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80 Years Ago

Archives 06-20-2001




Historical Documents Placed In Justice Center
Three Charged In Church Break-Ins
Legislative Body Petitions For Private Act


Historical Documents Placed In Justice Center

The Tennessee Chapter for the Advancement of the Ten Commandments recently put up displays in the new Overton County Justice Center, the Courthouse Annex, and the new Sheriff's Department. Present were, from left, Henry Smith, of Somerset, KY, David Carr, representing King of Kings Radio Station in Cookeville, Bill Hewitt, of Smith County, committee member, Clarence Jared, committee chairman, Overton County Executive Richard M. "OssieÓ Mitchell, John Copeland, committee secretary, John Whitson, Jackson County committee member, and Homer Akers, of Oneida, also representing King of Kings Radio Station.


The Tennessee Chapter for the Advancement of the Ten Commandments put up displays Friday, June 15 in the new Overton County Justice Center, the Overton County Courthouse Annex, and the new Overton County Sheriff's Department.

The displays include the Ten Commandments, an introduction, the Mayflower Compact, the Declaration of Independence, the Magna Carta, the Star-Spangled Banner, the Preamble to the Tennessee Constitution, the Bill of Rights and Lady Justice.

These documents were presented to the county at no cost, purchased with donations given to the committee.

Questions have been raised to the constitutionality of displaying the Ten Commandments in a public building; however, the committee received a letter from the Liberty Council, stating that the Ten Commandments may be displayed as part of a larger display of historical documents, citing several federal cases to support its findings.

Members of The Tennessee Chapter for the Advancement of the Ten Commandments, representing several counties in the Upper Cumberland, are Cla-rence Jared, chairman, Rick Davis, treasurer, John Cope-land, secretary, Bill Hewitt, Randy Tompkins, and John Whitson.

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Three Charged In Church Break-Ins
By Dewain E. Peek OCN staff

Maybe the devil made them do it, but he isn't being charged. Instead, three young people have been charged in recent burglaries of churches.

Charged with burglary in Overton County are Steven Joe Stinson, 20, of Pickett County, Michael Rios, 19, of Jamestown, and April Dawn Barnett, 18, of Jamestown.

According to Chief Deputy Craig Story, the suspects indicated drug activity was involved with the break-ins. Chief Story doubts that was the primary motivation for the break-ins here.

"I think more than anything it was kids being stupid," Story said.

According to Chief Story, the rash of burglaries extended into Pickett County and Fentress County. The break for the Overton County cases came when Pickett County informed Chief Story early last week that they had one of the people involved in the burglaries, and had leads to who the rest were.

"I went up to Pickett County Tuesday, and we solved three of our church break-ins from that," Chief Story said. "Right now, I've got people charged in one of them, but all of them are in jails in different places right now."

The three people are charged in the burglary at Beaty Swamp Church. The other two Overton County burglaries solved were break-ins at McDonald's Chapel and Miller's Chapel.

"These people, once they got fingered, they were all pretty much cooperative," Chief Story said.

Pickett County has solved 13 of their burglaries. Of those, 5 or 6 were churches, Story said, 2 were businesses, and the rest were residential burglaries.

"There's going to be a total of five people involved in burglaries in the whole scheme of things," Chief Story said. "There's only going to be four that are involved in ours, but there's five that are involved total in all of them."

Chief Story is preparing to take the fourth name before the next grand jury.

"Fentress County has charged three out of these five with burglaries of eight different churches," Chief Story said. "Fentress County's are the same as ours."

The other two named as suspects in the round of burglaries are Gregg Brown, 19, of Byrdstown, and Jeremy Michael Brannum, 20, also of Byrds-town.

Chief Story said this is not the end of the investigation.

"I'm not sure that all of our church burglaries are completely connected," he said. "There may be some fringe involvement with some other people. I'm not sure that this is the end of it."

Along with Beaty Swamp Church, Miller's Chapel, and McDonald's Chapel, also broken into were the Assembly of God in Allons, and Monroe Christian Church. The break-ins at Overton County churches prompted Sheriff Kelly Hull to offer a reward out of his own pocket.

Chief Story said the Sheriff's Department is happy to have three of the cases taken care of.



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Legislative Body Petitions For Private Act
By Dewain E. Peek and Deborah Forsman

Bond procedures in Overton County could change if the Tennessee General Assembly will pass a private act for Overton County.

The Overton County Legislative Body adopted a resolution during the Tuesday, June 12 regular meeting asking State Representative John Mark Windle and State Senator Lincoln Davis to pass a private act for Overton County to enable the county general sessions court to use a bail procedure first used by General Sessions Judge John Officer.

Under the procedure, a deposit of 10 percent of the bail amount is paid by the person charged with a criminal offense, and held by the circuit court clerk. If the defendant was found not guilty, the money would be returned. If the defendant was found guilty, the money would be applied toward fines and court costs.

Judge Officer used the bond procedure until Judge John Wootten granted a petition January 31 to stop it. A group of professional bondsmen had petitioned the court to stop the procedure. The judge's decision was based upon an interpretation of state law and indicated that the procedure was commendable but would need approval by the state legislature.

The County Commission adopted a resolution for a continuing budget and tax rate for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2001.

County Executive Richard M. "Ossie" Mitchell said, "This is a precautionary measure. Hopefully, we'll have the budget completed by the end of this month, but if we don't, this will take care of us."

The Commission adopted a resolution to allow the Sheriff's Department to purchase a LineScan 3000 work station, a fingerprint machine, with Livingston Police Department. The cost of the machine will be $50,000, purchased on a lease-purchase contract for 36 or 48 months, with the county paying half and the Town of Livingston paying half. The revenue to pay for the machine will come from the drug fund, not from taxes.

End of year budget amendments were approved.

School budget amendments were approved.

County Executive Richard M. "Ossie" Mitchell said, "That's the year-end cleanup amendments. We're trying to close the books out so we can balance the books, know where we are, and plan the budget for next year."

A resolution was adopted establishing a fixed rate reimbursement for housing state prisoners. The fixed rate is $18 for a non-certified jail. Prior to the vote, the rules were suspended to amend the resolution to include charging $35 for surrounding counties to house prisoners at the new jail.

When the new jail is certified, the County Commission will have to approve a new contract to house state prisoners.

A capital outlay note was approved for $1,650,000 for three years to provide interim financing for the purchase of land for the new industrial park. Commissioner Greg Nivens voted no.

A resolution was adopted asking the federal government to release funds to clean up abandoned coal mines.

The low bid for heating and cooling the break room at the nursing home was approved at $3,147.98 from Low Cost Heating and Cooling of Livingston.

A resolution was adopted asking the Tennessee Department of Finance and Administration to offer Tier 3 health insurance coverage at a premium rate less than full family coverage.

The Commission approved Sheriff Kelly Hull's request to appoint Grace Baptist Church Pastor John Copeland as the chaplain for the jail at the Justice Center.

Approved as notaries-at-large were Paige Gazaway, J. Steve Daniels, Aaron Vettraino, Paul Terry, Larry King, and Michael A. Qualls.

In committee reports, Nursing Home Committee Chairman Billie Phipps announced that Mark Hill has resigned as administrator of the nursing home. Tammy Norris has been appointed interim administrator.

Commissioners Donnie Bull and Randall Boswell were absent from the meeting.

The meeting adjourned.



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