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Day 60 in the search for Rhonda Kitts Daugherty 

 

NHUNmMANPhoto from home:  Dogwood blooms - Dogwood winter. (04/15/2014thout an administrator since the fall of 2013, the city says it will soon be seeking to fill

 

         Cougar Football 2015

Aug 21 Gibbs

Aug 28 at Central

Sep 04 Lenoir City

Sep 10 at Grace (Thu 7PM)

Sep 18 at Clinton

Sep 25 Cocke Co. HC

Oct 02 at Farragut

Oct 09 Bell County

Oct 16 Karns

Oct 23 Open date

Oct 30 at Oak Ridge

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Senior Night is TONIGHT as Campbell hosts Clinton – see the game right here        

 Final Scores:

Lady Cougars 47    Oak Ridge 46

Oak Ridge 78    Cougars 47

WLAF’s “Business of the Day” today is:

THE GRAY INSURANCE AGENCY "NATIONWIDE" – across from IGA

Shop locally.  It helps all of us.

Photo from home

     It was a night for the Owls.  La Follette Middle School claimed both the boys and girls tournament championships Thursday night at Maynardville.  (DAVID GRAHAM PIX)

One week later - survivors recovering after last Friday’s wrecks

By Charlotte Underwood

Jacksboro Police Detective Mike Starrett has come through several surgeries and continues  recovering this morning after last Friday’s crash. Starrett was severely injured when his police cruiser was struck head on near Little Cove Creek Road while he was responding to a fatal car crash on Highway 116, which left two dead. According to his wife Jerri Starrett, Mike is doing well, but faces a long road to recovery. The fatal crash Starrett was responding to left 34-year old Bobby Coker, Jr., and his six year-old son Skyland dead. The lone survivor in the single-car crash is 8-year old Marissa Coker who is recovering after surgery.

Starrett, who suffered multiple injuries, had his third surgery on Wednesday.

“He is doing pretty well; he had his third surgery yesterday. It should have taken about two hours, but it took five instead. He lost a lot of blood,” Jerri Starrett said.

In about four weeks, Starrett will undergo another surgery and doctors will take a bone out of his right hip to replace the one in his arm that is missing. In about two months he will have a complete hip replacement.

His wife said he was still in a lot of pain, but in good spirits.

“He knows everything but the accident, he doesn’t remember that. He remembers going and his lights flashing, but nothing else,” Jerri Starrett said.

It will be a long time before he will be released to go home. Starrett will be in the Intensive Care Unit for at least three to four more days before he will be sent to a room. After a lengthy hospital stay, it will be on to rehabilitation.

“We have a long road ahead of us,” Jerri Starrett said. (01/30/2015 - 6:00 AM)

Stop by JR’s Tires, & let’s check your anti-freeze.(between Sonic & the car wash)

Game Plan for Super Bowl Sunday:  Are You Drinking or Driving?

Sheriff Robbie K. Goins says - Fans Don’t Let Fans Drive Drunk

Jacksboro – The Super Bowl is America’s most watched national sporting event. On Super Bowl Sunday, February 1, there will be lots of game day socializing that may include drinking. That’s why the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Campbell County highway safety and law enforcement officials are urging football fans to choose sides now: drinking OR driving. If you plan on drinking on Super Bowl Sunday, designate a sober driver to get you home safely.

NHTSA’s Fans Don’t Let Fans Drive Drunk campaign encourages people to make plans ahead of time that will prevent them from getting behind the wheel of a vehicle after drinking. Driving impaired could result in injury or death for you or others on the road. 

According to data from NHTSA, in 2012 there were 10,322 people killed in alcohol-impaired-driving crashes in the United States—31 percent of all crash fatalities in the nation. A driver is considered alcohol-impaired with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher, the legal limit in all states. This February 1, don’t become a tragic Super Bowl stat.

“Drunk driving is completely preventable,” said Sheriff Robbie K. Goins. “All it takes is a little planning. We want fans to remember that it’s a choice. Drink or drive—but never do both.”

For those who plan to drink, leave your keys at home. Designate a sober driver, whether it’s a friend, relative, taxi, or public transportation. For those who plan to drive, refrain from any alcohol. Instead, enjoy the game with food and non-alcoholic drinks. Being a sober, designated driver is a key role on Super Bowl Sunday. You might just save a life.  (01/30/2015 - 6:00 AM)

Liberty Tax Service - next to Downtown Shell for the friendliest tax service in town

 

 

Duncan marks 30-years on local radio

     The run for the longest running daily radio broadcast in Campbell County marks a milestone today.  Dr. Clarence Duncan’s “A Look at the Book” celebrates its 30th year on radio dating back to January 30, 1985.  Duncan, who pastors Bethel Baptist Church at Jacksboro, began on WWGR-AM 960 and later switched to WLAF and has been on 1450 and now FM 100.9 ever since.  Congratulations, Dr. Duncan! (01/30/2015 - 8:00 AM)

Seattle is the Campbell County favorite in WLAF’s Super Bowl XLIX predictions

Seattle plays New England – the Seahawks and the Patriots

Phillip Farmer with Hollingsworth Meat Market says Seattle by three

Seattle wins Super Bowl XLIX according to Rissa Pryse with Terry’s Pharmacy

Chance White with White’s Tire and Auto Care Center is going with Seattle

Go Seahawks!  That’s what Codi Provins with Ayers Real Estate and Auction says

David Crabtree with Dave’s Lawn Mower Parts at Caryville predicts Seattle will win.

State Farm Agent Tabatha Smith, with a little help from WLAF’s Big Josh, selects Seattle.

Dr. Jill Cox-Browning is pickin’ the Seattle Seahawks

Seattle!  That’s who Stan Hawkins with Nova Copy thinks is going to win.

Josie Carter with Josie’s Hair Fashions is going with Seattle

 At B & M Tires, Benny Roberts (L) is pulling for Seattle but thinks New England will win.  Joe Whited is picking New England.

Blue Devil Buckner’s coming home

At Taylor Stadium, Dustin Buckner leaps and makes a catch for a touchdown during his playing days at Williamsburg

     Former Jellico Blue Devil and University of the Cumberlands Patriot Dustin Buckner is coming back home.  Jellico High Director of Athletics Danny “Dino” Oakes tells WLAF that Buckner will be introduced as the Devils’ new head football coach Friday afternoon. 

Dustin Buckner

Buckner just finished his first season as wide receiver’s coach for the University of the Cumberlands where he graduated in 2012 and played on three Patroits teams that won Mid-South Conference championships.  Oakes simply sums up Buckner’s hiring saying that he is from here (Jellico), played here, and knows the community and its people well.  He goes on to say that the new JHS coach is young, energetic, and very passionate about the game.  Oakes expressed his appreciation to Coach Ronnie Lasley who served as interim head coach for the 2014 season after Head Coach Brad Lawson took another coaching position just days before the first game of the season. Jellico opens its season on Friday, August 21 at Sneedville against the Hancock County Indians.  (01/29/2015 - 2:30 PM) 

PRESS RELEASE

2015 SING PRAISE AT LAFOLLETTE CHURCH OF GOD – HUGE SUCCESS

A CONCERT WITH ONE VOICE MADE A DIFFERENCE

By Dave Dunaway, President of Legal Properties, Inc.

              The January 25, 2015 Sing Praise Program held at the LaFollette Church of God was a tremendous success.  The second Sing Praise Festival left those who attended the event talking about the quality of the music, which gave local artists an opportunity to demonstrate their love for music, as well as allowed those in attendance to see firsthand the talent in the LaFollette community.

            Over 700 people filled the LaFollette Church of God, which turned out to be the place to accommodate events of this size. 

            Dr. Cormac O’Duffy, Music Minister at the LaFollette United Methodist Church, directed the event, which included members of Knoxville Symphony Orchestra, Campbell County High School Ensemble, Lincoln Memorial University Choir, soloist Missy Marlow and Fiona O’Duffy, as well as Larry Shofars and Sher Johnson, students at Lincoln Memorial University.  

            The host for the event was Bishop Sonny Wilkes, Minister of the LaFollette Church of God.  The narrator of songs was Reverend Dave Grant of Jacksboro and Caryville United Methodist Church.

            Dr. Duane Mills, Pastor of First Baptist Church of LaFollette, gave the main address, while Reverend Chris Stanfield of the LaFollette United Methodist Church, gave a short account of the song “And Can It Be” by Charles Wesley.

             The program opened with America The Beautiful, written by Katharine Lee Bates in 1913 with music composed by Samuel A. Ward and otherwise arranged by Maestro Dr. Cormac O’Duffy. 

            The Brewing of Soma was presented as a Whittier poem (1872), from which the song “And Can It Be” was taken.  Soma was a sacred ritual drink in Veidic Religion going back to Proto-Indo-Iranian times (circa 2000 b.c.).

            Whittier ends the composition by describing the true method for contact with the divine, as practiced by Quakers:  Sober lives dedicated to doing God’s will, seeking silence and selflessness in order to hear the “still and small voice” described in I Kings 19:11-13 as the authentic voice of God, rather than earthquake, wind, or fire.

            Pastor Dave Grant introduced the song “Blessed Assurance” by Fanny Crosby, the first of three songs that Fanny, the blind American queen of gospel music of the 19th and 20th century, composed.  To him, “Blessed Assurance” reflected Fanny Crosby’s walk of faith as expressed by the Apostle Paul in Philippians 1:21 when he said, “For me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.”

            Those in attendance were also able to sing and participate in the well-known hymn “All To Jesus I Surrender,” a Christian hymn that many people know as “I Surrender All,” with words written by  American Art Teacher and musician, Judson W. VanDeVenter (1855-1939), who became a Music Minister and evangelist.  The song was actually put to music by Winfield S. Weeden (1847-1908) and published in 1896.

            VanDeVenter, when penning the hymn, said of the inspiration for the text:  “For some time, I had struggled between developing my talents in the field of Art and going into full-time evangelistic work.  At last, the pivotal hour of my life came, and I surrendered all.  A new day was ushered into my life.  I became an evangelist and discovered down deep in my soul a talent hitherto unknown to me.  God had hidden a song in my heart, and touching a tender chord, He caused me to sing.”

            Before the interval break in the concert, Pastor Dr. Duane Mills of the First Baptist Church of LaFollette, gave an inspirational and stirring message to the community.  Dr. Mills shared his love of Christ and his love for the community with his uplifting message.

            Following the interval, the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra then played an Overture to Oratorio, composed by Dr. Cormac O’Duffy.  This was a new music piece written by Dr. O’Duffy for people to listen to and performed by the choir and orchestra.  The premiere performance from the Oratorio “The Wedding Feast to The Lamb” is a musical piece from which Dr. O’Duffy hopes to have performed in Philadelphia when Pope Francis comes to the United States next September.  The performance at the LaFollette Church of God was the first public performance of this piece, which has also received a blessing from Pope Francis as he was sent the first printed copy of the work in the summer of 2015 at the Vatican.  Music reminds us that, “children are a heritage from the Lord.”  Dr. O’Duffy adapted the music from a text in the scripture which says, “Train up your children in the way that they should go and when they are old, they will not leave the path of the Lord.” 

             One of the most stirring pieces of music was the song “I Cannot Tell” which was sung by soloist Missy Marlow.  This was a traditional Irish medley, the words of which were penned by William Young Fullerton, who lived from March 8, 1857 until August 17, 1932.  Fullerton was a Baptist preacher, administrator, and writer.  He was born in Belfaste, Ireland.  As a young man, he was influenced by the preaching of Charles Spurgeon, who became his friend and mentor.  Fullerton served as president of the Baptist Union and home secretary of the Baptist Missionary Society.   His published works also include biographies of John Bunyan, Charles Spurgeon, James William Condell Fegan, and Frederick Brotherton Meyer.  While Fullerton compiled several hymns, he is probably best remembered for his hymn entitled “I Cannot Tell.”  Soloist Missy Marlow gave a stunning performance.

             The next song presented by combined choirs and KSO was “He Hideth My Soul in the Cleft of the Rock.”  The text of this song was written by Fanny Crosby and music composed by Dr. O’Duffy.  The audience was then invited to learn a new song called “The Song of Fanny Crosby,” which was initially sung by Dr. O’Duffy’s wife Fiona and in which the choir joined, and then the audience joined together as well.  The music composed by Dr. Cormac O’Duffy from the Oratorio “Fanny Crosby Hears The Gospel of John” marked the end of Fanny Crosby’s career.  Fanny could not see with her natural eyes, but she could see with her heart.  She could not explain what a human face looked like, but she knew the face of God.  Blind from six weeks old because of a surgical mishap, Fanny Crosby’s life was different than most, but it was not worse than most.  Fanny Crosby (1820-1915) supported herself as a teacher at a blind school.  She had dear and close friends around the world, and she wrote and published thousands of beautiful hymns, many that are still sung today.  Regarding her plight in life, she wrote the following words, “It seemed intended by the blessed providence of God that I should be blind all my life, and I thank Him for the dispensation.  If perfect Earthly sight were offered me tomorrow, I would not accept it.  I might not have sung hymns to the praise of God if I had been distracted by the beautiful and interesting things about me.”

            Dr. O’Duffy, by the presentation of Fanny’s song, reminds us that, “for those who have natural sight, but are blind to the things of God, Fanny Crosby’s songs bring a new sense of His Presence.”

             The final encore, message, and music was the presentation of the well-known hymn “How Great Thou Art.”  The hymn “How Great Thou Art” traveled a long road before it ended up as a favorite edition to English hymnals and long before it was presented at the LaFollette Church of God.  The original version of the words to the hymn was a poem written by Swedish Pastor Reverend Carl Boberg in 1886 and entitled O Stor Gud.  Boberg published the poem in his periodical Sannings Vittnet.  Several years later, Reverend Boberg was surprised and delighted to hear his poem being sung by a church congregation to the tune of an old Swedish folk melody.

            In the 1950’s, the song was copywrited and widely published in America, becoming more and more popular when George Beverly Shay and The Billy Graham Gospel Choir, directed by Cliff Barrows, began to sign the song at virtually every crusade event.  “How Great Thou Art” became one of the most recognized songs around the world.  It was recorded by several popular artists, including Elvis Pressley.  A poll conducted by the Christian Herald Magazine in 1974 named “How Great Thou Art” as the most popular hymn in America.

             The LaFollette community and sponsors who were recognized at the event were blessed with a classical presentation of music that until Sing Praise 2015, they had never experienced.

            As I was writing this article, I reflected on an electronic communication I received from Dr. O’Duffy prior to the concert.  Dr. O’Duffy reminded me that I was the one who suggested the concert.  However, it is God to whom we should give the glory.  It is He who brought these talented musical artists and friends of music together for an evening that will always be remembered.  Everyone who either wrote, sang, or played the music, or was in attendance will always know that 2015 Sing Praise made a difference in their life.(01/30/2015 - 8:00 AM)

Application process for ambulance director comes to close

New director could be in place as early as March

Friday marks the close on ambulance director application acceptance. As of Wednesday afternoon, about half a dozen applicants have turned in paperwork to be the new ambulance director, according to County Mayor E.L. Morton. The majority, if not all the applicants are residents of the county. Because of this, Morton said he expects someone from in-county to be hired, but all applicants will be looked at closely.

“Local applicants will get full consideration; it wouldn’t do to walk by local talent that applies,” Morton said.

He and members of the Emergency Management Services Committee met on Tuesday evening to discuss the hiring process. Members will meet again next Friday, when Morton will provide documentation and paperwork on those that have applied to the committee. Morton said he had invited the commissioners on the committee to help with the hiring process to make sure the “people of Campbell County get the best person for the job.”

Morton said he welcomes the support of the committee and that everyone involved is committed to establishing a “fair playing field” for all the applicants. They will meet again to continue discussion on the interview process and look at applicants on Friday.

Morton said while he was anxious to have a new leader over the ambulance service, he did not want to rush the process.

“We want the ambulance service under new leadership as rapidly as possible, but not at the risk of rushing it. We are going to take our time with looking at all the applicants; it could take a month before the position is filled.” (01/29/2015 - 6:00 AM)

Lace to Pearls celebrates two years in business

New merchandise and sale items all the time

By Charlotte Underwood

In-style and up-to-date consignment clothing, high-end purses, Gingersnap Jewelry and much more can be found at Lace to Pearls in downtown La Follette. The store also carries Pretty Angel clothing as well as leggings, tunics and lacey slip and blouse extenders. Lace to Pearls gets new items in each week, so the browsing doesn’t get boring.

Lace to Pearls has tons of gift items for that special lady for Valentine’s Day. Gift wrapping and gift certificates are also available.

There’s always a sale going on in the sale room with $2 and $3 buys and the business currently has 50 and 75-percent off sale on tons of items in order to make room for new spring merchandise. There is also a current special on Gingersnap jewelry as well.

New line of leggings and tunics is now available at Lace to Pearls.

Owned and operated by Tonya Overbay and Jennifer Seiber, Lace to Pearls opened in early February two years ago. Having been in fashion merchandise in school, Overbay said she had always wanted to own her own business. Before opening Lace to Pearls with Seiber, Overbay had sold clothing online for five years out of her home. Opening a business and having a store front just seemed like the next step.

Lace slip and blouse extenders are among the new arrivals at Lace to Pearls.

Her business partner, Jennifer Seiber, had recently retired and had always wanted to have a clothing store as well.

Lace to Pearls is located at 108 South Indiana Avenue across from the La Follette House in the old Thompson’s Furniture building.  The business is open Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

“It’s been a lot of fun the past two years,” Overbay said, adding that her favorite part was working with the customers, getting to know them and their styles and then shopping for them.

There is currently a special on Gingersnap Jewelry.

“I love the hunt. It’s great when I find something I know they will like and call them up; we get to know our customers and that makes all the difference.”

As Overbay and Seiber say, “Lace to Pearls is just for girls,” but seriously guys, it’s also a great place to buy a gift for that special someone for upcoming Valentine’s Day, birthday, or just any old day – and the ladies there are more than happy to offer their advice and assistance – the will even gift wrap it for you. Gift cards are also available.

Infinity scarves are also popular gifts for this winter season.

Lace to Pearls is located at 108 South Indiana Avenue across from the La Follette House in the old Thompson’s Furniture building.  The business is open Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information, call 423-494-5625.  (01/29/2015 - 6:00 AM)

Sheriffs and police reports

Pioneer woman arrested after passing out at the wheel

Passing out at the wheel landed a Pioneer woman in jail yesterday when deputies were called to what they believed was an auto accident. When deputies arrived at Elk Fork Road, they found Crystal Gail Muse, 36, unconscious at the wheel.

Crystal Gail Muse

When deputies woke her, she was very disoriented and had slurred speech. She did poorly on several field sobriety tests and was arrested for DUI and driving on a revoked license. It was her second offense on both charges. Muse was taken to the county jail. (01/28/2015 - 10:00 AM)

Jacksboro man arrested on multiple charges after high speed chase

Jacksboro man Jeff Steven Sisler, 36, was arrested on multiple charges on January 23 by sheriff’s deputies after he failed to stop and led deputies on a chase that ended with a crash and foot chase. When deputies attempted to stop Sisler, he continued at a high rate of speed and hid his vehicle between the building and a dumpster on Ridenour Lane. When deputies turned on their emergency lights in an attempt to stop Sisler, he pulled out, almost striking the deputies car and cut through a field, coming out between The Movies and Castleton’s Family Fitness Center, before turning onto Towe String Road.

Jeff Steven Sisler

He led deputies on a chase on Towe String Road before driving into a field and striking a tree. He then reversed and hit another tree before leaving his vehicle and attempting to flee on foot. Deputies eventually found him in the woods lying on his hands. He refused to comply with deputies and had to be tasered. After arresting Sisler, deputies searched him and found a black bag with several needles, a burnt spoon and other drug paraphernalia. A search of the vehicle also revealed lithium batteries, needles, and other drug paraphernalia items. Sisler was taken to Tennova Medical Center to be assessed and then transported to the county jail. He was charged with driving while suspended, violation of probation, failure to yield to a traffic control device, felony evading arrest, two counts of aggravated assault and resisting arrest.(01/28/2015 - 10:00 AM)

Commission and mayor to share in search for new ambulance director

The EMS Committee met on Tuesday to discuss the commission’s role in selecting a new ambulance service director. Mayor Morton, who made the decision earlier this month to fire Director Danny Sheckles, repeated his contention that his only reason for making a change was that he felt the service can be improved under new leadership.

Morton told the committee that he welcomes the commission’s participation in the search for a new director and had no problem with the fact that if the commission participates in the interviews of applicants, those interviews would be open to the public.

“I believe in full disclosure and that the public has the right to attend the proceedings,” Morton declared. The application deadline is set for this Friday, January 30 and Morton and the committee members agreed to meet again at 5:00 p.m. on February 6 to begin the interview process.

Next, the new county commission members of the FMS Committee spent a good deal of time asking questions and discussing various purchasing and bidding procedures but in the end, found that they could change little.

The major contention was the process through which change orders are exercised that result in additional costs to a previously approved project, but Finance Director Jeff Marlow pointed out that the commission’s power to restrict change orders is limited as long as department heads and elected officials stay within the bounds of costs already appropriated.

“If they approve a change that exceeds their budget, you already exercise control. The county commission must approve any increases through budget amendments,” Marlow explained.

Emergency purchasing was another topic of concern to committee member Ralph Davis, who had earlier made a motion approved by the commission to require departments to obtain three quotes before making an emergency purchase.

“If it is truly an emergency, they won’t have time to obtain three quotes,” Marlow pointed out. “Emergency purchases are restricted to situations where immediate action is needed to avoid the possibility of injury, loss of life or significant additional costs.”

Mayor E.L. Morton agreed, telling the committee, “The people we hire we have faith and confidence in their decisions. If they fail in that, we can revoke that confidence going forward.”

Marlow explained that the FMS Committee has no power to stop an emergency purchase by a department but if, upon review of the purchase determines it was not a true emergency, can restrict that department in the future by refusing to re-issue another emergency purchase voucher.

Davis finally made a motion to rescind the vote on his earlier motion to require three quotes for all emergency purchases. The committee unanimously agreed to rescind the requirement,

Davis also suggested that he would like to see a spending limit on the amount that can be approved for a change order. With the understanding that the county commission has authority to set threshold limits only on projects owned or controlled by the county commission, Davis told the committee that he will offer a motion at the regular February meeting after considering his options.

A third committee to meet was the Cable TV Committee, at the request of Whit Goins, who had questions about those rural areas not yet having access to cable. Goins received little encouragement about the prospects for further expansion of standard cable service as no representative of Comcast attended the meeting.

A representative from AT&T did attend, explaining the new Uverse service that has been established in parts of La Follette, Jacksboro, Caryville and Deerfield. The committee agreed that “Cable TV” is an outdated term in view of the expanding role of internet service and voted to change the committee’s name to the “Communications Committee.”  (01/28/2015 - 6:00 AM)

Hill is this year’s Boy Scouts honoree

Logan Hickman, chairman of the eighth annual 2015 Boy Scouts of America’s Campbell County Good Scout Award Dinner, is pleased to announce the 2015 honoree is long time Campbell County resident Lansden E. Hill.  This yearly ceremony and dinner will occur at the Ball Farm Event Center, 2107 General Carl W. Stiner Highway, LaFollette on Tuesday March 10, 2015 at 6:00 PM.  The money raised at the event will support Campbell County scouting in 2015. 

Lansden Hill

Lansden Hill has always loved fireworks. In 1969 he began to pursue his love as a career when he established Lansden Hill Enterprises.  This first company consisting of a consumer fireworks store and a fledgling fireworks display operation eventually evolved into Pyro Shows. Today Pyro Shows proudly stands as one of the largest fireworks companies in the southeastern United States and presents some of the most prestigious shows in America. Under Lansden’s leadership and vision, Pyro Shows produces some of the most creatively choreographed programs you will see anywhere. The staff of trained musical directors, pyro technicians, and multi-media choreographers has combined their talents to produce programs that are innovative, spectacular, and safe.  Mr. Hill is a 1969 graduate of LaFollette High School and a 1974 graduate of the University of Tennessee.  He is a US Army veteran.  Lansden served in the US Army Reserves from 1971 to 1977.  He is also the owner and operator of the E. E. Hill and Son Insurance Company.

Boomsday 2013

Voice of the Tennessee Titans, Mike Keith, will serve as the guest speaker.   Mike Keith completed his 17th season with the Tennessee Titans in 2014.  Keith began his broadcasting career as a high school junior in 1984, calling games and hosting a talk show on a local cable-access TV station. In 1986, he enrolled at the University of Tennessee, where he immediately became part of the student radio station, WUTK. Keith parlayed that experience into posts with the Vol Radio Network, WIVK Radio and WBIR-TV.

Peoples Bank of the South is proud to underwrite the dinner’s expense for the eighth year.  The bank is also excited to renew its partnership with the WLAF and WTNQ-FM.  These three partners will only make the event stronger.  This yearly dinner has evolved into Campbell County’s premier recognition banquet. 

The previous award recipients are Mr. Edward Balloff, Mrs. Juanita Baird, Colonel Tommy C. Stiner, the five Baird brothers, General Carl W. Stiner, the Campbell County Honor Guard, and the Campbell County High School football team coaching staff.  For more information about the event, please contact Logan Hickman of Peoples Bank of the South at 423-562-4921 or loganh@pbsouth.com.  (01/28/2015 - 6:00 AM)

Bartley’s assault case bound over to grand jury; motion for dismissal denied by judge

By Charlotte Underwood

Former school shooter Kenneth S. Bartley had his assault case bound over to the grand jury after an hour long hearing in General Session’s Court today where Judge Amanda Sammons denied his attorney’s motion to have the case dismissed. Bartley, who is charged with assault after an Oct. 16 incident involving his mother Rita Broyles, will have his case heard by a Campbell County Grand Jury which meets again on February 13.

Greg Isaacs (L) continues as Kenneth Bartley’s attorney

During today’s hearing, Broyles testified that Bartley and she had a “disagreement” that day and evening about him wanting money for a cab to go to the liquor store in Knoxville. Broyles testified that the argument was never really physical and that Bartley only placed his hands on her neck one time and that when she asked him to remove them he did.

Kenny Bartley watches as his mother testifies about the night he was arrested for assault.

“I looked Kenny in the eyes and told him I was not afraid of him and asked him to remove his hands and he did,” Broyles said. The police report states that Bartley placed his hands on her neck and told her he could choke her and she knew that he could.

State Prosecutor Graham Wilson reminded Broyles that she was under oath as he repeatedly asked her if she was afraid that night.

“Not that Kenny would hurt me; but that he would get into trouble if he left, that’s why I called the police,” Broyles said.

Broyles did say that he had been drinking and that she had even given him a water bottle with some bourbon in it because he was so insistent upon drinking.

Once again represented by Greg Isaacs, Bartley appeared calm as he watched his mother on the witness stand. When prosecutors asked Broyles if she could point out who Bartley was, she described him as “the handsome man sitting on the left.”

Isaacs made a motion to have the case dismissed on the claim that Bartley never assaulted his mother and that even though he placed his hands on her neck, she was not in fear of her life.

Sammons explained her reasoning of binding the case over to the grand jury, citing that Broyles was obviously a “biased witness.”

“A mother loves her son and we don’t fault her for that; never-the-less, she did say he was upset that day and that she had tried to calm him by giving him a drink. She also said she found it offensive when he put his arm around her neck, though she did try to minimize that contact, she would not have ran to another location to contact the police if she had not been afraid,” Sammons said of her ruling.

Kenneth Bartley

Isaacs could be heard telling Bartley to “hang in there,” as he left the courtroom. His case will be heard by the Grand Jury on Feb. 13. He has an additional court date on Feb. 24th violation of probation stemming from other charges. (01/27/2015 - 3:00 PM)

Victim of crash dies two weeks after accident; possible criminal charges to be filed against other driver

By Charlotte Underwood

Crash victim Daniel Dupee, 21, of Clinton, passed away around 5 a.m. this morning as a result of injuries he received during an accident which occurred on Butter and Egg Road on January 9th. The wreck occurred when Justin Heath Powell was traveling on the wrong side of the road at a high rate of speed and struck Dupee’s vehicle, according to the crash report. Both men had to be cut out of their vehicles by emergency personnel and were flown to the University of Tennessee Medical Center.

According to a Jacksboro Police report, moments before the accident, Powell had been involved in a domestic altercation with his wife at Eagle Market and had attempted to hit her with his truck before fleeing the scene. Law enforcement believes drugs or alcohol may have played a role in the crash.

Jacksboro police charged Powell with aggravated vehicular assault and domestic assault. According to the Tennessee Highway Patrol, additional charges may be levied against Powell since Dupee has died. (01/27/2015 - NOON)

Council discusses administrator position; other business at workshop

By Charlotte Underwood

La Follette’s lack of a city administrator was a topic of discussion during last night’s city council workshop. Mayor Mike Stanfield said he felt like the city did better without an administrator and that the issue should be put back on a ballot to let the people vote it out. Bob Fannon, Hansford Hatmaker and Joe Bolinger all three said they were in favor of a city administrator or manager position and discussed accepting applications again in the spring.

La Follette City Council members discussed taking applications for the city administrator position in the spring.

Fannon said he thought the charter should first be changed to offer a two-year contract with the position.

“We aren’t going to get any applicants unless they have a two-year period to prove themselves,” Fannon said.

City Attorney Reid Troutman was asked to look at the different options the city has as far as changing the charter and filling the position. The issue will be on the agenda for next week’s meeting.

Councilman Hansford Hatmaker said he was in favor of hiring a city administrator and changing the charter to offer a two-year contract with the position.

The need for a new gas charge system was also discussed and will be on next week’s agenda. The current system used by city employees, along with the utility company, the rescue squad, the rural fire service and the housing authority relies on gas cards similar to a credit card. The charge system reads the information form a magnetic strip on the card and the bill is charged to the appropriate entity and shows all the information regarding the transaction. The cards currently used are becoming obsolete and the city will have to go to a laser reader system. The cost for the new system is around $12,000, as well as the cost of each laser key per employee.

Mayor Mike Stanfield said he felt the department heads did a fine job and that a city administrator was not needed. He suggested putting the issue on the ballot and asking the public to vote it out in a referendum.

Other business discussed that will be on next week’s agenda as well included the hiring of police officer Lucas Shoffner and firefighter David Williams from part time to full time positions.

The purchase of security cameras and time clocks will be on next week’s agenda as well. A total of six security cameras are wanted to be placed in various locations of city hall. The cost of cameras alone will be under $1,000, according to the mayor.

Council members were polled and approved to go ahead with paperwork regarding the donation of a house and some property on East Prospect Street from Wells Fargo Bank. According to Codes Enforcer Stan Foust, the bank is willing to cover closing costs, donate the property and the house, as well as provide an additional $5,000 for rehab of the house. Mayor Mike Stanfield said Larry Townsend with Shepherd’s Home had expressed an interest in leasing the house from the city to be used as a men’s shelter. The council will decide at a later date how the property will be used. Paperwork on the deal had to be approved and sent in by Jan. 28.  (01/27/2015 - 6:00 AM)

 To the workers & families of A & S Steel from State Representative Dennis Powers

I have notified the TN Department of Labor of the upcoming closing of A & S Steel and I am meeting with the Commissioner and his staff on Tuesday, Feb. 3, in Nashville.  I have already requested that the department’s Rapid Response Team be deployed to our county to help in the processing of unemployment claims.  In our meeting, we will be discussing the logistics of the best time, dates and location to set up the team that will best accommodate those affected.  I have discussed this with Mayor Morton and he is now working now to acquire a location for the team.   I hope they will include the workers of Carmike and Trail Manor in this process.

I know how difficult it can be sometimes to reach the TN Department of Labor by phone.  My office handles more calls regarding unemployment claims than any other issue.  We want to work to make sure that those that have been affected by recent closings, or reductions in workforce, will have a fast, efficient way to file their claim by doing it locally and working with a dedicated team sent out specifically to help them.

I know this is devastating news to many in our area, but we will also be requesting assistance from the Department of Labor in workforce training and education.  We will continue to work with local and state officials, especially the Department of Economic and Community Development, to attract more business into our area.  Tennessee has been named the number one state in the nation in Economic and Community Development for two years in a row and we want to bring companies to our area that want to make Tennessee their home. (01/26/2015 - 12:30 PM)

Mayor Morton addresses business closings

     The county mayor addresses last week’s business closings further down this page.  County Mayor E.L. Morton tells WLAF that he understands that in his fifth month as County Mayor, growing jobs is still "Job One," and that has not changed.  Morton says that in light of the anticipated closing of A & S Steel, The Movies 2, and the reduction of operation of Trail Manor.  On Friday evening, the mayor issued a statement concerning the closings and an update.  (01/26/2015 - 6:00 AM)

Homecoming at Jellico High

On Friday, Allison Avera was crowned the 2015 JHS Basketball Homecoming Queen.  She was escorted by Justin Bowlin.   (DAVID GRAHAM PIX)

Here’s how Jellico Mountain looked Saturday morning at daybreak with a temperature of 25-degrees.

Saturday was championship day at Jellico’s Lindsay Gym

     The Fairview Rebels (Scott County) and the Heritage Christian Academy Lady Eagles (Claiborne County) claimed the TMSAA Area 2, Class-A Middle School tournament championships on Saturday.  At Lindsay Gym, Fairview outscored Powell Valley (Claiborne) to take the title.  In the girls championship, HCA won over Fairview’s Lady Rebels.  All four teams advance to this week’s state sectional at Sevierville.  The third place winners from Saturday, the Powell Valley Lady Indians and Midway (Claiborne County) Red Devils also advance to the next round.  If anyone would like to purchase a highlight DVD from the tournament, click here.  (DAVID GRAHAM PIX)

Heritage Christian Academy Lady Eagles

Powell Valley Indians

Powell Valley Lady Indians

Fairview Lady Rebels

Fairview Rebels

Single-vehicle accident claims two lives

     A father and his young son from Rocky Top lost their lives late Friday afternoon in a south Campbell County wreck near A & S Steel.  Tennessee Highway Patrol Trooper Brent Buckner outlines for WLAF News that the driver of the vehicle, 34-year old Bobby Coker, Jr., lost control of his 2006 GMC Envoy SUV while attempting a left curve.  Just before 4:00 p.m., Coker was traveling along Highway 116, between Caryville and Rocky Top in the Ridgewood community.  The trooper goes on to say that the SUV then left the roadway on the right side, went into a ditch, and struck a tree head-on.  Coker, who was not wearing a safety belt, died when he was ejected on impact.  His six-year old son Skyland was also killed.  He was wearing a safety belt and was sitting behind his father in the back seat.  The lone survivor in the single-car crash is 8-year old Marissa Coker.  Although injurred, she was also wearing her safety belt and was in the back seat with Skyland.  WLAF has been unable to learn the condition of Marissa Coker.(01/24/2015 - 8:00 AM)

Starrett recovering after head-on crash

     It’s believed Jacksboro Police Detective Mike Starrett was on his way to assist officers working a fatal car accident when he became involved in an accident himself.  Reports coming in to WLAF are that on Friday afternoon Starrett was heading south on Highway 116 near the Super 8 Motel at Caryville when a pick-up truck hit his cruiser head-on. 

Starrett's cruiser

Starrett was cut out of his vehicle and taken to the University of Tennessee Medical Center at Knoxville.  Officials say he is suffering from trauma to his head and a broken leg and broken arm.  Starrett’s condition is unavailable at this hour. (01/24/2015 - 8:00 AM)

Father & Son Die in Afternoon Crash

     A father and his young son were killed this afternoon around 3:30PM on Highway 116. Reports coming into WLAF are that they are from Lake City and died in a wreck that happened in front of A&S Steel at Ridgewood. It's believed that Jacksboro Detective Mike Starrett was en route to the fatal accident.

Starrett was hit head on, on Highway 116 near the Super 8 Motel at Caryville. He had to be cut out of his cruiser, and is suffering from trauma to the head, he is being treated at the UT Medical Center at Knoxville. There were so many accidents around Campbell County late this afternoon that all ambulances were tied up for more than an hour.  (01/23/2015 - 5:00 PM)

For Our Citizens

Campbell County Citizens and Family,

While I am proud of the Tennessee successes the President spoke about in his State of the Union Address, full economic recovery is much more difficult in our county this week.  It is my understanding that A&S Building Systems and The Movies are closing and Trail Manor is reducing operations to a very small footprint in our county owned industrial building.  It may close completely.  I also understand that in my fifth month as County Mayor, growing jobs is still "Job One" and that has not changed.  I want to speak to you about these jobs losses our workers are facing and what we are doing about it.


First, in the immediate term, every county resource is available to facilitate a rapid return to work and I have called for support from state agencies and will continue coordination to bring those resources to bear on the problem.  State Labor and Economic Development staffs are coordinating now to assist in placing our workers in jobs that are as close to home as possible.  Some of the assistance includes job application, resume and interview preparation, job searches, job fairs and potentially, transportation assistance for workers considering commuting to work in other places.  I am speaking with leaders from the affected businesses to determine first what can be done to keep their business here and second, how best to assist Campbell County workers facing this terribly difficult outlook.  I have spoken with one area employer and acquired their skills listing for current vacancies and will put that list in the hands of our workers facing these changes. That employer happens to be outside the county, but will feed families all the same.  I encourage local employers to provide us the same information (423-562-2526) to access some of our county's most productive workers.  Each of these three businesses had strong and productive workers that will make any business better.

Our short term picture includes conducting site visits with local Industry businesses.  So far, we have completed three visits and discussed plans with two additional local businesses to determine how we can assist growth.  Because of these visits and working with the County Road Department we mobilized county resources to help improve traffic flow and parking access in one of our industrial parks and I have had promising discussions with another start up with strong potential.  We are also taking steps to assist growth through youth plant visits and citizen volunteers are mentoring TN Achieves & Promise Scholarship students at our local campuses.  They completed meeting #2 (of 3) last night at CCHS to prepare our next graduates.  We are working with state and federal agencies to identify working capital funding sources for business.  John Branam is our new Chamber Director and leading forward to improve local business members and the jobs they can grow as well.  I spent a day trip to Murfreesboro Wednesday to speak with TVA leaders about buying Campbell County coal.  Bull Run is burning 100 cars daily and some if not all of it is Eastern Kentucky coal railing through our county.  We have at least one active coal permit and that could generate mining, trucking, supply and services jobs for a considerable time, having also learned that TVA is committed to running Bull Run on coal for at least the next two years.  I've spoken with Congressman Fleischmann and Representative Powers and they are teaming with us to sell our coal to TVA.

In the long term picture, my staff and I will continue to visit our industry partners annually and we have many more visits to make this year.  Should our county owned industrial building be fully available, I have discussed options with local trainers to use it as a skills training site to complement existing training programs.  I will present this option to our Commissioners and Joint Economic and Community Development Board in February.  I am extremely proud to work with the Commissioners you elected and even more so because they made a commitment Monday night to bolster resources, man hours and programming dollars specifically for Industrial Recruiting and Retention.  I applaud that action, commend and thank the Commissioners for their vision.  I gained a commitment today from State Economic Developers to guide us on building an Industrial recruiting and retention program.  These are strong first steps toward reestablishing our Industrial Development Board and attracting jobs and business.

Two men named Atterbury and Schroeder chose to build a business in our community years ago because of our people, our values and our community.  They no longer own A&S and much has changed but our People, Values and Community are the reasons I and my staff live and work here. Andy Wallace is my Deputy, Olivia Robbins is our Business and Tourism Developer and on February 2nd, Mary Bruce will join our team as Office Administrator and Animal Shelter Specialist.  Our work as an administration has just begun and our challenges are never more clear than they are today.  We will continue to work for new jobs and our people, friends and neighbors facing these hardships.

Respectfully and Humbly,
E.L. Morton

School board moves forward with search for director

Votes new director must live in Campbell County or own property here

By Charlotte Underwood

Members of the Campbell County School Board moved forward with search criteria for the new director of schools during a meeting last night. In a 6 to 4 vote, it was decided that the new director must be someone living in Campbell County or who owns property here. For the better part of an hour, the board was divided on the issue, with half the board wanting to open the search up to state-wide applicants, while the remainder of the board wanted to keep it to local options only.

School board member Sharon Ridenour was for opening the search state-wide. She said she completely understood the desire to have someone local as the director, but did not want to limit the county’s options with such a “narrow” search focus.

“I felt we should keep our options open. Just because applicants state-wide are accepted doesn’t mean we would have to choose that person in the end, but we would have more options before us to make the best decision,” Ridenour said, adding that there could have been some very qualified people from surrounding counties.

“We need someone with vision and leadership who will get us to the next level; I understand wanting local, but let’s at least look at all the qualified applicants first,” Ridenour said.

School Board Chairman Mike Orick felt passionate about someone local or with ties to the area being chosen. He is the one who made the property-specific motion and said he wanted to explain what might sound like an “odd” requirement. In 2010, when the board was faced with this same criteria decision, the board voted to keep it solely within the county. According to Orick, there were several people who applied for the job that were from Campbell County, still owned property here and wanted to apply for the job and the opportunity to move back.

“These were people that were qualified and still in the education field. It wasn’t fair that we kept those people from applying; they grew up here, they had ties here and most importantly, they had roots here,” Orick said, adding that while he respected that some of the other board members wanted to open the position up to state-wide applicants, he, personally felt, that “Campbell County’s own” could fill the position admirably and with a better understanding of our cultural background and educational needs.

Orick said he felt the board made a good decision and that in whole history of the system, Campbell County had previously only had two directors from out of county.

“Ultimately, the people of the county can know that the next person who directs their schools will either be from Campbell County or have ties and roots here,” Orick said.

Ridenour said she was disappointed that such a narrow gap of people will be able to apply for the position.

Both Orick and Ridenour said the board just wanted what was best for the children of Campbell County.

Director of schools search criteria discussions will continue on February 10 at the school board’s regularly scheduled meeting, when board members will each nominate a community member to serve and provide input during the search process. Of the two nominated, the names will placed in a cup and one drawn out to serve on the search committee.

The director of schools position has to be filled by June 1.

How the board voted on keeping the search criteria in Campbell County/property owner:

Mike Orick –yes

Wallace Goins – yes

Crystal McNealy Creekmore – yes

Sarge Collins – yes

Homer Rutherford – yes

Danny Wilson  - yes

Sharon Ridenour – no

Faye Heatherly – no

Clint Bane – no

Johnny Byrge - no  (01/23/2015 - 1:00 PM)

 

Homeless count took place yesterday

By Charlotte Underwood

The Annual Point in Time (PIT) Homeless count took place yesterday evening throughout Campbell County. Volunteers scoured under bridges and overpasses, in abandoned houses and other known areas in an attempt to record data on the amount of homeless and precariously housed in our county.

Abandoned buildings are often used by the homeless to get out of the cold.

Volunteers were armed with water, blankets and clipboards. The annual PIT Count is a partnership effort between Community Health of East Tennessee and the county mayor’s office, along with law enforcement and local city governments. Numbers collected during the event will be reported and used to garner grant funding to help area homeless.

This broken doll was a sad sight outside a known area where the homeless stay. The PIT count that took place yesterday will use numbers recorded to petition for grant funding to help the area’s homeless.

Last year, there were 129 unsheltered individuals in the county, along with 36 families or individuals who were housed in safety shelters such as the Shepherd’s Home, the Domestic Violence Shelter.

Areas under buildings as pictured here are a prime location where homeless congregate and stay.

There were an additional 452 precariously-housed individuals, meaning they were living in conditions unfit for human habitation.  From the 2014 information collected during the PIT count, Campbell and Monroe Counties will receive a grant of $100,000 to help the homeless.

 Volunteers spent time yesterday evening looking for the homeless in the area to hand out blankets and water and to record how many may be precariously housed in our county.  La Follette Mayor Mike Stanfield (L) and County Commissioner DeWayne Kitts take in a makeshift home under a building in La Follette.

Drug addiction can be a contributing factor to homelessness.

Numbers will take a while to compile and an official count will be released at a later date, according to Phyllis Clingner with CHET. (01/23/2015 - 6:00 AM)

La Follette legend Coach Ron Murray was honored at halftime of Thursday’s Campbell Cougar-Fulton Falcon basketball game at John Brown Gym.  (CIRCA 1961)

A night of memory making for Murray

The old coach is honored

     Fans, former players, and friends came to John Brown Gym Thursday night to honor a Campbell County Basketball legend, Coach Ron Murray.  CLICK HERE TO SEE THE COMPLETE INTERVIEW WITH COACH RON MURRAY.

Former CCHS Basketball Coach Len Pierce (L) visits with his high school coach, Ron Murray, during Thursday night’s Cougar-Fulton game.

Murray was one of John R.W. Brown’s stars on his first-ever basketball team, the 1947 La Follette Owls.  The newly constructed film and hospitality room was officially named the Ron Murray Room at halftime of the Cougars game with Fulton

Fulton coach and Campbell County native Jody Wright catches up with Coach Ron Murray before Thursday’s CCHS-Fulton game.  Wright’s father, Gene, the former coach at Jacksboro and Lake City High Schools, coached against Murray when he was with the La Follette Owls.

He was also recognized with plaques from Director of Schools Donnie Poston and County Mayor E.L. Morton.  Murray, who turns 85 in April, arrived early, driving himself to the gym named after his old coach. 

He wanted to make sure he made it in time for the Cougar JV tip-off.  And he did.  Murray’s only regret on a night etched forever in his memory and CCHS basketball history, is that his late wife Billie was not there among the fans, former players, and friends. (01/23/2015 - 6:00 AM)

From left-to-right, Bo Perkins (Broadway Carpets), Travis Thompson (Farmers Insurance), Chris White (White’s Flooring), and Tony Poteet, not pictured, (Wrap It Up Construction) were instrumental in constructing the new Ron Murray Room that serves as a hospitality and film room.  The room is located on the upper level of John Brown Gym in the southeast corner.

The Movies moving out; A & S Steel gone in 60-days

     Reports coming in to WLAF are that two well established businesses are leaving Campbell County.  Carmike is closing its La Follette theater, The Movies Two, at the end of February while Caryville’s A & S Steel is shutting down in 60-days. 

The Movies Two has been a Woodson Mall (property) fixture for more than thirty-years while A & S Steel was established along I-75 on Highway 116 in 1973.  Officials with the Campbell County Chamber of Commerce note that the A & S Steel closing means the loss of more than 250 jobs.  (01/22/2015 - 6:00 AM)

 Caryville plans to post police chief position

By Charlotte Underwood

After holding a workshop on Tuesday evening, the Caryville Board of Mayor and Aldermen voted to post the police chief position on January 29. Mayor Chris Stanley and board members say they are seeking someone with good leadership qualities, at least five years experience, and at least two years of it in a supervisor capacity. 

Applications can be picked up at Caryville Town Hall beginning Jan. 29. Applications must be mailed to city attorney Kathy Parrott at P.O. Box 327 in Jacksboro Tn., 37757. February 17 is the last date applications will be accepted.

For more information, contact Caryville Town Hall at 562-9478.(01/22/2015 - 6:00 AM)

Affordable Health Care Act creating havoc with tax returns

Preparers urge taxpayers to get guidance

By Charlotte Underwood

The Affordable Health Care Act aka Obama Care is creating havoc with this year’s tax returns.

The new insurance mandate, along with its health insurance premium subsidies, premium tax credits, and penalty for not being insured is affecting just about every taxpayer in one way or another. 

According to local accountants and tax preparers, taxpayers need to understand these new changes and be prepared for a “multitude” of new forms that will need to be filled out.

Tax preparers are warning that this year’s returns are so complicated that it is nearly impossible to fill out without guidance from either the IRS help-line or a tax preparer.

“The exemptions are many and varied and it is basically impossible for the average person to know all of the exemptions,” said James Cotton with Double S Bookkeeping. Cotton also said that a lot of people were confused about when the insurance penalty started, which was January 2014. The amount the uninsured is penalized is also another issue of confusion. The minimum penalty is $95 per uninsured person, but can go up much higher.

“I had one client who was penalized $583, and she just barely missed the exemption mark,” Cotton said, explaining that the penalty was either $95 or 1-percent of your income, whichever worked out to be higher.  Uninsured are penalized on a monthly basis.

This “tax prep hawker” pauses for a second in front of Liberty Tax on West Central Avenue in La Follette.

Carol Hoskins with Hoskins Accounting agreed that the reporting requirements for 2014 tax returns are substantial, and complicated due to the ACA insurance mandate.

She briefly covered some of the little-known insurance penalty exemptions such as having a death in the family in 2014, or being a victim of domestic violence.  Eviction, power cut-off notices and many other exemptions are out there, but some of them require very specific paper work that has to be filled out and may even take up to two weeks to have approved by the government.

“Very few people are aware of these exemptions and as a result of these changes, taxpayers will have to fill out new forms they will be receiving from their insurance companies, employers, and the marketplace that they will need in order to prepare their tax returns,” Hoskins said, adding that people should allow for more time to prepare their taxes this year and in some cases, seek professional guidance.

Help may be a little bit harder to come by this year than in the past though, due to recent IRS budget cuts passed by Congress.  According to Cotton, the IRS Help-line will only be able to handle about half the calls it usually gets due to these cuts, and it will most likely receive double the call volume due to the insurance mandate.  Long waits can also be expected when calling the help line.

The affects of these cuts have already been felt at the local library, according to Librarian Nancy Green, who said she had not received copies of tax forms yet and that the government had indicated they would not be sending the instructions that go along with those forms.

“We usually have them by November,” Green said, adding that she had received an email from the IRS saying that instruction booklets would not be sent this year and that taxpayers would have to go online to view, download and print the instructions.

“Those instruction books can be pretty thick and it would get expensive to have to print them out here,” Green said. She also said she had been receiving daily phone calls from people needing to pick up the forms, which the IRS had not sent yet.

The email cited the 2015 Omnibus Appropriations Bill recently passed by congress as the reason for cutbacks and the lack of instruction books being sent to the library.                                                                                                                                  

Those needing help with their tax forms this year can visit www.irs.gov or call the tax service IRS Hotline at 1-800-829-1040 or seek professional tax help at one of the many tax or accounting services in the area:

Double S Bookkeeping and Tax Service, located at 116 E. Cumberland Ln., Jacksboro 562-1681

Hoskins Accounting and Tax Preparation, located at 107 Nevada Ave., in La Follette – 562-9404 

H & R Block –located at 306 Main Street in Jacksboro -562-9341, La Follette location at 200

South Tennessee Ave., – 562-9341

Jackson Hewitt –kiosk location in Wal-Mart, 566-3542, or store front location 140 Indian Mound Circle at MegCo in Jacksboro -566-4130

Liberty Tax Service, located at 211 W. Central Avenue in La Follette– 423-797-8829

Raymond McGhee at McGhee’s Tax Service, 204 South Tennessee Avenue, across from La Follette City Hall.  Telephone 423.566.1784

(01/22/2015 - 6:00 AM)

Murray to be honored tonight

At halftime of Cougars game with Fulton

     The Ron Murray Room will be dedicated tonight at John Brown Gym during halftime of the Cougars game.  Murray, who played for the legendary Brown at La Follettte High, was later the head coach of the LHS Owls.  Current Campbell Coach Matt Housley tells WLAF Sports that he and his team are super excited about the new film room and the dedication for Coach Murray.  He explains that over the past four-years, the Cougars have been able to update their facilities to catch up to most of the schools in Knoxville

Coach Ron Murray is pictured here in the shadow of his coach’s picture, John Brown.  This photo was taken in June 2014.

The coach says that what the new film room does is set CCHS apart from most of them (Knoxville schools).  Coach Murray, who turns 85 in April, explains to WLAF Sports that he is humbled by this honor and is proud to be a part of Campbell County High School Basketball especially in John Brown Gym.  It’s perhaps only fitting that tonight’s opponent’s coach, Jody Wright of Fulton, is connected to the Brown-Murray coaching tree. 

Joe Snodderly (L), Coach Murray, and Carl Rutherford (R).  Murray coached La Follette to 33 wins in the 1962-63 season and upset the Knoxville South Rockets, led by the state’s leading scorer, Jay Cole, in the region tourney 34-30.  Cole was averaging 40-points a game.  (CIRCA 1963)

The Falcons’ head coach, Jody Wright, grew up in Caryville, and his first basketball coach was Len Pierce at Caryville Elementary School.  Pierce, the winningest coach through 40 seasons of CCHS Basketball, played for Murray at La Follette High in the 1960s. 

Wright is the winningest high school basketball coach in Knoxville history.  Housley adds that he studies film with his players a ton, they study film on their own as well, and this new resource will be used on a daily basis.  The Ron Murray Room is located on the upper level of John Brown Gym in the southeast corner.(01/22/2015 - 6:00 AM)

Searchers looking in Heatherly’s Point area for Daugherty

Missing since December 2

By Charlotte Underwood

On Monday, investigators set up a Mobile Command Center at Heatherly’s Point as the search for Rhonda Kitts Daugherty continues. It’s been 50 days since the Coolidge woman disappeared from her home.

Heatherly's Point is about a 20 minute boat ride from Sugar Hollow Boat Dock, where the search has previously been centered. Investigators say they are still searching Sugar Hollow, but are also looking at all the surrounding areas as well.

According to the Campbell County Sheriff’s Department, investigators have been searching the Heatherly’s Point area for the past couple days.  It is about a 20-minute boat ride from Sugar Hollow Boat Dock, where the search had previously been centered.  Investigators say they are still searching all areas of the lake.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, members of the Campbell County Sheriff's Department, the Rescue Squad and investigators from other agencies were busy searching in the Heatherly's Point area of Norris Lake.

Divers, sonar, cameras and all resources continue to be used in the hunt for Daugherty’s body.

Lonnie Vann, who has been indicted for her kidnapping and murder, has a court date set for April 13.

More stories can be found further down the page.  (01/20/2015 - 6:00 AM)

                  

 

Good weather days for Daughtery search-but still no Rhonda.

     It was a rare mild and dry January weekend.  And investigators made the most of it in the hunt for missing Coolidge woman Rhonda Daugherty.  Searchers scoured land and lake from daylight until dusk Saturday and Sunday.  Officials tell WLAF News that the weekend search on Norris Lake was centered on an area of the lake that's about a 20-minute boat ride from the Sugar Hollow Marina, where the search has been focused for weeks.  Sonar, camera, and robot were used.  The R-O-V, an under water robot, from the Carter County, Tennessee, Rescue Squad was used.  The search is in a part of the lake where the depths range from eighty to 150-feet with tree tops around 120-feet.  At these depths, specialized dive teams are required.  More than 70 search team members from around the county and the region took part in Sunday's search effort.  Today begins Day 49 in the hunt for Rhonda Kitts Daugherty.  Related stories and pictures are found further down this page.(01/19/2015 - 6:00 AM)

CCHS 2015 Basketball Homecoming Ceremonies

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Vann arraigned on murder and kidnapping charges; next court date in April

By Charlotte Underwood

Accused kidnapper and murderer Lonnie Lee Vann, 44, appeared in Campbell County Criminal Court this morning to be arraigned on those charges. He is accused in the death of Rhonda Kitts Daugherty, who has been missing since Dec. 2. Investigators still have not found her body.

Vann’s court appointed public defender pleaded not guilty on his behalf and his next court appearance will be on April 13 for a preliminary hearing.

Lonnie Lee Vann appeared in Criminal Court this morning to be arraigned for the murder and kidnapping of Rhonda Kitts Daugherty, who has been missing since Dec. 2. Vann pleaded not guilty via a public defender and had his court date reset for spring.

Vann appeared slightly disheveled as he stood in front of Criminal Court Judge Shayne Sexton and seemed uncertain about having a public defender appointed or hiring his own lawyer. After he ascertained that he could still hire private council after a public defender was appointed, Vann filled out paperwork and asked for appointed council.

Members of Daugherty’s family filled several pews in the courtroom as they silently watched the man who allegedly kidnapped and killed their loved one.

Tennessee Bureau of Investigation agent Brandon Elkins, left, takes a moment to confer with District Attorney Jared Effler during Lonnie Lee Vann’s arraignment this morning in criminal court.

Vann was indicted by a Campbell County Grand Jury for the kidnapping and murder of Daugherty on Jan. 7. He is charged with two counts of first-degree murder, as well as kidnapping. He is currently being held on a $1 million dollar bond at the Knox County Detention Facility.

Lonnie Lee Vann was recently extradited from Myrtle Beach South Carolina on charges of murder and kidnapping. He is currently being held at the Knoxville Detention Center on a $1 million dollar bond.

Vann, who is a former La Follette Middle school teacher, has been an un-named suspect in the case since he robbed a couple at gunpoint in Deerfield three days after Daugherty’s disappearance in early December.  Shortly after the Deerfield robbery occurred, investigators began concentrating search efforts for Daugherty in the Sugar Hollow area, where Vann has a family member with a house boat and where he reportedly grew up.  After about a week on the run, Vann was apprehended in South Carolina by Myrtle Beach authorities on armed robbery charges.

During his arraignment for the murder of Rhonda Kitts Daugherty, Lonnie Lee Vann hustled in and out of the courtroom, taking a brief moment to fill out paperwork for an appointed attorney before being swept out of the courtroom to be transported back to Knoxville where he is being held.

Vann also has a Feb. 2 court date set for inappropriate conduct with a minor, stemming from a 2013 incident in which he took a 13-year-old student off campus to Coolidge Church and attempted to hug and kiss her. He was indicted on those charges in July of 2014.  (01/12/2015 - 12:30 PM)

Nakita Morton appeared in Criminal Court this morning and had her court date re-set for March 23 in the child abuse case of Zander Brown. Nakita Morton is accused of interfering with the child receiving medical care in a timely manner.

Day 42 in the search for Rhonda

     Today marks day 42 in the search for Rhonda Kitts Daugherty.  The 49-year old woman from Coolidge been missing since December 2.  Searchers continue concentrating efforts in the Sugar Hollow area of Norris Lake.  (01/12/2015 - 6:00 AM)

Lonnie Vann extradited back to Campbell County; being held in Knoxville

By Charlotte Underwood

A short two days after he was indicted for the murder and kidnapping of Rhonda Kitts Daugherty, former La Follette Middle School teacher Lonnie Lee Vann was extradited to Campbell County and booked on those charges. According to the Campbell County Sheriff’s Department, Vann was extradited from Myrtle Beach, S.C., late Friday evening. Once at the Campbell County Jail, he was booked and processed for two counts of murder and one count of kidnapping. Vann was also charged with armed robbery from a Dec. 5 crime he committed in Deerfield when he held a couple at gunpoint and stole firearms and cash.

Lonnie Lee Vann (PIX COURTESY CAMPBELL COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT)

Campbell County Sheriff’s Department Chief Deputy Aaron Evans said the extradition was sped along by South Carolina Authorities who “worked with us all so graciously.”

On Wednesday, a Campbell County Grand Jury indicted Vann for these crimes regarding the Dec. 2 disappearance of Daugherty. A massive search effort has been underway for the past six weeks to locate her body, with investigators concentrating in the Sugar Hollow area of Norris Lake.

Rhonda’s mother Nancy Kitts said it is some small relief that he has been charged with the crime, but no closure will come until Rhonda is found.

“We need to know where she is at – and we need to understand why she was taken.” Nancy Kitts said.

For safety reasons and conflict, Vann will be held at the Knox County Detention Facility.

According to the sheriff’s department, a court date for Vann’s arraignment is not known at this time.

For related stories see further down the page. (01/09/2015 - 10:00 PM)

 Grand Jury indicts Lonnie Vann for murder of Rhonda Daugherty

By Charlotte Underwood

After more than a month of no breaks in the missing person case of Rhonda Kitts Daugherty, a Campbell County Grand Jury has handed down an indictment on Lonnie Lee Vann for the kidnapping and murder of the Coolidge woman who has been missing from her home since Dec. 2. Vann, 44, is charged with one count of first-degree murder, as well as kidnapping. His bond has been set at $1 million dollars.

The Campbell County Sheriff's Office, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and the 8th Judicial District Attorney General's Office held a press conference at 3 p.m. today at the sheriff’s department to announce the grand jury’s findings on the case.

Vann, who is a former La Follette Middle school teacher, has been an un-named suspect in the case since he robbed a couple at gunpoint in Deerfield three days after Daugherty’s disappearance. Shortly after the Deerfield robbery occurred, investigators began concentrating search efforts for Daugherty in the Sugar Hollow area, where Vann has a family member with a house boat. Much of the investigation seemed to center on that houseboat and in the general vicinity of the boat dock. After about a week on the run, Vann was apprehended in South Carolina by Myrtle Beach authorities on armed robbery charges there. He is currently jailed in the Horry County Detention Center.

After the grand jury handed down the indictment, Criminal Court Judge Shayne Sexton ordered a capias for the arrest of Vann. The warrant has been served on Vann.

TBI Director Mark Gwyn (L), District Attorney General Jared Effler (C), & Sheriff Robbie Goins (R)

According to investigators, Vann will be extradited back to Campbell County on these charges as soon as possible, though no definite time of his return has been announced. Once returned to Tennessee, Vann will be housed at a detention center in a different county, according to officials.

“We have started working on the extradition process, but there is no definite time yet when he will be brought back,” said District Attorney Jared Effler. Effler also said he wanted to thank all of the agencies involved in this case for their “tireless and professional efforts.”

TBI Director Mark Gwyn said investigator’s work was not over and that the TBI was "fully committed to this investigation for the sake of pursuing justice for friends and family of Rhonda Daugherty."

Campbell County Sheriff Robbie Goins said he wanted to thank the many volunteers who have helped in the search for Daugherty.

Goins also asked the public to respect the Daugherty family's privacy now that Vann has been charged in her killing.

Vann has a February 2 court appearance scheduled in Campbell County on sexual misconduct charges with a minor, stemming from a 2013 incident in which he allegedly took a 13-year-old off campus and to Coolidge Baptist Church where he touched her inappropriately. Vann was indicted on those charges in July of 2014. It is unknown at this time if that court date still stands.

According to the District Attorney and investigators, the case is ongoing as searchers continue to look for Daugherty. A $10,000 reward remains in effect.

Anyone with information is asked to call 911, 423-562-7446 or 1-800-TBI FIND.   (01/07/2015)

Father of missing woman dies from battle with cancer; family prays for search to continue

By Charlotte Underwood

After spending the last five weeks of his life without his daughter, Boyd Wayne Kitts, 71, passed away yesterday, Jan. 6, from a long-term battle with cancer.

Family and friends grieve his loss, and continue to hope for their loved one Rhonda Kitts Daugherty to be found. She has been missing since Dec. 2.

Rhonda’s mother Nancy Kitts said the past month had been hard on her husband and the disappearance of their only child had taken its toll.

“He missed her so much; he would cry for her and ask for her,” Nancy said, adding that Rhonda had been close with both her and her father.

“She was just such a blessing to have around and she helped me so much; I was leaning on her through his sickness I guess and not knowing where she is at is killing us.”

Nancy described Rhonda and her three children as her and her husband’s pride and joy.

She said the family is leaning on prayers and the hope that Rhonda will be found.

“We want her to stay on everyone’s mind until something gives and she is found. Someone out there knows something or has seen something and we just ask that person to please help us find Rhonda.”

There is still a $10,000 reward offered in this case and anyone with information is asked to call 911 or to call the sheriff’s department at 423-562-7446.

Cross-Smith Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements. Condolences may be given online at http://www.cross-smithfuneralhome.com. (01/07/2015)

Divers continue to search Sugar Hollow; debris & cold weather making it difficult

By Charlotte Underwood

Divers continue to search the Sugar Hollow area and Cedar Creek area of Norris Lake for missing woman Rhonda Kitts Daugherty who has been gone for over a month now. Houseboat cables and other debris such as televisions and grills mar the clarity of the water. The cold water requires the majority of the divers to wear what is called “dry suits”, which are more suitable to the winter temperatures.

According to the sheriff’s department, divers and dogs have searched the lake as far away as Anderson County and plan to continue to search.  For the past couple of weeks, the search has continued to focus on Sugar Hollow, with multiple agencies converging on the boat dock and taking to the waters each day.

Divers even reported that an entire houseboat was sunk in Sugar Hollow, along with various parts of cars and trucks. Otherwise, the water is clear, partially thanks to the cold temperatures and also due to a certain type of mussel that has been introduced to the lake by northern tourists visiting the area.

According to the Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency, the Zebra Mussel is an invasive species that is becoming more of a nuisance in Tennessee waterways. The tiny organism is reproducing and attaching themselves to anything underwater. The mussels are not native to Tennessee, or the United States, but continue to spread to lakes and rivers.

The mussels will attach themselves to boats, pipes, docks and one mussel can produce up to a million offspring in a year.  Divers have reported the mussels are attached to the underwater houseboat cables.

Investigators report that logs and other underwater debris in the area are covered with the tiny mussels.

Zebra mussels also destroy the ecosystem by eating microscopic particles in the water, which is why the water becomes clearer once zebra mussels begin to grow in number.

According to a local fishing guide, the mussel can live out of water for days and is brought to the area by tourist’s boats from the Great Lakes.  The Zebra Mussel can be found in the Sugar Hollow, Deerfield, Springs Dock and Shanghai areas of the lake, but is not as wide-spread when you head towards the Norris Dam or towards Flat Hollow. They have become more prevalent over the past four years.  (01/06/2015 - 6:00 AM)

Sorting through facts, fiction, and rumors is a challenge

The search for Rhonda Daugherty resumes at daybreak

     "They've found something at Sugar Hollow."  That's what the caller reported to us late Friday afternoon.  WLAF's Charlotte Underwood immediately hustled over to the Sugar Hollow area of Norris Lake only to meet searchers calling it a day, as darkness was settling-in, and confirm that it was just a rumor. 

Divers from Blount County and Campbell County continued to search the waters of Sugar Hollow on Friday.  They are pictured here on a platform by an unidentified houseboat at Sugar Hollow on Norris Lake.

WLAF has done its best to bring you the latest in the hunt for Rhonda Daugherty who went missing more than a month ago, and that includes gathering facts, which have been few and far between for all concerned, and sorting through the fiction and rumors. 

 

This sign was erected recently in front of Rhonda's Coolidge home at the bottom of the driveway at Long Hollow Road.

As Week Six begins, this will be the most challenging week for investigators, searchers, and especially divers where the weather is concerned.  A four, possibly five, day stretch of subfreezing temperatures is ahead including single-digit readings Wednesday night into Thursday.  (01/05/2015 - 6:00 AM - CHARLOTTE UNDERWOOD PIX)

Search continues by boat, land and air for missing woman

By Charlotte Underwood

New Year’s Day came and went without any new information in the case of missing Coolidge woman Rhonda Kitts Daugherty. The 49-year-old vanished from her home on Long Hollow Road on Dec. 2. Investigators and searchers continued to look in the Sugar Hollow area of Norris Lake yesterday and plan to continue the search today on water and land. The search seems to be concentrated from the Cedar Creek area back into Sugar Hollow.  Divers from Blount County and the La Follette Rescue Squad will be busy using underwater cameras and sonar in an attempt to locate Daugherty or a clue.

Yesterday, searchers moved house boats around in order to make searching under the water easier due to the amount of anchoring cables.  Divers report a vast amount of debris under the water that also makes the search more difficult.  Law enforcement has already searched the majority of the houseboats in the Sugar Hollow area.

Investigators have yet to name a suspect in the missing person’s case, but public opinion remains that armed robbery suspect Lonnie Vann could be a person of interest. Vann robbed a couple at gunpoint in Deerfield three days after Daugherty disappeared.  After the Dec. 5 robbery, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation quickly added Vann their top ten most wanted list.

He also has a family member who owns a house boat in the area that the search is concentrated. Vann was later apprehended in South Carolina, after he robbed a couple down there as well and was arrested at a traffic check point. Vann, a former La Follette Middle School teacher, has an early February court date in Campbell County regarding a sexual misconduct charge with a minor. He also has a February 20 court date in South Carolina for the robbery he committed in the Myrtle Beach area.

According to an article in the Christian Journal Leader, Vann had allegedly purchased duct tape, rope, and boots at the Wal-Mart in Clinton around the time of Daugherty’s disappearance. The Campbell County Sheriff’s Department said they could not comment on whether or not this is true.

Citizens on social media sites say they wish the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and other law enforcement agencies involved in the case would say concretely if there is a suspect. People report locking their doors more and checking dark parking lots due to the uneasiness of not knowing whether there is a suspect and whether or not that suspect is currently locked up.

According to Campbell County Sheriff Robbie Goins, searchers will continue to use every resource available to them and will not give up on finding Daugherty.

“The searchers are tired but they are not giving up. They had some rest over the holidays and are motivated by the family’s hope and by finding Rhonda,” Goins said.

A $10,000 reward remains active in this case. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Campbell County Sheriff’s Department at 423-562-7446.(01/02/2015 - 6:00 AM)

New month.  New year.  Daugherty search continues.

     As the calendar turns to 2015, Day 31 in the search for a missing Campbell County woman continues.  There are no new developments to report this morning in the hunt for Rhonda Kitts Daugherty.  The 49-year old mother and grandmother was last seen at her home on December 2 and as investigators describe, she just “vanished.”  Pictures and more stories are found further down this page.(01/01/2015 - 6:00 AM)

Family frustrated by lack of answers; prays for searchers to not give up

By Charlotte Underwood

A month without answers is taking its toll on family members and searchers alike in the case of missing Coolidge woman Rhonda Kitts Daugherty. The family continues to pray for the return of their loved one and answers in what has become a baffling mystery in our county.

Daugherty’s mother Nancy Kitts continues to make pleas for the return of her daughter and information as to what happened on Dec. 2 when Rhonda disappeared.

Rhonda Kitts Daugherty has been missing since December 2

“She was the type of person that would make you smile. She would help anyone and was just a joy to be around. She is missed so much and we need her back home,” Nancy Kitts said, adding that she could see no reason why someone would take her daughter.

“She was a homebody –very family dedicated and church oriented; I just can’t understand why this has happened.”

Frustrated and wearing thin by a lack of answers in the case, Nancy said she will not give up hope that searchers will find Rhonda and bring her home.

“Even if it’s not good news; we need to know, we need to have her back and we need to know what happened to her and why,” Nancy said, adding that she knew in her heart that Rhonda did not leave of her own free will on Tuesday, Dec. 2.

Nancy Kitts said the last time she spoke to her daughter was the day before she disappeared when Rhonda was visiting her at their Pleasant Ridge home.

“She was always good to come help me and check on her father who has been sick and she came and spent several hours with us that Monday,” Kitts said. She also said that her daughter seemed to be her normal self.

“Rhonda wasn’t depressed, she wasn’t on the verge of a nervous breakdown – there was nothing out of the ordinary.”

Daugherty usually called to check in with her mom by noon each day and when Nancy had not heard from her by 2:30, she began calling her.

Rhonda Daugherty and her husband Charles

“I kept calling her. Around dusky-dark, her husband came home and he called me right away to see if she was here. He said he had looked everywhere and that the back door to the house had been partially open when he came home,” Nancy Kitts said, adding that was not like her daughter at all.

There was no sign of forced entry or a struggle inside the home. All of Daugherty’s belongings were left at the home and so was her car. When Rhonda’s husband told Nancy that the door was open and that Rhonda’s car and belongings were still at home, she said her heart dropped.

“I knew something had happened to her. She was the type of woman who always kept her door locked. Whoever came to that back door had to have been someone she knew or she would not have opened that door,” Nancy said.

“I wake up every day and think that we will have an answer and that she will be found today.”

On behalf of the family, Nancy said she wanted to thank everyone for all they have done and asked that the search continue and that Rhonda stay at the forefront of people’s thoughts.

Investigators have been very reluctant to provide information about the case and whether or not there is a connection between Daugherty’s disappearance and the arrest of Lonnie Lee Vann, who after robbing a couple at gunpoint in Deerfield on Dec. 5, was added to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation’s Top Ten Most Wanted list and eventually apprehended in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.  He has a February 20 court date scheduled in Horry County for armed robbery crimes he committed down there.

According to the incident report, when Vann robbed the Deerfield couple, he told them he would not harm them, but that he needed money because he was “in big trouble.”

TBI agents, sheriff’s department deputies, rescue squad members and divers continue to focus the search in the Sugar Hollow area of Norris Lake, which is where Vann has family and was previously known to frequent. Sugar Hollow is about three to four miles away from Daugherty’s home on Long Hollow Road. Investigators began looking in the Sugar Hollow area several weeks ago and were spotted searching houseboats with dogs.

The question on everyone’s mind is why is the search concentrated there?  Law enforcement is certainly not saying anything.

A $10,000 reward is still active in this case and anyone with information is asked to please call the Campbell County Sheriff’s Office at (423) 562-7446. (12/21/2014 - 6:00 AM)

The search for Daugherty began four-weeks ago today

     There are no new developments to report in the search for missing Campbell Countian Rhonda Kitts Daugherty this morning.  Today marks the 29th day of searching which began four-weeks ago this evening.  The 49-year old woman was last seen on Tuesday morning, December 2, at her home on Long Hollow Road in Coolidge. 

Rhonda Kitts Daugherty (L)

Teams have been searching for her ever since her husband returned from work that evening and discovered she was missing.  A $10,000 reward is being offered, and Sheriff Robbie Goins asks that if you have any information to please call him at 423.562.7446.  More stories and pictures of the Rhonda Daugherty case are found further down this page.(12/30/14 - 6:00 AM)

Today begins Day 28 in the hunt for missing Coolidge woman

     About a square mile of Norris Lake.  In water 30 to 50-feet deep.  Through rain and cold.  After investigators searched Saturday and Sunday at Sugar Hollow Marina and surrounding area, still no Rhonda.  Authorities continue moving forward in the search for Rhonda Kitts Daugherty this morning on Day 28.  Divers, camera, and sonar are all being used to cover what is described by officials as a “large area.”  Sheriff Robbie Goins tells WLAF that he and every member of his department, and other agencies as well, believe in their hearts everyday that they will find her.  More stories and pictures are found further down this page.(12/29/2014 - 6:00 AM)

Family says no money needed; just searchers

The family of Rhonda Kitts Daugherty wants to say a big thank you to everyone who has been praying and searching for their loved one. They also wanted to let everyone know that they don’t want or need money, but rather people to continue searching and praying for Rhonda.

“Everyone has been so wonderful through all this and we appreciate it so much; but we don’t need money raised, we just need people to search and keep praying until she is found,” said Rhonda’s mother Nancy Kitts. The family also wanted to clarify that there are currently several outdoor “tournaments” taking place to raise funds and that the family is not associated with these events. A fishing tournament and a coon hunting tournament have both been organized.

“We would like the tournaments to be stopped because we have not asked anyone to do anything to raise any money – we just want people to search for Rhonda. It’s not that we don’t deeply appreciate what everyone is doing and trying to do; but we really don’t need money; just Rhonda.”  (12/26/2014 - 2:00 PM)

Day 25.  Investigators continue trying to solve Daugherty's disappearance.

     Christmas has come and gone.  Still no Rhonda.  The emotional, physical, and mental grind continues to weigh heavily on her family, community, and investigative team as the search goes on for Rhonda Kitts Daugherty.  It's Day 25.  Investigators, working tirelessly, going on a month, are back looking for the 49-year old Daugherty this morning still concentrating efforts on Norris Lake at Sugar Hollow Marina.  On the morning of December 2, investigators say she just vanished from her hilltop home at Coolidge.  Daugherty's mother, Nancy Kitts, made this plea to WLAF viewers, listeners, and followers last Tuesday - CLICK HERE.  More stories and pictures surrounding Rhonda Daugherty are found further down this page.  (12/26/2014 - 6:00 AM)

Daugherty's mother makes plea

     Today, during the noon hour, Nancy Kitts, the mother of missing Rhonda Kitts Daugherty, made a plea outside her Pleasant Ridge home for the return of her daughter or information that could lead to her whereabouts. CLICK HERE to view Kitts' comments.  The Coolidge woman disappeared from her home on Long Hollow Road on Dec. 2. Searchers and investigators continue to look for the missing woman. There is a $10,000 reward in this case. Anyone with information is asked to please call 911 or the Campbell County Sheriff’s Office at (423) 562-7446. (12/23/2014 - 5:00 PM)

Family seeks answers in Daugherty case

Today marks Week Three – Search Day 22

By Charlotte Underwood

All one Campbell County family wants for Christmas is the return of their loved one and maybe some answers as to what happened.

With the search for Rhonda Kitts Daugherty in week number three, this holiday season is filled with emptiness and questions for her family members. Her mother, Nancy Kitts, said she has not given up hope of searchers finding her daughter and that she is still praying for a Christmas miracle.

Nancy Kitts, mother of Rhonda Kitts Daugherty, takes time to visit with WLAF’s Charlotte Underwood.

“I am hoping and praying that whoever did this will break down and tell the truth. I want this person to know how empty our lives and our hearts have become.  We need to know where she is at; we need closure. Please find it in your heart to help us get her back and if it’s not good, then tell us where we can find her so we can have closure.”

It’s the waiting and not knowing that is so hard. It’s all they can think about.

“Every time the phone rings I hope it’s about her; I believe it will be the call I have been waiting on.  It’s hard on all of us,” Nancy said, adding that her son-in-law, Rhonda’s husband was devastated.

“He won’t eat, he won’t sleep; it has simply destroyed him.”  Rhonda’s father, who is terminally ill, is devastated as well and often gets distraught over his missing daughter. Through the devastation, the family continues to pray and search for answers.

“The Lord is working on this and all the prayers help; we just want Rhonda back,” Nancy said.  She also said she wants to keep it fresh on people’s minds to keep the hope, prayers and search alive.

Daugherty, 49, went missing on Dec. 2 from her home on Long Hollow Road. Her parents live about a mile and a half away. Nancy described her daughter as friendly, outgoing and always with a smile for others. She also described her as family oriented very active in their lives.

“I have a wonderful daughter; until I hear otherwise, I will continue to believe she is okay.”

Rhonda is her only daughter. When she went missing, her own daughter was expecting her first child.

“She was so looking forward to the birth of that grandchild.  She did not leave voluntarily, someone is responsible,” Nancy said, adding that she knew investigators had been looking in the Sugar Hollow vicinity of Norris Lake for her daughter or clues that could lead to her.

Divers and various search and rescue teams from Campbell and surrounding counties have been searching alongside deputies and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation agents for the past week and a half.

“I want them to search everywhere. I have to keep believing and trusting in the Lord that something will give and we will find her.”

She also wants to say a big thank you to the High Knob Church for all that they have done for the family, as well as a thank you to all the churches and everyone in the community praying and searching.

She gave one final plea to anyone who may have knowledge of her daughter’s whereabouts or what happened to her.

“If anyone has any information that could help us, please come forward – we miss her so much and we need help finding her- and to whoever is responsible, I pray they cannot eat or sleep until they tell what they know- our house is so empty without her; please help us bring her home.”

Anyone with information is asked to please call 911 or the Campbell County Sheriff’s Office at (423) 562-7446.  More stories and pictures surrounding Rhonda Kitts Daugherty are found further down this page.  (12/23/2014 - 6:00 AM)                      

Searchers continue to look for Daugherty over the weekend

By Charlotte Underwood

Tennessee Bureau of Investigation agents, Campbell County Sheriff’s Detectives and members of Knox County and La Follette Rescue Squads continued to search for Rhonda Kitts Daugherty over the weekend. The search still appears to be concentrated in the Sugar Hollow vicinity of Norris Lake, with around a dozen officials manning three boats on Saturday.  Sunday saw the Anderson and Campbell County Sheriff’s Departments searching, along with the TBI.

The search for Rhonda Daugherty continued over the weekend.

According to witnesses, the search seemed to begin in the area over a week ago, when law enforcement officials were spotted searching house boats with dogs.

A Knoxville Search and Rescue boat equipped with sonar went back and forth on the lake on Saturday, attempting to get what law enforcement call at “hit” on an object under the water.

Investigators continued searching around Sugar Hollow Marina Saturday & Sunday.

According to Campbell County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Aaron Evans, several types of sonar have been used in the search for Daugherty. The lake around the Sugar Hollow area is quite “polluted” with house boat cables, and lots of other debris such as grills and other garbage.

Divers will possibly continue with the search this week.

Investigators have also been searching along the bank and from the air in efforts to locate her.

Sunday saw the Anderson and Campbell County Sheriff’s Departments searching, along with the TBI, for Rhonda Kitts Daugherty.

Searchers say they will continue to look for Daugherty.  Local churches and community members also vow to keep praying for the missing woman and her family.  Daugherty has been missing since Dec. 2, when she disappeared from her home on Long Hollow Road at Coolidge.

A $10,000 reward is being offered and anyone with information is asked to call 911 or the Campbell County Sheriff’s Office at 423.562.7446.  (12/22/2014 - 6:00 AM)

Vann's bond set in some S.C. charges, denied bond on other; waives extradition

By Charlotte Underwood

Accused armed robber Lonnie Lee Vann, 44, has waived extradition and had his bond set at $110,000 in South Carolina, where he is currently being held in the Horry County Jail. However, he was denied bond on one particular charge in South Carolina, which will essentially keep him there until his February 20 court date scheduled at the Horry County Judicial Center.

Lonnie Vann (PIX COURTESY OF THE TBI)

Vann, who had been wanted in connection to an armed robbery which occurred in the Deerfield community on Dec. 5, also committed armed robbery in Myrtle Beach at a Marriott Hotel. In South Carolina, Vann is charged with armed robbery, burglary in the first, possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime, weapons law violation and being a fugitive from justice for his crimes in Tennessee. He was denied bond for the burglary in the first charge due to the severity of the crime, according to Horry County Sheriff’s Public Information Officer Jeff Benton.

“He was given the $110,000 cash bond on the other charges, but because they denied him bond on the burglary in the first, it is technically like his bond was denied,” Benton said, going on to further explain that Vann would not be extradited to Tennessee until he either made bond or his charges in South Carolina are disposed of via a trial or hearing.

Vann had initially signed an extradition waiver at the Myrtle Beach Police Department, but due to it not being notarized, Vann had to sign an official waiver in front of a notary of the public. According to Benton, that did not occur until around 2:30 p.m. on Dec. 18.

Vann, a former middle school teacher has a February 2 hearing in Campbell County Criminal Court regarding sexual misconduct charges stemming from a 2013 incident in which he is accused of touching a 13-year-old girl inappropriately.

According to the Horry County Sheriff’s Department, it is up to the Campbell County District Attorney and sheriff’s department to contact South Carolina authorities and make arrangements to come pick Vann up and transport him to Campbell County for that court date, just as it is Horry County officials responsibility to make transportation arrangements to get him back for his Feb. 20 court date.

Vann is charged with two-counts of armed robbery for the Dec. 5 Deerfield incident.  If penalized to the max, he could face up to 30 years in prison for his armed robbery crimes in Campbell County, and he could face up to life in prison for the South Carolina charge.

Investigators have yet to publically acknowledge a connection between Vann and missing Campbell County woman Rhonda Kitts Daugherty, who has been missing since Dec. 2. (12/19/2014 - 6:00 AM)

Day 18 of search for missing woman; still nothing new to report

Day 18 of the search for Rhonda Kitts Daugherty and still nothing new to report in what has become one of Campbell County’s biggest mysteries.

The search was concentrated once again in the Sugar Hollow vicinity yesterday.  Divers from Campbell County and the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department spent the day in the waters of Norris Lake once more, but had nothing new to report by day’s end. According to officials, water visibility remains clear, but house boat cables still hinder the divers.

The search continues this morning in the same area, with searchers vowing not to give up.

A $10,000 reward is being offered and anyone with information is asked to call 911 or the Campbell County Sheriff’s Office at (423) 562-7446.(12/19/2014 - 6:00 AM)

Search for missing woman continues on Norris Lake; sheriff vows to not give up

By Charlotte Underwood

There is still nothing new in the case of missing Coolidge woman Rhonda Kitts Daugherty. Around 15 to 20 law enforcement officials searched all day in the Sugar Hollow vicinity of Norris Lake yesterday and plan to continue the search today.  A two-member dive team from the Knox County Sheriff Special Operations Unit participated in the search.  According to officials close to the scene, the water temperature is 48-degrees and visibility under the water is good, but there is still no sign or clues in Daugherty’s disappearance.  Massive amounts of underwater cables anchoring the houseboats in the area are making it difficult on divers.  A brief bit of excitement was when a gun was sighted underwater, but it turned out to be an air rifle and was not relevant.

Yellow ribbons, like the one pictured above, adorn businesses and homes in honor and memory of Daugherty as local churches continue to pray and community members and officials continue to search.

No connection between former La Follette Middle School teacher Lonnie Vann and Daugherty has been announced by law enforcement.  Vann has a February court date for inappropriate conduct with a student and is currently being held in South Carolina on criminal charges before he will be extradited back to Campbell County for allegedly committing a Dec. 6 armed robbery in Deerfield.

The spirit among investigators, though not verbally validated, is that there is a connection in the two cases.  A WLAF source close to the investigation said the search for Daugherty had been concentrated in the Sugar Hollow area because that is near where Vann grew up and that he also had a family member in the area with a house boat that he had frequented.

Members of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, the Campbell County Sheriff’s Department and the Knox County Sheriff’s Department searched all day yesterday on the lake for the missing Coolidge woman.

Campbell County Sheriff Robbie Goins said they will not give up the search and will do whatever it takes to find her.  According to Goins, there has never been a body put into the lake or a drowning that did not result in the recovery of the person.

An un-named diver from the Knox County Sheriff’s Department climbs out of Norris Lake late Wednesday evening after spending the day in the water searching for Rhonda Daugherty. A two-member dive team came from Knoxville to help with the search.

“We will continue to search and do whatever it takes,” Goins said.

The Knox County Special Operations Unit was in Campbell County yesterday searching in the Sugar Hollow vicinity for Rhonda Daugherty.

A $10,000 reward is being offered and anyone with information is asked to call 911 or the Campbell County Sheriff’s Office at (423) 562-7446.(12/18/2014 - 6:00 AM)

Search for Daugherty continues by land, air and boat

Missing for two-weeks now, the search for Rhonda Daugherty continues on the lake today in the Sugar Hollow vicinity. Law enforcement was searching in that area yesterday as well. A Knox County Special Operations unit, believed to be a dive team, was seen driving through town and later parked in the Sugar Hollow parking lot. According to officials the search will continue by boat, land and air.

According to reports, Daugherty was last seen by her husband Charles on Dec. 2. When he returned home from work, she was gone and the door to their home was open.

Law enforcement, community members and other volunteers have searched daily for the 49-year-old Coolidge woman.

If you have any information on where Rhonda Daugherty may be you’re asked to call 911 or the Campbell County Sheriff’s Office at (423) 562-7446. There is a $10,000 reward in this case. (12/17/2014 - 12:30 PM)

Search continues for missing Coolidge woman

By Charlotte Underwood

No new details have emerged in the case of the missing Coolidge woman Rhonda Kitts Daugherty, who has been missing since Dec. 2.  Those in the Sugar Hollow area may have noticed law enforcement and search teams checking the lake yesterday as the search continues for the missing 49-year old woman who seems to have vanished without a trace.  According to the Campbell County Sheriff’s Department, they will continue to search any and all areas in reference to Rhonda and no areas are off limit.

For two weeks and a day now, officers and members of the community have been searching tirelessly.  Local churches are offering up prayer and missing posters can be seen all over the county, but still no word on her whereabouts and no new leads to follow.

Lonnie Vann (PIX COURTESY OF THE TBI)

The community has been abuzz with suspicion of a connection between Daugherty’s case and that of Lonnie Vann, who was arrested on Friday in Myrtle Beach in connection with an armed robbery that occurred in the Deerfield community on Dec. 6.  Vann is currently being held in South Carolina on charges for crimes he committed there as well as a fugitive from justice warrant regarding the robbery he allegedly committed here in Campbell County.

No connection between the two cases has been officially acknowledged by law enforcement. According to officials, both cases are still under open and active investigation.  Related stories and pictures are found further down this page.  (12/17/2014 - 6:00 AM)

Vann remains in a S.C. jail.  Daugherty’s still missing after two weeks.

     There’s nothing new to report this morning in the two stories that may or may not be connected surrounding  Campbell Countians Lonnie Vann and Rhonda Kitts Daugherty.  The 44-year old Vann is yet to be brought back to Campbell County from a South Carolina jail.  He is wanted on multiple charges in South Carolina and Tennessee and was caught by Myrtle Beach Police last Friday night after being on the run for a week after fleeing an armed robbery scene at Deerfield.  Daugherty, age 49, has been missing for two weeks as of today when she was last seen at her home in the Coolidge community.  Authorities say she just “vanished.”  No one involved in the investigation is willing to say  the two disturbing events are connected even though Vann and Daugherty knew each other and attended the same church, Coolidge First Baptist Church.  More related stories and pictures are further down this page.(12/16/2014 - 6:00 AM)

King’s memory lives on through his championship team

     The late Coach Vic King’s Christian Academy Warriors claimed the county crown.  Again.  For a second-straight season, King’s Warriors take the title.  This time, they won it without their coach, who passed away last month after a brief battle with cancer. 

CACC defeated the Wynn Bulldogs to claim the small division championship.(12/16/2014 - 6:00 AM)

Vann held on fugitive from justice warrant; new charges filed by S.C. authorities

By Charlotte Underwood

New charges were filed against former teacher Lonnie Lee Vann, 44, who is currently being held on a fugitive from justice warrant in South Carolina until he can be extradited back to Tennessee, according to Myrtle Beach Police. Vann is being held in South Carolina by law enforcement on charges of armed robbery, burglary, possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime, weapons law violation and being a fugitive from justice. Vann garnered these additional charges after Myrtle Beach authorities connected him to an armed robbery at a Marriott Hotel that occurred on Dec. 10. According to the incident report, Vann followed two people onto an elevator at the hotel. He then followed them off the elevator and to their room, appearing to be on the cell phone. When they opened their room, Vann pushed them in and then demanded their wallets, brandishing a black firearm. The victim managed to remove most of his belongings from his wallet without Vann seeing before handing it over to him. Vann then fled the scene. He was later picked up by Myrtle Beach Police who had the description of his Chevy Captiva as being driven by a fugitive from justice wanted by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

Vann is being held in the Myrtle Beach Jail without bond until he has a hearing before a judge, according to Joey Crosby, Myrtle Beach Police Department’s Public Information Officer.

Crosby said after the hearing regarding the crimes Vann committed in South Carolina, Vann could be brought back to Tennessee fairly quickly if he waived extradition. If he however, does not waive extradition, there will be a separate hearing regarding that.

After becoming a suspect in an armed robbery which occurred in Deerfield on Dec. 6, Vann spent a little over a week on the run and on the TBI’s top ten most wanted list. He was apprehended in South Carolina by Myrtle Beach Police on Highway 501 after they recognized him and the cream-colored Chevy Captiva he was last reported driving. Vann was taken into custody around 7 p.m. Friday night.

In July, Vann was indicted by a grand jury for inappropriate conduct with a student after he was charged with solicitation of a minor, sexual battery by an authority figure, tampering with evidence and assault. 

Vann taught at La Follette Middle School and was placed on suspension without pay in October 2013 after allegations of the inappropriate conduct came to light.

According to the TBI, on Oct. 22, Vann took a 13-year-old student off school property to Coolidge First Baptist Church. While in the building, Vann allegedly hugged the female student and tried to kiss her, both without consent.

Vann also allegedly tampered with evidence by altering images on a recording device at the church. Vann turned himself into the Campbell County Sheriff. He was later released on $10,000 bond. He has a February court date in Campbell County Criminal Court regarding the inappropriate misconduct charges. (12/15/2014 - 2:30 PM)

 

Family, fellow church members, and friends scoured Coolidge Saturday looking for Rhonda Kitts Daugherty

Area churches lift up special prayers for Rhonda

     Lonnie Vann’s been captured (story is further down this page).  Authorities tell WLAF News that it may be a while before he is brought back to the county jail at Jacksboro.  Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, Police spotted the 44-year old man from Jacksboro on Friday night and took him into custody.  Vann is wanted in connection to an armed robbery on December 5 at Deerfield.  But what about Rhonda Kitts Daugherty? 

A prayer was lifted up for Rhonda Duagherty Sunday morning at area churches.  Among them was First Baptist Church of La Follette.

Area churches lifted up prayers for Rhonda and her family on Sunday morning.  Today marks Day 13 in the search for the woman who police say “vanished” on Tuesday, December 2, from her hilltop home at Coolidge. 

Coolidge First Baptist Church serves as the command post in the hunt for Rhonda

The sheriff’s department and the rescue squad led the search for Daugherty on Saturday morning.

Daugherty’s family, fellow church members from Coolidge First Baptist Church, and neighbors, with support from the sheriff's department and the rescue squad, searched for her on Saturday.  Still no Rhonda.  The search continues this morning. (12/15/2014 - 6:00 AM)

Lonnie Vann arrested in South Carolina

By Charlotte Underwood

After a little over a week on the run and on the TBI’s top ten most wanted list, armed robbery suspect Lonnie Lee Vann, 44, was apprehended in South Carolina by Myrtle Beach Police. Vann was picked up by Myrtle Beach authorities after they recognized him and the cream-colored Chevy Captiva he had last been seen driving in Campbell County. Vann was taken into custody around 7 p.m. last night (Friday). It is unknown at this time how long Vann will be held in South Carolina. According to the Campbell County Sheriff’s Department, “there are a lot of logistics that have to be worked out, before he is extradited back to Campbell County.”

Lonnie Vann (PIX COURTESY OF THE TBI)

According to Campbell County Sheriff Robbie Goins, it was a multi-agency and state law enforcement cooperation that led to Vann’s arrest.

“Today we can announce, along with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, that Campbell County armed robbery suspect Lonnie Lee Vann was taken into custody without incident and is being held at this time in connection with an armed robbery that occurred at a residence in the Deerfield Community,” Goins said in a press release.

Despite Vann’s arrest, there is no new evidence in the missing person case of Rhonda Kitts Daugherty, who has been missing since Dec. 2. For more than a week now, 10-20 officers have been searching hourly for the missing 49-year old Coolidge woman.  No connection between the two cases has been officially acknowledged by law enforcement, though rumors and suspicions have been running rampant in the community. According to law enforcement, both cases are still under open and active investigation.

A former Campbell County teacher, Vann was wanted in connection to an armed robbery which occurred around 3:45 p.m. on Dec. 6 in the Deerfield Resort Community. On the day of the robbery, sources told WLAF that Vann was a very strong person of interest in connection with the robbery, which occurred at the residence of Jim Fields.  By the end of the day, Vann had been added to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigations top ten most wanted list. According to the police report, Vann was at the residence to speak to Fields about working on a website for his business.  Fields told deputies he had bent over to pick something up off the floor and when he looked up, Vann had a gun in his hand. Vann then demanded they open their safe. He stole three handguns as well as $900 in cash before leaving in a cream-colored 2013 Chevrolet Captiva, which Vann had rented on Dec. 3 from La Follette Enterprise. Vann zip-tied Fields and his wife to the stair railing and told them to wait at least 30 minutes before calling the police.  Jim Fields was able to free himself in about five minutes and called the police. The vehicle Vann left in has a Maryland tag with the numbers 2BC-6411. The case was then turned over to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

In July, Vann was indicted by a grand jury for inappropriate conduct with a student after he was charged with solicitation of a minor, sexual battery by an authority figure, tampering with evidence and assault. 

Vann taught at La Follette Middle School and was placed on suspension without pay in October 2013 after allegations of the inappropriate conduct came to light.

In November of 2013, the case was handed over to the District Attorney General and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. According to the TBI, on Oct. 22, Vann took a 13-year-old student off school property to Coolidge First Baptist Church. While in the building, Vann allegedly hugged the female student and tried to kiss her, both without consent.

Vann also allegedly tampered with evidence by altering images on a recording device at the church. Vann turned himself into the Campbell County Sheriff. He was later released on $10,000 bond. He has a February court date in Campbell County Criminal Court regarding the inappropriate misconduct charges. (12/13/2014 - 1:00 PM)

Vann’s been on the run a week.  Daugherty’s search is now on day 10.

No matter where you go.  No matter the company.  Talk soon turns to the bizarre stories that developed here in Campbell County last week.  On Tuesday, December 2, 49-year old Rhonda Kitts Daugherty went missing from her hill top home at Coolidge.  Police say she just vanished.  Though reward money for her safe return doubled to $10,000 on Thursday afternoon, she is still missing, and clues are few and far between. 

As the WLAF crew was setting up to broadcast the Campbell basketball games at Corryton last Friday is when word came in that 44-year old Lonnie Vann had just robbed a couple at gunpoint at their Deerfield home.  Within hours, the like-able Vann, who was already free on bond from a charge involving his improper association with a student when he was a teacher at La Follette Middle School, was placed on the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation’s Top Ten Most Wanted List.  One-week later, Vann remains on the run and on the wanted list.  More stories and pictures related to this story are found further down this page.  (12/12/2014 - 6:00 AM)

Dollars doubled for Daugherty’s safe return

     The reward for any information regarding the disappearance of missing La Follette woman Rhonda Daugherty has been doubled.  It’s been increased to $10,000.00.(12/11/2104 - 3:00 PM)

No changes in the missing person search and the manhunt

     You want to know.  And so do we.  But there is nothing new to report to you this morning in the case of Rhonda Kitts Daugherty.  She went missing on Tuesday, December 2.  Investigators say she just vanished from her Coolidge home.  Word on the other case, that many say is connected, remains the same, and that is the case of Lonnie Vann, who is wanted in connection with a December 5 armed robbery of a Deerfield community family.  Vann has not been seen since the robbery.  Pictures and more stories surrounding these two disturbing events are found further down this page.  (12/11/2014 - 6:00 AM)

A request from the sheriff

     The sheriff’s office, TBI, and others are continually and feverishly working around the clock and have dedicated all resources available to the search and safe return of Rhonda Daugherty. No boundaries exist, no resource is turned away, and no tip is dismissed into the search and safe return of Rhonda.  We ask every Campbell County citizen, every person in our area, and every person able to read this message.  Rhonda, her family, and everyone involved need all of our prayers and continued support.  We ask all of you, regardless of your faith, beliefs, and denomination to please pray, pray, and pray specifically for Rhonda, her safe return, and pray that the hands of the investigators involved are blessed and favored –Sheriff Robbie K. Goins(12/10/2014 - 3:00 PM)

Exhausting search for Daugherty continues

     So far, everyday’s hope for finding Rhonda Kitts Daugherty safe and alive has been dashed by day’s end.  For more than a week now, 10-20 officers have been searching hourly for the missing 49-year old Coolidge woman.  Authorities say she just “vanished” last Tuesday, and so far, there are no solid tips or leads in the case.  More stories on Daugherty are found further down this page. (12/10/2014 - 6:00 AM)

Vann wanted by TBI in connection with robbery; police report details released

Vann remains on the loose this morning

By Charlotte Underwood

Former Campbell County teacher Lonnie Vann, 44, of Jacksboro, is still wanted in connection to an armed robbery which occurred around 3:45 p.m. on Dec. 6 in the Deerfield Resort Community. On the day of the robbery, sources told WLAF that Vann was a very strong person of interest in connection with the robbery, which occurred at the residence of Jim Fields.  By the end of the day, Vann had been added to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigations top ten most wanted list. According to the police report, Vann was at the residence to speak to Fields about working on a website for his business.  Fields told deputies he had bent over to pick something up off the floor and when he looked up, Vann had a gun in his hand. Vann then demanded they open their safe. He stole three handguns as well as $900 in cash before leaving in a cream-colored 2013 Chevrolet Captiva, which Vann had rented on Dec. 3 from La Follette Enterprise. Vann zip-tied Fields and his wife to the stair railing and told them to wait at least 30 minutes before calling the police.  Jim Fields was able to free himself in about five minutes and called the police. The vehicle Vann left in has a Maryland tag with the numbers 2BC-6411. The case has been turned over to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. According to law enforcement, Vann is considered armed and dangerous and is actively being sought for questioning regarding the armed robbery. Anyone who has seen him or has any information to his whereabouts is asked to contact the TBI at 1-800-824-3463, the Campbell County Sheriff’s Department at 423-562-7446 or 911. Vann’s home was also searched in connection with the robbery. Vann has brown hair and a goatee and is somewhat stocky of build. He was last seen driving the cream colored Chevy Captiva.

Lonnie Vann (PIX COURTESY OF THE TBI)

In July, Vann was indicted by a grand jury for inappropriate conduct with a student after he was charged with solicitation of a minor, sexual battery by an authority figure, tampering with evidence and assault. 

Vann taught at La Follette Middle School and was placed on suspension without pay in October 2013 after allegations of the inappropriate conduct came to light.

In November of 2013, the case was handed over to the District Attorney General and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. According to the TBI, on Oct. 22, Vann took a 13-year-old student off school property to Coolidge First Baptist Church. While in the building, Vann allegedly hugged the female student and tried to kiss her, both without consent.

Vann also allegedly tampered with evidence by altering images on a recording device at the church. Vann turned himself into the Campbell County Sheriff. He was later released on $10,000 bond. He has a February court date in Campbell County Criminal Court regarding the inappropriate misconduct charges.  (12/10/2014 - 6:00 AM)

Day Seven.  Still no Rhonda.

     Investigators are just looking for a break.  Big.  Little. No matter the size.  Just one break.  And that one break may be all they need to unravel the mystery that surrounds the disappearance of 49-year old Rhonda Kitts Daugherty.  Today marks a week, a very long week, since the Coolidge woman was last seen.  From Sheriff Robbie Goins to Chief Deputy Aaron Evans to deputies, detectives, and TBI agents, there are anywhere from 10 to 20 officers looking for Daugherty everyday. 

Rhonda Kitts Daugherty (L)

The two words that highlight the theme of this strange and disturbing event are “vanished” and “standstill.”  It’s been said countless times that Daugherty just vanished, and that even though the search has gone 24/7 since, no clues leave the investigation at a standstill. (12/09/2014 - 6:00 AM)

Manhunt for Vann reaches Day Four

     Former La Follette Middle School teacher Lonnie Vann remains on the run this morning.  Vann is wanted by the Campbell County Sheriff’s Office and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation for a Friday afternoon armed robbery on Deerfield Way in La Follette.  Vann, 44, is described as a white male with brown hair and brown eyes. He stands approximately 5 foot 9 inches tall and weighs 275 pounds. He was last seen driving a white Chevy Captiva with Maryland registration 2 B C 6 4 1 1.

 

Lonnie Vann

He is believed to be in possession of several firearms and should be considered extremely dangerous.  Anyone with information about the whereabouts of Vann is urged to call the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation at 1-800-TBI-FIND (1-800-824-3463). There is a $1,000 reward for information leading to his arrest.  Over the weekend, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation added Vann to the state’s Top 10 Most Wanted list. (12/09/2014 - 6:00 AM)

Reward in Daugherty case increased.  Again.

     Through anonymous funds and sheriff's funds, Campbell County Sheriff Robbie K. Goins announces a reward increase to a $5,000 reward for any information regarding missing Campbell Countian Rhonda Daugherty.  That’s up from Saturday’s increase to $4,500.  More stories and her picture are found further down this page.   (12/07/2014 - 7:00 PM)

Public says what police won’t in hunt for missing woman

     Was Friday’s home robbery at Deerfield a clue or coincidence in the mysterious disappearance of Rhonda Kitts Daugherty?  Police won’t say.  But the popular belief circulating on the street is that there is a connection between the home burglary authorities say Lonnie Vann committed and the woman from Coolidge who went missing last Tuesday (12/02/2014).  If these two disturbing stories are connected, Vann’s late afternoon hold-up on Friday (12/05/2014) is a gigantic clue and the first big break toward solving Daughtery’s disappearance. 

WLAF has confirmed that the two know each other and that each attended the same church, Coolidge First Baptist.  Daugherty vanished almost a week ago from her hilltop home at Coolidge while Vann remains on the run this morning.  Vann is free on a $10,000 bond and has a February court date in Campbell County Criminal Court regarding inappropriate misconduct charges that involve a student from La Follette Middle School. 

The 44-year old Vann was a teacher at the school and is currently suspended without pay.  More stories on Vann, who is now on the TBI’s Top Ten Most Wanted List, and Daugherty are found further down this page.  (12/08/2014 6:00 AM)

Reward in Daugherty case increased

     The reward for a missing Campbell County woman, Rhonda Daugherty, has been increased to $4,500 for information regarding her whereabouts.  More stories and her picture are found further down this page.   (12/06/2014 - 9:00 PM)

Vann makes TBI's Top Ten Most Wanted List

TBI NAMES JACKSBORO MAN TO TOP 10 MOST WANTED

NASHVILLE The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has a new addition to the state’s Top 10 Most Wanted list, Lonnie Lee Vann of Jacksboro, TN.

Vann is wanted by the Campbell County Sheriff’s Office and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation for a Friday afternoon armed robbery on Deerfield Way in La Follette.

Vann, 44, is described as a white male with brown hair and brown eyes. He stands approximately 5 foot 9 inches tall and weighs 275 pounds. He was last seen driving a white Chevy Captiva with Maryland registration 2 B C 6 4 1 1. He is believed to be in possession of several firearms and should be considered extremely dangerous.

Anyone with information about the whereabouts of Vann is urged to call the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation at 1-800-TBI-FIND (1-800-824-3463). There is a $1,000 reward for information leading to his arrest.  (12/06/2014 - 9:30 AM)

Breaking news

Former teacher indicted for misconduct is wanted in connection with armed robbery

Investigation turned over to the TBI

By Charlotte Underwood

Former Campbell County teacher Lonnie Vann, 43, of Jacksboro, is wanted in connection to an armed robbery which occurred around 3:45 this afternoon in the Deerfield Resort Community. Sources tell WLAF that Vann is a very strong person of interest in connection with the robbery, which occurred at the residence of Jim Fields. According to sources, Vann tied up residence members, robbed them and then left in a cream-colored 2013 Chevrolet Captiva, which Vann had rented on Dec. 3 from LaFollette Enterprise. The vehicle has a Maryland tag with the numbers 2BC-6411. The case has been turned over to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. According to law enforcement, Vann is considered armed and dangerous and is actively being sought for questioning regarding the armed robbery. Anyone who has seen him or has any information to his whereabouts is asked to contact the TBI at 1-800-824-3463, the Campbell County Sheriff’s Department at 423-562-7446 or 911. WLAF is also hearing from sources that Vann’s home is being searched in connection with the robbery. Vann has brown hair and a goatee and is somewhat stocky of build. He was last seen driving the cream colored Chevy Captiva.

In July, Vann was indicted by a grand jury for inappropriate conduct with a student after he was charged with solicitation of a minor, sexual battery by an authority figure, tampering with evidence and assault.

Vann taught at LaFollette Middle School and was placed on suspension without pay in October 2013 after allegations of the inappropriate conduct came to light.

In November of 2013, the case was handed over to the District Attorney General and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. According to the TBI, on Oct. 22, Vann took a 13-year-old student off school property to Coolidge First Baptist Church. While in the building, Vann allegedly hugged the female student and tried to kiss her, both without consent.

Vann also allegedly tampered with evidence by altering images on a recording device at the church. Vann turned himself into the Campbell County Sheriff. He was later released on $10,000 bond. He has a February court date in Campbell County Criminal Court regarding the inappropriate misconduct charges. (12/5/14 - 6:10 PM)

Reward offered in Daugherty disappearance

     Through anonymous funds and sheriff's funds, Campbell County Sheriff Robbie K. Goins has announced a $3,500 reward for any information regarding missing Campbell County female Rhonda Daugherty, as previously reported.  To contact the sheriff, please call 423.562.7446.  (12/05/2014 - 1:00 PM)

See Channel 10’s feature “Remembering Coach King” right here

     WBIR’s Courtney Lyle and her production crew were in La Follette earlier this week for a story on the late coach, Vic King. 

"Coach" or "Vic" depending on how you knew Coach Vic King (CHARLIE HUTSON PIX)

Click here to see her tribute to the legendary coach who passed away last week after a brief battle with cancer.  (12/05/2014 - 7:00 AM)

Coolidge woman still missing; search shifts

     On foot.  By ground.  On ATV and in the air.  Search crews have combed the Coolidge community and feel those means of finding 49-year old Rhonda Kitts Daugherty have pretty much been exhausted.  Chief Deputy Aaron Evans says that the search efforts today have shifted into a more investigative direction.  He explains that teams are going door-to-door, listening, and talking to as many folks in the community as possible this afternoon.  Evans adds that they’ve not received any tips or leads that you could grasp and describes the process as frustrating at times. 

He notes that everyone involved is not closed minded, and that they are exploring all options.  The woman, Evans says who just vanished, is a cancer survivor and has a grandbaby on the way.  A community-wide search led by the Campbell County Sheriff’s Department and the La Follette Rescue Squad with efforts from members of the Coolidge First Baptist Church and the community is set for Saturday.  It begins at the church at 10:00 a.m.  Authorities encourage anyone with any information on the whereabouts of Rhonda Kitts Daugherty to please call Sheriff Robbie Goins at 423.562.7446.  (12/04/2014 - 12:30 PM)

Crews searching for Coolidge woman

     Rhonda Kitts Daugherty has been missing for almost 24-hours.  Authorities tell WLAF that her husband, Charles, left for work at 6:00 a.m. on Tuesday with her still at their Coolidge home.  Rhonda’s mother, Nancy Kitts, explains that she did not get an answer at home or on her cell phone when she tried calling her around 2:30 p.m. yesterday but didn’t think anything of it.  It was dark, misty, and foggy Tuesday night when Sheriff Robbie Goins and members of his department began searching around 8:00 p.m. 

The Daugherty home sits high on a hill looking down on Long Hollow Road where it intersects with Davis Chapel Road.  A Rescue Squad ATV searches for Rhonda Daugherty on the Daugherty property.

The search briefly broke off around 5:00 a.m. this morning when many investigators and deputies left for a couple of hours of sleep.  But they were right back at it at daybreak.  WLAF has learned that on Tuesday night, a search dog out of Roane County picked up Rhonda’s scent from the house to the road in front of the home, Long Hollow Road, and then the dog stopped at the edge of the road. 

Members of the La Follette Rescue Squad rode out on four ATVs late this morning for a ground search while awaiting air support to arrive from Knox County in the form of a helicopter.  The chopper has an estimated time of arrival of 12:30 p.m. today.  Rhonda Kitts Daugherty is 49-years old and is described as being five-feet, three-inches tall, weighing 140 pounds with hazel eyes and auburn hair. 

Officials outline that Daugherty left behind her purse, cell phone, reading glasses, and car, and that the back door to the home was left open.  Searchers have gone through the Coolidge First Baptist Church, where the command post is set up in the church parking lot, and all the vehicles around the church.  They’ve scoured the local pond, cemetery, Daugherty’s home and all the vehicles on the property.  A door-to-door search was also conducted at all the homes in Coolidge while authorities and hospitals in the region have been contacted last night and this morning.  Chief Deputy Aaron Evans says that nothing’s being ruled out, and he encourages anyone with any information to please call the sheriff at 423.562.7446. (12/03/2014 - 11:45 AM)

Campbell County woman missing.  Search continues.

Rhonda Kitts Daugherty (L)

     Rhonda Kitts Daugherty is missing.  Family members tell WLAF News that the Coolidge woman has not been seen or heard from since Tuesday.  The woman, who celebrated her 49th birthday last month, is approximately five-feet, three-inches tall, weighs about 140 pounds, has hazel eyes and brown hair.  Nancy Kitts, Daughtery’s mother, says Rhonda left behind her purse, cell phone, glasses, and car.  A command post is set up at the Coolidge First Baptist church, which is very near the Daugherty home.  Chief Deputy Aaron Evans adds that the search began in mist and fog around 8:00 p.m. Tuesday night and that search dogs were used.  If you know the where-a-bouts of Rhonda Kitts Daugherty, you are encouraged to call the sheriff at 423.562.7446. (12/03/2014 - 9:30 AM)

Gail Nance (L) with Coach King in the fall of 2013

WLAF’s “coach” has left the gym

     The former coach, who has been an integral part of WLAF for the past couple of years, passed away Wednesday night at the UT Medical Center at Knoxville.  Coach Vic King, the winningest basketball coach in Campbell County history, died Wednesday night after a brief battle with cancer. 

Over a career that spanned the better part of 40-years, King was head basketball coach at La Follette Middle School, Oneida High School, and the Christian Academy of Campbell County.  He served as assistant head coach at Union County and Jellico High Schools.  As a head coach, he won nearly 500 basketball games.  At WLAF, he led the sales team and was director of marketing.  Victor Bradley King “Coach King” was 60-years old. (11/28/2014-6:00 AM)

A special thanks to Coach King

     Ever since my first transistor radio, about age five, I always wanted to be on the radio.  In junior high, Cliff Jennings, C.J. the DJ, let me sit in once in a while on his nightly radio show.  But it wasn’t until 1971 that my first chance to be on the air came around.  And it was because of Vic King.  And Paul Wright. 

Paul was Vic’s neighbor, and he was looking for someone to keep stats for his La Follette Owl football broadcasts over WLAF Radio.  Vic told me that Paul asked him to do it, but he told him no, but that he knew someone who would do it.  Me, the Freeman boy. 

 

Paul said OK, and that Friday night, the microphone that Paul said came over on the Mayflower was handed to me.  I was finally on the air and have been ever since.  Thanks to Paul Wright and my first agent, Vic King. (11/28/2014 - 6:00 AM)

Campbell County’s most followed medium, WLAF, reaches a milestone

     Thanks to you, our listeners, viewers, readers, and corporate partners, WLAF’s media platforms continue expanding and reaching more Campbell Countians everyday.  Whether it’s AM 1450, FM 100.9, WLAF-TV 12, or 1450wlaf.com, we’re glad you connect with us.  This morning, WLAF’s “dotcom” surpassed the one-million visitor mark!  It took a tad more than one-year, but we did it.  (10/28/2014 - 2:30 PM)

 

 WLAF Editorial Page Click Here

 

 

 

 


Precinct-by-precinct.  District-by-district.  WLAF has all the final numbers.

     You asked.  WLAF delivered.  WLAF's Coach Vic King has taken all 184 pages of the election numbers and posted them right here.  Just CLICK.  (08/12/2014 - 8:00 PM)

 

Election results bring change

By Charlotte Underwood

      Campbell County has a new mayor.  E.L. Morton won in a run-away race for the county mayor’s office, easily outstripping incumbent William Baird and other candidates.  Morton received 4,022 votes, while Jack Lynch came in second with 2,346 and Baird came in third with 2,186.  Fred Cole garnered 748 while Marvin Rutherford finished with 194.

     Morton, members of his family, friends and old school mates gathered at the Holiday Inn Express to celebrate the big win before heading down to WLAF to give a big thanks to all his supporters.

     Morton said he was overwhelmed with the outpouring of support.  “Tonight’s a blessing and an affirmation.  I feared letting people down and not being able to deliver, but the people supporting our campaign came through and didn’t let that happen. I am really proud to represent the people that voted for us and look forward to being the mayor of Campbell County for everyone.  Morton said he had prayed long and hard about running for office.

     “I prayed not to do it, but I got a different answer and win lose or draw, I was responsible for doing that much at least.  I am relieved it’s over, but I look forward to building the community we want in the future.  We deserve only what we earn, but I believe the people of Campbell County are willing to work hard to earn it,” Morton said. 

Morton said he looked forward to going to work for the people of the county.

     Incumbent Sheriff Robbie Goins is going to enjoy another four years in office as he swept the polls against Gary Perkins and Pete Hatfield.  Votes for Goins totaled an amazing 6,986 while Perkins had 1,752 and Hatfield finished with 882.

     Goins said he was honored to receive the vote of confidence from the people of the county.  “I am so thankful to the voters; I think the people liked what we have been doing for the past four years and they showed that in support at the polls,” Goins said, adding that while he had felt good about the turnout, he did not know how overwhelming the support would be.

     “Everyone has been so positive these past four years about what we have been doing; we are all excited to get back to work for another four years,” Goins said, adding that he was “thankful and blessed.”
     Amanda Sammons ousted incumbent Joe Ayers for Sessions Court Judge in a fairly close race with a total of 3,698 votes. Ayers received 3,296. Challenger Kathy Parrott had a showing of 2,495 votes.

      Sammons said she felt excited and was still in shock over winning.  She said she wanted to thank the voters who put her in office.  “Thank you so much for entrusting me with your vote and your support,” Sammons said, adding that she looked forward to taking office and getting started.

     In Campbell County, Jared Effler is receiving more votes for the district attorney general’s office with 4,189 votes over Lori Phillips-Jones who had 3,992. Effler was declared the winner not long before midnight Thursday.

     In Campbell County, Leif Jeffers received 4,552 for the public defender’s office while Mark Eric Blakely garnered 3,612. Jeffers also won the other counties in the district to become the new public defender.

    In the Chancellor race, Elizabeth Asbury won with 6,743 votes to Andy Tillman’s 2,507 here and was victorious overall to earn the right to be the next chanellor.  Dormas Miller won the Register of Deeds office with 5,288, while Beverly Hall had 2,782 and Danny E. Wilson had 297.1

     The new county clerk is Alene Baird with 3,262. Lynn Letner received 703, while Todd Nance had 2,948 and incumbent Debbie Wilson had 2,721.

     First District County commissioners are N. Marie Ayers who received 677, while Whit Goins received 721 and Robert Higginbotham received 675.

     Second District County commissioners are Dewayne “Mailman” Kitts with 1,039, Cliff Kohlymeyer with 641 and Lonnie Weldon with 696.

      Kitts said he wanted to thank the voters for everything.

      “Well it’s an honor to win; I want to thank the voters.  The people in the district really showed me their support,” Kitts said, saying he sensed the people in his district wanted a change.

     “I made a lot of friends in the second district; really honored and thankful for everyone who voted. I am going to be a committed commissioner and do what I can for the people,” Kitts said, adding that he never thought he would be doing this.

     “I want to make a positive influence on the community and I invite the public to come and sit down with me if they need to talk,” Kitts said.

     County commission third district winners are Cliff Jennings with 627, Rusty Orick with 786 and Scott Stanfield with 886. 

     Fourth district county commissioners for the fourth district are Charles Goat Baird with 1,028, Johnny Coach Bruce with 1,098 and Sue Nance with 1,075,

     County commission fifth district representatives are Forster Baird with 709, Ralph Davis with 840 and Carl B. Douglas with 714.

     School board first district member is Wallace Goins with 1,289 against Rector Miller’s 666.

     Second district school board saw Sharon Ridenour win with 815 against Randy Comer’s 764.

     Third district school board member is Faye Heatherly who won a close race with 797 votes against Scott Hill’s 774 and Virgil Kidwell’s 185.

     In the school board district four, Clint Bane won with 748 against Tim Woods with 526 and Eugene Lawson’s 682.

     School Board District five saw Crystal Creekmore winning with 586 while Elsie Bates Crawford garnered 505, Johnny Creekmore had 402 and Ned Smiddy received 346.

     Congress third district sees Weston Wamp beat Chuck Fleischmann in the third district congressman race with 2464 against Wamp’s 2357 in Campbell County.  Fleischmann was eventually able to win and keep his seat in Congress.  (08/08/2014 - 2:30 AM)

FM is now a part of the WLAF media platforms 

     Who would have thought that WLAF would have a television station before it was able to secure an FM signal?  But that’s how it’s played out.  WLAF signed on as an AM radio station in 1953, added WLAF-TV 12 in 1990, and, as of this morning, now has an FM signal.  It is FM 100.9.  The new FM is a simulcast of 1450 WLAF.  The website, www.1450wlaf.com, is also one of the WLAF’s mediums.(08/07/2014-6:00 AM)

 

                                                         

        

           

          

 

 


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