News

Woman gets 30 years in death of granddaughter


VALERIE STENSON
Valerie Stenson, 54, was sentenced to 30 years in prison last Tuesday in Anderson County Criminal Court after pleading guilty to the April 11, 2011, death of her granddaughter.

Stenson pleaded guilty to a charge of second-degree murder and aggravated child abuse. The plea agreement requires Stenson serve 100-percent of the 30-year sentence.

The victim was Stenson’s granddaughter, Manhattan Inman, who died at the age of two years and nine months in Oak Ridge.

“We are pleased that Manhattan can rest now that justice has been done,” Dave Clark, District Attorney General for the 7th Judicial District said in a statement following the sentencing.

“This was a very emotional case for the Oak Ridge Police Department’s officers who worked it (the case) and the Assistants in my office who prosecuted it.”

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Unpaid delinquent taxes could add needed budget boost

Property tax is one of the primary ways that the county’s budget is funded.

So when they go unpaid, it throws a wrench in balancing a budget that can adequately fund every part of the county.

Anderson County Trustee Regina Copeland, who is serving her first term as Trustee, inherited nearly $2 million in unpaid taxes. Through courtesy phone calls and a whole lot of (wo)man hours, her office has brought that amount down by a little more than $655,000.

The total amount in property taxes the county sent out bills for in 2018 was $45,365,914.00.

A tax sale was held in May 2018, but prior to that, the last one was in 2014. The 2018 sale was for the 2012-2013 unpaid property taxes, and did not include all the properties.

Currently, $575,395.80 is due from homeowners who have not yet paid their 2017 property taxes. For 2016, that number is $268,644. The number dwindles as the years go on because people do tend to either sell their properties or pay off their taxes.

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BOE’s budget rejected

Budget Committee nixes plan asking for $821,000

In what is shaping up to be a tight budget year for Anderson County Government, the Anderson County Board of Education received its bad news Thursday night.

With Director of Schools Dr. Tim Parrott arriving late to Thursday night’s board meeting — he was presenting the school system’s budget to the Anderson County Budget Committee across the street at the Anderson County Courthouse — he informed the board that its budget had been rejected.

Parrott said the Budget Committee said to bring back a balanced budget — the system’s proposed 2019-2020 budget is about $821,000 out of balance.

The school system was asking for an additional eight-cents — funds earmarked for capital outlay projects and in part to fund a 2-percent raise for teachers.

The system has a little more than $500,000 in Basic Education Program (BEP) funds earmarked for salary increases for teachers. The Board of Education needs to fund a little more than that to accomplish 2-percent raises. And that is with eight staff positions already cut from the proposed 2019-2020 budget.

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The Rev. Samuel Dean, ‘a good man,’ dies at age 77


REV. SAMUEL DALE DEAN
There are too many memories and reflections to truly capture the spirit of the Rev. Samuel Dale Dean.

The long-time pastor, and Pastor Emeritus, of First Baptist Church in Clinton, died Thursday, May 9, 2019, at the age of 77.

He was a pastor, but his guidance was felt beyond the pulpit; his friendship was a gift, though it was given to all he came in contact with; his legacy will not be measured with words and deeds but will be felt more by his absence.

“He was an icon,” former Clinton City Councilman Jerry Shattuck said Monday. “He was just a good man. He made you feel good being around him.”

Friend, mentor, father … The Rev. Dean seemed to embody all that is good in humanity.

“Oh, he was great pastor,” Jerry Cloyd of Clinton said. “And he was a great friend.”

Jerry and his wife, Donna, were friends with the The Rev. Dean and his wife, Marie. They vacationed together at times, and Jerry Cloyd often hiked the trails of the Great Smoky Mountains with Dean.

Donna Cloyd worked with the Rev. dean as his secretary at First Baptist Church for 11 years.

“He was a great boss,” she said matter-of-factly. “He was always the same, he never got mad — even if I made a mistake,” she laughed.

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Oliver Springs man arrested after abused child gives birth


DAVID ANDREW COX
David Andrew Cox, 55, was arrested for sexual activity with a child under the age of 12 by a family member of custodial authority on April 4.

Bond is set at $1 million.

According to a release from the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department, the investigation began in November, when they were contacted by the Gilchrist County Sheriff’s Department in Florida about a sexual abuse scenario that resulted in the victim becoming pregnant.

She gave birth in Gilchrist County.

Officers say that Cox was visiting her and her family when the rape occurred.

Once the baby was born, ACSO Det. Sgt. Josh Zisman obtained a search warrant for evidence from Cox. A DNA test confirmed the child is his.

Zisman and other officers located Cox at his home on Frost Bottom Road and placed him under arrest immediately after receiving notice of the warrant filed in Gilchrist County.

“The teamwork of both agencies resulted in removing a dangerous individual from the streets of Anderson County,” said Anderson County Sheriff Russell Barker. “I cannot express enough how proud I am of the work our detectives and officers did on this case.”

Cox is in Gilchrist County Jail.

No prior arrests are listed for Cox in the Anderson County Sheriff’s website.

City of Oak Ridge gets loan for drinking water

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee and Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation Commissioner David Salyers today announced approximately $3.2 million in a low-interest loan for drinking water infrastructure improvements for the City of Oak Ridge.

“This loan will help Oak Ridge to meet one of the vital needs of its citizens,” Lee said. “I am pleased to support infrastructure upgrades that will help to provide safe and reliable drinking water for more Tennesseans.”

The City of Oak Ridge will receive a planning and design loan in the amount of $3,288,000 to develop plans and specifications for construction of a new 16-million-gallon-per-day water treatment plant.

The effort is funded from the State Revolving Fund Loan Program with a five-year repayment period and an interest rate of 1.08 percent.

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TBI releases ‘Crime in Tennessee’ report

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation released its 2018 ‘Crime in Tennessee’ report, which details the volume and nature of criminal across the state.

The report utilizes data submitted to the Tennessee Incident Based Reporting System (TIBRS). Among the findings in this year’s report:

• Overall, the number of reported instances of the most serious crimes decreased 3.6% from 2017.

• Reported cases of murder decreased 8.0% from 2017 to 2018.

• The number of reported rapes decreased 4.7% in the same time period.

•Juvenile arrestees made up 8.1% of those arrested for the most serious offenses. Simple Assault made up the most arrests among juveniles, at 25.7%, followed by Drug/Narcotic Violations, at 17.6% in 2018.

• Reported instances of offenses flagged as domestic violence decreased 6.0% from 2017 to 2018.

• The number of reported methamphetamine-related offenses continued to increase, from 13,483 in 2017 to 15,899 in 2018.

The full 2018 report is available for review on TBI’s website: www.tn.gov/tbi.