Friday, July 28, 2017

“Big John” unveiled despite weather


Part of the bedrock of the City of Whitwell’s history is the impact of the coal mining industry. Multiple generations supported their families mining coal and the closure of the nearby mining operations nearly devestated the city. Whereas the city is arguably moving past the loss, today marked the latest effort to honor those who lost their lives in the mine as well as the industry’s thread throughout the fabric of the city.

JT Shadrick, who is widely recognized as the face of the city’s effort to remember, declared the unveiling of the commemorative “Big John” statue as the culmination of his and several other advocates’ dream. People entering Whitwell from the west will be able to see “Big John” as they at the intersection of 28 and 108 on the left.

Shadrick wished to thank all those affiliated with the statue including the city council and Tennessee Galvanizing and all of the businesses that helped offset the costs.

Couple chased through Marion County apprehended in Hamilton

Robert Pace and Chastity Gann face multiple charges

A couple is facing multiple charges in Hamilton County after leading Marion County Sheriff’s Department deputies on a high speed chase through Marion earlier this week. Further investigation reveals evidence that implicates the couple in a string of smash and grabs from parked vehicles in Hamilton, Marion and Meigs county.

The couple were also apprehended in what would later to be determined as a stolen car. As of right now the suspects, Chastity Gann and Robert Pace are facing charges of multiple threats over $1000, fraud and criminal impersonation. More charge are expected according to law enforcement officials.

Jackson Co makes arrest in Skyline murder

Hank Thomas Blizzard

On Sunday July 9th, 2017 at around 11 am, the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office was notified of a man who had driven up to a residence on County Road 107 in the town of Skyline suffering from a wound to his neck. Emergency personnel from the Skyline Fire Department and Jackson County Sheriff’s Office responded to the area and found the victim, Timothy Daniel MULLICAN age 20 of Hytop, lying on the ground near his vehicle with an apparent neck wound. MULLICAN was transported to Highlands Hospital where he was later pronounced dead.

Based on the investigation into this incident, Deputies located and detained a possible suspect, Hank Thomas BLIZZARD age 18, who was in the general area of the incident.   Jackson County Sheriff’s Office Investigators processed three separate crime scenes where evidence was recovered, including a knife, which is believed to been used in the crime.

Based on this investigation BLIZZARD was arrested and charged with murder. BLIZZARD was booked into the Jackson County Jail and bond was set at $500,000.

Jordan recognized for contribution to Kimball on eve of retirement


After over a decade and half career with the Kimball Police Department, Chief Tommy Jordan announced last month that he was retiring effective July 7. The town’s board recognized Jordan at Kimball’s regular monthly meeting the day before he issues his final call.

Marveling at his longevity within the department and the contributions he has overseen, the board bid him farewell into his new chapter. The board also presented him with a shadow box highlighting milestones of his career with Kimball.

The staff of the newspaper wishes a very happy and healthy retirement for Chief Jordan.

Tim Allison (left) being sworn in by Kimball town judge Melissa Blevins (right)

Additionally, with Jordan’s retirement came the question of who would fill his shoes in the chief’s position. That also was answered at the meeting as Tim Allison was sworn in to take effect upon end of shift for Jordan.

Whitwell Senior Center to host fall reduction series


The Whitwell Senior Center (900 Main Street, 37397) will be hosting an eight week fall management and reduction series of speakers every Wednesday from 1-3 pm from July 12-August 30.

The program is designed to give participants knowledge of how to set goals for increasing activity and how to reduce chances of falls at home among other skills. The series is open to the public at no charge. For questions, please call 423-658-5000.

Hustler/Journal to host filmmaker screening of pit bull documentary


Marion County Newspapers, which proudly publishes the South Pittsburg Hustler and Jasper Journal, will be hosting filmmaker Isabelle Sherrill speaking at the Princess Theatre on July 21 at 6:00 pm. We will also be featuring her film, Beyond the Myth: The Truth About Pit Bulls.

The film explores different pit bull bans and how the breed invites media bias and dog behavior versus the breed behavior and where those lines are delineated. Stay tuned as we’ll be fine tuning details as we’ve just gotten the date reconciled. Be sure and mark your calendar!

I24 eastbound succumbs to rush hour accident slowdown

This picture shows the accident from this morning near the I24/I59 split

June 30, 2017 9:24 am

For the second time in as many days, I24 eastbound serves as the scene for a serious slowdown or altogether stop. This morning’s accident kept commuters from Marion County going to Chattanooga on the road along with the rest of the interstate traffic at a crawl for better than an hour for some.

No details regarding the cause of the accident are available at this time, but the wet roads make a likely candidate.

Special thanks to our readers for the pictures.

Overturned camper blocks I24 east


Updated 6/29/2017 11:59 am to correct that it was a camper vs a truck as originally reported

Around 11:00 am CST a truck carrying a camper in tow capsized on I-24 eastbound between the Kimball exit and the Jasper exit. The accident completely blocked eastbound traffic and has caused congestion on Highway 72 coming out of South Pittsburg and along Main Street in Kimball as traffic maneuvers around the accident.

Morton taken into custody in Georgia

This is an earlier picture where Morton was booked into Marion County Jail

June 24, 2017 – 9:41 am; Updated 6/29 1:43 pm to correct that the victim was not pregnant at the time of the abduction  

Whereas the storyline sound as though it was lifted from a television drama, local law enforcement engaged in a two day pursuit of a suspect. Suspect Jimmy Morton, of Whitwell, was finally apprehended by Georgia State Patrol in Dade County, GA and booked on kidnapping and aggravated burglary. Several other charges are expected related to the suspect’s alluding and threatening law enforcement officers.

The genesis of the case was attributable to the kidnapping victim’s, Stephanie Diehl, father and Morton’s mother approaching Marion County Sheriff’s Department officers with text messages from Morton. In the texts, the suspect announced that he was aware that he was scheduled to appear in sessions court that day and had “taken” the victim. The text message also included information that Morton acknowledged that he had “really screwed up this time,” according to police reports. Morton allegedly forced his way into Diehl’s home while the victim’s father was away and took the victim for about forty-five minutes before returning her unharmed.

Later that same day, Morton’s abandoned car was found was near Ladd’s Mountain. The car was impounded by MCSD. A short time later, a report of a stolen vehicle in Haletown was investigated and it was ascertained that the suspect had taken the car. It would later be proven accurate as a MCSD detective witnessed the suspect driving the stolen vehicle the next evening in Jasper.

MCSD officers initiated pursuit of the suspect which led them on a high speed chance north on Highway 28 through Whitwell and into Sequatchie County. During the pursuit Morton contacted emergency dispatch and told dispatchers that he would start shooting at the pursuing officers if they did not “back off.” Pursuing officers would lose Morton in Sequatchie County but the suspect would be required later that night back in Marion County. Eventually, MCSD would find themselves back in pursuit, but this time the suspect would travel east on Interstate 24 where the suspect merged onto Interstate 59 south in Dade County where Georgia State Patrol were able to safely disable the fleeing vehicle.

DesJarlais in wait-and-see-mode about senate draft of GOP healthcare


June 22, 2017 9:18 pm

Congressman Scott DesJarlais’ Communications Director Brendan Thomas says the congressman’s office is not all that shaken with the Senate’s release of the discussion draft of the already House passed bill.

“Congressman DesJarlais has started reviewing the Senate draft, but emphasizes that it is exactly that: a draft,” Thomas stated. “Just like in the House, this is a process that the bill will need to go through in the Senate and the Congressman has confidence that the the Senate members of the Freedom Caucus will represent the positions he feels best represents his constituents’ wants and needs.”

Thomas emphasized that DesJarlais acknowledges that the House will still need to vote on the Senate final version and had confidence that there will be a bill that goes to the president’s desk.


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