cell phone on his person with enough battery to report the accident. Officers also found Carroll to be in possession of a green bottle containing Gabapentin in someone else’s name. He also failed to show proof of registration and insurance. Carroll was arrested and transported to the county jail.

Saturday's final scores:

Sevier County 61 - Cougars 57    2OT

Fulton 42 - Lady Cougars 36

Jellico 63 - Ft. Dale Academy (Alabama) 38

Friday's final scores:

Seymour 47 - Lady Cougars 39

Cougars 64 - McMinn County 53

Thursday's final scores:

Lady Cougars defeat Unicoi County

Maryville wins over the Cougars

Jellico is a winner over Freeport (Florida)

Sheriff calls loss of deputy “devastating”

     A law enforcement and U.S. Army veteran has died.  Campbell County Deputy Bill Tackett passed away on Christmas Eve.  Sheriff Robbie Goins calls Tackett’s death a sorrowful and devastating loss for not only the sheriff’s office and county, but a tragic loss for our great country, Christians, and mankind in general. 

Reverend Billy Rich Tackett

Goins describes Tackett as a rare public servant who possessed more than a quality of dedicated, ethical, and unselfish public service to his country and its people.  Aside from a more than 20-year career in the Army, the Viet-Nam War veteran was a Tennessee State Trooper, and most recently a county deputy, Tackett was also the assistant pastor at the Guiding Star Baptist Church.  Billy Rich Tackett was 65-years old.(12/27/2013/6:00AM)

 Founder of Opens Arms Ministry dies

     Reverend Robert Adkins was a church pastor, a U.S. Navy veteran, a father, grandfather, and great grandfather.  However, he may best be known for what he did in the fight against hunger in Campbell County.  Adkins founded the Open Arms Ministry.  Through its food distribution program, Open Arms Ministry literally feeds thousands and thousands of people every year.  Robert Adkins, who died on Christmas Eve, was 77-years old.(12/27/2013/6:00AM)

CCHS JROTC holds fall awards ceremony 

By: C/MAJ Chris Bolton

 

            On Thursday, December 12, 2013 the Campbell County High School (CCHS) JROTC program held its fall awards ceremony.  Cadets received awards for work in the first semester of this year. All class periods attended the ceremony. Special guests included Ms. Jamie Wheeler, and Mrs. Carolyn Cox (former assistant principal of CCHS).

Cadet Jessica Baird recites the Cadet Creed.

           

     The ceremony began with a phenomenal entrance by cadets that featured   a fog machine and music. The color guard posted the colors, and select cadets recited the pledge of allegiance, the cadet creed, and the JROTC core values.  Battalion Commander Chris Bolton gave opening remarks about the program’s fall semester.  LTC Salveson recognized special guests and provided humorous comments on semester activities. One of these included the story of he, Mr. Ward, and MSG Tierney moving a “portable toilet” across Cove Lake Park with an old Blue Blazer as the tow vehicle ... (talk about old folks ready for emergencies ???). Then it was time for the awards.

Cadets wait patiently to get in line for their awards.

    

     Awards ranged from academics to athletic ribbons. The CCHS JROTC program also received a special award itself. CCHS’ Battalion received the Army’s Honor Unit with Distinction Certificate (HUD).  The HUD award is the highest unit award a JROTC program can earn. CCHS has been eligible for this award for the last 19 years (of its 21 year existence). This year is the nineteenth time CCHS has earned the award.

     Twelve cadets received the National Physical Fitness Award for scoring above fifty percent in all events of their physical test. Robert Kennedy was also awarded the Presidential Physical Fitness Award for scoring above eighty-five percent. He is the first cadet to win this award in several years.

Superior Cadet Recipients Hannah Yodice, Abbigale Kitts, Christian Ward, and John Byrge (from left to right).

Last awards to be presented were the Superior Cadet decorations.  Ms Wheeler, and Mrs. Cox presented these to Hannah Yodice for LET-1, Abbigale Kitts for LET-2, Christian Ward for LET-3, and John Byrge for LET-4.

After presentation of all awards, the ceremony ended with a closing Poem.  The poem was a story of how children feel when their parents in the service are deployed. All they want is their parents to be home. It was a touching eye opener for the ceremony’s closing.(12/27/2013/6:00AM)

Goins is proud winner of stocking

     Effie Goins picked up her giant Christmas stocking on Christmas Eve.  Goins is the winner in the annual WLAF stocking give-a-way.  Special thanks to local businesses, Designer Choice Consignment, Bowman`s Jewelers, Radio Shack, Neighborhood Urgent Care and Gifts from Above along with the hundreds of you who took time to register for a chance at winning.  Effie registered on a recent visit to Gifts from Above.

Edward Jones is business of the week

     Thursday means Charlotte Underwood is featuring a local business.  Today’s it’s Zach Sheets with the La Follette Edward Jones office.  Read Charlotte’s story and see her pictures further down this page.  (12/26/2013/6:00AM)

Planning for the future; Edward Jones can help

Story and pictures by Charlotte Underwood

It’s never too early or too late to start planning for the financial future, according to Edward Jones Investments Financial Planner Zach Sheets.

“The great thing about financial planning is it’s never too late to start investing in you,” Sheets said, adding that the “sooner the better.”

Always a “numbers guy”, Sheets spent years in the corporate management sector in the entertainment industry for Regal Cinema. Around three years ago, he decided he wanted to switch to a different profession where he could use his expertise in finances and managing in order to help people while still making a living for himself and his family.

According to Edward Jones Investments Financial Advisor Zach Sheets, it’s never too early or too late to start planning for the financial future.

“This profession is nice because you are successful if your clients do well. The best path to success here is doing a good job for the clients,” Sheet said, explaining the world of finance was based on trust and results.

After relocating his office from West Knoxville to LaFollette in May, Sheets said he loves the change to a “hometown atmosphere.”

“I wanted to move to a town where you could know the people and not be just another face in the crowd,” Sheets said.

Over the past six months, Sheets has invested himself in the community by becoming a member of the rotary, the Lions Club and the local chamber of commerce, all of which keep him busy.

“I love to participate in things going on in the community; people here will at least listen to you,” Sheets said, adding that the best part of his business was “getting to know the people across the desk, getting to be their friends and ultimately helping them towards their goals.”

Helping people realize and obtain their financial goals is what Edward Jones Investments is all about, but it doesn’t take loads of money to get started, according to Sheets, who said he wanted to dispel that financial investment myth.

“In reality you can get started in systematic investments with as little as $25 and it doesn’t cost anything to come in, ask questions and see what’s up as far as financial planning possibilities,” Sheets said, adding that planning for the financial future was important for people of all ages. Setting up an account doesn’t cost anything either. Sheets is also available to talk to people about life insurance, long-term care insurance and other important issues. Due to his profession, he is adept at finding the best plans out there for the money.

Edward Jones Investments is located at 102 N. Massachusetts Ave., Suite 10 in LaFollette, across from the Y-12 bank. For more information or to schedule a financial planning appointment, call 423-566-4010.

He offered a little bit of holiday financial advice to the readers and listeners, saying “if you receive money as a gift this holiday season, put some of that aside and if you’ve run up the credit card debt, pay that down first. And instead of buying a toy for the kids that will break in six months, start a college fund.” But the best advice he said he could offer was to “make sure you have a financial plan; just don’t wing it.”

“If you need legal advice, you go to a lawyer, if you need medical help, you go to a doctor and if you need help with your taxes, you go to an accountant so it only makes sense if you need financial advice and help, then come see me at Edward Jones Investments,” Sheets said.

Stocks, bonds, mutual funds, CDs, all of this and more is available through Edward Jones Investments, which is located at 102 N. Massachusetts Ave., in LaFollette, across from the Y-12 bank. For more information or to schedule a financial planning appointment, call 423-566-4010.  (12/26/2013/6:00AM)

 

Numbers of needy in the county on the rise

By Charlotte Underwood (story & pictures)

As 2013 comes to a close, more families in Campbell County are struggling against hunger than ever before, according to Food Life Services of Campbell County organization president Alan Bowman.

Bags of food like the ones shown here are distributed weekly to help those who are hungry in Campbell County. According to Food Life Services representatives, the need in the county is on the increase.

“Our goal is to help the hungry,” Bowman said, adding the organization had been around for 20 years and was now serving “the highest number of people we have ever seen.”
 Food Life Services of Campbell County currently has over 1100 families on its roles that they buy and distribute food to every week. That’s 4,000 pounds of food going out to county residents in need.

 Volunteers spent a busy Friday on Dec. 20th doling out bags of food and even canned hams to families.

Jan Vaughan bags groceries to help the hungry on Friday, Dec. 20th at Food Life Services.

“We were able to give them extra meat for the holidays thanks to an Extra Nutrition Grant from the LaFollette Medical Foundation,” Alan Bowman said.

Jerry Wells is just one of many volunteers who help Food Life Services quickly bag and hand out food to county residents in need this holiday season.

He added that “although the national economy seems to be turning the corner, many of the needy have yet to see any improvement in their situation.” The cut to food stamps resulted in a 30-percent increase in families needing assistance in November and December.

“We are seeing record numbers of people requesting emergency food,” Alan Bowman said.

The organization serves Campbell County residents and is open two days a week for four and a half hours each day. Before November, Food Life Services was serving about 220 to 230 families each of those days, but those numbers have now increased to 350 families each day it is open.

Because hunger knows no bounds or age limit, a variety of families are served by Food Life Services of Campbell County.

“We are a very needy county,” said Carolyn Bowman, manager of the organization’s pantry. She said she believes the need is increasing in the county partially due to the drug epidemic and more grandparents having to raise their grandchildren.

“Some of the parents are either on drugs or in jail and so it is falling to the grandparents who are often on a fixed income and are finding it difficult to make ends meet,” Carolyn Bowman said.

Alan Bowman also cites the increase in the cost of food due to “droughts in the west,” as a reason that more people are seeking aid right now. He said the increase not only hampers the ability of the organization’s food recipients to “get by”, but hinders the organization as well.

“We buy much of our food from Second Harvest Food Bank in Knoxville, which has experienced fewer donations causing their cost to double in the past year, along with reduced availability,” Alan Bowman said.

But “despite the increase in costs and the decrease in food stamp availability, Food Life Services of Campbell County is determined to find ways to increase both the quality and quantity of food available to the hungry in Campbell County,” Alan Bowman said.

“We have the best volunteers; they are great to work with and always make it fun,” Alan and Carolyn Bowman said.

“We would not be able to do what we do without all the help from the volunteers and groups, organizations, schools, churches and others that hold food drives,” Alan Bowman said.

The organization could always use volunteers who want to come and help package and hand out food.

Volunteers with Food Life Services of Campbell County spent a busy Friday bagging and boxing food to give away to those who needed it. The organization distributes around 4,000 pounds of food to 1100 families each week. Volunteers are always needed. See the end of the article for information on how to volunteer.

And while Food Life Services definitely accepts and always needs donations of food, monetary donations often go further and are the “best gift”, according to Bowman, because the organization can purchase food in bulk and tax free, therefore stretching every dollar to its max.

“And since much of our food is purchased form Second Harvest Food Bank it is at a greatly reduced price,” Alan Bowman said, explaining that $1 would go further spent by Food Life Services than by an average consumer.

“When you buy food by the pallet as opposed to the can, it is quite a bit cheaper and when you consider what we save on taxes, we are simply able to buy food more economically than you could give us food for,” Alan Bowman said.

Jim Holtslag stays busy bagging meat for families who often depend on Food Life Services of Campbell County for their next meal. Canned hams were given to families thanks to an Extra Nutrition Grant provided by the LaFollette Medical Foundation.

Extra food is always given to families at Christmas time to help get them through the holiday season when Food Life Services is closed. Often when families come back after the New Year, the organization’s pantry is depleted, so first of the year donations are very important, according to Alan Bowman.

“If you sit here for 20 minutes and watch the people that come in, you would realize the need in the county; there is a lot of need in our county,” Alan Bowman said.

Food Life Services of Campbell County will be closed through the holidays and will reopen on Jan. 3rd. It is located at 800 E. Elm Street, in LaFollette and can be reached at 423-907-8159 for more information regarding donations. Monetary donations should be sent to Food Life Services of Campbell County at P.O. Box 802, LaFollette, Tn. 37766.  (12/24/2013/6:00AM)

TDEC Announces $2.3 Million in Recycling Equipment and Hub Grants
Grants Will Help Communities Meet Waste Reduction Goals

NASHVILLE - Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation Commissioner Bob Martineau today awarded approximately $2.3 million in Recycling Equipment and Hub / Spoke Grants for FY 2014 projects to help reduce landfill waste in Tennessee.
"We are pleased to fund these projects through the state's Solid Waste Management Fund," Martineau said. "These grants promote and increase recycling across the state and engage partnerships among counties and municipalities."
Campbell County has been approved for a Recycling Equipment Grant. Recycling Equipment Grants may be used to purchase equipment for new recycling programs, improve and expand the operation of an existing site or prepare recyclable materials for transport and marketing. Campbell County received grant money in total of $19,994.
The cities of LaFollette, Jacksboro and Caryville also received a Recycling Hub and Spoke Grant totaling $42,289.
Said Rep. Dennis Powers (R-Jacksboro) "I am delighted at this news for our County and what it will mean to the future of our recycling and conservation programs here. These grants will go a long way in helping to preserve the natural beauty of our home here in
Campbell County."
  (12/24/2013/6:00AM

Sheriff and staff cracking down on drunk & drugged drivers

     The holiday season is in full swing.  The Campbell County Sheriff’s Department officers are out in force cracking down on drunk drivers throughout the region with aggressive Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over enforcement.  Through January 1, 2014, state and local law enforcement are watching for drunk drivers to help keep roads safe for holiday travelers.  The Campbell County Sheriff’s Office is giving fair warning to all partygoers.  Sheriff Goins tells WLAF News that you’ll see us making lots of stops during this highly visible enforcement period, and if we suspect anyone is driving while intoxicated, officers will show zero tolerance for drunk driving.  Going goes on to say that unfortunately, the excitement and celebrations of the holiday season can lead to terrible decisions-- and serious legal consequences.  Data shows that the holiday season is a particularly deadly time due to the increased number of drunk drivers on the roads, and members of the Campbell County Sheriff’s Office are prepared to stop and arrest any drunk driver they see to keep roads safe.  Nationally, in the Decembers from 2007 to 2011, there were  4,169 people killed in crashes that involved drivers with blood alcohol concentrations of .08 grams per deciliter or higher.  According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 32,367 people were killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes across the nation in 2011, and 31 percent (9,878) of those fatalities occurred in drunk-driving-related crashes. The sheriff warns that this holiday, we will show zero tolerance for drunk drivers on the road, and if you choose to drive drunk, we will see you, we will stop you, and you will be arrested.  Drunk drivers often face jail time, the loss of their driver licenses, higher insurance rates, and dozens of other unanticipated expenses ranging from attorney fees, court costs, car towing and repairs, to lost wages due to time off from work.   Goins concludes that even worse, a drunk driver can cause a traffic crash that claims someone’s life, or their own.

Please follow these tips to keep the holidays safe and happy:

•           Even one drink can impair your judgment and increase the risk of getting arrested for driving drunk—or worse, the risk of having a crash while driving.

•           If you will be drinking, do not plan on driving.  Plan ahead; designate a sober driver before the party begins.

•           If you have been drinking, do not drive. Call a taxi, phone a sober friend or family member, use public transportation or [insert your local sober ride program specifics here].

•           Be responsible. If someone you know is drinking, do not let that person get behind the wheel.

•           If you see an impaired driver on the road, contact law enforcement. Your actions may save someone’s life, and inaction could cost a life.  (12/23/2013/6:00AM)                                          2013 Christmas Parade

 

JHS honors 2011 champs

     The memories are still fairly fresh.  The faces look much the same.  The fans are still very appreciative.  Friday night at Lindsay Gym wasn’t as magical as it was almost three years ago when Jellico was marching toward its first-ever Region 2-A Championship, but it was close.  A large crowd wedged itself inside the Devil’s Den to pay homage to one of the greatest teams in the history of Jellico as well as Campbell County basketball. 

You’re invited to take a trip down memory lane and re-live Jellico’s victory over Harriman on Harriman’s home floor as the Blue Devils claimed the region title.  The complete game is found below this story.  (UPDATED 12/21/2013/NOON)

Click on the box below & watch the Jellico-Harriman 2011 region title game

Jacksboro Middle School News

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No LIFESTAR in La Follette

By Charlotte Underwood

The idea of permanently housing an emergency response helicopter in LaFollette has been nixed, according to La Follette Mayor Mike Stanfield who said the item had been pulled from the planning commission’s Thursday evening agenda by a representative from LIFESTAR.

The possibility of a permanent lading pad and helicopter being located next to the east side fire station and rescue squad had been broached at last month’s city council meeting by a representative from LIFESTAR. The council said the project had to first be brought before the planning commission in order to tackle the issue of an ordinance that restricted above-ground fuel tanks from within city limits. Literature describing the project and a map showing the location was circulated among homeowners in the area the landing pad would have been located. However, before the issue could even be discussed at the planning commission meeting, Stanfield said he heard from four of the six people who live in the subdivision next to where the landing pad had been proposed.

“The four I talked to were against it and said the other two were against it as well,” Stanfield said, adding that those he spoke with indicated they were opposed for a combination of reasons.

“Part of it was concern for the above ground fuel tank that would contain jet fuel and the other issue was the noise that it would create landing and taking off at all hours,” Stanfield said, adding that he “thought it was a good idea, but had to listen to what the people wanted.”

Stanfield said an official from LIFESTAR told him the organization planned to pursue a location in Jacksboro in order to be located closer to the interstate.(12/20/2013/6:00AM)

 Planning commission discusses possible incoming businesses; approves billboard

Story & pictures by Charlotte Underwood

La Follette could get a Weigel’s gas station, according to a report from La Follette Codes Officer Stan Foust who briefly discussed the issue during the La Follette Planning Commission meeting on Thursday evening.

It was announced during Thursday’s planning commission meeting in La Follette that a Weigel’s gas station may be coming to town. The possibility of a McDonald’s restaurant was also discussed.

The proposed Weigel’s would be located at the old Sharp’s Motel in La Follette, according to Mayor Mike Stanfield who said he had written the gas station chain over a year ago with the proposal of a La Follette location.

“I never got any response back from them so it kind of surprised me when we heard from them last week,” Stanfield said.

“I had a two-hour meeting with them recently and we should have a site-plan from them in two weeks,” Foust said.

La Follette Mayor Mike Stanfield takes a moment to review the proposal of a billboard for Peoples Bank of the South during the Thursday evening planning commission meeting.

“I think it’s great and I hope we get more businesses moving into La Follette over the next couple of years,” Stanfield said.

Foust also said he had heard from the McDonald’s representative, who told him the corporation planned to make offers to purchase seven properties located in La Follette at red light no. 10 to build the restaurant and parking area.

“I have been told they plan to make offers on the properties after the first of the year,” Foust said, adding that he thought it would be a good location.

Surveyor Tony Crutchfield discussed the proposal of a bank billboard in La Follette with members of the planning commission on Thursday evening.

The commission also discussed and approved a site plan for a 10x20 billboard for Peoples Bank of the South. The bill board will be located at 2300 Jacksboro Pike in a C-2 Highway Business district located within the city.

Bank representative David Reynolds was on hand at the meeting to assure commission members that the billboard would feature only bank information and would not be rented out to anyone else.

“It is a one-sided billboard too,” Reynolds told the board. Surveyor Tony Crutchfield told the commission that the billboard would be in compliance with the C-2 zoning district. (12/20/2013/6:00AM)

     

 

La Follette man arrested for DUI

By Charlotte Underwood

A LaFollette man was arrested for DUI and other charges after he allegedly ran a red light and hit another vehicle last week, according to the Lafollette Police Department.

Benjamin A. Watkins, 24, was arrested and charged with driving under the influence, failure to yield and failure to obey a traffic device on Dec. 11th after he hit another vehicle head on while driving on Jacksboro Pike in Lafollette. LaFollette Police Officer J. Farmer responded to the accident and after speaking to witnesses confirmed Watkins had ran the red-light. After speaking with Watkins, Farmer said he noticed Watkins to have “very slurred speech,” which prompted him to ask if he had taken any medication.

According to the arrest report, Watkins “stated he had taken some Suboxone prior to the incident.” Farmer had Watkins perform several sobriety tests, which he had difficulty with. Watkins was then arrested and transported to the Campbell County Jail.(12/19/2013/6:00AM)

Repair business seeks to bring back traditional service station

By Charlotte Underwood

East Tennessee Boat and Truck Repair is bringing back the tradition of an old-time service station. Locally owned and operated by Josh Goins and Janell Everett, the repair business recently moved into the old Wayne’s Gulf Station at 195 North Tennessee Avenue about three months ago.

“If your car, truck, boat, tractor is broke down, give us a call and we will come to you and pick up your vehicle for repairs,” Goins said.

East Tennessee Boat and Truck Repair mechanic and owner Josh Goins works on a tractor. The repair shop can fix just about anything big or small.

The repair station does all minor and major engine repair and can handle a number of jobs including, boat, vehicle, tractor and diesel repair, as well as transport of vehicles and boats. Goins also does small engine repair on generators, weed eaters, chainsaws, lawnmowers and more. He also can fix motorcycles, scooters and really just about anything, according to Everett. With around 15 years in the business, Goins said he likes to help people and provide a service.

“We want to bring back the tradition of an old-time service station,” Goins said, adding that his business wasn’t like a dealership’s service station.

“We provide quick service at an affordable price; our goal is to get you back in your vehicle and on your way,” Goins said. He charges $40 an hour for his mechanic service.

Owners and operators Josh Goins and Janell Everett have moved their East Tennessee Boat and Truck Repair business to the old Wayne’s Gulf Station at 195 North Tennessee Avenue in LaFollette. The repair business also specializes in boat and vehicle washing and detailing.   (PIX COURTESY OF JANELL EVERETT)

Goins graduated from Nashville-Auto Diesel College and is both auto and diesel certified. He said repair work is something he has always enjoyed doing since he started at the age of 15.

“It is a family-owned business and we want to treat our customers like family too,” Everett added.

The business also offers auto and boat washing and detailing starting at $8 for a basic wash and vacuum and maxing out at $70 for the full detail package.

“We offer a full package wash and detail for $70 that other competitors get $120 for,” Everett said, adding that a vehicle detail would make for an excellent Christmas present for a friend or loved one.

East Tennessee Boat and Truck Repair also sells after-market parts and can find “just about any part that you need,” according to Goins.

The business is also offering a holiday special of 10-percent off any repair or detail over $40 from now until New Years.

Mechanic Josh Goins works on a generator at East Tennessee Boat and Truck Repair. Goins can work on small engines such as weed eaters, lawnmowers and chainsaws as well as tractors, diesels, trucks, cars and boats. According to Goins, “nothing is too bit or too small.” (PIX COURTESY OF JANELL EVERETT)

East Tennessee Boat and Truck Repair is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Call to confirm or make an appointment for Saturday hours and emergency repairs as well.

For more information or with questions regarding repairs, call Goins at 423-592-0343 or Everett at 423-871-3349, or visit them on the web at www.easttnboatandtruckrepair.weebly.com (12/19/2013/6:00AM)

Andrew Hamblin speaks at the Campbell County Courthouse 11-17-13

 

Snake-handling pastor’s case bound over to grand jury

Pictures & story by Charlotte Underwood 

After a two-hour preliminary hearing, snake-handling Pastor Andrew Hamblin had his case bound over to the grand jury. Hamblin, who is pastor of the Tabernacle Church of God in LaFollette, appeared in court Tuesday afternoon, where Judge Joe Ayers heard testimony to determine if there was sufficient evidence to send the case to the grand jury. Hamblin is charged with possession of Class I wildlife. Once again church members and other supporters flooded the courtroom in red clothes to show support for Hamblin.  During his court appearance, both the state and defense heard testimony from Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency (TWRA) Sgt. Joe Durnin who cited Hamblin on Nov. 7th for possession of 53 venomous snakes. Durnin, who has worked for TWRA for 31 years, answered questions directed at him by District Attorney Lori Phillips and Hamblin’s lawyer, Mike Hatmaker for about 90 minutes.

LaFollette Tabernacle Church of God Pastor Andrew Hamblin, right-hand forefront, sits in court on Tuesday afternoon with his church members and supporters spread out behind him filling the court room pews. Hamblin faces charges of class I wildlife possession. The case has been bound over to the grand jury, which meets in January.

Hatmaker asked him to go over what happened the day he seized the snakes from Hamblin’s church."I went over to the residence of Andrew Hamblin and asked him about his possession of his class one reptiles," Durnin said.

Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency Sgt. Joe Durnin testified for about 90 minutes during Hamblin’s preliminary hearing on Tuesday at 4 p.m.

Durnin said he asked Hamblin if he was still involved with snakes. Durnin said Hamblin told him yes.

"I asked if he could show us those snakes that he possessed, and he agreed to let us follow him down to the church," he said.

Durnin also reported Hamblin unlocked the church and another room where the snakes were held at which point he discovered 53 venomous snakes. He then cited him and seized the snakes.

Andrew Hamblin briefly confers with one of his attorneys Brent Gray during the Tuesday afternoon preliminary hearing in Judge Joe Ayer’s court room.

Hatmaker asked if Durnin had in fact asked Hamblin if he was “in possession” of the snakes or if he used another word.

Durnin said he could not remember verbatim, but revealed that he had recorded the entire encounter with Hamblin and the recording could be played.

The court took a brief recess while a laptop computer was set up and connected with speakers so the recording could be played.

District Attorney Lori Phillips, and Hamblin’s attorney Mike Hatmaker stand and watch while a laptop computer was hooked up during court recess so a recording of the day the snakes were seized could be heard and viewed by the judge.

Hatmaker questioned why Durnin went over to Hamblin's residence, asking if the TWRA had prior evidence. Durnin said he had met Hamblin in the spring while he was working on another case involving snakes in Knox County.

“He made me aware that he had snakes then. Andrew asked me ‘when you come to my church are you going to come in to get the snakes during the church service?’” Durnin said, adding that the reason he finally went to Hamblin’s home was because his captain sent him.

Hatmaker asked why there had been such a time lapse between the time that Hamblin allegedly made Durnin aware that he had snakes and the Nov. 7th seizure date.

“I went when I was told to go,” Durnin replied.

After listening to the recording, the defense asked Durnin why he had recorded Hamblin without his knowledge. Durnin replied that he thought it was obvious he was recording because of the size of the audio and video recorder that he was wearing on his shirt.

Phillips asked Durnin to describe the recording device and whether or not it had an indicator light that lit up when it was running.

“It’s about three inches in length, two inches wide and about an inch and a half thick and it lights up green when it is recording … it’s not subtle,” Durnin said.

Hamblin said after court was over that he had no knowledge that he was being recorded due to all that was going on at the time.

Hatmaker asked Durnin if he had any other evidence other than Hamblin’s own admission, that he had snakes.

“Well I asked him if he still had snakes and he said yes. He took us to them and he was the only one with keys to unlock the doors at the church to go get them,” Durnin said.

Hatmaker made a motion to have the case dismissed, saying that the state had failed to show evidence that Hamblin was the one in possession of the snakes, other than his own admission.

“The law in this state says in order to be convicted of a crime, the state must show evidence other than his own confession,” Hatmaker said.

The district attorney argued the point, saying “as far as possession goes, the defendant was the only one with keys to the room the snakes were locked in,” Phillips said.

“You all have a difference of opinion,” Judge Ayers said, adding that he over-ruled the motion and the case would be bound over to the grand jury, which convenes on Jan. 6th at 9 a.m.

Hamblin has been taking up serpents as part of his faith for five years and said having the snakes taken away by authorities violated his freedom of religion. He said he looks forward to the case being over and that Tuesday’s court proceedings were “just one more stop in the proceedings of all this going away.”

Defendant Andrew Hamblin and his attorney Mike Hatmaker stop for a brief photo after Hamblin’s preliminary hearing on Tuesday afternoon.  Both Hatmaker and Hamblin said they felt good about how court went despite the case being bound over to the grand jury.

He said his ultimate hope was that the charges will be dropped and the state will change the law so snakes could be handled in church. He once again asked his supporters to come to the courthouse wearing red for the grand jury hearing.

If he's found guilty, Hamblin could face up to 11 months and 29 days behind bars, as well as a $2,500 fine.  (updated 12-17-2013 8:10PM)

Sheriff’s reports

By Charlotte Underwood

 Traffic stop leads to arrest of Jellico woman

A traffic stop led to the arrest of a Jellico woman when she accidentally pulled a bag of meth out of her pocket in front of police on Monday, according to the Campbell County Sheriff’s Department.

 Mercedes Ann Taylor, 19, was the passenger in a vehicle stopped on Island Road. Sheriff’s Deputy David Wormsley instructed Taylor to call someone to give her a ride and when she reached into her pocket to get her cell phone, a small baggy containing a white powdery substance believed to be meth fell out, according to the sheriff’s report. Taylor was then arrested, charged with possession of a schedule II controlled substance and transported to jail. (12/18/2013/6:00AM)

Domestic dispute involving machete leads to double arrest

A domestic dispute ended in both a father and son being arrested over the weekend after the son threatened a female victim with a machete. Sheriff’s deputies responded to the dispute at a residence on Old Long Hollow Road on Saturday night where they learned that a female victim had gone to the residence to retrieve her personal belongings, according to the sheriff’s report. While the victim was retrieving her belongings, Ricky Nugene Green, Jr., allegedly approached her in an aggressive manner brandishing a machete. Green Jr., was arrested for domestic assault and transported to the county jail.

Deputies later recovered the machete from a nearby creek where Green Jr., had allegedly thrown it.

When officers arrived at the scene to question witnesses regarding the dispute, Ricky Nugene Greene Sr., began threatening and cursing at the deputies who advised him to “return to the house.” At this point, Green Sr., cursed at the deputies again, who said they could smell a strong alcoholic odor coming from him. He also allegedly told the deputies to take him to jail and continued cursing, at which point he was arrested for disorderly conduct and transported to jail as well.  (12/18/2013/6:00AM)

Jellico ambulance service once again in commission’s crosshairs  

The Campbell County Commission is again debating whether to continue the county’s ambulance contract with North regional EMS in Jellico or to hand Jellico operations over to the Campbell County EMS based in LaFollette.

Campbell County EMS director Danny Sheckles approached the commission’s EMS Committee Monday night with a proposal that the county earmark its $75,000 annual supplement to Jellico only for the purchase of new or refitted ambulance vehicles.

Sheckles told commissioners that the Jellico EMS fleet is aging and needs a replacement plan, while North Regional continues to drag its feet in reporting to commissioners how that $75,000 is being spent.

“This will provide accountability of tax dollars,” Sheckles argued. He also pointed out that he believes in the long term the county will be better off by ending the contract with the Jellico service and allowing his EMS to operate a station in the north end of the county.

“Based on the revenue reported from NREMS, I believe we could eventually operate stations in Jellico, Stinking Creek and Elk Valley, providing better service,” he added.

Rusty Orick made a motion in committee to immediately earmark the $75,000 supplement for ambulance purchases, but Jellico commissioner Alvin Evans countered that officials with the Jellico-based service should at least be allowed to appear before the commission and present their position before a plan restricting their use of funds is approved.

After further discussion, Orick reluctantly withdrew his motion, postponing further action until the January workshop.

Two other committees met for the first time since being appointed, the beer board electing Sue Nance as chair while Johnny Bruce was elected to chair the Recreation Committee.

During the brief regular meeting that followed, the commission passed a resolution similar to that passed by the school board last week, congratulating the Campbell County Cougars and their coaching staff on their 10-win season.

The commission also voted unanimously to earmark $500,000 saved from refinancing part of the county’s debt to paving roads, and approved a motion setting up a Road Committee to determine priorities for spending the money, which will be distributed equally to the five districts. (12/17/2013/6:00AM)

County Commission Meeting 12/16/13

 

Zoo continues to care for snakes; Hamblin set for court on Tuesday

By Charlotte Underwood

While LaFollette Tabernacle Church of God preacher Andrew Hamblin continues to handle serpents and wait for his day in court, the venomous snakes seized from his church by the Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency (TWRA) are having hibernation induced at the Knoxville Zoo where they are being housed and some of them nursed back to health.  When the 53 snakes were seized by the TWRA and taken to the zoo, they were classified into three groups of health: good, fair and poor, according to Knoxville Zoo Director of Animal Collections Phil Colclough, who said while most of the snakes could be categorized in “good health” several were “skinny and in poor body condition and died as a result of that.”

“Most of the five snakes that died were juvenile copperheads,” Colclough said, adding that the TWRA had seized a variety of snakes from Hamblin’s church.  Many of the snakes were native copperheads and rattlesnakes, but there were several non-native subspecies of copperheads including a southern copperhead native to the coastal plane area, a broadband copperhead and an Osage copperhead, both of which are native to Texas.  Several cottonmouths were confiscated, along with several non-native rattlesnakes.  A mangrove snake from Southeast Asia and a Neotropical rattle snake from Central America were also seized.  According to Colclough, other than the few non-native species, the majority of snakes seized from Hamblin’s church “appeared to be wild-caught native snakes.”  The reptiles that were in good condition and would normally hibernate this time of year have all been successfully hibernated, according to Colclough.  The snakes that were in fair condition when they were seized are currently being “nursed back to health enough to have hibernation induced,” Colclough said, adding that yearly hibernation in the winter months was “very important health-wise” to snakes native to this area.

Churches that handle snakes for religious purposes handle them year round during church services. They do not induce hibernation for their snakes because when a snake is in hibernation, it has to be left alone in a cool, dark place for the duration of the winter season. During this time, the snakes do not even eat, but stay still to conserve energy until spring comes. According to Colclough, if a snake that normally hibernates each winter does not go into its natural hibernation, it greatly reduces the snake’s lifespan and is therefore detrimental to the snake’s health.

“This is an animal that is supposed to spend half of its life asleep; if it’s not allowed to go into hibernation, then it would definitely affect the snake’s lifespan,” Colclough said giving an example that a snake in captivity that had hibernation induced yearly could live anywhere from 28 to 35 years, while a snake that did not have hibernation induced would only live 15 to 20 years tops.

Hamblin said as far as care for the snakes he kept them “cool in the summer and warm in the winter.”

University of Tennessee Religious Psychology Professor Ralph Hood said he does not believe the religion is detrimental or harmful to the snakes.

“These people care about the snakes; they use them and need them so they want them to be around for future generations of worshippers,” Hood said, adding that while it may be different than most, it was a “legitimate and possibly one of the most interesting religions in America.”

“They don’t defang or alter the snakes in anyway,” Hood said, explaining that he had even brought herpetologists to snake handling services to try and understand why it is that handlers can pick up reptiles and even walk on them barefoot, and yet receive so few snake bites.  Hood also said as far as public safety was concerned, he felt it was a non-issue.

In his 25 years of study on the religion, Hood said he had documented 98 deaths related to religious snake handling, but was quick to add that there had “never been a case of a non-serpent handler being bitten at a serpent handling church.”

Hood holds a joint doctorate in Sociology and Psychology, with his major interest being in the psychology of religion.  He has been one of the foremost researchers of the snake handling religion, which is usually attributed to have begun around 1909 by George or John Hensley in the hills of Tennessee.  Hood’s interest in the fringe religion began because he wanted to “document the tradition and present it to the public in a more objective fashion.” 

“It is a legitimate expression of religion,” Hood said.

Hamblin feels the same way and maintains that his religious freedom is being attacked; TWRA spokesperson Matt Cameron said that couldn’t be farther from the truth and it’s simply a matter of legality and even safety.

“If we really wanted to attack Mr. Hamblin’s faith and shut him down, we would have charged him with 53 counts of possession of Class I Wildlife, not the one count that he has been charged with,” Cameron said, explaining that if TWRA had charged him with all that the agency could have, Hamblin could have faced very large fines and lengthy jail time.

“We just wrote him one ticket.  He could have been arrested and had to post bond and it could have been 53 misdemeanors instead of the one that he has been charged with.  It could have been thousands of dollars in fines, but that is how much we wanted to show that it wasn’t about an attack on his religion; we just did our job as we are required by law to do and not even to the fullest extent that we could have,” Cameron said, explaining the state could have charged him under another title of law, Title 39, which would have garnered him additional charges for public endangerment.  And while he did not know if the snake handling religion was harmful to the snakes, Cameron did say that “anytime you take something out of nature and keep it in captivity, it is stressful for the animal.”

Hood said he felt Tennessee should write a religious exemption into the law that would allow Hamblin and others like him to possess and handle snakes for religious purposes.

Cameron disagreed, saying Hamblin was not trained in handling that class of wildlife.

“He simply does not meet the qualifications and criteria to handle that sort of wildlife.  Zoos have the permits, licenses and training needed, not to mention the anti-venom on hand should someone get bitten,” Cameron said.

Cameron also said he felt the snakes were “the property of the people of the state of Tennessee and belong in the wild, not to Mr. Hamblin to use exclusively.”

“Whenever you take something out of its natural environment and keep it in captivity, it’s not healthy for the animal,” Cameron said.

Colclough said there wasn’t a snake out there that liked to be touched or handled and regardless of how you looked at it, being repeatedly handled had to be stressful on the reptiles.

Pastor Andrew Hamblin holds up a serpent during his Friday night church service at the Tabernacle Church of God in LaFollette. Hamblin is slated to appear in Campbell County Court on Dec. 17th at 3 p.m. He faces charges of possession of class I wildlife.

Despite facing misdemeanor charges for possession of class I wildlife, Hamblin continued to handle a serpent during his Dec. 13th church service only days before his court appearance. During that service, which was attended by several curious out-of-town visitors, he promised his congregation, that if he went to jail, he would “preach to the sinners there.”  He also asked for prayer and for his supporters to once again come to the courthouse wearing red. Hamblin pleaded not guilty during his Nov. 15th initial appearance in court.  He is represented by attorney Mike Hatmaker and is slated to appear in court again on Dec. 17th at 3 p.m. (12/16/2013/6:00AM)

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Want local help to apply for Obama care?

     Many of you know all too well how difficult it’s been to sign-up for the Affordable Healthcare Act also known as Obama Care.  Now there’s local help available to assist applicants.  Community Health of East Tennessee, nicknamed CHET, has two application counselors on staff to help you work your way through the healthcare application process.  Don’t worry about getting or trying to get online or even calling an 800 number.  A CHET counselor will help you fill out and file your Affordable Healthcare Act application right here in La Follette.  Jada Stanley, CHET’s Chief Operating Officer, explains to WLAF that you may either schedule an appointment or just walk-in the offices on Independence Lane behind the CVS.  She says the application process generally takes about an hour.  Stanley says a grant CHET received makes this “free” service possible, and that the application assistance service continues for a full-year.  CHET’s hours are Monday through Friday from 8:00 until 8:00, and the number to call is 423.562.1705.   (12/12/2013/6:00AM)

Sears offers Christmas specials

Story and pictures by Charlotte Underwood

Looking for the perfect Christmas gift this season? Sears in LaFollette has plenty to choose from, according to owner and operator Robert Coble. From lawnmowers and grills to beds, chainsaws, tools and a whole slew of appliances, Sears has lots to choose from and if it isn’t at the store, then most likely it can be ordered and even shipped to your home. As the holiday season draws near, there will be various Christmas sales going on throughout the store.

Sears of LaFollette will be having a 12 Days of Christmas Sale going on with different items on sale each day. The sale begins on Dec. 13th with a $1,000 discount on a refrigerator.

Formerly an airline pilot with Comair for 16 years, Coble has been in the Sears retail business for around four years. He previously owned and operated a Sears store in northern Kentucky, but sold it to move back “home” to Campbell County where his family roots are.

“It was a momentary bout of insanity, but I am enjoying it,” Coble said of going into the Sears business.

He purchased the LaFollette Sears from Linda Morris a little over two years ago.

Sears has been located in the mall since the 1980s when the catalog store went out of business and Sears came up with the “Hometown concept” to continue providing merchandise to smaller towns, according to Coble.

“If we don’t carry it in stock, we can order it and if it’s less than 125 pounds, have it shipped to your home,” Coble said, adding that anyone who ordered Sears products online could have them shipped to the LaFollette location to save on shipping costs.

An upcoming 12 Days of Christmas Sale will begin on Friday, Dec. 13th. The first day of the sale features $1,000 off a refrigerator, with different items on sale each day.

Coble said he wanted to encourage people to come down to Sears to support the local economy and see what the store has to offer.

Craftsman lawnmowers are always a popular item at Sears.

“We can match prices on just about anything and on a lot of stuff we can beat the price of the other guys,” Coble said, adding that sale items would be everything from washing machines, tool boxes, grills and even soap.

Sears offers a variety of home appliances, Craftsman and Diehard tools and tool chests, lawnmowers and various lawn and garden merchandise, chain saws, air compressors, vacuums, exercise equipment and gaming tables just to name a few. Sears also can order replacement parts for Sears merchandise.

Sears carries a full line of Craftsman tool chests and plenty of tools to fill it for the special mechanic in your life this holiday season.

“Come help the local economy; there’s no sense in going to Knoxville if it’s something from Sears you want; we can get it for you here,” Coble said.

Sears is located at 2221 Jacksboro Pike in Woodson’s Mall next to Food City. For more information contact Sears at 423-562-7700.(12/12/2013/6:00AM)

School Board Meeting 12/10/13

 

Caryville City Council Meeting 12/09/13

 

Campbell County trio caught with 678 pounds of copper worth more than $2K

     The trio of 43-year old Gary Wayne Bunch, 36-year old Gary Wayne Burriss, and 24-years old Dennis Ray Burris, Junior had quite a haul until deputies found them out.  This evening, Bunch of Caryville, Burriss from Lake City, and Caryville resident Burris face multiple charges including theft of property ranging from $1,000 to $9,999. 

 

Bunch

Gary Wayne Burriss

Dennis Ray Burris, Jr.

Sheriff’s deputies responded to call from Albert Bunch saying men stole copper from Bunch’s Scrap Yard at Caryville and left in a gold Mazda car.  They were soon pulled over and learned from Dennis Ray Burris that he and Gary Wayne Bunch stole the copper, 678 pounds of it, from a building at Bunch’s Scrap Yard.  Burris then called Gary Wayne Burriss to give them a ride with the stolen property.  Gary Wayne Burriss is out on bail while Burris and Bunch remain in the county jail tonight.  The three men have been booked through the Campbell County Jail a combined total of 40 times.(12/11/2013/6:00PM)

Caryville passes distillery/microbrewery ordinance; updates safety plan

By Charlotte Underwood

The second reading of an ordinance establishing standards for distilleries, micro-breweries and wineries as mandated by the state was passed during Monday evening’s mayor and aldermen meeting in Caryville.

Board member Glenn Smith reiterated once again that the town had no choice in the matter other than to control where the distilleries could be located.

The Caryville Board of Mayor and Aldermen approved an ordinance on Monday evening establishing and setting standards for micro-breweries and distilleries.

"We can’t vote no or anything, this is state mandated. All we have control over is where they can be put,” Smith said, adding the only place distilleries would be allowed was in the industrial area.

Other action items on the agenda included the approval of a resolution updating the Occupational Safety and Health Program Plan. The resolution included renaming David Muse as the Safety Director for Caryville. Muse has held the title for the past seven years.

During the citizen’s input portion of the meeting, Edgar Ivey spoke to the board, thanking the citizens of Caryville who had shown support for his former daughter-in-law Cheryl Ivey. Cheryl Ivey, the city’s former city recorder, was recently awarded a $48,000 settlement from the city after she was fired earlier in the year. The city’s insurance covered all but $10,500 of the settlement, with the city covering the rest.

“There are really no changes, this is just something that has to be done every so often,” said Mayor Chris Stanley.

 The mayor also reported to board members that he had received information regarding the paving and repair of the access road to the industrial park.

Caryville had received approximately $4 million in state aid in order to fix the road.

“That’s a big deal,” Chris Stanley said, adding that he didn’t think the town would have been able to come up with those funds on their own.

“That will be a good thing for all those working and traveling that road,” Chris Stanley said. Construction on the road is expected to start in the spring.

Board member Mark Stanley said he hoped the town would be collecting bids by the end of the month regarding the fencing repair project at Asbury Park. Board members had voted previously to replace the entire front section of fence at the park, which is around 500 feet.

“We are getting together the specifications of exactly what we want and anyone wanting to place bids on the project can get those specs from Pat down here at city hall,” Mark Stanley said.

Before the meetings close, board member Vickie Heatherly spoke up about her concern that the police department was understaffed due to sickness and the chief being called out on a family emergency.

Board member Vickie Heatherly spoke to the board about hiring another part-time police officer to lighten the over-time load the department is currently experiencing.

“It’s a busy time of the year with the holidays approaching, I would like to suggest we get another part-time officer to fill in until Johnny comes back on duty,” Heatherly said.

“I spoke with Stephanie and she told me if that need arose, she would let me know,” Chris Stanley said.

Heatherly said she had spoken with the chief shortly before the meeting and that a need for an extra officer had been indicated to her.

Mayor Chris Stanley reported to the board that construction to repair and repave the Industrial Park access road should begin by spring thanks to a $4 million grant from the state.

“Nice try; it’s always something with you Vickie,” the mayor said.  At this, a police officer in the back of the room interjected, saying that the officers were really “working themselves to death” and that most of the officers on duty would have 12 to 16 hours of overtime by the week’s end.

The mayor said he would speak to the police chief about the issue and see what needed to be done. (12/11/2013/10:30AM)

WLAF Stocking Giveaway- Stop in and Sign up

 

School board honors Price twins, soon to begin “discussion” on Director post

 The Campbell County School Board meeting on Tuesday night turned into a celebration for the success of the 10-2 Campbell County Cougar football team, as the board presented both head coach Justin Price and his brother, defensive coordinator Matt Price with plaques of appreciation for their record-breaking successful season.

The board then backed their words up with something more substantial, voting unanimously to pay Justin Price a $6,000 one-time bonus for “accomplishments of the 2013-14 season with a season winning record of 10-2 and a share of the District Championship.”

Breaking into the jovial mood was a complaint from one parent, Renee Marlow, about inadequate disabilities access at Elk Valley Elementary School. Marlow reported that in attending a ball game at Elk Valley with her wheelchair-bound daughter, she was forced to push the child over a rough sidewalk where the wheelchair got stuck in cracks and the child was dumped out.

“you need to do something about that immediately,” Marlow told the board and attorney Dail Cantrell agreed, reminding the board that all schools are required by federal law to have easily accessible wheelchair entrances.

Cantrell also reminded the board that beginning January 1, the state will begin collecting sales tax revenue from internet sales on Amazon.com.

“Estimates are that $8 million in tax revenue will be available to local school systems across the state, so you can expect a share of that to be available for Campbell County,” Cantrell pointed out.

Before adjourning, the board also voted unanimously to approve an athletic concussion policy recommended by the Tennessee School Board Association.

Chairman Rector Miller announced that at the board’s January meeting, they will begin discussions on the Director of Schools position. Director Donnie Poston has indicated that he plans to retire at the end of his current contract.

“My decision has nothing to do with the controversy last year. After 42 years in education, all but two in administration, I just feel its time to do something else,” Poston said last week.(12/11/2013/6:00AM)

CCSD's Daugherty and McCall honored as "Officers of the Year"

     Campbell County Sheriff Robbie K. Goins announces that two deputies are honored as “Officer of the Year.”  For only for only the third time in the history of the sheriff’s department, all during the Goins’ era, two deputy sheriffs were honored with "Officer of the Year" awards by the Governor's Highway Safety Office, in the Sheriff's Office category, at its annual Christmas awards banquet.  The awards for “DUI enforcement Officer of the Year” and overall “Officer of the Year” were presented before a packed event room at the Cedar Bluff Holiday Inn in West Knoxville on Monday morning by the Governor's Highway Safety Office Law Enforcement Liaison Steve Dillard.  Campbell County Deputy Ty Daugherty was presented the “DUI Officer of the Year Award” for his outstanding enforcement and diligence in removing drunk and drugged drivers from Campbell County roadways.  Deputy James McCall was presented the overall “Officer of the Year Award” for his enforcement, work ethic and dedication to duty and his commitment to provide safety to the citizens of Campbell County.  Sheriff Robbie K. Goins tells WLAF News that, "We are honored and thoroughly pleased and thankful that our dedicated public servants can be honored again for their hard work and dedication to duty. The Governor's Highway Safety Office could not be a better partner and we are indebted to them for the recognition of our people. Ty and James are definitely valuable assets to our office and to the citizens of Campbell County that they serve.”  (12/10/2013/6:00 AM)

Commission votes to spend saved $500,000 on road paving projects 

Campbell County Road Superintendent Dennis Potter received an early Christmas present Monday night when county commissioners voted unanimously to transfer $500,000 that was saved through the re-financing of county debt into a fund for paving roads.

Potter has consistently asked commissioners for an appropriation at budget time to help his department pave more county roads, only to be left short by a county commission hesitant to raise property taxes.

The Budget & Finance Committee voted unanimously to approve a plan through which each district will get a pot of $85,000 to be used on road projects in that district. The remaining $75,000 will be used to repair the damage to Valley Street in Jacksboro caused by the construction of the county’s new jail and justice center behind the courthouse.

The money comes from $550,000 in interest payments that was saved when the commission voted last month to re-finance some older county bonds at a much lower interest rate.

The commission will also discuss a proposal at the regular monthly meeting next week to form an ad hoc road committee that will review paving needs in the county and prioritize where the paving dollars need to be spent.

At the workshop following the budget meeting, commissioners received an earful from one resident about one road that appears to need immediate attention. Mary Young told commissioners that the road she lives on, Baird Creek Lane, becomes impassible after heavy rains due to inadequate culverts to carry water from a small stream under the road.

Young reminded the commission that the county had approved money to build a bridge over the creek a couple of years ago, but the landowner had refused to grant the county a right-of-way necessary to construct a bridge. She said that a new landowner has now indicated he will grant the necessary right-of-way if the county will renew the bridge project.

In addition to her home, Young told commissioners that one other family lives on the far side of the flooded crossing, along with one weekend resident and her business, Baird Creek Tavern. Mayor Baird said that her request “is something the road committee will need to look into.”

State Representative Dennis Powers attended the meeting to present a resolution naming a new TWRA boat ramp off Queener Road on Norris Lake in honor of late commissioner Ray Wilson of Caryville. Wilson was a longtime leader and co-founder of the Campbell Outdoor Recreation Association (CORA), which was instrumental in acquiring much of the former Koppers Company land that was transferred to TWRA to expand the Royal Blue Wildlife Management Area.

Powers invited commissioners to share their concerns or requests on any legislative business, and may have regretted that invitation, as several commissioners bombarded him with concerns on everything from the decrease in state funding for education to problems with licensing of ATV vehicles to the local drivers’ license testing office that was closed by THP.

Next week commissioners will also discuss a resolution from the E-911 Board, asking that the county require all road signs to meet state-mandated requirements. The resolution apparently refers to some private roads and driveways that ambulance drivers have a hard time locating because the signs are inadequate.

One or two commissioners pointed out that although owners of private roads can request an E-911 name designation, the county may be exceeding it’s authority to dictate signs on roads not in the county system.      (12/10/2013/6:00 AM)  

Caryville City Council Meeting 12/09/13

 
Smith calls support “breathtaking”

     Reverend Mike Smith of the Fincastle Church of God sizes up the past year as a “rough one, a hard fight,” but that the church has emerged victorious, and the Lord has blessed.

It was in the wee-hours of Sunday morning, December 9, exactly one-year ago, when Smith received the phone call that his church was on fire.  Smith, who appeared live this morning on WLAF Radio thanking and updating the community on the past year, sums the support up as “breathtaking.” 

He goes on to say that attendance is consistently up compared to the pre-fire numbers.  Fincastle Church of God officially reopened with its first service in the new building back on August 3. 

Investigators spent December 10, 2012, sifting through the remnants of the church, and released the results the next day that the church was set on fire. 

Campbell County Sheriff’s Department Chief Deputy Aaron Evans tells WLAF News that the investigation remains open with an active reward of $1,500.00.  (12/09/2013/2:30 PM-FILE PHOTOS)

                                 Jacksboro updates flood plain zoning ordinance
By Charlotte Underwood

It was a short mayor and alderman meeting in Jacksboro on Thursday evening with the first reading of a flood plain ordinance topping the agenda. The board approved the first reading, which simply updates the existing flood plain ordinance, according to city recorder Emma Caldwell.

Other business approved was $1,200 to pay for parts and repairs to a police department vehicle, as well as the approval for two police officers to update their meth lab cleanup training. (12/09/2013/6:00 AM)

 

Big weekend at Food City Center - Woodson Mall


Scenes from inside the mall over the weekend.

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Leach is JMS Queen

     Jacksboro crowned its basketball homecoming queen Thursday night.  She is 8th grader Presley Leach.  Presley is the daughter of Greg and Amy Leach. 

Hembree and Leach

Her escort was Jordan Hembree.  As part of her homecoming project, Presley volunteered with the special education department at La Follette Elementary School.  A few of the members of the 1954 Jacksboro High School Homecoming Court also took part in Thursday night’s festivities.  The Freshman attendant in 1954 was Peggy Powers Blankenship who was escorted on Thursday by Caleb Williams.

1954 Sophomore attendant Pat Hatmaker Ford and escort Nolan Lees

1954 Junior attendant Tomi Housley-Ayers was escorted Feliz Gonzalez

1954 Homecoming Queen Pat Sharp Brown, Noah Smith, and 2012 JMS Queen Sydney Fields (DAVID GRAHAM PIX 12/06/2013/6:00 AM)

Capps release second CD

     Mason T. and Carl Capps have a new compact disc.  It’s called “La Follette Blues.”  Carl calls the title track the best song on the CD but says his testimonial song “I Know I’m Saved” is his favorite.  Mason T. and Carl wrote several of the songs on the new CD that contains both bluegrass and gospel songs.  Mason T. says his La Follette Blues composition was inspired by his hometown and its rich musical heritage.  WLAF was the first radio station to play tracks from the latest work of the Capps, and they air each day on 1450.  For your copy of “La Follette Blues,” just call Carl or Mason T. at 423.562.4694 or by email at masontandcarl.com.  (12/06/2013/7:00 AM)

 CACC sits as the top seed for county tourney

     From door mat to dominate, the Christian Academy Warriors transitioned from a one-win team to a one-loss team in the course of a year.  Coach Vic King’s Warriors won Thursday night at Middlesboro to improve to 14 & 1 on the year heading into the county tournament.  CACC outscored Gateway Academy 29 to 15 behind double-figure scorers Will Paul (11) and Joseph Howard (10).  Parker Troutman and John Allen Arnold each chipped in four-points.  The Warriors play next Thursday in the county tournament at Valley View against the winner of the Jellico-Elk Valley game. (12/06/2013/6:00 AM)

Santa, scammers, and Rudolph; the holidays are here

     The latest scam is making the rounds via the mail this holiday season.  Josh Parker with the La Follette Utility Board tells WLAF that some LUB customers have received scam information in the mail.  The letter asks customers to purchase water service line insurance.  Parker adds that LUB does not endorse and is not affiliated with Home Serve USA Repair.  LUB has not provided anyone with customer addresses or other personal information.  Parker notes that if you have questions or concerns, you should call LUB at 423.562.3316 between 7:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.  (12/05/2013/2:00 PM)

La Follette Machine & Tool is featured this week

     It’s Thursday.  It’s our business feature of the week day.  Today, WLAF’s Charlotte Underwood visit the folks at La Follette Machine and Tool.

LaFollette Machine and Tool Inc. now in its 3rd generation

By Charlotte Underwood

     For three generations, LaFollette Machine and Tool Inc., has been shaping the world one piece of metal at a time.
     The business came from humble beginnings, according to Quality Control Manager Celeste Sharp. Established in 1936 by J. Minton Sharp, the business was originally called the Motor Grinding Co., and primarily repaired heavy equipment for the coal industry and manufactured mine fans.

J. Minton Sharp began the company in 1936 as the Motor Grinding Co.


    
LaFollette Machine and Tool Inc., is now in its third generation of owners; Jarrett and Jason Sharp stand next to their father Jerry, who began working at the business in 1962. His father began the business in 1936.

     By the early 1950’s the name was changed to LaFollette Machine & Tool Company.

     In 1962, J. Minton's son Gerald “Jerry” Sharp joined the company and began manufacturing tipples for the mining industry and repair blocks for Caterpillar®. He remembered much of the business's early work was in rewinding motors. He also recalled there were 348 mines still operating in the area in 1962 when he first came back.
     "Now there are less than 10," Jerry Sharp said, adding that due to the coal industry's decline, the business had evolved and reshaped itself over the years.
When J. Minton Sharp retired in 1977, the company began focusing on warranty work for dozers and high-lifts. As times continued to change, it was the third generation which ushered in a new era for the company.


This metal cutting machine from 1936 still works and is occasionally used for projects.

     Jerry's son Jarrett Sharp entered the family business in 1987 and two years later, in 1989, LaFollette Machine and Tool Company was one the first in Tennessee to install a CO2 laser. Soon, the emphasis shifted to precision laser cutting and metal forming.
     "Jarrett knew something new would have to be done since the coal industry was going out," Celeste Sharp said. Still owned and operated by the Sharp family, LaFollette Machine and Tool brings to the industry a long history of experience, integrity, and ingenuity.


    

These images show what the warehouses looked liked during the early years of business.

     "It's been a great ride," Jerry Sharp said, adding that he had never had any intention of taking over the business from his father.
     "I was going to be a hospital administrator until I came back," Jerry Sharp said with a laugh.
LaFollette Machine and Tool Inc., is located at 219 N. First St.in LaFollette and can be reached at 423-562-5854.


LaFollette Machine and Tool employee Johnny York has worked at the company for over 40 years.    

     The company utilizes a diverse range of CO2 laser technology to process customer designs from the simple to the most challenging. Along with metal forming, LaFollette Machine and Tool Company delivers production and prototypes laser cut from materials as diverse as its customer base, according to Celeste Sharp. Common materials cut and formed by the company include Carbon Steel, Stainless, Aluminum, Titanium, Copper, Brass, Monel, Inconel, Acrylic, Composites and more.


LaFollette Machine and Tool specializes in precision laser cutting.

     The company is also a Certified Contractor by the U.S./Canada Joint Certification Office to receive military critical technical data.
     With a reputation as a leader offering both quality and technical support, LaFollette Machine and Tool Company uses three Mitsubishi CO2 lasers and two Amada CNC press brakes to satisfy even the most high-performance users of precision laser cut components.  (PIX COURTESY OF LAFOLLETTE MACHINE & TOOL - 12/05/2013/6:00 AM)

LaFollette city continues to negotiate insurance plan; hires new police officer

By Charlotte Underwood

The city is continuing to negotiate its insurance coverage plan, according to Mayor Mike Stanfield, who said the current plan the city is covered under is set to increase by about $133,000 a year.

"We are currently looking at taking a lesser plan in order to save that money and prevent the increase," Stanfield said, adding that if employees wanted a better plan then they would most likely have to pay it out of pocket.

The city is insured by Blue Cross Blue Shield through a local provider.

Other business at the meeting included the addition of a new police officer to the city's force. The council approved the hiring of Noah Riggs on the police chief's recommendation. Fire Chief Gary Byrd also sought approval to hire two auxiliary firefighters in the upcoming weeks. He has a list of five and plans to hire the two most experienced, according to Stanfield. The hiring of the auxiliary firefighters should cut down on overtime hours and save the city money, according to Stanfield.

Three ordinances were also approved regarding a Community Block Development Grant which will be used on the continuing water and sewer rehabilitation projects within the city. The ordinances approved were state and federal requirements pertaining to the grant.

The council also agreed to lease the old post office parking lot to the LaFollette Housing Authority for Russell Towers residents. The lease is for six month increments at $500 a month.

"At least it is bringing some money in, which is better than nothing," Stanfield said.

The mayor said the issue of UT LIFESTAR permanently locating a helicopter in the city did not come up at the meeting and will most likely be taken to the planning commission before it is brought back to the city council next month. The council had been approached by UT LIFESTAR Flight Attendant Keith Goins during the last workshop regarding the location of a permanent helicopter in the area. If eventually approved, the helicopter could possibly housed next to the LaFollette Rescue Station near the DeRoyal factory and east end fire station.

The one catch to the relocation is a city ordinance that bans above ground fuel tanks, which would be required for the LIFESTAR helicopter, which runs on jet fuel, according to Stanfield, who explained the tank would be necessary since the helicopters could only go about two miles per gallon of fuel.

Stanfield said he had recently been approached by Jimmy Arnold who already has a helicopter landing pad located near the state garage on Highway 63.

"I don't know if he would want to lease it to LIFESTAR or how that would work, but if it was located there, it would do away with the problem of an above ground fuel tank in the city since that is located in the county and they have no ordinance against it," Stanfield said, adding that he had asked codes enforcement officer Stan Foust to contact Goins and put him in touch with Arnold.

"I still think it would be a good thing if it will help saves lives," Stanfield said.(12/04/2013)

LaFollette City Council Meeting for Tuesday, December 3, 2013

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Terry’s Pharmacy holds local food drive; donations sought for Christmas

Story and pictures by Charlotte Underwood

Terry’s Pharmacy held its annual Thanksgiving Food Drive, matching the 2,000 cans donated by customers for a total of over 4,000 cans of food, which will help feed local people this holiday season. Food will be picked up and distributed locally by Food Life Services. The food drive is in its fifth year and continues to grow thanks to the caring employees at Terry’s Pharmacy.

Family owned and operated, Terry’s Pharmacy has been serving the community since 1976 when it was first established by Terry and Mary Lynn Ratcliff. Current owner Rissa Pryse came on board the business in 1980 when she first began working at the pharmacy after returning home to LaFollette from attending pharmacy school at Mercer in Atlanta, Ga. Pryse said when she came to work at the pharmacy she knew right away that it was her goal to own it at some point.

Rissa Pryse, right, Raewyn Snodderly, middle, and Emily Tamer, left, stand in front of food collected during the annual Thanksgiving Food Drive held by Terry’s Pharmacy. Over 4,000 cans of food will go to help feed locals during the holiday season.

“I really owe it all to Terry Ratcliff; he pretty much raised me in the business, starting me here at 23,” Pryse said, adding that the Ratcliff’s business philosophy was what attracted her to becoming a pharmacy owner. She purchased the business from the Ratcliffs in 1997.

“Terry’s philosophy was to give to the community; he was a real humanitarian,” Pryse said, adding that with her four daughters growing up in pharmacy, she had based their lives and upbringing on that same philosophy.

“I raised my four girls here,” Pryse said. One of her younger daughters, Emily Tamer, is currently enrolled in physician’s assistant school and will follow in the family’s medical tradition as well.

Her older daughter, Raewyn Snodderly, is carrying on the family tradition right now and loving it. Having attended pharmacy school in Alabama and graduating in 2008, Snodderly is now the pharmacist in charge at Terry’s. Snodderly said she always knew she wanted to follow in her mom’s footsteps.

“I love interacting with the people; I love getting to know my patients, I love that side of the business,” Snodderly said.

Raewyn brought a lot of new ideas to the table when she came, such as the annual food drive,” Pryse said, adding that the drive was growing exponentially, with more cans being collected each year.

“I attribute it to our wonderful employees here, especially Sue Standridge and Gwen Patterson who have been working on the drive since September,” Snodderly said, adding that there was a huge need for the drive within the community.

“It’s a very humbling experience to see the many people that bring in food and the gratitude they have shown,” Pryse said, explaining that many of their donors had voiced they had been in the food receiving line before.

Pryse said several Food City employees had also been very giving by volunteering their own time and vehicles to deliver the food to the pharmacy.

Terry’s Pharmacy is located at 310 E. Central Ave., in LaFollette and 3088 Veteran’s Memorial Highway in Jacksboro.

“It’s really that pay-it forward attitude,” Snodderly said, adding that a John Wesley quote summed up the ministry of Terry’s Pharmacy perfectly.

‘Do all the good you can, at all the times you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can..’

“Our minister at LaFollette United Methodist Church says that quote and that is the legacy that Terry and Mary Lynn passed on. I feel that is why God put mom and me here,” Snodderly said, explaining that Terry’s was much more than just a pharmacy, but rather a part of the community.

“We are not just a pharmacy cranking out prescriptions; we are a ministry to people who come in and talk about our lives and sorrows. We all celebrate together and we all grieve together; that’s what we learned from Terry and Mary Lynn,” Snodderly said proudly.

Pryse now has two grandchildren growing up at the pharmacy, who she hopes will also take an interest in the family business some day.

“It’s about family and community,” Pryse said.

The pharmacy will continue to collect donations of canned food through November and December to be given out for the Christmas season. Terry’s will match donations can for can and dollar for dollar to purchase food. All food donated stays within the county.

Honk if you see “Terry’s Pill Mobile” out and about in Campbell County.

Terry’s Pharmacy has two branches, with the downtown LaFollette branch located at 310 E. Central Ave., and the Jacksboro branch located at 3088 Appalachian Highway. The pharmacy can be reached at 562-4298. And if you see “Terry’s Pill Mobile” out and about, give a honk and a wave. Terry’s is considering holding a “Name the Car Contest” after the first of the year.

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LIFESTAR could find permanent home in LaFollette; other business discussed at workshop

By Charlotte Underwood

The LaFollette City Council discussed the possibility of a LIFESTAR helicopter and response unit having a permanent home in LaFollette during the Monday evening workshop. LifeStar flight attendant Keith Goins approached the council with the possibility, saying LIFESTAR had been looking to relocate and house a permanent helicopter in the area.

If approved, the helicopter would be housed next to the LaFollette Rescue Station near the DeRoyal factory and east end fire station. However, before it can be brought to the city council for a vote, the planning commission would first have to meet and discuss the issue, according to LaFollette Mayor Mike Stanfield.

The one catch to the relocation is a city ordinance that bans above ground fuel tanks, which would be required for the LIFESTAR helicopter, which runs on jet fuel, according to Stanfield, who explained the tank would be necessary since the helicopters could only go about two miles per gallon of fuel.

"The nearest places they can fuel up is Knoxville and Scott County so they would need that tank located here. I am for it since it could save lives, but that would be the only exception to that ordinance banning above ground tanks and of course it is up to the pleasure of the council," Stanfield said, adding that the planning commission would meet on Dec. 21.

"They will either recommend we approve or don't approve it, either way, the soonest the council would vote on the issue would be in January," Stanfield said.

The location near the rescue squad would most likely be a temporary location, with a permanent helicopter pad being built eventually by LIFESTAR, according to Stanfield.

Part of the University of Tennessee's Medical Center, LIFESTAR currently serves a 150 mile radius of Knoxville utilizing two American Eurocopter EC-135 helicopters and two Bell 407 helicopters. The aircraft are strategically located, delivering  emergency care, to East Tennessee, Southeast Kentucky, Southwest Virginia, and Western North Carolina, according to UT's website.

Other business discussed during the workshop included a price increase to the city's insurance. According to the mayor, the insurance cost to the city will increase by $66,000 for six months. Currently the city pays about $83,000 a month for insurance so the yearly increase will be around $137,000.

"We are looking at ways to trim it back and save money; we will continue to offer the insurance we always have, but if employees want something better, they will have to pay part of it," Stanfield said, adding that no decisions had to be made on the insurance for several months. The city is insured through Blue Cross Blue Shield through a local provider. Council also discussed leasing the parking in front of the old post office it just purchased to the LaFollette Housing Authority for residents at Russell Towers.

"It would provide the city with some income until we find someone who may want to lease that building," Stanfield said.

There will most likely be more discussion on the issue at the next meeting. Another issue that will be discussed at the next meeting is the relocation of the skate park. During the workshop, Councilman Joe Bolinger brought up the need to get LaFollette's Skate Park up and running once again. One suggestion of a new location discussed was near the West LaFollette Community Center down in the bottom near 9th Street, according to Stanfield.

The next council meeting will be on Dec. 3 at 6 p.m.  (11/27/2013/6:00 AM)

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Co-district champion Cougars make awards haul

     Coach of the Year.  Offensive Player of the Year.  Defensive Player of the Year.  All wear Orange and Blue.  Yes, your co-district champs, the Campbell Cougars claimed all three honors.  Coach Justin Price is the District 3 Coach of the Year while Ethan Jeffers claims the Offensive Player of the Year with Nick Bailey a run-away for Defensive Player of the Year.  And that’s not all.  All-District performers for CCHS this season are Andrew Evans, Corey Phillips, Paul Courdle, Trey Torres, Joseph Elkins, Patrick Wright, Preston Miller, Christian Monday, Isaac Ford, and Gustavo Rosas.  Academic All-District goes to the Cougars’ Colton Irwin.  Honorable Mention All-District Cougars include Austin Raines, Anthony Manning, and Spencer Roberts. (11/25/2013/NOON)

 

CACC goes from worst to first

     Just call ‘em “champs.”  The Campbell County Christian Academy elementary boys basketball team came from behind to defeat Wynn 45-39 and in doing so, wins the regular season Campbell County Championship. CACC is 7-0 in the small school division with one game remaining.  The victory improves Coach Vic King's Warriors to 11 & 1 in all games and secures a first place seed for the county tournament which will be played in early December.  CACC won only one game last season.

     Will Paul led the way with 14 points followed closely by Parker Troutman’s 10 and Justin Polland, playing his best game of the season, also scored 10.  Joseph Howard added 5 while John Allen Arnold had 4 and Zach Mysliwiec chipped in 2.   (11/22/2013/6:00 AM)

Local historian has ties to JFK assassination investigation

By Charlotte Underwood

Fifty years after the tragedy of John F. Kennedy’s assassination, the world is still fascinated with details of both his life and his death. Not many people get the chance to not only witness history, but to also play an active role in it as Local historian and LaFollette Museum Curator Jerry Sharp has.

A lab technician at Oak Ridge National Laboratories during the time of the president’s assassination, Sharp recalls the day the two scientists he worked with called him into the office and informed him they were going to halt the experiments they had been conducting in order to work on something much more important - the examination of the rifle, shell casings and the paraffin wax face imprints that had been taken from Lee Harvey Oswald, the president’s alleged assassin.

Jerry Sharp

Only 31-years old at the time, Sharp had been working as a lab tech for Union Carbide for about seven years at the time of the president’s death. He said he still remembers that shocking day when the sad news came over the PA system at the lab.

“The exact day that he got killed, I was analyzing hair at the lab,” Sharp said, explaining that he had been testing “volunteer” hair that had been donated for the experiments.

“We had been working on the possibility of using hair to identify someone, you know for crimes and such,” Sharp said.

On November 22, 1963, the president and his wife landed in Dallas, Texas; he had spoken in San Antonio, Austin and Fort Worth the day before. From the airfield, he then traveled in a motorcade to the Dallas Trade Mart; the site of his next speaking appearance. A little bit after 12:30 p.m., as the motorcade was passing through downtown Dallas, gun shots were fired and Kennedy was struck twice. Shot in the neck and head, he was pronounced dead shortly after arriving at a nearby hospital. Only 43 years old when he was elected in 1960, Kennedy was the 35th president and the youngest man and the first Roman Catholic to hold that office.

When the news came over the announcement speaker on that chilly November day, Sharp said everyone just kind of stopped what they were doing and gathered around to listen to the news, as did much of the country and perhaps the whole world.

“They put the radio announcement over the intercom so we could all hear and I was just shocked,” Sharp said, adding that he had been able to relate to Kennedy, as both were young men who had recently started a family.

In the midst of the Cold War era, Sharp said a lot was going on in the country at that time.

As president, Kennedy confronted those mounting Cold War tensions in Cuba, Vietnam and elsewhere. He led a re-fueled drive for public service and eventually provided federal support for the growing civil rights movement. His assassination sent shockwaves around the world and to this day, historians continue to rank him among the best-loved presidents in American history.

After the assassination, Sharp said people all over the county were talking about the news, many of them sad.

“It was a very sad time for our country; you felt bad for days, it was like you had lost one of your family - he was our president,” Sharp said.

Twenty-four-year-old Lee Harvey Oswald, known to have Communist sympathies, was arrested for the killing but was shot and mortally wounded two days later by local nightclub owner Jack Ruby while Oswald was being led to jail, according to the JFK Library.

On that fateful day of the president’s death, Sharp said he had no clue he would get to play a much more active role in the investigation of Kennedy’s assassination.

 “I remember the two scientists I worked with at the time coming in and telling me we were going to have some fun for the next couple of days,” Sharp said, explaining that they sat him down and told him that even though the work they were going to be doing wasn’t a secret, they asked him to keep it quiet.

At that point, the Secret Service or the Federal Bureau of Investigation - Sharp was never sure which they were – brought the rifle, the shell casings and paraffin wax that had been taken from Oswald’s face into the laboratory to be examined and tested by Sharp and the two scientists. Sharp said he was kind of “dumbfounded” when he first saw the rifle.

 The rifle examined was a 6.5mm Carcano type, model 91/38 rifle that was manufactured at the Royal Arms Factory in Terni, Italy in 1940.

“I stood there and I looked at that rifle; I didn’t touch it, I just looked at it,” Sharp said.

Though saddened and shocked by the assassination, Sharp said he felt both honored and amazed at being a part of national history.

“I thought my goodness, here’s a little redneck hillbilly down here in Tennessee working on this,” Sharp recalled with a laugh.

“We took samples from all three and put them in the reactor, radiated them and then read them on a spectrometer,” Sharp said. By doing this, they were able to confirm the bullets had in fact been fired from the rifle and due to the gunpowder residue that had been on Oswald’s face when the wax was placed on it; they were also able to confirm Oswald had indeed fired the rifle.

“Now I don’t know if this was the gun that killed the president, but it was what was brought to us by the government agents. We were trying to compare the barium from all three,” Sharp said, explaining that with that process they could “truthfully analyze” the materials.

During the whole testing process, the rifle, bullets and paraffin were kept under lock and key by government agents.

After the testing was done, reports were written up by the scientists Sharp worked with. He never saw the reports and said he feels humbled by the chance to touch history.

“I never saw the records for security purposes and I didn’t want to; I loved my job. I wasn’t no special engineer or chemist, just a lab tech who happened to be working in the right place at the right time,” Sharp said.

Almost immediately after the assassination, alternative theories of Kennedy's death emerged –including conspiracies run by the KGB, the Mafia and the U.S. military, among many others. Chief Justice Earl Warren led a presidential commission, which came to the conclusion that Oswald had acted alone, but speculation and debate over the assassination still persist, even now.

“You always kind of wonder, what kind of president would he have been had he lived,” Sharp said, adding that he had always “loved” one of Kennedy’s more well-known sayings, ‘It’s not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.’

“If we could get more people to feel that way, especially on a local level here in Campbell County, it would be great indeed what we could accomplish,” Sharp said. (11/22/2013/6:00 AM)

     Traffic stop leads to foot chase and meth lab discovery

     A routine traffic stop in east La Follette ended up being not so routine.  Officers with the La Follette Police Department have picked up three people, and are looking for a fourth, in connection with a mobile meth lab this afternoon in the East Beech Street-South 14th Street area of town.   

When a car was pulled over around 1:30 p.m. by LPD, those in the car jumped out and fled the scene taking with them black backpacks and meth making materials.  Police later came across the backpacks and a couple of the people they were chasing on South 14th Street near the Methodist Church  (11/21/2013/2:45 PM) 

It’s “business of the week” day

     WLAF highlights a local business every Thursday.  So, if WLAF’s Charlotte Underwood happens to wander into your business, she may be there for more than just to make a purchase.  Today’s feature highlights Bowman Jewelers.  Enjoy. (11/21/2013/6:00 AM) 

Come on down to Bowman Jewelers for quality jewelry and friendly service from the folks you know. There will be a store-wide sale on Friday, Nov. 22.

Bowman Jewelers celebrates 80 years in business; store-wide sales on Friday

Story & photos by Charlotte Underwood

Local downtown fixture Bowman Jewelers is celebrating 80 years in business. Established in October of 1933 by James Everette Bowman, the business has grown and flourished over the years, according to current owners Jerry E. and Gail Bowman.

“In 1933 times were hard,” said Jerry Bowman, explaining that his dad had begun the business by repairing watches in the leased space of a barber shop.

“He really had no formal training and learned his trade mostly from his father who was a self-taught farmer who was known to fix almost anything mechanical,” Bowman said.

Sometime in the late 1940s or early 1950s J. Everette, as he was known locally, purchased the inventory and fixtures from his older brother Conley Bowman’s wife Rushia, who ran the store for a short time after they divorced. J. Everette leased the small shop from W.H. Parrott, who owned the Cherokee Theatre next door.

“This is next door to where we are located today and is known as Wender Furniture Company,” Bowman said. The current location of the jewelry store was owned by Bill and John Claiborne and housed one of the first LaFollette Water and Electric offices, with the South Central Bell switch board and office located upstairs. Afterwards, the building was home to Allen Riggs Drug Store and Soda Fountain before Bowman’s Jewelry moved into the location from next door in the early 1970s.

Tonja Lay decorates a store window in preparation for the Christmas shopping season.

“In the early years, my sisters Margie and Faye and also my mother Walcie were very active in the store. They pitched in and worked very hard along side of my father,” Bowman recalled, adding that watch and jewelry repair was a “strong” part of the business then and still is today. J.R. Richardson was the watch repairman at the store until 1963 when he left and began repairing at his home. Around that time is when Jerry graduated from high school and began watch repair himself.

He remembered it as being a very good paying job until around 1980 when the battery watch replaced the mechanical one for the masses and even though Bowman Jewelers still offers this service like most jewelry stores, it is no longer profitable to keep a watch repairman.

“I think back about the long hours sitting with a pair of tweezers and a set of screw drivers and wonder how I did that; it’s a gift I can’t explain,” Bowman said, adding that it was hard work because watches not only had to run but keep time too.

“There was no room for error. I did this full-time for 30 years, when I started a partnership with my sister Faye to purchase the store from our parents,” he recalled.

 His sister Faye sold her share and left the business around 1990, at which point, Jerry’s wife Gail and his son Matthew began helping in the many duties of owning and operating a jewelry store.

“Without them, I could not have made it. Operating a small business is not easy, someone has to be there six days a week in our case,” Bowman said, adding that his wife had been a “tremendous force in running the business.”

Andrea Bowman spent Wednesday afternoon decorating store windows for Christmas.

“We have evolved from J. Everette’s one man operation to what we are today as a family, but without our friends and employees and most importantly our customers we wouldn’t be here today. Our faith in God and his divine providence has been the main reason for our 80 years. He has blessed us abundantly,” Bowman said.

Bowman Jewelers offers a wide variety of jewelry including Sterling Silver, Stainless, Vitalium, Copper, pearls, diamond pendants and earrings, as well as diamond rings in all shapes.  They also have a wide variety of gold chains and earrings, genuine and synthetic colored stones, watches such as Seiko, Citizen, Dubai, Speidel, Bowman logo and more.  Other merchandise includes wedding bands, gift items, baby items, engravables and much more.

Bowman Jewelers is celebrating its 80th anniversary. The store is located at red light no. 8 in LaFollette.

The jewelry store will continue its 80th anniversary sale through the end of November. On Friday, Nov. 22, there is a 30 to 50 percent off store-wide sale as part of the Downtown Christmas Celebration. Christmas layaway is available. Santa Claus will also be available for pictures in front of the jewelry store on Friday from 5 to 7 p.m. Parents can bring their own camera or have the onsite photographer take one for $10.

Bowman Jewelers is located at red light no. 8, at 126 E. Central Ave., in LaFollette. The store can be reached at 423-562-2443.  (11/21/2013/6:00 AM) 

Medical Foundation awards grants

By Charlotte Underwood

The LaFollette Medical Foundation met on Tuesday evening and voted to award multiple grants to organizations and groups within the county, according to foundation member and LaFollette Mayor Mike Stanfield.

Grant recipients include the Helen Ross McNabb Center, which was awarded $59,756, the LaFollette Fire Department, which was awarded $34,123.63 for its First Responders startup project and CASA, which was awarded $18,000. The Campbell County Children’s Center received $35,000 and the Campbell County Senior Citizens Center was awarded $7,832.50 for its Meals on Wheels program. The Catholic Charities LaFollette Pregnancy Center project will receive $17,000 and the East Tennessee Human Resources Campbell County Office of Aging was awarded $22,000, which will be used for Service, Safety, and Wellness Support Services.

All funding for grants are provided from the previous sale of the hospital. (11/21/2013/6:00 AM) 

 Old Post Office purchase official; council votes on ceiling tile bids

By Charlotte Underwood

La Follette City Council held a special-called meeting on Tuesday evening and voted to accept the lowest bidder for ceiling tile replacement at city hall.  Two bids were received, with J.R. Darty being the lowest at $16, 125. The other bid received came from Duane Gibson for $25,687.42. The council voted unanimously to go with the lowest bid.

Mayor Mike Stanfield also signed the $150,000 check on Tuesday evening, making the purchase of the old La Follette Post Office official.  Firefighters spent Wednesday cleaning up the outside of the building and doing routine maintenance. A flag was also hung from the pole.  The building has been empty since 2007. In 2008, the city began inquiring about purchasing the building, according to Stanfield.

He said the city had always been interested in purchasing the building and in 2010 the postal service said they would sell it to them at a “fair market value of half a million dollars.”

Stanfield said he was happy with the purchase and that the city was fortunate to get the building at that price. There are no immediate plans for the building as of yet, according to the mayor. (11/21/2013/6:00 AM)

 December 7 Christmas Parade honors China Willoughby

     You likely know her name, her face, her voice, or all of the above.  This year’s Christmas Parade, set for 6:00 p.m. on December 7th, honors China Willoughby.  Parade chair Kelli Jo Wright tells WLAF that Miss China’s contributions to the community and her dedication during her, now, 50+ years with the State of Tennessee make her the perfect person to honor this year.  A reception honoring Miss China is from 4:00 until 5:00 on parade day afternoon at La Follette Elementary School with her plaque presentation following at 5:30.  You are encouraged to stop by, sign her book, and have your picture taken with China.

     The 2013 Campbell County Christmas Parade will be held Saturday, December 7th @ 6pm. Please go to www.campbellchristmasparade.com for more information and registration in regards to the parade and to the Reindeer Games immediately following parade in Sergeant Park.

    There are many additions to the activities surrounding the parade this year in an attempt to raise funding.  Giving by sponsors is at an all time low and it’s been reflected as committee members have had to put personal money into the parade to keep it going. The committee plans to focus on the fundraising aspects of the parade and get it to a point where it is self-sufficient this year. This means some exciting additions to our community traditions.

   One returning hit is the Reindeer Games held in Sergeant Park immediately following the parade. The games are free to participate but if you wish for a booth to set up and sale your goods or outreach to the community it’s a $20 booth fee with first come first serve placement. Vendors are encouraged to offer candy, hot chocolate or host your own reindeer game with the children waiting in line to see Santa.   The committee hopes to encourage churches and civic organizations to participate in the Reindeer Games. Last year drew over 70 children to Sergeant Park for activities and free pictures with Santa and expects to double that this year. Santa also plans on story time to all children present at the time of his arrival to park.  Participants this year will be entertained with dancers, singers and a host of various other performances.  

      The next big thing is the implementation of Miss Campbell County. We will host the pageant Friday, December 6th at LaFollette Middle School Auditorium. There are 6 age groups and all crowned are encouraged to make a grand presence in the parade the following day. The parade committee has a prestigious lineup of judges for the event and all girls ages 2-18 are encouraged to participate.  All information regarding the pageant can be found on the parade website. There are some stipulations but it’s sure to be an exciting tradition to continue from this point forward. There is a $25 entry fee for Miss Campbell County

   “In Christmas Memory Of” bags will be sold for $5 each. The cut off date for purchasing your bag for this honor will be Thursday the 5th.  The bags will be set up, lit and lining the walkways during the Reindeer Games festivities for all to see. The bags can be left at the park after festivities or family members are welcome to take the bag home with them the night of Reindeer Games. All registration for this as well can be found on www.campbellchristmasparade.com. (11/21/2013/6:00 AM)  

Bartley’s police statement to be heard by jury; trial set for February

By Charlotte Underwood

Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood ruled on Wednesday he would allow Kenny Bartley's statement made to police eight years ago to be heard by the jury.

It has been eight years since Bartley, 14 at the time, shot three administrators at Campbell County High School, killing assistant principal Ken Bruce.

 On Wednesday, Bartley’s defense tried to have his statement to police barred from evidence.     

Bartley pleaded guilty to the crimes in 2007 and was sentenced to 45 years, however, that plea was later thrown out, after a judge said Bartley’s attorney at the time was ineffective and his parents should have been allowed to give their opinion on the plea deal. Bartley was granted a new trial in June 2011. An appeals court agreed with the ruling last May.

In court on Wednesday, Bartley's defense attorney, Greg Isaacs, argued his client was too young and mentally impaired when he made his statement to the sheriff’s department. Isaacs called on the testimony of a forensic psychologist to help him make his case.

Surviving victims principal Gary Seale and assistant principal Jim Pierce were in court Wednesday, as was Bruce’s widow.

After the shooting, then-Campbell County Sheriff's Capt. Don Farmer read Bartley his rights and proceeded to take his statement, without waiting for his parents or an attorney.

"He was still a child, correct?" Isaacs asked.

"Fourteen; yes," Farmer answered.

Bartley waived his rights, but Isaacs called on a forensic psychologist who testified Wednesday the teen didn't understand what he was doing at the time.

"Brain development, maturation and experience, are all critical in this period and he was using drugs that had very powerful affects," said Dr. James Murray.

Despite this testimony, Blackwood ruled he would allow Bartley’s statement to be heard at trial, which is scheduled to start on February 24. The jury will be brought in from outside of Campbell County.

Tuesday basketball finals

GIRLS

Anderson 40 Campbell 33

Oakdale 44 Jellico 28

Anderson 26 Lady Cougar JVs 20

BOYS

Anderson 59 Campbell 48

Jellico 82 Oakdale 71

Christian Academy of Campbell County 33 White Oak 23 (elementary)

Dead body identified

     Was the death accidental, natural, or intentional?  That’s what authorities are working to determine this afternoon after a fisherman walked up on a body late Tuesday afternoon in east Campbell County.  Sheriff Robbie Goins’ Chief Deputy Aaron Evans explains that just before 5:00 p.m. is when the call came in that the body of a white male had been found lying along the edge of the water of Norris Lake in the Doaks Creek area.  Evans tells WLAF News that the body is identified as that of 38-year old Darren Lee Morrison of Stone Ridge Lane in La Follette.  Evans says the death appears suspicious, and that he and other law enforcement personnel are treating it as a crime scene.  A medical examiner with the University of Tennessee Forensics team at Knoxville is performing an autopsy on Morrison’s body to determine the official cause of death. (11/20/2013 NOON)

Caryville settles lawsuit with former city recorder

By Charlotte Underwood

The Caryville Mayor and Board of Aldermen voted to accept a settlement offer in the lawsuit regarding former city recorder Cheryl Ivey during a special-called meeting on Monday evening. The $48,000 settlement was a “fair one”, according to Ivey’s attorney Dave Dunaway.

“It’s a fair settlement; it compensates for the year of her professional life that they took away from her,” Dunaway said.

The lawsuit and consequential settlement was a result of Ivey being “unfairly” terminated from her position as city recorder on April 22, according to Dunaway. The original lawsuit alleged that Ivey was fired in retaliation by the city and its mayor and that mayor Chris Stanley manipulated events in order to terminate her position as city recorder.

During the special-called meeting, the board also approved this year’s Christmas bonuses. Full-time and part-time employees were approved for a $300 bonus, while firefighters will receive a $50 bonus. Members of the planning commission and the board of mayor and aldermen will receive a $100 bonus.(11/20/2013 6:00 AM)

Hospital’s parent company being sold

By Charlotte Underwood

If approved by stockholders, Tennova Healthcare’s parent company Health Management Associates (HMA) will be sold to Community Health Systems (CHS), according to LaFollette Medical’s CEO and Hospital Administrator Mark Cain.

The sale has been in the works for months and once completed, the $7.6 billion sale will make CHS one of the largest, if not the largest hospital organization in the country, according to Jerry Askew, senior vice president for governmental relations. The $7.6 billion price includes CHS taking on approximately $3.7 billion of HMA’s debt.

Located in the Nashville area, CHS is one of the largest publicly-traded hospital companies in America. Through its subsidiaries, CHS currently owns, leases or operates 135 hospitals in 29 states with a total of around 20,000 licensed beds. After the sale is completed, CHS would own or operate around 206 hospitals in 29 states with a total bed count of over 31,000. Askew said he expects the sale to have no negative impacts on a local level in LaFollette.

“If nothing else, it will have a positive impact because if the sale is approved by stockholders, the combined company will be the largest hospital company in the country,” Askew said, adding that it was too soon to know if any major changes were planned.

“That will be something that is up to the new owners after the sale is finished,” Askew said.

La Follette Mayor Mike Stanfield said he hoped once the sale was completed that it would result in a positive impact for the city and its people.

If approved by stockholders, the sale is expected to close during the first quarter of 2014.(11/20/2013 6:00 AM)

Walk, don’t run – Anderson dictates tempo, wins.  Jellico wins.

     The Campbell County High Cougars had no sooner come out of the gate before the Anderson County Mavericks began to slow down the tempo of Tuesday night’s basketball game played on John Brown Court. 

 

Cougar Junior Dakota Dossett battles for the ball

Anderson grabbed its first lead in the second quarter and never let it go on the way to a 59 to 48 district win.  Campbell is 2 & 1 with a district mark of 0 & 1.  The Lady Cougars jumped out two-to-nothing in their game with Anderson only to see the Lady Mavericks reel off the next nine-points.  From there, the two squads traded baskets as Anderson won 40 to 33. 

Kendra King hits the deck diving after the ball for the Lady Cougars

Campbell slips to 0 & 3 and 0 & 1 in the district.  Anderson also claimed the Girls JV game with a 26 to 20 victory.  After leading by 17 at the half, the Blue Devils opened district play with an impressive 82 to 71 win over Oakdale at Jellico’s Lindsay Gym.  Jellico is 3 & 1 in all its games and sits atop the district at 1 & 0.  The Lady Eagles claimed the girls game by a final of 44-28.  The Lady Blue Devils slip to 1 & 3, 0 & 1 in the district.(11/20/2013 6:00 AM - DAVID GRAHAM PIX)

Follow WLAF on Twitter and Win

     Follow WLAF on Twitter and win! From time to time WLAF will award various prize gifts to a random WLAF “follower” on Twitter. Look for a free gift certificate for a hand car wash from Show Room Shine.  Just visit www.1450WLAF.com and click the “follow” near the top of the page.

Commissioners approve re-financing plan that will save county $550,000 

"further down this page, see the meeting in its entirety"

County commissioners approved a re-structuring of over $6.8 million in county debt Monday night that over a six year period will save taxpayers nearly $550,000 in interest payments.

Finance Director Jeff Marlow pointed out that the initial re-financing of older bonds will cost around $100,000, but the interest rate will be lowered from 4.5 percent to around 1.5 percent. Over a six year period that will save the county $660,000 in lower interest payments. The money will remain in the debt service account, Marlow explained, where it will serve as a buffer against possible future shortfalls in revenue due to a number of factors including lost local revenue from the federal government sequester.

Commissioners also passed a formal resolution confirming the vote last month to adopt the Jackson Law, giving the county primacy over any application for a landfill within the county.

County Attorney Joe Coker told commissioners that there was nothing in state law requiring a formal resolution over a simple motion to adopt, but CTAS had advised the county to pass the resolution as a precaution.

In what might be a forerunner of holiday spirit, not a single negative vote was cast in the short meeting, all motions passing by unanimous vote. One item was tabled until December, however.

Sue Nance asked that a request from the E-911 mapping/addressing department to approve a new county road be tabled until commissioners receive a request from the E-911 board. The request by residents living along a long driveway off Cherry Bottom Road had requested a 911 name designation as Susan Lynn Lane.

However, there was some confusion about whether the lane is a current county road or whether residents are requesting that a private road be taken into the county system. The motion to table the request until December passed unanimously.

In committee sessions prior to the commission meeting, members of the EMS committee unanimously elected Alvin Evans as chairman and Tom Hatmaker as vice chairman. The waterline extension committee elected Charles Baird as chairman and David Adkins as vice chairman. Adkins was also elected last week to chair the budget & finance committee during the upcoming year.  (11/19/2013 6:00 AM)  

Christmas Stocking Giveaway Underway Sign up Early & Often !

     The WLAF giant Christmas Stocking giveaway is now underway. Stuffed with various toys sure to please any children, our huge stocking will be given away a couple days before Christmas but the sign up process is underway at five locally owned businesses in Radio Shack, Designer Choice Consignment, Bowman Jewelers, Gifts from Above and Urgent Care Medical. 

     This week you can see the giant stocking on display at Designer Choice Consignment in east LaFollette just across from Food Lion Center.  Visit these local businesses anytime to sign up and remember to make an effort to stay local this holiday season.

Click the helmet to "watch" archived Campbell football games

County Commission Meeting from 11/18/13

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2013 District Co-Champs season closes

     A record-setting, history-making football season came to a close for the Campbell County Cougars on Friday night.  At Knoxville West High School is where the Cougars lost to the home standing Rebels in the second-round of the state high school football playoffs in their first road loss of the season.  It was only the second time in the 39-year history of CCHS Football that the Cougars recorded a winning season with the other, a seven-win year, coming in 2004.  Campbell finishes 2013 with a 10 and two mark after the 50 to 18 loss to West. (11/18/2013 6:00 AM)

Bowman Jeweler's broken window is all…but enough

     Jerry Bowman with Bowman Jewelers says it could have been a lot worse.  He adds that no one was injured, and nothing was stolen.  Sometime late Friday night or early Saturday morning, Bowman says that someone threw a large rock through one of the front display windows at Bowman Jewelers in downtown La Follette.  Bowman Jewelers celebrates its 80th year in business this year and will have a huge one-day sale on Friday running until 7:00 p.m. as part of La Follette’s “Let’s Go Downtown for Christmas” event.   (11/18/2013/8:00 AM) 

Can Campbell keep the Price brothers?

     The phone starts ringing this morning.  Sources close to WLAF say that at least three Knoxville high school athletic directors plan on contacting Campbell Head Football Coach Justin Price and his coaching brother, Matt, this week.  Over the course of the third season for the Price’s at the helm of the football Cougars, you knew the next challenge, along with the 2014 season, would be keeping the coaching staff in place.  In less than two and a half years, the Prices have brought the Cougars along like no other CCHS coach before.  The 16 total wins under the Prices from the 2011, 2012, and 2013 seasons mark the most wins in a three-season stretch in the history of the program. (11/18/2013 6:00 AM)

Spend days reading Medicare brochures.  Or spend a little time with Terry’s Pharmacy

     Do you have Medicare questions?  The folks at Terry’s Pharmacy have answers.  The 2014 Medicare annual enrollment period is now through December 7.  Rissa and the staff at Terry’s Pharmacy can help you select the 2014 Medicare Prescription Plan that’s best for you.  The top five Medicare questions are:  What should I do and when should I do it?  Are you turning 65 or retiring?  Do you need “extra help” with prescription drug costs?  Do you qualify for a Medicare Savings Program such as:  QMB, SLMB or Medicaid/TennCare?  How important is it that I review my Medicare each year?  The staff at Terry’s Pharmacy is available on Mondays from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. and by appointment on Fridays to answer your Medicare questions.  The telephone number at Terry’s Pharmacy is 423.562.4928. (11/18/2013/7:30 AM) 

2008 Citizen of the Year laid to rest Sunday

     At the age of 93, she went four-wheeling for the first time.  A year later, she took her first hot air balloon ride.  An always active Alice Coker passed away Thursday at her La Follette home.  In her later years, Coker may have been best known as the wife of General Sessions Judge Chester Coker and the mother of County Attorney Joe Coker.  The South Campbell County Rotary Club honored her as its Citizen of the Year in 2008.  In 1938, Mrs. Coker began working for the Tennessee Department of Public Welfare retiring in 1980 from the state department of human services. 

Alice Coker (PHOTO COURTESY OF CLARENCE LOWE)

In her early years, she served as acting circuit court clerk while her husband, Circuit Court Clerk Chester Coker served in the U.S. Army.  She had a lifelong interest in antiques and history and was a member of the First Families of Tennessee from both her maternal and paternal families and was one of the first members of the Campbell County Historical Society.  She was instrumental in the dedication of the Delap Civil War Cemetery and finding unknown soldiers’ graves.  Alice Coker was 97-years old.  (11/18/2013 6:00 AM)

Jellico's Blue Devils take two of three this week

     Jellico won its games Tuesday night at Wynn High School as the Blue Devils christened the new season.  The Lady Blue Devils outpaced J. Frank White Academy 49 to 17 while the Blue Devils recorded a 70 to 53 victory over JFWA.  Saturday was double-header day for Jellico in games played at Lenoir City.  In the first-half of the day’s action, Anderson County defeated Jellico in the girls game 48 to 28.  Jellico ran away from the Mavericks in the boys game taking a 68 to 47 win.  Lenoir City dominated the Lady Blue Devils in the night cap-half of the day by a score of 55 to 15.  It was a real “shoot ‘em-up” in the boys game.  Lenoir City outlasted Jellico 101 to 92.  Director of Athletics Danny “Dino” Oakes tells WLAF that the Blue Devils had a great showing Saturday at the Panthers gym. (11/17/2013 6:00 PM)

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FOOTBALL 2013

Playoff 1st Round Final Score:

Campbell Cougars 41 - Gibbs Eagles 7

Playoff 2nd Round Final Score:

Campbell Cougars 18 - Knox West Rebels 50

Snake handling Pastor Andrew Hamblin held a brief press conference on the courthouse steps after his initial court appearance on Friday morning. Hamblin had a preliminary hearing set for mid December in general sessions court.  Read Charlotte Underwood's story down this page.

Having faith enough to not fear death doesn’t mean ‘Go out and kiss a Cobra’

"Boomer's Corner" By Charles "Boomer" Winfrey

I’ve avoided going near the Campbell County Courthouse this morning. Pastor Andrew Hamblin is due in court today and I tend to steer clear of anything that encourages a media circus.

Circus is the operative word here, and it has been one long circus ever since the young preacher approached county commissioners a few months back to ask their blessing on his congregation’s practice of handling venomous snakes in their church services.

The squires, naturally, wouldn’t touch that with a ten-foot snake loop, but Reverend Hamblin generated enough publicity to get his church a reality show on the National Geographic Channel.

While National Geographic has made tremendous contributions through the years toward exploration of our planet and scientific research, don’t forget that they made their reputation back in the pre-Playboy days by being the magazine where young boys could get their first view of a bare female breast, compliments of photos of primitive cultures. Looks like not much has changed in the past century or so.

It’s becoming more and more apparent that Andrew Hamblin isn’t simply interested in seeing himself in the headlines, but is out to change the laws regarding possession of poisonous reptiles in religious services. His appearances on television were akin to putting out a sign reading, “Snake handling done here. Arrest me if you dare!”

TWRA officers had little choice under the circumstances. Law enforcement officials in Tennessee and other Appalachian states have always tried to cast a blind eye on the practice of snake handling as long as it remained low key. Arrests and prosecutions have generally occurred only when someone is bitten and either dies or is hospitalized as a result.

But a reality show on national television? Nothing for it but to make the bust and let the wheels of justice run their course.

This is the classic conflict between those Christians who accept the Bible figuratively and those who take the Word literally. For most Christians and Jews, the promise of the Bible that if you have enough faith, you can take up venomous serpents and drink poisonous drink without fear means that with faith, you need not fear death for there is a better world waiting on the other side.

The words are taken figuratively, as guidance for the importance of faith. For Andrew Hamblin and others who take the Good Book literally, what it says is how it is, period. God created the Earth and everything in it in six days and rested on the seventh, scientific evidence notwithstanding. Ignore the fact that we humans have no idea how long God’s day is in our earth-bound hours.

Likewise, if with sufficient faith, you need not fear the bite of poisonous serpents, the Bible is telling you to go out a kiss a Cobra. It won’t dare bite the faithful, only we heathens who harbor doubt in our hearts.

The multitude of state laws that restrict the possession of venomous snakes along with other wild animals were not always on the books. Snake handling was frowned upon but tolerated in many places for years. It is not the simple act of handling snakes by a handful of pastors and church leaders that resulted in many of the legal barriers to the practice, but the potential for abuse.

When some Pentecostal churches began allowing small children to participate in the practice, authorities decided they were overstepping their bounds. One incident that I read about some years ago in a book on snake handling was the spark behind many of the laws that were passed to suppress the practice.

One particular snake-handling minister lived on top of Sand Mountain in northern Alabama. His church followed the practice, and he often traveled into East Tennessee, eastern Kentucky and West Virginia to participate with other congregations, transporting poisonous snakes he caught to be used in those services.

His wife, unfortunately, did not share his particular brand of worship and usually remained home when her husband went on his frequent trips. At some point in time, the minister suspected his wife of being unfaithful. She denied his accusations , but to test her truthfulness, the pastor demanded that she place her arm inside a cage containing half a dozen freshly-caught timber rattlers and copperheads.

“If you’re being honest,” he supposedly claimed, “Your faith will sustain you and no harm will come to you.”

The wife, despite her fear of the snakes, obviously wanted to reassure her husband and save her marriage. She placed her arm in the cage, was promptly bitten two or three times, and when the suspicious husband refused to seek medical treatment for her, she died.

The preacher was placed on trial for first-degree murder. His defense was that his religious beliefs led him to believe his wife would come to no harm if she were truthful and faithful. The prosecution pointed out that since the minister suspected his wife of cheating on him, his intent was to kill her because he was sure she would be bitten.

That trial too, was a media circus. The minister was convicted and sent to prison and Alabama passed a flurry of laws abolishing the practice of snake handling and increasing penalties on violators. Other southern states soon followed suit and the practice went deep underground again for decades . . . until Rev. Andrew Hamblin decided to shake up things a bit.

At this point we have no way to predict what the eventual outcome will be. I suspect Reverend Hamblin will be convicted because the law is the law, but the judge has much leeway in how severe a penalty to impose, either a mere fine or up to a year behind bars. I suspect the young pastor will not be required to serve time in jail, at least not on a first offense.

That leniency will merely embolden him and his congregation to push a little harder until they get their day at the Supreme Court, challenging the snake handling laws as unconstitutional infringements on freedom of religion.

But there has to be a limit to freedom of religion when that freedom goes counter to other laws of the land. For instance, we’re not about to let Muslims invoke Shariah Law here in America and stone adulterers to death. Murder is murder and only state-sponsored executions are acceptable as a way to end a person’s life.

Snake handlers may, in the view of many, exhibit a death wish, but suicide is also illegal in America. Our nation will not tolerate anyone who seems intent upon ending his or her own life, let alone the lives of others.

I predict that Reverend Hamblin’s push to gain legal acceptance of his peculiar form of religious worship will fail, with the unintended consequence that even stricter laws may be placed on the books to avoid any future reality shows featuring people thumbing their noses at the law of the land. (11/15/2013 2:00 PM)  

Court date set for Tabernacle Church of God pastor

By Charlotte Underwood

A December 17th preliminary hearing has been set for LaFollette Tabernacle Church of God Pastor Andrew Hamblin. Hamblin, 21, along with his attorney Mike Hatmaker appeared in general sessions court at 9 a.m., on Friday morning where he plead not guilty to the charge of possession of class I wildlife, which is possession of animals dangerous to humans. The charges stem from the recent confiscation of over 50 poisonous snakes including copperheads, rattle snakes and several non-native species, which were seized from Hamblin’s church by Tennessee Wildlife Resource officers last week. The courtroom was packed with church members and supporters of Hamblin. All wore red clothing to signify the “blood of Christ” to show support for their pastor.

An impromptu “laying on of hands” and prayer occurred on the Campbell County Courthouse steps Friday morning when Corbin, Ky., resident Ronnie Vaught asked Hamblin for prayer for his medical conditions.

After the brief initial appearance before Judge Joseph Ayers, Hamblin spent about 15 minutes with his attorney before speaking to a bevy of reporters on the courthouse steps while he was surrounded by his supporters.

Hamblin said he thanked God for the support that has been shown for him and the church and encouraged supporters come out for his December preliminary hearing as well.

“The lord has really blessed people of all walks of life and denominations. I’m not asking people to come out here and handle rattle snakes, I’m just asking for people to stand that we have a religious right in this country,” Hamblin said, adding that he would not be taking any plea deals as he felt that would be “taking out on the word of God and stepping out on how I believe.”

“I know that not only do members of my church back me, but members of my community back me and my nation backs me,” Hamblin said of the outpouring of support he has received both with online petitions and handwritten petitions. He has around 3,000 signatures including all petitions circulating.

Supporters of LaFollette Tabernacle Church of God Pastor Andrew Hamblin gathered on the courthouse steps on Friday holding signs declaring their right to freedom of religion.

“Maybe that will turn the head of the district attorney and different ones and say hey, this is people from our county saying leave this guy alone, let this go and maybe that will make a difference,” Hamblin said, adding he was “a positive kind of fellow; I always look at the glass half full and not half empty. I believe in walking and living by faith. That’s how I walk, that’s how I live. I look at this case as I have looked at any other problems that have come into my life, one way or another, the Lord will provide,” Hamblin said as supporters burst into a round of applause and “Amens.”

When asked if his show ‘Snake Salvation’ would be continuing, Hamblin said while there was no plan for another season, he would not be surprised if National Geographic did not pick it back up.

“This is about standing for freedom and the right to worship. This is the greatest country on earth. I have veterans who have fought for my right to be able to worship this way. I am a coherent adult; if God moves on me to reach my hand in a box of rattle snakes, I should have my right to do that,” Hamblin said.

Church member and supporter Flossie Brumitte said she felt the same way.

LaFollette Tabernacle Church of God Pastor Andrew Hamblin, left, and his attorney, Mike Hatmaker, right, appeared in general sessions court Friday morning. Hamblin had a preliminary hearing set for Dec. 17th to answer to charges of possession of Class I wildlife.

“They have the right because in Mark, the Bible says they shall take up serpents,” Brumitte said. She and her sister Rosie were both at the courthouse to show support for their pastor.

A pastor at the church for nearly two years, Hamblin said he had no idea that he would become a figure in a “religious rights movement.”

“But apparently that was God’s plan and here I am today,” Hamblin said, adding that he had no regrets for doing the show, even though it seems to have led to the confiscation of the snakes and his consequential citation.

It was standing room only inside General Session Court.

“I have no regrets because I have seen drug addicts delivered, I have seen alcoholics delivered, seen people with depression delivered, I have seen people saved and that was my goal with that show,” Hamblin said, adding that if God permitted, he would be teaching the gospel tonight at the LaFollette Tabernacle Church of God at 7:30.

When asked if he would be handling snakes, he said he could not answer that other than saying “if God moves, there will be snakes handled. If someone brings them in, they will be there, but I can’t guarantee that either; it’s un-telling what will happen,” Hamblin said.

Hamblin said he saw a positive side to having the serpents taken away.

“The positive side of this has been to actually see the ones in the community and in the nation stand up and say ‘hey, I don’t believe like this boy and I will never take up serpents like him and his congregation, but he has the right to do that’”.

Hamblin said he was not worried about getting the snakes back, nor was he angry with TWRA for confiscating them.

“They done their job; but I am willing to do whatever it takes to compromise with them on a way to work this out together so they can say ‘hey, we can give him some kind of right to do this’, because if I stop, what’s going to happen with Christians on down the road? The handling of serpents in this community has been going on in this area for hundreds of years, why stop it now? Jesus wouldn’t tell me to do anything he wouldn’t do,” Hamblin said.

When asked why he felt it was a religious issue and not just a wildlife issue, he replied because he wasn’t housing the snakes at his home, but rather in the church.

“They came into my church, through double doors that was locked, through another set of doors that was locked and another door that was locked, me, the only one with keys, me the only one with access to these serpents and they came right into the house of God and just ripped them away. That would be no different than if they come in and ripped your Bible out of First Baptist,” Hamblin said. He ended his press conference in prayer. Hamblin will appear in court on Dec. 17th at 3 p.m.  (11/15/2013 12:30 PM)

Gillenwater guns!  Darin Gillenwater leads the Cougars to a 2 & 0 start

Amber Guy knocks home a 12-footer for the Lady Cougars

Can't count out the co-district champion Cougars just yet

     From one of the referees at Thursday night’s CCHS basketball game to the person waiting in line for coffee this morning, everyone’s talking about how good the West High Rebel football team is.  And that the Campbell Cougars have a big challenge ahead tonight when they take on the Red-n-Blue on West’s home turf.  They do.  And there’s even a chance of rain.  What a perfect setting!  After the Cougars pulled off a magical winning scoring drive in only a handful of seconds at Powell two-weeks ago, you have to think that this team has the “right stuff” to keep this season going.  Just ask any Cougar fan.  Oh, and aside from all the talk, there is a reason they’ll still go ahead and play the game tonight.  Take along your rain gear…just in case.  But it looks like late day rain should move out by tonight’s 7:00 p.m. kick-off for the Cougars and Rebs.  WLAF has all the coverage with Les Martin and Brent Allen on the call.  (11/15/2013 6:00 AM)

Here's what the Jacksboro-half of Cougar Football looked like 60-years ago

(PHOTO COURTESY OF HACK AYERS & LITHO-CRAFT)

McNeeley is area’s first crematory operator

Brent McNeeley of Walters Funeral Home here in La Follette recently earned his Certified Crematory Operator (CCO) designation from the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA).  The NFDA Certified Crematory Operator Program is a voluntary certification program that helps funeral directors better serve the needs of families that desire cremation.  McNeeley completed his training at the John A. Gupton College in Nashville.

Brent McNeeley

NFDA’s Certified Crematory Operator Program provides participants with instruction in best practices for safe, proper, and ethical crematory operations and for excellence in service to families that choose cremation.  Seminars cover the topics required by state law and are designed to develop understanding, skills, and a broad working knowledge of proper operational procedures as well as required and prudent administrative procedures. 

Charles McNeeley, owner of Walters Funeral Home tells WLAF, “We are pleased to have the area’s first Certified Crematory Operator on our staff.”  (11/14/2013/2:45 PM) 

Holiday baking as easy as pie

     Miss Ruby paid a visit to WLAF this week.  And we all thought she was dropping off some of her famous sweet treats.  It was a church announcement instead.  But she said she’d be back.  Back with some goodies.  After Ruby Norman retired from the shirt factory in 1992 and the frozen food plant in 1995, she turned to baking.  And we’re glad she did.  With the holidays all but here, Ruby is ready to take your orders for pies, cakes, and candy. 

Ruby Norman

Pies like chocolate and coconut come from her oven and so do Italian crème cakes, chocolate bar cakes, coconut cakes, red velvet cakes, and carrot cakes.  She even dries her own apples when she creates her popular old fashioned stack cake.  Chocolate and peanut butter candy are also a couple of her specialties.  Placing an order is just a phone call away at 423.562.3756. (11/15/2013 6:00 AM)

 Mickey D’s eyes Central at Cumberland lots

     McDonald’s came to La Follette in 1980.  Years later, it moved to Jacksboro when Walmart relocated.  It’s been widely known that the Golden Arches has been shopping land in La Follette for at least a couple of years now.  After a couple of potential locations did not work out, McDonald’s is now eyeing the corner of East Central Avenue and North Cumberland Avenue

That’s on the La Follette side of Cumberland across from the county annex building (also known as Dr. Roswell Beck’s old office). 

Sources close to WLAF say that McDonald’s wanted a corner lot at a traffic light on the north side of Central Avenue, and that all but one of the land owners have said yes, and that the other owner likely will go along with the sale.  It’s expected the project will move forward after the holidays.  (11/14/2013/6:00 AM)

It’s believed Hamblin spooked the governor’s security detail

     Last Thursday night, WLAF’s Charlotte Underwood was firmly walked out of Governor Bill Haslam’s re-election campaign kick-off bash in La Follette.  Event organizer Clarence Lowe tells WLAF that he was busy on the other side of the Stables Party Barn when Underwood was tossed out and had not idea it had taken place until the next morning.  Had he known what was taking place, he says he would have worked it out for Underwood to get her story.  Lowe surmised that since Andrew Hamblin, the snake handling preacher, who apparently crashed the party and was removed by security, may have sent mixed messages when security learned a member of the media was also at the event.  Lowe planned to talk with a member of the governor’s staff to find out just what security was thinking and why Underwood was treated as if she was a threat.  (11/14/2013/6:00 AM) 

It’s “business of the week” day

     WLAF highlights a local business every Thursday.  So, if WLAF’s Charlotte Underwood happens to wander into your business, she may be there for more than just to make a purchase.  Today’s feature highlights The Shepherd’s Home.  Enjoy. (11/14/2013/6:00 AM) 

Shepherd’s Home provides assistance for area women

By Charlotte Underwood

Sometimes another chance is all that is needed to make a difference in someone’s life. The Shepherd’s Home, a local, faith-based transitional home in Jacksboro is providing that chance for area women who are recovering from drug addiction and incarceration.

The program began four years ago and was born out of group efforts of First Baptist Church of Jacksboro, according to the Shepherd’s Home Executive Director Bridget Thomas.

Bridget Thomas is the Executive Director of the Shepherd’s Home in Jacksboro. She has held the position since August.

The definition of the Shepherd’s Home is “a Christ centered transitional home for women in recovery.”

“It was born out of need for women who were incarcerated. It was a revolving door type of situation,” Thomas said, describing how many women who get out of jail have no safe place to go and often wind up in jail once more.

 “Their friends use, their families use so there is often really no place they can go and be clean from drugs to try to change their lives,” Thomas said. Beginning with Celebrate Recovery’s Jail Ministry, the Shepherd’s Home has touched the lives of around 50 women since it started. Women either come to the home of their own accord or are sent to the home through drug court.

“Women always have the option to stay or go,” Thomas said.

Of those 50 women, 17 have successfully completed the program. The relapse rate is around seven-percent, which is lower than secular recovery programs, according to Thomas.

“It’s really up to the woman and how much she wants the recovery; they have to want to change. If they are not willing, then there isn’t really much we can do other than be here for them when they are ready,” Thomas said. She said the home saw women of all walks of life.

“What amazes me about addiction is that it knows no class, no education level, it does not discriminate,” Thomas said.

According to Thomas, the program’s primary focus is to “establish and promote a relationship with God because He is the key to recovery.”

There are currently eight women at the home going through the recovery program.

“Equally important is to provide the women with the tools and knowledge they need to overcome their addictions and become productive citizens,” Thomas said. In order to work their way through the program, women at the home read the Bible in one year, as well as work through a large curriculum of faith-based books, learn money management and become gainfully employed.

Women who are in the program find this employment at the Shepherd’s Home Thrift Store, which has been open for two years. Managed by program graduate Jodi Kesterson, the store not only provides a place of employment for those in the program, but it also provides one third of the funds needed to run the Shepherd’s Home since all profits from the store go directly back into the home. The remainder of the funds needed to run the home is provided through a medical grant and private donations.

Shepherd’s Home Thrift Store Manager Jodi Kesterson, left and Assistant Manager Allison Boshears, right, stand in front of the wall of prayer and encouragement.

The thrift store has three goals, according to Kesterson. The first goal is to provide money to help run the home, the second goal is to provide employment to women in the home and the third goal is to “bless the community with good merchandise at a good price,” Kesterson said.

Being a graduate from the home, Kesterson said managing the thrift store is much more than just a job for her.

“This job has given back to me. Because of the profits going to help other women who are like I was, it gives me such a sense of pride to work here, to know the money we make will help other women get back on track,” Kesterson said. Because of this, employees at the store are more than just coworkers to her.

“They are family, we are day to day support for one another and that is so important for those recovering from addiction,” Kesterson said.

 “We couldn’t do it without the thrift store and the many donations that pour in; we are so blessed,” Thomas said.

“The Shepherd’s home saved my life; I couldn’t do it, but God did it. I didn’t want to be a junkie,” Kesterson said, describing how drugs caused her to lose everything.

“Three years ago I had nothing and now I have a job, I have a car, I have a place to live, and I can see my children again. They helped to give me my life back, that’s why this is more than just a job to me,” Kesterson said. She described her time at the home as “life changing.”

“I was there with nine other women and we each had different stories and we each had different lows that we had to hit before we could make the climb back up, but God brought us out of it,” Kesterson said.

 “It has restored me; opened my eyes and helped me work through my issues with myself. To have someone believe in you makes all the difference in the world. Being here has totally changed my life. It is genuine love here, they genuinely care about you and walk with you the whole way,” said Mikki, one of the home’s current residents.

Another resident, Angie, said being at the home had put peace back into her life.

“It has restored me with my family, restored me with my children and restored me with God, this program is awesome,” Angie said. 

“Before I came here, I didn’t even believe in God, I didn’t even think about it, but now my life has completely turned around. Because of the Shepherd’s Home, I now know there are people who will believe in you and love you. I have hope now and strength,” said Lindsay, another resident.

The Shepherd’s Home is soon to expand with an aftercare home that will house recovering women and their children.

The Shepherd’s Home is also soon to expand with an aftercare home, which will be located in LaFollette and will house women with their children, according to Thomas. The house was donated to the Shepherd’s Home by the First National Bank of Oneida. It is expected to be open in early 2014. Thomas said the hope is to eventually add a transitional home for me as well as there is a definite need in the community.

“What makes us different from secular programs is God’s word; it has the power to change them and that relationship we help them reestablish with God satisfies their soul. They find a lot of love here,” Thomas said, adding that she wanted to send a message to any woman out there that may be struggling with an addiction.

“There is hope, you don’t have to be a drug addict; there is always a way out and it is Christ,” Thomas said.

Kesterson wanted to add her own message for those struggling.

“No one is too far gone. You might think, ‘she can do it, but I can’t, I’ve done things that are too bad’, but that’s not the case, no one is too far gone for God to help,” Kesterson said.

 Volunteers and mentors for women in the program are always needed and appreciated.

Anyone wishing to make donations to the Shepherd’s Home Thrift Store can look for the big blue donation boxes located throughout the county.

“We try to place our volunteers where they will be the most comfortable. If a woman calls me and says she is good at planning, then we get her started helping with planning,” Thomas said. Anyone interested in volunteering is encouraged to contact the Shepherd’s Home. Donations are always appreciated as well. Monetary donations can be sent to The Shepherd’s Home, P.O. Box 707, Jacksboro, 37757. Volunteers are also needed to help with the renovations of the new aftercare home. Other ways to support the home include donations to the thrift store or shopping at the thrift store. Thrift store donation boxes are located throughout the county, and even in Williamsburg, Ky., Lake City, Clinton and Anderson County. Those wanting to make donations can contact the store at 423-562-1118 to find out where the closest donation bin is located. For large items such as furniture, appliances, or large clothing donations, call 423-201-1231 and a donation pickup can be arranged. Donation pickups can also be arranged for elderly or those who can’t drive, but still want to donate to the store. A tax deductible receipt will be provided.

Women wanting assistance with addiction recovery can call the home at 423-562-0030 or visit the website at theshepherdshomeinc.org where applications can be printed off and mailed in. Applications can also be picked up at the Shepherd’s Home Thrift Store located in Woodson’s Mall. (11/14/2013)

    School Board and Caryville Meeting

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CCHS student earns award as one of top 25 JROTC students in nation

Campbell County High School JROTC student Aubrey Nash was awarded the Legion of Valor Cross for Achievement during the meeting of the Campbell County Board of Education meeting Tuesday night, one of only 25 such awards granted among over 330,000 high school ROTC cadets across the nation.

Nash became the seventh consecutive Campbell County High School cadet and twelfth in the past thirteen years to receive the Legion of Valor, underscoring the fact that CCHS has one of the best Junior ROTC programs in the country.

Aubrey Nash (DAVID GRAHAM PIX) 

That fact was emphasized by retired General Carl W. Stiner, who presented the award to Cadet Nash at the meeting. The award is based upon military and academic scholarship and grades, leadership, discipline and character.

The award presentation was a surprise to Ms Nash, who was asked to attend the board meeting to make a presentation on a JROTC program to the board, JROTC instructor Col. Knud Salveson said. Instead, she was invited to the front to receive the coveted honor while her family looked proudly on.

The remainder of the board meeting was routine business. Chairman Rector Miller at one point asked Finance Director Jeff Marlow to explain one budget amendment involving over $390,000 technology upgrades. Marlow explained that the amendment covers a transfer of grant money from the state to cover the cost of computers needed to handle new testing requirements due to begin this year.

Faye Comer was asked to explain how gate receipts from football games were distributed. Comer explained that 90 percent of all receipts go into the football program with the other ten percent transferred to the general athletic fund.

Campbell County sold 1,540 tickets to the first round state playoff game with Gibbs last week, taking in over $9,000. The total also includes $750 received because the game was televised on cable channel MyVLT. Of that amount, $5,775 was turned over to TSSAA, while Campbell County retained $3,267, Comer reported.

Attorney Dail Cantrell gave notice to the board about new state laws that will require board action to revise and update policies on bullying. Local boards can now be held liable if bullying occurs and the school system does not have programs in effect to prevent bullying and to train personnel on how to deal with bullying.

In the past, schools could only be held liable if school officials were made aware of specific bullying instances and failed to take action, Cantrell said. He also pointed out that school systems must soon close the performance gap between test scores for the highest performing students and children with special needs and those considered socially and economically disadvantaged.

Eugene Lawson pointed out that in some Campbell County schools where nearly all students qualify for free or reduced-price lunches, practically all students would be considered “socially or economically disadvantaged.”

Lawson then launched a tirade about what he referred to as “cruisers,” students who “show up at school with tattoos, face piercing and saggy pants” and aren’t interested in learning.

“There’s no possible way to bring test scores up for those students. I guess we need to bring test scores down for the better students,” Lawson quipped.      (11/13/2013 6:00 AM)

Officer sworn in at Caryville; first reading held on microbrewery/distillery regulations

By Charlotte Underwood (story and pictures)

A new police officer was sworn in during the Tuesday evening Caryville Mayor and Alderman meeting. Police Chief Stephanie Smith recommended to the board that it approve the hiring of Brian Keeton as a full-time police officer at $11 an hour. Keeton has been working as a temporary officer for Caryville since officer John Bruce resigned.

Caryville Police Chief Stephanie Smith swears in new police officer Brian Keeton during the Tuesday evening mayor and alderman meeting.

It was unanimous that Keeton be hired full-time.

 The first reading on an ordinance regulating where microbreweries, distilleries and wineries can be located within the town was also read. The ordinance restricts these businesses to zones M2 and M3, which are industrial areas, according to Vice Mayor Glenn Smith, who is also on the planning commission.

“That came down from the state that we had to allow these businesses in at all. The only thing we have control of is where to put them and so we put them in the industrial park,” agreed Mayor Chris Stanley.

 Approval was also given by the board for the fire department to use funds left over after the purchase of a new fire truck to outfit the truck with tires and other equipment. The truck cost $16,049. It is a 2006 Ford F350 extended cab, four-wheel drive truck. There had been $20,000 in the budget for the purchase of the truck, leaving nearly $4,000 left over to equip it.

 The purchase of rear tires for the street department’s backhoe at a cost of $1,052 from Doyle’s Tires was also approved, as was the application for a FEMA grant for the fire department. It is a grant the department applies for each year and if received would be used on equipment.

 Glenn Smith reported to the board that a new travel center would be breaking ground at the 141 exit in the next two to four weeks, depending upon weather and the Tennessee Department of Transportation.

Vice Mayor Glenn Smith reported a new travel center will break ground at the 141 exit sometime in the next month. The name of the travel center will be announced at a later date in December or January.

“Final plat approval will be in December or January and at that point, we will announce what the travel center’s name is,” Glenn Smith said.

Other business discussed and voted on was the approval to put two items out to bid. The first item out to bid is the repair of three doors at city hall. The doors need new locks and new weather stripping, according to Glenn Smith, who asked to have the item placed on the agenda. It was also agreed to place the repair and replacement of the front section of the fence at Asbury Park on the agenda as well. The section that needs repaired is about 60 feet, while the entire front section is around 500 feet. Board member Mark Stanley recommended replacing the entire front section for safety purposes.

Business such as the repair and replacement of the front section of fence at Asbury Park was on the agenda during Tuesday evening’s mayor and alderman meeting in Caryville.

“We have needed to move the fence back anyway to keep people from hitting it, which is what happened with the one section, so why not do it all at once and have it done,” Mark Stanley said. The cost to repair the $60 foot section is estimated at around $570. The person who tore the fence down in an auto accident will pay for that cost. The estimated cost to replace the entire 500-foot front section is anywhere from $5,700 to $7,100, according to figures Mark Stanley collected. The board voted to send it out for bid to discuss at the next meeting.

The purchase of 300 gallons of off road fuel for street department off road equipment was also approved. The diesel fuel costs $3.25 a gallon and will cost a total of $975. The fuel will be used for tractors and backhoes and other off road machinery.

Board member Vickie Heatherly suggested the re-establishment of a rainy day fund for emergencies to the board on Tuesday evening. The board voted to discuss the matter at a later date.

During the meeting, board member Vickie Heatherly brought up the topic of a rainy day fund and setting aside money in case of an emergency. She reminded the board that the town had a rainy day fund with $60,000 in it that it had used and not replaced the funds. Glenn Smith said he would like to wait till January when revenues were down in order to get a better idea of how much needed to be in the fund. Mayor Chris Stanley agreed. Mark Stanley gave his opinion on the matter, saying he thought instead of putting money in a rainy day fund, they should use it to pay off some bills that were garnering interest. Heatherly said she did not see why the town could not do both and asked if it could be put on the agenda to discuss once again in January. The board voted its approval.

Board member Lisa Crawford reported to the board the Trunk or Treat, which was held over by Scotties, went very well, with about 300 children in attendance of the event.

“I think it went great for a first time event and we hope for it to grow,” agreed the mayor.

 After the mayor and alderman meeting was over, a beer board meeting was called to order. It was a short meeting with only one beer permit issued for the Dew Drop Inn, which is located at 375 John McGee Boulevard.    (11/13/2013 6:00 AM)

 Wynn's "hay day" teams from the 1980s honored

  It was a unique setting for a couple of old rivals.  Long-time high school adversaries Jellico and Wynn came together for a very special night of basketball Tuesday at the gym where the Blue Devils and Bulldogs used to battle it out.  Wynn, which no longer has a high school, hosted Jellico for the Devils season opening basketball game with J. Frank White Academy.  Jellico claimed both the girls and boys games.  But Wynn’s “hay day” teams of the 1908s stole the show.  The state tournament teams for the Lady Bulldogs of 1983 and Bulldogs of 1986 were honored.   (11/13/2013 7:00 AM - DAVID GRAHAM PIX)

Hamblin hires Hatmaker to represent him

     Jacksboro attorney Mike Hatmaker was retained by Reverend Andrew Hamblin, the snake handling preacher, to represent him when he goes to court later this week.  Hamblin dropped by WLAF on Monday afternoon telling us Hatmaker was representing him and asking us to sign his petition to the State of Tennessee as well as the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA).  He is petitioning that each entity recognize his First Amendment rights and drop all charges against him.  The young pastor was cited last Thursday morning by the TWRA for possession of Class I wildlife (wildlife inherently dangerous to humans).  Hamblin adds that TWRA officers entered his church without a search warrant and proceeded to carry out 50 poisonous snakes, housed in glass cases, ranging from copperheads to rattlers to cotton mouths from Hamblin’s church on Longmire Lane in La Follette.  The snakes were taken to the Knoxville Zoo.  The popular snake-handling preacher tells WLAF that he had enough snakes to carry he and his church members at the Tabernacle Church of God through the winter.  A court date is scheduled for November 15 at 9:00 a.m. in Campbell County General Sessions Court at Jacksboro.  Hamblin encourages everybody to wear red and attend his day in court in support of the right to believe and worship in the way that you want.  He says even if you think the way he worships is stupid, he would still like for you to be there to stand up for your religious freedom.  He asks what’s next?  No foot washing in church?  No more anointing of oils?  Hamblin hopes for 1,000 signatures to take with him to court Friday morning.  He’s at his church each evening from 6:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. for you to drop by and sign the petition.  His telephone number is 423.201.5460.  There are no snakes at the church.  However, Hamblin tells us that snakes were brought into his church for Friday and Sunday evening services over the weekend in front of full houses each night.  Counting the Tabernacle Church of God, Hamblin notes that there is a total of three snake handling churches in Campbell County.  Tune-in 1450 WLAF Radio this Thursday morning at 7:30 a.m. when Reverend Hamblin visits live on the air.  (6:00 AM 11/12/2013)

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Honor All Veterans event from Veterans Day

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2013 Veterans Day Parade

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"Standing Next to You" is by Lloyd Neal & band "Native American"

     The La Follette connection to the song posted this morning on WLAF is Brian King.  Though King does not live here, but his parents, Lynn and Stella King, are from here and live here.  Brian’s friend, Lloyd Neal, is a Desert Storm Veteran, and it was Lloyd who wrote the song and recorded it with his group, Native American.  Enjoy!  (11/11/2013/10:30 AM) 

 

Terry's Pharmacy is ready to help you with your Medicare questions

     Do you have Medicare questions?  The folks at Terry’s Pharmacy have answers.  The 2014 Medicare annual enrollment period is now through December 7.  Rissa and the staff at Terry’s Pharmacy can help you select the 2014 Medicare Prescription Plan that’s best for you.  The top five Medicare questions are:  What should I do and when should I do it?  Are you turning 65 or retiring?  Do you need “extra help” with prescription drug costs?  Do you qualify for a Medicare Savings Program such as:  QMB, SLMB or Medicaid/TennCare?  How important is it that I review my Medicare each year?  The staff at Terry’s Pharmacy is available on Mondays from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. and by appointment on Fridays to answer your Medicare questions.  The telephone number at Terry’s Pharmacy is 423.562.4928. (11/11/2013/6:00 AM) 

A flag raising ceremony was performed by Campbell County JROTC students at 1 p.m. on Sunday at Freeman Park in La Follette.

Keepers of the Flame; a Tribute to Veterans

By Charlotte Underwood

You see them every day. You pass them on the sidewalk and in the grocery aisles. Perhaps one is your neighbor or sits next to you at church. They are even your friends and family. But do you know their story? Do you know their sacrifice? Do you know the love and honor and duty they gave to this country? They are our veterans. They come from all walks of life and span many years, multiple wars, times of conflict and peace. But they all have one thing in common. No matter their age, whether they guarded the home front or their boots touched foreign soil; they are heroes of a nation. More than that, they are the hometown heroes of Campbell County and each has a story to tell. They are the “keepers of the flame,” according to army veteran General Carl W. Stiner.

In honor of Veterans Day, several veterans living in Campbell County were kind enough to share experiences and memories from their time in the military both at home and overseas. (photos contributed by veterans - parade photos by Charlotte Underwood)

Members of the color guard proudly displayed both the American and the state flag during the Veteran’s Day parade held in LaFollette on Sunday afternoon.

Navy veteran Edward Balloff, WWII

Navy veteran Ed Balloff enlisted in the naval reserve in 1939. Balloff was 20 years old and in the middle of law school at Vanderbilt when he enlisted.

In order to go into the naval reserve and quickly get back to his legal studies, Balloff had to meet certain requirements.

“We were what they called 90-day wonders; if you had a degree, you weren’t married and could pass a physical, then you could go into the reserve,” Balloff said.

“They were drafting people, so I enlisted in the reserve. At the time, they told me I would just be taking a two week cruise in the summer and then the war started and I was the first student they pulled out of law school,” recalled the 93-year-old veteran with a rueful smile.

World War II veteran Ed Balloff spent the war in the United States Navy

Born and raised in LaFollette, Balloff soon found himself training on an old World War I warship called the Prairie State, which was anchored in the Hudson River at 195th Street in New York.

“It looked like Noah’s Ark,” Balloff described. There were 1,000 midshipmen being trained on the ship, men from all over the country and all of them single and with college degrees. If you did everything right and passed all your tests, then you got to go ashore and have “liberty”, which basically meant you got to go have fun and have some time off from military duties. As Balloff put it, “New York was a great place to have liberty.” He described the city during his time there as “full of midshipmen and sailors.”

“We would get off the ship and walk to Broadway and catch a subway. A lot of us would go to the Astrotel, which had a bar and an orchestra that played all the time. There was always girls hanging around you could dance with; you didn’t have any trouble having a good time in New York City,” Balloff said.

Trained as a gunfire liaison officer, Balloff would go ashore with the army and help spot navy guns. This was in the Atlantic.

“The first place we went, some army camp, we spotted navy gunfire, after the army troops went inland, we went back to the ship,” Balloff said. After that he became a line officer, before ending up on an Amphibious Staff as a gunnery officer responsible for taking LSTs (landing ship, tank) to Europe. LSTs is the military designation for naval vessels created during WWII to support amphibious operations by carrying significant quantities of vehicles, cargo, and landing troops directly onto an unimproved shore.

“We would load them at the Naval Depot in Yorktown to take ammunition to England for the invasion of France,” Balloff said.

Afterwards, he was sent out into the Pacific Ocean to be stationed on another amphibious staff. After leaving San Francisco, he spent four months out in the ocean looking for the staff. While he was out looking, the staff had returned to the U.S. and by the time Balloff himself returned to the U.S., the war was finally over.

During his time in the military, Balloff met many people. He recalled one of the more memorable characters from his military days as a fellow soldier who he trained with.

“I had some of my training with a guy named Sam Ballard. When we were at Notre Dame, he slept in the bunk above me. His father was the editor of the Times Picayune in New Orleans. Sam Ballard would sing these French ditties and let’s just say once you heard them translated, they weren’t as funny as they were in French,” Balloff said with a laugh.

 Shortly before he and Ballard were shipped off to different regions of the war front, Ballard asked to borrow Balloff’s alarm clock.

That was the last Balloff saw of Ballard for four years, until the war’s end.

“I was at a naval hospital in San Diego and just out of the blue I heard this voice singing these familiar French ditties. Well, there was Sam Ballard lying on his stomach in a hospital bed because he had been shot in the butt. He laughed and said, ‘Ed, I’ve got that clock of yours’ and he did, he gave it back to me, of course I don’t think it even worked anymore; it was all rusty because he had been out in the Pacific,” Balloff laughed.

When he did return home, he resumed his studies and obtained his law degree. He remembered the war being something that no one really talked about much.

“When we came back, everyone was involved in the war. All the women were working and when the war ended, we came back and went on our merry way,” Balloff said, adding that no one necessarily acted like it was a big deal to be a veteran at the time.

“We didn’t even think about the war when we got back; nobody asked us what it was like and we just wanted to get on with our lives,” Balloff reflected.  “When we were over there, we knew we were in it till the end. When the war was over, well, thank God we got out alive.”

First Baptist Church of LaFollette Pastor Duane Mills played the bagpipes while marching in the Veteran’s Day parade.

Air Force veteran Jo Anne Myers, Cuban Missile Crisis

Air Force veteran Jo Anne Myers enlisted in 1960 because it was something different to do, something maybe a “little rebellious.”

“I always wanted to travel and do something different. Back in my era, there were limited opportunities for women and I wanted something more challenging, so I signed up,” Myers said.

She was stationed in Texas during the Cuban Missile Crisis, which, according to Myers was “pretty intense.”

“We were on lockdown and you had to call in all the time; we had to report our whereabouts at all times,” Myers said, recalling getting military briefings and updates in the movie theatre at the military installation.

“We really had no idea how serious it was until later; when you’re 20 years old, you think you’re going to live forever,” Myers said, adding that she remembered reading about it later and thinking how close the country came to a nuclear event. During her time in the military, Myers was trained as a dental hygienist and had the opportunity to work with  astronauts.

While working as a dental hygienist, Myers said it was exciting to meet people like Charles Conrad, who was the second man to walk on the moon.

“He had a small split between his top two teeth and he was very concerned about it,” Myers said, recalling Conrad as being a “very nice man.” She also met John Glenn after his Apollo 11 flight.  Glenn was the first American to orbit the earth.

When Myers signed up for the Air Force, she had wanted to be a pilot.

“They told me no way, that’s not going to happen. It wasn’t until later women were allowed to become pilots,” Myers said. She served in the air force for three years and recalls the bonds she formed with fellow soldiers during that time.

“I did my training at Lackland Air Force Base and I am still in touch with some of my friends from those days. Now we keep in touch with Facebook, which is something I never would have imagined then,” Myers said, adding that she had good memories of her time in the military.

“I served with nurses that were later sent to Vietnam and I can’t imagine what they experienced there, but women have always been on the forefront of war whether we want to recognize it or not,” Myers said.  As far as being a veteran, she said she didn’t think about it too much.  “I am proud to have served my country. The experiences meant so much to me and I learned so very much, but I don’t think it separates me from other women who have not served.”

Classic cars were also on display during Sunday’s Veteran’s Day parade.

Veterans were throwing candy left and right during the parade on Sunday.

Army veteran, Gen. Carl W. Stiner, Vietnam

“There’s a great honor to serving one’s country and preserving our peace for the future generations,” said General Carl W. Stiner. Commissioned as a second lieutenant in the United States Army in May 1958, General Stiner served his country for 35 consecutive years, before retiring in 1993. A veteran of Vietnam and multiple other conflicts, General Stiner recalls how difficult it was for soldiers returning home from that war.

“The hard part was while we were over there fighting, the peace movement had taken place back home and we didn’t know the consequences of that. When the troops started returning, they were treated terrible and some vets were even killed in Oakland, Calif., just because they were wearing their uniforms. But those of us who were there knew we were doing the right thing; trying to stop communism,” Stiner said.

General Carl W. Stiner is retired from the U.S. Army, he is a Vietnam veteran.

Over the years, over 30 million men and women have proudly worn a U.S. military uniform.

“They are the keepers of the flame. They wore those uniforms in the hope and belief that America would always remain a land of liberty and peace because of their actions and by their sacrifice they have secured our inalienable rights and our freedom,” Stiner said, adding that the “blessings are ours only as long as we are willing to sacrifice to retain them.”

Over one and a quarter million soldiers have paid the ultimate sacrifice, giving their lives so that others may remain free.

World War II Veteran Howard T. Gillum rode in Sunday’s parade.

Army and coast guard veteran, George Moses

A veteran of both the army and the coast guard, George Moses said he graduated basic training two days after Vietnam ended.

“I was young and volunteered for the army to go to war. All through basic training, they told me I was going to war and then suddenly it was all over,” Moses said. With Vietnam having just ended and the peace movement in full swing, the country was a volatile place for soldiers returning from war, as well as current soldiers traveling for their duties.

 “When I was in the army, Vietnam was ending so I would travel in my civilian clothes to the airport to keep from being assaulted by protestors,” Moses said. Despite this negative experience as a military man, Moses said he enjoyed his time in the military and that it had made him “grow up.” While in the army, Moses was part of a nuclear detection unit attached to the 82nd Airborne.

“I have always been proud of being a veteran and of my military time, but I haven’t always been proud of the American people and how they treated veterans and soldiers,” Moses said, adding that he felt it was hard for those who had not served in the military to “truly understand what it means to be a veteran and serve one’s country.”

It’s not a parade without the CCHS Marching Band keeping tempo.

Army veteran, Mike Stanfield, Vietnam

LaFollette Mayor Mike Stanfield knows what it means to serve, though he did not enlist by choice. Drafted into the army to go to Vietnam at the age of 20, Stanfield said he was proud to have served his country nonetheless. Having never been out of Campbell County, Stanfield suddenly found himself traveling across the country for training and then quickly shipped to Vietnam to fight a war he was really too young to understand.

“Being a veteran, serving your country, well, it was like a job; you gave it 100 percent and just hoped you got to come home to your family. We’ve all done things we didn’t want to do, but we had to do it.” Stanfield said.

He completed one tour of Vietnam from 1971-1972.

LaFollette Mayor Mike Stanfield, far right, spent one tour in Vietnam. Most of his time was spent as an MP, or military police officer.

“I had only been married about three months and my wife hated I was going to war; she didn’t know what was going to happen to me and neither did I,” Stanfield said. Trained as a heavy equipment mechanic, Stanfield was sent over seas.

“When I flew in and first got a look at the place, I noticed there were all these black bags lined up on the beach; they were bodies waiting to be flown home on the same plane I had arrived on.” He said he remembered thinking, “God, what have I got into here?”

“When we landed in the holding station that was Cam Ranh Bay, I got my orders to go to Da Nang and even though my MOS (military occupational specialty) was as a heavy equipment mechanic, I was assigned to be a cop, an MP,” Stanfield said, explaining that was how the military worked.

“If they need a cop, then you’re a cop; for a while, I was even a pots and pan man in the kitchen. In the army, it’s what they want you to be and that’s what you are,” Stanfield said. After settling in, he was assigned to the 87th Infantry Company, which was part of a transportation company. As a military police officer, Stanfield helped to provide security for troops and equipment in Da Nang, which was a compound about the size of LaFollette. During this time, he saw a lot of his friends and fellow soldiers die. He described the stress-full atmosphere that contributed to so many Vietnam era vets returning home with drug addictions.

“Each day you were always wondering if it would be the one that would take you out; there was so much death and shells going off all around you,” Stanfield said. He also recalled returning home from the horror of war and arriving in Oakland, Calif., to an ungrateful public.

“People were spitting on us and calling us names; it was turmoil,” Stanfield said. Like many other veterans, he attempted to find solace in alcohol.

“I haven’t drunk in 20 years, but I did then when I came back from the war. I drank to forget it all,” Stanfield said. And though many years have passed, he has never forgotten.

“I can still see their faces sometimes; I can still see the death.” Yet despite all this, Stanfield said he would not trade the time, nor did he regret serving his country.

“What I did was nothing compared to what some soldiers gave.”

When he was back home in LaFollette, Stanfield said he and his wife wanted to have a child.

“Lisa really took away that void that war had left in my heart,” Stanfield said.

CCHS ROTC students carry the American flag during the Veteran’s Day parade in downtown La Follette on Sunday.

Civilian, Rae and Greg Mihal, Dessert Storm

Civilians have served in times of war as well. Rae Mihal and her husband Greg are two prime examples of civilians serving their country and soldiers in a time of need during the Gulf War. The Mihals spent about 20 years living in Saudi Arabia because they worked there in the oil industry. They have lived in Campbell County since 2000. Coming from a family of military supporters and enlisters, Mihal said she felt a strong compassion to help the American troops. She currently has two grandchildren enlisted in the military.

Campbell County resident Rae Mihal, along with her husband Greg lived in Saudi Arabia and participated in the Host a Soldier program. She stands surrounded by Gulf War soldiers whom she took into her home during prior to the war’s start.

“We stayed in Saudi Arabia during the build up of armed forces and the proceeding Gulf War. We saw our brave young men and women from all branches of our armed forces getting ready to right the wrong done when Iraq invaded Kuwait, not knowing who would live and who would die,” Mihal said. She and her husband participated in a “Host a Soldier” program that changed their lives forever. They would host soldiers about three times a week.

“The troops were brought by bus across the dessert and offloaded into cars and vans outside our gates. When they came to us, they were dirty, smelly and scared,” Mihal recalled, adding that the troops had arrived overseas well before their supplies and some of them had been in the same socks for a week.

“They would feel so bad and not want to even take their boots off or come in the house because they were worried about their feet smelling,” Mihal said. She and her husband would send them straight to the shower, she would start their clothes in the wash and the soldiers would be given some of her husband’s clothes to wear while theirs were washed and dried.

Rae Mihal had a house full of female soldiers for Thanksgiving.

“They were just so grateful for the smallest of things, hot meals, clean clothes, stamps and envelopes or a chance to call loved ones at home; we were able to provide that in gratitude for their service and those times were some of the best of my life,” Mihal said emotionally. She would bake cookies and take them out into the dessert in bushel baskets. Other Americans living and working over there participated in the program as well.

“They would take them ice cream, they would take grills out into the dessert and cook them breakfast; anything to make them feel appreciated,” Mihal said.

Having lived in Saudi Arabia for so long, Mihal did not see her family or even Americans often and suddenly her home was filled with young American soldiers homesick and scared.

“They were like family,” Mihal said, describing a house full of soldiers for Thanksgiving, Christmas and much of the time in between. While in Saudi Arabia, she did get to see her brother who was in the military at the time. She had not seen him in about 10 years.

“His commanding officer allowed him to come and stay with me and that was so special.”

 The Mihals received several awards from the U.S. military for their efforts and support of the American troops.

“I wouldn’t trade anything for the time spent being with our soldiers. When they say our bravest and our best, that’s our military; it is just astronomical what these young people do and give to protect us and our lives.”

From all of us here at WLAF, thank you to all of our veterans.   (11/11/13 6:00AM)

The CCHS ROTC Veteran’s Day parade float honored all veterans past and present.

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1st Baptist Church of La Follette Sunday morning service 11/10/13

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WLAF reporter thrown out of Haslam event

     Nope.  It wasn’t a disgruntled school teacher.  Not even an unhappy road department worker.  Nor a sign carrying liberal.  It was WLAF’s Charlotte Underwood who was literally escorted from Governor Bill Haslam’s Thursday night event all the way to her car.  An organizer with the governor's party questioned Underwood’s presence, and when she told him she was with WLAF, she was promptly taken to the Stables parking lot and told that it was a closed event to the media.  Maybe getting a picture of the governor and a few comments from him were a little too much to ask.  After all, Haslam was kicking off his re-election campaign in Campbell County last night, and we here at WLAF thought that was worthy of covering in order to bring you a “warm and fuzzy” story this morning.  But maybe it wasn’t.  Guess the next time a political candidate comes to Campbell County to host a high-dollar fundraiser, WLAF had best just stay at the house.(11/08/2013/6:00 AM) 

Turkey shoot is this Saturday

     The Powell Valley Conservation Club holds Turkey Shoots in November.  The next is this Saturday November 9 from 9-11 AM . Gift cards of $25 will be awarded to winners in each round.  

     An additional shoot is on Thanksgiving November 28 from 9-11 AM.  One note of interest is that there will NOT be shoots held on Christmas or New Years this year as has been in the past, so bring your shot gun and come out this Saturday and enjoy the fall weather and have some fun at the Powell  Valley Conservation Club Range. (11/05/2013/6:00 AM) 

New WLAF Archive Page

     Missed a radio show or video?  It may appear on our new WLAF Archive” page. WLAF will archive select programs & videos of interest. New additions all the time. Just click the “WLAF Archive” button over on the right and see what is there….. >>>>

Follow WLAF Radio on Twitter    

     WLAF is active now on Twitter. For up to the moment information on community events as well as WLAF Radio & TV happenings follow WLAF Radio by clicking the follow button at top of the page. Also keep up by checking out our twitter timeline over to the right of the page and by all means spread the word to everyone to “follow” us. !

Special Cougar Football Feature

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as Heard Here on 1450 AM and 1450WLAF.com

Take part in your Hometown Sears Store “Holiday Cook-Off” Contest

     In the spirit of the holiday, Robert Coble and the folks at your local Hometown Sears Store in the Woodson Mall at Food City Center are hosting a Facebook Holiday Cook-Off contest for Sears fans!  The time frame to submit your favorite homemade holiday recipe, including the ingredients and how-to, is today through November 14.  Then on November 15, the voting begins.  Simply gather your friends and encourage them to vote on the La Follette Sears Facebook page once a day for your recipe.  The recipe with the most votes, or likes, is the grand prize winner.  Grand prize is a stainless steel Frigidaire smudge-free range and refrigerator; a total retail value of $3,299.98.  The winner will be announced in a post and via email.  Look for the La Follette Hometown Sears Store ad at the top of the page and just “click.”  (11/01/2013/6:00 AM) 

Cougar Roar by Jon & Tessa Terry

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LaFollette City Council Meeting for Tuesday, November 5, 2013

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Council votes no on interim city administrator; purchases old post office

By Charlotte Underwood

The LaFollette City Council decided not to appoint an interim city administrator while Billie Russell remains on medical leave.

Councilman Joe Bolinger spoke up on the topic, saying he believed the department heads could take care of their departments and that an interim city administrator should not be appointed at this time.

“If they run into a situation they need help on, they can call the front office and poll us on it,” Bolinger said, making it in the form of a motion. When the matter was put to a vote, Councilman Hansford Hatmaker disagreed, commenting that “everyone knows we need a temporary administrator; somebody has got to sign off on something. You can’t even work people overtime without someone signing off for it and getting permission to do it. We didn’t have any problems when we did it when the mayor and Joe wanted Jimmy to do it,” Hatmaker said, adding that “now since it’s not one of you guys men, you don’t want to do it,” Hatmaker said, adding that a “political issue was being made out of it” and if someone wasn’t appointed now, there would be a problem and the “mayor would try and run the show.” At that point, Mayor Mike Stanfield told Police Chief Jimmy Jeffries to “put him out.” Hatmaker replied that “Jimmy wouldn’t put him out.”

Mayor Mike Stanfield threatened to have Councilman Hansford Hatmaker removed by LaFollette Police Chief Jimmy Jeffries at the Tuesday evening meeting during the vote on whether or not to appoint a temporary city administrator.

After a brief argument, Stanfield pointed out that the matter had been put to a vote and that Hatmaker needed to vote on the issue.

Whether or not to appoint an interim city administrator for the city of Lafollette caused a brief stir on Tuesday evening during the meeting.  

“We have a motion, we have a second; it’s a vote. We’re voting, you’re time’s finished. You had your chance in the workshop Mr. Hatmaker,” Stanfield said.

“You are just as rude as they come Mike; it’s either your way or no way,” Hatmaker said. Stanfield disagreed, saying it was the “taxpayer’s way.”

Councilman Hansford Hatmaker was the only board member who wanted to appoint a temporary city administrator while Billie Russell is away on medical leave.

The motion carried, with Hatmaker being the only negative vote on the issue.

After the meeting, Stanfield told WLAF he had not had any contact with Russell and did not know when she would return from medical leave. He said Russell had made it plain that all contact would have to go through her attorney Dave Dunaway.

Council members also voted to purchase the old LaFollette Post Office building for $150,000. To pay for the purchase, $300,000 will be borrowed against CDs owned by the city, which will mature in the spring of 2014. After the CDs mature, the money will be paid back. The remaining $150,000 will be used to complete several projects including the paving of four roads at a cost of around $70,000 total. Roads to be paved will be West Chestnut and West Walnut, as well as Seventh Street and from Tennessee Avenue up to West Elm Street, according to the mayor. Around $20,000 of the funds borrowed will be used to relocate the skate park, which was recently disassembled. A suggestion for a new location was one of the tennis courts owned by the city located behind the Shell station. However, a new location has not definitively been chosen yet. Thirty thousand dollars will be repaid to the city’s street department, which used that amount of money to repair the road by Po Boys and on South Avenue, according to Stanfield.

“It had to be fixed and the money to fix it came out the street department’s budget and now it has to be put back in there,” Stanfield said. The remainder of the borrowed money will be used to replace ceiling tiles in the fire department, police department and clerk’s office which are water damaged. Sealed bids will be accepted on the ceiling tile repairs.

Other items discussed during the meeting included the approximate $34,000 in funds raised from a surplus auction. City Treasurer Terry Sweat reported to the board the breakdown of the auction money. He said $17,807.50 will go into the general fund and the other approximate $17,000 will go into the drug fund.

It was also discussed and decided during the meeting that the LaFollette Fire Department would have their firefighters trained to be “First Responders” so they could better serve the community. The purchase of extrication equipment to help remove someone from a vehicle was also brought up by the fire department. Over half of the department is already trained and certified in extrication; equipment is all they need, according to Byrd.

“That way, if we are first on the scene then we can actually assist them,” said Councilman Bob Fannon. Stanfield said he was in favor of both ideas and hoped to be able to talk to the medical board about funding these two programs.

“We need to change with the times,” agreed Fire Chief Gary Byrd. Fannon said he would like to see the program up and running within six months.

Announcements during the meeting:

On Friday, at 10 a.m. two representatives from Community Health of East Tennessee will be at the LaFollette Library to help explain the new insurance and help people fill out for the new insurance. It is a free service.

In honor of Veteran’s Day, a flag raising ceremony will be held on Sunday at 1 p.m. at Freeman Park. The Veterans Parade will begin at 2 p.m. at the Methodist Church.(11/06/2013/6:00 AM) 

Turkey shoot is this Saturday

     The Powell Valley Conservation Club holds Turkey Shoots in November.  The next is this Saturday November 9 from 9-11 AM . Gift cards of $25 will be awarded to winners in each round.  

     An additional shoot is on Thanksgiving November 28 from 9-11 AM.  One note of interest is that there will NOT be shoots held on Christmas or New Years this year as has been in the past, so bring your shot gun and come out this Saturday and enjoy the fall weather and have some fun at the Powell  Valley Conservation Club Range. (11/05/2013/6:00 AM) 

New WLAF Archive Page

     Missed a radio show or video?  It may appear on our new WLAF Archive” page. WLAF will archive select programs & videos of interest. New additions all the time. Just click the “WLAF Archive” button over on the right and see what is there….. >>>>

Follow WLAF Radio on Twitter    

     WLAF is active now on Twitter. For up to the moment information on community events as well as WLAF Radio & TV happenings follow WLAF Radio by clicking the follow button at top of the page. Also keep up by checking out our twitter timeline over to the right of the page and by all means spread the word to everyone to “follow” us. !

Special Cougar Football Feature

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    Terry's Pharmacy is ready to help you with your Medicare questions

     Do you have Medicare questions?  The folks at Terry’s Pharmacy have answers.  The 2014 Medicare annual enrollment period is now through December 7.  Rissa and the staff at Terry’s Pharmacy can help you select the 2014 Medicare Prescription Plan that’s best for you.  The top five Medicare questions are:  What should I do and when should I do it?  Are you turning 65 or retiring?  Do you need “extra help” with prescription drug costs?  Do you qualify for a Medicare Savings Program such as:  QMB, SLMB or Medicaid/TennCare?  How important is it that I review my Medicare each year?  The staff at Terry’s Pharmacy is available on Mondays from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. and by appointment on Fridays to answer your Medicare questions.  The telephone number at Terry’s Pharmacy is 423.562.4928. (11/04/2013/6:00 AM) 

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as Heard Here on 1450 AM and 1450WLAF.com

The new J.R.s Tires and Auto Center on Highway 25W between Sonic & the car wash

Hannah Owens, with pen in hand, signs to play college basketball

David Graham - WLAF Sports

Hannah Owens, Senior Campbell County basketball player, will be a Lady Patriot once her career at CCHS concludes.  She signed today with St. Catharine's college in Springfield, Kentucky, which is in the Mid-South Conference.  It's a NAIA school located about forty-miles south of Louisville, Kentucky. Assistant coach Tyler Campbell was there to make sure she signed on the dotted line, and that he brought back what he was there for.

Tyler said, when I asked why they chose Hannah, they liked her athleticism, they also like the way she carried herself on and off the court, according to Tyler, "she's a great kid".  Her family was there to celebrate with her, mom & dad, David & Ann Owens were there along with her sister.  Coach Ryan Browning was on hand along with Athletic Director Sherry Chapman and Principal Jamie Wheeler to wish her well.

I asked why she signed so early, she said that's where she knew she wanted to go and also, to get this out of the way so she could concentrate on the upcoming season. She said she loved everything about the school when she went to visit and knew that's where she wanted to be. She hasn't decided on a major just yet.

Missing a hunting dog?

     This dog was found in the Lynch Hollow-Norris Point area.  To claim him, please call 423.912.1948. (11/01/2013/1:30 PM) 

Take part in your Hometown Sears Store “Holiday Cook-Off” Contest

     In the spirit of the holiday, Robert Coble and the folks at your local Hometown Sears Store in the Woodson Mall at Food City Center are hosting a Facebook Holiday Cook-Off contest for Sears fans!  The time frame to submit your favorite homemade holiday recipe, including the ingredients and how-to, is today through November 14.  Then on November 15, the voting begins.  Simply gather your friends and encourage them to vote on the La Follette Sears Facebook page once a day for your recipe.  The recipe with the most votes, or likes, is the grand prize winner.  Grand prize is a stainless steel Frigidaire smudge-free range and refrigerator; a total retail value of $3,299.98.  The winner will be announced in a post and via email.  Look for the La Follette Hometown Sears Store ad at the top of the page and just “click.”  (11/01/2013/6:00 AM) 

Jacksboro Middle School Halloween Newscast from week of October 28, 2013

 

Jacksboro Middle School News from week of October 21, 2013

 

Utilities department receives clean audit

By Charlotte Underwood

The LaFollette Utilities received a clean audit of its financial statements during the board meeting on Monday. Pugh & Company, P.C. out of Knoxville performed the audit and presented the report to board members regarding the fiscal year which ended June 30, 2013.

Pugh & Company CPA Barron Kennedy provided an audit report to the LaFollette Utility Board on Monday night.

“There were no issues of non-compliance,” said Barron Kennedy, a CPA for Pugh & Company. No issues of non-compliance means the utility company met state and federal requirements regarding financial statements and record keeping, according to LaFollette Utility General Manager Kenny Baird. Financial statements reported in the audit showed the electric system “continues to perform well financially, as does the water system,” Baird said.

 The audit showed the electric department side of the utility company had a net income increase of $1,823,826, which is a 6-percent sales increase over fiscal year 2012. Electric customers increased by 12 as opposed to the year before. Operating expenses, excluding purchased power expense, also increased on the electric side in the amount of $425,197.

 “Your operating cost, just like everyone’s went up this year and TVA is getting it,” said Pugh & Company representative Daniel Franklin.

“The problem is, when TVA raises it, the public thinks it is us,” said board member Frank Shaw.

“The cost is TVA driven and I think some of our customers are beginning to realize that,” Baird said.

General Manager Kenny Baird, right, shook hands with Pugh & Company CPA Barron Kennedy at the close of the LUB meeting, which was held on Monday night. CPA Daniel Franklin, center, was also present to provide the financial audit report.

On the water side of the utility department, the water department’s net income decreased by $130,770 as opposed to the previous fiscal year. Operating revenue increased by $212,775, while operating expenses increased by $239,923. Waste water once again showed a loss, despite a 12-percent increase in revenue, which equaled $186,000. This increase was due to the increased rate, but according to Kennedy, it was still not quite enough to offset the increase in expense, which went up by about $106,000.

“That rate increase was definitely needed, but I urge you to try a little harder towards breaking even on the waste water side or the state will come in and force a higher rate increase,” Franklin warned the board.

“The state will do it too,” agreed LUB Attorney Mike Hatmaker.

Another rate increase on the waste-water side was implemented in July, but that increase has not had much impact yet, according to Baird, who explained the above average rainy season had resulted in less water used over the summer than he projected. Projections were made using last year’s water usage numbers.

LaFollette Utility Board members listen as auditors from Pugh & Company out of Knoxville provide them with a financial audit report. The utility received a clean audit.

“We are making some progress in that department, however, we still struggle to cover the true costs of treating sewage and waste water, but we are trying to take matters in hand in a reasonable way without breaking the backs of the rate payers,” Baird said.

“It is not abnormal at all to suffer losses in waste water treatment; municipalities all over have to deal with it,” Franklin said.

 The next LUB meeting is on Nov. 25 at 7 p.m.  (10/30/2013/6:00 AM - CHARLOTTE UNDERWOOD PIX)

Christmas Parade is December 7

     The 2013 Campbell County Christmas Parade will be held Saturday, December 7th @ 6pm. Please go to www.campbellchristmasparade.com for more information and registration in regards to the parade and to the Reindeer Games immediately following parade in Sergeant Park.

    There are many additions to the activities surrounding the parade this year in an attempt to raise funding.  Giving by sponsors is at an all time low and it’s been reflected as committee members have had to put personal money into the parade to keep it going. The committee plans to focus on the fundraising aspects of the parade and get it to a point where it is self-sufficient this year. This means some exciting additions to our community traditions.

   One returning hit is the Reindeer Games held in Sergeant Park immediately following the parade. The games are free to participate but if you wish for a booth to set up and sale your goods or outreach to the community it’s a $20 booth fee with first come first serve placement. Vendors are encouraged to offer candy, hot chocolate or host your own reindeer game with the children waiting in line to see Santa.   The committee hopes to encourage churches and civic organizations to participate in the Reindeer Games. Last year drew over 70 children to Sergeant Park for activities and free pictures with Santa and expects to double that this year. Santa also plans on story time to all children present at the time of his arrival to park.  Participants this year will be entertained with dancers, singers and a host of various other performances.  

      The next big thing is the implementation of Miss Campbell County. We will host the pageant Friday, December 6th at LaFollette Middle School Auditorium. There are 6 age groups and all crowned are encouraged to make a grand presence in the parade the following day. The parade committee has a prestigious lineup of judges for the event and all girls ages 2-18 are encouraged to participate.  All information regarding the pageant can be found on the parade website. There are some stipulations but it’s sure to be an exciting tradition to continue from this point forward. There is a $25 entry fee for Miss Campbell County

   “In Christmas Memory Of” bags will be sold for $5 each. The cut off date for purchasing your bag for this honor will be Thursday the 5th.  The bags will be set up, lit and lining the walkways during the Reindeer Games festivities for all to see. The bags can be left at the park after festivities or family members are welcome to take the bag home with them the night of Reindeer Games. All registration for this as well can be found on www.campbellchristmasparade.com. (10/28/2013/6:00 AM)  

Toys for Tots registration times set

      Mark your calendar.  The registration for children to benefit from Toys for Tots is Friday November 15 from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. and Saturday, November 16 between 9:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. inside the Campbell County Courthouse in the downstairs lobby.  You must bring child’s social security card and or birth certificate. (6:00 AM 10/21/2013)

Cougar Roar by Jon & Tessa Terry

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Pioneer man recovering at UT Medical Center

     It was a tense 18-hours or so for a Campbell County man and his family.  Twenty-five year old Blake Douglas of Pioneer had not been seen since 11:00 p.m. Sunday when he left his home on a four-wheeler headed for Sand Gap Mountain in the Elk Valley area.  Family members told authorities that Douglas did not return home and did not show up for work on Monday at Southern Tube Form at Clinton adding that these actions alone were very uncharacteristic of him. 

Blake Douglas

A missing person’s report was called in to WLAF Monday afternoon around 4:00 p.m., and a search began.  In the meantime, members of Douglas’s family discovered his four-wheeler near Sand Gap Mountain.  A short time later, Douglas walked to his home on Key Lane in Pioneer. 

First responders described Douglas as suffering from fractured ribs and other injuries after learning he had been pinned underneath his four-wheeler all night and was eventually able to free himself and walk home. 

Just before 5:30 p.m., Lifestar landed at Elk Valley School and transported him to the UT Medical Center at Knoxville.  Douglas is listed in serious condition this morning in the hospital’s surgical critical care unit.  (10/29/2013/6:00 AM)

Council discusses appointment of interim city administrator

By Charlotte Underwood

Whether or not to appoint an interim city administrator while Billie Russell is on sick leave was briefly discussed during the La Follette City Council workshop held on Monday evening. Councilman Bob Fannon and Mayor Mike Stanfield said they felt the departments pretty much handled themselves and would be able to do so unless something specific came up.

“Or we can appoint one of our department heads like we did with Jimmy temporarily until Billie gets back,” Fannon said.

La Follette City Mayor Mike Stanfield said he felt that Billie Russell should be present before any grievances regarding her were discussed during the Monday evening workshop session.

“I think she’ll probably be back before long and I say just let it run itself,” Stanfield said.

Councilwoman Stephanie Grimm agreed, saying that if something needed to be moved around moneywise or purchased, then just call us and poll us.”

“Last time we appointed Terry (Sweat) and we didn’t have any problems,” Councilman Hansford Hatmaker said, adding that in his personal opinion Stan Foust or Johnny Byrge could be appointed as interim city administrator and that way there would be someone to handle any issues that may arise while Russell is gone.

“We can put it in their hands and if they can’t work something out then they can come to us. That way we would still be where we were at to start with but we’ve got someone who can pretty well be accountable for the rest of you,” Hatmaker said. He also pointed out that the mayor and council members could not serve as the interim city administrator.

The board agreed to place the item on the agenda for next week’s meeting.

Councilman Hansford Hatmaker, (right) and Bob Fannon, (left) discuss whether or not an interim city administrator should be appointed while Billie Russell is out on sick leave.

Shortly before the hour-long meetings close, Hatmaker brought up the topic of grievances regarding Russell.  Stanfield and Fannon both said they felt that Russell should be present for the discussion since the grievances involved her. Hatmaker, however disagreed, saying in his opinion, the grievances were not against Russell, but against the city’s policies and charter.  Stanfield said he did not feel it was right to discuss it without her present and left the workshop.

Other items discussed at the workshop included discussion regarding approximately $34,000 in funds raised from a surplus auction.

“Most of the stuff sold came from the police department and we haven’t even decided what to do with the money,” Stanfield said. City Treasurer Terry Sweat explained to the board that the majority of the money would have to go back into the police department.

“If it was DUI seized vehicles, that money will go into the general fund, and then drug seized vehicles go 100-percent into the drug fund,” Sweat said, adding that $17,250 would go into the drug fund. The figures and percentages will be broken down for the meeting.

The board also discussed the old post office being for sale. It was offered to the city for $150,000.  Police Chief Jimmy Jeffries spoke to the board about it, pointing out that the 911 board could possibly have a use for a larger building.

“That would be something to put to the 911 board,” Jeffries said.

Grimm asked the board members if the 911 board wasn’t interested in the building if the city could find other uses for it.

The main floor of the building is 5,000 square feet and also includes an upstairs and basement. Due to the building being a historical site, the front lobby cannot be remodeled, but everything else could be changed to fit the city’s needs.

“If 911 is not interested in this, what other options are there for the building?” asked Grimm.

“We could find a use for that building,” Stanfield said.

“With it being so close to our other properties, it’s not a bad price no matter what we do with it,” Hatmaker said.

The building’s owner said he had several other interested parties in the building, but that he had wanted to give the city first chance at the purchase.  The item was placed on the agenda for Tuesday.

Jeffries also spoke to the council and received permission to hire Mike Lawson part-time.

“He comes highly recommended and is paying his own way through police academy,” Jeffries told the board.

Street Department Head Jim Mullins also received permission from the board to apply for an STP matching grant that if received would be used to redo the sidewalk from Massachusetts Avenue to the middle school.  The grant would be for $90,000 and the city would have to provide $20,000.  The grant is regulated by the Tennessee Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration guidelines and can only be used where they say it can be used, according to Mullins, who pointed out that it could not be used to pave city streets.

“We have been talking about doing this for years and we’re lucky no kids have been killed,” Stanfield said.

“Well, we have an opportunity to get it done,” Mullins said.

The board gave Mullins permission to proceed with the grant application.

The board also heard comments from a citizen regarding the need to have her road on South Tennessee Avenue paved. She told the board that she had lived at her house since 1999 and that the road had never been paved and was in terrible shape.

Grimm asked Mullins if he could have an estimate worked up to see what it would cost to have the street paved so the board could see the cost.

Announcements during the meetings close included:

-East LaFollette Baptist Church is selling Thanksgiving dinners on Nov. 7th for $7 a plate.

-Coats for the Cold donations are being sought. Coats new or in good condition can be taken to the First Methodist Church from 9 to 3 a.m. The distribution will be at the old East LaFollette School Nov. 14-15. (10/29/2013/6:00 AM)

Share your "teacher story" with us - Teacher Stories is featured here every Monday

     Eddie Jones, now retired and living in Brownwood, Texas, recalls West La Follette Elementary School teacher Edna Lambdin.  Do you have a favorite school teacher?  Who was the school teacher who influenced you the most?  Whether you’re 9 or 99, long story or short story, WLAF would love to hear and share your story.  Monday is Teacher Stories day on 1450wlaf.com.  Please send us your “teacher story” to wlaf@1450wlaf.com.  (10/28/2013/6:00 AM) 

Eddie Jones remembers Edna Lambdin

     I was very fortunate to have Mrs. Edna Lambdin for my first grade teacher.  Looking back, she gave me a really good start and introduction to school in the fall of 1961.  She helped this six-year old boy become comfortable with her, going to school, and getting to know the, I think, 30 other students in my class.  West La Follette School is where she taught, and I’ll always remember how good she was to all of the students.  The room was on the La Follette side of the school, and besides using the main door to enter the school, you could also come in a side door to her classroom.  Mrs. Lambdin taught me to write and read and really helped me to have a good foundation, because I excelled in the classroom and credit her for getting me started on the right foot.  Mrs. Lambdin has been gone for many years, but it is my hope that someone in Mrs. Lambdin’s family may read my story.   (10/28/2013/6:00 AM) 

Terry's Pharmacy is ready to help you with your Medicare questions

     Do you have Medicare questions?  The folks at Terry’s Pharmacy have answers.  The 2014 Medicare annual enrollment period is now through December 7.  Rissa and the staff at Terry’s Pharmacy can help you select the 2014 Medicare Prescription Plan that’s best for you.  The top five Medicare questions are:  What should I do and when should I do it?  Are you turning 65 or retiring?  Do you need “extra help” with prescription drug costs?  Do you qualify for a Medicare Savings Program such as:  QMB, SLMB or Medicaid/TennCare?  How important is it that I review my Medicare each year?  The staff at Terry’s Pharmacy is available on Mondays from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. and by appointment on Fridays to answer your Medicare questions.  The telephone number at Terry’s Pharmacy is 423.562.4928. (10/28/2013/6:00 AM) 

County Commission Meeting from 10/21/13

 

 

Commission votes 15-0 to adopt Jackson Law

After three months of back and forth debate, public meetings and intense lobbying by residents of the Fifth District, it was all over in a matter of a few minutes Monday night, as the Campbell County Commission voted unanimously to adopt the so-called “Jackson Law” which gives county government a voice in whether to permit a landfill in its jurisdiction.

In this case, the proposed coal fly ash landfill near Westbourne had no supporters visible in the audience of around 80 people, and not one commissioner voting against the motion, made by Marie Ayers and seconded by Thomas Hatmaker, to adopt the Jackson Law.  All commissioners were present for the 15-0 vote, which stops the Tennessee Department of Environment & Conservation’s permitting process.

The next step in the drama rests with the landfill developers, Ketchen Land Company.  The company must now submit a proposal to the county commission instead of simply leaving the county on the sidelines as an observer in the TDEC permitting review.  If such a proposal is received, the county will schedule a public hearing to hear from both sides before voting on whether to grant or deny county approval.

If approval is given, the company’s permit application would continue being reviewed by the state.  If it is denied, the company’s only alternative would be to appeal the county decision in Chancery Court.

J.L. Davis complimented the citizens on their orderly behavior and presentation, a sentiment echoed later by Bob Walden.  Everyone present seemed to be sporting stickers reading “Vote Jackson,” but the only outburst occurred from the hearty applause after the unanimous vote was cast.

The remainder of the unusually short meeting was mostly taken up with routine business.  After some discussion, the commission voted unanimously to renew a five-year lease with the City of La Follette for the use of two rooms in the old West La Follette School for storage of public records. The $400/month cost also covers a staff person to help members of the public who want to gain access to the courthouse records.

Commissioners also confirmed a decision by the animal control committee to eliminate the rescue fee charged by the animal shelter for adopting animals, and received a report from Mayor William Baird on the status of the contract for operating courthouse vending machines.

Those machines were under contract to former Courthouse Maintenance Supervisor Don Dilbeck, who maintained them and collected any profits.  Several vendors have expressed interest in bidding on the contract since Dilbeck retired, but Mayor Baird reported that the non-profit business group representing the blind has informed the county that it will assume responsibility and collect revenue from the machines.  State law requires that the blind be given first option on any contracts for operating vending machines in public buildings.

The commission also briefly discussed the notion of placing speed control devices (speed bumps) on some county roads.  Apparently Thomas Hatmaker had paid to place speed bumps on the road leading past his home while some residents of Landmark Road also paid out of their pockets to place speed breakers on that road.

In both cases, County Attorney Joe Coker pointed out, it is illegal for private citizens to alter a public road.  Hatmaker moved to suspend the rules and vote on a motion for the commission to authorize speed bumps if requested by the public, but some commissioners expressed misgivings about a process that would allow anyone who wished, to request speed bumps on county roads.  The motion to suspend the rules failed 9-6. (10/22/2013/6:00 AM) 

Joint Undercover Drug Investigation Reveals Alleged Drug Dealing Former Sheriff’s Son

              Billy Jack “Cotton” Kitts - Illegal Drug Activity Charged in Grand Jury Indictment

Campbell County Sheriff Robbie K. Goins announced today an arrest from a Campbell County Grand Jury Indictment. A joint undercover narcotics investigation by the 8th Judicial Drug Task Force and the Campbell County Sheriff’s Office, revealed the alleged sell and delivery of drugs by a former longtime and popular sheriff’s son. Billy Jack “Cotton” Kitts age 68, the son of former Sheriff Rose Kitts, was pursued and taken into custody after being indicted by a Campbell County Grand Jury for the sell and delivery of schedule 2 narcotics, just outside of La Follette at his residence in Pleasant Ridge, after an undercover drug investigation showed he delivered and sold narcotics.

Agents from the 8th Judicial Drug Task Force and Investigators from the Campbell County Sheriff’s Office led an undercover sting that started a few months ago where “Cotton” Kitts illegally sold morphine.  “It is again sad and very apparent that someone’s family history and upbringing does not always fall in line as to what they are taught as children as to what they do as adults.

It’s unfortunate we see another sad case like this. We can say for certain that no matter who you are, how you were raised, where you live or what you do, we will investigate, pursue, arrest and prosecute anyone who takes illegal actions of selling narcotics and helps bury society and our young people deeper in a hole of death that we all know for sure drug addiction and drug dealing will lead them to.

We will not and cannot tolerate it.” said Sheriff Robbie K. Goins.  Kitts remains in the county jail this evening on a $100,000 bond.     (10/21/2013/5:00 PM) 

Dagley leaves lasting impression on Powers

     When I attended La Follette High School from 1967 to 1971, I was very fortunate each year to have a teacher by the name of Jerry Dagley.  I had him for Algebra I as a freshman, Algebra II as a sophomore, Geometry as Junior, and Advanced Math when I was a Senior.  Mr. Dagley was a man of integrity who devoted his life to teaching and volunteered to be both a basketball coach and golf coach.  He knew a lot about basketball but little about golf.  That didn’t stop him, because we mainly needed someone to drive us to events.  We even talked him into ordering us white shoes, orange pants, and white shirts for the golf team.  We weren’t the best team, but we were the best dressed!  I’ll never forget one time in class, he made an error in a formula that he put on the board, and I pointed it out to him.  He said that was only the second mistake he ever made and asked the class if they knew what the first one was?  When I answered “becoming a teacher,” he cracked up.  He had a great sense of humor.  Of course, I was kidding, and it was definitely no mistake for him to be a teacher.  He dressed professionally, worked hard, and went out of his way to help us anytime we had difficulty.  He would meet us before, during, or after school to work with us on a math problem.  He even invited me and a friend to his home after we were in college to help us with a calculus problem.

     He was a Christian, but he didn’t have to tell us that – he lived it everyday.  He not only helped his students with math problems, but any problem they had in life.  Although, I am now 60-years old, I still refer to him as Mr. Dagley.  He earned that respect from all that knew him, and he epitomized what we all think of as “great teacher.”  Henry Adams once said, “A teacher affects eternity, he can never tell where his influence stops.”  Mr. Dagley exemplifies that quote as he is still influencing many of us to this day.  State Representative Dennis Powers, Vice-Chariman of the Tennessee House Republican Caucus – State Capitol, Nashville(10/21/2013/6:00 AM)

Macy Caldwell & Riley Faulkner finish second place in state meet

Macy Caldwell just recently won the Knoxville Metro Area Cross Country Championship and today Macy battled for a state title placing second. Congratulations to her for a great season and representing Campbell County well. Macy attends Christian Academy of Campbell County. David Graham will have a complete wrap up of the state meet and all the local runners in this weeks sports report. In the elementary boys division Riley Faulkner also was a second place finisher. No photo available.(updated10:00 AM 10/20/2013)

Isaiah Project 58

     Isaiah 58 Project, an outreach ministry of Restoration International Outreach (RIO) in Maryville, is partnering with several local churches for a food giveaway on Saturday, October 26th at Wynn School. Food boxes will be given out beginning at 9:00 a.m.

     Several local churches or ministries are participating, including: Fincastle Church of God, Habersham Baptist Church, Jellico Highway Church of God, New Life Ministry Center, Stanfield Church of God, The Stand and White Oak Church of God.

     Food boxes are limited to one (1) per family and two (2)  per vehicle to ensure as many families as possible are served.  For more information call Bob Walden at 865-809-1879.  To learn more about Isaiah 58 Project, go online to: www.isaiah58project.org (updated11:00 AM 10/19/2013)

Orange barrels all around town as LaFollette improves the sewer system

(Charlie Hutson PIX 10/19/2013)

Toys For Tots

      Toys for Tots bake sale is Saturday Oct 19th from 10 am to 2 pm at the Wal-Mart. The registration for children to benefit will be Friday Nov 15th  9 – 5 pm & Sat Nov 16th 9 am -2 pm in the Campbell County Courthouse downstairs lobby.  You must bring child’s social security card and or birth certificate. (11:30 AM 10/18/2013)

LaFollette Loses a Valued Educator

     Beloved former educator Nancy Leach (East LaFollette Elementary) passed away after battling illness for over a year. She was greatly admired and her students loved her. Nancy was born in Speedwell on September 10, 1939 to the late French Earl and Emma Jenness Miller Rogers.  She lived her entire life in Speedwell where many refer to “God’s Country” because of its exquisite beauty.

 She was an active and lifelong member of Cawood United Methodist Church in Speedwell where she served as church secretary and treasurer for the past 30 years. She retired from the Campbell County School System after 35 years of teaching at East LaFollette Elementary as a beloved third grade teacher.  She was a 1961 graduate of Lincoln Memorial University and received her Master’s degree in 1983 from The University of Tennessee Knoxville.   Nancy was active in the LMU Alumni Association and served on the board for several years and volunteered many hours of service at LMU.  She was named 2010 LMU Volunteer of the Year and just recently the award given each year was named in her honor. The family will receive friends on Sunday, October 20, 2013 from 4:00 – 7:00 pm at Cross-Smith Funeral Home, LaFollette with a Celebration of Life Service to follow in the Cross-Smith Chapel at 7:00 pm.  Pastor Keith Hampson and Pastor Ronnie Mutter to officiate.  Family & friends will meet for Graveside services on Monday, October 21 at 12 Noon Beeler Cemetery in Speedwell.

In lieu of flowers, her wishes were memorial contributions be made to Cawood United Methodist Church, 4557 Old Highway 63, Speedwell, TN 37870

(11:10 PM 10/18/2013)

You have Medicare questions, Terry’s Pharmacy has answers 

     Do you have Medicare questions?  The folks at Terry’s Pharmacy have answers.  The 2014 Medicare annual enrollment period is now through December 7.  Rissa and the staff at Terry’s Pharmacy can help you select the 2014 Medicare Prescription Plan that’s best for you.  The top five Medicare questions are:  What should I do and when should I do it?  Are you turning 65 or retiring?  Do you need “extra help” with prescription drug costs?  Do you qualify for a Medicare Savings Program such as:  QMB, SLMB or Medicaid/TennCare?  How important is it that I review my Medicare each year?  The staff at Terry’s Pharmacy is available on Mondays from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. and by appointment on Fridays to answer your Medicare questions.  The telephone number at Terry’s Pharmacy is 423.562.4928.

           Here’s the sheriff’s 90-day report

 Sheriff Robbie Goins tells WLAF that this past month has been accomplished with challenges, but with predictable rewards on the horizon.  With the loss of Brandon Elkins to the Tennessee Bureau of investigation, Goins says that he and his department will quickly move forward, and that he’s proud to announce the promotion of two of their most dedicated, experienced and highly motivated people in my office.   Join me in congratulating our new patrol and training Captain Jeremy Goins and our new supervisor for the Criminal Investigation and Drug Investigation Divisions Lieutenant John Long

     Below is the total number of calls for service and the specific 10-Code calls that were entered by the 911 Center.  As an office, the Sheriff’s Department responded to 3,350 calls for service that have been entered, in the previous 90 days.

Calls for Service

Animal Calls                              84                            Attempted Suicide                    13
Escorts                                     248                          Suicide                                      2
Civil Process                             35                            Harassment/Threats                   86
Noise Complaints                       32                           Trespassing                              15
Vandalism                                 60                            ATV Complaints                        43
Wanted Checks                         95                            B&E Business                            6
Child Custody                            39                            B&E Residence                         84        
Neighbor/Property Disputes        20                             B&E Vehicle                             12
Shootings                                  4                              Shoplifter                                  11
Runaway Juveniles                     5                               Fraud/Forgery                           19
Missing Persons                        19                             Fire                                           41
Alarms                                      189                           Stolen/Lost Property                163   

Reporting at Station                     00                           Message Delivery                       00
Stolen Vehicles                           33                            Juvenile Problem                         3         
Property Damage Crashes          142                            Traffic Stops                            465
Crashes w/ Injury                       60                              Officer Assistance Calls             27        
Drunk/Drugged Driving                27                              Domestic Dispute                     130
Armed Robbery                         00                               Drug Traffic                                48
Hit and Run                               15                               Disturbance                               95
Prowler                                    33                                 Assault                                    30
Welfare Check                           92                               Sick/Injured Person                   78
Public Drunk                              7                                 Child Abuse                               2
Fight Calls                                 13                               Indecent Exposure                      1
Suspicious Person/Vehicle         304                              911 Hang Up                              2
Dead Body                                18                                Extra Patrol Calls                     55
Haz-Mat Situation                      00
Mental Person                           9
Property Check                        25

The total number of arrest for the months of:

July:     101    August: 100    September: 76…90 day total: 277

Total Civil Process Served for the 90 day period:   1,107

The sheriff recognizes the hard work of the following individuals for their number of arrests for the reporting period:  Franklin Ayers 23 arrests, Travis Bostic 21 arrests, Matt Dople 16 arrests, Cody Chapman 12 arrests and Gary Jeffers with 12 arrests.  Sheriff Goins also commends Franklin Ayers for leading the patrol division with 23 arrests.

Highlights of additional progress & activities for the Sheriff’s Office in the previous 90 days         

July – Our School Resource Officer Division attend the Blount County Sheriff’s Office SRO Training

July - Captain Jeremy Goins, Sergeant Freddie Stagnolia and Sergeant Matt Wasson attended the POST Rules and Regulations Class in Knoxville, TN.

August - Sergeant Ken Daugherty, Detective Josh Carroll and Sergeant Freddie White attend Bomb Recognition School hosted by New Mexico Tech University in Greeneville, TN

September - Deputy Ty Daugherty, Deputy Josh Jeffers and Deputy Shane Wolfenbarger attend Field Training Officer School in Roane County, TN.

September - Deputy Travis Bostic attend Instructor Development School in Roane County, Tennessee

September - Sergeant Freddie White attend Meth Site Safety School in Bell Buckle, TN

September -  Sergeant Ken Daugherty attend Sirche Crime Scene Technician School in North Carolina.

September -  Captain Jeremy Goins, Sergeant Matt Wasson and Sergeant Ken Daugherty conducted safety training for the Campbell County School System.

September -  Deputy’s with the Campbell County Sheriff’s Office attend training hosted by the 8th Judicial District Attorney General’s Office.

             The last 90 days have been a time of transition in the Criminal Investigation Division.  During the last 90 days CID has handled 191 cases and the Drug Investigation Unit has completed 15 undercover buys. CID and DID has written and participated in several search warrants inside of the county which has led to the seizure of approximately $20,000 in vehicles and currency. The DID unit has also been assisting the Joint Methamphetamine Task Force with their investigation during this quarter. Our efforts have led to the indictments of 5 in 90 days. Further, the division has solved cases resulting in the arrest of 77 individuals for various criminal offenses.  The great majority of cases assigned have been felony offenses, and have taken hours of hard work in solving. Some of the notable offenses include:

·         4 burglaries

·         7 aggravated burglaries

·         16 thefts under $500.00

·         10 thefts over $500.00

·         22 thefts over $1000.00

·         2 thefts of property $10,000

·         3 Introductions of contraband into a penal facility

·         12 for the sell and delivery of scheduled narcotics

I would like to welcome both Josh Carroll and James Skeans into our division. They have already contributed greatly to our success.

Board Bill Projections:     June: $73,149               July: $74,296                August: $94,202           

White Male Inmates: 114         Black Male Inmates: 1    Other Male Inmates: 2    Total: 117

White Female Inmates: 45       Black Female: 0             none                             Total: 45

Male Inmates: 72.22%             Females: 27.78%            White: 98.15%           Black: .62%          Other: 1.23%

Total Inmates: 162

Average Age Male: 35    Average Age Female: 31

Average Number of days in Jail:  121             Total Inmates that have been in jail prior: 154

90 Days Evaluated for this average and purpose:

Average daily inmate count:                    165

Highest Daily count in 92 days:   198

Lowest Daily County:                             144

Average Inmate meal cost for the months of July, August and September

July:                             14,778 meals served- $1.02 cents/meal- $1.21 with bread and milk

August:                         16,505 meals served- $.80 cents/meal- $1.01 with bread and milk

September:                   15,325 meals served- $.90 cents/meal- $1.13 with bread and milk

       3 month average: 15,536 meals served:           $.91 cents/meal- $1.12 with bread and milk

 (NOON 10/15/2013) 

Cougars keep climbing the rankings ladder

     The Beech Buccaneers of Hendersonville lost their game on Friday night while the Campbell Cougars won 35-28 at Gibbs.  As a result, CCHS moves up one spot in this week’s Associated Press 5-A High School Football Top 10 Poll.  Campbell is 6th while Beech slips to 9th. 

The Henry County Patriots in Paris sit atop the poll at a perfect 8 & 0, the only unbeaten team in this week’s 5-A rankings.  Knoxville West is 2nd, Ooltewah follows, then it’s East Hamilton and Anderson (5th), Campbell in the number six slot, Cleveland, Oak Ridge, Beech, and Rhea County round out the Top Ten.  The Cougars do not have a game scheduled Friday night but return to action on October 25 in their final regular season home game of the season as Karns comes to town.  WLAF has all the coverage. (6:00 AM 10/15/2013)

Caryville Meeting for Monday, October 14, 2013

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WLAF features "teacher stories" every Monday right here - send us yours  

     Today's "Teacher Stories" features a story from local business owner, Deborah Pemberton.  Deborah & Company is the name of her beauty salon which is located at the corner of East Beech Street and South Indiana Avenue.  Do you have a favorite school teacher?  Who was the school teacher who influenced you the most?  WLAF's new weekly feature that showcases your “teacher story” began this morning.  Whether you’re 9 or 99, long story or short story, WLAF would love to hear and share your story.  Monday is Teacher Stories day on 1450wlaf.com.  Please send us your “teacher story” to wlaf@1450wlaf.com. (10/14/2013/6:00 AM)

Teachers Maggie Longmire & Jane Rasnake are featured today

     When thinking of who my favorite teacher would be, two excellent ladies come to mind, schoolteachers, mentors, both fit the bill to a T!  Maggie Longmire, whom I had the pleasure of having for my first grade teacher at Coolidge Elementary all those years ago, she was always kind, concerned with the well being of her students, didn't hesitate to dole out the hugs when needed. 
     My other candidate would be Jane Rasnake, whom I had the pleasure of spending 3 years in her home economics class, she honed our culinary skills  as well as our seamstress talents, hovering over our shoulders as we worked, checking each pot or stitch, quick to catch our mistakes, making sure we did it right the first time~ preparing us to never go hungry nor without clothing in any life-stage we may encounter in our adult life!
  Deborah Pemberton

East Tennessee Boat and Truck Repair is now open

WLAF welcomes a new business to downtown LaFollette in East Tennessee Boat & Truck Repair with Josh Goins and Janelle Everett the owner/operators. They are located in the Old BP (Wayne`s Gulf) Station on North Tennessee Ave and it`s Grand Opening time for them and they welcome everyone to stop in and visit and for sure get a quote on your next mechanical or detailing need.

Owners Josh Goins and Janell Everett welcome you

Josh has over 15 years experience in auto, & diesel engine repair and worked on vehicles all around the world by way of providing services as a merchant marine.  Among his many customers is one you may have heard of ‘The Star of Knoxville” riverboat.

 Grand Opening is going on now but Josh says each day is grand when he pleases a customer and gets them back up and going and by providing the “best prices in town” he says they usually always come back. In addition to the best prices, Josh says he is open 24 hours a day. He explains that there are times when your vehicle may break down and it’s not business hours or on weekends and you may need it quickly. In those cases one phone call and Josh says he will get you back on the road or on the lake.

Grand Opening Special right now is boat and RV winterization. Take it to him or if needed he will assist you and come pick it up and Josh is proud to notify everyone to expect his best rate of $40 hour.(10/08/2013 - 11:00 AM)

                       

Join Tony Basilio Saturday nights at 11:00 over 1450 WLAF AND WLAF-TV 12

Presented by these outstanding corporate partners:

B & M Tires - Joe Whited & Benny Roberts

Jeff Sweat Investment Services

Holston Gases

Pop’s Wine & Liquor

Doug Boshear's Paving

David Rutherford's All-Star Awards

Valley Roofing

Paul Construction

My Secret Closet

Kash & Karry Building Supply

Minton's Tire & Service Center

Beltone Hearing Aids

KP's BBQ Catering with Keith Phillips

            

La Follette High School's Best of Times IV is coming June 4-7, 2015

Cole keep cheering on the Owls

     Give me an “O.”  A “W.”  “L.”  An “S.”  Whatta ya got?  O-W-L-S…Owls!  That was Sandra “Chig Cole” Brady’s cheer for old La Follette High in the ‘70s, and she’s picking up now where she left off after her 1973 graduation.  Chig paid a visit to the old radio station on Tuesday cheering on the 2015 “Best of Times IV” school-wide reunion.  She says it’s set for the first weekend in June 2015 (June 4, 5, 6, & 7).

In the meantime, the “Circle of Memories” campaign is in full swing as Chig and the reunion committee are selling personalized bricks that will make up the brick walk around the pavilion at Seargeant Park.

The bricks start for as low as $70, and nearly 100 bricks have been sold so far.  For more details, connect to Facebook, ”LHS Best of Times IV” or call 865.426.2233.  You will also find periodic updates over our web channel, 1450wlaf.com.  (UPDATED 10/14/2013)

A couple of hundred jobs coming to Caryville

By Charlotte Underwood

At the Monday evening Caryville Mayor and Alderman meeting, Mayor Chris Stanley announced that around 250 jobs will be coming to Caryville this fall after a body armor manufacturer from Indiana opens up in the old PACA building.

"This is a big catch for Caryville and we are very fortunate to have it come our way," the mayor said, adding that the company had already signed the lease and hoped to be in business by November.

"We are very excited; it’s a big win for Caryville. They have even said they hope to expand and have as many as 350 people working eventually," Chris Stanley said, adding that he would announce more about the incoming business as the plans developed.

The board also briefly discussed an ordinance that once passed, will establish standards for distilleries, micro-breweries and wineries as mandated by the state.

“Some of you may have heard the buzz about the micro-breweries. From what I understand about how this came about, is that someone in Pigeon Forge or Gatlinburg brought this up about distillery rights and won a court case, so now there can be micro-breweries, distilleries and wineries in any town that has liquor,” Chris Stanley said, adding that the town had no choice in the matter and that it had never been put on a ballot.

“We can’t vote no or anything, this is state mandated.  All we have control over is where they can be put,” the mayor said, adding the only place distilleries would be allowed was in the industrial area. The matter was tabled until Thursday night at 6 p.m. during a special-called zoning and planning commission meeting.  As of the meeting on Monday evening, no one had inquired about establishing a distillery, micro-brewery or winery in Caryville, according to the mayor.

The board of alderman also held the second reading of an ordinance which amended the annual operating budget for fiscal year 2012-2013 and the first reading of an ordinance amending the budget for fiscal year 2013-2014.

Caryville Alderman Glenn Smith announced a special-called zoning and planning commission meeting will be held on Thursday, Oct. 17 at 6 p.m.

The mayor and alderman accepted a bid from Lindsay’s Truck Sales in Lexington, Kentucky, in the amount of $16,049 for a 2006 Ford F350 extended cab, four-wheel drive truck for the fire department. There had been $20,000 in the budget for the purchase of a truck, according to Chris Stanley. The fire department plans to use the remaining $4,000 on equipping the truck.

A quote from Morton Salt Inc. was also approved for 25 tons of salt at $78.25 a ton to be purchased by the town.

The police department received approval to apply for a GHSO grant in the amount of $5,000 and the board also approved Open Arms Ministry to hold a road block on Dec. 6th to raise funds.  Should there be inclement weather; the alternate date is Dec. 20th.

Board members approved payment of $1,810 to Sweat’s Wrecker Service for storage of a police car that had been wrecked and kept at the wrecker’s impound.

“This has already been paid to us by our insurance, so now we just have to pay them,” the mayor said. Other bills paid during the meeting included $1,210 to Auto-Graphics for tech support at the library. The tech support covers the circulation system and the online catalog system as well.

The Caryville Mayor and board of Aldermen discuss business on Monday evening during the regularly scheduled meeting.

Final business concluded was the board’s approval for Alderman Mark Stanley to pursue getting estimates to have the fence repaired and moved at Asbury Park. Mark Stanley said he would report his findings to the board at the next meeting. Part of the fence had been knocked down after being struck during an auto accident.

The mayor also announced there would be a Trunk or Treat held at Cade Sexton Ball Field on Halloween night from 5 to 7 p.m.

“This will give the kids a safe and clean environment to trick or treat in,” Chris Stanley said. (6:00 AM 10/15/2013)

Commissioners hear from packed house opposed to coal ash landfill

If county commissioners had any lingering doubts about how residents of the Fifth District feel about the proposed coal ash landfill in Westbourne, those doubts were put to rest at Monday night’s workshop, as an overflow crowd of over 125 people expressed their fears for what the landfill could do to their community and the county as a whole.

Jim Bolton was the first resident to speak to the commission, reminding them about the damage caused by the fly ash spill at Kingston, the fact that the mountain where the proposed landfill would be located is “honeycombed” with old mines and that many people rely on drinking water from wells that could be affected.

Commissioners hear from packed house opposed to coal ash landfill

If county commissioners had any lingering doubts about how residents of the Fifth District feel about the proposed coal ash landfill in Westbourne, those doubts were put to rest at Monday night’s workshop, as an overflow crowd of over 125 people expressed their fears for what the landfill could do to their community and the county as a whole.

Jim Bolton was the first resident to speak to the commission, reminding them about the damage caused by the fly ash spill at Kingston, the fact that the mountain where the proposed landfill would be located is “honeycombed” with old mines and that many people rely on drinking water from wells that could be affected.

He showed commissioners a photo of a home damaged in the Kingston spill and said, “I wouldn’t want this to happen to you. I’m begging you for your votes so it doesn’t happen to us.”

“The company says fly ash is harmless. If that’s true, why didn’t they plant gardens on top of that spill instead of spending millions to clean it up?” Bolton asked.

Jennifer Hoffman lives in Demory but emphasized that everyone will be impacted in one way or another if the landfill is allowed. “The amount of ash that the land company proposes to bring in would bury 281 football fields to a depth of 100 feet,” Hoffman pointed out.

She also read commissioners a statement from EPA that says plastic liners will always fail with time, either through accidental damage or natural deterioration. “One coal ash landfill in Illinois cost $80 million from county funds and the site still had to be declared a federal superfund site,” Hoffman pointed out.