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Update on Missing Woman in Tullahoma–Body Found

Photo from Social Media

A female’s body was located on Wednesday by Tullahoma Police. A search and rescue crew from Metro Nashville helped to find the body not far from the Rock Creek Greenway. Though the body has not yet been identified, police said it could be the body of a woman who has been missing for several days.
Tullahoma Police reports that Debbie White was last seen walking in the area of North Collins Street near the D.W. Wilson Community Center, where her car remains parked, around 10:30 a.m. Saturday, June 16.
It is believed she was headed toward the Tullahoma greenway.
Tullahoma Police Investigator Tyler Hatfield is the lead investigator on the case and he says the body has been sent to the medical examiner’s office for a full autopsy to determine the identity and cause of death.

Looking in Neighbor’s Window Sends Tullahoma Man to Jail

Richard Dale Walker intake photo provided by the CCSD.

Early Thursday morning Richard Dale Walker age 63 of Cedar Lane Village Dr, Tullahoma was arrested by Tullahoma Police Office Randy Baltimore on 2 counts of observation without consent.
The man was located at Dosett apartments on East Moore Street and had allegedly been involved in looking into another family’s window without their consent. Walker is accused of going to the outside of an apartment removing the screen from the window and then allegedly moving the curtains to view inside the victim’s window.
Footprints leading to and from Walker’s apartment and his neighbor’s apartment were apparently found.
Walker allegedly admitted to knocking on the victim’s window where two young girls ages 7 and 10 were inside the room that he is accused of looking in.
Walker was booked in at the Coffee County jail under a bond of $20,000 and his court date is July 12, 2018.

Fentanyl-Laced Marijuana in Tennessee

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has confirmed that Fentanyl-laced marijuana has been found in Tennessee at one of its forensic labs.
Fentanyl is a powerful, narcotic painkiller considered deadly when administered even in small doses, and authorities say it and its derivatives are often imported and used by criminals to create counterfeit pills or to mix with other illegal drugs.
Authorities worry marijuana laced with Fentanyl could prove to be a deadly combination, as the opioid can kill in extremely small doses, and they worry someone smoking laced marijuana could unknowingly overdose very quickly.
According to the TBI, fentanyl had primarily been identified in samples of cocaine, heroin or in clandestine pills compounded to resemble legitimate prescription opioids.
Up until this point, though, marijuana laced with fentanyl was thought to be a widespread rumor. This is no longer the case.
According to Tommy Farmer, the TBI Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Division, a marijuana sample turned into the TBI Crime Lab in Nashville tested positive for Fentanyl.
Farmer said his understanding was that the sample originated in the Cookeville-Cumberland County area, saying the combination is extremely dangerous.
Before the lab confirmation, rumors of Fentanyl-laced marijuana had circulated across the country for more than a year.

Please Boat Safely

While many people will be enjoying time on the water this Fourth of July, it’s important to be responsible and take necessary precautions during the highest-boating traffic time of the summer. Three key things that boaters can do to prevent a boating accident is to always wear a life jacket, use an engine cut-off device and never boat under the influence.
“The July 4th holiday is a great time to celebrate our freedom with family and friends,” said Yvonne Pentz, communications director of the National Safe Boating Council and lead organization for the Safe Boating Campaign. “If you are fishing, boating or just enjoying the day on the water, it’s important to boat responsibly.”
The Safe Boating Campaign shares these important boating safety reminders:
Always wear a life jacket: Drowning is the reported cause of death in 76 percent of all boating fatalities – and 84.5% percent of drowning victims in recreational boating accidents were not wearing a life jacket in 2017. Boaters should wear a properly fitted life jacket in good condition at all times while boating.
Use an engine cut-off device: An engine cut-off device is a proven safety device to stop the boat’s engine should the operator unexpectedly fall overboard. In 2017, the U.S. Coast Guard reported 172 accidents in which at least one person was struck by a propeller. These accidents resulted in 31 deaths and 162 injuries, all of which could be prevented if the boat operator was wearing an engine cutoff device.
Never boat under the influence: Boating under the influence, or BUI, is the leading contributing factor in recreational boater deaths. The side effects of alcohol or drug use, such as impaired judgment, reduced balance and poor coordination, are magnified while boating. The National Association of State Boating Law Administrators, a partner of the Safe Boating Campaign, is coordinating the 10th annual Operation Dry Water from June 30-July 2 in every U.S. state and territory to raise awareness about BUI dangers.

Quarry Out–New Tax In

After years of requests Wright Paving and Custom Stone LLC has been attempting to open a quarry business in Hillsboro. At a recent Coffee County Commission meeting the Wright’s were denied a rezoning request by a vote of 15-5 against creating a new zoning designation (M-3) that would have allowed the establishment of a quarry outside the county’s Urban Growth Boundary (UGB).
The Wright family owns 230 acres in Hillsboro near the intersection of Viola and J.D. Ring road. They have made several requests over the past 15 years.
Grady Wright has said for many years that his company wanted to bring a competitive business and good paying jobs to Coffee County. Those opposed to the idea have complained it would bring down property values, bring to much dust and noise and spoil the scenery in Hillsboro.
The Rogers Group has operated a quarry in Hillsboro for many years.
Also, during that meeting the Commission approved a resolution asking the state legislature to approve a private act that would establish a hotel/motel tax in rural Coffee County, exclusive of Manchester and Tullahoma.
The tax rate on rooms has not yet been determined, county officials have discussed setting it at 6 percent, which is the same as Manchester and one percent lower than Tullahoma.
Currently there no hotels or motels outside the city limits.

Tennessee Department of Education Blames Questar for Testing Problems

The Tennessee Department of Education announced Wednesday that issues with the state’s TNReady testing that plagued schools this spring were not the result of a malicious attack. Instead, the department said the issues were the fault of the testing vendor, Questar.
According to the department, Questar implemented a “significant and unauthorized” change to the text-to-speech function that led to a number of online testing issues.
The department told Questar they would be reducing their payment to the company for the spring assessment by $2.5 million because of “substandard performance issues” and the costs the state incurred addressing those issues this spring.
The department announced last Thursday they would be seeking new bids for the state’s testing vendor for the 2019-20 school year and beyond.
The state signed the current contract with Questar in 2016 and began working with them during the 2016-17 school year.

Changes to ACA Could Impact 1 in 3 Tennesseans

Texas v. U.S. is projected by legal scholars to be the most important case on the U.S. Supreme Court’s docket this season. (Phil Roeder/flickr)

The future of the Affordable Care Act rests in the hands of the U.S. Supreme Court in a case brought to the court by the state of Texas.
While both are hundreds of miles away from Tennessee, the outcome is expected to have an impact on the coverage and protections Tennesseans may receive when it comes to their health care.
Most recently, the federal government abandoned its defense in the Texas v. U.S. case, which Kinika Young, director of children’s health for the Tennessee Justice Center, says could leave 1.2 million Tennesseans with pre-existing conditions unprotected.
“In Tennessee, we’re talking a lot of people who depend on the individual market because either they don’t qualify for Medicaid or they don’t have access to a group plan,” she points out. “You’re talking self-employed people, people who are temporarily unemployed, people who work at jobs that don’t offer group plans.”
The state of Texas is arguing that the individual mandate of the ACA is unconstitutional.
The American Medical Association and the American Cancer Society Action Network have filed briefs asking the federal court to maintain key provisions of the Affordable Care Act, including protecting people with pre-existing conditions.
Young says the most recent abandonment of the federal government’s defense of the individual mandate and pre-existing condition protections isn’t likely to hold up in court, but the development still presents a problem.
“Most people think that this argument won’t hold water, but it is concerning that the government is choosing not to enforce a law that was passed by Congress and upheld by the Supreme Court previously,” she states.
The uncertainty around the ACA and reduction in federal reimbursement already is having an impact on premium costs and plan availability in Tennessee and around the country.

Coffee County High School Receives Grant

Education Commissioner Candice McQueen has announced that 88 school districts and one postsecondary institution in Tennessee have received a total of $2.2 million through the Perkins Reserve Consolidated Grant. This new grant application for the 2018-19 school year combines funding streams from the Perkins Reserve Grant, the department’s New Skills for Youth (NSFY) grant, and the Experienced Professionals in the Classroom (EPIC) project to support the implementation of high-quality career pathways for Tennessee students. For the first time, districts could complete one application to be considered for these multiple grant opportunities.
Coffee County High School received $10,700 from the Perkins Reserve Consolidated Grant aimed at helping students attain certification.
The grant is to be used on state approved certifications, in particular Occupational Safety and Health Administration, 10 certifications in agriculture, health science, and manufacturing.
Richard Skipper is the Career and Technical Education (CTE) Director at Coffee County High School. He said that last year he wrote a grant for equipment upgrades and received $46,000.

Gas Prices Going Down

Motorists are getting some welcomed relief from high prices at the gas pump. The national average price of a gallon of regular unleaded is $2.90, after declining 7 cents since Memorial Day weekend.
AAA spokesman Tim Jenkins said pump prices should sink even lower this week, after wholesale gasoline prices took a dive.
Gas prices in Tennessee declined 3 cents last week. Prices at the pump averaged $2.65 per gallon Sunday. Since peaking at $2.73 on Memorial Day weekend, prices have declined a total of 8 cents.
The low price as of Tuesday afternoon in Manchester was $2.47 per gallon and in Tullahoma the low price is $2.52.

Coffee County FFA Member Named State Star


Photo: Ben Young of the Coffee County chapter accepts his Tennessee FFA State Star in Agribusiness award sponsored by the Tennessee Farmers Cooperative.

Ben Young of the Coffee County Future Farmers of America (FFA) chapter is Tennessee FFA’s 2018 Star in Agribusiness sponsored by Tennessee Farmers Cooperative. The Star in Agribusiness is considered one of the highest awards in the state bestowed on an FFA member. Star recognition is awarded to the top students in five areas who best demonstrate superior Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) projects, a requirement for all FFA members. His SAE project is Equine Entrepreneurship.
Ben is the sole owner of his agribusiness of providing farrier services. He is responsible for treatment of lameness issues in his clients’ horses, routine farrier care, equine flexion therapy treatments, and massage therapy. Ben will attend Motlow State Community College in the fall to pursue a degree in Agriculture to pursue a career as an equine podiatrist.
For his achievement, Ben was selected to participate in the weeklong 4th Annual Tennessee FFA Star Tour presented by Farm Credit Mid-America. The Tennessee FFA Star Tour offers the Stars a platform to share the work from their agricultural projects with supporters across Tennessee. The tour began in Doyle where the stars planned their presentation for the week. Finishing off the first night, the Stars made a stop at Tennessee FFA Leadership Training Camp in Doyle to make their presentation before fellow FFA members. Day two includes a breakfast with the Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation (TFBF) in Columbia where the Stars met with several TFBF leaders, as well as the Tennessee Farm Bureau President. Next, they visited the Ellington Agricultural Center and round out their time at the Tennessee Department of Agriculture with a presentation in Nashville. Later that day, the Stars visited Tosh Farms in Henry to conclude day two.
Day three was spent in West Tennessee as the Stars toured Tyson in Union City, presented at a luncheon with Farm Credit Mid-America in Dresden, and stopped at Star Farmer Murray Perkin’s hometown Paris for a Star Farmer Reception. The night was concluded with a tour of Mr. Charlie Hancock’s farm in Bumpus Mills. Day four kicked off with canoeing in Kingston Springs. The Stars then met with former American Star Farmer and past Tennessee FFA State President, Joe Moore at his farm in Granville to conclude the tour.
FFA makes a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth, and career success through agricultural education. Nationally, there are 653,359 FFA members, aged 12-21. The Tennessee FFA Association is comprised of 14,084 members from 214 high school chapters, 7 middle school chapters, and 8 collegiate chapters across the state of Tennessee. To learn more about FFA visit

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