The Chattanoogan reports-
The Bradley County Commission on Monday, having second thoughts about a sizable pay increase for firefighters, sent the matter back to the commission’s finance committee for adjustment. With many seats at the courthouse chambers again filled with firefighters, Vice Chairman Jeff Yarber asked that the finance panel “come back with the proper amount.” The raises approved recently amount to 31 percent for first-year firefighters, an $8,000-$9,000 increase over the $24,000 they agreed to when hired. Administrative assistants would also receive a 26 percent raise. Commissioner Dan Rawls earlier said the increase would put the county in a hole and require a five-cent tax increase in the fire rate. David Sims of the county fire department said the beginning pay has been $24,000 for over a decade, and he said low pay causes frequent turnover. He said that can “break down the department’s ability to function properly.” The commissioners also quizzed interim County School Director Scott Humberd about travel expenses.
Commissioner Thomas Crye said he was concerned about excessive travel expenses and “fabulous trips to Las Vegas, Orlando and elsewhere” while not enough money was going to the classroom. He said teachers were having to take $1,000 or more from their personal accounts to fill instructional needs. He said it appeared that travel expenses were being shifted from one area to another in the budget. “No one is being fooled by a shell game.” Mr. Humberd said the new accounting measures were required by the comptroller’s office and were not “a shell game.”He said educational trips are not often offered in places like Gallatin, Tn., but are more likely to be in areas such as Las Vegas and Orlando. Mr. Humberd said the Lewis Group, with a Cleveland office, has begun drawing up plans for a new Lake Forest Middle School at the current site. Commissioner Rawls questioned by a school system with some 1,200 employees did not have a human resources department. He said litigation that is costly to taxpayers might be prevented by having HR. Mr. Humberd said there is a need for that department and it may be a priority of the next director, who is set to be chosen on May 26. County Mayor D. Gary Davis noted that the county school budget is up $2.2 million without a tax increase. He said $1 million of that includes natural county tax growth. The commission agreed to allow the sheriff’s office to begin selling E-cigarettes to prisoners on grounds they would help calm down inmates and also be a money-maker. County Attorney Crystal Freiberg acknowledged there could be liability issues with the sale, but she said “there is not a lot of information out there on” its effects on users. Voting no were Mike Hughes and Mark Hall. Daniel Gilbert was named to the Bradley County Nursing Home Board. The commission voted to deny a rezoning request to widen a manufacturing zone around a former bush hog facility at White Oak Valley. Several speakers said the section is mainly farmland with narrow, winding roads. To read this full report visit our web site mymix1041.com
Also at The Monday meeting The Chattanoogan Reports-
After some strong words from Commissioner Charlotte Peak-Jones and County Mayor D. Gary Davis, the Bradley County Commission on Mondayreversed itself on a vote that Ms. Peak-Jones said would have abolished the county stormwater program. The commission initially voted 7-6 on a resolution to change some of the wording in the current stormwater regulation. Several commission members said they resented the federal and state governments mandating such items as how to deal with water runoff. Eight votes were needed on the 14-member commission to pass so the measure failed. Commissioner Peak-Jones said it was “just a housekeeping measure.” She said the failure to pass it meant that the stormwater division would be abolished, its employees would lose their jobs and the county would be fined. The commissioner said without the stormwater department “we can’t make people clean their messes up. We have no option but to do this.” She said without the program in place, “bring your shovels and your boots.” County Mayor Davis said, “I agree with you in theory, but all we are doing is updating regulations. It’s something we’ve got to do. If we don’t, we’re in violation of several requirements.” He said if that happens, “It’s on the County Commission, not on the county mayor’s office.” Commissioner Terry Caywood, saying he was still unhappy about the mandates, moved to reconsider. The revote had nine in favor and four opposed with one absent.
BRADLEY COUNTY, TN (WRCB) –
The Bradley County Sheriff’s Office is asking the public’s help in identifying a theft suspect. The incident happened at a restaurant off of I-75 at exit 33 in Charleston. The suspect was wearing glasses, a blue shirt and an identification card hanging from his belt. If you have any information call the Bradley County Sheriff’s Office tip line at 423-728-7336.
Update on a story we brought you yesterday-
Cleveland police have identified the pedestrian struck and killed on APD 40. Police say 22-year-old Bethany Schessler was walking near the intersection of South Lee Highway Saturday afternoon when she was struck by a vehicle. She was taken to Skyridge Medical Center where she later died. The investigation is ongoing.
From The Times Free Press-
Three years ago, Cleveland, Tenn., police officer Justin D. Maples, 35, was killed in a car crash while responding to a call. This week, the city invites area law enforcement and the public to an event in remembrance. Starting at 9 a.m. Wednesday, the department’s honor guard will march from the police services center at 100 Church St. N.E. to to the memorial wall at the Bradley County Fire and Rescue Building to lay a wreath, give a salute and have a moment of silence. Law enforcement and the public are asked to line Inman Street for the procession. The event is being held four days after national Law Enforcement Memorial Day, when agencies around the nation paid respects to fallen officers.
The Times Free Press-
Jazmine Kellie Harris, a 13-year-old student at Copper Basin High School in Polk County, Tenn., took her own life on Friday and family friends are pointing to bullying as the cause. It’s the second student suicide at the school this year and the second time tragedy comes amid allegations of bullying. Jazmine’s best friend, 14-year-old Kaylah Redden, says the teen was being bullied daily, physically and emotionally, and she and her mother, Pam Duvall, say that the bullying had been going on “for months.” Polk County Director of Schools Dr. James Jones said school officials are initiating an internal investigation into what happened and how bullying played a role. Jones said Jazmine and her mother also had reported the bullying and “were trying to deal with it.” “I hate the thought of pain that the mother is going through, especially since she reached out to us more than once,” Jones said.Jones said he was reluctant to talk about the bullying further without speaking with the school system’s legal counsel and learning more about the bullying allegations. To read more about this tragic story visit our web site mymix1041.com
“We just feel so bad for the family,” Jones said. “I can’t imagine, and nobody can unless they’ve been there. Our prayers are with the family.” Jazmine was a member of the band who rode horses, loved social media, music and singing, and her family and friends, according to her obituary. She would have turned 14 on Sunday. Jazmine’s suicide is the second this year at Copper Basin High School that happened under the cloud of bullying. On March 5, 18-year-old Patrick Griffin took his own life amid accusations of bullying that went unchecked. The boy’s mother, Doresa, and brother, Raymond, said they were certain that more should have been done. School officials said in April that those allegations couldn’t be substantiated, but Jones admits that something’s wrong. “It’s hard to deny that there’s a problem with two suicides and both of the families alleging that there’s bullying,” Jones said Monday. The signs were there for those who saw them right up to the end, Kaylah and Duvall say. Every one of Jazmine’s visits to their house came with complaints of bullying. Jazmine had dinner at their home last Thursday night and wanted to spend the night but couldn’t since it was a school night. Friday morning, Jazmine wasn’t at school. Kaylah got a message from her over Skype about 9:50 a.m. that said, “Goodbye, Kaylah, I’m sorry. I love you,'” Duvall said. “Then there was a missed call at 9:52” on Skype. “She killed herself around 10,” Duvall said. Duvall said she and Kaylah didn’t get back on a computer to learn of the tragedy until after school Friday afternoon. Now they’re left with “what-ifs.” “Something has got to be done,” Kaylah said. “My daughter’s heart was shattered and mine was, too,” Duvall said through tears on Monday. “Our school needs help. We can’t lose any more kids.”
Times Free Press-
McMinn County, Tenn., officials arrested a man this past weekend who they say was plotting to kill his wife. Sheriff’s deputies arrested Charles David Johnson, 47, of Athens, Tenn., after another man told them Johnson had approached him with a scheme to kill his wife and set her car aflame, according to McMinn County Sheriff Joe Guy. Timothy Ryan, 44, told police Johnson approached him in the middle of the week about the plot, and Ryan called police when he realized Johnson was serious. “The plan seemed to involve Mr. Ryan renting a moving truck, which at a designated time he was supposed to crash into Mrs. Johnson’s car on a back road while she was driving home from work,” Guy said in a news release. “He was then supposed to dowse her car with gasoline and set it on fire. Mr. Ryan said that when he realized Mr. Johnson was serious he was compelled to contact law enforcement.” Detectives went to Johnson’s house Friday to interview him and reportedly found other evidence of the plot, according to the news release. Johnson was charged with conspiracy to commit first-degree murder and solicitation to commit first-degree murder.