Local News

County Commission Approves Continuing Resolution

Sunday 29 June 2008Cannon County’s governmental operations can continue to run until the County Commission passes an official budget for 2008-2009 following Saturday’s meeting of the Board of County Commissioners. Members met in special called session to approve last minute budget amendments and pass a continuing budget resolution. The Commission’s budget committee is wrapping up its work and plans to have a final budget ready for the full Commission to consider at their July 19th meeting but until that happens members had to pass a budget to keep the County running until then. County Executive Mike Gannon told the Commission that if the resolution was not passed the government would have to shut down because the County would not be able to pay employees purchase supplies or pay bills until a budget was approved. The Continuing budget resolution passed unanimously. Members were asked to approve the bond which gave the 911 Board $100 000.00 to pay contractors working on the 911 Center. According to County Executive Mike Gannon approval of the bond would mean that contractors working on the project could be paid in full until the 911 Board’s grant money came in. The Board received a $138 000.00 U.S. Department of Agriculture grant to construct the building but those funds have not yet been paid by the United States Government. Payment is expected soon but Gannon said that contractors would not finish work on the building until they were paid. Gannon said that the $100 000.00 was only a temporary loan and that the County would receive all of its money back with some interest when the grant funds came in which is expected to be soon. He said that failure to approve the bond would result in the 911 Board having to take out a conventional loan from a bank at a much higher interest rate. He also said that the Board would lose about $38 000.00 in grant money if the bond was not approved and that the County could end up having to pay for the whole project itself. When members voted the bond issue passed 7 to 3. Those voting for the bond issue were Commissioners Barker Nichols Ashford Hollandsworth Mitchell Wimberly and Hall. Those voting against were Commissioners George Parton and Stoetzel. Members also approved last minute budget amendments for the various county departments. They moved money within the general fund budget to balance accounts and approved budget amendments for the Board of Education solid waste sheriff’s and highway departments. Prior to adjournment members were informed that the Commission’s budget Committee will hold its last meeting on Tuesday July 1st at 6:30 p.m. in the Courtroom. At that time Committee members are expected to make final changes to budgets and make a decision how to fund the entire budget. After that meeting an official proposed budget will be sent to each Commissioner for consideration prior to their July 19th meeting.

Plea Day Results For May Term Of Grand Jury

Friday 27 June 2008Friday marked plea day for those defendants indicted by the May 2008 term of the Cannon County Grand Jury. Those defendants who entered pleas during Friday’s session included: Bryan Ray Phillips pled not guilty to the charges of aggravated burglary theft 2 counts burglary and failure to appear. His case was reset for July 11 2008. Carlo Odom pled not guilty to 4 counts of sale of controlled substance and sale of a counterfeit controlled substance. His case was reset for July 11 2008. Robert Odom pled not guilty to sale of a controlled substance and sale of a counterfeit controlled substance. His case was reset for July 11 2008. Donald Reeder pled not guilty to 3 counts of casual exchange of a controlled substance. His case was reset for July 11 2008. Jimmy Mullins pled not guilty to 10 counts of rape of a child 10 counts of aggravated sexual battery 10 counts of rape and 10 counts of sexual battery. His case was reset for July 11 2008. James and Wilma Barrett pled not guilty to 3 counts of sale of a controlled substance and 2 counts of TennCare fraud. Their case was reset for July 11 2008. Roy and Kathy Murphy pled not guilty to 2 counts of sale of a controlled substance. Their case was reset for July 11 2008. Jamie Sheree Hiles pled not guilty to burglary of an automobile and theft over $500.00. Her case was reset for July 11 2008. Carlo A. Odom pled not guilty to felonious possession of crack cocaine. His case was reset for July 11 2008. Sheila Curtis pled guilty to 3 counts of TennCare Fraud. She was sentenced to 18 months in prison on each count. A suspended sentence hearing was set for July 25 2008 to determine if she will have to serve her entire sentence and if the counts will run concurrently or consecutively. Clayton Cochren pled guilty to the charges of evading arrest driving while license revoked resisting arrest and vandalism over $500.00. He was sentenced to a total of 4 ½ years in prison. A suspended sentence hearing was set for July 25th. Jonathan Alajemba pled guilty to the charge of aggravated burglary. He was sentenced to 3 years in prison as a range 1 30 percent offender. A suspended sentence hearing was set for July 25th. Ryan Lee Grayson pled guilty to the charges of simple possession of marijuana and driving while license revoked. He was sentenced to a total of 1 ½ years in jail and fined $2 550.00. A suspended sentence hearing was set for August 15th. Tony L McPeake pled guilty to the charge of driving while license revoked 4th offense. He was sentenced to 11 months 29 days in the county jail and ordered to serve his entire sentence. He was also fined $100.00 and will pay the court costs. Alicia Odom pled guilty to 2 counts of sale of morphine. She was sentenced to a total of 6 years in prison as a range 1 30 percent offender. A suspended sentence hearing was set for August 15th to determine if she will have to serve her entire sentence and if the sentences will run consecutively or concurrently. David Bedwell’s suspended sentence hearing was reset for August 15th. Nathan Barnett pled guilty to the charge of violation of probation. His probation was extended and he was ordered to pay the court costs. Melvin Simmons was arraigned on the charge of murder in the first degree. His case was set for a jury trial on July 24th. Susan Earls was arraigned on the charge of aggravated child abuse and aggravated child neglect. Her case was set for plea day on July 11th.

Thursday’s Circuit Court Activity

Thursday 26 June 2008Thursday’s Circuit Court Activity Chancellor Robert E. Corlew III presided over Cannon County Circuit Court on Tuesday. Some of the results from the various cases which appeared on the docket included: Teresa Jacobs pled guilty to two counts of simple assault. She was sentenced to 23 months 28 days in the county jail. That sentence was suspended partially upon an equal amount of time on supervised probation serving 4 months in jail paying the court costs and forfeiting her weapon. Lonnie W. Burnett pled guilty to the charge of failure to appear. He was sentenced to 3 years in prison as a range 1 35 percent offender. A suspended sentence hearing has been set for August 15th to determine if he will serve his entire sentence. Jimmie L. Barnes II pled guilty to the charge of aggravated assault. He was sentenced to 3 years in prison as a range 1 30 percent offender. Barnes was ordered to serve his entire sentence. Judy Watson’s application for suspended sentence was partially granted upon serving 1 years in prison. After she serves the jail sentence she will be released on intensive probation. Joel Mashburn pled guilty to the charge of rape of a child. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison as a 100 percent offender. He received credit for all time he has previously served.

Man Charged Following Auto-Bike Incident

Thursday 26 June 2008A local man has been arrested after allegedly terrorizing a bicyclist. Anthony John Valerio age 37 of Greenbrier Street in Woodbury was arrested by the Cannon County Sheriff’s Department after he reportedly came close to striking the biker on Old Murfreesboro Road. When the bicyclist confronted the man about nearly hitting him Valerio allegedly slammed on his brakes and caused the victim to slam into the back of his car and land on the hood. The biker allegedly then bounced off the trunk and landed on the roadway. Officers immediately swore out warrants for Valerio after being notified of the incident and charged him with felony reckless endangerment by use of a motor vehicle and failure to allow appropriate space for a bicyclist to ride on a roadway. The victim was not seriously injured during the incident. Valerio is currently free on $3 000.00 bond and will appear before General Sessions Judge Susan Melton on July 1 2008.

Budget For County Government Continues To Take Shape

Wednesday 25 June 2008The Cannon County Commission’s budget committee continued working toward their goal of cutting spending in the proposed 2008-2009 county budget this week. Members met in an attempt to find more places to cut to reduce spending. During the meeting members made more cuts in the proposed budgets of the sheriff’s department jail and ambulance service. The main areas of cuts in the sheriff’s budget were in the overtime pay and repair of vehicles line items. Members trimmed an additional $15 000.00 off the sheriff’s department budget with those cuts. They also reduced food and utility funds at the jail. Those cuts totaled about $8 000.00. In addition members cut $1 500.00 from the ambulance service in the drugs and medical supplies line item. Members discussed the possibility of reducing ambulance service employee pay raises from 5 to 3 percent a move which would save the county about $30 000.00. Other county employees are only receiving a 3 percent raise this year but last year ambulance workers only received a 3 percent pay raise while other county employees received a 5 percent raise. Members discussed the option of reducing the raise to 3 percent and offering ambulance service employees a one-time bonus of between $250.00 and $500.00. That option was not formally acted on by the committee. Members still have a lot of work to do as they try to cut out almost $60 000.00 more from the budget. They acknowledged that they just don’t know where else to cut and they said they believe the budget has been trimmed about all it can be. They said they will have to look hard to find more cuts. As it stands members anticipate the county spending almost $260 000.00 more than it will take in. That equates to about a 14 cent property tax increase. That figure does not include the 16 cent property tax increase requested by the Board of Education. Members have said throughout the entire process that they are trying as hard as they can to avoid a tax increase this year due to the hard financial times that most homeowners find themselves in. To balance the general fund members have stated on numerous occasions they will probably take money from the general fund balance which currently stands at just under 1.17 million dollars. Members say they feel safe in doing that partly because last year at this time members expected the fund balance to be just over $970 000.00 and it actually ended up being about $200 000.00 more. Members believe that there will still be a healthy fund balance next year even if they take from it to balance this budget. Members have just about wrapped up their work this year and are close to having a budget ready to present to the full commission. Another meeting or two is planned within the couple of weeks to clean up some figures and make final cuts and decisions. The dates of those meetings has not yet been determined. Members believe it is probable they will have a budget ready for the full commission to act on at their July 19th regular meeting.

Cannon County Part Of Operation FALCON

Tuesday 24 June 2008Top photo: Joanne Johnson and Edward Johnson middle photo: view of one of the grow rooms bottom photo: officers pause before collecting evidence. Local law enforcement officials teamed with U.S. Marshals in an operation designed to make our communities a safer place to live. Operation FALCON 2008 (Federal And Local Cops Organized Nationally) teams spread out across 32 middle Tennessee counties to target and arrest violent felons and sex offenders. During the 7 day period (June 15th -21st) 802 fugitives have been apprehended and 1 382 warrants were cleared. In Cannon County more than individuals were collected. On June 20th Operation FALCON deputies were searching for wanted man Jim Thomas Flesher in Cannon County. Flesher is wanted for possession of methamphetamines assault on a police officer and Theft. When officers approached an outbuilding to a residence of Edward and Joanne Johnson on Big Hill Road they noticed the strong smell of marijuana. A search warrant was obtained and a large underground marijuana grow operation was discovered. Two rooms had been excavated under the shop building where 134 plants were growing. Inside the rooms were grow lights a sophisticated ventilation system and voltage transformers. The ceiling was supported by 10 inch beams made from logs. The rooms were accessed by a concealed hole in the floor. The estimated street value of the marijuana is $250 000.00. Arrested were residents Edward Johnson age 55 and Joann Johnson age 42. The Johnsons are charged with Manufacture of Marijuana and Possession for resale and maintaining a dwelling for the purpose of keeping selling or manufacturing marijuana. Locally the U.S. Marshal’s office teamed with Cannon County Sheriff’s Office Woodbury Police Department Cannon County Emergency Management Office and other agencies assisted.

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