A large crowd turned out on Tuesday night for the dedication, ribbon-cutting and open house of the new Coffee County Middle School. Coffee County Director of Schools Dr. LaDonna McFall welcomed the crowd as the $21 million dollar school opened its doors to the community. Coffee County School Board vice-Chairman Reggie Johnson had the honor of cutting the ribbon to ceremonially open the new school. Coffee County Middle School principal Kim Aaron spoke to the crowd expressing her gratitude to the community for investing in the new beautiful facility. The middle school will open with approximately 900 students for this school year with an immediate expansion capacity of 1,200. Long term, the design of the facility, and its common facilities, would allow for future expansion which could increase the overall capacity to 1,500. Thunder Radio’s Samantha Terrell-Watters attended the dedication and will have a Thunder TV video presentation on the new school next week. Make sure you visit our website, WMSRradio.com
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With four days remaining in the early voting period, voter turnout remains strong for the August 7th state primaries and county and municipal general elections in Coffee County. At the closing of the polls on Tuesday, 3,803 voters had cast early ballots well ahead of the pace for the August 2010 election. Early voting continues thru this Saturday, August 2nd. Voters may cast ballots at 2 locations, the Election Commission office in the Coffee County Administrative Plaza at 1329 McArthur Street. That office is open from 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM during the week and 8:30 AM to Noon on Saturday. Voters can also cast their ballot in Tullahoma at the C. D. Stamps Center located at 810 South Jackson Street. That location is open from 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM during the week and 9:00 AM to Noon on Saturday. Early voting ends on Saturday.
Manchester Fire & Rescue, along with the Coffee County Sherriff’s Office, Coffee County EMS and the Tennessee Highway Patrol responded to a motor vehicle accident on Fredonia Road on Monday night. Upon arrival, emergency crews found a single vehicle which had flipped over near the 5500 block of Fredonia Road. The female driver, who was the lone passenger in the vehicle, had to be extricated from the vehicle and was transported via ambulance to Manchester Medical Center. From there, Air Evac Life-Flight transported the driver to Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga. No update was given on the driver’s condition and the accident is still under investigation.
Gasoline is selling at the lowest price since March amid rising gasoline supplies and falling oil prices. The national average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline is on a 30-day streak of declines. Prices in Tennessee have fallen for 32 consecutive days according to Mark Jenkins, spokesman for the AAA Auto Club Group. “Oil prices briefly rose following the crash of Malaysian Airliner Flight MH17, but gas prices didn’t skip a beat last week,” said Jenkins. “Motorists continue to enjoy discounts at the pump and that’s likely to continue this week.” Oil is trading lower as gasoline supplies reach a four-month high. The Tennessee average price for a gallon of gasoline is 5 cents cheaper than last week at $3.29 a gallon. The average price of gas one year ago was $3.42 per gallon. Locally, the cheapest price found in Coffee County was $3.20 per gallon in Tullahoma, while the lowest price reported earlier this week in Manchester was $3.21 per gallon.
Fire caused heavy damage to historic Rebel’s Rest on the campus of the University of the South last Wednesday night. The blaze was reported at approximately 11:30 p.m. and the Sewanee Volunteer Fire Department arrived on the scene at 11:35. There were no injuries or damage to adjacent buildings. The cause of the fire is not yet known; but the state arson investigator is investigating the fire. Rebel’s Rest has served as a university guest house for many years, but has been closed this summer for renovations. Originally built as the family home of Major George Fairbanks in 1866, the building is the only remaining campus structure from the re-founding of the university following the Civil War. The first post-Civil War meeting of the Board of Trustees was held there in October 1866.
U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander visited Manchester on Tuesday as part of his two week “Standing up for Tennessee” Bus Tour. At the Oak Restaurant, the US Senator met with local voters over lunch as part of his 35 stop tour before Election Day. Since 2002, Lamar has served in the US Senate. During his visit to Manchester, Alexander expressed his desire for re-election in order to enact positive change in his role as Chairman of the Committee of Education, Labor, & Health.
Story and pictures by Samantha Terrell-Watters
A Manchester couple is being held under a bond of $100,000 in the Coffee County Jail after their arrest on child abuse charges. According to warrants, Carlena Scalf, 22, of Maple Springs Road in Manchester is charged with hitting her 3-year-old son multiple times across the face causing swelling and bruising to his face. She allegedly told Sheriff’s Deputy Nick Graham that she did it because he “cursed” her. Preston James Myers, 22, of Fern Gully Lane, Manchester is accused of striking the 3-year-old in the face with his fist. They are both to appear in Coffee County General Sessions Court Aug. 18. The child was taken into DCS custody and placed with his biological father.
Thanks to Wayne Thomas of the Tullahoma News for this story.
The fire department responded alongside the Hickerson Station Volunteer Fire Department to a fire on the loading dock at Johnson’s Mulch on the Old Tullahoma Highway in Manchester on Monday morning. Crews worked together to extinguish the fire with the use of firefighting foam and heavy equipment. Damage was contained to the loading dock area. The cause of the blaze is unknown and is under investigation.
On Monday afternoon, 911 received multiple calls for smoke from a second floor room at Sleep Inn & Suites on Relco Drive in Manchester. The Manchester Fire Department responded and found a charred bush in the hotel’s landscaping. The fire was noticed by a hotel guest and a hotel employee used an extinguisher to knock the fire down. Firefighters cooled remaining hot spots and used a thermal imaging camera inside the room to check for any fire extension. The cause of the fire is believed to be improper disposal of smoking material.
County unemployment rates for June 2014, released last week, show the unemployment rate increased in all 95 Tennessee counties since the May survey. Overall, the state seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased from 6.4% in May to a June rate of 6.6%. The rate for Coffee County increased from 5.6% in May to 6.6% in June. Franklin County increased from 5.8% in May to 7.0% in June. Moore County saw its rate rise from 5.5% to 6.7%; Bedford County increased from 6.1% to 7.5%; Grundy County increased from 8.1% to 9.5%; while Cannon County went from 5.5% up to 6.7%. Scott County, in East Tennessee, had the highest unemployment rate in Tennessee for June at 14.2% while Lincoln County has the state’s lowest rate at 5.2%
Specific county information for June is available online at: http://www.tn.gov/labor-wfd/labor_figures/LaborJune2014.pdf.
A Manchester man has been arrested on fugitive from justice charges. Steven Eric Pless Jr., 19, of Park Motel was arrested July 23 on warrants from Florida. The warrants allege that he is wanted for two counts of sexual battery and lewd or lascivious molestation.
Florida authorities notified the Coffee County Sheriff’s department that he was possibly working at a Manchester industry. Officers went to his place of employment and arrested him on the warrants from Hillsborough County, Florida.
Pless is being held in the Coffee County Jail under a $1,000,000 bond awaiting extradition to Florida.