Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Latest News

State representative Henry Fincher of Cookeville says he is pleased that Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey is giving up an effort to change the way supreme court judges are appointed in Tennessee. Ramsey says he’s backing off of a proposal to have Tennessee Supreme Court justices stand in contested re-election campaigns. A compromise measure now under consideration would give the House and Senate speakers sole discretion over who serves on a judicial nominating commission, and would replace the yes-no wording on election ballots with words "retain" or "replace." Justices who lose their retention votes could then be challenged in contested elections. Fincher says he looks forward to working with Ramsey to keep judicial selection fair and impartial." The current system of selecting judges is set to expire at the end of June.

Aggravated assault charges have been filed against a Cookeville man, who allegedly shot several air gun pellets at another man in the Tractor Supply Company parking lot early one morning. The victim described his attacker as a man driving a black Honda Civic with temporary tags, and police say they pulled that car over a few blocks away from the scene. One of the occupants, identified as 21-year-old Joshua Cain Jones of Virginia Avenue, allegedly had an air pistol on him and admitted to the shooting, saying that people who hang out in that parking lot tend to pick on the victim and his friends. In addition to the assault charge, Cain was cited for vandalism because some of the pellets hit the victim, while others damaged a car.

Two Davidson County residents have been charged with dealing drugs in Cookeville after a police officer checked out a suspicious vehicle parked behind the Dollar General store on West Jackson Street. According to a report by Officer Brandon Tayes, the vehicle was parked in a dark area of the lot and was backed in. When he went to check on the occupants, he found 26-year-old Jacques Sheray Johnson and 21-year-old Aquincy Carmond Dickson, both of Bell Road in Nashville. He says they kept giving conflicting stories, so he asked if he could search the car. Jones says that search turned up a plastic panel in the vehicle that had been tampered with. Inside the panel was a black bag with 13 pills in it. He says there were also large amounts of cash wadded up and lying on the floor board. Johnson allegedly admitted that the pills belonged to her and was arrested. As she was being searched before going to jail, police say they found one bag of crack cocaine and a bag of powder cocaine on her -- totalling some 19 and a half grams. Dickson was also charged with possession of drugs for resale after police found a rock of crack cocaine where he had been sitting in the car. The vehicle, $1275 in cash, and the drugs were all seized because they were "believed to be tools and proceeds of illegal drug sales."

The White Plains area of Putnam County has been nominated for placement on the National Register of Historic Places. The state Review Board will meet two weeks from today to discuss whether White Plains and nine other historic sites meet the criteria for being placed on the Register. Jackson County High School is also under consideration. The Review Board is composed of 13 people with backgrounds in American history, architecture, archaeology or related fields. It also includes members representing the public. The National Register program was authorized under the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966. White Plains, located today near Algood School, was first settled by the Burton and Quarles families in the early 1800s.