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80 Years Ago

Archives 04-24-2002






Screenings being held at all county schools
Man pleads guilty to rape of child
New completion dates set for schools
Candidates Announce

Screenings 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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Man pleads 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 2000.

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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Monroe 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 weekend.

The accident was reported around 8:49 p.m. Saturday, April 20.

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 deceased.

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 an hour.

Rescue workers believe other individuals were at the scene where Oakley was working when the accident occurred and contacted 911.

Funeral services for Oakley were Tuesday morning, April 23 from Speck Funeral Home in Livingston.


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Candidates Announce

Winningham seeks re-election as mayor

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 public safety."

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 dollar spent.

"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 to 1984.

"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
tel 931.823.6485
fax 931.823.6486

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