News Briefs for Tennessee and Around the Nation

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Couple accused of putting child in oven

NASHVILLE — A Nashville couple were jailed after being accused of routinely putting their 5-year-old child in an oven to punish him, officials said.  Lavelldo Washington, 34, and Corneisha Wilkerson, 23, face charges of aggravated child abuse and neglect after an investigation, prompted by the hospital treatment of the couple’s 2-month-old child for a broken leg last year, WSMV-TV, Nashville, reported  …

Distemper case halts dog adoptions at Williamson Co. shelter

A Middle Tennessee animal shelter is putting pet adoptions on hold for the next two weeks after five of its dogs came down with a deadly illness. Now, every dog at the Williamson County Animal Control and Adoption Center is under quarantine after workers there confirmed one of the animals had distemper.

Sponsor drops TN bill to eliminate Vanderbilt police

State Rep. Mark Pody has dropped his bill seeking to strip Vanderbilt University of its police powers because of the school’s nondiscrimination policy for student groups. The Tennessean reports that the Lebanon Republican announced in a statement on Monday that he would no longer pursue the measure that the state attorney general previously raised constitutional concerns about. To be sanctioned by the university, Vanderbilt student groups must open membership to all students and allow all members in good standing to seek leadership posts. Christian groups have protested the policy, saying it forces them to allow nonbelievers and gay students to join.

A thirsty Georgia pushing to tap the Tennessee River

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama – Georgia and Tennessee are gearing up for battle, again. No, not an SEC football war this time. This time it’s a water war. The Georgia state Senate today passed a resolution to begin essentially a process of changing a small part of the boundary line that divides Georgia from Tennessee. It’s a relatively small amount of land _ everything south of the 35th parallel – but what’s important about it is what cuts through the 35th parallel: the Tennessee River.

Casada says open meetings bill can be fixed

A Republican lawmaker who last year backed off a bill that would have allowed local officials to hold more closed-door meetings has renewed the effort, saying he’s asked county commissioners to bring him a proposal that has a chance of passing a key subcommittee. State Rep. Glen Casada of Franklin has a bill scheduled before the House State Government Subcommittee on Tuesday that could be amended to address local government officials’ call for a bill to allow them to meet privately as long as a quorum isn’t present.

Downtown business owners push for tax to help lure conventions

Whiskey Bent Saloon owner Barrett Hobbs is among a group of downtown business owners asking that a 0.025 percent sales fee be added to their tab.

The proposed bill going before Tennessee General Assembly committees Tuesday authorizes a fee on goods and services, such as beer and food, within a downtown zone that would be used to offer incentives to convention groups considering the Music City Center. The bill would exempt goods such as tickets to sporting events, liquor drinks, newspapers and other publications and overnight and long-term parking, according the bill summary. Hobbs, who owns four other Nashville bars, said the fee comes down to about a penny per beer, a cost he would absorb rather than pass on to consumers, which include locals and tourists. He said it is a fee that he is happy to pay, given the additional business he expects the new convention center to yield. …

Chattanooga whiskey petition begins

CHATTANOOGA, TN, (WDEF),”Chattanooga was one of the largest distilling and wholesaling towns in America for whiskey”. That was then and this is now, Tim Piersant is one of the founders of Chattanooga Whiskey and he and his partner Joe Ledbetter are confident that their dream is moving closer and closer. “A premium hand crafted whiskey, and that’s what we really want to bring back to Chattanooga, something classy, something nice, something that makes the city look good and presents the city well and that’s what we think we have done.” Piersant and Ledbetter currently have two whiskeys on offer and are looking to bring a 2 million dollar distillery to Hamilton County by the end of this year.

Roane Co. looks into house arrest to eliminate jail overcrowding

Jail overcrowding is a complaint we hear from many East Tennessee sheriffs’ offices. In Roane County, some officials are hoping to fix the problem by allowing judges to punish criminals with house arrest instead of jail time. The inmate population continues to grow in Roane County. The Sheriff says prescription drug abuse is to blame. The county doesn’t have the space or funds to expand the five-year-old jail. “The biggest problem is female overcrowding across the whole state of Tennessee,” said Sheriff Jack Stockton.


Dog owner speaks about animal cruelty caught on camera

Editor Question: when are we over reacting?

Daryl Sanders said he treats his pit bull puppy Zeke better than himself. This despite the fact Sanders was charged by Memphis Police after video of him striking the animal ended up on the internet. “My dog eats sausage and biscuits in the morning while I’m eating grits,” said Sanders. But you’ve got to wonder where the love is when you watch video of Sanders repeatedly striking Zeke in the backseat of a car parked outside a Memphis auto parts store. “But let me tell you on this,” said Sanders.  “It’s not what it seems,” he added. Sanders called it discipline. “It hurts his feelings,” said Sanders.  “It doesn’t hurt him.”

Man bound with tape, stabbed, robbed in north Nashville

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A stabbing victim is recovering in the hospital after a man and a woman forced their way inside his home. The incident happened just after midnight near the 4000 block of Boyd Drive in Bordeaux. The resident, a 75-year-old man, told police that a man and woman wearing hoodies knocked on his door and forced their way inside the home. While inside, the two suspects bound his arms with tape, stabbed him in the neck and stole his wallet. The suspects then stole the man’s car and drove it to White’s Creek Pike where they left the victim. When police responded, they spotted the suspects in the backyard of the victim’s home. The two fled from the cops, leaving the man’s wallet and car behind. The victim is at the hospital recovering with non-life threatening injuries.

Home School Athletics Bill Waiting for Governor’s Signature

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Legislation that would allow home school students to participate in sports in public schools is one step closer to becoming a law, and supporters are cheering. After getting approval 31-0 on the Senate floor, the House voted to support it 68-19 Monday night.  Now, it heads to Governor Bill Haslam’s desk for a signature. The bill would give home school students a chance to try out for public school athletic teams, if they meet necessary health, academic and conduct standards.  They may also have to pay any necessary fees associated with the programs. Jennifer Gentry home schools her three kids in Madison. She said all are athletic, and it would be a great opportunity for them to be able to compete alongside kids at their zoned public school. “We would definitely take advantage of the option,” said Gentry. “To have more choices is always a good thing.” Rep. Jeremy Durham, a Republican from the 65th district, said he feels the bill has the support of the home school community, and the majority of his district. He said it provides a fair opportunity to home school families.

Harassment charges filed: Bolivar school placed in ‘safe mode’ after Facebook posts cause concern

A former Hardeman County law enforcement officer was arrested Monday after comments that some residents took to be threats toward Bolivar Elementary School and local police were posted on his Facebook page. About 4 a.m. Monday, Jonathan Trent Wilbanks began posting comments on Facebook telling members of the Bolivar community to prepare for what was coming. In the comments, Wilbanks did not state an intended act of violence, but warned law enforcement officers to “suit up” and others to “lock and load.”


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