Missing Buchanan Co. Teenager Found Safe

A missing Buchanan County, VA girl has been found safe and sound.

15-year old Madeline Wells was reported missing Wednesday after being spotted at a Grundy motel with a 21-year old North Carolina man she met on Facebook.

The Buchanan Co. Sheriff’s Office says 21-year old Michael Newman was arrested shortly after the girl was found. Charges are pending.

Elizabethton City Leaders Change Rules for ‘Pub Bars’

Less than 90 days after its passing, the Elizabethton City Council has already changed the city codes for the so-called ‘pub bars’ downtown.

The city council this week changed the serving times and the amount of beer the breweries can make each year.

The new rules will allow beer to be served until 11pm, and doubled the allowed amount of brew, from 7500 gallons per year to 15,000.

City leaders hope the new alcohol changes will bring visitors to the downtown area.

Local College Students Affected By Government Shutdown

Local college students are affected by the federal government shutdown. LW’s Karen Johnson.

East Tennessee State University officials confirm that there are about 150 students currently feeling the impact of the federal government shutdown. Financial Aid Director at ETSU, Catherine Morgan, explains that when students apply for financial aid, there are a select few who have to go through a verification process with the IRS. Right now the IRS is currently not able to provide students with the information they need due to the shutdown. Morgan says ETSU is in the process of contacting the 150 students.

Arrest Made in Fatal Smyth Co. Hit and Run

A 31-year old man has been charged in a fatal Smyth County hit and run.

Police say 31-year Joseph Kestner of Marion, Virginia was the driver of an old Honda that ran off the side of Riverside Road and crashed into a house Sunday morning.

The accident killed one person inside the home, 87-year old Margaret Poe. Police say Kestner ran away from the scene on foot.

He was arrested on Wednesday and charged with fatal hit-and-run, failure to report a crash, and involuntary manslaughter.

Ex-Russell Co. Psychiatrist Sentenced to 7 Months in Prison

A former Russell County psychiatrist was sentenced to 7 months in prison on Wednesday.

Alberto Cervantes had already plead guilty to defrauding Medicaid and and United Healthcare by billing insurance while having a relationship with a patient.

The relationship lasted more than two years, during which time Cervantes billed Medicaid for more than $9300.

His medical and DEA registration was revoked in 2015.

Bristol Carjacking Suspect Arrested in Georgia

Police in Washington County, Va. say at least one suspect wanted in connection with a Wednesday night carjacking on Lee Highway in Bristol was found in Georgia and arrested.

Police say the unidentified man pulled a gun on a man outside the Venue & Company around 630 last night and demanded keys.

When he refused, the man and two women then pulled a gun on a second person who was pulling into the parking lot.

Buchanan County Teenager Missing, Believed Kidnapped

Police in Buchanan County are looking for a missing teenager that they claim was abducted.

15-year old Madeline Faith Serria Wells was last seen yesterday around 1230 at the Comfort Inn in Grundy.
Her family, along with police, say she is likely with 21-year old Michael Newnam, a North Carolina man. Officials say the two met on Facebook- he picked Wells up from school yesterday and are traveling in an older black Chevy truck.

Anyone with information is asked to call police.

Young Mother Charged With Putting Baby In A Freezer

A young Tennessee mother is now charged in the case of putting her infant in a freezer. LW’s Karen Johnson.

Johnson City woman Brittany Smith, 19, is charged with child abuse and burglary. She’s in jail on a $200,000 bond after a neighbor Joshua Blair discovered her putting an 8-month old baby in a freezer in his yard. Washington County Sheriff’s deputies say Blair rescued the baby and is OK who deputies say wouldn’t have been if not for Blair and other family members. Deputies say they suspect Smith was likely under the influence. Smith is scheduled to appear in court Monday. I’m Karen Johnson.

Tourists Spent $2M+ on Area Airbnb Rentals in 2018

Airbnb rentals brought millions of dollars into the Tri-Cities economy last year.

Just over $2.3M, to be exact. According to the rental company, nearly 24,000 visitors stayed at area Airbnb locations in Washington, Sullivan, Carter, Unicoi, Greene, and Johnson Counties in 2018.

Washington County had the largest share of bookings- nearly 10,000 of them- for a total of around $1.1M. Sullivan County saw around 6,000 bookings and nearly $590,000 in income for hosts.

The biggest demand came during race weeks, when area hotels and campgrounds typically sell out.

Threats Made Against Oakwood Pharmacy School

Police say threats of violence were made towards a Southwest Virginia pharmacy school.

Appalachian College of Pharmacy in Oakwood began its spring semester this week amid heightened security.

School President Michael McGlothlin and Buchanan County Sheriff Ray Foster said the threats were found to be not credible.

The school sits not far away from the Appalachian School of Law, where three people -including the school’s dean- were killed by a student in 2002.