Home destroyed by fire
A large mobile home with an attached frame structure on Halebrook Road in the Dutch Bottoms community of Cocke County was destroyed by fire early Wednesday morning.
Cocke County Fire Department personnel say when they responded to the 3:14 a.m. alarm, they found flames coming through a kitchen window of the structure occupied by Jacob Stuart. All of the residents were outside.
Stuart said he was awakened by his barking dog, allowing him to get out of the structure without injury. Firefighters say the home was not equipped with smoke detectors.
The origin of the fire in the home, owned by Jennifer Brown, has not been determined. The cause is under investigation.
Firefighters estimate the value of the destroyed home at $70,000, with the contents valued at $30,000.
Judge allows T-shirt lawsuit involving lawmaker to continue
NASHVILLE (AP) — A federal judge is allowing a lawsuit to proceed to trial, filed by a student alleging school officials wrongly distributed T-shirts promoting a Republican lawmaker accused of sexual misconduct.
The shirts were for a state Capitol field trip. Rep. David Byrd’s attorneys had argued the student didn’t attend the field trip, and therefore the case should be dismissed because the student wasn’t forced to wear the shirt.
U.S. District Judge Eli Richardson disagreed. On Wednesday, Richardson said Byrd’s arguments weren’t sufficient.
“Plaintiff’s allegations of emotional injury, and of exclusion from his senior class trip, are sufficient to satisfy the first element of standing,” Richardson wrote.
Byrd hosted a “Senior Day on the Hill” for high school seniors in October 2018. A voice message was sent to families telling students to get shirts promoting Byrd and change before boarding school buses.
Shortly after the field trip, a student — who is not named in the lawsuit — filed a complaint against Byrd, claiming First and Fourteenth Amendment violations.
Three women have accused Byrd of sexual misconduct when he was their high school basketball coach decades ago.
Byrd has not outright denied the allegations, but in statements has said he’s truly sorry if he hurt or emotionally upset any of his students and said he has done nothing “wrong or inappropriate” during his time in the Tennessee Statehouse.
Republican Rep. Holt won’t seek reelection
NASHVILLE (AP) — Tennessee Rep. Andy Holt will not seek reelection this year, the Dresden Republican posted on Facebook on Wednesday.
He promised that he will never be too far removed from the political process at home, in Nashville or Washington.
The 38-year-old wrote that his decision is rooted in his belief in term limits, and that the best term limits are self-imposed.
He said he will enjoy the increased opportunity to spend time with his wife Ellie and their seven children. He also plans to improve his agritourism operation and diversify his farm.
The fifth-term lawmaker represents Weakley County and part of Obion and Carroll counties in the Republican-supermajority Legislature.
Police: Arrest made in fatal stabbing over cup of coffee
NASHVILLE (AP) — A Tennessee man was arrested nearly six months after a fatal stabbing that police say stemmed from an argument over coffee.
Omar Guillen-Garcia, 23, was taken into custody Wednesday during a routine business check, Metro Nashville police said in a tweet.
Police said Guillen-Garcia and Leonard McKnight Jr., 43, got into an argument in a parking lot on Oct. 21, 2019. The stabbing reportedly happened after Guillen-Garcia refused to buy McKnight a cup of coffee, according to news outlets.
Guillen-Garcia was being held without bond. It’s unclear whether he had an attorney who could speak for him.
Nashville’s smaller airport reopening after tornado damage
NASHVILLE (AP) — Nashville’s smaller airport is reopening after it endured $93 million in infrastructure damage during a deadly night of tornadoes in Tennessee.
John C. Tune Airport is slated to reopen Friday morning after rebounding from a March 3 tornado that tore through Nashville.
Seventeen hangars were destroyed or damaged.
The dollar amount of damage does not account for damage to aircraft or vehicles. More than 90 aircraft were destroyed.
The airport serves corporate and private aircraft.
Nashville International Airport was not impacted by the tornadoes and remains open.
The tornadoes killed 25 people in Tennessee, including two in Nashville. Nineteen of the deaths were in hard-hit Putnam County.
Music festival, barbecue championship postponed in Memphis
MEMPHIS (AP) — The Beale Street Music Festival and the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest in Memphis, Tennessee, have been postponed because of the new coronavirus outbreak.
Memphis in May officials said in a statement Thursday that the two cornerstones of the city’s monthlong tourist event have been called off but will be rescheduled for later dates.
The music festival and the barbecue cooking contest are held every year during the Memphis in May celebration in this Mississippi River city. They attract music fans and barbecue cooking teams from around the world.
The Lumineers, Three 6 Mafia, The Avett Brothers, Lil Wayne and The Smashing Pumpkins were among the musical acts scheduled to perform at the music festival.
Other Memphis in May events, including the Great American River Run and an international salute to the African country of Ghana, also have been postponed.
Memphis relies heavily on tourism revenue from Memphis in May. Organizers said they had been instructed by city officials that the events can’t be held as originally scheduled.
Court issues ruling to block bail bond rule in Nashville
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A federal court has temporarily blocked a Tennessee court rule that says people who have been jailed can’t get their bail deposit back when their case is finished until court costs and other fees are paid.
The initial ruling applies to cases in which the Nashville Community Bail Fund posts bond, according to a statement Wednesday from the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee.
The ACLU, the Civil Rights Corps and the Choosing Justice Initiative filed suit in February against Davidson County — the state’s second largest county, which includes Nashville, over the rule.
The plaintiffs assert the county is violating constitutional rights by forcing people to agree their cash bond will be subject to garnishment for fines, court costs and restitution.