A Johnson City man who is running for the Democratic nomination to the U.S. Senate seat now held by Republican Bob Corker is also facing a felony charge in one of those counties, according to the Johnson City Press.
Thomas Kenneth Owens, 36, was indicted by a Carter County grand jury on May 14 on a charge of solicitation of a minor. Owens was arraigned in Criminal Court on May 31.
When asked about his employment and financial status, Owens informed the court that he was a candidate for the U.S. Senate. He then filed an affidavit of indigency and Judge Robert Cupp appointed a public defender for Owens.
Cupp also ordered a mental evaluation. When he was contacted Monday afternoon about the criminal charge against him and what impact it would have on his candidacy, Owens said “Those charges are false charges and there should not be any publication.”
The telephone call was then disconnected. The charge stems from an investigation by the Carter County Sheriff’s Department into allegations that a 7-year-old girl was riding her bicycle in front of the apartment where Owens lived on May 21, 2011.
The girl told her mother and later Lt. Randy Bowers that Owens came out of his apartment and asked the girl if she wanted a “twisty tie” ring that he had made. When she entered Owens’ apartment, she said he gave her the ring and asked her for a hug. After she hugged him, he allegedly unzipped his pants and exposed himself, asking her to perform an inappropriate act.
The girl told Owens she had to go home and finish her chores. She then ran home.
From the News Sentinel:
Shelley Breeding cannot be a Knox County candidate for the General Assembly, a three-judge panel of the Tennessee Court of Appeals ruled this morning.
The panel upheld a Chancery Court decision that Breeding is legally a resident of Anderson County. She wants to run in the Democratic primary from the newly created 89th District, which lies entirely in Knox County.
A Knoxville-Knox County-KUB Geographic Information System (KGIS) map shows part of her residential lot, including the mailbox and driveway, are in Knox County, but that her house is in Anderson County. She has challenged the accuracy of that map.
Breeding “has not produced any credible evidence” that the map lines are inaccurate, Judge Charles Susano wrote for the panel in its unanimous decision.
Facts presented in the case “show by a preponderance of the evidence” that her house is entirely within Anderson County “and that she is a resident of Anderson County and not Knox County,” Susano wrote.
Breeding still has the option of filing a request for the Tennessee Supreme Court to accept an appeal on an emergency basis. One of her attorneys, Jon Cope, said he and Breeding are discussing that possibility.
J.T. Woods, the Roane County property assessor candidate who killed himself in the yard of his former boss, shouldn’t have received $16,913 in jobless benefits, an unemployment appeals hearing officer has ruled.
From the News Sentinel report:
A hearing on Assessor Teresa Kirkham’s appeal of Woods’ jobless benefits occurred May 30. On May 31, Woods shot himself in the head with a .357-caliber handgun outside Assessor Teresa Kirkham’s Kingston condo.
A ruling dated June 6 by state hearing officer Barbara Ligon stated Woods had improperly drawn benefits. It was made public this week.
The ruling states Woods gave “an incorrect reason for his separation” from his job as a field appraiser, and the jobless benefits he received must be repaid.
Woods was fired from his job in 2010 after saying he was sick when he was actually golfing in Florida with the doctor who signed his medical excuse, according to the ruling.
After he was fired, Woods filed a jobless claim saying he had been “separated due to a lack of work.”
A candidate for Roane County property assessor fatally shot himself this morning in the yard of the current assessor, his former employer, reports the News Sentinel.
James T. Woods, 56, shot himself in the head, according to authorities.
Gary Nelson, assistant police chief for the Kingston Police Department, confirmed the shooting this afternoon.
Woods shot himself outside Teresa Kirkham’s condo at 1010 Brentwood Way in Kingston, according to fire officials.
Bowden R. Ladd, an investigator with the district attorney general’s office, confirmed that Woods died from the self-inflicted gunshot wound.
District Attorney General Russell Johnson said he was told Kirkham had pulled into her driveway, and she had called an employee to come to her residence.
The employee saw Woods “sitting on a wall and realized he had a gun in his lap,” Johnson said. “He was sitting there telling her what he was going to do,” the district attorney said.
“As she turned away, she said he shot himself once in the head.”
Woods was among several people running against Kirkham, the longtime assessor, for the post.
Johnson said a .357-caliber revolver that was fully loaded with one spent shell in the chamber was found at the scene.
The Tennessee Court of Appeals today approved a fast-track schedule for Shelley Breeding’s appeal of a lower-court ruling that prevents her from running as a Knox County candidate for the General Assembly, reports the News Sentinel.
But the case could still go directly to the Tennessee Supreme Court, if Breeding’s lawyers ask the higher court to intercede and it does so. Her lawyers are contemplating making such a request.
Breeding wants to run as a Democrat in the newly formed 89th House District, which lies entirely in Knox County.
KGIS maps show that part of her residential property, including all of her house, is in Anderson County, while her mailbox and driveway are in Knox County.
A chancellor recently held she is legally an Anderson County resident and cannot run from Knox County.
Today the Court of Appeals said it would expedite its appeals process in the case, and ordered all briefs filed no later than June 8.
A longtime University of Tennessee at Martin political science professor who ran for Tennessee governor in 1994 has died following a long illness, reports The Jackson Sun.
Richard Chesteen, of Union City, died Tuesday at his home, according to university officials. He was 72.
Visitation will be from 4 to 8 p.m. today at White-Ranson Funeral Home in Union City. A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. May 12 at Union City’s First Baptist Church.
Chesteen joined the UT Martin faculty in 1969, taught political science until he retired in December 2007 and completed a post-retirement teaching assignment in December 2009. He was named history and political science department chair in 1986 and also served as president of the Tennessee Political Science Association, the Tennessee County Services Association and the UT Martin Faculty Senate. He received a University of Tennessee Alumni Outstanding Teacher Award in 1991.
“Dr. Chesteen has a broad-based following of former students, faculty and lifelong friends within the region and beyond,” said Tom Rakes, UT Martin chancellor. “Richard’s contributions stem from a balance of political knowledge, scholarship and firsthand experience.”
Matthew Deniston, the only independent candidate in Tennessee’s 3rd Congressional District race, said he’ll refuse the customary $174,000 congressional salary and work for free if he wins.
Further excerpt from Chris Carroll’s report:
“I don’t need 175 grand,” the McDonald, Tenn., resident said. “I sell solar panels, so hopefully I’ll sell enough to support myself.”
Deniston also said that, if he reaches Capitol Hill, he’s not sure he’ll hire any help — not a legislative director, not a press secretary, maybe not even an administrative assistant.
“I can do everything myself,” said Deniston, who co-owns an organic farm in Ooltewah.
Deniston, 27, is a soft-spoken U.S. Army veteran who earned an honorable discharge after two tours in Afghanistan and two in Iraq. He considers himself a lifetime soldier who fixes problems, so he sees Congress as a natural next move. He said the military exemplified the “waste, fraud and abuse” he hopes to root out of government.
…Mostly, he’s about honesty in government. Deniston admitted he’s been in jail three times for misdemeanor charges — once for driving under the influence — but he doesn’t believe that should hold him back from being in Congress.
He said he doesn’t drink anymore.
“I realized I had a drinking problem,” he said, “and I’m sorry for getting in my car and driving that night.”\
Deniston said he hasn’t raised any money yet, but he plans door-to-door visits and a postcard mailer.
Knox County election officials have asked the state to decide a legal question about the Knox County residency of a Democrat hopeful for state House of Representatives, .the News Sentinel reports
Shelley Breeding has filed paperwork to run in the newly created 89th District, which lies entirely in Knox County. But her residential property lies partly in Anderson County and partly in Knox County, said Knox County Election Coordinator Cliff Rodgers.
“At this point, we are waiting on guidance” from the state election coordinator’s office, Rodgers said. “We hope to hear from them soon.”
He said an employee in his office noticed that KGIS showed part of her property was in Anderson County.
“Her mailbox and her driveway are in Knox County, but her house is entirely in Anderson County,” Rodgers said. The real estate taxes on the property “are paid to the Anderson County trustee’s office, through her mortgage company.”
From a Richard Locker notebook:
The state Senate approved a bill Monday night that allows Tennessee’s higher education governing boards to keep confidential the names of and information on all applicants for presidents and chancellors of state colleges and universities except for the three finalists.
The bill was set for a House floor vote as well but was postponed to Wednesday. Its Senate sponsor, Sen. Jim Tracy, D-Shelbyville, said the University of Tennessee Board of Trustees and the Tennessee Board of Regents requested the bill to “encourage more qualified applicants. Many of the best candidates will not apply for fear of losing support where they are if they are not chosen” for the new position, Tracy said.