SuperTalk WFHG Local News Stories
Saturday, January 31, 2015

Man Found Staying in a JC Home While Owner Was Away
A home owner returned home after being away for several days and found a man inside. Johnson City investigators determined that man was 53-year old Ronald Sams and say he had likely been living in the home while the home owner was away. When officers found Sams, they found property taken from the home located on him. Sams will be arraigned on Monday afternoon on charges of Burglary, Resisting Arrest and Theft. All of the items taken from the home were found and returned to the owner.

Jury Convicts 70-year-old Johnson City Woman of Vehicular Homicide
A Sullivan County jury convicts a 70-year-old Johnson City woman of vehicular homicide for driving under the influence of depressants, causing her to drift lanes and off the shoulder of a highway finally slamming T-Bone into the victim's vehicle stopped at stop sign. Patricia A. Rhea faces up to 12 years in prison at sentencing March 11th. As a first offender, she could be eligible for probation. The crash in 2013 killed Fleming Dwight Sluder on Highway 11 E in Piney Flats. The jury was told the 66 year old was just a block away from his home.

"Trammel Property" Bill Chances Slim, According to Carrico
It's the so called Trammel property in Washington County, Virginia in the Exit 7 area. The county asks the General Assembly to make it part of Bristol, Virginia's special sales tax revenue zone which is to reap the city more and the state less revenue for a limited time for the Falls Development at Exit 5. The county's request remains tabled in the Senate Finance committee and sponsor Senator Bill Carrico holds out little hope. “It can be brought back up but the chances of it getting brought back up are very slim,” he said. Carrico said while lawmakers saw merit in providing special revenue benefits for Bristol, Virginia, investing millions of dollars in city money and in competition with the similar Pinnacle Development in Bristol, Tennessee, he says they want to keep it limited to Bristol.

As Virginia General Assembly Formulates Budget, Highway Funding Up So Far for Bristol District
State Senator Bill Carrico says so far the Bristol area district stands to gain in the new way that highway funds are proposed to be allocated in Virginia...based on need and benefit. But Carrico says he's keeping a close eye on it. He said, “As long as it stays that way, but once you start jockeying figures around. As one old man used to say, liars can figure but figures don't lie.”

Hubbard Gives Perspective on Need for City Council Executive Sessions
Six months after taking a seat on Bristol Virginia City Council, Archie Hubbard says he's gained perspective on why so much business involving personnel, legal matters and economic development force council members into executive session behind closed doors. Regarding secrecy leading up to the announcement of the Nulife Glass plant , Hubbard says the city was bound by confidentiality due to the state providing $300,000 in incentives to the company. “So we're hamstrung in that regard," he said. "No matter how much we'd like to tell what's going on we can't do it until it's a done deal.”

Carrico Bill on Domestic Assault in Trouble Due to Cost
As promised, State Senator Bill Carrico proposes a law to crack down on domestic assault in Virginia, making it a felony at second offense. That's in direct response to last year's murder of beloved Bristol teacher Kristin Palmer, her son Griffin, and her mother, Nancy, at the hands of her abusive husband who also killed himself. But the Carrico bill is not sailing through the Senate budget committee because more abusers going to jail would cost money for more prison beds, a lot of money. He said, “The issue with the bill is not the policy, it's the budget shortfall. This has a fiscal impact of $15 million.” In regard to the Palmer crimes, a bill is also pending to revoke gun rights of those convicted of violent misdemeanors.

Wise County Dentist Gets Two Months in Jail for Fraud
A dentist from Wise County pleaded guilty in federal court to ordering large amounts of pain killers for his practice but using the drugs instead of dispensing them. Court records also show 66-yr-old Newton Carroll Mullins of Wise also wrote prescriptions for hydrocodone for his employees and they would bring the drugs back for his use. The state said Mullins obtained over 10,000 doses of pain pills by fraud. He received two months in jail and four months of home arrest.

Water Service in Portions of Elizabethton to be Interrupted Saturday
Water customers in Elizabethton in the East Side district will experience either low water pressure or no water for several hours this morning as town maintenance crews begin new water hook-ups in the Riverview Drive community.

Washington County, VA Deputies Looking for Two Men Involved in Farm Machine Burglary
Two men are being sought in Washington County after stealing a piece of farm machinery. Sheriff Fred Newman said the burglary took place in the early morning hours of January 23 on a farm in the Mendota community. Surveillance footage captured by the homeowner shows two men on the property just before their John Deere Gator was stolen. Anyone with information on the case can contact Detective Brandon Tweed at 276.676.6030

JCPD Prepares for Super Bowl Weekend, DUI Patrols with Additional Officers
Johnson City Police will be keeping their eyes on the road for impaired drivers this Super Bowl weekend. The police department is partnering with the Fans Don't Let Fans Drive Drunk campaign of the Tennessee Highway Safety Office, who will be providing funding for the additional officers. Authorities would like to remind fans this weekend that buzzed driving is drunk driving and to designate a sober driver if alcohol will be involved in weekend plans.

Kingsport Police Search for Suspects who Stole Nearly $2,000 Worth of Items
Kingsport officers are looking for three people seen shoplifting nearly $2,000 worth of merchandise from the Walmart on West Stone Drive earlier this month. Items stolen include clothing, household items, as well as power and hand tools. Pictures of the suspects are available at the Kingsport Police blog site. (EE)

Washington County Commissioner David Tomita Talks in Support of Project X
“Its a solid deal and not as big a deal as people are making it.”That was Washington County Commissioner David Tomita on Project X. Tomita sighted concerns for current employees of the company and the difficult environment of economic development as reasons why the name is being kept private. Tomita said,"Economic development is a very competitive environment these days and you can imagine how disruptive it could be for employees to know that their employer is possibly moving to another state.”

Eastman Chemical Earnings Up
Eastman Chemical Company earnings up for the fifth straight year. That announced as part of year end and fourth quarter numbers. 2014 sales revenue was $9.5 billion, a two percent increase over the year before.

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