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D.A. Corrects Released Information–Tullahoma Police Chief Pleads No Contest and Resigns Position

Former Tullahoma Police Chief Paul Blackwell. Photo from

According to Coffee County District Attorney Craig Northcott, Tullahoma Police Chief Paul Blackwell pled to a no contest (not admitting guilt) on Monday. This was in reference to tampering with evidence. Blackwell resigned his position from the City of Tullahoma and gave up his police certification.
He received a four-year sentence that is deferred, meaning he will serve that sentence on probation. He can have his record expunged if his record is clean after that period of time. District Attorney Craig Northcott had originally told WMSR News that Blackwell pled to Class C felony but later corrected that information:
Former Police Captain George Marsh who had resigned his position with the city earlier has now given up his certification and received no time.
An investigation continues into the now former police chief’s son that was involved in an automobile accident in the fall of 2018.

Pedigo Named Interim Director of Coffee County Schools

WMSR News reported earlier this month that the Roane County school board had selected Coffee County Director of Schools Dr. LaDonna McFall to be their next director.
On Monday afternoon the Coffee County School Board, on a 6-0 vote selected former Deputy Director Joe Pedigo as interim director. Esther Sims was absent from the meeting.
McFall will continue as director until May 9 and Pedigo will take over at that time. Pedigo will begin work on May 1 as deputy director until May 9 and then will become interim director. The length of his term will be on a month to month basis until the board selects the new permanent director.
McFall is in her seventh year as Director of Schools in Coffee County. Pedigo served over 40 years in the system before retiring with some of those as deputy director.

Bond Hearing set for James Richard McCoy, Jr.–Accused of 1st Degree Murder

James Richard McCoy Jr. Photo provided

On Friday (April 26, 2019) James Richard McCoy, Jr., will be in court for a bond hearing. McCoy’s attorney Doug Aaron will be asking for a bond to be set. He has been housed with no bond at the Coffee County Jail since his arrest for 1st Degree Murder, Tampering with Evidence, Domestic Violence and Abuse of a Corpse.
On September 9, 2018, 46-year-old Lisa McCoy of Manchester was found deceased by Manchester Police. She had been shot several times at her home on Duck River Road. The woman’s husband, 54-year-old James Richard McCoy, Jr., was charged with the crime.

National Day of Prayer Event set for Manchester

The National Day of Prayer is an annual observance held on the first Thursday of May, inviting people of all faiths to pray for the nation. It was created in 1952 by a joint resolution of the United States Congress and signed into law by President Harry S. Truman.
In 1988, President Reagan signed an amendment to the law that designated the first Thursday of May as the National Day of Prayer.
On May 2, 2019, the Manchester National Day of Prayer will be held in the board room at the Manchester City Hall building.
Marylyn Howard told WMSR News that the event will take place between Noon-1pm and the public is invited to come and pray for our nation.

Safety Tips for those going to NFL Draft

As many as 300,000 spectators are expected in downtown Nashville when the National Football League (NFL) holds its annual draft from April 25 – 27, 2019, in Music City. The event, which is free and open to the public, will bring worldwide attention to Tennessee. To assist those who might be attending the event, the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance (TDCI) is offering safety, insurance, and scam prevention tips.
OUTDOOR EVENT SAFETY. Attending an outdoor event with thousands of people creates unique safety challenges. Remember these tips to stay safe:
• Familiarize yourself with the locations of medical and safety tents.
• Know what items are and are not prohibited before you arrive. Information about the event can be found
• Use the buddy system. If attending with a friend or a family member, designate a person who you can trust to watch out for you and vice versa.
• Identify a place to meet friends in case you get split up or an emergency occurs.
• Report any suspicious persons to a member of security.
• Never pick up any packages or items that do not belong to you. Report any suspicious packages to a member of security.
• HOTEL SAFETY. Staying in a hotel brings its own set of safety challenges. If you choose to stay in a hotel while enjoying the NFL Draft festivities, remember:
• Read the escape plan posted in your room. These often can be found on your hotel room’s door. If one is not posted in your room, request one from the front desk.
• Choose a hotel or vacation rental that is equipped with both smoke alarms and fire sprinklers.*
• If you hear an alarm, leave immediately, closing all doors behind you.
• DRIVER SAFETY. With hundreds of thousands of people expected on the roads during the three-day event, consumers are urged to take these extra precautions to ensure their safety:
• Put the vehicle in park before sending a text or setting navigation services.
• Never drink and drive. Don’t get behind the wheel while impaired — whether it’s due to exhaustion, medicine, alcohol or recreational drugs.
• When you’re behind the wheel of a vehicle, don’t use your phone. That means no texts, no social media, no videos, no photos or anything – except driving.
• Obey speed limits and keep your eyes on the road.
• Keep an eye out for pedestrians and scooters.

Statewide Helplines set up for Patients affected by Arrests of Doctors and Nurses

Tennessee is activating substance abuse resources and statewide call lines to help patients affected by the arrests of doctors and nurses in a crackdown on prescription opioid abuse.
Indictments were unsealed last week charging more than 30 medical professionals in Tennessee with illegally prescribing and distributing millions of painkillers.
A federal grand jury indicted Dr. Harrison Yang, 75, of Manchester, Tennessee, with healthcare fraud violations.
In a sperate case, Nurse Practitioner Jonathan White, 49, of Tullahoma, Tennessee, was indicted on three counts of healthcare fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud.
According to a news release, TennCare members receiving services from any of the affected clinics can find assistance coordinating care by reaching out to their assigned health plans.
For addiction treatment services, Tennessee’s REDLINE operates 24 hours a day at (800) 889-9789. The state also has a 24-hour-a-day crisis line for anyone experiencing a mental health crisis at (855) CRISIS-1 or (855) 274-7471.

State Road Improvement Plan Includes Coffee County Highway

The Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) is planning several major road improvements throughout the state.
On Thursday, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee and Tennessee Department of Transportation Commissioner Clay Bright released TDOT’s annual three-year transportation program, featuring approximately $2.1 billion in infrastructure investments for 139 individual project phases. The program provides support for Gov. Lee’s first Executive Order by funding work on 86 highway and bridge projects in economically distressed and at-risk counties.
One project in Coffee County will be State Route-2 US-41 (Hillsboro Hwy.) From Joe Hickerson Road to AEDC right of way road.

State Unemployment Holds Steady in March

Tennessee’s statewide unemployment rate for March 2019 remains at the historic low of 3.2 percent according to the latest statistics released by the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development.
March is the second consecutive month the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate sits at the all-time low. When compared to March 2018, unemployment in Tennessee is down by 0.4 of a percentage point.
Tennessee reached its previous record low unemployment rate of 3.3 percent in October 2018, and it remained at that level for four consecutive months. The state began tracking unemployment rates in 1976.
Nationally, unemployment also remains unchanged. The March seasonally adjusted rate for the United States is once again 3.8 percent. That is a 0.2 of a percentage point lower than the rate in March 2018.
Total nonfarm employment across Tennessee is down 3,000 jobs when compared to February.
Tennessee did experience an increase in the mining/logging/construction sector in March which gained 1,500 jobs. The financial activities sector also added 800 jobs.
The trade/transportation/utilities sector had a loss of 2,600 positions for the month, while the manufacturing sector experienced a decrease of 1,200 jobs.
Over the last 12 months, Tennessee has seen an overall gain of 47,800 new nonfarm jobs across the state.

Big Payback’s Sixth Annual, 24-hour Online Giving Day is May 2

A record number of area nonprofits are busy preparing in a big way for The Big Payback’s sixth annual, 24-hour online giving day.
A total of 964 Middle Tennessee nonprofits — including schools and religious institutions — from 35 counties will be participating in The Big Payback, an initiative of The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee, on Thursday, May 2.
The record total includes 118 organizations representing 23 counties that will be participating in The Big Payback for the first time. Categories include human services, education, community improvement, arts and culture, youth development, animal welfare, health, housing and shelter, and the environment.
The Big Payback is a community-wide online giving day designed to give the public the opportunity to pay back the nonprofits that make this a place we are proud to call home. Starting at midnight on May 2, there are 24 hours to make donations to a wide swath of participating local nonprofits at
In its first five events, The Big Payback has helped organizations raise more than $12.5 million in donations as well as foster an impressive 24,716 first-time gifts, making possible awareness of and solutions to pressing needs in our community.
Last year’s event raised a record of more than $3.1 million in donations, from 22,071 total gifts.
“The Big Payback’s slogan is ‘Live Here. Give Here’ and provides an easy and fun way for our community to show our local pride and give back,” said Ellen Lehman, president of The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee.
Participating nonprofits from Coffee County include:
— CASA Works, Inc.
— Citizens for Homeless Relief, Inc. / Shepherd’s House
— Coffee County Children’s Advocacy Center
— Coffee County Humane Society
— Coffee County Imagination Library
— Coffee County Senior Citizens, Inc.
— Hands-On Science Center, Inc.
— Haven of Hope
— Hospice of the Highland Rim Foundation, Inc.
— Manchester Municipal Arts Commission
— Millennium Repertory Company
— One Day of Hope of Coffee County
— Partners for Healing
— StepUpTN
— Tullahoma Fine Arts Center
— Tullahoma Community Foundation
— Tullahoma South Jackson Civic Association
— United Way of the Highland Rim
For more information, call 615-321-4939 or visit

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