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     Jason Crabb returns to La Follette in mid-August.  Charlotte Underwood shares all the details of what is expected to draw a huge crowd at the La Follette Church of God.

Tornado warning announced over WLAF at 5:12 p.m.

     Lives, landscape, and legacies all changed in a matter of four-minutes on Sunday evening in Campbell and Claiborne Counties.  The report from the tornado survey team with the National Weather Service at Morristown details that Sunday’s EF-3 Tornado started 3 miles northwest of Speedwell in Campbell County at 5:58 p.m.  The warning for that particular tornado was announced over WLAF at 5:12 p.m. on Sunday.  The twister stretched more than a half-mile wide, traveled almost five miles into Claiborne County, and dissipated at 6:02 p.m. one-mile south of Speedwell.  The Enhanced Fujita Scale classifies the speed of an EF-3 Tornado at 136 MPH-165 MPH.  Sunday’s event was estimated between 140 and 150 miles per hour.  A total of six Tornado Warnings were issued for Campbell County on Sunday afternoon and evening all airing first over WLAF.  Two of those six warnings for nature’s most violent storm included Claiborne County.  (07/29/2014 - 10:00 AM)

Peel is the new JMS coach.  Miller moves on to Jellico.

     Jacksboro Middle School has a new head football coach this morning.  He is Brent Peel,  a longtime JMS assistant.  Former JMS Head Coach Mike Miller is now Jellico High’s top assistant coach on newly named JHS Head Coach Ronnie Lasley’s staff.  This coaching domino effect began a couple of weeks ago when, then, JHS Coach Brad Lawson left the Blue Devils to take an assistant high school coaching job in Kentucky.  Peel, who starred on a couple of Carson-Newman’s national championship teams back in the 1980s for the legendary Ken Sparks, is keeping the rest of the JMS staff intact.  WLAF’s David Graham’s interview with Coach Peel airs on Wednesday’s Sports Report on WLAF Radio and Television as well as on www.cougarsrock.net. (07/29/2014 - 6:00 AM)

Positive response returns mayor & deputy mayor to the TV tonight

Deputy Mayor of Campbell County David G. Young tells WLAF that due to amazing response, he and the mayor will be back on the TV tonight.  The pair hosted a “State of the County” program a week ago, and Mayor William Baird and Young take back to the WLAF-TV 12 airwaves tonight at 9:00 p.m. 

Deputy Mayor David G. Young (L) & Mayor William Baird last week on WLAF-TV 12

Young says that some of the items to be discussed include Med Trans air ambulances that will soon be stationed at the Campbell County airport  which will provide helicopter transportation during life threatening times.  The pair plans to also touch on the Learning Academy and the solar panel project. That’s at 9:00 p.m. tonight on WLAF-TV 12, 1450 WLAF Radio, and www.1450wlaf.com.  (07/29/2014 - 6:00 AM)

LUB crews may have all power restored today

     Linemen with the La Follette Utility Department return to the site of Sunday’s EF-3 Tornado this morning at daybreak.  LUB General Manager Kenny Baird tells WLAF that as of about 8:30 p.m. Monday night, there were 50 customers still without service with most of those in the Dan Bean Road and Doakes Creek Road areas.  Baird notes that that number of outages was upwards of 4,000 at the height of Sunday's storm and tornado.  That’s close to  a fifth of LUB’s 22,000 total number of customers.  Baird explains that crews have worked feverously to erect more than 12 power poles, clean up wire, conduct safety checks, and restore power non-stop since the first calls came in around 6:30 p.m. Sunday evening.  (07/29/2014 - 6:00 AM)

Habitat Re-store seeks new location; everything currently half off

By Charlotte Underwood

After learning it was losing its lease, the Habitat for Humanity Re-store located in Woodson’s Mall is currently seeking a new location to set up shop. In the mean-time, everything in the store is 50-percent off, according to store manager Jeanne Smith, who said the store would be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. through the rest of the week until Saturday. Volunteers will use Sunday and Monday to pack up what’s left until another location can be found. They have until Aug. 6 to be out of the space.

Smith said she in no way blamed landlord Rob Woodson, who had been “more than kind.”

“I don’t blame Rob a bit; he has been so good to us the past nine years letting us be here rent free; he had the opportunity to sign a ten-year lease on the space and that’s just business,” Smith said.

The Habitat for Humanity Re-store needs about 4,000 square foot of space to set up shop again, according to Smith who said it would be great if someone wanted to help them out and lease space as a tax write-off or even a partial tax write-off.

“We could pay some rent, but we are limited,” Smith explained, adding that she and the other Habitat volunteers hoped to be settled into a new space as quickly as possible.

For more information or to contact Smith about possibly leasing space to Habitat, call 423-201-0572 or 423-566-2031. (07/29/2014 - 6:00 AM)

Chickens in the city?

By Charlotte Underwood

Chickens in the city or no chickens in the city? That is the question a recent poll conducted by La Follette officials attempted to answer. The results of the poll were shared during a city council workshop held yesterday evening. Codes Enforcer Stan Foust announced the results to Mike Stanfield and Vice Mayor Joe Bolinger, as they were the only members of the council present at the workshop.  According to Foust, poll results showed 92 property owners were against chickens in the city, while 12 voted yes. There were also 22 votes cast that were disqualified due to the voters not living in the city. Of those disqualified 17 were no votes, while five were yes votes, according to Foust.

Mayor Mike Stanfield and Vice Mayor Joe Bolinger were the only two members present at yesterday evening’s La Follette City Council Workshop. Results of the chicken poll were briefly discussed and placed on the agenda for next week’s meeting, which was moved to Aug. 4.

La Follette resident Jean Hopkins had brought the issue before the council several months ago when she petitioned the city to allow her to keep six laying hens in a coop. Hopkins argued that the city’s ordinance does not prohibit the keeping of chickens and that it states a permit from the city’s health officers is required. City Codes enforcer Stan Foust said chickens are not allowed in the city, especially in the residential zone Hopkins lives in and that if changes are made, it has to come from the city council. Foust also said he believes allowing chickens to be kept in the city will result in problems of various sorts. Foust said he believes the chickens will attract coyotes and other wild animals into the city. He also said if an exception is made for chickens, then it won’t be long before other exceptions are sought.

“People will want to keep goats and horses in the city next,” Foust said in an earlier city council meeting. Hopkins said she begs to differ and that if city’s as large as Knoxville can successfully pass and maintain an ordinance which allows and regulates chickens, then La Follette should be able to do the same thing. A committee consisting of Hopkins, Foust, council woman Ann Thompson and Councilman Bob Fannon had been appointed to review the issue and issue the poll.

Poll results and the continuing issue of whether or not chickens should be allowed to be kept in the city will be placed on next week’s agenda.

Other business discussed during the workshop which will also be included on next week’s agenda is the contract regarding the proposed ice skating rink La Follette voted to help rent for the holidays. Stanfield asked if the city’s insurance covered the skating rink. City Attorney Reid Troutman said the insurance company would need to be contacted and would have to provide in writing that the city would be covered.

It was also decided to hold the Tuesday Aug 5th meeting on Monday, Aug. 4 so it does not interfere with the National Night Out event being held in downtown.(07/29/2014 - 6:00 AM)

Court appearance reset for those connected in child’s death

By Charlotte Underwood

The couple charged in connection with three-year-old Gabriella Orton’s death had their court appearance reset for Oct. 27.

Joshua Adam Comer, who is charged with first-degree felony murder, and Amber Leann Orton-Resentez, who is charged with aggravated child abuse and neglect, were both scheduled to appear in criminal court Monday morning to have their case set for status.  When Judge Shayne Sexton called Comer’s name, his lawyer, Dale Potter approached the bench and said there had been some kind of miscommunication or mix-up and that Comer had not been transferred from Hawkins County where he is being held in custody.  Potter also described how difficult it would be for those representing Comer for him to be located four hours away.  Sexton suggested Comer’s lawyers make a motion that he be housed closer to Campbell County in Knoxville.  Potter said he would file such a motion as soon as possible.  Sexton said he anticipated on ruling in favor of that motion, but not before speaking with the Campbell County Sheriff.

“He may have a reason for him being housed so remote and far away,” Sexton said. Assistant District Attorney General Scarlet Ellis said she believed Hawkins County had just been one of the county’s willing to house Comer.

Despite being held in Campbell County, Orton-Resentez also had her case re-set for Oct. 27 as the two are being tried together.

The state turned over initial discovery to the defense Monday morning, including 8,000 pages of information and 50 CDs of various interviews from the investigation.

The state is seeking the death penalty in Comer’s case and Orton-Resentez’s charges are a class A felony, punishable by a minimum of 15 to 25 years in prison, according to District Attorney General Lori Phillips-Jones.  Comer remains in custody on a $1 million bond and Orton-Resentez remains in jail on a $750,000 bond.

Gabriella Orton was brought to Tennova Medical Center on June 2 where she was pronounced dead. Preliminary autopsy reports indicated severe child abuse, leading the district attorney general to convene a special-called grand jury to indict both Comer and Orton-Rezentes. (07/29/2014 - 6:00 AM)

Jason Crabb to perform at La Follette Church in August

Jason Crabb will be headlining the 97th Celebration weekend at the La Follette Church of God in August.  The three-day event begins on Friday, Aug. 15, with Crabb’s performance slated for Saturday, Aug. 16 at 7 p.m.  He will also provide praise music that Sunday.

It will be his second performance in the area.  Over 900 people attended Jason Crabb’s first concert when he appeared for a fundraiser on behalf of the Christian Academy of Campbell County.  Seating is limited so get your tickets soon.  All proceeds from the concert sale go exclusively to the La Follette Church of God. Tickets cost $20. 

Before his concert appearance on Saturday, Crabb will appear at Gifts From Above for a book signing of his book “Trusting God to Get You Through,” lessons that he said he learned through the fire about grace, loss and love. 

Everyone is invited to a book signing to meet and greet Jason Crabb on Saturday, August 16 beginning at 1:00 p.m. at Gifts From Above located immediately West of the La Follette Church of God where he will perform in concert later that evening.             

J.B. and Tina Purdie, owners of Gifts From Above, gifts and bookstore, have opened their doors and are welcoming the entire La Follette community to join them as a part of the 97th Celebration Weekend featuring Jason Crabb, as well as the new rising trio of Highroad III and Dr. Mark Williams, for whom Crabb will be providing the opening praise music the following day on Sunday, August 17. 

One ticket for $20.00 will provide entry for all three concerts beginning Friday, August 15, Saturday, August 16, and Sunday, August 17.  Tickets for the 97th Celebration Weekend may be purchased at Gifts From Above, 1926 Jacksboro Pike, La Follette, La Follette Church of God, 1906 Jacksboro Pike where the concerts will be held, or from the South Fifth Street law offices of Dave Dunaway, who is in charge of the fundraising event on behalf of the La Follette Church of God.  Tickets may also be purchased online from iTickets/Christian Happenings.  The event, which is now online, may be accessed as follows:  http://www.iTickets.com/events/328803.html. 

All proceeds from the sale of tickets will go to the La Follette Church of God.  Seating is limited, tickets are limited, and Pastor Sonny Wilkes encourages everyone that is interested to purchase their tickets to ensure a seat for this wonderful three-day event.  Doors will open at 6:00 p.m. on August 15 and 16 and 10:00 a.m. on August 17. (07/29/2014 - 6:00 AM)

Devastation in the valley

     Sheriff Robbie K. Goins tells WLAF that “below is just a part of the devastating destruction left by the storms Sunday evening. This home belongs to Claiborne County Sheriff David Ray, where he and his family, with just minutes to spare, were able to seek shelter in the basement of their home and survive without injury. It appears his house is a total loss, along with much other property. Campbell County residents witnessed minimal to moderate damage in the valley area, especially the Doaks Creek area of Campbell County.  We are blessed, happy and fortunate to report that our folks were able to all walk away without injury or death.  We can be thankful to a higher power that while property was damaged and in some cases destroyed, all people are healthy and safe.  Sunday night was another sight of evidence, that when called upon, Campbell County public servants answered the call and preformed their duties and due diligence, no matter the circumstances.  Without hesitation emergency personnel responded from their homes, church, their dinner tables with their families and everywhere in between.  Law enforcement, EMA, fire departments, rescue squad, our ambulance service and many others provided and will continue to provide, the services and skills they have been called to do in every capacity.  We will be on site in Campbell County in those affected areas and will continue to assist Claiborne County in their time of need.  When we work together and care together, we are successful together."

Possible twister tears up homes, downs trees, knocks out power

     Until today, Campbell County had one reported tornado in its history.  That was at Newcomb back in 1933.  The second appears to have happened this evening up the valley, east of La Follette, on the county line between Campbell and Claiborne.  Units from all around were on hand to make sure there were no injuries and to help clear downed trees as La Follette Utilities crews were all over the area working to restore power. 

Picture of unidentified structure courtesy of Scott Fields

Word from La Follette Police Chief Jimmy Jeffries is that the home of La Follette’s Street Department Director, Jim Mullens, was totally destroyed.   Mullens and his family were not at their home on Doaks Creek Road at the time the storm hit. 

Picture of unidentified home courtesy of the Campbell County Sheriff's Department

Ripped roofs, widespread power outages, and downed trees dotted the landscape on both sides of General Carl Wade Stiner Highway in the Doaks Creek and Flat Hollow areas.  As of publishing time tonight, no injuries have been reported.  Officials with the National Weather Service from Morristown will be on site Monday to survey the damage. (07/27/2014 - 10:30 PM)

One family's home is spared

     Brian Hatmaker’s always been a storm lover.  And Sunday evening at 6:05 p.m., he and his family lived through a very scary twenty-seconds of what looks to’ve been either straight-line winds or a tornado. 

You can see the top of the red family car that was not damaged 

Hatmaker was outside when he heard and saw trees snapping and falling all around him.  He quickly ducked back into his home of almost a month and huddled with his wife and daughters in the bath tub. 


Trees in the storm's path were snapped on the other side of the Hatmaker's home

He says his excitement to be in the middle of a storm of this magnitude quickly turned to concern for his wife Amanda and their daughters, Kateline age 11 and 6-year old Kayla. 

WLAF's David Graham & Jim Freeman visit with storm victim Brian Hatmaker


Hatmaker tells WLAF that the wind blew from the northwest right next to his home on Lumber Lane in Flat Hollow near the Claiborne County line.  Once he realized the worst was over and everyone was safe, thoughts quickly turned to Heather, their Jack Russell dog. 

The Hatmaker's driveway

Luckily, Heather had hunkered down in her dog house and was OK. 

The huge fallen tree is to the left of the family car, Heather's dog house, and the Hatmaker home

Countless trees were knocked over, torn in half, or like the 80-footer, about 20-feet from the Hatmaker home, knocked flat down.  (07/27/2014 - 10:30 PM - DAVID GRAHAM PIX)

Couple accused in child’s death in court today

By Charlotte Underwood

The couple accused in the death of three-year-old Gabriella Orton in early June is scheduled to appear in criminal court today.

Joshua Adam Comer, 33, along with the child’s mother Amber Leann Orton (Rezentes), 29, will both appear in Judge Shayne Sexton’s Criminal Courtroom to have the case set for status, according to District Attorney General Lori Phillips-Jones. Comer is charged with felony first-degree murder, while Orton-Rezentes is charged with aggravated child abuse and neglect.

The state is seeking the death penalty for Comer, citing three aggravating factors in the pursuit of capital punishment.

Amber Leann Orton (Rezentes)

The D.A. said the state filed the motion for the death penalty because the victim was “less than 12 years old, the crime was particularly heinous and cruel in nature dealing with child abuse and neglect” and because Comer knowingly and willingly committed the crime.

The state is also seeking to try Comer and the mother together, though the D.A. said she fully anticipated their lawyers to file a motion of separation for their clients.

Joshua Adam Comer

Three-year-old Gabriella Orton was pronounced dead on June 2 at the Tennova Medical Center in La Follette.  Preliminary autopsy reports indicated severe child abuse, leading the district attorney general to convene a special-called grand jury to indict both Comer and Orton-Rezentes on the next afternoon, June 3.  The mother was taken into custody immediately, while a day and a half manhunt finally netted Comer in the Whitman Hollow area of Campbell County.

Comer remains in custody on a $1 million bond, while Orton-Rezentes remains jailed on a $750,000 bond.  (07/28/2014 - 12:15 AM - FILE PHOTO BY CHARLOTTE UNDERWOOD)

Property assessor’s office closed for training

By Charlotte Underwood

The Campbell County Property Assessor’s Office will be closed for a week, starting today, while staff attends state-mandated training, according to Property Assessor Brandon Partin.  The office will be closed all this week so its staff can take part in the state training which also includes office upgrades. 

“Basically the whole state is switching the computer program used by property assessors, and this week is Campbell County’s week to switch,” Partin said.  The new computer program will allow assessors to do a more thorough and detailed job when making property and home assessments.  According to Partin, the reason the state switched the computer programs was due to the old program being outdated.

“We are moving out of the pencil and paper era and everything is going digital. This new program will allow us to have more information and different information on our property assessment cards where previously we only printed the one card,” Partin said, explaining that his office would soon have the capability to print assessment cards tailored to the need of the individual.

“We would print a specific card for the property owner that was worded and laid out so it would be understandable to them,” Partin said, adding that the new program would also make assessments quicker.

“We will be able to upload assessment information immediately onto tablets while at the property and the new information will be entered immediately,” Partin said.

The new program will go live in Campbell County on Monday, Aug. 4. In the week leading up to that, employees at the assessor’s office will be traveling to Knoxville to be trained in how to use the new program. There is a total of seven employees who will receive the training, including Partin.

The training and new computer upgrades come at no cost to the county, according to Partin, who said he wanted to apologize and ask the public to bear with him and his office while they completed the state mandated changes and training.

The office will be up and running on Aug. 4. In the mean-time, if anyone needs access to property assessment information, Partin said the public could visit www.assessment.state.tn.us.  (07/28/2014 - 12:01 AM)

La Follette Police hosting handgun safety classes

By Charlotte Underwood

        The La Follette Police Department is hosting free handgun safety classes on Monday evenings beginning today at 4 p.m. and running through Aug. 25.  The class will be a basic handgun familiarization and safety course open to the general public free of charge, according to La Follette Police Chief Jimmy Jeffries.

       The inspiration behind hosting the class came from the fact that the police department and police in general often get asked a lot of questions about firearms and also a general concern that some may own guns but not be very familiar with them.

     “There are people who may go out and purchase a gun after hearing about some of the bad things that happen on the news and then they get home with that gun and perhaps tuck it into a dresser drawer and never touch it again; we want to help the public familiarize themselves with the weapon they have purchased as a courtesy and to help prevent possible accidents that could result from a lack of gun safety information,” Jeffries said.

     Each two-hour class is designed to give the student basic familiarity with their handguns, as well as pertinent safety information on handling, usage and storage of the weapon.

     “Some people get a gun and may not have ever even fired it,” Jeffries said, adding that this class would be especially good for someone who needed a basic handgun course.

    La Follette Mayor Mike Stanfield said he too felt the class was needed and was glad the police department was undertaking such a civic task.

     “I think it is great that they are doing this. If you are going to own a gun, then it is important that you know how to safely handle that gun,” Stanfield said, adding that he hoped the class would help gun owners be safer and perhaps prevent future accidents.

     Jeffries said if this first run of classes is well attended, then the department would most likely host future classes as early as the spring, with it possibly becoming a yearly service.

     The class will be on a first come first served basis and spots are limited, according to Jeffries, who encouraged those interested to register early. The class will end with students firing 50 rounds of ammunition at the firing range.  Each student will need to bring an unloaded handgun and 50 rounds of ammunition. Those participating will meet at the police station and travel to the firing range for classes.

    For more information or to register for this class, contact the police department at 423-562-8331.  (07/28/2014 - 12:10 AM)

     4th district leads the way in early voting

Worried about parking to early vote at Jacksboro because of court, construction, and courters for your vote?  Well don’t be.  The folks in the election commission office are “bird dogging” parking spaces to make sure you are able to park close by and cast your vote.  However, you’re on your own navigating your way to that parking place.

Friday’s early voting numbers from Jacksboro and Jellico add up to 461 while Saturday’s tally comes out to 176 bringing the total early voting and mail-in numbers to 2,675.  That represents a shade more than 12% of the active voter total of 21,864 voters over eight days of early voting.  Administrator of Elections Ann Ayers-Colvin tells WLAF that voters from the 4th district lead the way with 637 votes representing almost a fourth of all early voting. 

Early voting runs through August 2.  At Jacksboro, the days and hours are, Monday-Thursday from 9:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. and then on Friday from 9:00 until 7:00 p.m.  North side voters may vote at Jellico Monday through Thursday between 9:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m., and the Friday hours are 2:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m.  Both Jacksboro and Jellico early voting precincts are open 9:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. on Saturdays.  Election day is Thursday, August 7.  WLAF plans to provide complete election coverage beginning election night at 7:30 p.m. over radio, television, internet, Facebook, and Twitter.  CLICK HERE TO SEE THE COMPLETE BALLOT.

     Early voting totals:  July 18-446, July 19-202, July 21-355, July 22-350, July 23-300, July 24 – 339, July 25 -461, July 26 - 176.  (07/28/2104 - 12:15 AM)

La Follette woman honored with birthday proclamation

By Charlotte Underwood

An 82-year-old La Follette resident was honored yesterday with a surprise birthday proclamation by La Follette Mayor Mike Stanfield.

Stanfield proclaimed July 24 as Laura Jarnagin Day in the city to honor the lady who has “always been a friend to the city.”

Laura Jarnagin, middle, turned 82 yesterday! La Follette Mayor Mike Stanfield proclaimed July 24 as her day since she has been such a friend to the city. She is pictured here with the mayor and her daughter Shirley Jarnagin, right.

“She’s been my friend and a friend of the city for over 50 years and it’s an honor to be able to do this today,” Stanfield said.

As Laura blew out the candles on her cake, one candle was a bit stubborn.

“It’s kinda like me; it don’t want to give up,” she laughed, as she made her birthday wish.

Laura, who was born in 1932, said she had spent just about her whole life in LaFollette and she wouldn’t have it any other way. She worked for years at the Y-12 Oak Ridge Laboratories and even lived I n Oak Ridge for nearly three years.

Eighty-two-year-old Laura Jarnagin blows out her birthday candles and makes a wish at the La Follette City Hall on Thursday morning.

“I would come home every Wednesday to do my grocery shopping at Shelby’s; I had to do my shopping at Shelby’s,” Laura said with a laugh.

Her daughter Shirley Jarnagin was on hand to help her celebrate at city hall with cake and ice cream. Her son James Jarnagin joined in the celebration too.

“Oh she is happy, she’s so happy,” Shirley Jarnagin said with a smile at her mother.

Laura Jarnagin and Mayor Mike Stanfield pause for a picture during Jarnagin’s 82nd birthday celebration.

“I will cherish this; oh my goodness, I will cherish this,” Laura said with emotion as Stanfield read the proclamation out loud and presented it to her, along with a bouquet of flowers. (07/25/2014 - 6:00 AM)

EARLY VOTING CONTINUES (click to see ballot)

Early voting is 9:00-4:00 Monday at Jacksboro and 9:00-2:00 at Jellico

Finals ‘14 – The 2014 Election Returns from WLAF is presented by:

Attorney Greg Leach of Sexton, Sexton, and Leach Attorneys-Oneida 423.569.8341

American Cable in the Woodson Mall-Food City Center is your home for DISH

Since 1961, Litho-Craft Printing & Office Supplies on West Beech Street

Zach Sheets with Edward Jones Investments 423.566.4010

First National Bank 423.566.1624 - next to Subway on the four-lane

Beacon Finance "where pigs fly" on North Tennessee Avenue

State Farm Agent Tabatha Smith in the Fleet Building in La Follette

Attorney David H. Dunaway 423.562.7085

Holston Gases - click here and visit our website

The Gray Insurance Agency where "Nationwide is on your side"

Small airplane crashes at Deerfield



     All’s well that ends well.  It was a tense few minutes this afternoon for all concerned.  At 5:32 p.m., first responders raced to the Deerfield Community on Norris Lake in Campbell County responding to a plane crash.  Officials tell WLAF that it ended up being a minor accident, and the lone patient (of four aboard) only required a band aid for one of his fingers.  The plane crashed down in a wooded area near the runway of the Deerfield Airport on Championship Way.(07/24/2014/6:00 PM)

Hear Hatfield here

     La Follette’s Keith Hatfield, who grew up a stone’s throw from WLAF, hosts his very own sports talk show Friday afternoons over his hometown radio station, 1450 WLAF.  “Hatfield” as he’s referenced by Tony Basilio cranks up his fun couple of hours on the radio every Friday from 1:00 p.m. until 3:00 p.m. on WLAF  Welcome aboard, Hatfield! (07/24/2014)

Granny’s Old Fashion Café serves up home-cooked meals and hand-made desserts

By Charlotte Underwood

If good old fashioned home cooking and hand-made desserts are what you’re hungry for, check out Granny’s Old Fashion Café. Located up the valley, near the county line at 5782 Gen. Carl Stiner Highway, the restaurant opened just this past week. Granny’s offers a large variety of breakfast, lunch and dinner menu items. From the traditional staples of burgers and fries to deli sandwiches, the restaurant also serves soup beans, chili, deep-fried tenderloin, chicken dinners, Ribeye dinners and much more. For the hotdog connoisseurs out there, Granny’s has a deep fried hotdog with bacon and krout that is becoming a local favorite.  Another favorite is fish-fries, according to the owners, who said an all-you-can-eat fish fry is planned for Aug. 8, beginning at 5 p.m. Customers can enjoy all the catfish, hushpuppies, fries, coleslaw and sweet or un-sweet tea they can eat and drink for $10, dine-in only. And don’t worry about having a place to sit as the restaurant has seating and over flow capacity for about 200 people. Granny’s also has daily lunch specials for $6.75.

Home to one of the best hamburgers around, Granny’s Old Fashion Café also has a full menu of items including hotdogs, sandwiches, dinners, desserts and much more.

Owned and operated by three sisters who know the ins and outs of a kitchen, Granny’s Old Fashion Café uses only the finest ingredients and choice cuts of meat.

“We purchase all of our meat from Hollingsworth Meat Market in La Follette and try to get the best to serve to our customers,” said co-owner Thelma Welden. She and her sisters Alice Haulbrook and Janice Wilson run the restaurant and do all the cooking. Each has their own special area of expertise to round out the business. Haulbrook makes delicious and picturesque desserts, while Wilson’s meatloaf and lasagna are supposed to be out of this world.

Granny’s Old Fashion Café is located at 5782 General Carl W. Stiner Highway, about 10-minutes east of LaFollette in what used to be John D’s old bar.

“We do Janice’s meatloaf on Mondays and we can’t make enough of the stuff to sell; we always run out of it,” Welden said, adding that her other sister’s cakes sometimes never even made it to the kitchen.

“She brought an apple cake in here and a customer offered her $25 on the spot and bought it before she could even carry it back,” Welden said.

Whole cakes are available for purchase, with prices varying depending upon the cake, but orders must be placed one to two days in advance. Haulbrook also makes cobblers and pies and the restaurant offers hand-made milkshakes as well.

Welden enjoys cooking as well, but her favorite part of the business is the customers.

Home-made desserts are co-owner Alice Haulbrook’s specialty such as the coconut, German chocolate and lemon cake pictured here. Whole cakes are available for purchase providing orders are made one to two days in advance.

“Alice loves to cook and bake and I love the customers,” Welden said, adding that all three sisters learned their culinary skills from their mother, whom the café is named after.

“Our mother is 89 years old and just picked two bushels of beans,” Welden said with a laugh, adding that the sisters also got their work ethics from their mother.

“We aren’t here to get rich. We just want to provide quality food and friendly service to our customers and make living.” The sisters invite the public to stop by and try the home-cooked food at Granny’s.

Granny’s Old Fashion Café is located 5782 Gen. Carl W. Stiner Highway where John D’s bar used to be. For more information or to place an order call 423-377-5947. The business is open Monday through Saturday from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.  (07/24/2014 - 6:00 AM)

Long-time La Follette Police officer dies

By Charlotte Underwood

Retired La Follette Police Officer Paul Sweat passed away early this morning.  The 73-year-old was a United States Army MP Veteran and had been a police officer for the city from 1977 through 1997, according to LaFollette Communications Supervisor Brenda Moses.  Moses said she worked with Sweat during that time.

“He was a sergeant when he retired; he was a good sergeant and I wish we had him back,” Moses said, adding that Paul had been the type of man who would give someone the shirt off his back.

Paul Sweat served as an MP in the Army and 20-years on the LPD force

“He probably wouldn’t want anyone to know that side of him, but he liked to help people,” Moses said, adding that she and him had “fit like cats and dogs on occasion, but always got the job done.”

“He was almost like a big brother to me and sometimes he could be ornery as all get out, but he always got the job done and he kept his guys in line and was a great sergeant,” Moses said.

La Follette Mayor Mike Stanfield said the city was flying its flags half-mast in honor of Paul and his family.  The city will continue to fly its flags half-mast until Paul is buried, according to the mayor.

“He was just an all-around great guy.  He was a good police officer and came from a good family and cared about the city,” Stanfield said, adding that he wanted to remember Paul as he had been.

“I want to remember him from 30 years ago when we were all young, fit and healthy,” Stanfield said, adding that Paul had been great friends with another officer Bob Ford, who had died several years ago.

“There’s not a doubt in my mind that those two have crossed paths again in the last 24 hours and a friendship has been renewed,” Stanfield said.

Services for Paul Sween Sweat are Friday at 8 p.m. at the La Follette Church of God.  Reverend Mike Smith and Reverend Alan Shepherd and Chaplin James Dunn will be officiating.

The family will receive friends from 4 to 8 p.m. that day at the church.  Interment will be at 11 a.m. on Saturday at Bakers Forge Cemetery with military honors given by the Campbell County Honor Guard. Condolences may be given at www.cross-smith funeralhome.com.  Arrangements for the service are being handled by Cross-Smith Funeral Home and the complete obituary is found at the Obituary Link.(07/23/2014 - 4:30 PM)

Lasley, Mayes return to familiar territory

     Ronnie Lasley’s been the head football coach at Jellico High School once.  And he’s back.  Chris Mayes once served as the assistant baseball coach at Campbell High School.  And he’s back.  It’s old home week for Lasley and Mayes as the two get set for their respective 2014-2015 seasons.  Though Mayes does have a few more months to prep than Lasley. 

New CCHS Head Baseball Coach Chris Mayes

Lasley has served as assistant principal at JHS the past few years, and now adds head football coach to his Blue Devil duties.  Former Jellico Coach Brad Lawson has taken an assistant high school coaching position in Kentucky.  Mayes left the Cougars in the summer of 2011 and has been Lenoir City’s head coach until today.  He steps in for Coach Ryan Browning who stepped down after two stints as CCHS’s head baseball coach. 

Jellico High School Football Coach Ronnie Lasley returns to the Blue Devils 

Lasley was Jellico’s offensive coordinator last season and served as the Blue Devils head coach from 2000-06 and had success leading the Blue and White to four Class 1-A playoff appearances in 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2004. Jellico opens its football season on Friday, August 29 at home with Tri-Cities Christian. (07/23/2014 - 4:30 PM)

Sheriff reports

By Charlotte Underwood

La Follette man arrested on assault and false imprisonment charges

A La Follette man was arrested on domestic violence and false imprisonment charges after he allegedly held his ex-girlfriend against her will and assaulted her, according to a sheriff’s report. Dustin Lee Pollitt, 33, was arrested on July 21 after officers received a report that he had assaulted his ex-girlfriend and held her against her will.  After responding to the address where the altercation took place, Pollitt refused to answer the door.  Officers got the landlord to open the door and took Pollitt into custody after speaking with the female and noting bruises, cuts and scratches on her from the altercation.  Pollitt has a court date set for July 29.

Three arrested on drug charges at White Bridge

Three individuals were arrested on drug charges after a deputy on patrol drove by and noted they were acting suspicious and nervous. After stopping to check on the occupant s of the car, deputies learned the driver, Jason Craig Parks, 24, had a warrant for his arrest on a violation of probation charge. Deputies received permission to search the car and found two hypodermic needles and a bottle of Oxycontin 15 milligram in the back of the vehicle. Parks was charged with two counts violation of probation and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Rebecca Jean Rose, 35, of Caryville, and Mark Steven Seiber, 44, of Caryville, were both passengers in the vehicle and were charged with possession of drug paraphernalia.(07/23/2014 - 6:00 AM)

State of the County - Mayor William Baird & Deputy Mayor David G. Young 07/22/2014


Football practice is in full swing for nearly 100 youngsters

     Football practice for youngsters in the CCYFA kicked off this week.  Monday’s practice for the Campbell County Youth Football Association signals the official start of football season for some 90 players. 

As the players put on the pads, some 75 girls prep the pompons.  The JV Hoppers, Hoppers, Cutters, and cheerleaders are counting down to the August 2 season opener at Anderson County High School.

Injured continue recovering this morning

     A day and a half later, three Campbell County men continue recovering from injuries sustained in a Monday night wreck.  The wreck that killed 43-year old Charles Morris of La Follette also sent three other men to the UT Medical at Knoxville by way of Lifestar.  Conditions of the trio remain the same as on Tuesday.  In serious condition is the driver of the pick-up truck from the single-vehicle accident, 42-year old Kevin Fleming of Jacksboro.  Listed as critical are 39-year old Darrell Carroll of La Follette and 52-year old Carl Daughtery, Jr. of Caryville.  Pictures and a related story are found further down this page.(07/23/2014 - 6:30 AM)

Services from the First Baptist Church of La Follette 07-27-14


Campbell County Commission from 07/21/2014


One man is dead.  Three others remain hospitalized.

     Charges are pending in Monday’s fatal single-vehicle wreck.  Trooper Joseph Brown tells WLAF News that last evening just after 7:00 p.m. in Caryville is when and where 42-year old Kevin Fleming of Jacksboro lost control while driving a 2004 Dodge Ram 2500 truck.  The trooper details that Fleming, along with three passengers, was headed south on Patty Hill Road when his truck left the right side of the roadway near Ridge Road

It’s believed that drinking may have been a factor in the Monday night wreck on Patty Hill at Caryville. 

Brown goes on to say that Fleming over-corrected to the left and traveled up an embankment.  The truck then hit a tree, rotated left, and eventually stopped on its side, the right passenger side.  Fleming was behind the wheel with 39-year old Darrell Carroll of La Follette riding shotgun.  Carroll is listed in critical condition this afternoon in the Trauma Surgery Unit at UT Medical Center at Knoxville

Tree that the truck struck.

Riding in the back seat behind the driver was 52-year old Carl Daugherty, Jr. of Caryville, who is also in the UTMC Trauma Surgery Unit in critical condition.  The man who was seated in the back on the passenger side, the side the truck landed on, 43-year old Charles Morris of La Follette, died from his injuries. 

Charles Jennings Morris

All four men were flown out by multiple Lifestar helicopters.  Brown notes in his report that citations and criminal charges are pending against Fleming who Brown says was drinking while driving.  Fleming is being treated in the Neuro Critical Care Wing and is in serious condition.  Trooper Brown adds that none of the men was wearing seatbelts, and that it would have made a difference.    (07/22/2014 - 1:30 PM)

Commission freezes discretionary funds until new budget is passed

County commissioners voted Monday night to freeze the allocation of their discretionary funds until a budget has been approved, a move which would prevent any commissioners who are not returning to office from depleting the fund of their successor, as was done in many cases four years ago.

When the current group of commissioners took office in 2010, they discovered that several commissioners who had either retired or been defeated at the polls had distributed the entirety of their $4,000 in discretionary money intended for distribution to schools and non-profit groups.

As a result, most new commissioners had no funds to distribute for an entire year. The commission’s initial reaction when the following year’s budget was adopted was to abolish the discretionary fund completely, but they later reinstated it at a lower amount of $2,500 for each commissioner.

A resolution was then proposed limiting allocation to one-quarter of the total in each calendar quarter, but that resolution caused confusion among many commissioners.

County Attorney Joe Coker told commissioners Monday night that a motion by Rusty Orick would restrict the spending of any discretionary funds until a budget is passed, despite the fact that the county is currently operating under a continuing resolution that allows spending at last year’s levels for most county operations.

Bobby White, one of three commissioners not running for re-election, agreed with that restriction, pointing out, “My intention is to not spend one dime of my discretionary fund.”

The commission then voted unanimously to freeze the discretionary fund until a budget is approved.

Commissioners also voted unanimously to approve the proposed contract with Med Trans for setting up a UT LifeStar center at the Campbell County Airport. The rental proceeds received from Med Trans will be less than originally proposed because the site preparation for the helicopter pad and building will cost around $70,000 more than anticipated.

The extra costs are due to poor bore hole samples in the area of the proposed building, making it necessary to conduct some extensive earthmoving to prepare the site, according to a memo from Med Trans representative Scott Carroll.

Med Trans asked the county to pay for the site preparation by deducting the costs from Med Trans’ monthly rent for a period of ten years. As a result Med Trans will pay $642 per month to the county and receive a $583 monthly credit toward the initial cost of site preparation. Campbell County will receive a little over half of the original offer of $14,700 a year for renting the space, but the building and all construction carried out by Med Trans will remain county property.

Thomas Hatmaker was the only commissioner to object to the proposal, protesting that the lower lease amount shortchanges taxpayers. In the end, Hatmaker voted along with other commissioners to approve the agreement, however.

The commission also voted unanimously to accept a proposal from commission secretary Peggy Henegar reducing her job to a part-time position for no more than fifteen hours a week. Henegar said that under the new arrangement, she will staff the commission meetings and workshops and other work as needed, but no longer open the commission office on a regular basis. She will no longer receive insurance or pension benefits as a part-time employee.

Commissioners voted to grant Henegar’s request, expressing gratitude for her years of loyal service. Johnny Bruce, who chaired the meeting in the absence of Mayor William Baird, also expressed his gratitude for their service to three commissioners who are not returning for another term – White, Hatmaker and Beverly Hall.

Those three outgoing commissioners may still vote at the August meeting. Although scheduled after new commissioners have been elected, that meeting will take place before the new commission is sworn into office.  (07/22/2014 - 5:00 AM)      

It was a week of football-n-fun at Jacksboro Middle School last week.  JMS Coach Mike Miller is pictured here with his staff and all the campers.(DAVID GRAHAM PIX 07/17/2014)

Cougar Coach Matt Housley’s annual basketball camp was held last week at John Brown Gym. (DAVID GRAHAM PIX 07/17/2014)

La Follette purchases extrication equipment; used twice already

By Charlotte Underwood

The La Follette Fire Department has used recently purchased extrication equipment twice already since putting the Jaws of Life into use at the beginning of June. The equipment, which was purchased through a La Follette Medical Foundation Grant, was used on two separate wrecks already, according to La Follette Fire Chief Gary Byrd. The equipment is strong enough to cut through most vehicles on the road and runs on a gasoline-powered hydraulic pump. The department used specialized jacks to help stabilize the wrecked vehicle while the extrication equipment is used.

A La Follette Firefighters holds a jack used to stabilize vehicles while the extrication equipment is used.

Byrd had approached the La Follette City Council about purchasing the equipment and getting firefighters trained several months ago. With the council’s backing and a $34,000 grant from the medical foundation, the equipment was purchased and training commenced. According to Byrd, the entire fire department is trained on the extrication equipment. Seven members of the department are also cross trained as First Responders, meaning they can provide medical attention to the patient while waiting on the ambulance to arrive. Byrd said he has a goal to have the entire department trained as First Responders in about a year.

 The drive behind the changes is to save lives and offer the same services that many other fire departments already provide.

“It’s just a matter of keeping up with the times,” Byrd said, adding that the training and equipment was a big plus for the city.

Mayor Mike Stanfield said the department’s recent use of the equipment could have very well saved a life. He recalled in the past, driving up on wrecks and seeing firefighters and policemen standing there while waiting for the rescue squad to arrive and cut the patient out of the vehicle.

“When it’s that type of situation and you can’t do anything it’s just terrible, but we aren’t in that boat any longer. With this equipment and training, the firefighters can get the patient help much quicker. We want people to know that if they are out there and in an accident, we care and we want to help them. It will save lives,” Stanfield said.

“When you use that equipment to cut someone out and get them on their way to the hospital, those seconds or minutes could mean the difference in life and death,” Byrd agreed.(07/21/2014 - 6:00 AM)

Saturday July 19th was Jerry Stout Day on Hatfield Knob of Campbell County

Terry Lewis, Brian Brown, and Bill Stanley prepare to unveil the monument bench

     Charter members and founders of the Royal Blue Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation Terry Lewis and Bill Stanley unveil the Jerry Stout Memorial bench this morning in front of over 50 friends, family and members of TWRA despite the rain soaked surroundings. Bill Stanley prepared a short moving talk remembering the life and adventures of friend a partner in the foundation that all gathered to memorialize.


Bill Stanley Co-Chair of the Royal Blue Chapter of The Rocky Mt. Elk Foundation

     Stanley emphasized in his talk that Jerry was a classroom teacher by profession but was a person who taught all of us there many things about life itself. Jerry continued to teach us all right up to the final days, commented Stanley as Terry Lewis removes the cover of a beautiful monument in Jerry Stouts honor.

Jo Stout the first to sit on the new bench thanks friends and supporters as some traveled from as far as Alabama

3rd Forum '14 - district 5 school board/commission & sheriff candidates 07/17/2014

Forums 1 and 2 are found further down this page


    Jerry Stout memorial bench dedication set for Saturday morning

     Saturday morning July 19 at 10 am at the Elk Viewing Stand on Hatfield Knob near La Follette, a bench will be placed in the honor of Jerry Stout who was the past chairman of the royal Blue Chapter of Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.  Stout passed away one-year ago following a battle with Alzheimer`s.

Jerry Stout (far right) along with members of the Royal Blue  Chapter of The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation is pictured assisting with construction of Elk Viewing Sign on at Hwy 25W at the turn off.

     Jerry was probably best known by many as a science teacher at La Follette Jr. High or Campbell County High School or maybe assistant principal at CCHS or principal at La Follette Middle, but Stout was heavily involved with hunter safety, search & rescue training, and was one of the original members of the local Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation committee which later led to becoming chapter chairman. 

     Stout was there and involved in the original elk release and from that point on was very active in the tracking of the elk heard.  His early involvement with amateur radio (ham radio) proved to be a plus for the TWRA when it came to tracking and keeping up with the elk. Amateur radio club members often played a game of sorts by tracking radio signals to find an individual keying a microphone and transmitting a signal.  Amateur radio operators would use antenna tracking devices to locate the person keying the mike.  When the elk heard was released TWRA placed tracking collar with transmitters on them, and Jerry`s amateur radio skills played a big part in assisting TWRA in locating and keeping up with elk and especially when an elk that died as their collars transmitted a constant signal which had to be tracked.


Stout (blaze orange) opens the first trailer door at most recent elk release near Smokey Junction

     Stout recently received a national award as volunteer of the year by the  Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation at the national convention  in Fort Worth Texas. 

Stout enjoying the outdoors by the fire at the Big South Fork

     The bench will be unveiled Saturday at 10 am and will be located at the elk viewing stand Jerry helped to build for the public to enjoy.  (07/18/2104 - 10:00 AM)

1st Forum '14 - districts 1 & 2 school board/commission candidates 06/26/2014


2nd Forum '14 school board/commission districts 3 & 4 and mayoral 07/10/2014


ESPN-SEC Network airs in August

     It`s about 90 days to the TENNESSEE VOL kick off on the new ESPN Network.  If you are NOT using Dish Network you will not be watching.  As of now Dish is your only option in Campbell County to see the new ESPN-SEC Network which begins August 14, 2014. See our local Dish Retailer “American Cable” in the Food City Center soon to be connected to the new SEC Network.  Do not miss the Vols first two games of 2014.  Visit them in the mall or click below. ....  Free IPAD Mini offer to expire within days.

Click the cap to watch the 2014 CCHS Graduation Ceremonies

2014 Campbell Football Schedule

August 14 or 15                       Jamboree                      A

August  22                              Cumberland Gap            A

August 29                               Lynn Camp                  H

September 5                          Central *                      H

September  12                         Anderson County*          A

September 18                          Clinton*                         A

September 26                          Halls*(HC)                     H

October 3                                Oak Ridge*                    A

October 10                             Gibbs*                          H

October 17                              Open Date                    - -

October 24                              Karns*                          A

October 31                             Powell*(SN)                 H                           

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Photo: CCHS Class of 1984    

     Due to what little amount of feedback we have received regarding having both the dinner AND the picnic, the reunion committee has voted to cancel the dinner. As of now, our 30th Class Reunion will be as follows: Family Picnic Saturday, August 23, 2014 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. Cove Lake State Park Shelter #1 110 Cove Lake Lane Caryville, TN 37714 Cost: $10/adult & $5/child (under 10) Cost covers: shelter rental, purchase of hot dogs, hamburgers, buns, drinks, ice, BBQ supplies (charcoal & lighter fluid), plates, cups, napkins, and cutlery.

      Please feel free to bring the following: Your family Side dish or dessert Chairs We are asking classmates to RSVP to our Facebook page or call Lisa Smith Kelly at 317-538-3732 or Pam Cooper Fekete at 865-318-9540 by July 1st so we can have a head count for purchasing food, etc. Your money should be received by July 15th. Checks should be made payable to: CCHS 30TH REUNION P.O. Box 411 Lenoir City, TN 37771-0411 c / o William Lovely, Treasurer 

     NOTE : Several of us are planning to go to dinner later that same night as an ADULT ONLY evening. If anyone would like to join us, please feel free. We have not decided on where so if you have suggestions, feel free to make them. You are responsible for your own dinner if you decide to join our party but we hope you can make it!