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80 Years Ago

Archives 04-17-2002






Woman critically injured in head-on collision
Wife and husband killed in apparent murder-suicide
New completion dates set for schools

Woman critically injured in head-on collision

Dewain E. Peek/OCN staff

A Livingston woman is in critical condition after a head-on collison on Highway 52 shortly after noon Wednesday, April 10. According to reports, Sharon D. Willis, 34, was driving a 1987 Ford Tempo east on Highway 52 when, just past Tower Hill Road, the car crossed the center line into the path of a 2001 GMC two-ton box truck driven by Darryl E. Moulden, 30, of Antioch. Willis was transported to Livingston Regional Hospital then taken by AirEvac to Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga. Moulden, who was wearing a seatbelt, was apparently uninjured. THP Jimmy King investigated the collision.


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Wife and husband killed in apparent murder-suicide

An Overton County woman apparently shot her husband twice before taking her own life Tuesday night, April 9.

Sgt. Ryan Allred and deputies Sean Allred and Kenny Cherry with Overton County Sheriff's Department were dispatched to 896 Rock Crusher Road at approximately 10:30 p.m., where they found Dawn Willis, 39, with a gunshot wound to the head.

The officers also discovered her husband, Jackie Willis, 31, had suffered a gunshot wound to his forehead and another in the left shoulder.

Overton County Ambulance Service responded to the scene and called Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga for Life Force assistance. EMS workers then transported the couple to Livingston Regional Hospital.

Dawn Willis passed away before the helicopters arrived.

Jackie Willis was airlifted to Erlanger, where he remained in critical condition until his death at 3:06 p.m. on Wednesday, April 10.

Two children were at the Willis home at the time of the incident, one said to be around 11 years-old and the other 13. One of the children reportedly ran to a neighbor's home and called 911 just after the shooting.

Recovered from the scene by officials was a .22 rifle, which was ostensibly used in the tragedy. Sheriff Kelly Hull said, "It's looking like a murder-suicide."

Sheriff Hull said the wife is suspected to be the shooter in the incident.

The children are now living with relatives, according to Sheriff Hull.


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New completion dates set for schools


School Board members, along with Director of Schools Bill Needham, met Thursday, April 11 for a work session to discuss the current status of the school building program.

Needham reported that he, Board Chairman Milton Raines, Terry Webb, and Karen Cowan met with Scotty Wallace and Ricky McGee, representatives of Wallace Construction, and sub-contractors Cookeville Heating and Cooling and Carwile Mechanical that day to oversee payments to these and other subcontractors.

"Wallace Construction issued payments to Cookeville Heating and Cooling and Carwile's for January and February," Needham said. "Cookeville Heating and Cooling also received payment for March. Cherry Creek was not present, but payment was issued to them as well. Several other payments were mailed from this office this afternoon that brought everyone up to date on contracts through February," .

According to Needham, the contractors present then signed a waiver of lien stating they had been paid for services rendered. March payments were to be submitted to the architect by Monday, April 15, with the group to meet again today, Wednesday, April 17, to receive those payments. Needham also stated that future payments to Wallace Construction, and their subsequent payments to subcontractors, will be handled in this same manner.

Needham then informed the Board members present that Wallace Construction had, once again, given him estimated dates of "substantial completion” for Wilson, Rickman, and Allons schools.

Based on the information provided him, Needham reported that "substantial completion" should occur at Wilson on April 26, at Rickman on or before May 3, and at Allons by June 3, excluding grading, paving, landscaping work to be completed behind the building.

When asked by Board member Russell Gray to define substantial completion, Needham said, "That's when we agree with the architect and the contractor that we're ready to accept that building and place it then into warranty. It's when the construction phase is basically over, and we enter the one year period where they are to fix anything that we find wrong during that period."

Prior to this, the architect, contractors, and school representatives will complete a walk-through of each facility, compiling a "punch list" of items that need to be corrected before substantial completion will be accepted.

With the contractor having submitted completion dates before, it was not unexpected that those present show some skepticism about these dates.

Board member Donald Brown said, "We'd just like to see it get done. Our patience is worn out. We've told the schools, the PTO's and all the people in the community each time you've met with us, and they just think we're not telling the truth."

In response to Brown's comments, Architect Richard Williams said, "I feel confident about these dates. That is to say, as confident as one can be about Wallace Construction right now. If Cookeville Heating and Cooling and Cherry Creek will get in there and finish their work, these jobs are almost over. Except for a few finishes and cleaning up, that's all that's left."

Needham added his confidence to that of Williams by telling the Board, "I feel better than I have. I want to see them back at work and then I'll feel real good about it. I want to see people out there meeting these deadlines."

Knowing that these dates may or may not be met, Board member Tim Coffee asked the architect, "Is there something we can do if on these dates they are nowhere near being done?"

Williams replied, "What we must do is to stick with the terms of the contract. We can't micromanage these projects. The alternative to them not finishing these projects is to turn it over to the bonding company, but you don't want to do that because the bonding company might just turn right around and hire them to finish the project."

Based on the terms of the contract signed by Wallace Construction, they have been in a penalty phase since October 26, 2001. At a rate of $150 per day per school, this will amount to approximately $27,000 per school as of April 26. According to Needham, these penalties will be withheld from the final payment made to Wallace Construction.

Williams informed the Board, "There are extenuating circumstances that goes with that too. You're not going to be able to collect that across the board because you've occupied a lion's share of the facility. You'll have to deal with the contract date regardless of any verbal commitments.

"The state has done this on several projects. They'll prorate and you won't get that much money per day. Because you didn't get the whole building, they take the portion of the building you've occupied and prorate that towards the amount of money due."

Williams went on to advise the Board, "Inevitably somebody bought a box of nails that we don't know about. We can't be responsible for that. What you should do as a Board before final payment is made is to make an advertisement, for whatever period the legal requirement is, stating that final payment is about to be made and anyone owed money should step forward. We're only going to protect the interest of the contract and that's all."

After concluding the discussion about the building program, Needham introduced the subject of budgeting to the group.

"We still have no word about what the state's going to do," he said. "We should know something one way or another around the end of April. We need to proceed with our budget process as usual, but as we make the budget out, we need to look at contingencies. The very last thing we need to look to cut is classroom instruction. Every program will have to be looked at and where the funding comes from."

Board Chairman Milton Raines wanted to reassure Overton County citizens that this year's budget has not been overspent as some people have thought.

"We have not overspent this year," he said. "If we have a shortfall it will be due to the state withholding our BEP payments. If this happens, we have enough money in our fund balance to complete the year."

Other issues of concern discussed during the work session included the electronic transmittal of attendance records next school year and the effect this would have on 2003-2004 budgets, the requirement of teachers aides to have two years college equivalence by 2004, new mandates for the special education program, and the requirement for technology instructors to have a BS degree.

The work session concluded.




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Overton County News
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