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Two Killed, One Severely Burned In Wednesday Oil Tank Explosion
Cattle Rustling Sting Conducted By Sheriff's Dept.
Alderman Meeting Held Monday
County Tax Rate To Remain Same As Last Year

Two Killed, One Severely Burned In Wednesday Oil Tank Explosion
By Dewain E. Peek

An oil tank is sprayed down following an explosion Wednesday morning, June 30 that killed two men and severely burned another.

Details are still unclear about how the explosion occurred. The men were reportedly independent contractors hired to patch leaks in crude oil storage tanks in an area less than a mile north of Livingston just off of Haney Judd Road. They had reportedly finished repairing one tank the previous day. As they were working on the second tank around 7:45 Wednesday morning, it exploded, reportedly sending flame more than 150 feet into the air. The tank flew approximately 40 feet from where it had stood, with the bottom of the tank separated from the main hull.

Natural gas, a by-product of crude oil, is believed to have built up in the tank and a spark from some source is believed to have ignited it, causing the explosion.

According to reports, Rob Schoettle of the Overton County Sheriff's Department arrived on the scene and met Kelly Jack Daniels, burned on more than 65 percent of his body, walking toward him.

Marty Geesling, 24, and Johnny Garrett, 46, were both dead at the scene. Daniels, 25, was transported to Erlanger Medical Center in Chattanooga. Daniels has since reportedly been given artificial skin grafts on his back.

A discharged fire extinguisher was reportedly found near Garrett's body, near the welding truck. A fully charged fire extinquisher was reportedly found on the ground near one of the other trucks.

Another man thought to have been working at the site was found to have stayed home that morning.

Agencies responding to the scene along with the Sheriff's Dept. included the Livingston Police Department, Livingston Volunteer Fire Department, Overton County Ambulance Service, Fairgrounds Volunteer Fire Department, TEMA, EPA, TOSHA, OSHA, and a member of the Monroe Volunteer Fire Department.

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Cattle Rustling Sting Conducted By Sheriff's Dept.

An investigation by the Overton County Sheriff's department uncovered a suspected cattle rustling ring in Hilham on June 22.

During the past several months a number of cattle and bulls have disappeared from farms in Hilham, according to the Sheriff's Dept. The disappearances occurred in a localized area. In an attempt to determine what was happening to the cattle, the deputies put red paint in the ear of three cows. The cows were then released on the rightful owner's property.

The Sheriff's Dept. then set up a stake out.

According to the sheriff's department, a few hours after the operation began, undercover officers observed the three marked cattle on a suspected neighbor's land, near a group of the neighbor's cattle. A short time later the three marked cattle were placed into a corral by themselves.

At approximately 5:30 a.m. the next morning the three marked cattle, only, were reportedly taken from the corral and transported by truck and trailer to Crossville, where they were allegedly sold for $1,000.

The cows were recovered at a stockyard after being identified by the red paint and the owner a short time later.

The investigation is ongoing and will be presented to the Overton County Grand Jury.

Anyone with information regarding cattle theft is asked to contact Sgt. Robert Garrett or Deputy Greg Etheredge at (931) 823-5635.

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Alderman Meeting Held Monday
By Dewain E. Peek

The Livingston mayor and Board of Aldermen held their regular monthly meeting Monday, July 5 with Alderman Johnny Halfacre absent.

The "Do Not Enter" sign on spring street will be moved close to the sidewalk and another sign will be placed next to the sidewalk on the other side of the street.

A company was hired to draw up the plan for the Livingston Airport.

First reading on rezoning Hershell Wilson property near the old Tri-Con building from R-1 to I-1 was approved. A public hearing was set for 10 a.m. Friday, July 23.

County Commissioners Stanley Carter and Frank Martin were appointed to the Airport Committee.

Mike Gilpatrick was hired at the water department to replace Mike Hoover.

Michael Presley was hired at the street department to replace Danny Greer who took another job.

The Board will meet at 10 a.m. Wednesday, July 14 for a public hearing and consider a second reading on the budget for 1999-2000.

The meeting adjourned.

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County Taz Rate To Remain Same As Last Year
By Dewain E. Peek

The Overton County Legislative Body held a called meeting Thursday, July 1. Commissioner Johnnie Webb was absent.

A resolution was adopted to fix the tax levy at $1.89, the same as last year.

According to Executive Mitchell, the county's tax base increased $111,000. "That's not much growth, but it's better than going in the other direction," Mitchell said. "It did have some growth.

"So, we only had $111,000 new money to work with and we were still able to keep the tax rate the same. I'm really proud of that.

"There are 85 counties that have a higher tax rate than Overton County."

An appropriating resolution was adopted for General Fund, Courthouse & Jail Maintenance Fund, Solid Waste Fund, Drug Fund, General Purpose School Fund, Highway Fund, Central Cafeteria Fund, and Debt Service Fund.

The first reading of the non-profit resolution was approved. The County Commission adopted a salary schedule for county personnel.

County Executive Richard M. "Ossie" Mitchell said of the salary schedule, "It's not perfect. It's got a starting salary; it's got an ending salary. It can be adjusted by the County Commission each year, but it has to be adjusted equally to everybody. It can't just be adjusted for one person. That's for fairness. The whole purpose behind this thing is to try to be fair."

The meeting adjourned.

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Overton County News
415 West Main Street
P.O. Box 479
Livingston, Tennessee 38570
tel 931.823.6485
fax 931.823.6486
ocnews@usit.net

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