Local News 2020

NEW ETSU-COACH—COMMUNITY

NEW EAST TENNESSEE STATE UNIVERSITY MEN’S BASKETBALL COACH DESMOND OLIVER SAYS HE WANTS TO DO MORE THAN WIN ON THE COURT.  HE SAYS IT’S A SHAME THERE’S A CLOUD OVER JOHNSON CITY RIGHT NOW AND IT’S IMPORTANT FOR HIS PLAYERS TO GET OUT IN THE COMMUNITY, “TEACH MY YOUNG PEOPLE HOW TO EFFECTIVELY COMMUNICATE AND TALK ABOUT ISSUES GOING ON IN THEIR LIVES AND THIS COUNTRY WITHOUT BEING OFFENSE AND ABLE TO DEBATE WHEN PEOPLE DISAGREE WITH THEM.”    THERE’S STILL UNREST AFTER FORMER HEAD COACH JASON SHAY RESIGNED LAST WEEK.  THAT CAME WEEKS AFTER PICTURES SURFACED OF THE TEAM KNEELING DURING THE NATIONAL ANTHEM.    

PERMITLESS CARRY LAW

GOVERNOR BILL LEE HAS SIGNED A BILL THAT ALLOWS TENNESSEANS 21 AND OLDER TO CARRY A HANDGUN WITHOUT A PERMIT.  THE LEGISLATION WILL ALSO INCREASE PUNISHMENTS FOR CERTAIN GUN CRIMES.  THE GOVERNOR SAID CONSTITUTIONAL CARRY WAS ONE OF HIS LEGISLATIVE PRIORITIES THIS YEAR.  THE BILL ALSO ALLOWS THOSE 18 AND OLDER WHO’VE BEEN HONORABLY DISCHARGED FROM THE MILITARY OR ARE ON ACTIVE DUTY AND HAVE FINISHED BASIC TRAINING TO CARRY.  THE NEW LAW TAKES EFFECT JULY 1.

MAN SENTENCED FOR KILLING HIS MOTHER

A CARTER COUNTY MAN HAS BEEN SENTENCED TO 22 YEARS IN PRISON FOR KILLING HIS MOTHER.  JOHN RALPH PLEADED GUILTY TO SECOND-DEGREE MURDER.  RALPH WAS ORIGINALLY CHARGED WITH FIRST-DEGREE MURDER IN THE 2019 DEATH OF EDITH RALPH, WHO WAS FOUND DEAD AT HER HOME ON REYNOLDS ROAD.  THAT CHARGE WAS REDUCED TO SECOND-DEGREE MURDER IN A PLEA DEAL.  RALPH WAS ARRESTED AT THE ATLANTA AIRPORT.

RAFALOWSKI—INTERIM

THE SULLIVAN COUNTY BOARD OF EDUCATION HAS APPROVED A CONTRACT FOR INTERIM SCHOOLS DIRECTOR EVELYN RAFALOWSKI.  HER SALARY FOR THE UPCOMING SCHOOL YEAR WILL BE $136-THOUSAND 680-DOLLARS PLUS OTHER BENEFITS.  SHE’LL SUCCEED DAVID COX, WHO ANNOUNCED HIS RETIREMENT IN JANUARY.  RAFALOWSKI PREVIOUSLY SERVED AS DIRECTOR OF SCHOOLS BEFORE RETIRING IN 2019.

COVID-19—MASS VACCINATION

THERE’LL BE A THREE-DAY MASS COVID-19 VACCINATION EVENT NEXT WEEK AT THE BRISTOL MOTOR SPEEDWAY.  THE SULLIVAN COUNTY REGIONAL HEALTH DEPARTMENT WILL HOLD THE EVENT APRIL 14TH THROUGH 16TH FROM 9 A.M. UNTIL 8 P.M. EACH DAY.  THE SINGLE DOSE JOHNSON AND JOHNSON VACCINE WILL BE ADMINISTERED.  UP TO 3-THOUSAND PEOPLE CAN BE VACCINATED EACH DAY DURING THE EVENT.  APPOINTMENTS ARE PREFERRED, BUT NOT REQUIRED.  YOU CAN CALL 279-2777 FOR AN APPOINTMENT.    PARKING WON’T BE ALLOWED ALONG THE SHOULDER OF HIGHWAY 11-E.  BRISTOL TENNESSEE POLICE WILL BE PATROLLING THE AREA.

NEW JOBS??

WASHINGTON COUNTY IS IN THE RUNNING FOR AN AUTOMOTIVE PARTS COMPANY THAT COULD BRING WITH IT OVER 200 NEW JOBS.  THE COMPANY NOW HAS OVER 17-THOUSAND EMPLOYEES IN 10 COUNTRIES—AND IS ASKING FOR PAYMENT IN LIEU OF TAXES—AS PART OF A PLAN TO LOCATE IN THE COUNTY INDUSTRIAL PARK IN TELFORD. 

CARTER COURTHOUSE—SECURITY

SECURITY WILL BE UPGRADED AT THE CARTER COUNTY COURTHOUSE.  THERE’LL BE ONE ENTRANCE AND A METAL DETECTOR ALONG WITH BODY AND BAG SCANNERS WILL BE USED.  THERE’LL ALSO BE ONE ENTRANCE TO THE NEARBY JUSTICE CENTER.  THE $500-THOUSAND DOLLAR PROJECT WAS FUNDED THROUGH GRANT MONIES.

OPIOID TRIAL DATE SET

A SUMMER DATE HAS BEEN SET FOR THE DAMAGES TRIAL IN THE SULLIVAN BABY DOE LAWSUIT.  IT’S SET TO BEGIN JULY 26TH—AND CHANCELLOR E.G. MOODY HOPES TO USE A NEWLY RENOVATED CRIMINAL COURTROOM FOR THE TRIAL.  THE SUIT WAS FILED IN 2017 BY LOCAL PROSECUTORS AGAINST THREE MAJOR PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANIES FOR THEIR ALLEGED ROLES IN THE OPIOID EPIDEMIC.  EARLIER THIS WEEK, CHANCELLOR MOODY ORDERED A DEFAULT JUDGMENT OF LIABILITY AGAINST ENDO—WHICH IS THE ONLY REMAINING DEFENDANT.  PLAINTIFFS ARE SEEKING MORE THAN $2.4-BILLION DOLLARS IN DAMAGES.

COVID-19—BALLAD HEALTH

BALLAD HEALTH REPORTS 114 PATIENTS HOSPITALIZED WITH COVID-19.  THAT’S DOWN FROM 127 ON WEDNESDAY.  TODAY, 27 PATIENTS ARE IN INTENSIVE CARE AND 13 ARE ON VENTILATORS.  OVER THE LAST WEEK, BALLAD REPORTS A 14.5-PERCENT POSITIVE TEST RATE FOR THE VIRUS AND 10 DEATHS.  IN BALLAD’S SERVICE AREA, OVER 74-THOUSAND PEOPLE HAVE RECEIVED EITHER THE FIRST OR BOTH DOSES OF THE COVID-19 VACCINE.

TRIAL DATE SET FOR WOMAN

A TRIAL DATE HAS BEEN SET FOR A TRI-CITIES WOMAN ACCUSED OF KILLING A WOMAN IN FLORIDA WHILE DRESSED AS A CLOWN.  SHEILA KEEN-WARREN IS SCHEDULED TO STAND TRIAL SEPTEMBER 8TH.  SHE’S ACCUSED IN THE 1990 DEATH OF HER HUSBAND’S THEN WIFE—MARLENE WARREN.  KEEN-WARREN IS THE FORMER OWNER OF THE PURPLE COW IN KINGSPORT AND SHE AND MICHAEL WARREN WERE MARRIED A DECADE AFTER MARLENE’S DEATH.  THE COUPLE LIVED IN ABINGDON UNTIL KEEN-WARREN WAS ARRESTED IN 2017.