Due to copyright concerns, you cannot copy content of this page. If you see a photo you are interested in, contact the original photographer about purchase. Reminder - illegally downloading photos and using without the permission of a photographer is infringement and against the law.

Category: News

Former public works director files suit against Manchester

After serving as director of the Manchester Public Works Department for over 12 years, Brent Carter was demoted to work at the wastewater treatment plant in December of 2018. 

Now Carter is suing the city of Manchester, saying he was given the option of being terminated or accepting a demotion by Mayor Lonnie Norman when he voiced concerns to aldermen that the mayor was pushing his public works department to purchase things from businesses with political connections to Mayor Norman. 

“Due to pending litigation I am unable to comment on the specifics of the complaint,” Norman told Thunder Radio News in an emailed statement. “It is the city’s position that we will vigorously defend the allegations in the complaint.”

The lawsuit was filed in federal court by Carter and his attorney, Drew Justice on November 13. Gerald Ewell is the attorney for the city of Manchester. 

In the lawsuit, Carter claims that once the mayor learned that Carter had purchased supplies at a business not connected with Norman, the mayor would call Carter and urge him to “buy local,” which, according to Carter, meant to make purchases at businesses that were politically connected to Norman and his friends and not at businesses that offered better pricing.

Carter also claims in his lawsuit that Norman threatened to fire him if he spoke with any aldermen about decisions, which is part of the basis for Carter’s litigation. Carter claims the city violated his first amendment and Tennessee Public Employee Political Freedom Act without due process. Carter’s suit claims that by threatening to fire him and then demoting him in retaliation for his acts of speaking to an elected official, the city of Manchester violated Carter’s PEPFA rights.

The PEPFA says that it shall be unlawful for a public employer to discipline or discriminate against employees who exercised his or her rights to communicate with an elected official. 

Carter’s lawsuit claims that he eventually took his concerns to then alderman Cheryl Swan (who did not seek reelection in 2018). After bringing concerns to Swan in August of 2018, Carter was told in December of 2018 by Norman that Carter had the option of being demoted or fired. He moved to the wastewater department on Dec. 4. This in turn meant a $25,000 cut in pay. 

Carter is seeking back pay, front pay, loss of retirement and health benefits, compensatory time off, punitive damages, attorney’s fees and treble damages. 

As of the filing of the lawsuit, Carter remains employed with the city. He was first hired as public works director in 2006. 

Probation officer arrested for allegedly having relationship with probationer

An investigation by Special Agents with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has resulted in the indictment and arrest of an Altamont woman on charges of official misconduct.

Tara Van Hooser-Prater

At the request of 12th District Attorney General J. Michael Taylor, on July 24th, TBI Agents began investigating Tara Van Hooser-Prater, a probation officer with the State of Tennessee. During the course of the investigation, Agents developed information that indicated that from May through July, Van Hooser-Prater had engaged in a sexual relationship with a probationer who was on active probation in Grundy County.

On November 12th, the Grundy County Grand Jury returned indictments charging Tara Deanna Van Hooser-Prater (DOB 02/21/1981) with two counts of Official Misconduct. Van Hooser-Prater was arrested on Wednesday and booked into the Grundy County Jail on a $7,500 bond.

H&R Block Student of the Week – Braxton White

Pictured are, from left, Rosalyn Partin with Manchester H&R Block, Braxton White and CHS assistant principal Katrina Wright.

Join us at Thunder Radio and Rosalyn Partin at the H&R Block and say congratulations to our student of the week – Braxton White. 

Braxton is a junior at Coffee County Central High School in Mrs. Carney’s home room. He is the son of Baxter and Leslie White. 

Braxton is a member of student government, Future Business Leaders of America and DECA. In his spare time, he enjoys hanging out with his friends. 

He plans to pursue a career in the entertainment field, and would like to attend Lipscomb University.

Rosalyn Partin, owner of the Manchester H&R Block, has been inspired to recognize great kids in our community all through hockey season. What does hockey season have to do with our local students? Well, H&R Block gives each Student of the Week a set of Nashville Predators Hockey tickets, a commemorative plaque, as well as a special letter of recognition. Join H&R block and say congratulations to Braxton White!

Grundy Co. man charged with 2nd degree murder

An investigation by Special Agents with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and deputies with the Grundy County Sheriff’s Department has resulted in the indictment and arrest of a Coalmont man, on a charge of second degree murder.

George David Byers, Jr.

At the request of 12th District Attorney General J. Michael Taylor, on February 10th, TBI Agents, along with Grundy County deputies, began investigating a homicide that occurred on Lockhart Town Road in Coalmont. Bradford Orion Meeks (DOB 07/21/1980) had been shot during an altercation, and was pronounced deceased at a regional hospital. During the course of the investigation, Agents developed information that identified George Byers, an acquaintance of the victim, as the individual responsible for the death of Mr. Meeks.

On November 12th, the Grundy County Grand Jury returned an indictment charging George David Byers, Jr., (DOB 01/28/1955) with one count of Second Degree Murder. Byers was arrested Wednesday, and booked into the Grundy County Jail on a $75,000 bond.

Tullahoma student hit by car on way to school

A 13-year old male student was crossing Ovoca Rd. on his way to School Monday morning in Tullahoma when he was hit by a vehicle. The unidentified student was flown to Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital for treatment of his injuries, which are not expected to be life threatening. 

One lane of traffic was stopped at a traffic light, but traffic in the opposite direction was not stopped when the student apparently crossed the stopped cars and into the path of oncoming traffic. 

Mobile food pantry is in Manchester Friday

Coffee County and Manchester City Schools are partnering together to host a Mobile Food Pantry for families in need on Friday, November 15th at First Baptist Church of Manchester. A Mobile Food Pantry is a large scale food distribution in which food items are delivered via Second Harvest Food Bank to a designated location for immediate distribution to those in need.

“We, Coffee County and Manchester City Schools, are excited to offer this opportunity for our families. By working together, this allows us to ensure we are serving every family in need,” said Taylor Rayfield, Coordinator of Family Resource for Coffee County Schools.

The Mobile Food Pantry will be held on Friday, November 15th at First Baptist Church of Manchester, 1006 Hillsboro Blvd., Manchester, Tennessee 37355. Doors open at 9 AM and is a first come, first serve opportunity. This program is for families who have a student enrolled in the Coffee County Schools or Manchester City Schools System.

For questions, contact Taylor Rayfield, Coordinator of Family Resource for Coffee County Schools at (931) 222-1066, or BJ Sylvia, Coordinator of Family Resource for Manchester City Schools at (931) 728-3412.

Grundy Co. commissioner charged with assault, domestic assault

A Grundy County Commissioner turned himself in on Tuesday, Nov. 12 at the Grundy County Jail after he was charged with domestic assault, aggravated assault and reckless endangerment in an incident that allegedly took place on Nov. 8. Commissioner Mike Cordell is free on $5,000 bond and is wearing a GPS monitor. 

According to a report on file with the Grundy County Sheriff’s Department, Cordell allegedly got into an altercation with family members and a boyfriend of a family member. He allegedly choked someone, struck a family member in the face and knocked over a stroller with a two-month old baby inside. 

It is the policy of Thunder Radio News to not release names of those who are victims of alleged domestic violence.

Resolution reached in case of Nashville activist Justin Jones

A resolution has been reached in the case of proclaimed Nashville activist Justin Jones, a case that ended up with Coffee County District Attorney Craig Northcott serving as a special prosecutor and subsequently thrust Northcott into the national spotlight.

Jones was charged with assault back in February after authorities say he threw a drink on state representative Glen Casada. Casada’s office claimed that Jones emailed Casada following his arrest, a violation of Jones’ bond conditions. Nashville District Attorney Glenn Funk received emails with two separate dates, causing confusion and a discrepancy as to whether or not Jones violated a court order or if someone manipulated dates in order to cause trouble for Jones. Funk recused himself from the case and Northcott was appointed special prosecutor.

According to The Tennessean, Northcott looked into the emails and believed a technical glitch was the reason for the mix up and said that Jones did not violate his bond, nor were there any doctored emails.

In a copy of the court order that appears to resolve the case obtained by Thunder Radio News Wednesday afternoon (Nov. 13) but not yet signed by the court, Northcott is having the case placed on what is called a “retired docket” until April of 2020. If Jones obeys terms of the order, such as avoiding Cordell Hull State Office Building, has no contact with Casada or Representative Moody, follows all rules while in the State Capital Building and is not re-arrested, then the case will be dismissed. If not, Northcott will proceed with prosecution.

“If the defendant abides by the terms of the agreement, the case will be dismissed on April 22, 2020,” Northcott explained in an email to Thunder Radio News. “If not, I can place the matters back on the active docket and move forward with the prosecution. The victims, Reps. Debra Moody and Glen Casada are satisfied with the resolution and hope Mr. Jones has learned from this situation and will move forward in a positive direction.”

Serving as special prosecutor on the case has come at a price to Northcott. Comments he made regarding gay marriage and the muslim religion were picked up by news media covering the case, eventually leading to an investigation by the Tennessee Board of Professional Responsibility (which remains open) and calls for his resignation among members of the Tennessee Bar.

County talking about $2.5M investment for TCAT

There are nearly 30 Tennessee College of Applied Technology campuses across the state. And Coffee County would like to add another here in Manchester. 

According to a report from the Manchester Times, Coffee County Mayor Gary Cordell put forth a proposal to the county’s budget and finance committee that would have the county putting up $2.5 million to bring a campus here.

The deal would mean the county would purchase a 5,000 square foot building from VIAM Manufacturing large enough for approximately 400 students. It is the same building VIAM has allowed TCAT to use for industrial maintenance training for the past two years. The county would also need approval from the Tennessee Board of Regents and TCAT. 

Decherd finance officer fired

The City of Decherd’s finance officer Tammie Allen has been fired after city officials were made aware that she was allegedly misappropriating funds from fuel cards for personal use. City officials were tipped off by the Franklin County Sheriff’s Department, according to a report by the Herald Chronicle. 

Allen has not been arrested in this case at this time.