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Parent Meeting at Westwood Middle Concerning Gun Found on School Property

There will be a special meeting for parents of Westwood Middle School students on Wednesday afternoon at 5 p.m. This meeting is being conducted because of the gun that was found on a student at the school last Thursday, September 14, 2017.
Westwood Middle School is located at 505 Taylor St in Manchester.

Red Raider Golf Captures District Title

The Coffee County CHS golf team with their District championship trophy. From left, head coach Mike Ray, Josh Perry, Matthew Hale, Reid Lawrence, Samuel Prater, Austin Farris, Chance Hancock and assistant coach Lucky Knott [Photo by Demarco Moore, Manchester Times]

Teeing off at Bear Trace for the 3rd time in 11 days, the CHS Golf team entered the District 8AAA tournament on Monday with some unfinished business.  After dropping a match win to Tullahoma last week, Coach Mike Ray challenged his team on Thursday in advance of Monday’s District tournament.  And the Red Raiders answered the challenge as Coffee County won the team title by 12 strokes over Tullahoma.

Coffee County trimmed 20 strokes off their round last Thursday at Bear Trace round as once again consistent scoring from the whole team led to the team title.  “We have seen the names of Samuel (Prater) and Austin (Farris) in the news all season long as our #1 and #2 players, but today Reid Lawrence and Josh Perry played their butts off and they were the difference in us getting this win” said Ray following the match.

Reid Lawrence and Austin Farris tied for the low round for the Red Raiders as each shot a 75.  Samuel Prater was one stroke back at 76 and Josh Perry shot the lowest round of his high school career as he carded a 77.  After a playoff, Lawrence finished in 3rd place while Farris was 4th and Prater was 5th.  The team win improves the Red Raiders season record to 45 and 3.

“We got some confidence today which we hope will help us next week” added Ray.   The Red Raiders will now advance to next Monday’s Region 4AAA tournament which will also be held at Bear Trace.  Tee time is expected to be around 8:30 AM but a final time will be decided, based on weather, later in the week.

Red Raider golf individual medalists from Monday. Left to right: Reid Lawrence(3rd place), Samuel Prater(5th place), Austin Farris(4th place). [Photo by Demarco Moore, Manchester Times]

Graduation Rates show Overall Improvements in Most Areas–Coffee Co. Remains Steady

Gov. Bill Haslam

Gov. Bill Haslam says Tennessee has set a new high mark for its high school graduation rate.
A news release from the governor’s office says the 2016-17 graduation rate of 89.1 percent has set a record. The rates increased in about 56 percent of districts with high schools.
The release says the rate is up by more than half a percentage point since last year, and overall it has increased 3.6 percentage points since the 2010-11 school year.
The administration says 13 districts increased their graduation rates by 5 percentage points or more. Lake County experienced the biggest improvement with a 23.1 percentage-point jump.
The release says the group of students who are black, Hispanic or Native American increased its graduation rate by 0.4 percentage points to 83 percent.
Coffee County improved from 89.9 in 2015 to 91.1 in 2016 and down very slightly to 90.8 in 2017. Tullahoma went from 81.9 in 2015 to 93.5 in 2016 and down to 89 percent in 2017.

Coffee County Considering Appealing Court Ruling

Coffee County plans to appeal a district court ruling in a lawsuit that, if settled now, could cost county taxpayers nearly $600,000.
Of that amount, $490,000 would be paid to plaintiff and former county employee Melinda Keeling, with $79,000 in attorney fees going to Jerry Gonzalez, who represents Keeling.
Keeling, an employee of the Coffee County Department of Codes and Safety from 2006 to 2010, filed a claim under the Tennessee Public Employee Political Freedom Act (PEPFA) following her dismissal.
Keeling was fired from the county’s codes department on May 27, 2010. At that time, Glenn Darden was the department director and David Pennington served as a county mayor.
Darden retired in September 2015, and Pennington didn’t seek re-election after his most recent term ended in 2014.
Keeling claims she was disciplined and ultimately fired because she brought up her concerns about Darden being unavailable to answer questions and address concerns brought by the public.
A jury found in favor of Keeling on Jan. 12, 2017, and awarded her damages in the amount of $10,000. Those damages, according to state law, were tripled to $30,000.
An order by the Circuit Court of Coffee County, filed on May 1, states that the plaintiff is entitled to back-pay damages and front-pay damages. The order also states that back- and front-pay damages should be tripled, as well.
The total amount the court ordered to be paid to Keeling by the county is about $490,000.
On Aug. 25, the court also ruled the amount the county pay her lawyer, Jerry Gonzalez would be $79,000 for attorney fees.
According to County Attorney Bob Huskey, Keeling was laid off because there was not enough work to justify keeping her position.
(Story courtesy of the Tullahoma News)

New Requirments for some Food Stamps Recipients

Photo credit: U.S. Dept. of Agriculture/Flickr.

Gov. Bill Haslam is reinstating food stamp work requirements for most Tennessee counties starting Feb. 1.
Haslam said Monday that Tennessee will re-establish federal work requirements in 70 counties for able-bodied adults without dependents who receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits.
That requirement was waived in 2008 amid recession. It won’t be reinstated for 16 economically distressed counties.
Currently, the work requirement is in place in nine counties, including seven in the Nashville area.
Those receiving SNAP benefits in Coffee County and are able-bodied adults without dependents will have to meet the requirements to continue getting assistance. The only nearby county where the new requirement will not be reinstated in Grundy County.
Haslam says it’s now difficult to justify the waiver amid record-low unemployment rates and substantial job growth. The governor’s office says other states have restored work requirements, as well.
The change affects 58,000 of about 1 million Tennesseans on food stamps.
The administration says Haslam will also propose legislative changes to reduce welfare fraud, waste and abuse.
The 58,000 able-bodied Tennesseans who would be required to work beginning February 1 can do it in several ways, including:
• 20 hours weekly on job
• 20 hours weekly in training or education
• 20 hours weekly in an approved volunteer program

Gun Found on Local School Property

On Thursday afternoon, a student at Manchester’s Westwood Middle School (WMS) reported that another student was in possession of a handgun. School administrators immediately investigated and discovered an unloaded handgun in the possession of a student. Administrators immediately contacted the Manchester Police Department who confiscated the weapon and began an investigation.
Manchester Police took the unnamed student into custody and are actively investigating the incident to determine the charges. Investigator Jackie Matheny stated that when officers arrived at the school, officials had the situation under control. He added that the gun belonged to a family member and by all indications this was an isolated incident.
The student will also be disciplined in accordance with the District Code of Student Conduct. This incident did not interrupt the regular school day and instruction continued as normal.
Director Wilkerson says that student safety is always the top priority of WMS and the Manchester City School District. “At no time do we believe students or staff members were in any danger.” “We ask our students to report anything suspicious to school administrators and this is a great example of alert students being proactive.”

Tullahoma Man Indicted for Child Pornography

Clyde Jefferson Trumbull… Photo provided by the CCSD.

A Tullahoma man was arrested Sept. 6 on sealed indictments for child pornography.
Clyde Jefferson Trumbull, 33, of East Lauderdale Street was indicted by the July term of the Coffee County Grand Jury on charges of aggravated sexual exploitation of a minor.
He was booked into the Coffee County Jail on Sept. 6 and his bond was set at $75,000.
According to Coffee County District Attorney Craig Northcott, an agent of the U.S. Homeland Security Agency who works child porn cases forwarded the information to Tullahoma Police Investigator Rana Pawlowski about internet child pornography activity. The investigator started to investigate the case and presented the evidence to the grand jury.
The 11 count indictments allege that on May 4, 2016 Trumbull possessed “with the intent to promote, sell distribute, purchase or exchange” material of “minor children engaged in sexual activity or simulated sexual activity.”
Trumbull is scheduled to be arraigned in Coffee County Circuit Court Sept. 19.

Man Guilty of Murder in Shelbyville

Angela Kibble was murdered in her Shelbyville apartment in the early morning hours of Sept. 14, 2015.
Exactly two years after Kibble’s shooting death, Kavaris Kelso was found guilty of the crime on Thursday.
Kelso was pronounced guilty on charges of aggravated burglary and first-degree murder.
Jurors were allowed to consider a combination of about 27 other charges, many of them of lesser consequence, if they did not find Kelso guilty of the three charges he faced.
The jury delivered the verdicts on Thursday evening after deliberating for about 90 minutes. (Shelbyville Times-Gazette)

Rifle Found Inside Car at Eagleville School in Rutherford County on Friday

A tip led school administrators to the car of a student parked at Eagleville school in Rutherford County on Friday.
Inside the trunk was an assault rifle that school officials describe as unloaded and unassembled.
The student was arrested and expelled from school immediately, under a zero-tolerance policy of the Rutherford County School District.
The district sent a note to parents Friday afternoon saying, “We are sending you this message to address any rumors before they begin and to let you know that we do not take these matters lightly”
Eagleville School on State Route 99, serves a small community in Rutherford County, with students in grades K-12.

Unemployment Rate Down Again in Tennessee

Tennessee’s unemployment rate for August was 3.3 percent, down one-tenth of a percentage point from the previous month. This marks an all-time low for the statewide unemployment rate and August is the seventh consecutive month Tennessee has seen a decline in unemployment.
The national unemployment rate increased from 4.3 to 4.4 percent. Over the past year, the state and national rates have declined by 1.5 and five-tenths of a percentage point respectively.

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