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Labor Secretary Wants Minimum Wage Raised

minimum wageU.S. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez, who’s advocating nationally in support of raising the minimum wage to $10.10, said the federal minimum wage is the floor that states should use for their hourly rates.
Tennessee has the highest percentage of minimum wage workers in the nation but is one of only a few states without a minimum wage law, according to a federal report released in March. The roughly 117,000 minimum wage workers in Tennessee account for about 7.5 percent of the state’s workforce.
The prevalence of minimum wage workers has no bearing on the likelihood of any minimum wage increase through the state legislature this year.
Last year a bill proposing a $1-an-hour raise failed to advance out of committee.

Man Charged With Setting Fire To a Summitville Home

ArsonThomas Lawrence “TJ” Vandusen of Manchester has been charged in connection with a house fire in the Forrest Mill area.
The 22 year-old Vandusen was arrested, charged with the fire as well as vandalism over $1,000 and booked in at the Coffee County Jail.
The fire was a mobile home at 330 Volunteer Avenue in Summitville and according to a report by Coffee County Sheriff’s Investigator James Sherrill, Vandusen admitted to setting the fire.
He allegedly told officers that he poured gas throughout the mobile home and lit a match and set the fire. The mobile home was destroyed by the fire on November 10.

Former Corrections Officer In Court This Week Facing Charges

James M. Mayes intake photo

James M. Mayes intake photo

Earlier this month James M. Mayes, 26, of Brandontown Road, Manchester, a former corrections officer at the Coffee County Jail was charged with bribery of a public servant, extortion and official misconduct. The extortion charge was dropped at a court hearing on Tuesday, but Mayes still faces the other charges as those were bound over.
According to warrants obtained by Sheriff’s Investigator Sgt. Danny Ferrell, Mayes took $100 from an inmate to allow him to keep a quarter pound of tobacco the inmate had in his possession in the tobacco-free jail. According to the warrants, he had told the inmate to pay up after catching him with the tobacco.
Ferrell alleges that Mayes, then threatened to “lock the inmate down” and restrict his privileges if the money was not paid.
Ferrell alleges that the inmate was told that for another $150 he could bring anything he wanted into the jail.
After the $100 was allegedly paid, Ferrell took possession of the money. “I had recorded the serial numbers and the serial number on the money seized was the same,” Ferrell said.
According to the investigator, the sheriff’s department had been investigating Mayes for the last six months after the allegations arose.
Mayes is being held in the Franklin County Jail under a $65,000 bond.

Construction Accident Takes The Life Of a Shelbyville Man

AmbulanceA Shelbyville man was killed in a construction accident in Brentwood Tuesday morning.
It happened around 11 a.m. at a home in the 1800 block of Windstone Boulevard.
Police told News 2 Greg Rigney, 45, was unloading concrete blocks and sand from a flatbed truck when the forklift he was operating flipped over, pinning him underneath.
Rigney, an employee of Sequatchie Concrete Company, was working alone at the time of the accident.

Number of Uninsured People in Tennessee Hits 10-Year Low

affordable care2A new University of Tennessee report says the number of uninsured people in Tennessee has hit a 10-year low.
Media cited the study in reporting that the number of people without health insurance shrunk about 25 percent in the first year of the health insurance marketplace, which was implemented under the federal Affordable Care Act. There is still an estimated 472,008 people without insurance in the state, or about 7.2 percent of the population.
The doctor who co-authored the report, says the decline was “significant … but not necessarily unexpected” due to the start of the Affordable Care Act.

Slight Setback in Tennessee as Premature Births Rise

The preterm birth rate in Tennessee rose slightly in 2013, ending six straight years of declines in the number of babies being born too soon. Photo credit: Heather/Flickr.

The preterm birth rate in Tennessee rose slightly in 2013, ending six straight years of declines in the number of babies being born too soon. Photo credit: Heather/Flickr.

After dropping for six years in a row, the latest figures show the preterm birth rate in Tennessee inched back up in 2013. According to Phil Toothman, director of marketing and communications with the March of Dimes in Tennessee, while the rate grew to 12.6 percent last year, there’s still been much progress. That includes a dramatic reduction in the number of women being induced early without medical need.
“It used to be pretty common for women, who were just tired of being pregnant, and they would go and ask the doctor at 36, 37-weeks if they could go ahead and induce,” says Toothman. “A lot of times, the doctors would say that it’s okay. So we’ve pretty much put a stop to that in Tennessee.”
The March of Dimes is leading the campaign to reduce the nation’s preterm birth rate, with a goal of 9.6 percent or less by 2020.
Premature birth is the leading cause of newborn death. Babies who survive often face the risk of serious and sometimes lifelong health issues. Toothman says that’s why every extra day in the womb is important.
“There’s a lot of lung, heart and brain development that happens between 34 and 39 weeks that people just don’t know about,” he says. “So it’s very important and we’re really proud of the campaign and we are making progress in Tennessee.”
Often, the specific cause of premature birth isn’t clear, but factors that may increase the risk include smoking, some infections and some chronic conditions such as high blood pressure or diabetes.

Honoring First Responders

first responders 6At Thunder Radio we want to thank and honor our brave men and women who serve in and around Coffee County as First Responders! Help us honor the First Responders in your life on Thunder Radio by sending us a picture and some information about your First Responder to Thunder Radio’s Facebook Page. We will post these dedications on Thunder TV and our Facebook page and read them on the radio the whole week of Thanksgiving!! Let’s show our FIRST RESPONDERS THAT WE APPRECIATE ALL THEY DO TO KEEP US SAFE!!!! DEADLINE IS NOV 20TH!!

Longtime Coffee County Public Defender Campbell Smoot Found Deceased

B. Campbell Smoot... Photo provided

B. Campbell Smoot… Photo provided

B. Campbell Smoot of Tullahoma, public defender for the 14th Judicial District, which serves Coffee County died Tuesday morning at his Moore County home. A co-worker discovered his body after he failed to show up for work early Tuesday.
Although no foul play was immediately suspected, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation was called to the scene.
Smoot, who served in the position for 25 years, was re-elected in the most recent election.
According to state law Gov. Bill Haslam will appointment someone to replace Smoot as public defender for the 14th Judicial District until the next election.

Coffee County Man Who Allegedly Cannibalized a Woman’s Body Was In Court Tuesday

Murder suspect Gregory Scott Hale. Photo from Facebook

Murder suspect Gregory Scott Hale. Photo from Facebook

On Tuesday, Gregory Scott Hale the man accused of murdering a woman and beheading her was in court. Hale’s case was bound over to the January term of the Coffee County Grand Jury.
Hale, 37, of Pete Sain Road, Summitville was arrested June 8 for murdering Lisa Marie Hyder of Pikeville at his residence on or about June 6.
Authorities were tipped off when he was seeking help to dispose of her body.
Hyder according to the arrest warrant was beheaded and the rest of her body was dismembered. The warrant states that Hale buried the torso of the body in a burn pile at the residence. According to the warrant Hale allegedly admitted to cannibalizing part of the victim.
Hale has undergone mental evaluation to determine if he is qualified to stand trial.
Hale is represented by public defender Kevin Askren.
According to Coffee County Sheriff Steve Graves, Hyder has a former husband and children living in the Coffee County area. According to the sheriff, she became acquainted with Hale, but there was no evidence that they were in a relationship or that she was living with him.
Hale remains in the Coffee County Jail under a $1.5 million bond.

Manchester Police Needing The Public’s Input

tobacco outlet 1The Manchester Police Department is asking for the public’s help. Two thefts have occurred recently at Manchester Tobacco and Beverage Outlet, on Hillsboro Blvd. WMSR News has posted pictures of two different men wanted for questioning related to the separate theft investigations.tobacco outlet 2
Manchester Tobacco and Beverage Outlet, on Hillsboro Blvd. is located next to 1st National Bank.
Please contact the Manchester Police Department’s Crime Investigation Division at 931-728-2099 or you can message the police department on their Facebook page if you know the identity of either.

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