Saturday , 21 April 2018

Wednesday, July 12th

From the Tennova Healthcare Cleveland News Desk, here is your news for Wednesday, July 12th, on Mix 104-1 and Talk 101-3 The Buzz.

Topping our news today, from the Chattanooga Times Free Press…

Varnell, Ga., police officers returned from the road yesterday morning and handedin their equipment after the city council voted 3-1 to immediately disband the department yesterday morning.

Lieut. Greg Fowler said he was told to spend the day collecting all of the police department’s materials and locking them up in city hall. After that, all of the officers are off duty for the foreseeable future.

Yesterday morning’s special called meeting was advertised to discuss the employment of Chief Lyle Grant, who was suspended after arresting a councilman in June. Elected officials wanted to know if he properly handled the case.

Grant and Fowler went to the home of Councilman Shane Fowler, who is not related to the city’s lieutenant. Shane Fowler’s wife had complained that he was drunk and loud inside the house.

According to a police report, Shane Fowler yelled at the officers and poked them in the chest. About nine days later, an officer took out a warrant for his arrest.

Grant said the long delay occurred for a couple reasons. First, he wanted an independent investigator to review the evidence — which really was just the officers’ statements. Second, Grant said he brought the evidence to the mayor and other council members before deciding whether to charge Shane Fowler.

Councilman David Owens felt this was an odd way to handle an investigation.

The council suspended Grant last month. They wanted the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to review the case and see if Grant acted appropriately. But the GBI does not review policies; it investigates crime.

Yesterday morning, after an executive session meeting, the council decided to reinstate Grant. Minutes later, Councilman Jan Pourquoi made a motion to disband the police department immediately. Owens seconded the motion, and Andrea Gordy voted in favor, ending the department with a 3-1 note. Councilwoman Ashlee Godfrey voted against the measure.

After the meeting, a part-time detective parked in front of city hall. He came to drop off some equipment after reading in a Facebook post that his job no longer existed.

An update on a story from yesterday, from the Cleveland Daily Banner…

Yesterday we reported that Merry Ann Hall, who was reported missing, had been located. She had left her home on June 26th, and was entered into the NCIC as a missing person on July 1st. Detective Daniel Gibbs from the Cleveland Police Department was investigating the case, and indicated that Hall had spoken with her son the first week of July. Hall indicated she was staying with a friend in Loudon.

According to Cleveland Police Department Public Information Officer Sgt. Evie West, Hall returned to Cleveland on Monday. She was treated at Tennova Healthcare Cleveland for undisclosed medical reasons.

The police department did not indicate that there was any foul play involved in her disappearance.

Also from The Banner…

Bradley County commissioners had limited discussion on a variety of topics during their Monday work session.

The commission heard from County Mayor D. Gary Davis on some future business.

Davis told members they would have a resolution by next week concerning the payment of $2 million toward the infrastructure of the new Spring Branch Industrial Park.

The mayor also said there would be a resolution concerning the new workhouse, scheduled to open for operation at the end of this month.

He explained that County Attorney Crystal Freiberg had previously advised there would be “several things to be approved” before the workhouse opens.

Davis said there was a walk-though done of the facility last week, and “there are a couple of things still on order that have to be done.”

The mayor also informed the commission the state has sent its formal letter officially authorizing the certified tax rate that was approved last week by the commission.

The decrease is because of an approximate 9 percent increase in assessed property value and will mark the 17th straight year Bradley County has dodged a tax increase.

This has been your local and state news. You can get news anytime by visiting our website,, powered by Pioneer Credit. From the Tennova Healthcare Cleveland News Desk, this is Jeremy Gault reporting.