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County Commission Race Heats Up

Zak Mohyuddin.. Photo provided

Zak Mohyuddin.. Photo provided

For the most part the Coffee County political races have been pretty calm until now. It’s not one of county seats up for grabs, it’s a county commission race.
In Tullahoma’s District 15, things have become heated between incumbent Mark Kelly a Republican and Christian and Democratic primary winner, Zak Mohyuddin a Muslim.
In a letter to WMSR News Mohyuddin says that Kelly made a set of serious allegations against his patriotism and loyalty. Mohyuddin says he never used the words or anything similar alleged in a letter Kelly sent to voters. Mohyuddin added he never made the comments in public or in private. In the letter dated July 16, Kelly claims Mohyuddin “expressed his beliefs publicly,” that “the American flag should be removed from public buildings because it is a symbol tyranny and oppression; that public prayer should be banned because it insults non-Christians; and that the Bible should be removed from public places.”
Mohyuddin claims that he has never made such statements to anyone, and that Kelly is simply making the whole thing up.
“To me, flags and bibles are objects of respect, regardless of what country or religion they belong to, and I’ve always treated them with respect,” Mohyuddin said. “This man is saying things about me that don’t reflect my values in any way.”
Mark Kelly

Mark Kelly

Kelly told WMSR News that nothing he has done is against the 1st amendment. He said that he and his opponent have different principles that they disagree on. He added that this is not about religion just a difference in beliefs.
Kelly says that during this campaign he has been attacked as well. He said people have accused him of wanting to close the libraries and that is not true.
Mohyuddin says that he has not had any private conversations with Kelly for roughly 25 years.
Kelly, on the other hand says that he and Mohyuddin have had several private conversations over the years, on the AEDC walking trail, among other places.
Remember early voting is going on now through August 2 and Election Day is August 7. So far over 1,500 people have voted early in Coffee County.

Real Estate Blog Names Manchester As One Of Tennessee’s Most Exciting Cities

manchester-signAny state that can turn out the likes of Morgan Freeman, Dolly Parton, and Elvis has got to be pretty darn exciting—and we didn’t even mention the barbecue.
With all of Tennessee being so exciting, how could you possibly pick the most exciting places within its borders? Well, that’s where the Movoto Real Estate Blog team comes in. Movoto, in their latest report names the 10 most exciting places in Tennessee:
1. City of Knoxville
2. City of Chattanooga
3. Nashville-Davidson
4. City of Franklin
5. City of Johnson City
6. City of Manchester
7. City of Maryville
8. City of Memphis
9. City of Gallatin
10. City of Jackson
Movoto started this exciting journey by gathering up all of the places in Tennessee with populations of 10,000 or more, which left them with a total of 59 places. Then, they used the 2010 U.S. Census and business listings to research each place according to the following eight criteria:
• Nightlife per capita (bars, clubs, comedy, etc.)
• Live music venues per capita
• Active life options per capita (parks, outdoor activities, etc.)
• Arts and Entertainment per capita (movie theaters, festivals, galleries, theaters, etc.)
• Fast Food restaurants per capita (the fewer the better)
• Percentage of restaurants that are not fast food (the higher the better)
• Percentage of young residents ages 18 to 34 (the higher the better)
• Population density (the higher the better)
Manchester may be small, but that only means that it has more nightlife, music, and food per capita than many of the larger places Movoto looked at.

Weekly Update On Gas Prices

gas prices 5News that a Malaysian Airliner was shot down quickly put upward pressure on the price of oil. West Texas Intermediate closed the week at $103.13 a barrel on the NYMEX on Friday – an increase of $2.30 from last week.
“Oil rose on concerns that violence could spread in response to the crash,” said Mark Jenkins, spokesman, AAA – The Auto Club Group. “Gas prices are currently falling more than a half cent a day, but geopolitical tension could slow the rate of discount at the pump this week.”
The national average price for a gallon of regular unleaded is 5 cents cheaper than last week and fell for the 23rd consecutive day on Sunday. Prices in Tennessee fell 4 cents last week. In Coffee County the low price in Manchester is $3.25 and Tullahoma’s low price per gallon is down to $3.23.

I-24 Crash Hurts The Driver Of An 18-Wheeler

18 wheelerJohnny Wells age 42 of Brownsville, TN was driving his tractor-trailer on I-24 Monday afternoon when he lost control. Preliminary information indicates that the 18-wheeler was traveling eastbound on Interstate 24 at mile-marker 130 in Grundy County. According to the Tennessee Highway Patrol report, Wells lost control of the vehicle while negotiating a curve and veered into the median. The tractor-trailer continued through the median, going through a guardrail where it then continued across the westbound lanes of traffic, through another guardrail and went down an embankment.
Wells suffered injuries and was taken to an area hospital.

Manchester Times and Thunder Radio Team Up For Candidate Forum

vote4To better inform the voters before the Aug. 7 Coffee County General and Manchester Municipal Elections, the Manchester Times and Thunder Radio have teamed up for a candidate forum from 4:30-8 p.m. Thursday, July 24 at the Manchester-Coffee County Conference Center – 147 Hospitality Blvd.
In total, 23 candidates from seven county-wide races and one city race have been invited to participate in the event. Candidates for District Attorney General, Manchester Alderman and Coffee County Mayor have been invited to participate in a question-and-answer session with Peterson and Thunder Radio’s Lucky Knott, who will serve as event moderators.
Candidates for District Attorney – incumbent Mickey Layne (D) and challenger Craig Northcott (R) – will take the stage from 5-5:30 p.m. for a forum session with Peterson.
Eight candidates for alderman – incumbent Cheryl Swan, Nelson Watson, Claude Morse, Tim Kilgore, Lana Sain, Chris Robison, Gary Trail and Sam Miller – have been invited to the event and will participate in a forum session between 6-7 p.m.
Tim Brown and Gary Cordell, candidates for Coffee County Mayor, are scheduled to close the evening with a forum from 8-8:30 p.m.
Candidates for Coffee County Trustee, General Sessions Judge, Register of Deeds, Road Superintendent and County Clerk will be speaking on stage between forum events and will be given tables to set up throughout the building to speak with potential voters.
The event, sponsored by the Manchester Times will be broadcast live on Thunder Radio 107.9FM and AM1320. The event is free to attend and is free for candidates who are invited to participate. Anyone with questions is encouraged to contact Peterson at 931-728-7577 ext. 105 or Knott at 728-1320.

Bus Information For Coffee County Students

school-busCoffee County schools would like to inform the Manchester students in the school system about their bus service changes for this new year. All Manchester High School students will be picked up at their usual bus stops located throughout Manchester City Limits. These buses will not have markings on the outside of them making them designated for the high school. The Raider Academy (9th grade) buses will also stop at these same stops within Manchester. These buses will have a large 9 on the right front corner of the bus. The Coffee County school system will be asking students to check and make sure they are on the correct bus by asking your bus driver if needed. Coffee County schools are excited about the start of this new school year and hope that they can meet the needs of your student. Please feel free to call 931-723-5157 if you have any questions about your student’s routes or bus stops.

Property Tax Increase On The Agenda For County Commissioners

property-tax-Coffee County commissioners will meet Tuesday night (July 22) with a property tax increase on the agenda. The Coffee County Budget and Finance Committee voted last week to recommend a 27-cent property tax increase for all county residents. According to Budgets and Accounts Director Marianna Edinger, the increase equates to roughly $68 per year for a home valued at $100,000. There will be a Public Hearing at 5:00 p.m. before the full commission meeting.
A resolution under unfinished business will be discussed and possibly voted on to place a referendum on the November ballot concerning a motor vehicle tax or wheel tax. If approved voters would have the option of voting yes or no in November on the tax.

Police Say Living Conditions Extremely Unsatisfactory For Two Children

John Walter Blankenship

John Walter Blankenship

Last week Franklin County Sheriff’s Office investigators Andrea Davidson and George Dyer responded to 301 W. Petty Lane in Winchester, TN. In reference to a report of child neglect. A report filed by Investigator Andrea Davidson stated that upon arrival investigators discovered two minor children at the residence. The report further stated that the living conditions and treatment of the children were found to be extremely unsatisfactory. The Department of Children Services was notified and took custody of the children. The completion of the investigation resulted in John Walter Blankenship (45 years old of 301 W. Petty Lane Winchester, TN.) being arrested and transported to the Franklin County Jail. Mr. Blankenship is charged with Aggravated Child Abuse/Neglect and is currently being held on $100,000 bond and has an initial court appearance in Franklin County General Sessions Court on Monday September 22nd at 8:00am. Also charged was Carla Fae Smith Blankenship (41 year old female 301 W. Petty Lane Winchester, TN.) Mrs. Blankenship is currently incarcerated in another jurisdiction but will face Aggravated Child Abuse/Neglect charges in Franklin County in September. There is an ongoing investigation into this matter and further information will be released as deemed necessary.

Motlow Classes Begin Soon

Motlow 3Students planning on attending Motlow College this fall must submit an application for admission or readmission by Aug. 17, according to Greer Alsup, director of admissions and records at the College.
Students can apply online until midnight on the 17th. Online applications can be accessed from the “Apply Now” tab on the Motlow College website at Also, staff members are available at all Motlow locations to help students with the application process. Students applying on the Moore County campus should do so at the Student Success Center inside the Crouch Center.
A student must complete an application for admission for all of Motlow’s programs of study. Some programs, such as nursing, have additional requirements that must be met before admission is granted into the program.
Students interested in earning high school and college credit for courses in the Dual Enrollment program and those enrolling in the Adult College Express program also are required to apply by Aug. 17.
Regular and MSCC online classes begin on Aug. 25 at all Motlow College campuses, while Friday-only classes begin Sept. 5 and Saturday-only classes begin Sept. 6.
For more information on any Motlow campus location call 800-654-4877.

For Many Tennessee Kids, Hunger Doesn’t Take Summer Vacation

PHOTO: Tennessee saw a tiny decline in students participating in summer nutrition programs from 2012 to 2013, while nationally there was an increase of nearly six percent. Photo credit: U.S. Department of Agriculture.

PHOTO: Tennessee saw a tiny decline in students participating in summer nutrition programs from 2012 to 2013, while nationally there was an increase of nearly six percent. Photo credit: U.S. Department of Agriculture.

For thousands of low-income families in Tennessee, summer vacation is a time of increased hunger, as children don’t have their usual school meals to rely on. Signe Anderson, Senior Child Nutrition Policy Analyst with the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC), says a new study conducted by her organization shows participation in summer nutrition programs in Tennessee fell slightly from 2012 to 2013. Nationally, numbers went up after the hit many programs took during the recession. “During the economic downturn, a lot of schools shut their doors and no longer offered summer school,” says Anderson. “So along with that, summer meals disappeared because meal programs are often set up in conjunction with summer school programs.” Last year the number of Tennessee kids in summer nutrition programs slipped by about a half-percent to 5,600. That represents only about 13 percent of the children in the state who receive free and reduced-price lunches during the school year. According to Anderson, another way to reach those kids going without regular meals during the summer is through local parks and recreation programs. “Kids are often in parks and enjoying the outdoors, and ideally you want them outside and active in a safe space,” says Anderson. “Working with parks and recreation departments has also been a good avenue, along with area YMCAs and Boys and Girls Clubs.” Nationally, the average daily participation in summer meal programs rose about six percent from 2012 to 2013, and now reaches nearly three million children. Anderson notes that in addition to nutritious food, summer meal programs also help children with enrichment and recreational activities that keep them engaged, learning, and safe during summer vacation.

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