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Archives 08-18-2010

News

Brother and sister lose home to fire
“Deals Used Cars” raided for dealing in more than cars
School Board approves 2010-2011 budget
County awarded $45,000 in conservation funds

 

Brother and sister lose home to fire


Lyndon Johnson photo

Brenda Dishman surveys the damage Monday morning, Aug. 16 at the site of the home she shared with her brother, Steve Dishman on Cookeville Highway in Livingston. Fire destroyed the home the night of Friday, Aug. 13. Neither Brenda nor Steve Dishman were home at the time the blaze started.

By LYNDON JOHNSON,
OCN Staff

Fire destroyed a home at 2177 Cookeville Highway in Livingston Friday night, Aug. 13.

According to David Birchfield with the Fairgrounds Volunteer Fire Department, initial calls from motorists passing the site on Highway 111 reported a possible brush fire. Overton County 911 center sent out the call at 8:23 p.m.

“When we got the call, it was initially called in as a brush fire because you couldn’t see the structure from the road,” Birchfield said.

Residents Steve Dishman and Brenda Dishman, siblings, were not home at the time the blaze started. Brenda Dishman said the two had gone into town during the evening hours, only to return to find their home engulfed in flames. She said the home was not insured.

Birchfield reported that due to the property’s narrow, sharply curving driveway, firefighters had to set up a tanker truck and pump truck on the shoulder of Highway 111.

“Rickman Volunteer Fire Department sent their pump truck because we couldn’t get a tank truck back in there,” he said. “So they backed us up with their pumper and tanker truck pumping from the side of the highway.”
Also assisting in fighting the blaze were Hardy’s Chapel and Hilham fire crews, who offered relief labor in an effort to combat heat exhaustion and dehydration.

“Hardy’s Chapel and Hilham Volunteer Fire Departments supplied manpower, which was a good thing because a lot of people were getting overheated easily,” Birchfield said. “Practically no air could circulate back there because of all the trees surrounding the property and how hot the flames were.”

Fire crews worked into the early morning hours of Saturday, Aug. 14 to quell the flames. According to Brenda Dishman, crews returned the next day to again douse the structure, which was still smoldering. As of Monday morning, Aug. 16, the structure was still smoldering.

Birchfield said he expected the damage would render the home “a total loss.” Fire officials are still working to determine the cause of the blaze.



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“Deals Used Cars” raided for dealing in more than cars

Deals Used Cars was raided Tuesday, Aug. 10 by multiple law enforcement agencies.

Heavy construction equipment was also confiscated.

 

A multi-agency investigation has resulted in the confiscation of vehicles from a Livingston used car sales lot and also construction equipment from another site.

After a year-long investigation into alleged sale and delivery of OxyContin and other prescription narcotics by Doug Holman and his wife, Ashley, of Overton County, searches in Livingston and other areas of Overton County were conducted Thursday, Aug. 10 by Livingston Police Department, Overton County Sheriff’s Department, Lafayette Police Department, the Criminal Investigation Division of Tennessee Highway Patrol, and a number of other state and federal agencies.

Law enforcement alleges that the couple was using their car lot, Deals Used Cars, on East Main Street in Livingston as a front for illegal drug operatons. Though law enforcement acknowledges that a number of customers were innocent in their dealings with the car lot as a legitimate business, the investigation indicated many were not, and reported large amounts of traffic coming in and out of the car lot on a daily basis.

Searches of Doug Holman properties on Thomas Road, Airport Road, and in Chattanooga allegedly revealed a large amount of OxyContin and Dilaudid pain pills and cash.

A large number of vehicles, heavy construction equipment, and other items were seized from Doug and Ashley Holman under forfeiture proceedings as being associated with an illegal drug operation.

Chief Greg Etheredge stated, “We are extremely grateful for the help of the other agencies that truly made this case come to light for prosecution.”
And Sheriff W. B. Melton added, “Because of the nature of their work, we cannot name them specifically, but they have done a great service to Overton County.”

Chief Etheredge also stated, “Sometimes we have questions raised why we go into other jurisdictions and help them in operations. This case is an example of what happens when you work together and help other agencies; they will return the favor when needed.

“Drug dealers do not care about where boundary lines are, and often use those boundaries in their favor, trying to avoid detection and intervention.
“In the past two years, we have been very successful in combining our assets and resources all around us, and the results speak for themselves.”
Sheriff Melton wanted to get a message across to drug dealers.
“We might not catch you today, or tomorrow, but if you keep it up, we will catch you and prosecute you.”

Anyone with information related to criminal activity is urged to contact Overton County Sheriff’s Department at (931) 823-5635, Livingston Police Department at (931) 823-6496, or the anonymous tip line at (931) 783-3743.



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School Board approves 2010-2011 budget

By Dewain E. Peek,
OCN staff

Overton County Board of Education approved the 2010-2011 General Purpose and Debt Service Budget during the regular monthly meeting Monday, Aug. 16, with all members present.

Board members disagreed on how to resolve a concern Transportation Supervisor Harold Watson brought up in the work session held immediately prior to the Board meeting. Bus garage employee Dan Varbel was injured on the job earlier in the year and has not been able to return to work, so the garage is understaffed, according to Watson.

Board member Sam Pendergrass made a motion to add a $3 per hour raise to the bus garage payroll, with Supervisor Watson to decide how to distribute it among the three workers there, to have the two active employees fill in the extra time needed. Board member Howard Miller seconded the motion.

When put to a vote, the Board deadlocked with members Pendergrass, Miller, Larry Looper, Mark Peek, and David Sadler voting yes, and members Dolphus Dial, Kelly Hill, Lenard Ledbetter, Houston Robbins, and Ray Smith voting no.

After taking a 5-minute recess, Ledbetter made a motion to stagger the two active workers’ hours in 8-hour shifts until Varbel returns, and to hire someone in his place if it is determined that he will not be returning to work. Peek seconded the motion.

The motion was approved with Dial, Hill, Ledbetter, Peek, Robbins, Sadler, and Smith voting yes, and Looper, Miller, and Pendergrass voting no.

Disposal of surplus discontinued textbooks was approved.

“That’s not thrown away,” Director of Schools Matt Eldridge said.
The textbooks will be offered to home-schooled students, according to Director Eldridge. Some of the books will be available for home-schoolers’ parents to check out from the Central Office.

“Anything we have left, we’re going to check the library to see if they want some of those. After that, if we have any excess, which I think we will, we’re going to try to sell them. We won’t get a lot.”

A reduced term, 120-day, contract for Sarah Hogue was approved. She will teach one-half time at Reach Academy and will supervise the JTPA program. Board member Pendergrass voted against approving the contract.
A 120-day contract for Rick Moles was approved. The contract had been approved at 100 days in the July meeting, but should have been for 120 days. Board members Pendergrass and Ledbetter voted against approving the contract.

The first reading of deleting Policy 1.103 – Board Self-Evaluation from Overton County Board Policy was approved. The policy required the School Board to evaluate itself.

In executive action, low bids were approved for the 2010-2011 School Nutrition Program as follows: food and supplies from Institutional Wholesale Co.; bread from Hostess Brands; milk from Southern Belle (firm bid); ice cream from Purity Dairies; and pest control from Universal Pest Control.

Consent items were approved as follows:

•Retirement of Rick Moles as an instructor at Livingston Academy, effective August 1.

•Resignation of Angela Webb as an instructor at Rickman Elementary. She has accepted a position with Putnam County Schools.

•Resignation of Gary Ledbetter as an instructor under a 100-day contract. He has accepted a full-time position as an educational instructor and advisor at Tennessee Tech University.

•Retirement of Wilma Toole as a cook at A.H. Roberts Elementary, effective at the end of the 2009-2010 school year.

The meeting was the last for Peek and Pendergrass, who both chose not to run for re-election, and before adjourning, many of the Board members thanked them for their service and wished them well.



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County awarded $45,000 in conservation funds

More than $3 million in cost share grants have been awarded to 95 county soil conservation districts to help improve farmland and water quality.
Overton County has been awarded $45,291 in funding.

The grants are funded through the Agricultural Resources Conservation Fund and the Tennessee Agricultural Enhancement Program to help landowners install conservation practices that prevent soil erosion and farm runoff and improve water quality. The grants also help support soil conservation districts with administrative costs, educational projects, and technical assistance.

Landowners can apply through county soil conservation district offices for up to 75% of the cost of implementing conservation practices. Conservation practices include projects such as streamside restoration and planting, alternative livestock watering systems, terracing, and pasture management.

For more information about the Water Resources program or the Agricultural Resources Conservation Fund, visit www.TN.gov/agriculture or call (615) 837-5225.



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Overton County News
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Livingston' Tennessee 38570
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