Local News

Cannon General Sessions Court

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Judge Susan Melton presided over Cannon County General Sessions Court on Tuesday. Some of the results from the various cases which appeared on the docket included:

Michell Bryant pled guilty to the charge of passing a worthless check. She was sentenced to 11 months, 29 days in jail. That sentence was suspended upon an equal amount of time on probation, paying the court costs and paying the check and service charges.

Dereck Merritt pled guilty to the charge of violation of probation. His probation was revoked and he was ordered to serve his entire sentence.

Hannah Probst pled guilty to the charge of theft. She was sentenced to 11 months, 29 days in the county jail. That sentence was suspended upon an equal amount of time on probation, paying restitution and paying the court costs.

Princess Odom pled guilty to the charge of passing a worthless check. She was sentenced to 11 months, 29 days in jail. That sentence was suspended upon an equal amount of time on probation, paying the court costs and paying the check and service charges.

Dustin Reed pled guilty to the charge of violation of probation. His probation was extended and he was ordered to serve 60 days in jail.

Thomas Laxton pled guilty to the charge of violation of probation. His probation was revoked and he was ordered to serve his entire sentence.

Dezon Johnson pled guilty to the charge of violation of probation. His probation was extended and he was ordered to serve 30 days in jail.

Richard Butcher pled guilty to the charge of criminal trespass. He was sentenced to 6 months in the county jail. He was ordered to serve his entire sentence.

David McPeak pled guilty to the charge of public intoxication. He was sentenced to 30 days in jail and ordered to serve his entire sentence. In another case, McPeak pled guilty to the charge of theft. He was sentenced to 11 months, 29 days in jail and ordered to serve his entire sentence. McPeak also pled guilty to the charge of assault. He was sentenced to 11 months, 29 days in jail and ordered to serve his entire sentence.

Ronald Jernigan pled guilty to the charge of simple possession of marijuana. He was sentenced to 11 months, 29 days in the county jail. That sentence was suspended upon an equal amount of time on probation, paying the court costs and paying a $250.00 fine.

Doyle Mooneyham pled guilty to the charge of driving under the influence. He was sentenced to 11 months, 29 days in the county jail. That sentence was partially suspended upon serving 48 hours in jail, paying a $350.00 fine and paying the court costs. In addition, he was ordered to perform 24 hours of litter pickup and he lost his driver’s license for 1 year.

Kimberly Prater pled guilty to the charge of violation of probation. Her probation was extended and she was ordered to serve 30 days in jail.

Derick Dodson pled guilty to the charge of violation of probation. His probation was extended and he was ordered to serve 40 days in jail. In another case, Dodson pled guilty to the charge of simple possession of marijuana. He was sentenced to 11 months, 29 days in jail. That sentence was suspended upon an equal amount of time on probation, paying the court costs and paying a $250.00 fine.

Organizers Term Andrea Walks A Success!

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Walkers are shown leaving Dillon Park.

First Lady Andrea Conte was in Woodbury on Friday morning, April 24, for the second annual “Andrea Walks for Tennessee’s Children” child abuse awareness walk. The First Lady led a one-mile walk to benefit the Cannon County Child Advocacy Center and crisis intervention services to child abuse victims. The Woodbury Walk began at Dillon Park and concluded at the Cannon County courthouse.

First Lady Conte sponsors Walks in select cities in the state every April to increase awareness about child sexual abuse. The Child Advocacy Center was delighted that Ms. Conte chose Woodbury as one of the six cities she is walking in this year!

Featured speakers at the event were First Lady Andrea Conte, Woodbury Police Chief Tony Burnett, County Executive Mike Gannon, and Doug Combs from WBRY AM-FM.

Faye Northcutt-Knox chaired the Cannon County “Andrea Walks” Committee. Other committee members included Chief Tony Burnett, Doug Combs, Connie Foster, Catherine Player, Sandra Walker, Wanda Parker and Cannon County Coordinator Amanda Burks.

Catherine Player coordinated the reception honoring the First Lady that was held immediately following the Walk. The Child Advocacy Center is grateful to the following individuals and organizations for providing food and assisting with the reception: Fine Swine Barbeque, FCE of Cannon County, Senior Citizens, Catherine Player, Piggly Wiggly, and Debbie Jakes.

Local businesses and organizations were very supportive of “Andrea Walks” and the Cannon County Child Advocacy Center. Cannon County Walk sponsors included Affect Plus, Alexander Ford, Cannon County Board of Education, Curves, DTC Communications, Fine Swine Barbeque, First Bank, First Baptist Church of Woodbury, First National Bank, Jennings Jewelers, Mark’s Towing, Middle Tennessee Electric Customers Care, Middle Tennessee Natural Gas Project Hometown Help, Nashville Predator’s Foundation, Preston Brothers Construction, Providence Community Corrections, Smile Creations, Tri-Star Title Company LLC, and Woodbury Grammar School.

Individual contributors to “Andrea Walks” included Charlene and Marlene Bogle, David and Nancy Bragg, Dr. Bernard Coomes, Robert and Helen Davenport, Dr. Edward and Joan Diden, Bobby and Amy Ferrell, Connie Foster, Shannon and Daisy Gannon, Beth Hall, Cheryl Johnson, Nelson and Wanda Johnson, the Honorable Judge Susan Melton, Britt and Faye Northcutt-Knox, J.H. and Lois Larimer, Mr. and Mrs. Barrett Lofton, John and Ann McBride, James and Peggy Miller, Phillip and Kimberly Mullen, Nathan Nichols, Catherine Player, General David and Linda Puckett, Dr. Leon and Phyllis Reuhland, Greg Rogers, W.D. and Jackie Thomason, Stan Vaught, General William C. and Lucy Whitesell, and William and Lydia Womack.

Over 100 people, including children from the Woodbury Grammar School, laced up their tennis shoes and joined their friends to walk on the beautiful, sunny Friday morning. The Cannon County “Andrea Walks” raised $9,879 that will be used to provide crisis intervention services to child abuse victims, child sexual abuse victims, and drug endangered children.

“The support that the Cannon County community provides the Child Advocacy Center is crucial for this organization to help children who are victims of sexual and severe physical abuse,” Conte said. “It is fitting that we walk during April, National Child Abuse Prevention Month, to educate families about these services and the issue of child abuse in Tennessee.”

It is not too late to get involved and help abused children in Cannon County. The 2009 Child Advocacy Center Duck Derby Bash and the Rubber Duck Derby are coming up in June and July. All Cannon County contributions will benefit the Cannon County Child Advocacy Center. For more information or to assist with the Cannon County Duck Race Planning Committee contact Amanda Burks at the Cannon County Child Advocacy Center at 563-9915.

Editors Note: Other pictures from this year's walk are available in the Photo Gallery of this website.

State Ready to Respond to Novel Flu Virus

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

The Tennessee Department of Health has a plan to respond to a swine flu outbreak. Human cases have been identified in the United States and internationally. So far no cases have been diagnosed in Tennessee. Health officials are working with the federal Department of Health and Human Services to make sure the state has enough medical supplies and necessary medications on hand in case they are needed. At least 40 human cases of swine flu have been confirmed around the country. Residents who think they may be ill with the flu or flu-like illness should call their doctor. Symptoms include fever, body aches, runny nose, sore throat, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea. Anyone who has trouble breathing or shortness of breath, sudden dizziness, confusion, pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen and severe or persistent vomiting is urged to seek immediate emergency care.

School Board Names Carlton Interim Director

Monday, 27 April 2009

The board met again in the courtroom of the Cannon County Courthouse.

The Cannon County Board of Education met in another special meeting Monday at the Cannon County Courthouse.

The first item of the agenda was to officially adjourn the special meeting from Wednesday April 22nd. After that was taken care of the board addressed the main reason why this special meeting was called.

After relieving former Director Of Schools, Ed Diden from his position Wednesday evening, the board realized they needed to name an interim director.

Chairman Randy Gannon opened up the conversation among the board members by saying that he was aware of only two people that have expressed interest in the interim position. Current Cannon County instructional supervisor Marcia Melton and former Woodbury Central Principal and longtime former Rutherford County Superintendent of Schools Elam Carlton. Chairman Gannon then asked for comments and motions from the board. Board member Cathy Hyatt spoke first. She urged that if someone in attendance knew someone or if they themselves feel qualified to apply for the Director of Schools to please do so. As far as this meeting was concerned it was called to focus on naming an interim. The interim director would be very important to the transitional period. Board Member Hyatt then noted that while she considered Ms. Melton qualified to do the job as interim director, she felt that her duties as instructional supervisor were very important to the school system so much as to being concerned that Ms. Melton couldn't handle all the responsibilities that an interim director would have in addition to being an instructional supervisor. Ms. Hyatt continued by saying she discussed the position with Elam Carlton. Elam told Ms. Hyatt that he loved his time as principal at Woodbury Central and would be more than happy to help in an interim basis. He also told Ms. Hyatt that he would be willing to do the job for $150 a week. Board member Hyatt also noted that Mr. Carlton had helped oversee and put together over 13 budgets for the Rutherford County School System and his expertise could be important during this transitional period. Ms. Hyatt then made a motion to elect Elam Carlton for the interim position.
Roy Parker seconded the motion

Chris Blackburn spoke next and ended up making a motion to elect Marcia Melton as the interim director. Shannon Davenport also spoke and during that time Marcia Melton, who was in attendance, spoke on her behalf saying that she was interested in the position and could handle all the responsibilities based on the support and help she would recieve from the Central Office.

Chairman Randy Gannon then put it to a vote.
Voting Yes for Marcia Melton was Board Members Shannon Davenport and Chris Blackburn
Voting No for Marcia Melton was Chairman Randy Gannon, along with Board Members Cathy Hyatt, and Roy Parker.

Voting Yes for Elam Carlton was Chairman Randy Gannon, and board members Roy Parker, and Cathy Hyatt.
Voting against Elam Carlton was board members Shannon Davenport and Chris Blackburn.
As a result of a 3-2 vote Elam Carlton was elected interim director of Cannon County Schools. He was not present at the meeting however.

Chairman Gannon then announced that a Cannon County School Budget meeting will be held April 30th at the central office starting at 5:00 in the evening.

Monday Session of General Sessions Court

Monday, 27 April 2009

Rutherford County General Sessions Judge Ben Hall McFarlin, Jr. presided over a special session of Cannon County General Sessions Court. The only criminal matter on the docket was the case of Donnie Pelham. Pelham is charged with domestic assault. His case was reset until June 8, 2009 due to the fact that the prosecuting attorney was not present.

The remaining matters on the docket were civil cases. In those cases, Judge McFarlin heard the cases and entered judgment for the prevailing party.

Senator Beavers Weekly Legislative Update

Monday, 27 April 2009

Senate Finance Committee approves legislation to maintain Tennessee’s dedicated road fund Tennessee’s road needs were debated on Capitol Hill. The Senate Finance Committee approved a bill that maintains Tennessee’s dedicated road fund by prohibiting the diversion of gas tax money through the state’s budget or appropriations bill.

The bill approved by the Finance Committee, SB 1309, would require authorization through separate legislation to divert gas tax revenues that are dedicated for road funds. The measure would put Tennessee back in the position it was prior to 2004 and restore the appropriate checks and balances to ensure that any diversion of the funds are fully meted out through the normal legislative process. Currently, the dedicated road fund can be diverted through a line in the appropriations bill, which is a much easier route to raid the funds.

The Department of Transportation only spends the funds that are available through its dedicated revenues, gas taxes and highway user fees, and federal funding. Called “dedicated funding” since users pay for the roads through gas taxes and fees, a portion of the gasoline tax also goes to cities and counties in Tennessee to fund local roads. This dedicated revenue system was put into place when the gas tax was raised to fund the road program. Over the last several years, however, $280 million in road funds have been funneled from the gas tax to meet other state government expenditures.

Judiciary Committee Grills Administration Officials Over Tax Increase

The Judiciary Committee questioned Administration Budget Director Bill Bradley over mandating that huge budget cuts to the District Attorneys Conference, the Public Defenders Conference, and the Department of Safety if the General Assembly be enacted if the General Assembly chooses not to adopt the controversial FONCE tax increase.

Judiciary Chairman Mae Beavers and Republican Caucus Chairman Diane Black questioned why the administration was allowing for such key public safety and justice positions to possibly be cut and whether it was unusual for the Governor to direct “general funds” and tax increases and tie them to certain departments. “The administration is choosing to hold some of our most important state employees hostage – from highway troopers to public defenders and district attorneys – in order to pass a tax increase,” said Chairman Beavers. “I think there is a better way to fund these vital positions. Trying to force the General Assembly to adopt a controversial tax increase to keep these positions is a political maneuver.”

The Judiciary Committee chose to pass the budget of the District Attorneys and the Public Defenders without recommendation on the condition that the Finance Committee try to find other ways to fund these potential cut positions if the General Assembly chooses not to enact the FONCE tax.
The proposal, SB 470, will be heard in House and Senate Committees next week.

Bills in Brief

Protecting Crime Victims – The Senate Judiciary Committee approved strong crime bills this week aiming to protect victims of crime. SB 1531 would increase the minimum age of the Class D felony offense of child abuse and child neglect or endangerment from six to eight years of age or younger. This bill would enhance penalties against those who commit child abuse and child neglect in cases where the victim is eight years old or younger. This legislation protects children by making sure their abusers are kept behind bars for a longer period of time.

Animal fighting – The full Senate voted 27 to 0 to increase the penalty for being a spectator at an animal fight. Under current law, the penalty for being a spectator at a dog fight is a Class B misdemeanor, and for other animals, it is a Class C misdemeanor, which only carries a $50 fine. This bill, SB 537, increases the penalty for spectators at all animal fights to a Class A misdemeanor. Animal fighting has other crime implications like gambling, drugs, and organized crime. Other states like North and South Carolina have driven animal fighting, like cock fighting, to Tennessee due to increased penalties imposed in their states.

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