Day 246 in the search for Rhonda Kitts Daugherty 

Pictures & stories surrounding the Rhonda Daugherty case are found by clicking the yellow ribbon

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



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Photo from home

     Former Campbell High Football Standout Scott Miller and his 14 year old son, Sean Alexander Miller. Sean is following in his father’s athletic footsteps. He plays football at Pike County Central High School in Pikeville, Kentucky.  The man who wore jersey number 22 for the Cougars starts a new job with the Kentucky State Police this morning.  WLAF’s Susan Sharp has the story on Miller’s big promotion further down this page. 

Dr. Sean M. DeLair Joins Tennova’s Medical Staff at La Follette

Urologist treats patients with urinary tract & male reproductive system conditions including cancer

KNOXVILLE, TN (August 3, 2015) – Tennova Healthcare welcomes Sean M. DeLair, M.D., urologist, to his new medical practice at Tennova Urology – La Follette. Dr. DeLair is accepting new patients at his office at 905 East Central Avenue, Suite 102, La Follette.

Tennova Healthcare welcomes Sean M. DeLair, M.D., urologist, to his new medical practice at Tennova Urology – La Follette.

Dr. DeLair is dedicated to the diagnosis and treatment of genitourinary conditions. He specializes in the surgical treatment of kidney, prostate, bladder and testicular cancers. He is also experienced in vasectomy as well as treating patients with kidney stones and urinary incontinence. Same-day appointments are available. For more information, call 1-855-TENNOVA (836-6682).

Dr. DeLair earned his medical degree from the Medical College of Virginia in Richmond, VA, where he also completed an internship and residency. He completed an additional residency at UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento, CA.  Dr. DeLair is board certified in urology.

“I am committed to delivering personalized care for male and female urological conditions as well as male reproductive disorders,” Dr. DeLair said. “I am pleased to be bringing additional services and surgical techniques to patients in the LaFollette community. My goal is to help my patients experience a better quality of life.”

Tennova Healthcare offers diagnostic and treatment services for urological conditions at Physicians Regional Medical Center, Turkey Creek Medical Center, North Knoxville Medical Center, Lakeway Regional Hospital and LaFollette Medical Center. With 15 urologists at multiple locations across the region, the health system is dedicated to offering patients comprehensive care for kidney, bladder prostate and testicular disorders—close to home.(08/03/2015 - 2:00 PM)

Here’s a letter from the WLAF mailbag

Writer “doubts WLAF will publish”

Postmarked July 30, 2015, and posted 08/03/2015 - NOON.  In response to David G. Young’s letter addressing the City of La Follette’s lack of leadership.  Or anyway that is what I choose to call it.

It is about time someone told the story right and addressed the issues at hand like David G. Young has done.  If we had more people in charge like Mr. Young, we would have a better ran city.  I do not know Mr. Young personally, in fact, I have never met him, but I sure like what he had to say in Wednesday’s article (further down this page) on the WLAF website.

It amazes me how many people chose to play games instead of concentrating on the good of the city.  The people qualified for the leadership of the city are almost never considered and I think that is what Mr. Young was also saying.  It is a “what is in it for me” attitude.  We need to move forward, but the way the city is ran we constantly stay in a stand still mode.  One person cannot run the show and hog all of the attention.  That is not what city administration is all about.  Assignments need to be delegated.  And that goes for any city.  There is too many incompetents running the show in La Follette.  There is also too many chiefs and not enough Indians.  A city administrator needs to be selected soon and they need to be qualified.  It is sad that Mr. Young is out of the running now, but on the flip side of that, like stated above, the qualified people almost never get the job anyway.  Especially if they are a better leader than the people with the authority to make these appointments and decisions.  Changes need to be made people!!

Kay Sturtz

La Follette (street address on return address is outside the city limits) 

PS:  If this happens to be published, which I doubt, please do not publish my phone number. 

Towe String Road Convenience Center faces peak season

Overflowing dumpsters from one of the busiest weekends emptied this morning

There were a couple of calls to WLAF over the weekend asking about the overflowing dumpsters at the Towe String Road Convenience Center.  Mayor E.L. Morton tells WLAF that it’s peak season at the center.  He adds that that coupled with the hiring and training of staff to fill vacancies from a recent retirement along with the untimely death of a great employee created the overflow.  All dumpsters were emptied before daybreak this morning, and the mayor says the Towe String Road Convenience Center is ready to serve you today.

Before (above) and after (below) from Sunday evening to Monday morning at the Towe String Road Convenience Center

Mayor Morton points out that Allen Carroll, the employee who passed away a few weeks ago, is dearly missed.  Carroll represented the finest of work ethic and genuine care for the people of Campbell County, says Morton, who goes on to note that Carroll’s exemplary service set the standard we work to achieve everyday.  He closes his comments by saying that he was fortunate to’ve known Carroll as a friend and a public servant.  (08/03/2015 - 10:00 AM)

Day 133 of the Beech Street Bridge project

Rebar is down.  Concrete on its way.

     The old Beech Street Bridge closed on March 24.  The new bridge that’s taking its place is taking shape.   

WLAF’s Charlie Hutson snapped photos of the rebar that was recently put in place meaning that concrete is not far behind.  The new bridge is expected to be ready and reopened in late September or early October. (08/03/2015 - 7:45 AM)



La Follette may have new administrator and police chief by tonight

Jeffries is front runner for top job

The City of La Follette mayor and council meet in regular session this evening for the month of August.  By meeting’s end, La Follette will likely have a new city administrator and a new police chief.  Current LPD Chief Jimmy Jeffries is in line to become the next administrator while the police chief post is between LPD Sergeant Daniel Smith and retired Knoxville Police veteran Bill Roehl.  All three candidates were interviewed last Wednesday.  Jeffries has been the police chief since February of 2011.

Among the other items on the agenda for today’s 6:00 p.m. meeting at City Hall are lawsuits pertaining to postal code issues, 9-1-1 addressing for new businesses, setting salaries for promotions within the fire department, and expenses for the fall ATV festival.  WLAF has the story for you first thing in the morning. (08/03/2015 - 6:00 AM)

Scott Miller promoted to top position with Kentucky State Police

Former Cougar football star shines

By Susan Sharp

A Campbell County native has worked his way to the upper tier of the Kentucky State Police.

Scott Miller, a one-time Campbell County High School football standout and 1990 CCHS graduate, was promoted to the rank of Lt. Colonel last week. It was an honor that some work a lifetime to achieve. For Miller, it took 18 years.

“This is the highest rank you can earn before reaching the level of commissioner,” Miller said of his recent promotion. He is now one of only four Lt. Colonels throughout the KSP.  Effective Saturday, Aug. 1, Miller now answers directly to KSP Commissioner Rodney Brewer.

Miller has been with the KPS for 18 years. His is now one of four Lt. Colonels in the KSP.

Miller’s recent advancement places him in the administrative division where he will oversee hundreds of employees. The areas under his authority will include human resources, media relations, internal affairs, strategic planning and legislative security, just to name a few. He will also continue to represent the agency in its legal matters.

“This is a new challenge and a new opportunity,” Miller said of the duties he has been assigned.

Miller began his career with the KPS 18 years ago as trooper in the Pikeville district. From there he served as a trooper in a few districts before he was placed in the legal office in Frankfort as sergeant.

This remained Miller’s professional home for a number of years.  Eventually, he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant and was placed in charge of the legal office. Along the way, Miller also earned his law degree from Northern Kentucky University.

Miller’s next stop, and promotion, came when he was made a Captain.  This led him to Hazard in Perry County where he stayed for three years.

In 2012, he became a major. This move up the ladder put Miller in charge of the special enforcement division of the KSP. He recalled this position as one of his more favored in his career. While serving in this capacity, Miller was in charge of the KPS aircrafts, the narcotics divisions and all of the drug task forces operated by the KSP.

“We made some huge drug cases while I was there,” he said.

Miller’s recent promotion removes him from field work, but he sees his new role as one where his involvement will be just as significant. In his new position, Miller will have a supportive role to the troopers who are still performing field work. And having been a trooper for several years, he views this new rank as just as vital when it comes to police work. (08/03/2015 - 6:00 AM)

National Night Out set for tomorrow night

By Susan Sharp

A night to celebrate the community and the police who protect is just around the corner.

Tomorrow night, on Aug. 4, Campbell County will host its fifth National Night Out.

This is an annual community-building campaign designed to encourage police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie to make our neighborhoods a safer, better place to live, according to the NNO website. The hope is the event will enhance the relationship between neighbors and law enforcement while bringing back a true sense of community and provides a great opportunity to bring police and neighbors together under positive circumstances, the site continues.

Traditionally, Campbell County’s NNO has been a place of festivity and merriment.

“The biggest benefit of this night is the community comes together for it,” said La Follette Police Chief Jimmy Jefferies. His department will be charged with the tasks of security and traffic.

The event is still in the planning stages, he said. What has been established is it will be Tuesday, Aug. 4 from 6p.m. until 8p.m. at Seargeant Park in La Follette. (08/03/2015 - 6:00 AM)

Biker flown to hospital by Lifestar

Skid marks measured 600-feet

     The lone rider on a northbound motorcycle wrecked at 12:32 p.m. Sunday afternoon on Interstate 75 in Caryville at Mile Marker 138.  That's between the two Caryville exits.  Officials tell WLAF News that Lifestar landed on the northbound lanes at Mile Marker 137 and airlifted the man to the UT Medical Center at Knoxville

A biker skidded some 600-feet up I-75 Sunday afternoon.  Details on the mishap are further down this page.  (PIX COURTESY OF EDDIE HATMAKER)

His name and condition have not been released.  Troopers with the Tennessee Highway Patrol worked the accident that backed traffic up for more than 10-miles taking several hours to clear the roadway.  (08/02/2015 - 4:00 PM)

Schedule for School Start

 August 5, 2015

Teachers report to individual school

 August 6, 2015 Jellico High School in the auditorium

8:00 to 11:00 In-service for the following schools:

                        Jellico High,  Jellico Elementary, Wynn, White Oak,  Elk Valley and

                                                Jellico Learning Academy.

1:00 to 3:00 in-service at individual school

 August 6, 2015

8:00 to 11:00    Inservice individual school for the following schools: 

Campbell County High School Caryville Elementary,  Jacksboro Elementary,

 Jacksboro Middle LaFollette Middle,   LaFollette Elementary Valley View, and

   East LaFollette Learning Academy

 12:00 to 3:00 in-service at LaFollette Middle auditorium

August 7……………….Students dismissed at 1:00 teachers at 3:00

August 14……………..Students dismissed at 1:00 teachers at 3:00 

Committee approves tax increase but budget, tax rate still await a final vote

After several failed attempts, the Campbell County Commission Budget & Finance Committee finally passed a tax rate that is sufficient to fund the various budgets that the committee had earlier approved. Whether that tax rate will hold up when the full commission meets in August remains to be seen.

Only eight commissioners attended the Thursday night committee meeting, after meeting for two hours without making progress the previous Monday.

Of those eight, only six voted in favor of a motion by Robert (incorrectly written initially as Charles) Higginbotham to set the tax rate at $2.48 with the condition that if a proposed sales tax referendum passes next spring, the property tax rate would be rolled back to $2.40.

“I’ve talked to a number of citizens and they don’t mind a property tax increase as long as the money is going to be used for the good of the county, to fix roads, improve schools and services,” Higginbotham stated before offering his motion.

Lonnie Weldon seconded the motion but added an amendment, that a commission industrial development committee oversee the proposed expenditures for an industrial recruiter and industrial land. Mayor E. L. Morton recommended that all fifteen commissioners should serve on the industrial committee.

Ralph Davis questioned why the commission would set a tax rate without seeing a report that had been requested on unspent money in the current budget, as earlier directed in a full commission meeting. Finance Director Jeff Marlow replied that the report had already been presented at an earlier meeting but Davis said he preferred to see the figures compiled by the Deputy Mayor as requested.

At this point several members of the audience spoke up, all protesting that citizens cannot afford a property tax increase. After allowing the citizens, most of them from the Fifth District, to address the commission for several minutes, Chairman Johnny Bruce finally called for a vote on the motion for a $2.48 tax rate that would not only balance the deficit carried over from the previous year and a shortfall in state education funding, but also pay for the $1.2 million that is proposed to go toward paving roads.

Weldon assured the crowd, most of them from the White Oak and Westbourne areas, that if the $1.2 million was approved, work could begin on re-paving Davis Creek Road, which was the primary reason the crowds have been attending the budget meetings for the past two weeks.

Road Superintendent Ron Dilbeck agreed with Weldon, stating simply, “I’ll put the money on the road.”

Davis and Carl Douglas, both representing the Fifth District, cast the only “no” votes as the motion passed 6-2. Nearly half of the commission missed the meeting and the tax rate and budgets will still have to be passed at a regular commission meeting, where eight votes will be required. (07/31/2015)

Flemming sued for another $20 million

By Susan Sharp

As Kevin Flemming is fighting criminal charges and a $10 million lawsuit, he has been hit with more litigation

Earlier this month, the family members of Charles Morris and Darrell Jason Carroll filed a $20 million lawsuit against Flemming and his business, Custom Home Builders.

The families are alleging that Flemming was negligent in multiple areas and this resulted in the death of their loved ones.

Mary Bunch and Kali Morris, the next of kin for Charles Morris and Christy Carroll, next of kin for Darrell Jason Carroll allege Flemming caused the “wrongful death” of their family members last July when an auto accident occurred.

The circuit court filing claims Carroll and Morris were employees of Flemming’s business and in the course of being employed with Custom Home Builders were required to ride in a company vehicle to the job site.

On the evening of July 21, 2014, the two men were riding in Flemming’s 2004 Dodge truck on the way home from Knoxville.

Morris was seated in the back passenger position while Carroll was riding shotgun, according to the lawsuit.

Shortly after 7 p.m.  the truck was traveling south on Ridge Road in Caryville. The vehicle is believed to have left the right side of the road, according to the Tennessee Highway Patrol report. That is when Flemming allegedly over corrected to the left, sending the truck up an embankment, the report said. After going up the embankment, the Dodge struck a tree sending it into a short lived spiral. It eventually came to rest on its right side, the THP report said.

The lawsuit points out that was the passenger’s side.

Morris was ejected from the truck while Carroll was trapped. Carroll had to be cut from the truck, the filing said.

Both men died as a result of the wreck, according to the lawsuit.

The filing goes on to say that Flemming was “under the influence of alcohol and other intoxicants” at the time of the wreck.

Flemming’s behavior was careless and demonstrated “an utter lack of concern for the safety of others.” He also had a “conscious indifference” to any consequences that could follow as a result of his actions, the family claims.

Each family has sued Flemming and his business for $10 million each.

Last month, Dustin Daugherty and Cleda Renee Murray sued Flemming alleging his “unlawful, negligent and reckless acts” injured and subsequently caused the death of their father, Carl Daugherty, Jr.

The siblings have asked for $10 million in damages.

Daugherty was also a passenger in Flemming’s 2004 Dodge Ram last July. (7/30/15 7pm)

Community event planned to commemorate Chattanooga tragedy

Next Friday, the people of Campbell County will have an opportunity to show the city of Chattanooga that this community cares about the shooting that claimed the lives of five military men.

The community event "Campbell County Stands with Chattanooga Strong, Memorial Celebration of Sacrifice" will take place Aug. 7 at 7:30pm at Jacksboro Middle School on the football field. “Everyone is encouraged to attend the event and sign the 20 foot banner, designed and donated by Sandy's Custom Auto,” said Campbell County Sheriff Robbie Goins, whose department is co-sponsoring the event. The banner will be delivered to the memorial site in Chattanooga along Lee Highway in remembrance of the five serviceman killed on July 16. Goins is inviting the community to join military veterans, law enforcement, The Campbell County Honor Guard, Medic Regional Blood Center for an on-site blood drive, American Red Cross, Armed Forces Military Recruiters, The Woodmen of the World, area churches, community leaders and many others for an event to honor Chattanooga and those who paid the ultimate sacrifice while standing against terror.

For more information or to participate call Campbell County Sheriff's Office Chief Deputy Aaron Evans at 562-7446.

The Campbell County Sheriff's Office and Sandy's Custom Auto, a local Jacksboro area business, announced Friday afternoon their partnership in the sponsoring of a community event to honor, support, and stand with the fine citizens of Chattanooga, Tennessee, along with military and law enforcement officers and those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice in their service for others.(7/30/15 7pm)

Stair passes away

The WLAF family is grieving the loss of one of its own. Jim Stair, a long time partner in WLAF, has passed away. Stair, who lived in Clinton died at 10:30 am today. Arrangements are pending but Holley Gamble Funeral Home in Clinton will be in charge of the arrangements. (7/30/15 1:25pm)

Jeffries, Roehl, and Smith interview Administrator and chief posts nearing finalization

By sometime Monday night, the City of La Follette could have a new administrator and new police chief in place.  Current La Follette Police Chief Jimmy Jeffries was interviewed this morning by the mayor and council while retired Knoxville Police veteran Bill Roehl was interviewed as a possible replacement for Jeffries.  Current La Follette Policeman Daniel Smith was also interviewed for chief.  Smith is Jeffries choice to replace him should Jeffries be voted in as the new city administrator on Monday night.  (07/29/2015)


Presley given unsupervised probation in animal cruelty case

 By Susan Sharp

A woman who plead guilty to multiple counts of cruelty to animals has been given unsupervised probation.

Dawn M. Presley appeared in criminal court on Monday.

She was there to answer to 18 counts of cruelty to animals and one count of vandalism over $1,000.

Under the terms of her plea, she plead guilty to four counts of cruelty to animals and one count of vandalism. This netted her two years unsupervised probation, nine days in jail with credit for time served and court costs.

 Her charges, which were filed in Nov. 2013, came after the LaFollette Police were asked to investigate a rental property that had been vacated.

When LPD Officer Susan Sowder looked in the windows of the home, she saw multiple dead animals, according to her report. She also saw a female pit bull still in the home with a litter of puppies. Once LaFollette Animal Control Officer Stan Foust arrived, he and the LPD entered the home. Inside the home, they discovered floors covered in animal feces and urine. Officials also found nine more dogs and a cat. Of the nine dogs, six were small puppies that were “extremely malnourished,” the report said.

Many of the animals were unable to walk they were in such poor health, Sowder said.

In all seven puppies were found dead.

Behind the home was a dog that tied up with no food or water. This dog was also “extremely malnourished.”

Despite the home having been remodeled prior to Presley moving in, authorities found it was a total shambles.

The walls had multiple holes knocked in them, appliances were damaged and all of the bathroom items were destroyed, the report said. Presley was assessed restitution as well in the amount of $4,082. (7/29/15 7:40pm)


Shears has plea voided

 By Susan Sharp

Kenneth Shears is getting a do- over, but he made not like the results.

Last month, Shears plead guilty to one count of aggravated robbery.

At that time, Shears was sentenced to 271 days in jail, with credit for time served. Afterwards, he was to spend eight years on supervised probation. Any financial matters such as court costs, fines and restitution were to be settled on Monday.

And that is when Shears’ luck turned bad.

During the restitution hearing, it was learned that Shears plea was invalid.

Under state sentencing guidelines, aggravated robbery is not an offense where the offender can receive probation.

“It was an illegal plea,” said Eighth Judicial District Attorney Jared Effler.

Given that his plea from last month was voided, Shears was taken into custody. The aggravated robbery charge violated his probation thus, sending him to jail. His attorney, Brent Gray, attempted to argue for a bond to be set but violations of probation do not allow for a bond. For Shears, this latest move means his court process on the felony must start over.

In Sept. 2014, he was arrested and charged with robbing the West End Marathon Station after witnesses identified him by name as the masked robber.

His trouble began when he walked into the LaFollette gas station with a bandana covering his face and told the cashier he wanted what was in the register. Standing there with “a large knife” Shears allegedly advised the clerk to “hurry and she wouldn’t get hurt,” LaFollette Police Officer  Charles Duff’s report said. Taking a handful of cash, Shears turned and ran for the door, as he removed the bandana. This is when the clerk recognized him as a regular customer.

Two witnesses outside the store also knew who the now unmasked man was, according to the LPD report.

Tracking down the evidence, Duff was soon able to locate Shears at his home, where he was laying on the couch.

During a search of the apartment, Duff located the clothes Shears was believed to have been wearing during the robbery. Inside the pocket of the shorts, Duff discovered what was later confirmed to a schedule II controlled substance, opana.

Faced with the proof of his crimes, Shears allegedly admitted the drugs were his and that he robbed the store. He even agreed to show the police where he stashed the loot, the report said. Walking towards the kitchen, Duff allegedly told Shears not to touch anything, the police would take care of it. But it wasn’t the money, Shears was after. As Shears “lunged into the cabinet” a “burnt spoon wet with melted opana” was what he appeared to be after, the report said.

 As he struggled with Duff, Shears attempted to get the spoon in his mouth, the report said. The melted narcotic ended up in the floor. Police later found the cash believed to have been taken from the store in Shears’ wallet. (7/29/15 7:40pm)


State release 2015 district-level TCAP results

 The Tennessee Department of Education released Wednesday, district-level results from the 2015 Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program (TCAP), which show strong gains in high school and significant gains in grades third through eighth grade math.

Results show majority of the students in nearly 100 districts were proficient in math, compared to 2011, when majority of students were proficient in math in only 24 districts.

To see how Campbell County did visit (7/29/15 7:40pm)


Young withdraws name from administrator search

Says Stanfield has 'micro-managed' the city

By Susan Sharp

In what can only be termed a scathing letter to the LaFollette Mayor Mike Stanfield, David G. Young has officially withdrawn his name as a candidate for city administrator.

The letter, dated July 24, says Young no longer wishes to be considered for the position. Young, who at one time served as city administrator for the city, tells  the mayor that the time and money spent in search of a qualified contender appears to be nothing more than “a ploy to pacify the public while knowing that you had no intention of choosing the most qualified or experienced candidate.”

Young goes on to admonish the mayor by saying he has never endorsed the idea of a city administrator because by hiring one, Stanfield would have to “relinquish the power” the council has afforded him that has led to his “micro-managing practically every aspect of the city operations.”

In the letter, Young goes on to say that the mayor’s behavior has not only caused, but, endorsed bickering among the council, low morale in city employees and created general distrust among the public.

The former city administrator points out the expenses of the search, coupled with the missed opportunities of not having a city administrator has amounted to a great disservice to the city.

He closes the letter by urging Stanfield to move forward and hire an administrator. (7/29/15 8:45am)

David G. Young

302 Young Rd

La Follette, TN  37766


July 24, 2015

Mayor Mike Stanfield

207 South Tennessee Avenue

LaFollette, TN  37766

Mayor Stanfield,

I respectfully request that you withdraw my application and resume from your search for a City Administrator. I no longer want to be considered in any way for this position. It has become quite obvious to the public that all the time and taxpayers money that has been spent in this search was nothing more than a ploy to pacify the public while knowing that you had no intention of choosing the most qualified or experienced candidate. You have objected to hiring a city administrator throughout the entire process because you didn’t want to relinquish the power the council has allowed you to take in micro-managing practically every aspect of the city operations. Your lack of action in hiring an administrator has led to a near dictatorship form of management. Two votes for and two votes against every issue with a swinging puppet vote in the middle does not represent democracy for the citizens. This style of supervision has led to low morale which leads to diminishing productivity.  The constant bickering and quarreling among the mayor and council have caused the general public to expect nothing more than this from you. The taxpayers not only deserve more but you all also promised them more.

The manner in which this whole process is being handled is not only unprofessional but has been very costly to the taxpayers not only in the advertising costs but also the amount of time you have spent.  In addition, there is no way to calculate how many opportunities for advancement have been missed by your decision to operate without a city administrator. This decision is contrary to the charter that you have sworn an oath to uphold. The education and experience requirements spelled out in the charter and in your advertisements are there for good reason. Government and business administration have become very complex and need to be approached in a solid business type manner (not in a political manner) if the public is to be serve in the manner they deserve.  But you took it upon yourself to determine that these requirements weren’t necessary. Once again, your citizens get shortchanged.

While I know my opinion means little or nothing to any of you, I would like to make a recommendation. I think it’s time for you to make a decision, hire an administrator and let that person lead you in an effort to move the city forward. Your lack of leadership in this and other matters has made this decision even more urgent. I also want to congratulate whomever you choose and wish them well. However, if you don’t allow that person to perform his/her duties in accordance with the City Charter (free from the individual political agendas of the Mayor and Council members) then you will once again be faced with lawsuits and more lost opportunities.

I sincerely wish the City of LaFollette a prosperous future.


David G. Young




Commission spins its wheels for two hours with no progress on final budget

 By Charles “Boomer” Winfrey

 The Campbell County Commission spent another fruitless two hours Monday trying to balance a budget that is currently $3 million out of line with a $1.99 no-increase tax rate that was approved by the Budget & Finance Committee last Thursday night.

Mayor E. L. Morton started off the proceedings by offering a compromise on the $456,936 he has requested for industrial recruitment to hire a recruiter and purchase land.

“Hiring the right person is the right investment,” Morton told commissioners, urging them to approve $120,000 to hire an industrial recruiter and cover some basic expenses. He was willing to forgo his request for another $300,000 to purchase land as well as some other items in the industrial development budget totaling $36,900.

“My recommendation is two cents on the tax rate for an investment in the future,” Morton added. That would leave the budget items previously approved by commissioners needing an increase to a $2.36 tax rate if the $1.2 million previously approved for road paving was also withdrawn from the budget.

Ralph Davis spoke in favor of finding a way to fund the industrial development budget, referring to minutes from the county commission nearly 30 years ago when a similar discussion was held.

“I don’t want us to be like it was 30 years ago, not for the people. If we get industry, we get jobs and we can get the roads,” Davis insisted. However, when a motion was finally offered to increase the tax rate from the previously approved $1.99, Davis still voted “no.”

Cliff Jennings refused to support any increase in the tax rate. When a motion was finally offered to include the Mayor’s pared down request, Jennings protested, “I don’t see how you can add money for industry when the tax rate is already set.”

Finance Director Jeff Marlow pointed out that the tax rate last week was voted on in a committee meeting and cannot become final until the full commission approves it at a regular meeting.

Sue Nance then asked Jennings where he would find the cuts he has suggested exist in the proposed budget.

Jennings claimed that a large savings could be found by refusing to handle commercial garbage through the Sanitation Department. Other than that, he failed to offer a direct answer to Nance, stating simply “We tried to cut insurance. Everything I’ve suggested, I’ve been voted down every time.”

Marlow then pointed out that according to the Sanitation Department records, the county actually made a $40,000 profit last year from accepting and handling commercial waste, but Jennings disagreed, repeating, “I’m telling you, it would save us money.”

Chairman Johnny Bruce finally called for some sort of motion on a tax rate that would be in balance with spending. “We have three options – the $1.99 rate passed last week, a 2.33 rate that just balances the deficit from the previous year and the loss of school revenue or the 2.43 rate that includes road paving and the lowered request for industrial recruitment,” he pointed out.

Rusty Orick, telling fellow commissioners, “We need to get our heads straight,” offered a motion, with a second by Lonnie Weldon, to set a rate of $2.43, which kicked off another round of debate.

“I don’t see how you can vote on this without rescinding the previous rate,” Jennings protested, but Marlow replied that in a committee vote a previous motion is overruled by a simple majority approving a new motion.

However, the motion for a $2.43 tax rate failed 7-5, as Orick and Weldon were joined only by Bruce, Charles Baird and Butch Kohlmeyer in approving the higher rate.

After two hours with no progress, Bruce recessed the committee until 6 p.m. on Thursday night. (7/29/15 8:50am)





Hamblin gets probation following jail time

By Susan Sharp

Fallen Reality TV personality Andrew Hamblin is now officially on state probation. His probation will be served after he completes his jail time given in the case. Hamblin was given 150 days to serve with credit for 134 days.

Hamblin, who shot to fame once the nation learned he was handling snakes in the name of God, managed to rack up a series of crimes that included traffic offenses and endangering the lives of his wife and others.

On Monday, he answered to a judge for his recent behaviors.

Hamblin agreed he was guilty of aggravated assault, five counts of reckless endangerment and reckless endangerment by shooting into a home.  He also pleaded guilty two counts of driving on a suspended license and violation of the state’s financial responsibility law.  In the end, Hamblin’s acquiescence of guilt got him six years’ probation, court records said.

Along with this, Criminal Court Judge Shayne Sexton sentenced the one-time preacher to obtain a mental health assessment and an alcohol and drug assessment. Hamblin has been instructed to follow any recommendations that come from those two evaluations, the plea agreement said.

But the sentencing didn’t stop there. As part of Hamblin’s plea, he was further ordered to complete a Batterer’s Intervention Program and have no contact with the victims.

The victims in this case included Hamblin’s estranged wife, a friend of hers and four of the couple’s five children, according to police reports.

The legal charges grew out of an afternoon at the park. That is when Hamblin spotted his spouse at the park with her friend, Jeremy Henegar. He allegedly followed the duo back to a home in the Duff community where he brandished and then fired a handgun.  A bullet from the gun was later discovered in an interior wall of the home, where Hamblin’s infant was sleeping at the time.  (07/27/2015 - 10:00 PM) (Updated 7/29/15 8:55am)

Plea agreements resolve criminal court cases

The following individuals pleaded guilty during the July 27 session of criminal court in Campbell County.

• Kevin Alan Grabow, 30, conspiracy to introduce drugs to a penal facility; sentenced to six years supervised probation with credit for 86 days served in jail; must pay court costs

• Eddie Bill Goodman, Jr., 23,, 10 counts of statutory rape; sentenced to serve 30 percent of a 2-years prison sentence with a jail credit from April 27-July 27.

• Eric Keithley, 36, theft greater than $500; sentenced to two years community corrections with credit for 15 days served in jail; pay court costs and $75 ECF; may not be on any Wal-Mart property

• Eddie Hamblin, 36, attempted introduction of drugs into a penal facility; sentenced to two years supervised probation with credit for 36 days served in jail’ pay court costs

• Dean Scott Baird, 47, aggravated assault; sentenced to three years supervised probation; pay court costs; defendant may have no contact with the victim

• Otis Aslinger, 41, possession of methamphetamine with intent to sell; sentenced to three years supervised probation with credit for 18 days served in jail; pay court costs and $200 fine; defendant must complete alcohol and drug assessment

• Lucas Todd Farmer, 21, no driver’s license, registration violation, failure to exercise due care, violation of financial responsibility law; sentenced to 60 days unsupervised probation; pay court costs and fine

• Richard V. Lowe, 47, aggravated burglary; sentenced to four years supervised probation with credit for 31 days served in jail; pay court costs, $350 restitution; defendant may have no contact with victims

• Joshua Kyle Lane, 27, theft greater than $1,000, theft greater than $10,000; sentenced to 365 days split confinement with credit from May 14, 2015; 10 years supervised probation; pay court costs and $150 ECF; defendant may be released to inpatient rehab after six months of confinement

• Paul Brandon Siler, 22, theft less than $500; sentenced to 11 months, 29 days unsupervised probation; pay court costs, $3,500 restitution and $75 ECF; defendant may have no contact with victim

• William Bradley Widener, 40, resisting arrest; sentenced to six months unsupervised probation; pay court costs

• Bobby Joe Weaver, 55, attempted possession of methamphetamine with intent to sell; sentenced to 2 years supervised probation with credit for 18 days served in jail; pay court costs, $2,000 fine; defendant must complete an alcohol and drug assessment

• Brian Sipos, 42, evading arrest; sentenced to 11 months 29 days in jail with credit from Feb. 7, 2015-July 27, 2015.

• Everette Allan Rowe, 33, DUI; sentenced to 11 months, 29 days unsupervised probation; pay court costs and $700 fine, driver’s license revoked for a year; defendant must attend MADD victim impact panel

• Rickey Garfield Hatfield, 37, attempted aggravated assault; sentenced to two years of supervised probation; pay court costs and complete an alcohol and drug assessment

• David Andrew Hamblin, 24, driving on a suspended license, violation of the financial responsibility law; sentenced to six months supervised probation; pay court costs and $100 fine.

• David Andrew Hamblin, 24, aggravated assault and six counts of reckless endangerment; sentenced to split confinement of 150 days with a jail credit for 134 days, six years supervised probation; pay court costs; must complete batterers intervention problem, complete alcohol and drug assessment, complete mental health assessment and may have no contact with victims unless authorized by domestic relations court

• Christopher Saylor, 31, domestic assault, possession of a schedule III controlled substance, violation of order of protection; sentenced to 2 years supervised probation with credit for 132 days in jail; pay court costs; may have no contact with victim, must complete batterer’s prevention program, undergo an alcohol and drug assessment, submit to random drug testing

• Robert Ray Martin, 48, DUI; sentenced to 11 months, 29 days supervised probation; pay court costs and $350 fine; must surrender driver’s license for one year and attend one MADD victim impact panel

• Robert Ray Martin, 48, possession of a schedule II controlled substance; sentenced to 11 months, 29 days supervised probation; pay court costs, $750 fine and forfeit $1,000 to CCSO drug fund

• Karen Hallcox Moore, 55, driving on a revoked license; sentenced to six months unsupervised probation; pay court costs; driver’s license is revoked for six months

• Rebecca Faith McCullah, 49, DUI, possession of drug paraphernalia; sentenced to 11 months, 29 days supervised probation; pay court costs and $500 fine; defendant will remain on supervised probation until fines are paid in full, surrender driver’s license for 1 year, attend 1 MADD victim impact panel

• Gary Simpson Finch, 62, domestic assault, aggravated assault, possession of a schedule VI with intent to sell, felony evading arrest; sentenced to 127 days split confinement with credit for 106 days, five years supervised probation; pay court costs and $2,000 fine; defendant will have no contact with victims and must forfeit a .22 Beretta and .40 caliber rifle

• Dawn Mane Pressley, 34, four counts of cruelty to animals, vandalism less than $500; sentenced to 1 year unsupervised probation; pay court costs and $4,082.08 restitution

• Robert F. Cooper, 45, DUI with a blood alcohol level greater than .20; sentenced to 11 months 29 days supervised probation; pay court costs and $350 fine

• Stanley W. Phillips, 47, violation of the HMVO bar; sentenced to split confinement of 20 days, two years community corrections; pay court costs

• Arvil L. Stewart; 53, violation of the HMVO bar violation of the HMVO bar; sentenced to split confinement of 20 days, five years community corrections; serve remainder of sentence in different case (7/29/15 8:50am)

Siblings arrested for Wal-Mart theft         

By Beth Braden

A brother-sister pair was arrested last Tuesday after police say they stole several items from the Wal-Mart in Jacksboro.

Jacksboro Police Officer Allen Shepherd was dispatched to Wal-Mart on the evening of July 21 in response to a theft. At the store, the loss prevention officer reported that two people had allegedly concealed several items in a purse and diaper bag before leaving the store without paying.

Ashley Dawson, 20, 3966 Old Middlesboro Highway, Speedwell, and her brother, John D. Florian Jr., 33, 4238 Old Middlesboro Highway, Speedwell, allegedly admitted to taking $132.04 worth of merchandise from the store. Florian was charged with theft less than $500. Dawn was charged with theft less than $500 and vandalism. (7/29/15 8:50am)


Police find meth lab in backpack

By Beth Braden

A man was jailed after he told police he helped cook meth for his girlfriend to use.

Campbell County Sheriff’s Deputy Gary Jeffers was assisting a probation officer complete a home visit when he called for Deputy Freddie White to assist with a possible meth lab at a home in Clairfield on July 22. When White arrived at the scene, he reportedly encountered Jason Lee Osborne, 39, 874 Roses Creek Road, Clairfield.

Osborne had given officers permission to search his home and property, and they reportedly found two backpacks in a wooded area near the house. Those backpacks allegedly contained coffee filters, plastic tubing, flashlights, sale, sandwich bags, a funnel, Drano, lye, lighter fluid, a pill grinder, propane torch, cold packs, stripped lithium batteries, scissors, pliers, a utility knife, a plastic soda bottle and wire cutters. All of those items can be used to manufacture methamphetamine.

During the interview process, Osborne told police that the backpacks belonged to a man and woman who lived in the woods. He also told police that while he didn’t use meth, he had helped cook it for his girlfriend’s use.

Osborne was arrested and charged with promotion of methamphetamine manufacture. This was his 17th booking at the Campbell County Jail since 2005. He was also charged with meth-related crimes in 2009 and 2010. (7/29/15 8:50am)



Two net meth charges after lab found in Demory

By Beth Braden

Two LaFollette residents were arrested after police found methamphetamine last week.

Campbell County Sheriff’s Deputy Christopher Chapman was dispatched to assist Glennis Monday on Demory Road around 2 p.m on July 21. At the scene, he made contact with Charles Lee Bell, 37, and Rebecca Lea Ridenour, 36, both of 419 N. 8th St., LaFollette.

Officers reportedly received consent to search the vehicle where they found two baggies with a white powder in Ridenour’s purse and a 20-ounce plastic soda bottle with what appeared to be an active meth lab. Ridenour also had two needles and a coffee filter, according to reports.

Bell was arrested and charged with possession of a schedule II controlled substance and initiation of the process intended to manufacture meth. Ridenour was charged with initiation of the process intended to manufacture meth, possession of a schedule II controlled substance and attachment child support. (7/29/15 8:50am)



Woman turns self in on theft, forgery charges

By Beth Braden

A Jacksboro woman was jailed after she turned herself in at the courthouse on July 22.

Back in May, Campbell County Sheriff’s Department Det. Sgt. Preston Prim was investigating reports of stolen personal checks and a stolen debit card from a home in Jacksboro. During the investigation, Prim obtained photos of Ashley Nicole Silcox, 345 Cedar Circle, Jacksboro, cashing one stolen check at Home Federal Bank in Jacksboro and depositing another Peoples Bank of the South in LaFollette, according to the warrant.

Silcox reportedly turned herself in and was charged with two counts of theft less than $500 and two counts of forgery.  (7/29/15 8:50am)



Stanfield and Hatmaker separated by police

One time allies now on opposite sides

There was an extra amount of La Follette Police Officers at Monday night’s workshop.  Chief Jimmy Jeffries and three officers stepped in when Mayor Mike Stanfield and Councilman Hansford Hatmaker left their chairs as if they were going to fight.

     The show must go on.  And it did Monday night at the City of La Follette monthly workshop.  The show of Mayor Mike Stanfield and his verbal sparring partner, Councilman Hansford Hatmaker.  Early in the nearly 90-minute meeting, Stanfield asked Hatmaker, “Can you drive that ATV to Memphis?  The question referenced the ATV the city is considering purchasing and Hatmaker’s controversial trip to Memphis a couple of years ago that resulted in a wrecked city vehicle. Later in the meeting, Hatmaker called Stanfield a dictator.  Despite continued “let’s move on” requests from Council members Bob Fannon and Ann Thompson, the back and forth exchanges between Stanfield and Hatmaker continued most all meeting long.  Vice-Mayor Joe Bolinger is out of town on business and could not make the meeting.  At one point, La Follette Police Chief Jimmy Jeffries and officers charged the table to separate the pair, and then three officers stood near the meeting table the rest of the evening.(07/27/2015 - 10:00 PM)



Criminal cases see postponement

By Susan Sharp

Mortons postponed until September

Two cases that have garnered media attention are still caught up in the confines of the legal system.

Eric and Nakita Morton, who are charged with aggravated child abuse and aggravated neglect have seen their cases reset five times. In court Monday, they saw more of the same. The pair, who stands accused of injuring Nakita Morton’s then three year old son will next appear in court on Sept. 8.

The couple was charged last year with the felonies after severe burns were discovered on the boy. Previous reports have estimated that Zander, Nakita Morton’s son, had second degree burns over 70 percent of his body.

Eric Morton allegedly told police he had placed the boy on ankle deep bath water that wasn’t hot enough to burn him, police reports said. Eric Morton allegedly said he left the child momentarily only to hear the boy screaming. When Eric Morton returned to the bathroom, he said he saw steam rising from the tub.  However, at a general sessions hearing Campbell County Sheriff’s Department Det. Ricky Jeffers said in his summation and that of Vanderbilt doctors, who treated the child, the burns were not accidental.

Nakita Morton found herself charged when it was learned that she didn’t seek care for her son.

Greca reset

Dale Greca, who is charged with carjacking a LaFollette City employee, will appear in court again on Aug. 17.

In early May, Greca allegedly opened the passenger door of a city owned Jeep Waggoner and jumped in,  Jim Mullens, head of the LaFollette Street Department said at the  time.

Greca allegedly brandished a .38 revolver and demanded the employee drive him to Caryville. As the two men headed towards Caryville, Greca wavered between wanting to be taken to the Campbell County Sheriff’s Department, to the Jacksboro Police Department and then finally back to LaFollette. This where the employee saw a chance to run from the perilous situation, Mullens said.

Once the vehicle stopped at the El Publito’s red light the employee put the car in park and ran,” Mullens said. Greca then allegedly moved over to the driver’s seat, driving away in the Jeep.

A short while later Greca was apprehended in Jacksboro by Jacksboro Police. (7/28/15 8:40am)


La Follette getting no help from elected officials

City continues trying to get addresses corrected

     Council member Bob Fannon said that no elected officials are stepping up to help the City of La Follette straighten out its address issues that are ultimately costing the city thousands of dollars in sales tax revenue.  He said Senators Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker along with Congressman Chuck Fleischmann, State Senator Ken Yager, and State Representative Dennis Powers are not offering any help.  Fannon suggests the city give all businesses that are in the city, but using Jacksboro addresses, a 60-day notice to rent a post office box, and come October first, change all addresses back to La Follette.  City of La Follette Attorney Reid Troutman said that the 911 Board has the authority to change the addresses.  As a result, Stan Foust, City of La Follette Codes Officer, will be appointed to serve on the 911 Board to help answer code questions and help facilitate the address changes.(07/27/2015 - 10:00 PM)


LPD Chief Jimmy Jeffries appears to be a shoe-in for city administrator

He’ll interview Wednesday morning

Another source of contention at Monday night’s City of La Follette workshop was discussion of hiring a city administrator.  Councilman Hansford Hatmaker went on a one-man rant about the fact that it appears that current La Follette Police Chief Jimmy Jeffries is on a fast track to become the new administrator, and that no interviews have been conducted, including Jeffries, since the first half of the search, which was months ago.  It was agreed that Jeffries will interview Wednesday morning at 8:30 a.m.

Councilman Bob Fannon strongly suggested that retired Knoxville Police veteran and Campbell County native Bill Roehl be interviewed to succeed Jeffries as police chief.  Fannon pointed to Roehl's vast experience and grant writing abilities.  He is a two-time officer of the year for the KPD.  Roehl’s grandfather once served as La Follette’s chief of police.  Roehl is scheduled to be interviewed Wednesday morning at 8:00 a.m. (07/27/2015 - 10:00 PM)

Nominations open for the Tennessee Women’s Hall of Fame

Is there a woman in your community who should be added to the Tennessee Women’s Hall of Fame (TWHOF)? Nominations are open for outstanding Tennessee women to be inducted into the Hall of Fame in October at the Economic Summit for Women in Partnership with the Vision 2020 Congress in Nashville.

Outstanding women from each of Tennessee’s three Grand Divisions will be added to the nine names currently in the Hall of Fame. Nominations may include both living and deceased women. “We want the Women’s Hall of Fame to include women throughout the state’s history, so we are adding posthumous induction beginning this cycle,” said Susan Dupes, chair of the 2015 Tennessee Women’s Hall of Fame Committee. Established in 2010, the TWHOF recognizes exceptional women who have made outstanding, unique, and lasting contributions to the state’s economic, political, and cultural well- being.

“TWHOF inductees have individually elevated the status of women and championed other women, women’s issues and served as advocates for issues important to women and families,” Dupes said.

The deadline for nominations is July 31. Nominations forms and information can be found at

Nominations may be submitted by groups, organizations or individuals. No individual may nominate herself. Nominees must have been born in Tennessee, adopted Tennessee as her home state, and resided in Tennessee for a minimum of 10 years.

     From time-to-time, folks send us their opinions, comments, etc.  And we greatly appreciate it.  Many times we publish your expresssions.  Ed Housley shares his thoughts on the Confederate Flag and the recent actions surrounding the flag.  WLAF welcomes your comments at Thanks, Ed.

Beloved Confederate Flag

In the not too distant past I wrote a reply to a regular contributor to the WLAF site concerning my beloved Confederate Flag. I stated that there would be another time to defend the flag because the left never quits and conservatives must never quit setting the record straight. That time is now.

The left (liberals, Marxist and progressives) have taken an event in South Carolina where a lunatic took the lives of innocent people to again take the advice of Rahm Emmanuel, "never let a good crisis go to waste."  The media usually ignores the fact that these people always have mental problems, that truth doesn't fit their gun control/symbol control agenda.

Although there were many objects in the photos of the murderer the ones picked out were the Confederate Flag and a gun. So the Marxist crowd wants to be rid of our flags and symbols. They also want to be rid of our guns, and so their favorite Marxist in the White House is yet again, calling for more gun control since if he can negate our Second Amendment rights it would be much easier to get rid of our historic symbols if they could take our guns first.

The Housley home at Jacksboro

Men of honor, valor, and courage followed the Confederate Battle Flag into battle only for the short span of a single war, fighting an oppressive Federal government for the freedom they believed in.  And that is the only history by which their descendants prefer to see their banner remembered. If some people want to say the Confederate Flag is a hate symbol they are entitled to that warped opinion. I choose to see it as a flag of honor that hundreds of thousands of American Confederate soldiers fought under against Abe Lincoln's illegal invasion of the South. They died protecting their homes and families from marauding criminal armies sent forth from the north, with Lincoln's and his follower's blessings to rape and pillage a defenseless countryside and its inhabitants while its men were serving with honor. Those inhabitants included women and children since that was the strategy of Lincoln and his generals.

All symbols of the Confederacy are rapidly disappearing from stores, websites and the public square in the wake of the shooting in South Carolina. Places like Amazon stopped selling Confederate Flag items but still sells Marxist and Communist items with the likeness of mass murderers like Che Guevara, Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin. Estimates of the people Stalin had killed range between 20 and 30 million. There is a 16 foot statue of Russian Communist leader Lenin standing in Seattle's Fremont section, has anyone called for its removal?

A classic Marxist ploy is to abolish history, and rewrite it. Its much easier to rewrite if all the symbols of a peoples history and  heritage are removed.

In the late 60s and early 70s I traveled to a lot of places in the world. I usually had items displaying the Confederate Flag to show I was proud to be a southerner.  No one ever pretended to be offended like the media and the politically correct crowd today pretends to be.

Earliest  photos of KKK rallies show no signs of the Confederate Battle Flag but show many images of the United States Flag and the Christian Flag. It was later that some hate groups adopted the flag as one of their symbols. No slave ship sailed under the Confederate flag. Once the symbols of a people who stood against a tyrannical government are gone which symbols do you think they will come for next? There are those who are already calling for getting rid of The United States Flag since there was more slavery under that flag than the Confederate Flag. Some are demanding that photos of our founding fathers be removed from our currency, that their monuments be removed and destroyed. ISIS and the Taliban are using the same tactics in the Middle East to destroy monuments and rewrite history.

Politicians have already jumped on board with the political correct crowd.  Our own prissy Governor Haslam has made disrespectful remarks about some of our Confederate Generals and symbols.  Politicians can be voted out and places like Walmart, Amazon and Ebay can be avoided which my family does now.

Are all the people who want these symbols, heritage and history removed Marxist? I don’t believe they are but the Marxists refer to them as Useful idiots.

This is a never ending fight. Progressive college professors have cranked out generations of graduates indoctrinated with their radical agendas. They will never stop, nor must we.

We now fly the Confederate Flag as well as The United States Flag on our property.(07/27/2015 - 3:30 PM)

Ed Housley

Jacksboro Tn.

Witness IDs suspect who was shot on Sunday

Man was wounded in shootout with deputies

     A witness tells WLAF this afternoon that Donnie R. Ledford is the name of the man who was shot Sunday in an exchange of gunfire with Campbell County Deputies.  However, the TBI, officials with the UT Medical Center, and the Campbell County Sheriff’s Department have been tight lipped about the incident that took place near the Wynn School late Sunday afternoon.  The 41-year old man, with a last known address in the WLAF files of Linden Park in La Follette, was most recently arrested in Campbell County on February 10, 2014, on aggravated assault charges.  Although, in a Sunday press release from the Campbell County Sheriff’s Department, Ledford was not named, the man was described as a wanted and armed suspect.  Ledford was airlifted to the UT Medical Center.  Another story on the shoot out is further down this page. (07/27/2015 - NOON)

Attorney General Jared Effler, TBI Special Agents are investigating an officer-involved shooting that occurred  early Sunday evening in Duff, TN, in Campbell County.

    During the course of the investigation, Agents learned that on Saturday evening, July 25th, Campbell County Sheriff’s Office Deputies responded to a 911 call reporting a disturbance in the White Oak neighborhood at the home belonging to the parents of Donnie Ledford, 41.  As deputies approached the home, Ledford pointed a silver revolver at a deputy at the front door before fleeing the residence. Deputies then heard three shots fired.

    The following evening, at approximately 4:50 p.m., one of the deputies who had responded to the 911 call observed an individual running behind a vehicle near the intersection of 25W and Habersham Road and recognized that individual as Ledford.

   When the deputy stopped Ledford to ask for his identification, Ledford produced a gun and pointed it at the deputy. The deputy fired two shots at Ledford, striking him at least once. Ledford was transported to UT Medical Center in Knoxville, where he is being treated for his injuries. A .357 revolver was recovered at the officer-involved shooting scene.

   Ledford was wanted on an outstanding warrant from April 2014 for a domestic assault and two outstanding warrants from June 2014 for aggravated assault.

   The TBI’s investigation into the shooting incident remains active and ongoing. The Campbell County Sheriff’s Office continues its investigation into the incident in White Oak.

   There were no officers injured in either incident.  (07/27/2015 - 12:30 PM)

Tornado of 2014 changed more than landscape

Twister hit Campbell & Claiborne Counties a year ago today

By Susan Sharp

“It is not an experience I would want to go through again.”

That is how Jim Mullens summed up the tornado of July 2014.

Jim Mullens, who heads up the City of La Follette Public Works Department and pastors at Mt. Zion Methodist Church, says “God is good.”  He’s pictured here on Saturday as he mowed around his rebuilt home a year after a tornado turned his world upside down.

The EF3 storm destroyed Mullens’ home. His was one of two residences declared a total loss. “It was completely gone,” he said of his home.

Mullens had been home most of that Sunday. Within a few minutes of leaving, straight line winds tore through the area known by locals as “the valley.”  In its wake was uprooted trees, collapsed barns and property damage on a grand scale.

Mullens said his son called him once the tornado was over. He broke the news to his father that the home he just locked the door on was now a memory.

“I am glad he called. I didn’t go in completely unaware,” Mullens said. The phone call may have helped Mullens initially brace himself for the catastrophic loss but he still had to process the trauma of losing everything he had ever worked for. Looking back, he said he felt emotionally lost. “It was my neighbors, my family and my faith that pulled me through,” he said.

 Except for some minor changes only Mullens and his family might notice, the new home is almost identical to the old one.

The storm ripped through parts of Campbell and Claiborne Counties during the late afternoon on July 27, 2014. The National Weather Service reported at the time that the storm was roughly a half mile wide. While Mullens was one of the toughest hit, several others saw damage as well. Insurance claims ran the gamut from missing shingles to water and roof damage to Mullens’ complete loss.

Individuals were not the only ones to suffer in the storm. La Follette Utility Board employees spent weeks after the tornado replacing electric poles that had been snapped by the powerful winds. One fifth of LUB’s 22,000 customers lost power that day.

 The family van drives just fine a year after being lifted and carried by the tornado from one side of the house to the other.

A week after the squall, debris remained along Highway 63 near the county line.

A state task force was utilized to assist in the cleanup.

Now, a year later, Mullens lives in the new home that was built after the storm. He said it is very similar to the one he lost.

“I had a great builder,” Mullens said of Tommy Bachum. “He was a good person who tried to do me a good job.”

The old barn was flattened

It took two months to prep the building site and gather the materials and another two months to build the home. Mullens moved in just before Christmas. But home looks a little different, his neighborhood has changed some. While he elected to rebuild in the same spot, a few of his neighbors chose to move on.

Mullens points to a picture of the Lord’s Supper.  The picture and this wall were untouched during the twister.  It was the only wall left standing in the home. 

Mullens laughs when asked why he chose to stay. ‘I don’t know if you would call it stupid or determined. I was just where I wanted to be,” he said.  (07/27/2015 - 6:00 AM)

Sheriff’s Office and Sandy Custom Auto joining forces

The Campbell County Sheriff's Office and Sandy's Custom Auto, a local Jacksboro area business, announced Friday afternoon their partnership in the sponsoring of a community event to honor, support, and stand with the fine citizens of Chattanooga, Tennessee, along with military and law enforcement officers and those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice in their service for others. The community event "Campbell County Stands With Chattanooga Strong, Memorial Celebration of Sacrifice" will take place Friday August 7, 2015 at 7:30pm at Jacksboro Middle School on the football field. The school is located at 150 Eagle Circle in Jacksboro, TN. You, your family and friends are encouraged to join us to sign and take a picture with a 20 foot banner, designed and donated by Sandy's Custom Auto, that will be delivered to the memorial site in Chattanooga along Lee Highway in remembrance of the 5 serviceman killed on July 16, 2015. Join Military Veterans, law enforcement, The Campbell County Honor Guard, Medic Regional Blood Center for an on-site blood drive, American Red Cross, Armed Forces Military Recruiters, The Woodmen of the World, area churches, community leaders and many others for an event to honor Chattanooga and those who paid the ultimate sacrifice while standing against terror. For more information or participation please call: Campbell County Sheriff's Office Chief Deputy Aaron Evans at 423-562-7446. (7/27/15-8:30 AM)

Hamblin set to plea; Lisa Elliott wants new trial

By Beth Braden

July’s session of Campbell County Criminal Court is set to be busy with a myriad of pleas and motions pending in several well-known cases. 

Former serpent-handling pastor Andrew Hamblin is set to plea in three different cases. He was arrested several times in 2014 for driving on a suspended license. In March, he was arrested after he allegedly fired a weapon at a home occupied by his ex mother-in-law and children. It was unclear which of the offenses he will plead guilty to today.

Lisa Elliott, a former Jellico special education teacher, wants a new trial after she was sentenced to four years in prison for the death of her fiancé, Larry Champlin. She was sentenced in June following a lengthy victim impact statement from Champlin’s family. She was set to turn herself in on July 12.

Additionally, statuses in the following high profile cases will be checked — Alonzo Branson (sex crimes), Dale Greca (kidnapping a LaFollette city employee), and Eric and Nakita Morton (aggravated child neglect).  (07/27/2015 - 6:00 AM)


     The Campbell County Commission meets today at 6:00 p.m. at the courthouse.  It’s workshop night for the La Follette City Council meeting at City Hall at 6:00 p.m.  Tractor Supply. which plans to return to La Follette, cleared its final hurdle last week and is ready to move forward with opening in the former Ingles building across from Doyle’s Tires.  Cougar Days begin this morning at Campbell High; the schedule is further down his page. (07/27/2015 - 6:00 AM)

Jasper, the cat, is doing just fine thank you

Still a little gun shy after last year’s tornado

Oh, if Jasper, the cat, could talk.  My, what tales he could tell from surviving the tornado of ’14? 

When the Mullens family left their Well Springs home on the afternoon of Sunday, July 27, 2014, Jasper was standing in the hallway.  Inside the house.

Mullens says Jasper, the cat, might not have too many of his 9 lives left after he survived being inside the house that last year’s tornado destroyed.

A few hours later is when they received the call that their home looked like a bomb had gone off in it.  Once Jim Mullens made his way up the hill past debris and fallen trees, Jasper was no where to be seen.

Sometime Monday morning, Jasper was found.  He was safe.  But maybe not so sound.  He was spotted in one of Mullens’ barns.  That barn took quite a jolt from the tornado as well.  So much of a shot, it had to eventually be taken down.

Jim Mullens other barn, or what was left of it, is where Jasper was found the morning after the twister.

Mullens says they fed and watered the seven-year old cat at the old barn for the few months it took to rebuild the home.  When Mullens moved back into the house, he brought Jasper’s food and water bowls to the carport.  Days later, Jasper was back in the house like before.

Jasper is once again “King of the Carport.”

But Mullens says Jasper was gun shy for a long time, and any little or loud sound would spook him.  A year later, he’s not so jumpy, but he might have used up a big portion of his nine lives.  (07/27/2015 - 6:00 AM)

CCHS Band begins 2015 “Journey”

Prim is back to lead the Cougar Band

“It’s really hot, but these kids are excited,” says second-year Band Director Adam Wright.  He tells WLAF that he has some really hard workers making up the 2015-2016 band season for the Campbell High Marching Band.

Hot sunshine.  Rain.  And high humidity.  That’s what the CCHS Band endured through Week One of band camp as it does most of its preparation for the new season on the steamy asphalt parking lot on the La Follette side of the high school.  Wright explains that his youngsters get a workout, and that most of them have already lost 5-10 pounds.

 The 62-members of the Campbell Cougar Marching Band listen for instructions for the next drill.

This year’s numbers are up 10 for a 62-member band with 18 percussion, 12 flags, and the rest making up the wind section.  Wright calls it a very big band for this area.

Andrew Prim returns as the Cougar Drum Major.  Wright quickly points out that in Prim’s second year, “he knows what I’m thinking before I do it.”  He adds that after a first-year of teaching and guiding, Prim is doing it all this year.

The mentoring is never ending for the Cougar Band.  Wright mentors Prim.  And Wright’s band director, when he was at CCHS, Don Hendricks serves as the teaching aid a couple of days a week.  Wright says Hendricks, who started the CCHS Band in 1975 and led it for 40-years, is like a dad to him, and that all his help and guidance are really appreciated.

The grind of band camp also features some fun competition and rewards.  Friday’s camp was “march off day.”  That’s where band members compete in a march off on the fly having to listen to a command, process it in their minds, and actually perform the command.  The final three did their own march off.  Senior Dylan Tipton claimed the top spot while juniors Larissa Gross and Emily Tackett tied for second.  Tipton’s prize is that he gets to wear a Go Pro Camera for the first game of the season, which is August 21, when Gibbs visits Dossett Stadium.  He’ll be giving Cougar Band fans an up close and personal look at Game Day for the band from start to finish.

Prim presides over one of the largest bands in the region.

This year’s theme is “Journey – 80s Rock Band.”  Any way you want it, Open Arms, and Don’t Stop Believing are the songs you’ll hear at the games.  Wright concludes our visit by saying that he is looking forward to having a great year with these awesome kids.  (07/27/2015 - 6:00 AM)

Smash and dash at Caryville

Reports coming into WLAF are that a car has been broken into at a Caryville hotel.

Sources said that just before 4:30 pm this afternoon, a window was broken in a car and several items were taken from a car parked at the Travelodge. It is not known at this time the approximate value of the items or if the car belonged to an employee or guest.

Caryville Police are investigating the theft. (07/26/2015 - 6:45PM)

Deputies in a shoot out this afternoon

Suspect flown out by Lifestar

Reports coming in to WLAF News are that Campbell County Sheriff’s Deputies were involved in a shoot out with a man just before 5:00 p.m. this afternoon at Habersham.  One witness tells WLAF that several shots were exchanged between a 35-year old male and deputies around the bridge that crosses Big Creek at Wynn School.  According to a person who lives nearby, the man held a family hostage, left to use the phone at another home, and the hostages ran away and called police.  The armed suspect was flown to the University of Tennessee Medical Center by Lifestar.  He was first taken by ground ambulance to the La Follette Medical Center Emergency Room.  

Police will not confirm if this person is the same person who fired shots at deputies not long after midnight this morning at White Oak.  A man shot at deputies when they were making a welfare check on a family.  The shooter ran up the mountain on foot and disappeared. 

According to a release from the Campbell County Sheriff’s Department, the suspect was a wanted man.  As required by procedure and natural protocol, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation will be conducting the investigation. (07/26/2015 - 5:45 PM & UPDATED AT 7:25 PM)

Squires need help in balancing budget without tax hike – here’s my suggestions

Boomers Corner – Charles “Boomer” Winfrey

Watching the latest edition of the Campbell County Commission as they mature into veteran public servants is akin to watching a baby grow into a toddler, advance through the “terrible twos” into that cute but troublesome stage of early school years and finally emerge as a . . . (gasp!) teenager.

This bunch of commissioners, as a group brand new to the job and more or less clueless about the workings of county government, faced a humongous budget deficit in their very first month in office, due primarily to skyrocketing insurance rates and the unexpected loss of revenue such as coal severance tax.

They predictably jumped at the suggestion by the rookie county mayor to kick the can down the road a year by raiding the fund balance, and got off with a minimal thirteen cent tax increase.

This year, it is time to pay the piper. You can’t kick the can again, as it has swollen into a barrel. Those roads still need to be paved, as folks from up in White Oak loudly reminded the squires a few weeks back. The State is still shrinking their share of school funding while prohibiting any cuts to the local education budget, insurance has stabilized but still increased to cover that big new justice center and all those additional jailers.

What to do? What to do? Some of the squires thought they could avoid a hefty tax hike by finding cuts in the various courthouse offices to offset the increases. Last Thursday night they heard from some of those elected officials and were reminded once again just how limited the power of the county commission is under our state’s constitutional structure of government.

Former Mayor Cliff suggested replacing some courthouse janitors with trusties from the jail as a way to save money. “Ain’t gonna happen!” Sheriff Robbie Goins replied, not without extra corrections officers to follow the convict janitors around and make sure they’re not cleaning out cash drawers along with bathroom stalls.

Ain’t gonna happen in my office anyway!” Trustee Monty Bullock, who is legally responsible for the county’s money, proclaimed, with or without corrections officers as overseers.

One by one, the elected officials reminded the squires who is in charge of their offices, and rejected any notion that they had expendable employees who could be laid off, or other fat in their budgets to surrender.

Mayor E. L. Morton, who says he has already saved the county money by not taking the county insurance for himself, finally announced that an unfilled part time position in his office is not on the cutting board either. “Nobody else is cutting. I’ve already made cuts in my office. No more,” He told the squires.

Finally the desperate commissioners began to turn on each other. First, Lonnie Weldon and Marie Ayers moved to eliminate the commissioners’ discretionary fund, used by the commissioners to make donations to volunteer fire departments, school programs or non-profit groups in their districts or for other causes near and dear to their hearts.

Several squires balked, complaining that fire departments, the rescue squad etc. have become reliant on the donations for survival. The motion was changed to lower the fund from $2,750 to $1,000 apiece. Former Mayor Cliff, who has gone on record as favoring ten percent cuts to the budgets of all elected officials and daring them to sue the commission, protested this meager gesture, pointing out, “We’re agonizing over a quarter of a penny on the tax rate, or money to pave a quarter mile of road.”

After that trial balloon was shot down, Cliff moved to save $98,000 by eliminating the commissioners’ health insurance, since he doesn’t take it, presumably because he’s Medicare eligible and otherwise covered.

Enough squires do take the insurance for that motion also to be soundly voted down, leaving our heroes right back where they started. Carl Douglas made a motion to set the tax rate at last year’s figure of $1.99 and it passed, but it was a vote out of frustration for a tax rate that is unattainable. That can from last year, swollen into a barrel, is still sitting squarely in the middle of the road, blocking traffic.

So what to do? Approve a $2.48 tax rate that will have taxpayers up in arms? Cut services, which will have voters up in arms? Vote to cut the budgets of elected officials that will land everybody in court, where the only winners will be the lawyers? County Attorney Joe Coker would have to step aside, since he represents all county officials, and both sides would have to hire attorneys at taxpayer expense.

I suppose the squires could raid the fund balance again, draining it dry and leaving the county faced with borrowing money to operate between July and November each year until property tax revenue begins flowing. Next year that can, turned into a barrel, will be the size of a tanker truck.

It’s time for you, dear readers, as both voters and taxpayers, to come to the rescue. We need to offer guidance to the county commission on how to resolve the dilemma they find themselves in. I’ve got a few suggestions of my own for ways to balance the county budget but I’m sure my readers can think of even more imaginative solutions.

I’ll list my ideas and I invite you to chime in with your own proposals. Between us, I’m sure we can solve this problem and relieve our poor squires of the trauma and stress they are currently experiencing!

1. Sell Jellico to the State of Kentucky. Most folks in Jellico probably wouldn’t care, since they feel they are treated like a red headed stepchild anyway. The only problem – would Kentucky want Jellico, or would they demand money from Campbell County to take it?

2. There have been several discussions about how to stop people from jumping off the Cedar Creek Bridge over Norris Lake, which is actually referred to up in Ohio as the “Jumping Bridge.”

Forget stopping them and set up a tollbooth. Make everybody sign a liability waiver and charge say, fifty cents for a proper dive, a quarter for a cannonball, maybe only fifteen cents for a belly flop. You could also sell annual passes for unlimited jumping! The ticket seller could also be a bonded deputy, with authority to issue a citation to anyone jumping without a license, which would mean even more money in county coffers.

3. We’ve got that nice big county garage with lots of space. Let the Highway Department operate a chop shop. They could contract only with out-of-county car thieves, uh, customers, so that no Campbell County voters will be victimized. Come to think of it, that might be one place where we could employ a few trusties from the jail.

4. Speaking of employing prisoners, how about re-establishing the convict lease system? The State of Tennessee used to make a pretty penny leasing out convicts to coal companies and cotton planters as forced labor. That practice was halted when coal miners from Coal Creek (now Rocky Top), Briceville, Jellico and elsewhere rose up in arms and the state spent more on quelling the rebellion than they made off the convicts.

We could lease convicts out for construction, ditch digging, laying asphalt, etc. – all the dirty, sweaty jobs nobody really wants these days!  That would leave us with an empty $10 million jail, but then we could rent jail cells to other counties with overcrowding problems so they wouldn’t have to build their own $10 million justice centers!

Would we run the risk of another Coal Creek War? Doubtful, since most of those dirty, sweaty jobs nobody wants are presently filled by gentlemen with, shall we say, an absence of proper identification. Nobody is going to rise up in arms if that means they run the risk of being deported.

5. Alas, say that for one reason or another, all of those plans fail to work out. As a last resort, the commission could instruct Trustee Monty Bullock to withdraw all of the county’s money from the various investment accounts and purchase a few million Powerball tickets. What’s that they say, you can’t win unless you play?

Send your own suggestions into WLAF ( and we’ll publish them next week, and we’ll be sure to pass them on to our fearless county commission! (07/26/2015 - 9:00 PM)            

Jeffrey Miller responds to Boomer's Corner

Citizens of Campbell County:
MY name is Jeffrey Miller Jr and I write to WLAF today to urge all residents of the county to start looking at our county budget and demand more of our commissioners. I ran for
County Commission two years ago in the First District on a platform of conservative spending first before any taxes raised. Here we are post two years after election and we are worse off now than we were then. From the county mayor to the commission its going to take superior ideas and hard truths to get us were we need to be without burdening the taxpayer anymore. I strongly beleive the public needs to get involved and demand cuts to our budget that can be made before any new taxes are raised. Here are just a few of my ideas I would recommend

1. First off I would eliminate the office of the Deputy county Mayor. I believe that this office and the duties that are performed could be done by the
County Mayor himself. This would save the county approx 50,000 salary and medical benefits paid for the position. Its my beleif through hard work and long hours the County Mayor could do both jobs and gets compensated quiet well for it too. Approx 90,000 plus benefits.

2 A. I would relocate the Campbell County Annex office of Veterans Affairs in
East Lafollette to either the new justice building or a room in the courthouse.
B. I would eliminate the county clerks office also and relocate the positions there either to the main office or jellico or outright eliminate them, This office is just a pure luxury for east Campbell Counitans and quiet honestly a drive to Jacksboro Main Clerk office isnt that far and money could be saved by doing this.
C. Place the Annex Office in East LaFollette up for sale we dont need it.

3. The Office of Finance needs a complete audit and reduction. As i stated in my campaign this office is overinflated with staff for the size of
campbell county. A potential savings of 300,000 + could be saved if this office was trimmed to be more efficient and in line with other counties that operate under the budget act of 1981.

These are some big bold Ideas that would take tremendous leadership to implement and would be unpopular with some in the system but there comes a point and time when enough is enough and someone please stand up and lead. You get elected to serve the people of the coutny and to make these decisions. A simple man or woman can raise taxes with a simple yes, it takes a great leader to come up with ideas that might be unpopular but in all honesty is the right thing to do.

Get involved with your elected officials
We the VOTERS have the final say

Jeff Miller JR
(07/27/2015 - 6:00 AM)      

Man shoots at deputies early Sunday

Suspect is still on the loose

Reports coming in to WLAF News via Deputy Darryl Chapman with the Campbell County Sheriff’s Department are that a white male is still on the run this afternoon after firing at deputies early this morning.  Soon after midnight, deputies answered a call at a home on Sled Creek Road at White Oak.  While deputies checked on the family inside the home and then outside around the property, they were fired upon.  The man who shot at the deputies ran off into the mountains on foot.  No one was injured.

The Criminal Investigation Division of the Campbell County Sheriff’s Office is leading the investigation.  Charges are pending as the manhunt continues.  (07/26/2015 - NOON)

Last call for Jones

Retired LFD Firefighter honored

     For the third time in less than two-weeks, a retired City of La Follette employee was laid to rest.  Monroe Sheckles.  Allen Ford.  And now Stanley Jones.  All three men served the City of La Follette.  On Thursday, Jones was carried to his final resting place, the Lemarr Cemetery.  Along the procession route, the West Hemlock Street was lined with fellow firefighters honoring Jones, who was retired from the LFD. (07/25/2015 - 9:00 PM - CHARLIE HUTSON PIX) 

WLAF's Charlie Hutson was out & about around town on Friday with his camera

Friday, July 24, 2015, - “Carl Pierce Day in La Follette”

The longtime furniture and appliance salesman turned 90-years old on Friday, July 24.  Mayor Mike Stanfield proclaimed it “Carl Pierce Day” in La Follette.  WLAF’s Bill Waddell was among the many well wishers on Carl’s special day.  (DAVID GRAHAM PIX)


Two of Carl’s nieces, Judy (L) & Vanessa were on hand to celebrate his 90th birthday

 Bruce Ferguson, who also celebrated a birthday on July 24th, drove Carl to lunch in his 1920s era car.

Frustrated commissioners, unable to find cuts, pass no-increase tax rate, go home 

County commissioners met Thursday night as a budget committee to hear from elected officials and department heads in an effort to find ways to trim what looms as a hefty tax increase in the 2015-16 budget.

One by one, officials rejected the suggestion put forward Monday night by Ralph Davis that they have personnel positions that can be cut for a total savings of $379,000.

After voting 10-1 to accept a revised school budget that eliminated the requested raises for non-certified employees, the commissioners reviewed a summary from Finance Director Jeff Marlow that listed the personnel positions where money has been budgeted for positions that are currently vacant.

Those include $17,877 for a part-time clerical position in the mayor’s office, two courthouse janitors who resigned two weeks ago, a maintenance position that has been vacant since October, a part-time clerical position in the office of Property Assessor Brandon Partin, a part time position in the Clerk & Master’s office and a second litter control officer to replace the officer who was recently terminated.

Two other positions, in civil defense and the County Health Department, are paid with federal grants. “Cutting those positions will not help the budget, as you would also lose the grants to pay for them,” Marlow pointed out.

Trustee Monty Bullock and Sheriff Robbie Goins quickly poured cold water on a suggestion by Cliff Jennings that the custodial positions in the courthouse could be filled by trusties from the jail, as Jennings insisted is the case in Claiborne County.

“I could not allow trusties in my office. We are responsible for the county’s money and I want you to know that up front,” Bullock told the committee.

“Nobody has asked me about using prisoners in the courthouse but we can’t simply let prisoners roam around the courthouse without trained corrections officers to supervise them,” Goins stated. “David Ray has turned trusties loose everywhere in Claiborne County. That’s his business but it won’t happen here, not open to everywhere without people to control them.”

Bullock and Assessor Brandon Partin both told the committee that their offices have no positions that can be spared but some commissioners appeared unconvinced.

“We don’t want to raise taxes. We can’t make you make cuts but we’re asking for your help, just asking you to manage a little better,” Jennings told the officials in the room. “We can’t just give in to everybody.”

Marie Ayers reminded everyone that since the county is self-funded for unemployment insurance, any layoffs would save less than anticipated. “If we lay anyone off, we still have to pay their unemployment benefits,” Ayers pointed out.

Mayor E. L. Morton said that the $30,000 budgeted for a maintenance position can be eliminated, while he pledged that if Anderson County fails to pay the $63,000 that county owes Campbell in coal severance tax, he will personally attend the next Anderson County commission meeting to push for payment from their fund balance.

Marlow explained to commissioners that while the State of Tennessee mistakenly paid $126,000 to Anderson County that was owed to Campbell, only half of that money has been received.

“The school systems in Anderson County have paid us their half and the county has listed the remaining $63,000 as a deficit on the books of the Anderson County Highway Department, but the Road Superintendent there refuses to write the check,” Marlow explained.

Finally, commissioners looked at their own budgets in an effort to set an example for savings. Lonnie Weldon offered a motion seconded by Ayers to eliminate the commission discretionary funds that are made available for donations to school projects, fire departments and other non-profits in the commissioners’ districts.

When several commissioners pointed out that volunteer fire departments, the rescue squad and other agencies have become dependent on the discretionary donations, Weldon changed his motion to cut the discretionary allowance from $2,750 to $1,000 for each commissioner and apply the savings to road paving projects.

After more discussion on the motion, Jennings voiced his frustration, pointing out, “You’re worrying about money that would save a quarter cent on the tax rate, or pave a quarter mile of roads.”

Jennings still supported the motion, along with Weldon, Carl Douglas, Charles Baird and Davis, but it failed 7-5.

Other officials then offered their observations, Register of Deeds Dormas Miller telling the commission he appreciated their dedication but adding, “You need to appreciate our position.”

Mayor Morton then pointed out that he has already cut the budget for his office by $15,000 and is not willing to cut an additional clerical position. “Nobody’s cutting here tonight and I’ve already made my cuts,” he stated flatly.

Finally in desperation, Jennings made a motion to save $98,000 by eliminating health insurance coverage for county commissioners, a benefit that is not received by all commissioners.

Jennings and Butch Kohlmeyer, who are Medicare eligible, along with Higginbotham and Dewayne Kitts, who have benefits through their federal jobs, voted to eliminate the benefits. The rest of the commission was less enthusiastic about the prospect of joining the ranks of the uninsured and the motion failed 8-4.

Finally, committee chairman Johnny Bruce pointed out, “We have gone through every county fund in committee and those who attended have approved all the funds. Are we prepared to take action on this budget?”

The response was probably not what Bruce expected, as Carl Douglas made a motion, not to approve the overall budget, but to set the tax rate at last year’s rate of $1.99, even though that would leave a difference of nearly $3 million in the budgets that have been approved and the funds available to pay for them.

Possibly out of frustration, Scott Stanfield, Kitts, Higginbotham, Davis, Baird and Jennings all joined Douglas in voting “yes.” Bruce declared the motion to set the unattainable tax rate as approved 7-5 and the committee recessed until next Monday.   (07/24/2015 - 6:00 AM)  

Larry Byrge looks back on that fateful day some 50-years ago

"It was a sad time”

“My papaw, two of my aunts, and cousins were lost in the great flood,” says Larry Byrge in his deep, laid back voice.  He says he and his family were at Clinchmore the day of the flood for the funeral of his uncle, Ellis Byrge.  Little did he know that they’d be back for five more funerals in just a few days.

Byrge describes the day as a pretty, sunny day.  But late that night, the rains came.

He notes that they really didn’t know what all happened until later the next evening.  He says that it wasn’t a happy day for them when they found out all about it.

Larry Byrge is the owner and operator of Byrge Screen Printing in La Follette.  He tells WLAF that he’s not been back to the site of his Pawpaw Byrge’s washed away home since he and his family drove away from the home on the afternoon of July 23, 1965.

Papaw Jim Byrge, two of his daughters, Aunt Pauline Byrge, Aunt Dorothy Tackett, and Larry’s cousins, Luther “Little Man” Tackett and Polly Byrge all perished.  Their five graves are together at Beech Fork Cemetery.

Fifty years have come and gone, and Byrge hasn’t been back to the sight of his papaw’s home since.  But he still remembers how Clinchmore and the home where he lost five members of his family looked before the flood. (07/24/2015 - 6:00 AM) 

Mother’s “bad feeling” saved her child from the Clinchmore flood

“Momma took a switch to my legs all the way up the road”

Thanks to her mother, Telitha Byrge-Carroll, Merretta Daugherty is still alive today.  Exactly 50-years to the day.  On the evening of Friday, July 24, 1965, the then 8-year old girl was literally saved from the Clinchmore flood.

All the spring and much of the summer of 1965, Reverend Andy Carroll, Merretta’s father, would sit on his front porch and preach to all those within earshot of his big PA system.  Merretta says some folks thought he was a little crazy.  But his theme surrounded what he called “something is coming this way,” and it will bring heartache to many and tears to the eyes of all.  Brother Andy, a World War II vet, passed away at the age of 91 back in December, and since the Clinchmore flood, he often times mentioned of when he spoke of the “something coming to Clinchmore.”


Merreta Daugherty holds the dress her Aunt Pauline made for her out of a bran sack in 1963.  She says she’s not sure how she was able to keep this dress since she was six-years old.

Daugherty would often stay the night with her aunts, cousins, and papaw at Clinchmore; about a mile from her home.  But on this night, her mom was determined that she could not stay the night, and when Merretta started crying to stay, her mom broke a limb from a tree in her papaw’s yard and took the switch to her legs.  Daugherty tells WLAF that her mother, who was seven-months pregnant, switched her legs all the way up the road saying “you march up that road,” as Daugherty cried every step of the way.  It was the first time she’d not let her stay, and she stayed at her papaw’s as much as she did at her own home.

Merreta remembers watching her Aunt Pauline make this dress and asked her to sew the bow on the front of the dress rather than the collar.

Merreta recalls that the storm really started building around midnight, and by 2 AM, it was on.  It was a loud storm that roared all through the hollow with lightning flashing all night lighting the sky like it was daylight.  She says everyone was awake all night.  She and her father walked out past their front porch to see if they might be able to drive out, but the water was deep and rolling down the road.

By daybreak on Saturday, Marreta sizes it all up by saying that their whole world was gone.  Jim Byrge, who was Telitha’s father and Merreta’s grandfather, perished in the massive flood.  Also lost were Merreta’s cousins, Polly Byrge and Luther “Little Man” Tackett, and aunts, Pauline Byrge and Dorothy Tackett.  Merreta told that she and Polly were very close, and that Polly begged her to stay on that fateful night.

Daugherty recalls that they were stranded at their home from July 24 until early September.  All  the well water was contaminated.  She says they lived way back up in the hollow, and that the Red Cross was stationed at the Stony Fork School.  Within a few months, she and her family moved to Pinecrest. 

Merreta suffered nightmares for years.  As they would go back to Clinchmore from time to time since the flood, her mother would never go and discouraged them from going.

To this day, Merreta Carroll Daugherty still has her life, a lot of Clinchmore memories, and a dress her Aunt Pauline made for her out of a bran sack.

A newspaper account of Clinchmore flood

Clinchmore, Tennessee, July 24, 1965 - A cloudburst sent a wall of water rumbling through three communities in the rugged mountainous section of Anderson and Campbell counties shortly before dawn today, killing five members of one family and causing mass destruction. The small twin communities of Clinchmore and Stony Fork on the Anderson-Campbell line were the hardest hit.  At Briceville, across the mountain south of here, 12 families were routed from their homes. The flash flood, which struck shortly before 4 AM, swept away the home of James Byrge, 72, here, killing Byrge and four other members of his family. The bodies of Byrge, a daughter, Pauline Byrge, and a grandchild named Tackett were found hours after the disaster, scattered in an area more than two miles from the Byrge home. Still missing were another daughter of Mr. Byrge, Mrs. Dorothy Tackett, mother of the dead child, and Polly Byrge, 12, a grandchild, and daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Early Byrge. The Stony Fork Creek, normally a rippling mountain brook no more than 12 to 15 feet across, began rising rapidly as heavy rains pounded the tops of the Cumberland Mountains surrounding this community and within minutes enveloped an area as wide as 300 yards at some points.  Many of the estimated 250 residents of the area, most of whom live on higher ground on the slopes above the creek, were awakened by barking dogs and by loud claps of thunder.  Early Byrge, one of the first to be awakened, said he looked outside, saw the creek rising rapidly, and telephoned his father, James, about a mile upstream. He said the elder Byrge answered the phone and talked with him for about a minute. Then the telephone went dead. None of the five occupants of the house was seen alive after that. Early Byrge theorized that at that moment the house was enveloped by the water and the telephone pole was toppled. He, himself, was forced to flee to safety.

“Hot Dog Days of Summer”


Thursday was “Hot Dog Days of Summer” at Terry’s Pharmacy at Jacksboro.  Deb Mikesell was on WLAF welcoming folks by for a free lunch.   (PIX COURTESY OF ASHLEY MURRAY)

Miller files to get his job back

One time La Follette Police Detective Monty Miller wants his recent problems with the city revisited.

Last week, Miller filed a petition in Campbell County Chancery Court alleging when officials with the city demoted him and cut his pay they were out of line.

Monty Miller (FILE PHOTO)

Trouble began brewing between Miller and LPD Chief Jimmy Jeffries in April. According to previous reports, Jeffries and Miller met in his office on a Friday to discuss Miller’s job performance. Jefferies has stated Miller quit his position as lieutenant with the department that afternoon, something Miller has vehemently denied.

After much back and forth and failed attempts to resolve the matter, Miller’s status with the LPD was taken before the city council. On May 20, the council chose to demote Miller from his ranking position to that of patrolman.  At the time, Miller had been an officer with the city for 20 years, the petition said. Not only was he demoted to the lowest rank in the department, his pay was reduced as well. His job experience and cost of living raises were not figured into his new pay rate, the court filing says.

Miller’s attorney, Richard Couch of Harrogate, asserts that until the dust up with Jefferies his client had no disciplinary actions in his personnel file.

Couch is claiming the council relied only on Jefferies’ word when it chose to take action. There was not an “independent investigation, finding of facts, conclusions or ultimate findings of wrong doings to support the actions” of the La Follette Council when it demoted Miller, the court record says.

Complicating the situation is matters such as this could be reviewed by the city administrator, but, since the city has not had anyone in that position in well over a year, Miller couldn’t pursue this avenue.

Couch says his client was denied a true hearing because he wasn’t allowed to “call witnesses, present evidence or cross examine” Jeffries. Miller was only allowed to briefly address the council on his own behalf.

The actions of the council that night were “unprecedented,” according to Couch.

Couch is asking that Campbell County’s Chancery Court review the transcripts and minutes of that night’s meetings, along with the actions of the council.

Along with this, Couch is asking that Miller be reinstated to the position he formerly held.

The filing also asks for attorney’s fees and court costs.(07/23/2015 - 6:00 AM)

“Voluntary’ hiring freeze to trim budget deficit up for discussion

Budget & finance committee hosts elected officials tonight

The county commission has been warned by the Finance Director and County Attorney that it has no power to dictate line items in the departmental budgets of elected officials.  However, members of the budget and finance committee plan to test those waters tonight.  The county commission, desperate to find ways to avoid a hefty tax increase, voted Monday night to push the limits of its authority by asking for a hiring freeze in all county offices, including those under the supervision of elected officials over which the commission has limited control.

Fifth District Commissioner Ralph Davis believes the county could save upwards of a half-million dollars if it froze hiring and did not fill county positions that are currently vacant.  Third District Commissioner Cliff Jennings stated at Monday night’s meeting that, “We’ve been told that those officials could sue if we cut their spending, and like I‘ve said before, let them sue.”  Jennnings adds that “then they can answer to the voters if we have to increase taxes.”

Elected officials were asked to attend tonight’s budget and finance committee meeting to discuss their budgets and the idea of leaving the existing vacancies unfilled.  The meeting is set for 7:00 p.m. tonight at the courthouse. (07/23/2015 - 6:00 AM) 

County mayor terminates Marlow

Says he wants to move forward

Stan Marlow is out as the maintenance director for Campbell County.  Reports coming in to  WLAF are that Marlow was called to Mayor E.L. Morton’s office Tuesday morning, handed an envelope, and told that it was his last day on the job.  Deputy Mayor Andy Wallace tells WLAF News that Morton says he wants to move forward.  Wallace points out that there was talk at Monday night’s regular monthly county commission meeting about ways the county can move forward by taking care of more projects in-house rather than subcontracting those same tasks.  He says that the entire maintenance/custodial department is in the process of being realigned.  Wallace adds that Marlow’s position will remain in some fashion with the job search focusing on applicants who would be more along the line of a building engineer possessing HVAC credentials.  The completion of the new jail and justice center means that the new addition to the courthouse block has more than 50% of the heating and cooling units.  Wallace says that those units need to be maintained, and that the warranty rules and procedures need to be followed.  Campbell County Mayor E. L. Morton, in a meeting most of the day today at Oak Ridge, broke away long enough to offer a comment to WLAF.  Morton calls it, the termination of Marlow, a solemn duty and that, as a result, someone is out looking for a job today, and that he is working to make Campbell County a better place.

WLAF will be posting the job description later today right here.(07/22/2015 - NOON)

Meet the big Cougar

Edwards may be biggest Cougar ever

    (L-R) Cougar Offensive Line Coach Dan Turner, two-time All-American at Carson-Newman, stands at 6-2, 290.  Edwards checks in at 6-7, 400 pounds.

     Campbell Director of Athletics Sherry Chapman called up the football field house on Tuesday.  She told Coach Justin Price that she had a big football player for him to meet.  And big was correct.  Kyle Edwards, all 6-7 and 400-pounds of him, was introduced to the Cougars head coach.  Edwards, a senior, transferred from Anderson High School, which is just outside of Indianapolis, Indiana.  The Cougars open the season on Friday, August 21 with the Gibbs Eagles at Dossett Stadium.  WLAF has the live radio, TV, and DOT-COM coverage beginning at 6:00 p.m. with Coach To Coach.  That’s AM 1450, FM 100.9, TV-12, and  (07/22/2015 - 11:00 AM)

Youth rally promises to be ‘extreme’

By Susan Sharp

The White Bridge Park may end up as the place to be on Labor Day weekend.

In fact, organizers of the Extreme 3:16 Youth Rally are banking on that. Paul Bourff, who is spearheading the event, said the annual event has grown exponentially in the last four years.

Last year, the Christian experience drew 250 participants. This year, Bourff is planning for even more.

For him, the all-day picnic and music fest is way to reshape the echoes of past Labor Days. Bourff, a recovering addict, remembers a time when the holiday weekend was simply an opportunity to get stoned. “Labor Day was a big party weekend for me,” he said. And now with five years of sobriety under his belt, Bourff wants other people to know a good time can be had sans alcohol and drugs. Looking back on his own life, Bourff said alcohol and drugs crept into his life.

“My mom and dad are two of the finest people in the world,” he said noting that it wasn’t trauma or bad childhood that pushed him into substance abuse.

The first time he smoked marijuana, Bourff was nine. By 15 he deemed himself a “full blown” user. At 18 he left home turning to cocaine and even harder drugs. “One thing just led to another,” he said.

Then the back injury came. “That was the beginning of a real bad end,” Bourff said.

For the next 10 years Bourff battled the back pain and constant need to feed his addiction. Eventually, he became an IV morphine user, who was committing crimes.

“I went to the very limit and God spared me,” Bourff said of the time when he reached the bottom with his addiction. “I didn’t know a way out.”

Yet, there was one- in the form of a judge.

Criminal Court Judge Shayne Sexton offered Bourff the opportunity to take part in drug court, now called Recovery Court.

Bourff said he wasn’t sure what the court was about, he just knew it meant not going to prison so he agreed.

It was during his days in recovery court that Bourff began to change.

“I realized I couldn’t do it on my own,” he said. “I gave my life completely over to Jesus Christ.”

And he never looked back.

Today, with his sobriety and a love for Christ, Bourff is dedicated to helping others and showing them a good time minus the substances.

The idea for a youth rally was something “God planted” in Bourff’s mind.

Bourff is happy for the opportunity to help host the event and share his testimony.

On Sept. 4 at 10 a.m., the celebration will begin. Bourff said an end hadn’t been established but there would be plenty to do throughout the day.

Six Christian Bands, including the local favorite, The Shine Effect, will perform during the event. Bounce houses and speakers will round out the entertainment.

At 7 p.m. a church service will be held.

“Our whole objective is to get somebody saved,” he said.

Lifestar and the rescue squad will also be on hand to give demonstrations as well. And there will be food- free food. Beginning at noon, organizers will serve BBQ sandwiches, chips and soft drinks.

“The Lord makes a way,” Bourff said of feeding the masses at no cost to them. (7/22/15 4pm)


A footnote from Monday’s county commission meeting

Senior center & road to White Oak mentioned?

Last week, there was a packed courthouse for the county commission workshop.  The two main reasons it was packed were because of the continuing rift at the Senior Citizens Center and the pot hole plagued gravel road that connects White Oak and Duff.

At Monday night’s regular monthly meeting of the county commission, the Senior Center was not brought up at all.  However, a lot of folks from White Oak attended the meeting, but the commission took no action that would resolve the problem.  That is other than 5th District Commissioner Ralph Davis’ gesture to “find” a half-million dollars by freezing hiring that “could” be used for roads.

A detailed story on Monday night’s commission meeting from Charles “Boomer” Winfrey is found further down this page. (07/22/2015 - 6:00 AM)

Commission looks at “voluntary’ hiring freeze to trim budget deficit

The county commission, desperate to find ways to avoid a hefty tax increase, voted Monday night to push the limits of their authority by asking for a hiring freeze in all county offices, including those under the supervision of elected officials over which the commission has limited control.

Fifth District Commissioner Ralph Davis stated that he had counted up personnel vacancies in the various county departments and discovered a total of $379,000 budgeted for positions that are not presently filled.

“With the benefits that’s around $500,000 already in the county budget that could go for paving roads,” Davis insisted. He then made a motion to ask the Deputy Mayor to go over the budgets of the different departments and report back to the commission on the total savings that leaving those positions unfilled would generate.

Although warned earlier by the Finance Director and County Attorney that the commission has no power to dictate line items in the departmental budgets of elected officials, Cliff Jennings seconded the motion.

“We’ve been told that those officials could sue if we cut their spending. Like I‘ve said before, let them sue,” Jennings stated. “Then they can answer to the voters if we have to increase taxes.”

When Davis clarified that his motion simply asked the Mayor’s office to review the budget and confirm the amount that could be saved by leaving vacant positions unfilled, all thirteen commissioners present at the meeting voted “yes.”

The commission did vote to eliminate one vacant position that is under their control through the mayor’s office, for a second litter control officer. A motion to grant a promotion to sergeant with a raise to the remaining litter control officer and eliminate the second position passed unanimously.

The commission also voted unanimously to approve the contract transferring control of the Adrion Baird Animal Shelter to the Friends of Campbell County Animals organization. A good deal of discussion was held on the relationship of the shelter to the county’s animal control officer, and how to impose a requirement that the animal control vehicle be cleaned on a daily basis.

A suggestion by some commissioners to also transfer animal control to the FCCA group ran into a snag when it was pointed out that the law enforcement duties of animal control must remain with the Sheriff’s Department.

“You will see animals brought in with the parvovirus. That’s unavoidable,” FCCA spokesperson Patricia Simpson pointed out. “Our goal will be to contain animals with it in an isolation cell and keep the truck cleaned regularly to keep it from spreading.”

Because transfer of control will not become effective until two months into the fiscal year, the contract will only call for transfer of $83,000 to FCCA in the first year, with $100,000 being provided annually for the remainder of the three year contract.

The commission also reviewed the bids for property that had been taken by the county when it went unsold in previous delinquent tax sales. Most of the tracts offered for sale received minimal bids ranging from $100 to a few hundred dollars, while some received no offers at all.

Six tracts that received bids also received overbids of at least ten percent when advertised in the newspaper. Those six tracts will be offered at a public auction in the courthouse on July 30 at 6:00 p.m.

Marie Ayers offered a motion with a second by Sue Nance to accept all of the other offers, but Dewayne Kitts asked that an offer of only $727 for a lot with a house on Hillside Drive in LaFollette be rejected and that property be offered again at a later sale.

“After Ayers accepted Kitts’ amendment deleting the Hillside Drive property, the commissioners voted 13-0 to accept all other bids.

The commission re-set the time for a budget & finance committee meeting scheduled for this Thursday from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. when it was decided to ask elected officials to attend to discuss their budgets and the idea of leaving the existing vacancies unfilled.

“If we’re going to ask elected officials to attend, we need to all be there,” Budget Chairman Johnny Bruce reminded the commissioners. “We’ve had difficulty having a quorum at some of the budget meetings because too many of you don’t attend.”

When one or two commissioners pointed out that they have work conflicts with the 6:00 p.m. meeting times, Bruce agreed to re-set the time to 7:00 p.m.  (07/21/2015 - 6:00 AM)                                          

Byrd says goodbye to “the job”

By Susan Sharp

Gary Byrd can lay claim to a feat most others in the workforce never will.  He has been with the same employer his entire career.

The desk is staying.  The man behind it is moving.  Retiring actually.  After 41-years with the LFD, La Follette Fire Chief Gary Byrd calls it a career next week.

On July 31, his 41- year career with the La Follette Fire Department will come to a close. And while Byrd has enjoyed a career dotted with accolades and accomplishments, it was a career that almost didn’t happen.

 When the La Follette Fire Department was located within the City Hall building on First Street in La Follette is where retiring Chief Gary Byrd stands next to a plaque recognizing the structure.

Fresh out of school, Byrd accepted a position with a construction firm, however, the job didn’t last. After a few months, he was laid off from the company. The La Follette Fire Department was hiring so Byrd signed on. Initially, his feelings about the job were mixed, he said.  He wasn’t sure that was where he wanted to be.  But he was a newlywed and needed a job.  As the days passed, his feelings began to change.

“Every day I liked it more and more,” he said of the job that became his career.

Given that Byrd’s occupation deals with people’s lives, he has experienced a fair share of triumphs and misfortunes.

 Retiring La Follette Fire Chief Gary Byrd is only the 4th fire chief over his 41-years with LFD.  He’s pictured here with some of his firefighters.

Looking back on his career, there is one fire that still grips Byrd’s heart. It was during his early days at the fire department, he said.  With distress in his voice, Byrd recalled the day that the Jellico Fire Department sent out the call for help, or in fireman’s lingo, “mutual aid.” The Jellico Hotel was on fire and the small town fire department couldn’t handle the blaze alone. Navigating the curvy mountain road, the LFD made it to the fire in 30 minutes. Alongside the JFD and other departments, the LFD battled the blaze that, in the end, claimed eight lives. “We helped carry those bodies out,” Byrd said with grief ringing in his words. 

Yet as with anything in life, for every unhappy memory, there is a cheerful one. For Byrd, it's the remembrances of the homes and lives he helped save. By his estimations, Byrd has saved hundreds of homes from fire.

Byrd (L) with incoming Fire Chief Charles Eldridge are pictured with the new ladder truck that was purchased this year by the City of La Follette.  Obtaining the new ladder truck serves as Chief Byrd’s final major accomplishment capping his 41-year career.

“I am really going to miss helping people. In the end, that is the reason I stayed,” Byrd said.

Facing his imminent retirement, Byrd has varied emotions. “I have worked all my life. I have mixed feelings about it (retirement),” he said. “You come to a place every day, you see people. I am going to miss seeing them.”

Along with serving the city faithfully for 41 years, Byrd has the further distinction of being one of four fire chiefs in the last 41 years. He has worked under 11 city administrators and four mayors. He also served on the 911 board for 15 years.

In 1964, this American LaFrance fire truck was a state of the art piece of equipment.  This photo was taken in front of the then Fire Hall at City Hall on First Street in La Follette.  From L-R:  Fireman Otnie Wilson, Dr. Roscoe Pryse, and Fire Chief Gid Lovely

It seemed only fitting that at the location where Byrd began his career with LFD in 1974, he, too, along with the man who is succeeding him as fire chief, Charles Eldridge (R), be photographed reminiscent of the 1964 photo taken on First Street.

“We have been friends just about all of our lives. I treasure our friendship,” said LaFollette Mayor Mike Stanfield. “Gary will be missed. He was kinda laid back and that’s what made him special.”  (07/21/2015 - 6:00 AM - PHOTOS COURTESY OF CHARLIE HUTSON) 

Snodderly is “Young Pharmacist of the Year”

Honored at Tennessee Pharmacists Association annual event

“Very humbling.”  That’s how Raewyn Snodderly quickly and quietly sums up being named the “Distinguished Young Pharmacist of the Year.”  Last week, the La Follette native and pharmacist, joined by her family, accepted the award at the 128th annual convention of the Tennessee Pharmacists Association.  Snodderly, who is the pharmacist in charge at Terry’s Pharmacy in La Follette, says it’s hard to be honored for something you love to do.  She tells WLAF News that she is proud to work in a profession that gives back to the community.

Raewyn Snodderly (L) with her mother, Rissa Pryse, the owner of Terry’s Pharmacy.

Criteria for the “Distinguished Young Pharmacist of the Year” award involves four categories:  1-Degree in Pharmacy received within the last 10 years; 2-Licensed and in good standing to practice in state Association; 3-Current membership and participation in the state pharmacy association; 4-Participate in national pharmacy associations, professional programs, and/or community service.  This award was initiated in 1987 to encourage newer pharmacists to participate in association and community activities and to annually recognize one such person in the state for involvement and dedication to the practice of pharmacy.


“Being surrounded by her family was great,” said Raewyn Snodderly on her special night at the annual convention.  Pictured with her are her husband John Snodderly and son Zeke, Raewyn, and mother, Rissa Pryse, with daughter Nora.

In addition to her duties as a pharmacist, mom, and wife, she has a two-year commitment ahead of her as state chairman of the Tennessee Society of Independent Pharmacists.  She will be representing all of Tennessee’s independent pharmacies that are within the society.

    Even though she found out about a month ago that she was going to be honored, Raewyn Snodderly said she was still a little nervous, especially when her young son, Zeke tried to join her on stage, as she offered up comments after being name the “Distinguished Young Pharmacist of the Year” last week at the Embassy Suites-Murfreesboro at the Convention Center. 

Snodderly adds that there are a lot of good professionals in Campbell County, and that a lot of “good” goes on in our community.  She says she hopes to set a good example for young girls in Campbell County who have plans to study pharmacy.  (07/20/2015 - 6:00 AM)

LPD offers handgun safety course

Chief says it’s a way of giving back to the community

The La Follette Police Department is offering a “free” basic handgun safety and handling course.  LPD Chief Jimmy Jeffries tells WLAF that the course is the first and third Thursday of every month through October beginning at 4:00 p.m. at the City of La Follette.  He calls it a good service for the public and that it’s a way to give back to the community.

Some of the material covered in the class includes safe handling, proper loading and unloading of the weapon, and general firearm safety.  The class concludes by firing 50 rounds at the Royal Blue Firing Range.  Participants need to bring a handgun along with 50 rounds of ammunition.  For more information and to register, Jeffries says to call 423.562.8331. (06/11/2015 - 6:00 AM)

Carnival's back in town next month

Lions Club brings back a week of fun

     If you enjoyed the carnival back in the spring, then you’re in luck.  It’s coming back to town in August.  Mark your calendars for Tuesday, August 11 through Friday, August 14 from 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. and then on Saturday, August 15 starting at noon  A one-day “fun” pass is $20, and there’ll be free discount coupons around town the week before the carnival.(07/17/2015 - 6:00 AM)

Congressman Duncan to visit Jellico

Constituent Day is next month

     Northern Campbell County Congressman Jimmy Duncan is scheduled to be at the Jellico Library on Thursday, August 6, at 10:00 a.m..  Duncan and his staff will be available to assist you with various issues such as senior citizens’ social security and/or disability along with students’ financial aid and/or entrance to the US Service Academies as well as veterans’ VA claims and military service problems.  The congressman tells WLAF that it doesn’t matter where you live in Campbell County, he and his staff will meet with you and help you.  Duncan will also help with small business concerns such as SBA loan applications, disaster assistance for local governments, and taxpayers’ IRS tax problems.(07/17/2015 - 6:00 AM)

Warriors celebrate winning season and Coach King

Christian Academy hosts annual basketball banquet

By Susan Sharp

There was an air of festivity last Thursday night as the Christian Academy of Campbell County Warriors celebrated a winning season. There was recognition for a hard fought season that ended with a county championship. There were comments about how each player had developed in distinct ways over the season but, among all of the glory and accolades there was also something- someone missing. Coach Vic King had led the Warriors to a county championship in 2013. This served to steel his determination for a repeat in the 2014 season. “When Coach King first asked me to help him coach this team, he said we were winning the county championship this year,” said Dusty Paul, the one-time assistant and now head coach for the Warriors. “I told him okay. I was just honored to be sitting with him on the bench.” Paul played for King in middle school.

Two basketballs were signed by the  Warriors. The basketballs will be given to King’s family while the plaques will hang in the CACC gym.

And while the young team would oblige with a repeat they did it in memory of King instead of with him. The longtime basketball coach was in his second year coaching the Warriors when health problems arose. He fought hard but just before Thanksgiving King died. It was a blow the team struggled with.

The 2014-15 Warriors display their banner proclaiming them County Champs.

Yet, with the help of Paul and a desire to make King proud, the Warriors pulled off a victory in the final game of the county tournament beating Wynn Elementary School. Adding to the triumph, several of the players walked away with tournament honors.

Thursday night allowed the boys to enjoy their win while paying tribute to the coach who believed in them when they didn’t believe in themselves. Trophies and tributes were showered on the team who suffered a loss that most adults would struggle with. “I lost my coach my junior year,” said Starla Berry, Lady Warriors head coach. “I know how hard that can be to come back from. But these young men did it and pulled off a great season.”

“Coach King was a legend around here and we were lucky to have him,” said Ollie Medley, CACC administrator. As she addressed the players who had gathered in the gym for Thursday’s banquet, Medley held in her hand a stack of notes the Warriors had written for the King family. Each one detailed what King had meant to his team. Medley said the notes would be delivered to King’s wife, Shelly, and daughter, Katie Cave. Along with this the women will each be given a basketball signed by all of the players.

Medley also unveiled a plaque memorializing King that will hang in the CACC gym. Kevin Corner, who played on King’s first team in 1977 was on hand to represent King’s family. “I can see why he loved this place,” Corner said surveying the audience. “He was all about class and this school obviously has that. He loved you boys.” Sharing memories of when he played for King, Corner said “Our team was the alpha and you boys, you are the omega. You are the end of an era.”  (04/20/2015 - 6:00 AM)

Coach King’s Corner

     Coach Vic King left us in November 2014.  In honor and memory of him, we’ve created a “Coach King’s Corner.”  Click Coach’s picture to access Coach King’s Corner.  (03/23/2015)


This picture of Coach was snapped by Charlie Hutson on Friday, May 17, 2013, in front of the former Regions Bank (where La Follette Junior High/High School once stood).  It was where the 60th anniversary of WLAF was celebrated.   





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)








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