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WDEF News 12 - Local News
Updated: 35 min 56 sec ago

Running of the Chihuahuas

Sat, 05/02/2015 - 1:57pm
Chattanooga, TN (WDEF)- Hits 96 hosts the annual Running of the Chihuahuas Saturday in the First Tennessee Pavailion. 

The doors open at 1 pm, music begins at 2 pm and the Chihuahuas start racing at 5 pm. ]

The event features music by, New Hollow, My Crazy Girlfriend, Nonono, Heffron Drive, DJ Cassidy and Bean. 

There is still time to register, just click on the website link below. 

Tobacco free community

Sat, 05/02/2015 - 11:36am
Chattanooga, TN (WDEF)- The East Chattanooga Improvement Coalition and the Hamilton County Health Department host family fun fest for a tobacco free community Saturday.

The event will start at 11 am and last until 3 pm at the Avondale Recreation Center. 

It will kick off the East Chattanooga Improvement Coalition's campaign focusing on tobacco use in the local community and its devastating health effects. Their hope is to help the community to reduce or cease their tobacco use, and prevent their youth from starting to use tobacco products through education and support. 

There will be entertainment from the Unity Performing Arts Foundation for Chattanooga, and the Crossroads Church Choir from Indiana, as well as brief educational messages for the community around tobacco exposure reduction and cessation. 

There will also be free food, door prizes and fellowship. 

Tech goes home CHA graduates first 72 students

Sat, 05/02/2015 - 10:35am
CHATTANOOGA, TN (WDEF) - The Tech Goes Home Chattanooga (TGH CHA) pilot program launched last February at six locations across the county as a part of an increased focus on digital inclusion. The programs was featured recently in Mayor Andy Berke's State of the City address.

Through partnerships with schools and community institutions, TGH CHA participants develop skills and habits required for smart technology and Internet use. Enrollees receive fifteen hours of classroom training to help them develop new skills and understand why the internet is so relevant in their daily lives.

Upon completion of the course, participants have the option to purchase a new Chromebook for only $50. They also receive assistance in obtaining access to low-cost home internet. 

9th Annual Dragon Boat Festival

Sat, 05/02/2015 - 9:57am
CHATTANOOGA, TN (WDEF) - On Saturday, May 2, dragons and warriors alike will descend on the TVA Park at Chickamauga Dam to battle it out while supporting Children's Hospital Erlanger.

Proceeds go directly to the region's only children's hospital to help provide necessary services for sick and injured children in our area. To better serve more than 40,000 children who come to the hospital this year, participants are asked to raise $4,000 per team or $190 per person in pledges. Last year, paddlers from 37 teams raised more than $150,000 for Children's Hospital. 

Teams can decorate their tents, wear their dragon apparel and cheer throughout the races. Top prizes will be awarded to the fastest teams and those raising the most money.

Latin Festival 2015

Sat, 05/02/2015 - 9:48am
CHATTANOOGA, TN (WDEF) - Chattanooga State's Office of International Outreach will host Chattanooga's First Latin Festival from 11 am to 4 pm, Saturday, May 2 in Highland Park, one of the most diverse neighborhoods in Chattanooga. Latin Festival 2015 is designed as a fundraiser event to support Chattanooga State's Adult Basic Education (ABE) and English as a Second Language (ESL) programs that have been offered in Highland Park since 2001.

Visitors can expect fun and multicultural experiences for all ages. Admission to the event is free. There will also be authentic food and crafts from local residents and vendors.

Humane Educational Society puts out call for help after Red Bank animal hoarding case

Fri, 05/01/2015 - 10:04pm
Chattanooga, TN (WDEF) - from the Humane Educational Society:

Emergency Animal Seizure,
We Need Your Help!

Friday, May 1st, the Red Bank Police department requested the Humane Educational Society's assistance in an animal cruelty case.
 
Humane Educational Society Animal Protection Officers entered the home on Oakland Terrace and rescued 9 dogs, 6 cats, and 2 rabbits that had been living in deplorable conditions.

These animals are currently in the custody of the Humane Educational Society. Upon arrival at the shelter, volunteers and staff began bathing and cutting out mats of fur from the animal's urine burned coats. Many of the females are receiving treatment for severe urinary tract infections and all of the animals are showing signs of bacterial infection. These animals are currently receiving medical treatment, being vaccinated and dewormed.

Most of the animals seized have a healthy weight and a friendly demeanor with the exception of a few who are timid and frightened, undoubtedly shaken by their circumstances. Humane Educational Society staff and volunteers are working through the night to make sure these animals can finally find comfort and peace. It is our sincere hope that the owner chooses to surrender these animals into the Humane Educational Society's custody permanently so that the healing process can begin and they never again have to live in inhumane conditions.

Please consider making an emergency donation to our Special Needs Fund so we can continue to treat and rehabilitate these precious animals!

DONATE to the Humane Educational Society.








Rossville Bi-Lo ground beef recall

Fri, 05/01/2015 - 9:56pm
Rossville, GA (WDEF) The USDA says Bi-Lo Supermarket in Rossville, Georgia is recalling 11-22 pounds of ground beef products.

It's due to possible foreign matter contamination.

Officials say the beef could be contaminated with pieces from a small plastic pop-up timer.

This recall is from store number 5406.

The ground beef was produced on April 23, 2015, and was the 1-2 lb. packages of “Bi-Lo Market Style Ground Beef.”

It has a sell by date of 4/25/15.

There have been no reports of illness or injury.

Cleveland Raider Arena Construction In Full Swing

Fri, 05/01/2015 - 5:52pm
CLEVELAND,TN, (WDEF)-Reversing trucks, mixing concrete and the sounds of shovels fill the air around Cleveland High School.

Construction of the Raider Arena is in full swing and the project manager tells News 12 the new building will not erase past sporting glories.

Hal Taylor, School Board Project Manager,"We are not replacing it we are just changing, like anything else change requires a little bit of thought and effort, we are not ever going to erase the memories of the dome".

The famous dome was first used back in 1966 but had increasing structural problems.

Crews say they are working round the clock to make sure the new facility is ready by spring of next year and believe it will play a vital role in graduation ceremonies in 2016.

Hal Taylor, School Board Project Manager,"Well you got classrooms just like the dome had some classrooms it has some fitness facilities as well this will as well. You also have the new capacity for graduation".

Parents are excited by the move.

Patricia Workman, Cleveland High School Parent."It's great, Cleveland High School and Cleveland city schools are are good school systems".>

Workman, a sports fan is looking forward to the state of the art basketball courts and spectator opportunities.

"My daughter is a freshman so it will be a while before I attend a graduation but new sporting events definitely".

The arena is scheduled to open in February 2016.

The Barge is Gone--What Now?

Fri, 05/01/2015 - 4:46pm
CHATTANOOGA, TN (WDEF-TV) -- It was just an old rusty barge tied off on the north shore....but what a ruckus it started!
What became known as Casey's Barge...was a good idea for an upscale restaurant back in 2009---but it was never developed.
The barge is gone now and city leaders are looking at what may take its place in the scenic waterfront.

There were very few watching as a tugboat from Mississippi pulled the old barge away from the shore about 6 o'clock Thursday night.
Anyone who expected to see a lengthy farewell...like with the Delta Queen was disappointed. The entire floating island was down the river and gone within minutes.
At least one person was dismayed at the way Allen Casey's dream ended.

JACKSON WINGFIELD, BUSINESS MAN "Allen had great dreams and high prospects for what could be. But it just didn't happen. It would have been good for Chattanooga."

Wingfield owns much of the property where the barge was tied-up.

But most Chattanooga leaders muttered "good riddance."

BOB DOAK, PRESIDENT, CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU "This is a chapter in the city's history books that I believe we'd all like to forget."

MAYOR ANDY BERKE, CHATTANOOGA "Well,we're happy to see that thing go. I've been looking at it everyday now for years...and its great to see trees and the river and the beauty that is Chattanooga."

As the barge heads for an uncertain future in Biloxi, discussion turned to "what next" for the 11 acre tract of land?

BOB DOAK, PRESIDENT, CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU "I think its vital as a community that we come together and really figure out what is the best use for this because they're not making any more riverfront land."

MAYOR BERKE "That's prime real estate...that's a place that people are looking at and they crave.We want to see things happen in our city and with the barge gone we have a much better chance of something good happening there."

Condominiums, entertainment, eating establishments, shopping! That property is now at the top of the development list.
In a few years we may all be saying---what barge?

A company named "Gulfstream of Biloxi" now owns the old barge. The U.S. Bankruptcy court in Chattanooga paid 195-thousand dollars to have it towed away.
The U-S attorney for the Eastern District of Tennessee also issued a statement on its removal.
You can read it here at WDEF-dot-com.



Students Paint Heroes Mural

Fri, 05/01/2015 - 4:27pm
The corner of Waugh and Pentz Street in Dalton has a new look to it.

Tom Lee, Morris Innovative High School Teacher said, "We started a new program where students really try to be authentic with their work. And what we did on the government side was teach about civil rights and Martin Luther King and those sorts of things." Students identified and painted 5 local heroes including Catherine Evans, Civil War General Joseph Johnston, Theresa Sosa, Bob Shaw and Curtis Rivers. Lee said, "You combine that with urban revitalization which so many of us, since this is an urban school, so many of us feel passionately about that. Chattanooga being just up the street, we've see what urban art does for a city, especially an inner city, and Dalton is trying to get into that."

Students feel a sense of pride for their hometown through these paintings. Vicki Rodriguez, Morris Innovative High School Senior said, "I liked how it represented Dalton. I was born and raised here, so it felt like I was giving back to a place that gave so much to me." Rodriguez and Elizabeth Hurta both agree that their favorite hero is Sosa. Rodriguez said, "If it weren't for her to bring the Latin community here, I probably wouldn't be here right now." Elizabeth Hurta, Morris Innovative High School Junior said, "As a hispanic, I'm very passionate about that. It's something that as growing up, I've been a victim of racial actions, but its good to know that there is somebody that is actually speaking for us and has a voice for us."

The mural project partnered up with Kevin Bates who painted the faces on Frazier in Chattanooga.

Red Bank animal hoarding case

Fri, 05/01/2015 - 4:12pm
Red Bank, TN (WDEF) - Authorities uncover an extreme case of animal hoarding in Red Bank Friday.

The Humane Society seized at least 17 animals in the 3900 block of Oakland Terrace Road.

The call originated as a child welfare check, but the smell of ammonia prompted further investigation.


Executive Director Humane Educational Society Bob Citrullo says, "There was probably about four to five inches of filth on the bottom of the crates that these animals were standing in. As far as the care, the animals none of them are thin, they were being fed and watered it was just, it becomes overwhelming for people and this is what happens when you get into this situation."

Officials say the house was filled with debris.

We will have more information for you as it becomes available.

U.S. Attorney issues statement on removal of "Casey's Barge"

Fri, 05/01/2015 - 3:25pm
Chattanooga, TN (WDEF) - The U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Tennessee issued a statement Friday about the removal of the Casey Barge (barge) from the Chattanooga waterfront near downtown Chattanooga. The barge, which has been a source of contention for more than a year, left Chattanooga on Thursday, April 30, 2015, to be transported to Mobile, Alabama.

“The recent removal of the Casey barge was a result of cooperative efforts by several federal and state agencies. Through the diligent efforts of Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kent Anderson and Kenny Saffles, who worked closely with trustee Jerry Farinash, Assistant U.S. Trustee Kim Swafford, the Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Coast Guard, and the Tennessee Valley Authority, this long-time eye sore is now gone from the city of Chattanooga,” said U.S. Attorney William C. “Bill” Killian. Killian added, “The agencies involved all worked together to protect the environment and the Chattanooga waterfront from a potential disaster. We wish to thank them for their efforts to expedite the removal of the barge consistent with safety, law and regulations.”

Owners of the barge have been involved in Chapter 11 Bankruptcy proceedings for several years. In February 2015, Nashville District Counsel for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) contacted the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Tennessee, regarding concerns over the condition of the barge, its potential hazards to the environment and navigation on the river, and the need for its removal. Assistant U.S. Attorneys from the Eastern District of Tennessee, together with the Corps and the office of the U.S. Trustee, advocated for the appointment of a special trustee to oversee the barge owner’s estate and the disposition of the barge itself. The U.S. Bankruptcy Court appointed Chattanooga attorney Jerry Farinash to serve in this capacity.

In an effort to have the barge removed from the Chattanooga waterfront, Mr. Farinash initiated the removal process by seeing that required inspections of the barge were performed and that necessary governmental approvals regarding seaworthiness were obtained. During the process, the barge, which had partially sunk on at least one prior occasion, again took on water. Mr. Farinash arranged for the water to be pumped out and the barge raised up to an acceptable navigable level. Ultimately, Mr. Farinash obtained the required approvals and entered into a contract for permanent removal of the barge.

Mims Murder Trial Day 5 Latest Update

Fri, 05/01/2015 - 3:22pm
Dalton, GA (WDEF) - Both sides started presenting closing arguments Friday afternoon.

Earlier Skyy Mims went against her attorney's advice and asked Judge Jack Partain if she could testify in her own defense.

However after several minutes with her attorney, she reversed her request.

We'll have a live update on this trial at 6.

Medical Examiner Ruling on Missing UTC Student in January

Fri, 05/01/2015 - 2:35pm
Chattanooga (WDEF) - The Hamilton County Medical Examiner has ruled on the cause of death of a missing UTC student.

Ali A. Ali had been missing for several weeks, before his body was discovered on McLellan Island in January.

Toxicological testing was negative.

It was at the water's edge with no signs of foul play.

Teacher Being Treated for Bacterial Meningitis at Snow Hill Elementary

Fri, 05/01/2015 - 1:46pm
Hamilton County (WDEF) - The Health Department says that an elementary school teacher is being treated for bacterial meningitis.

The victim teaches at Snow Hill Elementary in Harrison.

Bacterial meningitis can cause inflammation of the brain and spinal cord or a serious blood infection.

Health department officials are working with the victim and school officials to notify people who could have been exposed.

They say everyone has now been contacted and given antibiotic treatments.

Health Officer Dr. Valeria Boaz says “The chances of catching bacterial meningitis from an infected person are low. However, because of the potential seriousness of this illness, we want to take every precautionary step we can by providing protective treatment to all close contacts.”

Bacterial meningitis is spread by close and prolonged exposure to an infected person.

“Close contact means within coughing or sneezing distance for more than a few hours,” says Dr. Boaz.

You do not need antibiotics if you did not have prolonged exposure to the teacher.

The symptoms are onset of fever, intense headache, nausea and often vomiting, stiff neck, and frequently rash.

They can develop 1-10 days after being exposed.

If you have more questions, call the Health Department at 209-8190, Monday-Friday, 8AM-4PM.

On the weekends and after hours, please call 209-8010 to reach the nurse on-call.

Live Update from Day 5 of the Skyy Mims murder trial

Fri, 05/01/2015 - 12:11pm
Dalton, Ga (WDEF) - Erik Avanier reports from the Whitfield County courthouse on an awkward moment in the Skyy Mims murder trial this morning.

A GBI agent testified that he pulled photos of Mims off her cell phone which was found next to the body at the crime scene.

That caused Mims to start laughing out loud in court.

Despite the minor disruption, the shock belt she is wearing was not used.

Two of her family members who were sitting directly behind her quickly left the court room.

Day 5 at Skyy Mims Trial in Dalton

Fri, 05/01/2015 - 11:00am
Dalton, GA (WDEF) - Erik Avanier reports on the morning session so far in the Skyy Mims murder trial in Dalton.

The Detroit native is charged with murdering a Dalton convenience store clerk.

The jury is listening to testimony from a Whitfield County evidence technician about items recovered from a green Kia Sol reported stolen from Michigan.

The same Kia was driven into Georgia by Skyy Mims.

The same vehicle is seen in surveillance video from the scene of The crime.

Inside the vehicle were items linking Mims to the murder scene.

They include:

Murder weapon
Gloves used in the murder
Mixes CD's with her name on them.
Laptop computer registered to her.
Cell phone receipt with her name on it.
Prepaid Visa card with her name on it.
Her resume.
Her birth certificate.

Items belonging to Carl Harewood and Lakeisha Jones were not in the vehicle.

During owning statements on Monday, the defense told jurors those two people were with Mims when driving to Georgia from Michigan.

Also during the opening statements on Monday, the defence argued that the vehicle was not stolen by Mims.