News briefs from across Tennessee
Posted: Friday, May 10, 2013 8:00 pm
State offering teacher bonuses
to recruit talent
NASHVILLE (AP) — The state Department of Education has rolled out a new package of incentives to help bring the best teachers to Tennessee’s worst schools.
The department is offering to pay $7,000 signing bonuses to every new top-rated teacher who agrees to teach for at least two years in some of the worst-performing schools in the state. In addition, state officials will provide money to school districts to pay retention bonuses to every top-rated teacher who decides to stay at a priority school for the 2013-14 school year.
Priority schools are the schools that perform in the bottom 5 percent in the state in terms of academic achievement. They are located in Memphis, as well as Davidson, Hamilton, Hardeman and Knox counties.
elections administrator fired
NASHVILLE (AP) — Davidson County’s Election Commission has ousted its elections administrator after a state report found errors in the commission’s handling of last year’s elections.
The Tennessean reports the commission voted 4-1 to fire Albert Tieche after a one-hour meeting that included a commissioner stepping down in protest over the dismissal.
The state report said the problems included failing to open the polls on a Saturday during early voting; machines that sometimes defaulted to the Republican ballot during the primary; and shortages of poll workers, printed forms, parking and phone lines on Election Day.
Commissioner Jim Gotto resigned during the meeting and criticized others for seemingly fast-tracking the firing of Tieche. Gotto told the commission’s chairman that he had lost his “respect and trust.”
Deputy Elections Administrator Joan Nixon has been named interim director.
Company orders recall
of ice cream produced in NC
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) — A dairy company is voluntarily recalling ice cream produced in Winston-Salem and distributed to 10 states, including Tennessee, that don’t identify possible allergens because the product is packed in the wrong containers.
Dairy Fresh said Thursday it’s recalling some IGA Brand Vanilla and Chocolate in a 1.75 quart package because it’s really Heavenly Hash ice cream that may contain almonds, coconut and soy.
The containers have plant code of 3783 and a sell-by date 08-13-13. The company also is recalling containers with sell-by dates between 06-08-13 and 08-27-13.
The recalled ice cream was sold in North Carolina, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia.
Dairy Fresh official say they’re aware of one consumer who had an allergic reaction after eating the ice cream.
Virginia man accused
of courthouse bomb threats
JONESVILLE (AP) — A Virginia man is facing felony charges after being accused of phoning in two bomb threats to the Lee County Courthouse in order to avoid going to court.
The Kingsport Times-News is reporting that 28-year-old Jason David Nichols of Blackwater has been charged with two counts of threatening to bomb or burn a public building.
Nichols was due in court on Tuesday to face a misdemeanor charge of failing to pay a fine. Now he’s facing up to 10 years in prison.
Authorities say he was trying to get court proceedings stopped Tuesday by phoning in two bomb threats.
Investigators say Nichols used his own phone to call in the threats and that’s how authorities were able to track him down.
Nichols is being held in jail without bond.
Case of prosecutor’s son
sent to grand jury
CLARKSVILLE (AP) — A grand jury will decide whether to charge the son of Clarksville District Attorney General John Carney Jr. with kidnapping and robbery.
The Leaf-Chronicle reports John Carney III and three co-defendants were in court for a preliminary hearing on Wednesday.
Police say the men invaded an apartment and held a Fort Campbell soldier against his will, taking a safe from his home.
A retired prosecutor from Carroll County is serving as the special prosecutor pro-tem in the case. District Attorney John Carney Jr. has blamed prescription drug abuse for his son’s arrest. He was in court on Wednesday with supporters.
The son is being held without bond.
Horse trainer evicted
from barn after charges
MARYVILLE (AP) — A Blount County walking horse trainer charged with animal cruelty has been ordered to vacate the barn he rents.
Property owner Kay Talbott told the Knoxville News Sentinel she filed a warrant with the court on April 26, a day after local authorities removed 19 injured horses from the barn.
At a Wednesday hearing on the warrant, a judge ordered Larry Joe Wheelon out by June 10.
Investigators suspect the horses’ injuries were caused by soring. That’s an illegal horse training method that forces exaggerated gaits in Tennessee walking horses by injuring the animal’s legs.
The 68-year-old Wheelon is charged with animal cruelty. He is set to appear in Blount County General Sessions Court on May 14.
Talbott said she doesn’t want anything illegal going on in the barn.
Published in The Messenger 5.10.13