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     The mayor, city council members and local merchants held a meeting to discuss the revitalization of downtown LaFollette, which is an ongoing project for the city and business owners.  (CHARLOTTE UNDERWOOD PIX)

College/career fair is this afternoon at CCHS

     The staff at Campbell County High School is hosting a college and career this afternoon.  It’s for students and parents and is scheduled for Wednesday, October 1, from 3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. at the high school commons.  Representatives will be on hand to discuss college, financial aid, and career opportunities.  Contact GREAR UP T-N site coordinator Gretchen Thomas at the high school by calling 423.562.8308 for more information.(10/01/2014 - 6:00 AM)

You are cordially invited to attend a fundraising dessert with

 State Representative Dennis Powers

 Featuring Special Guest

 Tennessee Speaker of the House, Beth Harwell

 McCloud Mountain Restaurant on Thursday, October 2nd

Dessert @ 6:30 PM (main dining area)

$50/ticket/dessert only     

 Dessert with Dennis

 It has been an honor to serve you in the TN House of Representatives and I hope you have the pleasure of meeting our accomplished Speaker Beth Harwell and enjoy the beautiful fall views atop McCloud Mountain.

 Please make a check payable to Powers for the People campaign and mail to POB 179, Jacksboro, TN 37757.  There will be a few tickets available at the door, but you will need to call 562-5150 and leave a message to reserve them.

 Paid for by Powers for the People, Barbara Rinehart, Treasurer

Commission uses fund balance to erase deficit, OKs paving more county roads

The Campbell County Commission, faced with having to make up a $1,200,000 budget deficit by raising the property tax rate by eighteen cents, resolved the problem Tuesday night in the same way that many commissions have done in the past – they postponed the pain until next year.

The budget meeting began with Road Superintendent Dennis Potter repeating his request for an additional $700,000 to pave more county roads. Ideally, Potter told the commissioners, the county should find a way to pay for paving 35 miles of county roads each year, to keep on a 20-year cycle for re-paving all 700 miles in the system before they deteriorate.

He settled for asking only for enough extra money to pave another ten miles in addition to the ten miles already in his budget. Potter stopped short, however, of asking the commission to raise property taxes to provide the money.

“There are cuts that can be made before we go with a tax increase,” Potter said, repeating his contention that his paving projects can be financed by taking money from other departments.

“Will you support a tax increase for our roads?” Marie Ayers finally asked outright.

“I did not sign on to a written statement asking me to choose between dropping my request or raising taxes,” Potter replied, answering the question without answering the question.

Mayor E. L. Morton then chipped in by pointing out that every solution being looked at involves raising taxes but the county already faces an 18-cent increase just to get even. Morton told commissioners that he believed the commission needs to look at balancing the deficit without increased taxes before considering the requests from Potter, the school department and Sheriff Robbie Goins.

Cliff Jennings then made a motion to approve the highway budget with Potter’s requested paving increase included, “with the understanding that we may have to cut it later.”

That motion passed by a narrow 8-7 vote, with Johnny Bruce, Robert Higginbotham, Clifford Kohlmeyer, Dewayne Kitts, Sue Nance, Lonnie Weldon and Scott Stanfield all voting “no.”

Morton then presented his plan for erasing the budget deficit without raising property taxes, which was to take enough money from the fund balance in each major county fund except schools to make up the shortfall in revenue and increase in insurance costs.

Morton’s proposal involved trimming the fund balance in the general fund by roughly $500,000, taking $177,000 from the sanitation fund balance, another $153,000 from the highway fund balance and $427,000 from the debt service fund balance.

Finance Director Jeff Marlow agreed that the cuts would still leave enough revenue in the various funds to operate the county government during the first months of the fiscal year without borrowing, but stopped short of recommending the plan.

“Remember,” he told the commission, “You’re using one time money to pay for recurring expenses. Next year you will face this same shortfall when time comes to balance a budget.”

Morton replied that he plans to find ways to cut expenses before the next budget cycle. “I don’t think, best case scenario, that we will be able to cut more than $200,000 or $300,000 from these costs. We will still face a need to make up $900,000 next year,” Marlow pointed out.

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However, a county commission in which two-thirds of the members have been in office barely a month welcomed the chance to postpone the inevitable budget deficit for a year until they have a better grasp on things. Robert Higginbotham made a motion to approve the Mayor’s plan and all fifteen commissioners voted in favor of it.

With the deficit resolved for the moment, the commission then heard a brief presentation from Sheriff Robbie Goins about the financial challenge he will face in staffing the new, expanded jail when it is completed and operating.

Goins handed commissioners a budget summary requesting enough money to hire 22 jail guards and two sergeants at a cost of $1,088,740, along with money for food supplies, uniforms, communications equipment and other items for a total price tag of $1,429,000 above the current budget request.

Goins added that with the new jail, the $440,000 lost by the transfer of state prisoners will be re-gained, with the best likelihood that the women’s section of the jail will be utilized for state inmates as soon as it is ready.

The commission, with the hour running late, asked Goins to return tonight (Wednesday) to continue the discussion on his request and turned to the school board, which had met earlier to vote on the commission’s “no increase” budget offer.

Chairman Mike Orick reported that the school board had voted on a new budget request which he termed “a compromise” in which the board dropped the request for one of the five security officers and agreed to pay for the police cars out of the school capital projects fund, lowering the requested increase in local school spending from $664,000 to $388,000.

The board’s request still included raises of $500 for non-certified employees and $250 local raises for teachers in addition to the $550 state raises. That was a source of irritation for several commissioners.

“I don’t think we can consider raises for school employees alone when employees in other departments, such as Dennis’s (highway) haven’t had raises in eight years,” Scott Stanfield pointed out, Other commissioners joined the chorus of negative reaction to the school department request until Chairman Johnny Bruce announced that the time limit set for the meeting had expired and adjourned the discussion until tonight.   (10/01/2014 - 6:00 AM)

La Follette Planning Commission approves Main Street Shell site plan

     The La Follette Planning Commission and Board of Zone Appeals approved a site-plan for the construction of a new building for the Shell gas station on Central Avenue, which is owned by Diamond Jubilee Investments. The applicant, Sam Jamani, was also approved for a five-foot variance in order for them to build the new building directly behind the old building. Once the new building is completed, the old building will be torn down. City Codes Enforcer Stan Foust said he had no problem with the variance and that the owners really needed it in order to be able to build. The building is located at 219 West Central Avenue and the property is zoned C-1 Central Business District.  (10/01/2014 - 6:00 AM)


Jellico Community Hospital may partner with Baptist Health Systems

Jellico Hospital’s Steering Committee voted last week to begin discussion with Community Hospital Corporation, in Texas, and their partner, Baptist Health of Kentucky about a possible partnership to operate the hospital when Adventist Health Systems ends its management in the spring. At this point, everything is in the “discussion only” phase and no decisions have been made, nor assets exchanged.

Jellico’s current CEO Eric Wangsness is stepping down as to take a position at another hospital. Keith Richardson will serve as CEO during this time of interim.

Community Hospital Corp., is a not-for-profit organization that manages 18 small community hospitals across the country. Baptist Health owns seven hospitals in Kentucky.  (10/01/2014 - 6:00 AM)


Rough draft of La Follette’s downtown enhancement plan unveiled

By Charlotte Underwood

A rough draft for the enhancement of downtown La Follette was unveiled during a meeting between the mayor, merchants and city council members on Thursday afternoon. The plan, which calls for “softening” the appearance of downtown by planting trees and doing other landscaping, also calls for the clean-up of Big Creek and Tank Springs, with creek access and picnic areas made available. It also calls for a pedestrian plan that will make downtown streets safer and more appealing to those on foot. The plan acknowledges a need for businesses to stay open past six p.m., as well as a need for more shops and restaurants in the downtown area. In general face-lifts and other enhancements such as historic walking tours and better signage will also be a big part of the plan that city officials and merchants would like to see implemented. These are the makings of a successful downtown, according to Gary McGill, who is with McGill and Associates, a firm hired by the city to come up with the plan to make it more “attractive and successful.”  The plan calls for identifiable “gateways” at the entry points to the downtown so that visitors immediately feel they have entered somewhere “different – somewhere special.”

Gary McGill, with McGill and Associates unveiled the downtown enhancement plan to those at the meeting. The plan calls for “softening” the downtown area with landscaping and lots more trees.

McGill cautioned those gathered that this was a rough draft of a plan and that plans were meant to be adjusted and changed along the way.

“It’s at least a starting point for you – but you have to look at what has been identified and then prioritize what you want to do,” McGill said.

Community assets such as ample street parking and plenty of historic sites and points of interest were also noted during the meeting, as were ways to “build” onto these positives.

According to McGill, the plan of enhancement can only work if there is cohesion between public and private sectors to create and then maintain the improvements and positives. 

“The city has to decide how much it is going to get involved, the merchants have to decide how much to get involved, the public has to get involved– it will only succeed if there’s effort all the way around.”

Downtown business owners look over the rough draft of the downtown enhancement plan, which also calls for cleaning up the Big Creek and Tank Springs area and making La Follette’s downtown streets more pedestrian-friendly.

Before coming up with the rough draft of the plan, the firm looked at downtown factors such as what already exists, historic sites, zoning of land and  traffic and the accessibility to multiple attractions such as businesses or parks and much more.

Excessive traffic flow on Central Avenue and several pedestrian safety concerns will be addressed in the plan. Raised pedestrian cross walks were one suggestion to help slow the traffic flow. Changes that will affect Central Avenue will have to be approved by the Tennessee Department of Transportation, which the firm has been in touch with through the initial planning stages of the enhancement plan.

Funding for enhancements would be sought through grants and the use of “seed money” that could be provided by establishing a Central Business Improvement District (CBID), which would allow taxes from that business to be allotted as money to be used in matching grants and other funding to improve that business and downtown district. According to McGill, many cities in the state were doing this in order to fund their own downtown enhancement and revitalization projects.

The next step will be to review the rough draft of the plan, think about prioritizing the enhancement projects and discuss grant and funding approaches.

“A lot of this may be years down the road, but at least we are starting somewhere,” said La Follette Mayor Mike Stanfield.

The next meeting is scheduled for Oct.23 at 2:30 p.m. at City Hall.   (10/01/2014 - 6:00 AM)

Campbell County Cross Country Team criss crosses across state


On Saturday, September 20, 2014, the Campbell County Cross Country team competed in the Tennessee Classic in Nashville, Tennessee. The site is location for the state championship.


Twenty-nine schools from across the state competed at the Nashville meet. CCHS freshman Gavin Cooper took 50th place out of 211 runners with a time of 18:48. Following Cooper on the CCHS team was Dillon Aslinger, Grant Daugherty, Jordan Caldwell and Jordan Goins to make up the five runners to score.


Freshman Gavin Cooper

The team returned across the state to compete at the Norris Dam Race with nearly as many competitors as Nashville. On Thursday, September 25, 2014 once again 29 schools competed. Freshman standout Gavin Cooper set a blistering pace to win the race with a time of 17:43. Cooper’s teammates Tristan Gillum, Dillonn Aslinger, Jordan Caldwell, and Grant Daugherty followed in order to give the boys team a strong 4th place team finish (Stone Memorial took first, Alcoa second and Knoxville Ambassadors third). The lone CCHS female runner, Rachel Howard turned in a strong run and continues to improve with every race.


Rachel Howard - Sophomore

Coach Billie Ann Evans and the team would like to invite everyone in advance to our home meet this year at Cove Lake State Park on Tuesday October 14, 2014 at 5:00pm.  (09/30/2014 - 2:00 PM)

Man dies in late night crash

     A Texas man died in a single-vehicle accident on Saturday night in Campbell County.  Tennessee Highway Patrol Trooper Brent Buckner reports to WLAF that 34-year old Juan Garcia, without a United States address, was killed at 10:15 p.m. on the northbound side of Interstate 75 at Mile Marker 153 which is seven-miles south of Jellico.  Buckner says three others were injured as Garcia lost control of the 2002 Ford Explorer when it exited the roadway to the left, hit a guardrail, veered back across both lanes of I-75, and left the road on the right side striking the guardrail.  The SUV, bearing a Texas license plate, then re-entered the interstate where it once again exited the roadway to the left coming to a final rest on its top.  The trooper is not sure if a seat belt would have made a difference for Garcia, who was wearing a seat belt.  No charges will be filed.(09/30/2014 - 6:00 AM)

First Baptist Church La Follette 09/21/2014 


Commission passes ‘no increase’ school budget with raises left out

Meeting as the Budget & Finance Committee, the Campbell County Commission voted by a narrow margin Monday night to approve a “no increase” school budget that allocates only the minimum amount of funding needed to meet state maintenance of effort requirements.

The $9,119,000 in local tax dollars still represents a 3.03-cent increase in the property tax rate since other revenues such as the coal severance tax and sales tax that help fund education are down from last year.

 The commission voted earlier to pull the school board’s request for an additional $475,000 to fund school security officers. If any funding can be approved for security, it will come from the general fund in order to avoid increasing the maintenance of effort level in future years.

Last week commissioners generally supported the idea of granting the school board request for enough money to grant $500 raises to all non-certified employees such as cooks and janitors. However, on Monday night there were audible sighs and gasps around the room when Finance Director Jeff Marlow replied that in order to fund the raises and security requests, on top of the amount needed just to stay even with last year’s funding levels, the county’s tax rate would have to increase by 25 cents to $2.11.

Marlow added that even with that increase and another ten-cent increase to pay for additional road paving, Campbell County’s rate would still be below that of all neighboring counties such as Claiborne (2.48), Scott (2.25) and Anderson (2.54).

This new commission, unable to find a painless path to granting budget requests without raising taxes, then did what every commission before them has done, and proceeded to obsess over details.

“If we approve the extra funding for road paving, can the Road Superintendent use the money for other purposes?” Carl Douglas asked.

Marlow replied that the paving money would have to remain in the budget category for highway maintenance but could possibly be diverted to purchase equipment. “But that is unlikely as it would be political suicide,’ he added.

Cliff Jennings questioned the need to provide funding for security guards for a full year instead of only the 190 days that school is in session, and also questioned the need to provide cars for the officers.

When Marlow and school board chairman Mike Orick pointed out that the Sheriff is providing the security and his terms included full-time deputies and cars, Lonnie Weldon observed, “That is what bothers me, that it’s ‘My way or the highway.’”

Jennings then added that he is convinced there are ways to cut the overall budget in order to free up some money for the requests without raising taxes by as much as 35 cents.  “I’m not beyond asking the fee offices to cut ten percent from their budgets.  Let them sue if they want,” Jennings commented.

Mayor E. L. Morton added, “I concur with Cliff.  Let’s at least mull on that.  If I can live with 90 percent of last year’s funding in the offices I control, others should too.”

Lonnie Weldon then made a motion, seconded by Marie Ayers, to approve the school budget at the minimum $9,119,000 that would meet state requirements, leaving raises to be considered later. The motion passed 8-6 with Weldon, Ayers, Douglas, Forster Baird, Charles Baird, Jennings, Dewayne Kitts and Clifford Kohlmeyer voting “yes.”

Johnny Bruce, Ralph Davis, Whit Goins, Charles Higginbotham, Rusty Orick and Scott Stanfield voted “no” and Sue Nance was absent from the meeting.

Before adjourning for the night, the commission began reviewing the general fund, with Marlow going down the list of revenue sources and explaining a number of decreases, such as a $444,000 decrease in state prisoner board payments (caused by a decrease in the number of state prisoners housed in the Campbell County Jail), a $38,000 decrease in charges levied on prisoners for making telephone calls (likewise attributed to the decrease in prison population and prisoners making fewer calls at the high rate being charged) and an $87,400 decrease in business taxes (which has declined since the state began collecting the tax instead of the local Clerk’s office).

In explaining the decrease in business tax collections, Marlow had no explanation, simply stating, “I fear the General Assembly has tweaked the law on this tax and it has affected the bottom line more than anticipated.”

The commission adjourned without taking any further action, leaving the continuing wrestling match over the budget to be resolved in coming days. Additional budget meetings are scheduled every night this week through Thursday, while the school board will meet Tuesday (tonight) to accept or reject the commission’s bare bones budget offer. (09/30/2014 - 6:00 AM)           

Young burn victim continues fighting for his life

     Family members tell WLAF that burn victim little Zander Brown just came out of surgery at the Burn Center of Vanderbilt Hospital at Nashville.  Several of his deep burns were surgically removed, and he continues dealing with a lot of pain.  The mother and step-father of 3-year old Zander Brown were arraigned last Wednesday morning in general sessions court at Jacksboro.  The 22-year old mother of two and 32-year old step-father are each charged with aggravated child abuse and aggravated child neglect, Class A Felonies, for what police call “scalding” the child with hot water back on September 16.  Not guilty pleas were entered by each of the parent’s attorneys; Wes Hatmaker for Eric Morton and Dale Potter, court appointed, for Nakita Morton.  Judge Amanda Sammons told both of the Mortons that their bonds, $750,000 each, are subject to reduction if their attorneys submit written motions.  The next court appearance for Eric and Nakita Morton is Tuesday, October 21 at 9:00 a.m.  Zander is scheduled for another surgery on Wednesday, and he is still listed in critical but stable condition. (09/29/2014 - 2:30 PM)

Boomer’s plan - maybe we really can get more for less or something for nothing

Boomer's Corner - Charles "Boomer" Winfrey

The newly-elected county commission finds themselves, as expected, stuck in the quagmire that is a budget seriously under-funded while the cost of doing business as a county continues to go up.

The squires seem to be hoping that Finance Director Moneybags Marlow will pull a rabbit out of his hat or that the Tooth Fairy will pay a visit to the courthouse some evening while the commissioners are in their beds fast asleep.

Unfortunately, Marlow doesn’t wear a hat while the Tooth Fairy, aka the Tennessee General Assembly, has already visited and taken money away instead of leaving any behind.

The squire formerly known as Mayor Cliff took the bull by the horns Monday night and insisted that the courthouse fee offices should be forced to share in the pain. “Let ‘em sue,” Cliff commented.

Even if all of the courthouse offices manage to trim their budgets by a smidget, even if the squires hold the line and refuse the requests for money to provide security in the schools, raises for school employees and asphalt to pave more county roads, will that satisfy the public?

Of course not. The county is stuck with a tax increase of at least eighteen cents, from the new certified rate of 1.86 to 2.04, just to stay even with last year. Oh, and that “certified” rate of 1.86 is up a dime over last year’s rate already because our county’s net worth has declined.

But the public that will be unhappy with a tax increase will also be unhappy when their roads continue to deteriorate. They will be unhappy when they read about another school shooting somewhere and realize their children and grandchildren attend schools without trained security personnel. They will be unhappy when they’re forced to stand in line for a half hour to renew their car registration or driver’s license or pay their property tax because of under-staffed offices.

That is because the public is human, and we humans have a bad habit of expecting something for nothing, or at least more for less, when it comes to our government.

Well, any mathematician can tell you that “more for less” just doesn’t add up. You pay more for more or pay less to get less, perhaps, but more for less only works in used car commercials and we all know how that usually turns out.

I have given the whole budget thing a lot of thought and my first inclination was that Campbell County should legalize as much sin as possible and then tax it, since sinners seldom complain about taxes.

However, it was quickly pointed out to me that the State of Tennessee already has a corner on that market. County governments can’t tax tobacco or impose new taxes on alcoholic beverages, the state has cornered the lottery racket and only the state government could legalize prostitution.

So much for sin taxes, we’ll need to find another way to make everybody happy. Then it came to me. We can make everybody happy by eliminating some taxes and to a degree, still make sinners pay for their vices.

First, the challenge of providing security in our schools. I read somewhere that the military is not only donating surplus equipment to law enforcement agencies around the country, but has also given military equipment to some school districts. Eureka!

The Campbell County School Board can apply for some of that surplus military hardware, say a few dozen M-16s, a grenade launcher or two, ammunition and maybe an armored Humvee. Turn all that gear over to our JROTC program, arm the cadets and let them provide security at CCHS. We could also re-establish the JROTC program at Jellico High and provide them with enough armaments to fight a small war.

No nut case potential school shooter is going to mess with a high school where the students are capable of shooting back, with heavier weapons. With security firmly in the hands of the JROTC, the security guards at Jellico and Campbell County High School will no longer be needed and can be transferred to the elementary schools. Problem solved at little or no cost to taxpayers!

But how do we deal with that nagging question of paving the road in front of your porch more often than once every 70 years? And then there’s the request for raises and need to offset all those revenue shortfalls while at the same time not upsetting taxpayers, at least those that vote.

Ahh – those that vote. That’s the real point here, isn’t it? First, eliminate the county’s hotel/motel tax – it’s a challenge to enforce and monitor anyway since only the state has the power to audit books.

Instead we simply change the property tax assessment on all those fancy lakeside homes that are being rented during the summer for $1,500-$4,000 a week. Instead of being assessed as “residential” at 25 percent of the appraised value, we assess them as “commercial” property at 40 percent.

Let’s see, if there’s roughly a hundred lakeside homes being rented and the average value of those homes is conservatively half a million dollars, increasing the assessment from 25 to 40 percent would bring in close to $200,000, which is about what we collect from the hotel/motel tax.

But where’s the gain in that? I’m not finished. We then install toll booths on all roads leading to Norris Lake and turn them into toll roads. Anyone who displays a Campbell County wheel tax sticker gets a free pass on paying the toll. All those tourists from Ohio, Michigan and Abu Dabai pay through the nose every time they drive to the lakeside home they’re rented for the week. Remember, tourists don’t vote for county commissioners.

Next we install toll roads at strategic points around the county. We would need to work out a partnership with the towns but I’m thinking a hundred yards either side of Adult World up on the mountain, and a hundred yards in either direction from the county’s numerous taverns, clubs, liquor stores and similar watering holes. There’s more than one way to collect a sin tax, after all.

We can give anyone with a Campbell County wheel tax decal a free pass on those toll booths as well, restricting collections to truck drivers and Scott County deacons visiting Adult World and residents of the Town of Rocky Top visiting the booze outlets in Caryville.

We could also set up a toll booth near the exit ramp at Caryville to collect money from numerous out-of-county residents who work or shop in Campbell County. If they want to avoid the toll, let them purchase a wheel tax sticker.

Now you’re getting the picture. Wheel tax sales will skyrocket, and enforcement will no longer be a problem. We can eliminate my job as administrator of the Office of Tax Enforcement, since everyone will eagerly pay their wheel tax to avoid the tolls and there will no longer be a hotel/motel tax to enforce!

The excess revenue and savings should be more than enough to pave a few additional miles of county road, give raises to cooks and janitors and maybe hire a few more cashiers in the County Clerk’s office to deal with the long lines of non-residents lining up to pay their wheel tax, which we could probably get away with increasing to $60, even $75 without too much complaint. It beats stopping at a toll booth several times a day, after all.

What, you say this is the most ridiculous thing you’ve ever heard? Businesses will suffer, traffic will be backed up paying tolls and tourists will stop visiting our lake?  Well, you didn’t really expect to get something for nothing, did you?    (09/30/2014 - 7:30 AM)

         Bryan College gets Gillenwater

"He's one of the best shooters in the entire state" - Bryan Coach Don Rekoske

Coach Rekoske, Darin Gillenwater, BC Ass't Coach Bryon Lawhon (front row)


CCHS Head Coach Matt Housley & Assistant Chris Sutphin (back row)


     Darin Gillenwater calls it a dream come true.  His dream of playing college basketball took a giant step toward fruition this morning in the commons at Gil’s high school, Campbell.  That’s where he signed to play for the Bryan Lions of Dayton, Tennessee.  The young man who wears number two in the orange-n-blue has one more season to go as a Campbell Cougar.  His high school coach, Matt Housley, tells WLAF that Gillenwater has improved in all facets of his game.  Gil’s college coach-to-be says he’s one of the best shooters in all of Tennessee.  Campbell County High Basketball tips off the season on  November 15 at Sevierville against Sevier County.  WLAF has the coverage. (09/29/2014 - NOON)


Drew Gillenwater, Brandi Paul, Darin Gillenwater, David Paul (front row)

Rekoske, Housley, Sutphin, & Lawhon (back row)

Tackett Creek man arrested for statutory rape pleads guilty

Ronnie E. Woods, 33, of Tackett Creek, pleaded guilty to statutory rape of a minor in criminal court today. Woods was sentenced to four years probation and was ordered to have no contact with the 13-year-old boy that he raped.

Ronnie E. Woods

Woods was arrested on Aug. 30th at the Parkway Inn Motel in Jellico on statutory rape charges by Jellico Police. According to the arrest report, police visited the motel after receiving a missing report on a male juvenile from the child’s mother. Officers arrived at the hotel around 6 a.m. and found Woods with the child in question. A family-member of the middle-school-aged boy was contacted to pick him up and transport him the Jellico Hospital to be examined. Woods was taken to jail and held on a $50,000 bond until his release today. (09/29/2014 - 2:15 PM)

Former teacher indicted for inappropriate conduct has court date re-set

By Charlotte Underwood

Former Campbell County teacher Lonnie Vann, 43, appeared in criminal court this morning and had his court date re-set for Oct. 27th in Shayne Sexton’s Criminal Court. Vann was scheduled for today, but his attorney, J. Bell asked that the date be reset as he was still waiting on some discovery evidence in the form of video-tapes.

In July, Vann was indicted by a grand jury for inappropriate conduct with a student after he was charged with solicitation of a minor, sexual battery by an authority figure, tampering with evidence and assault.

Vann taught at La Follette Middle School and was placed on suspension without pay in October 2013 after allegations of the inappropriate conduct came to light.

In November, the case was handed over to the District Attorney General and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. According to the TBI, on Oct. 22, Vann took a 13-year-old student off school property to Coolidge First Baptist Church. While in the building, Vann allegedly hugged the female student and tried to kiss her, both without consent.

Vann also allegedly tampered with evidence by altering images on a recording device at the church. Vann turned himself into the Campbell County Sheriff. He was later released on $10,000 bond.  (09/29/2014 - 2:00 PM)

Bartley pleads guilty; sentenced to probation

By Charlotte Underwood

After spending the past three months in jail on assault and other charges, school-shooter Kenneth S. Bartley is once again a free man after he pleaded guilty to resisting arrest and assault charges in criminal court this morning.

Bartley appeared in Shayne Sexton’s courtroom alongside his attorney Greg Isaacs.  After pleading to the two crimes, Bartley was sentenced to two years probation for each crime, to be served concurrently. He was also ordered to not have any “unlawful” contact with his father Kenneth Bartley, whom he assaulted this past summer. The judge ordered that Bartley continue counseling and take all prescribed medications. He was released into his probation officer, Ralph Grant’s custody. Other charges that were part of the initial arrests were dismissed as part of the plea agreement.

Bartley was indicted by a grand jury for assault charges that occurred in two separate incidences in June and July. He was indicted on two counts of assault on a police officer from the most recent incident which occurred in July.  He was also indicted for domestic assault, resisting arrest and escape from the earlier June 21st incident.

The first set of charges stem from an incident, which occurred at his father Kenny’s home on Imperial Heights in La Follette where deputies responded around 10:00 p.m. on June 21st on the report of a domestic violence call.  Bartley is charged with domestic assault, resisting arrest, and escape, which is a felony charge.  According to the arrest report, Bartley was intoxicated and uncooperative, having to eventually be “tazed” in order to be taken into custody. The arrest report also stated that Bartley had threatened to kill his father, because he would not give him the keys to the pickup truck.

After that incident, Bartley was released on a $2,000 bond back into the care of his father, according to the Campbell County Sheriff’s Department. Bartley garnered the second set of charges on July 10 after deputies once again had to be called to his father’s home in La Follette after he violated his probation by drinking alcohol. While deputies were at the residence, Bartley allegedly fought with the officers before being arrested. Bartley has been in the county jail held without bond since the July 10 incident. Before that arrest, he had only been free from incarceration for about three months after his re-trial for shooting and killing assistant principal Ken Bruce in 2005.  Bartley was released in February of this year after being convicted of reckless homicide, but was given credit for time served. (09/29/2014 - 1:30 PM)

Former school teacher accused of murder has court date re-set

By Charlotte Underwood

The case involving a Jellico High School teacher who shot and killed her fiancé has been reset for October 27 in Shayne Sexton’s Criminal Court.  Lisa Elliott, 47, of Elk Valley, who was arrested after the fatal shooting of her 53-year-old fiancé Larry David Champlin on Feb. 2, has a court date set for Oct. 27.  The case was set for a status update today regarding lab work on evidence in the case. According to the state, the results of that lab work are now done and reports on the evidence have been turned over to Elliott’s attorney Mike Hatmaker.

Arrested and originally held in lieu of a $150,000 bond, Elliott’s bond was reduced to a $100,000 secured bond, and she was released on February 7.  Forensic evidence uncovered at the autopsy done on Champlin appears to contradict Elliott’s version of what happened the night her lover died in what is believed to be an alcohol related domestic dispute, according to a Campbell County Sheriff’s report.  Elliott appeared in Court on Feb. 11 at which point charges against her were upgraded from criminal homicide to second-degree murder by the judge. The change in charges stems from testimony by police officers and a request by the district attorney.   (09/29/2014 - 2:00 PM)

Final Score:  Campbell Cougars 42 - Halls 7


Amber Guy is crowned as the CCHS Homecoming Queen

Terry’s Pharmacy hosts healthcare answer sessions on Mondays

If you have questions about Medicare and healthcare, then Terry’s Pharmacy is the place to be on Monday mornings. With the Affordable Healthcare Act being implemented, lots of people have questions about what’s going on. From 9:30 a.m. to noon on Mondays, there will be a representative of a multi-company insurance group on hand to answer those questions.

You have questions about Medicare and healthcare?  Miranda Ford has answers every Monday at Terry's Pharmacy.

“Plans will go away and new plans will become available; patients really need to come talk to this woman because she can hopefully answer their questions and help them select the right plan. She is non-biased and not representing any particular company,” said Raewyn Snodderly of Terry’s Pharmacy. Those that are new to Medicare or are turning 65 and those who need extra help on prescription drug co-pays are encouraged to attend. Those who receive Medicaid/TennCare, QMB or SLMB are also encouraged to attend.

“She will look at the medication list and how much they are prescribed and will then help choose the best health care plan for each patient,” Snodderly explained.

For more information, call Terry’s Pharmacy at 423-562-4928. It is located at 310 E. Central Avenue in La Follette. (09/28/2014 - 6:45 PM)

Cougars win 100th game

     It was 40-years in the making.  But Campbell High Football has now won 100 games.  Win 100 came in the form of a 42 to 7 victory over Halls on homecoming night this past Friday.  It’s Head Coach Justin Price’s 21st career win in less than four seasons.  It also means that half of those 100 wins came under the direction of two head coaches; Dewayne Wells 29 & 74 (10 seasons) and Price of 21 & 17.  The Cougars venture to Oak Ridge on Friday night to take on the Wildcats, a team Campbell defeated last season for the first-time ever.  Kick-off is 7:30 p.m. and WLAF has the coverage over AM 1450, FM 100.9, www.1450wlaf.com, and WLAF-TV 12.  Brent Allen and the Voice of the Cougars Les Martin have the call.  WLAF-TV 12’s coverage begins at 8:00 p.m. joining the game already in progress.(09/29/2014 - 6:00 AM)





  Cougars at Oak Ridge on Friday over the WLAF - B & M Tires Sports Network

"list of corporate partners grows"

     The Cougars visit the Wildcats at Oak Ridge on Friday night at 7:30 p.m.  WLAF has all the live coverage.  Special thanks to all the corporate partners who make the live radio and live web telecasts possible; Eric Robbins and Robbins Guttering, former Lady Cougar Dr. Jill Cox-Browning, Community Trust Bank, B & M Tires, Charley's Pizza, Grace Rehab, Byrge Screen Printing, Terry's Pharmacy, Campbell County Heating & Air, First National Bank,

The “new look” Cougar headgear features a player’s number on one side of the helmet with an outline of Campbell County on the other side with a Cougar paw inside.  The helmets are white.  However, when light shines on the new hats, they turn different colors mainly gray.

Cumberland Gap Medical, Farmers Insurance Agent Travis Thompson, American Cable, Peoples Bank of the South, Marathon Oil, State Farm Agent Tabatha Smith, VitalCare Medical Transportation, Powell-Clinch Utility District, Wrap It Up Construction, Lace-to-Pearls Ladies Consignment Shop, Clayton Homes, Stan Hawkins & Nova Copy, and Fazoli's.   

Well…if you put off getting that new carpet all summer, you’re in luck.  Summer is gone, but Lindsay’s biggest carpet sale ever is now going on.  See Scott and the folks at Lindsay’s Carpet and Paint Center between traffic light number 7 & 8 for the best selection, prices, and special financing 1-year interest-free).

UT student photography project Eyes on LaFollette honored with exhibit

Featured on Tennessee Crossroads travel show Sept. 25

By Charlotte Underwood

Two decades of life in LaFollette as seen through a college student’s camera lens is being documented at the state museum. University of Tennessee student photography project Eyes on LaFollette is being celebrated with an exhibition, which opens at the Tennessee State Museum in Nashville on October 3. The exhibit entitled, Eyes on LaFollette: UT Student Photojournalism Project Marks 20 Years, was organized by Robert Heller, professor, University of Tennessee School of Journalism and Electronic Media, in partnership with the museum.

Photo by Andy Ashby, 1997
The exhibit will feature 202 photographs taken by 102 photographer showcasing artwork by Heller’s advanced photojournalism students from UT. The photographs show life in LaFollette from the artistic perspective of young photojournalists. Each year, the
LaFollette Press, publishes a special edition of these photographs entitled “Eyes on LaFollette.”  The project’s exhibition at the museum will show two decades of history from our town.

“From 1993 to now, my advanced photojournalism students and I have traveled the interstate north from
Knoxville about an hour and spent a day and a half documenting life in the small town of LaFollette,” Heller said.  “The local weekly newspaper very generously offers up room to publish a special edition of these photographs. There are no big stories, no important events — just life as it is lived everyday.”

Photo by Molly Morgan, 2013

According to Heller, preparation for the project begins early in the spring semester when students take a brief ‘research’ trip to La Follette and speak with staff members of the newspaper for a few hours. According to Heller, that discussion leads to story ideas and contacts. Then in April students arrive and spend about two days documenting life in La Follette in both digital and film photographs.

Heller and his students then choose from among several thousand photos for the strongest images to use in the newspaper. They work on editing, layout, design and writing captions and short stories. 

Photo by Jason Gregory, 1993
“Twenty years plus, 250 students, 17 editions and tens of thousands of photos add up to quite an achievement.  We'll keep doing it as long as the people of LaFollette will have us,” Heller said.

Eyes on LaFollette: UT Student Photojournalism Project Marks 20 Years is free to the public and will be on view through November 30, 2014. The State Museum is located in Nashville on Fifth and Deaderick Streets in the lower level of the James K. Polk Cultural Center. For more information call 1-800-407-4324 or visit museuminfo@tnmuseum.org (09/25/2014 - 6:00 AM)

 Eyes on LaFollette UT photojournalism project featured on Tennessee Crossroads travel show today

Tennessee Crossroads, the Tennessee travel show produced by Nashville Public Television (NPT), will feature a 20-year-photography project conducted by University of Tennessee photojournalism students to document life in LaFollette. Entitled, Eyes on LaFollette, NPT producers and videographers Matt Emigh and Will Pedigo follow students as they make their annual trip to LaFollette under the direction of U.T. Journalism and Electronic Media professor Robert Heller. The segment premiers on NPT, which should be PBS Channel 2, on Thursday, September 25, at 7 p.m. It will also premier on ETPTV on Saturday, October 4, at 6:30 p.m.
 The segment also covers the upcoming Tennessee State Museum exhibition about the LaFollette project showcasing 202 photographs taken by 102 students during the past 20 years. The exhibition,
Eyes on LaFollette: UT Student Photojournalism Project Marks 20 Years, opens Friday, October 3, and continues through November 30, 2014.

Angelic Nail Spa opens in Jacksboro, offers fall specials

If your feet or hands could use some TLC or pampering, then come down to Angelic Nail Spa where after a manicure or pedicure, you will feel heavenly. Angelic Nail Spa is owned by Susie Underwood, and opened up in Jacksboro just last week on Sept. 15.  Angelic Nail Spa offers a full line of manicures and pedicures with prices varying. According to Underwood, pedicures are the most popular, especially the Spa Pedicure, which is a bargain at $30. The Spa Pedicure includes all basic foot care and comes with a 15 minute foot and leg massage, a scrub and is followed up with hot towels. Customers get to choose from an assortment of nail polish colors, including some great new fall color selections. For those with not as much time, the spa also offers an Express Pedicure at a cost of $20, and there’s a Refresher pedicure which falls somewhere in the middle for $25. If you need a lot of TLC on your toes, then you may want to go for the Deluxe Pedicure, which is a real deal at $35. The deluxe comes with everything the Spa Pedicure comes with, but includes a longer massage. Manicures are also popular and come in a variety of services and prices. Soak-off gel polish manicures are available for $30, which also includes a hand-massage, hot towels and basic nail-care. Gel polish, according to Underwood lasts longer than regular polish manicures, which are available for a lesser price of $20.

The finished product! Happy feet are healthy feet. If you have questions or concerns about your feet, especially if you are diabetic, call Angelic Nail Spa and schedule your appointment today. To make an appointment, call 437-7725 today!

“Gel polish wears for two weeks, depending upon what you do, while regular polish often doesn’t last a week,” Underwood said.

Angelic Nail Spa is currently offering a fall special that anyone who mentions this WLAF business story will get $10 off “any single spa service” from now through the end of October.

Benefits of pedicures and manicures are broad with the number one benefit being improved circulation. Improved nail health is another benefit.

“It is especially beneficial to those who are diabetic as it helps blood flow,” Underwood said, adding that if you have concerns about your feet, then you should see a trained pedicurist.

“I can look at your feet and check them over and I have also been trained to cut toe nails of diabetics, which is important to not cut them too short,” Underwood said.

Angelic Nail Spa is located at 203 Oak Street in Jacksboro. Turn off Jacksboro Pike onto Myers Lane, then turn right up the hill onto Highland at the daycare, then turn left onto Oak Street.

Underwood is a 2011 graduate from the Knoxville Institute of Hair Design and has been doing manicures and pedicures for the past three and a half years. She said it had been her dream to open her own business and that she had enjoyed the past three-plus years.

“I thought it would be a fun profession and I enjoy helping people, so it seemed like a good fit,” Underwood said. Her favorite part of the job is pedicures.

“People are so appreciative when you make their feet feel better, they feel better and I enjoy that – I love helping my clients. If your feet feel good, then it goes a long way to helping the rest of you feel better.”

Angelic Nail Spa also carries Kenra hair care products at a great price.

Angelic Nail Spa has lots of nail colors to choose from in both gel and regular nail polish, including an assortment of fall color selections.

Angelic Nail Spa is located at 203 Oak Street in Jacksboro. Turn off the four-lane of Jacksboro Pike onto Myers Road, then turn right onto Highland Drive at the day care, then make a left onto Oak Street. 203 Oak Street is at the end of the road on the left. Angelic Nail Spa is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and every other Saturday. It is by appointment only. To schedule an appointment or with questions about pricing and services, call 423-437-7725. You can also check out sales and updates on Susie Underwood’s Facebook page. (09/25/2014 - 6:00 AM)

Sammons sets bond for Mortons at 750K each

The mother and step-father of 3-year old Zander Brown were arraigned this morning in general sessions court at Jacksboro.  The 22-year old mother of two and 31-year old step-father are each charged with aggravated child abuse and aggravated child neglect, Class A Felonies, for what police call “scalding” the child with hot water.  The injured child is being treated at Nashville’s Vanderbilt Burn Center.  Family members tell WLAF that Zander is in critical condition but stable this morning. 


Eric Morton appears with his attorney Wes Hatmaker this morning

Not guilty pleas were entered by each of the parent’s attorneys; Wes Hatmaker for Eric Morton and Dale Potter, court appointed, for Nakita Morton.  Hatmaker took issue with Judge Amanda Sammons setting of a $750,000 bond for his client. 

Nakita Morton (in pink) enters this courtroom earlier today

Hatmaker explained to the judge that Morton has always lived in Campbell County and is not a flight risk. He also said it will be difficult to work with Morton while he’s in jail and that the only reason a bond is set is to guarantee his client appears in court. Then when Hatmaker pointed out to Sammons that his client does have a criminal record, and that they are all non-violent crimes, the judge proceeded to read to Hatmaker Morton’s record that did contain a violent history. 

Eric Morton leaves the courtroom (COURTESY JOE KING - LA FOLLETTE PRESS)

Hatmaker quickly noted that Morton had not told him about those particular past charges.  Morton told Judge Sammons that he is unemployed but currently enrolled as a student at ITT, and that he and Nakita have been married for two months, together for about 18-months, and have a two-month old son together.  Morton also said that he has three other children by different mothers who live elsewhere in Campbell County

Nakita Morton (in pink) enters this courtroom earlier today(COURTESY JOE KING - LA FOLLETTE PRESS)

Morton appeared first at 9:00 a.m. this morning.  Nakita Morton had to wait to appear.  Her attorney arrived late this morning after the last-minute change of today’s court time from 1:00 p.m. up to 9:00 a.m.  Nakita Morton also faces violation of probation charges stemming from theft charges.  Judge Amanda Sammons told both of the Mortons that their bonds are subject to reduction if their attorneys submit written motions.  The next court appearance for Eric and Nakita Morton is Tuesday, October 21 at 9:00 a.m. pending any schedule conflicts.(09/24/2014 - 10:50 AM)

Budget Committee delays action on $2.2 million in new spending requests

County commissioners spent nearly three hours Tuesday night poring over budget requests from both the School Board and Highway Superintendent Dennis Potter. In the end they adjourned without taking definitive action on either budget.

Meeting earlier Tuesday afternoon, the Board of Education settled on a budget that requests $664,352 above the minimum amount required by the state to reach maintenance of effort levels. In order to qualify for $26,614,000 in state Better Education funding, the county must provide $9,119,000 in local funds, a small increase over last year of only $37,000.

That increase, however, is magnified by the loss this year of over $150,000 in coal severance tax money normally available for education, along with a decrease in the county tax base that lowers the amount of money brought in by a penny on the tax rate.

As a result of those losses, the minimum education funding required by the county will increase the property tax rate by 3.03 cents just to stay even, Finance Director Jeff Marlow explained to commissioners. Funding the School Board’s additional requests will cost nearly ten additional cents on the tax rate.

The additional money, School Board Chairman Mike Orick told commissioners, will be used primarily to fund seven additional security officers at the county’s elementary schools at a cost of $475,995, while another $188,357 would pay for raises to all school department employees. The Board proposes an $800 annual raise for teachers and other certified personnel and a $500 raise for cooks, janitors and other non-certified employees.

Several commissioners had questions about whether the money for security officers would become a permanent budget requirement in future years under maintenance of effort terms. When Marlow said that all but $120,000 earmarked for vehicles would become permanent, some commissioners proposed funding the SRO officers through the county general fund in the Sheriff’s Department instead of through the education budget.

“That would leave the officers out of maintenance of effort,” Marlow agreed. “You could continue to fund it or discontinue it in later years without penalty.”

Cliff Jennings said he understood the need for the security personnel and raises but added, “I’m not afraid to vote for a tax increase, but we need to find substantial cuts first.”

“We need to look at the big picture,” First District Commissioner Robert Higginbotham observed. “There is no substitute for a kid’s safety.”

New Fifth District Commissioner Ralph Davis added that if school personnel were going to get a raise, it would be unfair to not give all county employees a raise. He then asked Marlow what it would cost taxpayers to fund $500 raises for all county employees and Marlow replied, “About 15 cents on the tax rate.”

Finally Clifford Kohlmeyer made a motion to approve the minimum school budget of $9,119,000 in local funding, with Charles “Goat” Baird seconding the motion.

The motion failed 9-5, with only Sue Nance, Lonnie Weldon and Scott Stanfield joining Kohlmeyer and Baird in voting “yes.”

Jennings then moved to table the school budget until Thursday night in order for commissioners to give it more careful consideration before voting. That motion passed unanimously.

The commissioners may have exhausted themselves discussing school finances, but the long night was far from over. Road Superintendent Dennis Potter then presented his highway budget, which includes a $5,047,000 minimum budget to meet current levels of funding, but also a request for another $1.5 million to pay for additional road paving projects.

Potter explained that he has done everything in his power to make the Road Department more efficient, cutting personnel by 25 percent since taking office and negotiating lower asphalt prices from Rogers Group by threatening to open a county-operated asphalt plant.

“With all that we’re still only able to pave around ten miles of county road each year with our present budget. We need to pave 35 miles to stay on a twenty year cycle,” Potter explained, adding, “Right now the road outside your door can only be paved once every 70 years and that won’t work. They won’t last that long.”

Again the commission voted to postpone action on the highway budget until Thursday night and to schedule an additional budget meeting for Wednesday to review the sanitation budget.

“I hope you will take some time on Wednesday to also look at the overall budget picture, the current shortfalls in revenue and increases mandated by rising insurance costs and the effect that any requests for increases will have on the tax rate before going back into the details of those requests,” Marlow urged.  (09/24/2014 - 6:00 AM)

Eric Bradley Morton & Nakita Louise Morton enter the county jail this morning

Mother and step-father charged with injuring child

     A three-year old boy clings to life at this hour in the burn unit at Vanderbilt Medical Center at Nashville.  Sheriff Robbie Goins tells WLAF News that the youngster’s parents were arrested this morning and charged with injuring the child.  The step-father, 32-year old Eric Bradley Morton, is charged with aggravated child abuse and aggravated child neglect while the mother, 22-year old Nakita Louise Morton, faces aggravated child neglect charges.  The sheriff explains to WLAF that the 3-year old child was taken to the La Follette Medical Center Emergency last Tuesday and then transferred to the Vanderbilt Burn Center where he remains in critical condition.  The investigation was opened as a criminal case and investigators, along with Department of Child Services and the 8th Judicial District Attorney General’s Office, immediately began to determine the facts and circumstances that led to the scalding burns of the 3-year old male.

Eric Bradley Morton

Nakita Louise Morton

The investigation revealed and the evidence proved that not only was there probable cause to charge with abuse, there was evidence and probable cause to believe that immediate emergency care was withheld by the mother and step-father. Goins notes that these related charges fall directly into the statute that regulates and enhances these crimes under Haley’s Law.  Sheriff Goins said, “We are saddened by the horrific acts that we believe this child suffered through the abuse and neglect of both individuals respectively charged in this crime. Unspeakable acts of child abuse and neglect will not stand by any of us. We will continue to work together to make sure justice is served everywhere involving any child. Our prayers will continue to flow above for this child’s care, health and full recovery.”  (09/23/2014 - 11:30 AM) 

Watch the Campbell at Clinton football game right here

Powers weighs in on legalities, implications of Jacksboro Suboxone dispensary

'related story further down this page'

NASHVILLE - Following concern and misinformation about a new suboxone dispensary opening in Jacksboro, State Representative Dennis Powers (R–Jacksboro) released several clarifications about the new dispensary and its implications for Campbell County

“Over the last several weeks, there have been concerns about a proposed suboxone dispensary opening up in Jacksboro,” said Representative Powers.  “This office would dispense suboxone, for the treatment of opioid addictions, and is not a methadone clinic as earlier reported.  While it is true suboxone is an opioid, if these drugs are used in accordance with their FDA indication solely in the context of a bona fide program for Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) for opioid dependence, this would not be considered pain management services and those patients would not be counted as such.”

According to state and federal law, a suboxone clinic or dispensary falls under the purview of the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse, and standard operating procedure in these offices is that patients who are prescribed suboxone, unless granted by a physician take home privilege, must take their medication in the office in front of a nurse.  Suboxone can only be prescribed by a physician who is licensed and accredited.  The doctors affiliated with the dispensary are allowed to prescribe suboxone to only 30 patients initially and then after one year up to 100 patients.  

“State law specifies that a suboxone clinic or dispensary cannot accept cash,” Representative Powers continued.  “They are limited to credit card or checks.  However, they can accept cash for a co-pay or co-insurance when the remainder of the payment is submitted to the patient’s insurance provider for approval.  As your State Representative, I assure you that both myself and the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse will continue to monitor this situation closely to ensure the office and the physicians using it are performing their duties correctly and following the law for these types of services.  The office will also be monitored closely to assure there is no suspicious activity or public nuisances. ”

“Currently, under Tennessee law a certificate of need is not required for a soboxone dispensary since it is just a satellite office used by licensed and accredited area doctors. State Senator Ken Yager and I will review this and address this law next year,” Representative Powers concluded. (09/17/2014 - 6:00 AM)

Medicare questions?  Terry’s Pharmacy has the answers.

It was a cold time had by all.  Rissa, Raewyn, and the staff at Terry's Pharmacy took the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge on Thursday evening at the La Follette Terry's.  Rissa challenges the downtown merchants, namely Wender Furniture, Bowman Jewelers, Smith Hardware, La Follette Machine & Tool,  along with the La Follette Housing Authority as well as Coach Justin Price, his coaching staff, and the entire Cougar Football Team. (09/04/2014 - 8:30 PM - CHARLIE HUTSON PIX)

Rissa, Raewyn, & the staff at Terry's Pharmacy take the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge


Citizens of Jacksboro speak out against possible methadone clinic

Stories and Photos by Charlotte Underwood

“We don’t want it in our neighborhood or our town,” that was the sentiment of Jacksboro residents speaking up about a proposed methadone clinic that is attempting to get licensed and permitted to operate in the town. The town hall was packed with concerned citizens who wanted Mayor Jack Cannon and board members to know just how they felt.

Jacksboro citizen Donnie Ford spoke up about his and others concern regarding the possible methadone clinic that had applied for a business license to move into the town.

“We all have concerns about this clinic that is supposed to open in three weeks, yet no one here knows anything about it,” said Jacksboro resident Donnie Ford. Ford spoke up about being a Department of Children’s Services worker and knowing first hand that the clinic “Express HealthCare” is not “reputable.”

Retired New York City cop Bill Ryan attended the meeting and assured the board and mayor that if the clinic moves in, there will be more drug problems and “syringes in the streets.”

The clinic is attempting to locate on Perkins Lane in the old electronics building. According to members of the audience, the property is believed to be owned by Charles Eldridge.

Express Health Care is the same company that attempted to open a Suboxone clinic in LaFollette several months ago, but the city council rezoned the area that such clinics were allowed, stopping the clinic’s opening.

Jacksboro Attorney Steve Hurst told the public to record drug deals or anything illegal that they saw happen at the clinic should it open and then he could file to have it shut down as a public nuisance.

“We don’t want it in our community; it will increase crime and traffic in the area and we already have enough impaired drivers,” Ford said. Retired New York City cop Bill Ryan attended the meeting and warned board members that there would be syringes in the streets if the clinic was allowed to open.

“I had this up in New York; I didn’t move down here for this,” Ryan said. He brought a zip lock bag to the meeting containing empty Suboxone strips that he had picked up near where he lived right before the meeting.

“We already have enough problems; if the clinic goes in, they will get so much worse,” Ryan said.

“If this isn’t a harmful drug, then why is it being sold on the streets,” Loretta Phillips with Dayspring Clinic in Jellico demanded to know.

Jacksboro Mayor Jack Cannon assured the public that he and the council did not want the clinic to move in, but said there hands were tied due to state laws which allow the clinics to be licensed.

According to the mayor and city attorney Steve Hurst, Jacksboro’s hands are tied by state laws and they cannot keep the clinic out.

“The state licenses them and we can’t legally prohibit them from moving in,” Cannon said. Hurst recommended for concerned citizens to watch the clinic and obtain evidence that people were intoxicated or that drug deals were taking place and then he could file that the clinic was a nuisance and perhaps shut it down that way. Cannon encouraged people to picket and said the town would certainly provide the picketing permits. The town also offered up city hall chambers to the public who may want to meet in the future about the issue.

 “We feel the same way you do; we don’t want it here,” Cannon said. Neither the mayor nor the city attorney could be nailed down to give an exact date of how long they had known about the possibility of the company attempting to locate to the town. Each time the question was asked, the answer seemed to vary.

According to Hurst, the company contacted him about four months ago and asked if the clinic would be legal in the town.

“I said I didn’t know and I never spoke to anyone from the company again,” Hurst said, adding that an attorney representing the company had called him today, but he had not returned the call yet. Hurst also said he told the mayor about the call and that the mayor had also asked him to check if it was legal. According to the mayor, the company had contacted Hurst two or three months ago. In July, the clinic applied for a building permit for a doctor’s office, according to the mayor.

“If you think I or these people (board of mayor and aldermen) want this, then you are wrong, these are good, God-fearing people,” Hurst said.

 Concerned citizens vowed to do something about the proposed clinic. Before the meeting was over, Donnie Ford was nominated to be a representative of the people against the clinic and sort of a go-between for them and the city regarding information about the clinic.

“We really are behind you all; we are just stuck with a law that we have to live with. It’s the licensing board in Nashville that is the problem,” Cannon said. He told the public he had requested a copy of the rules and regulations regarding these types of clinics from the state and would forward the information on when he had received it.

WLAF will have a more in-depth story later. (09/05/2014 - 9:00 AM) 

Listen to Keith Hatfield`s “Show Cause” 

     Keith Hatfield`s Sports talk show called “Show Cause” is heard here on WLAF each Friday following Tony Basilio from 1 pm to 3 pm. Keith will break down the Vols opening football game while also interviewing new Tennessee basketball coach Donnie Tyndall in this weeks show which is archived on the WLAF Archive page and currently can be heard by clicking the player below.  Hatfield who is from LaFollette is a member of and broadcasts out of the Tony Basilio Sports Network from the “Ray Mears” Studio in Knoxville.

Check this out on Chirbit 

16 seeking office in Jellico

It’s a big November ticket for Jellico; not so much for Caryville and La Follette.  Come November 4, Forrester Baird and Larry Meadors will challenge current Mayor Les Stiers while a bakers dozen other candidates will battle it out for six alderman seats.  Three incumbents, Pam Carbaugh, Coach Alvin Evans, and Charles Vermillion have opposition from William Michael Bridges, Novella Brooks, Jamie Lawson, Charlotte Lindsay, Sarah Beth McQueen, Wanda Perkins, Gail Sharp, Ranee’ Voyles, and Louise Walden.

At Caryville, three alderman seats are up.  Ward 1’s candidates are Jerry Chadwell facing Dwayne Gibson.  Gibson was appointed to finish the term.  David E. Smith is unopposed in Ward 2.  Beth Lawson challenges Ward 3 incumbent Mark Stanley.

La Follette is electing two commissioners.  Joe Bolinger is running for re-election.  Ann Thompson, who was appointed to finish a term, is seeking a commission slot.  Perennial candidate Virgil Kidwell, who is the Democratic nominee for state representative, is also running for city council. (08/28/2104 - 6:00 AM)

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

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


Election results bring change

By Charlotte Underwood

      Campbell County has a new mayor.  E.L. Morton won in a run-away race for the county mayor’s office, easily outstripping incumbent William Baird and other candidates.  Morton received 4,022 votes, while Jack Lynch came in second with 2,346 and Baird came in third with 2,186.  Fred Cole garnered 748 while Marvin Rutherford finished with 194.

     Morton, members of his family, friends and old school mates gathered at the Holiday Inn Express to celebrate the big win before heading down to WLAF to give a big thanks to all his supporters.

     Morton said he was overwhelmed with the outpouring of support.  “Tonight’s a blessing and an affirmation.  I feared letting people down and not being able to deliver, but the people supporting our campaign came through and didn’t let that happen. I am really proud to represent the people that voted for us and look forward to being the mayor of Campbell County for everyone.  Morton said he had prayed long and hard about running for office.

     “I prayed not to do it, but I got a different answer and win lose or draw, I was responsible for doing that much at least.  I am relieved it’s over, but I look forward to building the community we want in the future.  We deserve only what we earn, but I believe the people of Campbell County are willing to work hard to earn it,” Morton said. 

Morton said he looked forward to going to work for the people of the county.

     Incumbent Sheriff Robbie Goins is going to enjoy another four years in office as he swept the polls against Gary Perkins and Pete Hatfield.  Votes for Goins totaled an amazing 6,986 while Perkins had 1,752 and Hatfield finished with 882.

     Goins said he was honored to receive the vote of confidence from the people of the county.  “I am so thankful to the voters; I think the people liked what we have been doing for the past four years and they showed that in support at the polls,” Goins said, adding that while he had felt good about the turnout, he did not know how overwhelming the support would be.

     “Everyone has been so positive these past four years about what we have been doing; we are all excited to get back to work for another four years,” Goins said, adding that he was “thankful and blessed.”
     Amanda Sammons ousted incumbent Joe Ayers for Sessions Court Judge in a fairly close race with a total of 3,698 votes. Ayers received 3,296. Challenger Kathy Parrott had a showing of 2,495 votes.

      Sammons said she felt excited and was still in shock over winning.  She said she wanted to thank the voters who put her in office.  “Thank you so much for entrusting me with your vote and your support,” Sammons said, adding that she looked forward to taking office and getting started.

     In Campbell County, Jared Effler is receiving more votes for the district attorney general’s office with 4,189 votes over Lori Phillips-Jones who had 3,992. Effler was declared the winner not long before midnight Thursday.

     In Campbell County, Leif Jeffers received 4,552 for the public defender’s office while Mark Eric Blakely garnered 3,612. Jeffers also won the other counties in the district to become the new public defender.

    In the Chancellor race, Elizabeth Asbury won with 6,743 votes to Andy Tillman’s 2,507 here and was victorious overall to earn the right to be the next chanellor.  Dormas Miller won the Register of Deeds office with 5,288, while Beverly Hall had 2,782 and Danny E. Wilson had 297.1

     The new county clerk is Alene Baird with 3,262. Lynn Letner received 703, while Todd Nance had 2,948 and incumbent Debbie Wilson had 2,721.

     First District County commissioners are N. Marie Ayers who received 677, while Whit Goins received 721 and Robert Higginbotham received 675.

     Second District County commissioners are Dewayne “Mailman” Kitts with 1,039, Cliff Kohlymeyer with 641 and Lonnie Weldon with 696.

      Kitts said he wanted to thank the voters for everything.

      “Well it’s an honor to win; I want to thank the voters.  The people in the district really showed me their support,” Kitts said, saying he sensed the people in his district wanted a change.

     “I made a lot of friends in the second district; really honored and thankful for everyone who voted. I am going to be a committed commissioner and do what I can for the people,” Kitts said, adding that he never thought he would be doing this.

     “I want to make a positive influence on the community and I invite the public to come and sit down with me if they need to talk,” Kitts said.

     County commission third district winners are Cliff Jennings with 627, Rusty Orick with 786 and Scott Stanfield with 886. 

     Fourth district county commissioners for the fourth district are Charles Goat Baird with 1,028, Johnny Coach Bruce with 1,098 and Sue Nance with 1,075,

     County commission fifth district representatives are Forster Baird with 709, Ralph Davis with 840 and Carl B. Douglas with 714.

     School board first district member is Wallace Goins with 1,289 against Rector Miller’s 666.

     Second district school board saw Sharon Ridenour win with 815 against Randy Comer’s 764.

     Third district school board member is Faye Heatherly who won a close race with 797 votes against Scott Hill’s 774 and Virgil Kidwell’s 185.

     In the school board district four, Clint Bane won with 748 against Tim Woods with 526 and Eugene Lawson’s 682.

     School Board District five saw Crystal Creekmore winning with 586 while Elsie Bates Crawford garnered 505, Johnny Creekmore had 402 and Ned Smiddy received 346.

     Congress third district sees Weston Wamp beat Chuck Fleischmann in the third district congressman race with 2464 against Wamp’s 2357 in Campbell County.  Fleischmann was eventually able to win and keep his seat in Congress.  (08/08/2014 - 2:30 AM)

Finals ‘14 – The 2014 Election Returns from WLAF is presented by:

Attorney Greg Leach of Sexton, Sexton, & Leach Attorneys 423.569.8341

Ron's Golf Carts & La Follette Indoor Flea Market - behind Long John Silvers

American Cable in the Woodson Mall-Food City Center is your home for DISH

Since 1961, Litho-Craft Printing & Office Supplies on West Beech Street

Zach Sheets with Edward Jones Investments 423.566.4010

First National Bank 423.566.1624 - next to Subway on the four-lane

Terry's Pharmacy of La Follette & Jacksboro - walk-in, drive-up, or we'll deliver

Beacon Finance "where pigs fly" on North Tennessee Avenue

State Farm Agent Tabatha Smith in the Fleet Building in La Follette

Attorney David H. Dunaway 423.562.7085

Holston Gases - Jacksboro - 423.562.7596

The Gray Insurance Agency where "Nationwide is on your side"

Community Trust Bank, building communities built on trust

David Bales Buick GMC - locally owned & operated by the same family since 1966

Wender Furniture Company in La Follette is home of the Big Green Egg

Since 1933.  Our name means a great deal.  Bowman Jewelers at Traffic Light 8.

Dave's Lawn Mower Parts - behind Scottie's at Caryville

PCUD - Powell-Clinch Utility District.  Natural.  Propane.

American Trust Bank.  Thanks for 10-great years.

La Follette Glass...  "Auto-Commercial-Residential"

FM is now a part of the WLAF media platforms 

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Click the cap to watch the 2014 CCHS Graduation Ceremonies

2014 Campbell Football Schedule

August 14 or 15                       Jamboree                      A

August  22                              Cumberland Gap            A  W  54 - 7

August 29                               Lynn Camp                  H  W  64 - 0

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September  12                         Anderson County*          A  L  35 - 14

September 18                          Clinton*                         A

September 26                          Halls*(HC)                     H

October 3                                Oak Ridge*                    A

October 10                             Gibbs*                          H

October 17                              Open Date                    - -

October 24                              Karns*                          A

October 31                             Powell*(SN)                 H                           

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