Archives for March 2018

Kingsport Woman Turns Informant to Avoid Federal Gun Charges

(KINGSPORT) A Kingsport woman who bought a pistol for a known felon will not serve any time in prison for her crime.

Joni Galyon allegedly lied on the gun purchase form, saying it was for herself, when she knowingly bought it for James Simonton, Sr. Simonton was known to officials as a crack cocaine dealer, and was recently convicted on federal drug and weapons charges.

Galyon pled guilty in January and was sentenced to just three years probation this week. She also provided the feds “substantial assistance” in the case against Simonton.

Stickleyville VFD Set to Shutter Without More Members

The Stickleyville Volunteer Fire Department in SW Virginia says it needs more members, or else it will have to shut down.

A closure would mean more than 1,000 people in that community at risk with no fire crews. Stickleyville’s fire chief Edward Bowles said many of the firefighters are simply getting too old to do the job- the YOUNGEST member of the Stickleyville FVD is 65 years old.

He told NewsChannel 11 at least 5 people will likely have to join in order to avoid the department’s closure.

Pilot Blamed For Fatal December 2016 Crash in Sevierville

(SEVIERVILLE) A report from the NTSB is blaming a flight instructor on the plane crash that killed a family the day after Christmas in 2016 at Gatlinburg-Pigeon Forge Airport in Sevierville.

Federal officials say the pilot, 41-year old David Starling, did not file a flight plan until after he left and ignored weather conditions.

The Cessna 182H went down in the Great Smoky Mountains as Starling was preparing to land in Sevierville. He, along with 42-year old Kim Smith and 8-year old Hunter Starling, were all killed in the crash.

Elizabethton Water Dept. Fires High-Ranking Official Over Abuse, Corruption Claims

(ELIZABETHTON) Abuse allegations have led to the firing of a high-ranking member of the Elizabethton Water Department.

NewsChannel 11 reports Jim Roberts, who had been serving as the Water Resources Construction Manager, was fired late this week.

A dozen city employees filed complaints against Roberts, leading to an internal investigation. That investigation found abuse of compensation time, and violations of city code in which he used his position to benefit himself.

Roberts said he does not agree with the city attorney’s findings and conclusions in the ethics investigation.

US Army Munitions Plant Named Virginia’s Top Polluter

(RADFORD) An Army ammunition plant has once again topped the list of polluters in Virginia. According to The Roanoke Times, a report issued this week by Virginia’s Department of Environmental Quality found that the Radford Army Ammunition Plant accounts for 34 percent of the total on-site releases of all 2016 toxic release inventory chemicals reported by facilities statewide.

The facility makes ammunition and bombs for the military through private company BAE Systems. A drone study also found pollutants at higher-than-expected levels.

RAAP Commander Lt. Col. James Scott recently announced an initiative to reduce waste treated at the arsenal’s open burning ground by 50 percent by 2023. Plant staff said at a March 22 public meeting that a design for an incinerator to consume most of its munitions waste is nearing completion.

New Sullivan Co. High School to be Named West Ridge HS

(The Kingsport Times-News is reporting that the new Sullivan County high school that will open in 2020 will likely be named West Ridge High School. The choices for school colors will be unveiled on Tuesday- the school mascot won’t be likely known until May. The other names being considered for the school were Sullivan West and Sullivan Ridge. By the start of the 2020 school year, the 1,700-capacity school will replace Sullivan South and North high schools and much or all of Sullivan Central, although some Central students will possibly sent to Sullivan East.

Delays In New Bristol, VA Animal Shelter Forcing Adoption Changes

(BRISTOL, Va.) An ongoing agreement that saw Bristol, Virginia officials take stray dogs and cats to an animal shelter in Abingdon ends today.

The city’s new shelter on Shakesville Road remains under construction, and isn’t expected to be completed until late May. Until that shelter is up and running, Bristol animal control has reached an agreement to take stray dogs to Scott County’s animal shelter.

Cats -for the time being- are out of luck, since they are not accepted at the Scott County facility.

Wise Co. Pastor Charged With Child Sex Crimes

(WISE) A Wise County pastor and youth camp director has been indicted on charges of various sex crimes against children.

Jeff Rolen was indicted by a Wise County grand jury on 10 counts of indecent liberties with a child. According to court documents, a Virginia State Police investigation found Rolen was sexually involved with a teenager who was working at Highlands Fellowship and Camp Bethel Ministries. The activity allegedly happened between January of 1985 and December of 1987.

He has since been removed from his duties at the church.

Police Developing Leads in Glade Spring Drive-By Shooting

(GLADE SPRING) More details are coming out about a drive-by shooting that happened Thursday night in Washington County, Virginia.

Four bullet holes ripped through a trailer home on Deerfield Lane in Glade Spring around 8pm. Police said on Friday it appeared the shots were fired from a large caliber handgun, and some leads have been developed in the case. No one was injured in the incident.

Anyone with information is asked to call (276) 676-6000 or 1-888-461-0414.

Verma Talks Work Requirements

(NASHVILLE) — A Medicaid administrator was in town…Jim O’Reilly…

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services administrator, Seema Verma declined to say whether imposing work requirements on certain beneficiaries is better suited for states that expanded Medicaid than those that didn’t, saying her agency is assessing state proposals on a case-by-case basis. At an area engagement, Verma told reporters the program is about helping people rise out of poverty. The Trump administration has approved work-requirement plans in Kentucky, Indiana and Arkansas, all Medicaid expansion states under the Affordable Care Act.