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WDEF News 12 - Local News
Updated: 48 min 52 sec ago

Vigil For Six Year Old Zachery Bryant

Sat, 04/19/2014 - 11:20pm
WALKER COUNTY, GA (WDEF-TV) Many see the death of six-year-old Zachery Bryant as one that came way too soon.

In only 6 young years of his life, this young enthusiastic baseball player had already made an impact on many people's lives.

"This young man has lived a legacy already in his six short years,” said Pastor Allen Taylor

This candlelight vigil at the Rock Springs Baseball Fields were to honor the life of little Zachery Bryant, and also give his family the support they need at this time.

Emotions were on full display from many there. Parents, like Taylor, said this tragedy is more than he can understand.

"As a parent where they're sitting, I couldn't imagine what it would be like, number one I'm going to make that clear,” Taylor began. “I never experienced it and I hope I never do.”

The loss of Zachery comes many questions from some of his friend and teammates. They wanted to know where’s he at? And where’s he been?

President of Rock Springs Athletic Association, Donnie Brown, took on the task of answering those questions to five and six year olds.

"Zachery wouldn't be there for any more games and it was hard,” said Brown.

It was difficult for Brown because his last time seeing Zachery is one he will never forget.

“Saturday before he passed away I played him right over here on field three and I remember when we were giving each other high-fives just the smile that was on his face,” said Brown. “It didn't matter to him whether we one or loss."

The loss of Zachery to the Bryant family and the Walker County community will never be forgotten, and that will keep his memory alive

"He's in our eternal heaven now and that we will get to see him again, even though we won't get to see him right now but one day we will see him again,” Brown later added.

Many people at this vigil did not know the Bryant family.

They wanted to come out and support a member of their community through a very difficult time.

Bus Driver Not Charged In Death Of Chattanooga Elementary Student

Sat, 04/19/2014 - 12:18am
         ROSSVILLE (WDEF)- "This is probably the hardest crash or investigation I've done. It's been pretty tough for me."
A week of unimaginable grief for the Chattanooga Valley Elementary community. The results of a week long investigation into the death of Zackery Bryant. A tragic accident, with no charges filed against the bus driver.
"There was nothing that I had seen in the investigation process that would have violated a law in the state of Georgia. I contacted the district attorney Mr. Franklin and he agreed that there would be no criminal charges," said Sgt. Tommy Sturdivan, the investigating officer with the Georgia State Patrol.
Investigators say school bus video shows the driver following proper procedure.
"He looks forward to see if there's anything, then he looks to the right and he sees nothing. He shuts the door on the bus disengages the parking brake and puts the bus in drive and starts to move forward. You can see Zackery where he leaves the bus, he's walking right along side the right front tire and he gets right in front of the bus," said Sturdivan.
That's when investigators believe the boy bent down, possibly to pick up a video game.
"It was lying beside his left hand there. It had some marks on it, like he had dropped it at some point and time. He may have bent over, which makes his stature even half of what it already is. He was 41 and a half inches tall, which means that he would have to be approximately 250 to 270 inches out in front of this particular bus to be visible by the driver," added Sturdivan.
Walker County School officials say the driver is shaken up, but for now remains with the school system according to Walker County School Superintendent Damon Raines.
"He takes his job very seriously, he loves his children, loves his students, he's had a lot of support from the community, but he will also have to live with this, so he is definitely struggling right now, but we are providing the resources we can to help him get through this."

Chattanooga Among Nation's Least Healthy Cities

Fri, 04/18/2014 - 6:45pm
CHATTANOOGA,TN, (WDEF)-An outdoor Mecca chosen by USA Cycling, hosting Ironman Competitions and Climbing events but also a city of obesity, high blood pressure and very poor health is this a city of two extremes?

Michael Skiles, Suck Creek Cycle,"We keep growing as a fast food state, easy cheap food, is not healthy food, sodas, Chattanooga and Atlanta are home of Coca Cola bottling and what not,"

Skiles says for all the attention on the outdoors, Chattanooga is still more than keeping up with national obesity and poor health averages. He feels not everyone is jumping on board, just a minority of outdoors enthusiasts.

A local PE teacher agrees and says more focus should be put on the outdoors for southern school students.

Ben Smith,  Fitness Guru and PE Teacher,"Bad rep in the academic world just because people think we don't do anything but  we always kinda joke and kid that if your heart cant beat past the age of 50 and you don't  have something you have chosen to keep you healthy, all the reading, writing and math can only take you so far"

The report showed Chattanoogans and Tennesseans struggling with daily energy levels and limited access to healthcare.

Some Erlanger medical professionals say they are not surprised by the results  but say change can come to Chattanooga little by little.

Dr Susan Rapp, Family Practice Physician,"Once they leave here and they get back out in the workplace and social environments, it's a tougher goal to match, i think recognition by community leaders,by employers and by government and implement resources in parts of our daily lives where we spend time"

Tennessee came 44th nationally and Dr Rapp says it is important to factor in that a lot of people in the south do struggle financially and this has to be taken into account.

The poll was conducted between 2012 and 2013 drawing on thousands of people's opinions from across the country.

The tri-cities faired worse than Chattanooga coming third with cities in West Virginia occupying the top two positions.


Catoosa County Residents Oppose New Cell Phone Tower on Watoosa Ridge

Fri, 04/18/2014 - 3:00pm
(WDEF) A proposed cell phone tower on Watoosa Ridge raises red flags for some residents of Catoosa and Walker Counties.
     People living near the rural, wooded site started a website to speak out against the proposed 180-foot tower.
     Officials with Watoosa.com say the tower would be visual from surrounding sites like the Chickamauga Battlefield, negatively affect property values in the area and is just too close to nearby homes.
     Chris Gilligan is a Catoosa County resident who opposes the new cell phone tower.  He said, "This is a residential area so Catoosa County code says that antennas and communication towers can't be any closer than 1,000 feet to the nearest residence.  And we feel that at least three homes in this residential area are nearer than 1,000 feet to where the tower would be."
     Catoosa County officials will take up the proposed cell phone tower at a Tuesday zoning hearing.
     It happens at 6:00pm at the county administration building in Ringgold.

Tour the Stained Glass Windows @ St. Peter & Paul

Fri, 04/18/2014 - 1:56pm

     One of the most impressive art collections in Chattanooga is hanging over the head of worshipers downtown

     To celebrate Good Friday, we're taking you inside St Peter's and Paul's for a tour of their unique stained glass windows

     The Parochial Administrator of the Basilica is our tour guide

     Videographer Harrison Pirtle captures the images for us


The windows that are in the basilica are from 1890. They were designed by Louis Comfort tiffany out of New York. There is 14 panels, 7 of which depict the life of St. Peter and 7 of which depict the life of St. Paul.


There is something about a bright, colorful stained glass window that enlivens the soul.


We have the glass that is tempered. Fired with various minerals in it that create the different colors but they include also on that some stenciled drawing to make the details.


When you look at the glass itself, the windows they tell in individual panels the life of each of these saints through vignettes. They were interacting with our Lord Jesus or with his church or with the world. And so we can see the biblical passage that is referenced at the bottom of the window. So it's a neat little practice to come in and open up the scriptures and see it come alive in light, in color.


I think we use stain glass windows because they are an image to us of the soul. They are an image to us of a soul that without the light of faith, is dark. Featureless. But when the light of faith dawns on that soul, a story starts to be told. And it's a beautiful story, it's a story of goodness. So the stain glass window is an instrument to tell the story of Jesus. To tell the story of the church.


The first windows depict the call. So over here we have the call of St. Peter. There he is on the seashore. He has dropped his nets. Jesus is saying "come and follow me."


Though they are depicting the life of Peter through the biblical stories, ultimately through his martyrdom, we'll see he is martyred upside down.


But then you have the life of St. Paul. The first scene is the call of Saul who becomes Paul. And then it goes through where Paul is teaching, Paul is doing miracles, and then finally, Paul is shipwrecked on Malta and it shows that whole scene. And then finally Paul's Martyrdom.


Again, that's what stained glass is all about. It's art and faith coming together. And telling the good news. And Louis Comfort Tiffany windows from the 1890s of this scale and this magnitude, they are priceless. They are a great treasure of art for us.


Shooting inside a Chattanooga McDonald's

Fri, 04/18/2014 - 9:06am
CHATTANOOGA, Tennessee(WDEF) - Police are investigating an armed robbery in which shots were reportedly fired.

It happened Friday morning at the McDonald's on Rossville Blvd.

A McDonald's employee told WDEF that an armed robbery pointed a gun in his face then fired two shots into the ceiling.

No injuries have been reported and there's no word on what the robber took.

This is a developing story and we hope to have more information once it is released by authorities who are investigating the incident.