News briefs from across the state of Tennessee

News briefs from across the state of Tennessee

Posted: Saturday, August 2, 2008 12:00 am

Plea bargain sends teacher to jail for three years FRANKLIN, (AP) — A former teacher has been sentenced in Franklin on a plea bargain in a sex case. The Circuit Court Clerk’s office confirmed Heather Lee Thorsby entered guilty pleas on Monday to three counts of statutory rape by an authority figure and two counts of sexual battery by an authority figure. Thorsby was an art teacher at Independence High School and was charged with having sex with a student, who was a minor. She was suspended from her job in May 2007. Thorsby was sentenced on Monday to three years in prison and waived probation. The court ordered her to report to prison on Aug. 20. ——— Information from: WKRN-TV, http://www.wkrn.com/ DA asks TBI to see if blog info was a crime MEMPHIS (AP) — As Memphis sues to get the name of an Internet blogger critical of police, a prosecutor has asked the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation to determine whether a crime has been committed. A spokeswoman for District Attorney Bill Gibbons told The Commercial Appeal the office has referred the possible leaks of murder investigations to the TBI. The state agency’s spokeswoman, Kristin Helm, declined to say which homicide cases were involved. Helm said on Wednesday that a formal investigation had not been opened and the TBI was awaiting information from the Memphis Police Department. Police Director Larry Godwin and the city filed a lawsuit this month, seeking to force AOL to reveal all information of an e-mail address linked to MPD Enforcer 2.0. That blog has criticized police leadership. Godwin indicated information from ongoing investigations has been leaked to bloggers. ——— Information from: The Commercial Appeal, http://www.commercialappeal.com State agency to get land confiscated in drug bust NASHVILLE (AP) — The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency is getting stewardship of more than 900 acres in Cannon County. WPLN Radio in Nashville reported the land was bought with profits from a large-scale marijuana operation and it was confiscated as part of the case. Usually, such property is auctioned, but the state and federal agencies involved agreed TWRA could have it because of its unique character. The headwaters of the east fork of the Stones River rise there and it contains a cave studied by Middle Tennessee State University. Public and private funds will repay the Warren County Sheriff’s Office for 40 percent of the land’s value to compensate the local agency for money it spent on the drug probe. John Gregory of TWRA told the station the land will be open for recreation, outside of hunting seasons. ——— Information from: WPLN-FM, http://www.wpln.org/ 10th Tennessean found with salmonella NASHVILLE (AP) — The state Department of Health reports that a 10th Tennessean has been sickened by a national salmonella outbreak. The latest case involves a resident of Knox County, who has recovered. In all, people in eight counties across the state have been affected. Although initially linked to tomatoes, federal health officials said Wednesday the salmonella strain has been found in irrigation water and in a sample from a batch of serrano peppers at a Mexican farm. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the outbreak has affected more than 1,300 people in 43 states, the District of Columbia and Canada. Salmonella sickens about 1.4 million people a year. Health officials say most people recover without treatment in four to seven days although the illness can be fatal in young children, the elderly or people with weakened immune systems. —— On the Net: Tennessee Department of Health: www.tn.gov/health/ Police charge 2 after puppy set afire in Memphis MEMPHIS (AP) — Police in Memphis have charged two men with aggravated animal cruelty after a puppy was set on fire. Authorities arrested 20-year-old Vincent Boykin and 18-year-old Tristan Hathaway. Two young sisters told police they saw the men holding down the puppy and using a lighter to set it on fire. The puppy had burns on its back, face and legs and was under sedation Wednesday. Woman charged after kids found in running vehicle CLARKSVILLE (AP) — Clarksville police charged a woman with child neglect after finding three children alone in a sport utility vehicle. The police report said officers received a tip Wednesday morning that the children were in a vehicle in a Kmart parking lot. The report states the windows were down and the engine was running when officers found the 5-year-old and two 3-year-olds alone, but unharmed. Twenty-eight-year-old Leia Johnson was charged with three counts of child neglect. City police said it was the seventh such case this year. On July 8, police said a 3-month-old girl died after being left in a hot car for six hours. Evidence in that case will go to a grand jury. Landmark Greeneville warehouse destroyed by fire GREENEVILLE (AP) — Greeneville fire officials say a century-old warehouse has been destroyed by fire. Investigators said the 2 a.m. fire that gutted Bernard Warehouse No. 2 on South Main Street early Thursday was suspicious. No one was hurt. A costly two-year restoration of the longtime tobacco warehouse had been finished about a month ago. Flames shot 50-60 feet into the air. Electric power was shut off in the downtown area during the peak of the firefighting effort, but was restored to most customers by 9 a.m. Chattanooga police cruiser, bus collide CHATTANOOGA (AP) — A police cruiser and a city bus collided but no one appeared to be badly injured. The 10 passengers on the CARTA bus were transported to Erlanger Medical Center for treatment of apparent minor injuries after the 5 p.m. accident Wednesday. Police said the cruiser was going north on Roanoke Avenue on an emergency call and was trying to pass the bus on the left when the bus turned into its path. No one was immediately arrested but the accident is under investigation. Tenn. bridge repair program better than average NASHVILLE (AP) — Tennessee is doing better than average at repairing its aging and deficient bridges. An Associated Press review of the most heavily trafficked structurally deficient bridges across the nation found that 65 percent of them have received no work since the nation’s worst bridge collapse in a generation last year. But in Tennessee, that number was only 40 percent. While nationally only about 12 percent of the bridges studied have been completely fixed, that number also was a little better in Tennessee, where three of 20 bridges, or 15 percent, had been fixed. The repair work included the two busiest bridges on the structurally deficient list. A bridge that is labeled structurally deficient is not necessarily unsafe, but it does require monitoring and parts of it must be scheduled for repair or replacement. Another 45 percent of the Tennessee bridges studied have been partially repaired over the last year. Nationally, that number was only 23 percent. Only two of the 20 Tennessee bridges looked at had not seen any repairs and had no future repairs scheduled. Of those, one has been re-evaluated since the AP study and is no longer classified as structually deficient, TDOT officials said Wednesday. The other “bridge” is the Interstate 24 eastbound ramp to Interstate 124 North, also known as U.S. 27, in Hamilton County, which carries about 116,000 cars a day. TDOT spokeswoman Julie Oaks said that bridge is on a priority list and likely will be repaired sometime in the next year but no date has been set. ——— See the Tennessee Department of Transportation’s most recent list of structurally deficient bridges at http://www.tdot.state.tn.us/bridgeinfo/default.htm Published in The Messenger 8.1.08

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