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Photo from AAA-The Auto Club Group.

Flooding in certain areas of Coffee County is causing some issues with travel. With more rain falling, some roads may become impassable. Manchester and Tullahoma street departments, the county highway department, area law enforcement and Coffee County Emergency Management are all working together to keep roads open and clearing debris.
On the state level the Tennessee Department of Transportation and Tennessee Highway Patrol officials are taking steps to keep roads clear and safe.
TDOT crews started cleaning storm drains last week to help keep roads from flooding. Officials said any kind of debris can clog drains quickly. TDOT also has crews on call ready to respond to help drivers, if needed.
THP troopers will be monitoring roads, and additional troopers will be out patrolling if necessary. Strike teams, which are specially trained troopers with larger vehicles and additional equipment may also be used to respond to emergencies.
If you get stuck on a flooded road and need help, call 911 if it’s an emergency. You can also dial *847 on your cell phone and that will connect you with the nearest Tennessee Highway Patrol dispatch center.

12 Years Later, Grundy Co. Man Hopes New Evidence will Free Him from Prison

Photo from Free Adam Brasell

Attorneys for Adam Braseel, a Grundy County man, who has been in prison for more than 10 years are hoping that new evidence will free their client. Braseel was convicted in 2007 for the 2006 slaying of Malcolm Burrows, in Grundy County. His conviction included; first degree premeditated murder, first degree felony murder, especially aggravated robbery, attempt to commit first degree murder, aggravated assault, and assault. Currently he is not eligible for parole until 2063, at the age of 80, effectively making this a life sentence.
Attorneys for Braseel have filed a new petition that states evidence used in the original trial was weak and that new evidence reveals a different suspect in the shooting of Burrows.
“Adam Braseel stands before this court wrongfully convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison for a crime he did not commit,” attorney Alex Little wrote in a petition filed last week in Grundy County Circuit Court. “Newly discovered evidence flatly destroys the government’s case and makes clear that had the new evidence been admitted at trial the jury’s verdict would have been different.”
Braseel’s attorneys say the District Attorney’s Office has released new evidence in the case that points to Kermit Bryson as the murderer. Bryson is now deceased. The evidence, a fingerprint at the scene of crime. Also is the fact that Bryson and Braseel looked very alike and had similar builds at the time of the murder.

Kermit Bryson

Bryson was a known violent felon who killed Grundy County Deputy Shane Tate and wounded Monteagle police officer Brian Malhoit in 2010. He later killed himself when police were closing in on him. In addition, Bryson was dating a woman who was raising a child that Burrows treated like a grandchild.
New forensic testing reveals the only identifiable fingerprints at the scene came from two different people, the responding officer and Bryson. A third fingerprint was found on a Sundrop bottle at the scene but was not matched to anyone.
In 2015 Judge Justin Angel granted Braseel a new trial and he was released from prison. One year later the Appeals Court upheld the conviction and Braseel was returned to prison.
Braseel is currently awaiting a decision from Judge Justin Angel to determine if he will be allowed a new trial.

Democratic Lawmakers want to Ban Shackling Pregnant Women in Detention

Democratic lawmakers in Tennessee say the General Assembly should ban shackling pregnant women in detention, especially during childbirth.
The bill would not only prohibit the state’s inconsistent use of shackling, but also provide prenatal and postpartum medical care. The bill would also ban solitary confinement for pregnant women before and after giving birth.
The legislation is backed by Democratic legislative leaders and civil rights activists. Republican Gov. Bill Lee on Tuesday said he hasn’t reviewed the bill but is interested in learning more.
In 2013, Tennessee made national headlines when a federal judge ruled that jail officers showed “deliberate indifference” when they cuffed a woman to her hospital bed through most of her labor and during recovery.

Tennessee Health Officials say 85% of All Maternity Deaths in 2017 Could Have Been Prevented

Officials with the Tennessee Department of Health say 85 percent of all maternity deaths in 2017 could have been prevented, with substance abuse being determined as the leading contribution in those deaths.
The agency issued the report on Tuesday after the Tennessee General Assembly in 2016 passed the Maternal Mortality Review and Prevention Act. The law created a review panel to look over maternal deaths and offer prevention recommendations.
According to the 59-page report, the panel verified 78 deaths in 2017 were pregnancy-associated despite 98 deaths flagged as such. Tennessee’s pregnancy-associated mortality ratio would have been 26 percent higher if not for the review panel.
The majority of deaths reviewed occurred 43 days to one year after pregnancy, while the remaining deaths occurred during pregnancy or soon after pregnancy.

Westwood Middle School to offer ESP

Outside Westwood Middle School.. Photo by Tiffany Clutter.

Extended Schools Program (ESP) at Westwood Middle School (WMS) will begin on Monday, March 4. Info will be sent home with students this week, including registration information.
The registration form will also be available on the Westwood Middle School webpage. Families can return the registration form along with the $10 registration fee at WMS next Tuesday-Friday from 7:00-7:45 am. Additionally, the school system will accept registrations at the Manchester City Schools Central Office (215 E. Fort Street). The program will have a daily rate of $6. Families can pay in advance but will only be charged for the days when they use the program. Each day from 3:00-4:00, students will participate in Homework Helper classes sponsored by WMS’s 21st Century Learning Center Grant. Beginning at 4:00, ESP will focus on building critical thinking, team-building, and skill development through games, the arts, and a focus on literacy.
Only registered students may attend ESP.
Parents will need to sign their child out of ESP and signs will be placed at WMS to direct parents to the pick-up location, which will be located in a classroom in the 6th-grade hall.
Dr Joey Vaughn says he’s excited to begin ESP at WMS and believes this will enable Manchester City Schools to better serve the children and families in the district. Vaughn statement:

If anyone has questions regarding the program, please feel free to contact Chad Fletcher at (931) 728-2316 ext 2006.

Trial Date Set in Grundy Co. Murder Case

Daniel Chandler

Daniel Chandler has received a new trial date for the slaying of his 26-year-old wife Samantha Chandler on May 1, 2016. Chandler’s body was found by off-road riders near Ross Creek in Gruetli-Laager in Grundy County.
Daniel Chandler was charged with the murder in 2017, and at the time he was 29. He was located in Walker County, Alabama at the time of his arrest.
He will face a jury on charges of first-degree murder on August 12, in Grundy County Circuit Court before Judge Thomas W. Graham.

SNAP Benefits Might Come Early

The Tennessee Department of Human Services is advising SNAP recipients that they may receive their March benefits early.
Those who normally get their benefits on the first through sixth day of the month will receive benefits on their normal date.
However, if you normally receive benefits on the seventh through 20th day of the month, you will receive them on March 6.
Officials say the amount deposited will be the same as your usual deposit, but is not a bonus payment. It is intended to cover household food needs through March 2019.
Officials also say February benefits will not expire because of the early deposit of March benefits. SNAP benefits do not have to be used by a specific date and are good for up to a year after the deposit date.

Lawmakers want to Ban Gay Marriage in Tennessee

A pair of lawmakers have proposed a bill that would ban gay marriage in Tennessee.
WTVF in Nashville reports the bill states it would “defend natural marriage between one man and one woman, regardless of any court decision to the contrary.”
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of same-sex marriage in 2015.
The sponsors are Representative Jerry Sexton (R-Bean Station) and Senator Mark Pody (R-Lebanon).
They have introduced similar bills in 2016 and 2018 that didn’t get anywhere.

Gov. Lee wants to Repeal “Gym Tax”

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee says he will repeal the state’s “gym tax” in his upcoming budget proposal.
The state imposes a nearly 10 percent amusement tax on memberships to gyms, fitness centers and health clubs. It’s been on the books since the mid-1980s and represents about $10 million in state revenue.
However, Lee says the tax discourages Tennesseans from developing healthy habits.
The Tennessee Department of Health says the state ranks 40th in the nation for physical activity and 35th for adult obesity. TDH estimates show illnesses related to diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular disease cost the state more than $5.3 billion a year both directly and indirectly.

Coffee County Government meetings WEEK OF FEBRUARY 18, 2019

Tuesday, February 19
4:30 p.m. – Purchasing Commission

Thursday, February 21
4:00 p.m. – Board of Zoning Appeals

5:00 p.m. – Ambulance Authority

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