FORMER BUS DRIVER SENTENCED TO PROBATION

A Former Washington County Tennessee School Bus Driver Who Entered A Best Interest Plea Last Week To Eight Counts Of Reckless Aggravated Assault And Speeding Will Not Serve Any Time Behind Bars. Judge Robert Cupp Sentenced Brenda Gray To Two Years Of Probation Following Her Guilty Pleas. She Will Be Eligible To Have Her Record Expunged Upon Completion Of Her Sentence. The Crash Occurred In 2012, Leaving 39 Students Injured, Some Seriously Injured.

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SENTENCING SLATED FOR GATE CITY VIRGINIA MAN

A Gate City Man Who Pled Guilty To Second Degree Murder In The Death Of A Fellow Inmate At The Southwest Virginia Regional Jail In Duffield Is Set To Be Sentenced Today. 23 Year Old Shannon Bellamy Killed 42 Year Old Jeffery Allen Kilgore Of Wise After Hitting Him In The Head During An Altercation In A Housing Unit At The Facility.

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BLUFF CITY WOMAN SET TO PLEAD GUILTY MONDAY

A Bluff City Woman Accused Making False Claims About A Relative Trying To Poison Her Is Facing Charges. Elizabeth Carrier Is Charged With Falsely Communicating Reports Of Consumer Tampering. She Had Been Indicted By A Federal Grand Jury In U.S. District Court In Greeneville In July 2013. She Has Reportedly Agreed To Plead Guilty And Will Formally Enter That Plea Next Monday. She Allegedly Called Tropicana Products And Falsely Reported A Relative Had Poisoned Some Of The Company’s Products By Putting Bug Spray Or Rat Poison Into The Drinks Over A Period Of Several Weeks. Carrier Is Free On Her Own Recognizance Pending Sentencing.

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SOUTHWEST VIRGINIA MAN PLEADS GUILTY IN DEATH OF PARENTS

A Southwest Virginia Man Has Pleaded Guilty To Killing His Parents. Christopher Dean Looney Was Charged In The Death Of Valerie And Harvey Looney. The Two Were Discovered On March 30th, 2009, By An Employee At The Pizza Plus In Claypool Hill. Valerie’s Body Was Found In The Office While Harvey’s Body Was Discovered Near A Door Outside The Restaurant. The Couple Managed The Local Eatery. Christopher Looney Entered A No Contest Plea. He Received Two Life Sentences.

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MOUNTAIN STATES BELIEVES THINGS ARE LOOKING UP

There Seems To Be A Light At The End Of The Tunnel For One Health Care Provider In Our Area. Mountain States Health Alliance CEO Alan Levine Said Big Medicare Cuts Amounting To 30 Million Dollar Per Year, Plus Big Declines In Volumes Affected The Health Care System Over The Past Year. But Things Are Looking Up As Patient Volume, Including Admissions, Surgery And Outpatient Care, Has Been On The Rise. As Of Last Month, There Was About A Six Percent Growth. Levine Has Said Mountain States Has Implemented A Five Year Financial Plan, Including A Quarter Of A Billion Dollars Of Capital Back Into Facilities, Plus A Process To Retire Its Debt. Meanwhile, Wellmont Health System Is Still Entertaining The Idea Of Merging With A Larger Health Care System.

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SULLIVAN COUNTY USING NEW DECAL SYSTEM

There’s A Major Change For License Plate Renewals In Sullivan County. Several Weeks Ago, Staff In All Three Sullivan County Clerk’s Offices Began Using A New State-Of-The-Art System To Issue Plate Renewals. The New Card/Decal System Uses A Heavier Stock Card To Print Registrations And The Cards Have A Decal On Them That Prints At The Same Time. The New Decal’s Number Is The Same As The License Plate It Is Meant To Validate For Another Year. This Will Help Make It Easier For Customers Renewing Multiple Plates At Once Eliminating Mix-Ups.

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ETSU HIRES NEW EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT SPECIALIST

East Tennessee State University Officials Have Hired Their First Ever Emergency Management Specialist. Former Carter County Emergency Director, Andrew Worley Was Hired June 30th For The Job. Among Other Job Duties, He’ll Train Students, Faculty And Staff On Emergency Techniques, Carry Out And Implement Drills And Exercises And Manage Emergency Preparedness Policies In Accordance With State And Federal Agencies.

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SEVERAL BIG NAMED LEADERS TO ATTEND HOEDOWN

Nearly 500 People Are Expected To Turn Out Tomorrow For A Republican Hoedown At Washington County Tennessee Mayor Dan Eldridge’s Home In Jonesborough. Tennessee’s U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander, Governor Bill Haslam And Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey Will Be On Hand At “Farm, Fiddle And Friends,” A Meet-And-Greet Cookout At Eldridge’s Farm. The Low-Key Event Will Feature Hamburgers, Hot Dogs, Potato Salad And Sweet Tea. Eldridge Said This Is Not Intended As A Political Function, Just A Fun Get-Together.

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KINGSPORT HIGH SCHOOL STADIUM TO CHANGE BRANDS

J. Fred Johnson Stadium And Dobyns-Bennett High School In Kingsport Are Switching From Coke To Pepsi. The Change Is Expected To Be For At Least The Next Three Years. The Coke Baseball Scoreboard In The Stadium Will Remain With The Blessings Of Both Pepsi And Coke. So Will Ice Machines And Some Other Equipment Coke Provided Under The Expired Contract. Bottled Starbucks Drinks May Also Be Available At Sporting Events. The Only Thing You Will Not Find In Concessions Are The High Caffeine, High Sugar Energy Drinks.

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GREENE COUNTY APPROVES AN ELEVEN CENT TAX HIKE

The Greene County Budget And Finance Committee Has Voted To Recommend A 11-Cent Property Tax Increase To Cover Shortfalls In The County’s General And Debt Service Fund For The 2014-15 Fiscal Year. The Increase Will Generate Just Over 1.25 Million Dollars And Will Also Address A Projected 92-Thousand Dollar Imbalance In The Debt Service Fund. The Full Commission Is Scheduled To Have A Workshop Next Week To Review The Proposed Budget Before Voting On It August 18th At 10am At The Greene County Courthouse.

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AREA BLOOD DRIVES LOOKING FOR DONATIONS

While Summertime Often Means Many Activities For A Lot Of Us, It’s Important To Take The Time To Donate The Gift Of Life To Help Those Who Might Be Injured And In Need Of Blood. Wellmont Health System And Marsh Regional Blood Center Are Conducting Public Donation Drives To Collect Donations. A Blood Drive Is Set For Monday, July 28th At Medical Care Of Johnson City From 11 Am To 3 Pm And At Bristol Metals In Bristol From 8:30 Am To 11:30 Am. In Addition To Blood Drives In The Region, Donors Are Welcome At Marsh Regional’s Collection Center On West Stone Drive In Kingsport And On West State Street In Bristol.

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PRESS CONFERENCE SET FOR THIS MORNING CONCERNING DOUBLE MURDER

The Tazewell County Virginia Commonwealth’s Attorney And The Sheriff Are Expected To Make A Significant Announcement Today Concerning A Double Homicide In 2009. 48 Year Old Valerie Looney And 52 Year Old Harvey Looney Managed The Pizza Plus Near Cedar Bluff When They Were Found Murdered. Their Son, 32 Year Old Christopher Looney Was Indicted In November Of Last Year On Two Counts Of Capital Murder And Robbery. The Couple Was Found At Their Business When An Employee Arrived For Work. The Press Conference Is Set For This Morning In Tazewell County Circuit Court.

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KINGSPORT POLICE INVESTIGATING STABBING AT CITY MOTEL

Kingsport Police Are Investigating A Stabbing That Occurred At A City Motel That Injured One Person And Resulted In The Arrest Of Another Person. It Happened Last Night At The Econolodge On Airport Parkway. Richard Mark Thomas Is Accused Of Stabbing Howard Eugene Wells Following An Altercation. Thomas Is Charged With Criminal Attempt To Commit Second Degree Murder. He Was Taken To The Sullivan County Jail Pending Arraignment In Bristol. Wells Remains Hospitalized At Holston Valley Medical Center In Stable Condition. The Investigation Is Ongoing.

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PROBE CONTINUES INTO INMATES DEATH (AP)

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is looking into what led up to an inmate being killed at Northeast Correctional Complex in Mountain City. Investigators say 24-year-old Timothy Tillery Jr. of Knoxville was pronounced dead Saturday morning after his body was found inside the prison. Tennessee Department of Correction officials say Tillery had been involved in an “altercation” with several inmates. Details of the altercation, and of Tillery’s death, have not been released. Investigators are treating the death as a homicide.

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TWO SOUTHWEST VIRGINIA PEOPLE INDICTED IN SEPARATE INCIDENTS

A Damascus Virginia Woman Is One Of 100 Individuals To Be Indicted By A Washington County Virginia. 26 Year Old Kristina Marie Pennington Is Charged With Felony Child Abuse And Neglect After Her Three Year Old Daughter Swallowed Meth That Was On A Plate That She Had Allegedly Been Using Prior To The Incident. The Child Has Since Been Treated And Released To Her Father. Pennington Has A Trial Date Set For August 27th. Meanwhile, 32 Year Old Michael Dean Church Was Indicted On A Charge Of Attempted Aggravated Sexual Battery. He Allegedly Tried To Have Inappropriate Contact With An Eight Year Old Girl In 2011. Church Has A Trial Date Set For August 27th.

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KINGSPORT MAN ON TRIAL IN DEATH OF GIRLFRIEND

Testimony Is Set To Get Underway Wednesday In The Trial For A Kingsport Man Who Was Indicted By The Washington County Grand Jury On Vehicular Homicide And Evading Arrest Charges. Cody Dingus Is Accused In The Wreck That Killed His 18 Year Old Girlfriend Sheridan Edwards Also Of Kingsport. The Crash Occurred On Knob Creek Road In Johnson City On Valentine’s Day In 2012. Officers Tried To Pull Over Dingus When He Sped Off At A High Rate Of Speed. He Eventually Struck A Telephone Phone, Ejecting Both Of Them From The Vehicle. The Trial Is Expected To Last Through Thursday.

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KINGSPORT MAN ARRESTED ON DRUG CHARGES

A Kingsport Man Is In Trouble With The Law Following The Execution Of A Search Warrant At His Dale Street Alley Residence. Harry Watts Is Charged With Possession Of A Schedule Two Drug For Resale Within A Thousand Feet Of A City Park; Unlawful Possession Of Drug Paraphernalia, And Maintaining A Dwelling Where Narcotics Are Stored. Police Reportedly Seized Over Half A Gram Of Crack Cocaine, Drug Paraphernalia, And Around 4-Thousand Dollars In Cash Inside Watts Home. Watts Is Free On A 20-Thousand Dollar Bond And Set To Be Back In Court On October 30th.

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FORMER BUS DRIVER TO BE SENTENCED

A Former Washington County Tennessee School Bus Driver Who Entered A Best Interest Plea Last Week To Eight Counts Of Reckless Aggravated Assault And Speeding Will Be Sentenced On Wednesday In Criminal Court. Brenda Gray Is Now Seeking Judicial Diversion, Meaning The Charges Could Be Expunged From Her Record If She Were To Complete Her Probation Without Getting Into Any Trouble. The Deal Was For Six Years, So Prison Or Probation Could Be On The Table. The Crash Occurred In 2012, Leaving 39 Students Injured, Some Seriously Injured. Several Parents Are Opposed To Probation But It Will Be Up To A Judge To Decide Today.

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LAWSUIT DISMISSED AGAINST UNICOI AND A COMPANY

A Lawsuit Filed Earlier This Year By The Unicoi Water Utility District Has Been Dismissed In Chancery Court. Nearly Six Months Ago, The Utility Filed A Complaint Against The Joint Economic Development Board Of Unicoi County, The Town Of Unicoi And Exit 32 Llc. The Utility Board Claims Exit 32 LLC Failed To Pay For Work Done At A Site Off Interstate 26. The Complaint Also Alleged The Town Of Unicoi And The County’s Economic Development Board Also Had Interest In The Project. 1st Judicial District Chancellor John Rambo Dismissed The Case Without Prejudice.

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SULLIVAN COUNTY PROPERTY WORTH MORE TODAY

According To The Latest Figures In The Proposed Sullivan County Spending Plan, Land Values In The County Are Worth 63-Million Dollars More In Total This Year Over Last Year. The Proposed Budget For 2014-15 Covers County Finances For The Fiscal Year That Began Three Weeks Ago And Runs Through June 30th Of Next Year. This Year’s Spending Plan Is Based On The Same County Property Tax Rate As Last Year, Which Is $2.30 Per $100 Of Assessed Value. The County Must Submit A Comprehensive Budget Plan To Nashville By October Or Risk The Loss Of State Funding For Its School Systems.

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