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Friday, April 17, 2015

CLB agenda
The Cocke County legislative Body will meet in regular session Monday evening, April 20 at 6 pm. Items of interest on the agenda include; - April Bryant is to address the body regarding a resolution proposed by the “Save the Nolichucky” organization. Then the CLB is to consider a Resolution calling on the Environmental Protection Agency to order an Environmental Impact Assessment prior to any removal from or discharge into, the Nolichucky River. - County Mayor Crystal Ottinger will ask the Legislative Body to approve the appointment of Debbie Torrence as the Cocke County Purchasing Agent.

Jefferson County grand Jury considers cases
A Jefferson County Grand Jury meeting this week considered 64 cases, returning 25 indictments and 39 sealed presentments. Jonathan Austin Newman, 43, Summit Street, Jefferson City, faces charges stemming from a December 2, 2014 incident at the residence of Bradley Cochran on William Street in Jefferson City. Jefferson City Detective Roland Holt obtained the warrant in the case which alleges that Newman went to the home, and when Cochran walked outside, Newman pulled a gun and began firing at him. The intended victim ran behind his home and escaped injury. "The victim stated he did not know how he kept from being hit. This placed the victim in great fear of death," the officer said. Newman is charged with attempted first degree murder, aggravated assault, possession of a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony and unlawful possession of a weapon. Robert Devin Simerly, 26, Bill Circle, Talbott, faces a number of charges stemming from a pursuit on March 8. Jefferson County Deputy Shane Hanshew said he responded to a suspicious vehicle on Kinder Lane. The officer said his cruiser was nearly struck head-on as Simerly fled from the scene. The subject was pursued at speeds up to 100 miles per hour, eventually careening into a private drive on Jim Hen. There Simerly jumped from his auto and fled on foot into a nearby wooded area. A female passenger, Katie Willis told the officer she had asked Simerly to stop and let er out of the vehicle on several occasion during the pursuit. The indictment charges that Simerly interfered with the liberty of Willis and exposed her to substantial risk of bodily injury. As a result Simerly is charged with kidnapping, felony evading arrest, felony reckless endangerment, second offense driving on a suspended license and evading arrest. Justin Adam Letts, 29, Guy Street, White Pine, is charged with offenses stemming from an incident in August, 2014. Officers responded to the Letts residence following a domestic disturbance, finding indoor marijuana grow operations in the residence, a neighboring home and an outbuilding. Between 10 and 19 plants were found growing in closets and the outbuilding, and in one of the closets, officers found a loaded sawed off shotgun with a 15.5 inch barrel. The defendant now faces charges of manufacturing marijuana, possession of a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony, possession of a prohibited weapon and public intoxication. Three men face child rape charges. Daryl Kent Humphrey, 49, Crown Court, Jefferson City, is charged in connection with sexual activities involving two teenaged females. He is charged with aggravated sexual battery, rape of a child, three counts rape, sexual battery by an authority figure, and six counts statutory rape by an authority figure. Felipe Gonzalez-Martinez, 41, Walker Road, Talbott, three counts rape of a child involving a 12 year-old female. Arthur Cutshaw, 72, Muddy Creek Road, Dandridge, is charged with the rape of a child between the ages of three and thirteen in February, 2014.

March jobless numbers released
Tennessee Labor & Workforce Development Commissioner Burns Phillips says the Tennessee unemployment rate for March was 6.3 percent, a drop from the February rate of 6.6 percent. Over the past year, non-farm employment increased 49,300 jobs. The largest increases occurred in trade/transportation/utilities, professional/business services, and education/health services. Also on Thursday, Governor Bill Haslam and the Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development awarded $546,800 in job training grants to 29 companies across the state. Bodycote in Morristown received $25,000 and in Greene County, two firms received grants. American Greetings was awarded $23,000 and C & C Millwright Maintenance Company, Inc. was awarded $25,000. The Incumbent Worker Training grants assist employers with upgrading skills and avoiding layoffs for their employees.

Tennessee has a new budget
Tennessee lawmakers have approved a $33.8 billion annual spending plan after rejecting Democrats’ attempts to add a provision to authorize Medicaid expansion that had been twice defeated earlier in the year. The House voted 80-12 in favor of the budget, and the Senate later followed suit with a 32-1 vote. The Republican-controlled House voted largely along partisan lines to refuse the attempt to allow Republican Gov. Bill Haslam to strike a deal with the federal government for Medicaid expansion. Haslam’s Insure Tennessee plan would extend health coverage to 280,000 low-income people, with state hospitals covering the $74 million state share to draw down $2.8 billion in federal money. But fellow Republicans in the Legislature have balked at approving a program so closely tied to the federal Affordable Health care law.

Partnership/Chamber meeting
The Cocke County Partnership Chamber of Commerce, met in a breakfast meeting Thursday morning, hosted by Cinema 4, and owner Brandon Joynt. The theater was re-opened several years ago after it had been closed for fourteen months. Joynt said the big attraction for the operation is it's $5.00 ticket price. As a result customers come from as far away as Knoxville, North Carolina and Bean Station to see first-run movies. The digital projection system utilizes 6.5 million moving mirrors. He said among the benefits of his business to the community are; tax revenue, revenue from surrounding communities, jobs, fun for the entire family, senior citizen and military discounts, and the fact that the theater is utilized as a place of worship Sunday mornings, by Crossroads Church. The owner said the profit for the business comes primarily from the sale of concessions, primarily popcorn, which he described as "the best in town". The popcorn buckets are sold for $10. He said he went to local businesses and asked for freebies; coupons,gift certificates or small items to put into the buckets of popcorn. "As it turned out we had items for 400 buckets and then we had businesses come to us with more freebies to put in additional buckets. It's great PR and advertising," he said.

Bible rejected as official state book
Boosted by opposition from Republican leadership, the Tennessee Senate on Thursday voted 22-9 to send a Bible bill to committee, effectively killing the bill a day after it was adopted by the House. Senator Steve Southerland, Republican of Morristown, had sponsored the legislation to make the Bible the state book, a clear violation of the constitutional prohibition against endorsing a religion. Gov. Bill Haslam and Attorney General Herbert Slatery oppose the bill; Slatery recently opined that the bill violates the state and federal constitutions. Southerland, and other supporters argued the bill highlights the economic and historical impact of the Bible in Tennessee. The House passed the bill by a 55-38 vote Wednesday after two hours of debate.Republican Jeremy Faison of Cosby voted against the legislation. "The Bible has great historical and cultural significance in the state of Tennessee," Southerland said Wednesday, at times getting emotional on the Senate floor.

Keys arrested after chasing and ramming luxury car
A Newport woman who chased and rammed a luxury car that she thought was being driven by her mother, later discovered that the vehicle was being driven by a stranger. Newport Patrolman Adam Lawson, responded Wednesday afternoon at 2:45 pm, to the Lowe's parking lot in Newport where he found Marsha Keys, 41, West Broadway, Newport. Witnesses said Keys, operating a 2001 Chevrolet Blazer, was observed chasing a 2010 Lincoln MKZ around the store parking lot, ramming it from behind and then on the passenger side, as the driver attempted to flee. Keys told the officer her motivation for the incident was "family problems," and added that she believed the driver of the Lincoln was her mother. In fact the operator was Sharon Kerr, Ridgeview Drive, Dandridge who told Officer Lawson she had never before met Keys and did not know who she was. Kerr was not injured, however the damage to her car is estimated at more than $10,000, and Officer Lawson said Keys could not produce proof of insurance. The offender was jailed on charges of aggravated assault, vandalism over $10,000 and no insurance.

Brown charged with rape
A Cocke County man has been charged in connection with an alleged rape on April 12. Detective Robert Thornton of the Cocke County Sheriff's Department said David Mark Brown, 44, Heather Way, Newport, approached a female who was outside of a residence and told her to come into the home with him. Inside investigators were told that Brown groped the victim, took off the victim's clothes and had intercourse with her. The woman who is described as mentally handicapped said she had told the defendant to stop and quit but he would not. Now Brown is facing a charge of aggravated rape.

Griner arrested for New Jersey
A man recently living in Cocke County is being held for New Jersey authorities and is to be extricated to that state. Andrew Scott Barnes Griner, 25, Lower English Creek Road, Newport, was picked up by Deputy Joseph Owengs as a fugitive from justice. The Cumberland County Sheriff's Department says Griner failed to appear for his arraignment on the sexual assault of a four year-old.

Bush robbery charges
Cocke County authorities Thursday arrested a Newport woman wanted in connection with a Saturday ambush robbery in Knox County. Colleen Debra Bush, 24, Apple Grove Road, Newport, was taken into custody by Deputy Jerry Vandergriff. The warrant in the case alleges that Bush was picked up by Christopher Beeler at the Fountain City duck pond the day before. The couple went to the Beeler home to watch a movie and the victim says he confronted Bush about stealing change from him. Later he told her to find someone to take her home. Bush told him she couldn't find a ride, so Beeler agreed to take her to the home of a friend. At the home, a male approached the car, and Bush pulled the keys from the auto, throwing them out the window. Then Beeler says the male pulled him from the vehicle, threw him to the ground and began kicking and punching him. According to the victim two or three persons were kicking and hitting him, and his wallet, money and cell phones were taken. Bush was one of four persons charged in the robbery and assault.

Music of the Mountains to move indoors
Due to the impending rain, Cocke County Partnership Tourism Director Linda Leweanski says the local portion of Music of the Mountains has been moved to to Liberty Church of Cosby, on Liberty Road. The hills will be alive with the sounds of music on Sunday, when the Partnership presents its fifth annual Music of the Mountains. Beginning at 2 p.m., visitors can step back in time and listen to some “Sunday Music” similar to what would have been heard at the time of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park’s inception in the early 1930s. The three-day event, begins today at the Townsend Heritage Center with Celtic music. On Saturday, Sugarlands Visitor Center will offer a lineup of traditional music and the series will end up in Cocke County on Sunday for an afternoon of “heritage, harps and hymns. Admission is free this year for the Cocke County event. Music of the Mountains will be a litter free event, thanks to KCCB.

Friday, April 17, 2015

  • CLB agenda
  • Jefferson County grand Jury considers cases
  • March jobless numbers released
  • Tennessee has a new budget
  • Partnership/Chamber meeting
  • Bible rejected as official state book
  • Keys arrested after chasing and ramming luxury car
  • Brown charged with rape
  • Griner arrested for New Jersey
  • Bush robbery charges
  • Music of the Mountains to move indoors

    Thursday, April 16, 2015

  • Ayers fire under investigation
  • Bible voted state book by Tennessee House
  • Lane home fire
  • Bishop arrested on aggravated statutory rape charges
  • Franklin charged with possession of marijuana for resale

    Wednesday, April 15, 2015

  • ADA celebrates 25 years
  • Fairrington arrest
  • Cocke County Audit/Budget Committee meets
  • Newport City Council meet
  • Red Baron is recovered

    Tuesday, April 14, 2015

  • Slaterley says bill to make the Bible the state book is unconstitutional
  • Black arrest
  • Roads continue to deteriorate
  • Newport road work

    Friday, April 10, 2015

  • Peak assault
  • Black arrest
  • Green back in custody
  • NRA convention
  • Northport crash and power outage
  • Becker/Wood altercation
  • Proposed Cosby addition

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