Sunday, May 10, 2009

The Latest News

Putnam County's juvenile court judge says he wants to have another hearing before deciding whether or not to set bail for two teenagers charged in connection with the explosion of a soda bottle at Avery Trace Middle School. Judge John Hudson has scheduled that hearing for this Thursday. Police say the two boys -- ages 14 and 15 -- are charged with manufacturing a prohibited weapon and with reckless endangerment. They allegedly purchased some household chemicals which they mixed together in a two-liter plastic bottle last week. The chemical mixture caused a loud explosion, but no one was hurt. The two suspects were arrested the next day and have been suspended from school. Their mothers are reportedly going to hire lawyers to represent the boys in the case against them.

A May 18th arraignment has been set for a White County man -- facing more than one hundred charges of sexual abuse. Authorities say 53-year-old Selby Seals of Gooseneck Road in Doyle, Tennessee, was arrested on 125 counts of sexual-related charges. Seals has been charged with 15 counts of child rape, 70 counts of sexual battery by an authority figure, and 40 counts of aggravated sexual battery. Seals worked as a piano teacher, a tutor and a basketball coach. The sheriff's department says their investigation shows that Seals abused multiple victims -- some younger than 13 years of age. Friends of the suspect claim that his accusers are motivated by a dispute over money.

Putnam County's Adult Drug Court will be honoring its graduates in a ceremony scheduled for later this week. Drug Court coordinator Tammy Holmes says the graduation ceremony will take place Thursday afternoon at five o'clock in the General Sessions Court of the Justice Center. That date was chosen, in part, to celebrate May as National Drug Court Month. The drug court allows individuals to avoid jail time if they follow an intensive program intended to help them stay away from illegal substances.

The bids are in and the Tennessee Department of Transportation has identified the apparent lowest bidders on the state’s second round of infrastructure projects funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The latest round of projects include the resurfacing of about five miles of Dodson Branch Road from north of Tennessee Tech all the way to the Jackson County line -- a project which the state wants completed on or before September 30, 2009. T-DOT also plans to repave Interstate 40 from the Smith County line up to the Smithville exit 273. Highways, Incorporated, is the apparent low bidder on both projects. They put in a bid of 1.7 million dollars for the I-40 project and one of just under $800,000 for the Dodson Branch Road work.

A White County woman has been charged with TennCare fraud for obtaining prescription medications she intended to sell by using TennCare to pay for the drugs. The Office of Inspector General announced the arrest of 20-year-old Tiffany Archer of Sparta. Archer was arrested on an indictment accusing her of fraudulently obtaining prescriptions for tramadol, a pain medication similar to morphine, and Flexeril, which is a muscle relaxant, using TennCare to pay for the prescriptions with the intent of selling a portion of the pills. TennCare fraud is a Class E felony carrying a sentence of up to two years in prison. District Attorney General Randy York is prosecuting.

"It matters who leads" was the theme of the message presented by Tennessee State Sen. Dolores Gresham at Tennessee Tech University’s record-breaking spring commencement at the Hooper Eblen Center over the weekend. With nearly 1,275 graduates earning degrees, it was the largest commencement ceremony yet in TTU’s history. Gresham told graduates that collections of things are managed, but groups of people are led. "And who is leading them is as important as how they are led," she said. Students graduating from TTU this spring hail from 26 states including Tennessee, 76 Tennessee counties and 18 foreign countries. They represent 43 undergraduate fields of study and 23 graduate fields. Birth dates of graduates ranged from 1945 to 1988.