Screenings being held at all county schools
Man pleads guilty to rape of child
New completion dates set for schools
being held at all county schools
Becky Meredith/OCN staff
Johnnie Lee, above, volunteer with Eye Centers of
Tennessee in Livingston, performs a vision screening on Jayna Ferrell,
who has been registered to attend kindergarten at Allons Elementary
School this fall.
At right, Allons kindergarten teacher Linda Langford
screens hearing on Kyle Scott, one of around 35 kindergarten students
expected to attend the school in the 2002-2003 school year.
Free vision and hearing screenings, along with pre-registration,
are being conducted at each school in Overton County this week.
These screenings must be performed on all children entering kindergarten
in Overton County. The screenings allow the school district to identify
children who are at risk for sight and/or hearing problems. Parents
of children who do not pass the screening will be asked to take
their child to visit a specialist for further testing. School screening
activities only point to possible future problems. A professional
opinion is recommended for a diagnosis. Parents should contact their
respective schools for more information about the screenings and
preregistration being held.
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guilty to rape of child
By ROBERT FORSMAN, court reporter
A defendant charged with raping a child less than
12 years of age entered a guilty plea Monday, April 22 in Overton
County Criminal Court, Judge Lillie Ann Sells presiding.
Dennis Eugene Harmon, 27, an Overton County Jail inmate,
pled guilty to rape of a child. The offense occurred in December
The case against Harmon was scheduled for a jury
trial Tuesday, April 23.
Judge Sells advised Harmon he had the right to a trial.
"We do have a jury ready to come in at 9 a.m.
tomorrow," she said.
Harmon said he understood and wanted to plead guilty.
"Is it your decision and your decision alone
that you want to plead guilty?"
Judge Sells asked. "Yes," Harmon replied.
Judge Sells asked if Harmon had any witnesses that could testify
on his behalf if the case went to trial.
"No,” replied Harmon.
According to a plea agreement arranged by Harmon's
attorney John Nisbet and Assistant District Attorney Owen Burnett,
Harmon was sentenced to 18 years in prison at 100 percent to be
served according to Tennessee law.
Burnett said, "The defendant gave a statement,
Your Honor, admitting to sexual intercourse with the victim. We
believe the statement to be true and accurate."
Nisbet said, "The evidence would be sufficient
to convict my client."
Harmon has been in jail since being arrested for the
offense. Judge Sells asked if he was unable to make bond.
Harmon replied, "Yes."
"Rape of a child is a very serious crime,"
Judge Sells said. "Once you've served 18 years, you'll have
to register as a sex offender with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation."
When asked after the hearing why the state accepted
the plea, ADA Burnett explained a doctor scheduled to testify for
the state had relocated in Alaska and another had moved to India.
He said the plea prevented the child from having to testify.
When asked how Harmon could be sentenced to 18 years
in prison as allowed by one state statute instead of the mandatory
25 years according to another state statute, Burnett said the benefit
goes to the defendant in cases involving conflicting statutes.
Harmon will be transferred from jail to a DOC prison
as soon as a bed is available.
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man dies in Smith Co. logging accident
By EDDIE WEST, Carthage Courier staff writer
An Overton County man was killed in a logging accident
that occurred in the Defeated community of Smith County over the
The accident was reported around 8:49 p.m. Saturday,
Johnnie Bryant Oakley, 32, of Bratcher Hall Road,
Monroe, was logging on a relative's farm located in the Ash Hopper
Hollow, which is located off Highway 85 at the Devil's Elbow.
A skid loader, a machine used to maneuver logs, rolled
over on the victim, Rescue Squad Chief Sonny Carter said.
Oakley was located lying next to the skid loader in
a wooded area.
Rescue workers had to bring the victim up an estimated
50 to 60 foot embankment in a stokes basket to an awaiting ambulance.
Rescue workers suspect the skid loader rolled over
on the individual, but the victim was not pinned underneath the
machine when located, Carter said.
The victim was transported by Smith County Ambulance
Service to Smith County Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced
Air Evac was en route to land on Highway 80 near the
scene, but the victim's condition became more critical and he was
transported to Smith County Memorial, Carter said.
Rescue squad personnel were at the scene for about
Rescue workers believe other individuals were at
the scene where Oakley was working when the accident occurred and
Funeral services for Oakley were Tuesday morning,
April 23 from Speck Funeral Home in Livingston.
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Winningham seeks re-election
Hosea Winningham has informed Overton County News
he plans to run for re-election to the position of mayor in the
upcoming election. His statement is as follows:
"Hosea Winningham announces his candidacy for
re-election to the Office of Mayor for the town of Livingston in
the Municipal Election to be held June 5.
"Hosea Winningham is the son of the late Lester
and Ruby Winningham of Livingston. He is married to the former Ann
Smith, daughter of the late Otley and Ethel Smith of Livingston.
They are the parents of two daughters, Angela, who is employed with
USDA-Rural Development, as a Rural Development Specialist for the
14 Upper Cumberland Counties, and Amy, who is married to Donny Buttram,
who is employed with Occupational Health and is an EMT instructor/coordinator
at Tennessee Technological University.
"Hosea is a graduate of Livingston Academy and
attended Tennessee Technological University for three and a half
years. He is a member of the Memorial Missionary Baptist Church,
where he has served as church treasurer for 29 years.
He is a member of the Chamber of Commerce and has
served as secretary and treasurer and on the Board of Directors
for 21 years. He was selected Chamber Board Member of the Year in
2000. He is vice-chairman of UCDD Officers; chairman of the UCDD
Budget Committee, serves on the UCDD Personnel and Grievance Committee
and UCDD Aging Committee, and past chairman of the UCDD Board. He
is chairman of the UCHRA Personnel and Grievance Committee; and
serves on the UCHRA By-Laws Committee and UCHRA Finance Committee.
He was selected "Mayor of the Year" in 1995
by the Upper Cumberland Senior Center Directors Association. He
is past member of the Livingston Jaycees. He served in the Tennessee
National Guard for 15 years.
He was elected alderman in 1968, and served for 10
years in that position. During four of those years, he served as
vice-mayor. He has attended the University of Tennessee Municipal
Training program where he earned recognition as a Municipal Specialist
in Municipal Management. He has also attended training in municipal
In a statement to Overton County News, Winningham
said, "I deeply appreciate the opportunity which the citizens
of Livingston have given me to serve as their mayor. During my time
in office, I have continued to work hard and be a full time mayor
for the Town of Livingston.
"I believe that our town has made significant
progress. I have made every effort to keep taxes as low as possible,
and will continue to do so in the future. With the economic climate
as it is now, we must get the most returns possible from every tax
"I pledge to the citizens of Livingston, that
when I am re-elected, I will continue to be a hard working Mayor
for all the citizens of Livingston. I will continue my efforts for
progress in our town. It is important to me that Livingston, Tennessee
be a town in which all our citizens can be proud to live.
"I believe that the experience that I have in
city government and my hard work will enable me to continue to serve
the citizens of Livingston as a fair and honest mayor. My door is
always open and I am always on the job. I am proud to be your
Johnny Halfacre announces bid for re-election
Johnny Halfacre has informed Overton County News he plans to run
for the office of Livingston Alderman. His statement is as follows:
"I, Johnny Halfacre, would like to announce I will be a candidate
in the city election on June 5, 2002. I will be running for Alderman
at-large for the City of Livingston.
"I presently serve as Alderman in Ward III, and also serve
on Overton County Beautification Committee, and as chairman of the
Employee Mediation Committee and chairman of the Airport Committee.
"To keep progress going, the city clean, more new industry,
and no tax increases, please vote and re-elect me as Alderman at-large
for the City of Livingston."
Gerald Garrett announces bid for City Alderman
Yetman Gerald Garrett has informed Overton County News he plans
to run for the position of Livingston Alderman in the upcoming Municipal
Election. His statement is as follows:
"I, Yetman Gerald Garrett, announce my candidacy for Alderman
At-Large for the City of Livingston.
"I am married to the former Norma Stephens. We reside at 521
Spruce Street in Livingston. We have four children: Linda Quarles,
Michael, Steve, and Jeff.
"I am a veteran of the Korean Conflict. I attended Tennessee
Tech for four years and operated Livingston Dairy Queen from 1963
"Since 1984, I have operated Upper Cumberland Vending Company.
I am a Mason and a Shriner.
"I served as Alderman of the Third Ward for 12 years (from
1986 to 1998). It was a pleasure to serve the people of Livingston.
"My philosophy of city government is to do or support whatever
will benefit the majority of the residents of Livingston.
"I humbly solicit your support in this important election
to be held Wednesday, June 5, 2002."
Overton County News
415 West Main Street
P.O. Box 479
Livingston, Tennessee 38570