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WDEF News 12 - Local News
Updated: 12 min 38 sec ago

Luther Memorial Coverage Live On WDEF News 12

Wed, 10/22/2014 - 10:03pm
In case you can't be at Engel Stadium on Thursday, we will air the Luther Masingill funeral/memorial live on WDEF News 12. Our coverage will start Thursday afternoon around 1:45 or 1:50 p.m. We will also stream our coverage on our website,

Angie's List Report: Lead Poisoning

Wed, 10/22/2014 - 9:36pm
(WDEF)  Lead paint lurks in forty percent of the nation's homes - about 36 million homes across the U.S.
        Cheryl Turcotte is a former EPA Supervisor.  She said, "Any amount, even the tiniest, tiniest bit on the tip of our finger will have an impact on a child."
        Kids under the age of six are especially vulnerable to lead poisoning, which can severely affect physical and mental development.
        Dollis Wright works as an Environmental Health Risk Expert.  Wright said, "Especially if you live in a home that's built before 1978 you probably have older windows so every time you open those windows and close them, you might not see it, but it's happening inside those little crevices of the window."
        Dangerous amounts of lead dust can also be created when lead-based paint is disturbed during renovation, repair or painting jobs.That's why federal law requires any contractor who disturbs lead paint to be EPA certified and follow strict work practices to prevent contamination.
        Angie Hicks of Angie's List said, "For example they should be using HEPA filters. They should be using plastic sheeting to completely seal off the area. They should also wear protective foot covers, protective clothing. If you see any signs that make you uncomfortable, you should stop the work immediately."
        Angie's List recently called 150 renovation contractors and questioned them about lead-safe practices. Nearly 11 percent offered bad advice and nearly 32 percent admitted they did not have the required EPA lead-safety certification.
        Hicks added, "Angie's List has been a champion of safe lead practices for many, many years and continues to work to raise awareness about lead paint poisoning. Also we're denoting on company records, if they're working on houses before 1978, if they don't have proper certification."
        Wright added, "There's no cure for it and so, once you're poisoned it's for life."
        Only a blood test can confirm lead poisoning.

Megan Wise Goes Outside: The Ruby Falls Haunted Cavern

Wed, 10/22/2014 - 7:39pm

     We've got a movie trailer for you tonight for a new thriller.
     Okay... It's not real.
     But play along, as we preview a haunted edition of Megan Wise Goes Outside inside the Ruby Falls Haunted Cavern.

Chattanooga Police Respond to Shooting at Washington Hills Youth Center

Wed, 10/22/2014 - 6:41pm
(WDEF) Chattanooga Police respond to a second shooting Wednesday afternoon.
        Just before 5:00pm, officers responded to a call of a person shot at the Washington Hills Youth and Family Development Center.
        Neighbors say they heard several gunshots in the area.
        A 17-year-old male was suffering a non-life threatening gunshot wound.
        He was taken to the hospital.
        A second person, a 16-year-old female was found a short time later with another non-life threatening gunshot wound.
        If you know anything about these shootings, please call Chattanooga Police.

Chattanooga Police Arrest Suspect Connected To Child Sex Trafficking, Investigation Ongoing

Wed, 10/22/2014 - 5:53pm
CHATTANOOGA,TN, (WDEF)-After a strategic sting operation Chattanooga police came face to face with John Harper Farmer Jr near this Shallowford road hotel Tuesday of last week.

Police Chief Fred Fletcher,"Contacted the person and arranged an opportunity to meet the person violated the code of human trafficking and he was arrested for violation"

The undercover officers had offered Harper Farmer Jr, 400 dollars in cash for the sexual act.

He arrived with two underage girls and a third female in his car.

Police Chief Fred Fletcher,"Isolated incidents and we want to make sure that everybody who is responsible for this offense and this danger to our community held accountable and that's why a very thorough and well protected investigation is important."

John  Harper Jr has more than a dozen charges going back more than 20 years to the 1990s, they include aggravated assault, theft, burglary and impersonation.

He was using escorting websites like to advertise the girls and is now facing a felony charge of trafficking for a commercial sex act.

Hotel Management say they are aware of sex trafficking and are training their staff to   combat it.

Bob Dollinger, Vice President of Operations at 3HGroup Hotels,"Working with American Hotel and Lodging association as well as our greater Chattanooga hospitality association to train our management and our front line and all of our employees to help the identify the warning signs of human trafficking"

Chattanooga organizations fighting sex trafficking say girls as young as 13 are passing through the Tennessee Valley to be trafficked in Atlanta, Birmingham, Knoxville and Nashville.

Regina McDevitt, The Partnership,"People that they may encounter if they run away these are some things that can happen and these are places where people who traffic are, at bus stations in the malls on the internet"

Valerie Radu, Hamilton County Chattanooga Family Justice Center,"It happens more than people know that its yet another part of the violence that we are dealing with here on a daily basis and its one of the issues that the whole state is looking at"

John Harper Farmer Jr's bond has been set at 200,000 dollars.

An investigation is ongoing.

The following numbers can help those who are concerned or affected by sex trafficking.

1-888-3737-888  and 423 875-0120,

Controversy within a Bledsoe County volunteer fire department

Wed, 10/22/2014 - 5:06pm
BLEDSOE COUNTY, Tennessee(WDEF) - A now-former fire chief says she was canned for reporting a crime allegedly committed by her boss.

Former Luminary-Frostbite Volunteer Fire Department Chief, Sandra Noe said she was fired from her position on Friday. She said  she found out she was canned via Facebook.

"Nobody let me know what was going on. I inevitably knew what was going on and what was going to happen because of preceding problems in the department over the last couple of months," Noe said.

Noe says those problems began when she wrote a letter to the fire department board members. She claimed she caught board president Larry Bullington doing something illegal.

"I caught him smoking marijuana in the hall. I'm like, this is a government building. This is funded by the government," she said.

Noe also said she thought about calling the police but was advised not to do so.

"Everybody was like, leave the police out of the fire department. We don't need them here. Lets keep everything on the down-low."

WDEF tracked down President Larry Bullington to hear side of the story. He denies every allegation leveled against him by Noe.

"I went down and took a drug test and proved that I wasn't doing it. Things just escalated from there. I don't smoke marijuana. I don't smoke cigarettes either," Bullington said.

He went on to also tell WDEF that  Noe submitted her resignation letter on October 7th; stating that she would be stepping down November 21st.

"The only thing we did was accept her resignation as fire chief then reduce her to fireman and appointed us a new fire chief. We need to move on," Bullington said.

Noe said she did submit her resignation letter but had also planned to train the next person in line to become chief before her final day. She feels that her complaint against Bullington gave the board enough fuel to just fire her.

Both sides have pointed fingers at each other when it comes to problems within the fire department.

TWRA Officer Arrested for Assaulting his Father-In-Law

Wed, 10/22/2014 - 4:52pm
(WDEF)  The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation arrested a Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency officer for assaulting his father-in-law.
        The TBI began investigating 31-year-old William Casey Pittman in September after an altercation with father-in-law Scott Ledford at his home in Polk County.
        The grand jury indicted Pittman on one county of domestic assault yesterday.
        He turned himself in to the Polk County Jail this morning.
        He was released on a $1500 bond.
        The TWRA placed Pittman on administrative leave.

Catoosa County Man Charged with Child Molestation

Wed, 10/22/2014 - 4:43pm
RINGGOLD, GA (WDEF) - A Ringgold man is in trouble after reportedly assaulting a young girl on several occassions.

Robert Adams Alexander, 42, has been charged with aggravated child molestation, child molestation, and sexual battery.

The young girl's mother reported the crime to authorities.

The Children's Advocacy Center is also investigating the allegations.

Voter Bribery Reported in Polk County

Wed, 10/22/2014 - 4:38pm
POLK COUNTY, TN (WDEF) - A Polk County woman is accused of bribing voters during Tennessee's General Election.

Jo Ann Cronan was arrested Tuesday and charged with six counts of voter bribery.

She reportedly paid voters either cash or pills.

In return, she would get votes for certain candidates.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation led the investigation.

JOE FRUGAL: Save on 2014 Lego City Advent Calendar

Wed, 10/22/2014 - 4:42am
     The 2014 Lego City Advent Calendar recently hit stores and right now, you can get it for $29.95 at Amazon.
     That's about $5 off the regular retail price.

!function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);;js.src="//";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");

     This item typical increases in price around Thanksgiving.

Protestors at Red Bank City Hall: 'Fire Officer Kaylor'

Tue, 10/21/2014 - 11:12pm
RED BANK, Tennessee(WDEF) - The anger generated by the video-recorded beating of an unarmed suspect at the hands of a Red Bank police officer has now led to protest.

Tuesday night, members of the Concerned Citizens for Justice held up protest signs outside the Red Bank City Hall while a commissioners meeting was being held inside.

"Fire officer Mark Kaylor," was the general theme by protestors.

Kaylor was the officer seen repeatedly punching Candido Medina-Resendiz on a dash-cam video.

Medina-Resendiz was an unarmed suspect who was arrested by Kaylor on suspicion of DUI by consent.

Moments after the Red Bank City Council opened the floor for public comments, protestors and a couple of residents immediately condemned the actions on that dash-cam video.

"We demand that Chief Christol fire Officer Mark Kaylor. We further demand that charges be brought against Kaylor," said one protestor.

One woman was asked to leave when she shouted her displeasure toward Kaylor's actions.

"I'm just saying that your police beat people because they're black or brown. You're police are not above the law," she shouted toward the council.

Another resident walked up the front of the room then turned his anger toward Police Chief Tim Christol who attended the meeting.

"If you're not the leader then you need to go. If he doesn't have the leadership skills, it's time to change him. I know elections is coming up. Folks something needs to be done," he said.

At least one woman publicly supported the police department despite recent scandals along with both a federal and state investigation into Officer Kaylor.

"Our police officers are above board in Red Bank. I support them 110-percent," she said.

Rachel Lopez also attended the meeting with members of the Concerned Citizens for Justice. Her son Anthony was the second person to come forward about police brutality by officer Kaylor.

"The police force here is unbelievable. Unbelievable. They have to fire whoever is in charge. Do something," Lopez said.

"We expect and demand accountability for the police. And we don't feel that's what's happening right now," said Jared Story who represents the Concerned Citizens for Justice.

Despite negative comments about his leadership, Chief Christol said he wanted the public to be aware of one thing about his police force.

"We're still doing the same job that we've done before. We're responding to the needs of our community. We're giving the community 100-percent of the service they deserve," Christol said.

WDEF tried getting comment from city council members, but they said they can't talk about the Kaylor incident while there is a pending lawsuit against the city by Medina-Resendiz and his attorneys.

WDEF did learn the Concerned Citizens for justice will likely stage another protest but nothing has been planned yet.

Remembering Luther

Tue, 10/21/2014 - 8:05pm
  WDEF News 12 will air the public memorial for Luther this Thursday from Engel Stadium.
  We will also stream it live on
  Our coverage begins at 1:45PM.

  We ran a one hour tribute to Luther on Monday at 7PM.
  Soon, we'll have an announcement on how you can get a DVD of our coverage that will benefit Luther's favorite animal charities.

  But right now, we have 3 clips for you looking back at his life from the beginning, to the 1990s.

Suspicious Fire Investigated

Tue, 10/21/2014 - 7:49pm
Chattanooga, TN (WDEF) Chattanooga Fire Investigators are looking into a suspicious fire at a house on Huff Place early Tuesday morning.

The house was vacant.

It appeared to be in the process of renovation.

Damage was estimated at $50,000.

There were no injuries, but officials say the cause appeared to be suspicious in nature.

World War II B-17 Flies over Chattanooga

Tue, 10/21/2014 - 7:22pm
        93-year-old Veteran Jack Rolfson looks on with excitement, seeing the same model aircraft he flew in a dangerous mission in World War II.
        "That was some airplane. It sure took a lot of punishment.  We came home with flack holes and all sorts of holes in the airplane," said Rolfson.
        The bomber was built at the end of the war, so never saw combat keeping it in mint condition.
        It is the same B-17 used in the Movie Memphis Belle, painted to look exactly like the bomber         that was the first B-17 to complete 25 missions. 
        Taking a ride in it is the closest thing to experiencing what life was like for Jack and many other World War II Veterans
        WDEF News 12 was allowed to fly in the plane and walk around during flight.
        The ride for airmen like Jack wasn't as enjoyable during the war.
        There were about 10 men to a plane at 25 to 30 thousand feet, exposed to negative 30 to 60 degree temperature for up to 10 hours at a time.
        You land in the aircraft with an adrenaline rush, and a sense of gratefulness for people like Jack.

        Flights to the public will be offered Sunday, October 27th at the Collegedale Municipal Airport.
They cost $450 which goes towards operation of the B-17.
Members of the public can tour the plane on the ground for free.

For information on the flights, call or email Scott Maher:
(981) 340-0243

Protesters at Red Bank City Council Meeting

Tue, 10/21/2014 - 6:44pm
Red Bank, TN (WDEF) Protesters are outside the Red Bank City Hall to protest the actions of Officer Mark Kaylor, who was seen on video beating up an unarmed suspect.

They plan to attend the city council meeting.

Extra police are on scene to make sure the protest goes peaceful.
We'll have more for you on News 12 at 11.

GOLDEN APPLE: Robert Browder of Soddy Daisy Middle

Tue, 10/21/2014 - 6:14pm
Robert Browder's classroom has been called a special case of effective teaching and entertaining education.

The Soddy Daisy Middle School English teacher finds way to interject humor into his lessons.

Watch the video to see why he's this weeks Golden Apple Award Winner.

If you know a special teacher, nominate him or her for our Golden Apple Award.  Just fill out the form by clicking here.  Then watch every other Tuesday to see if your teacher makes the grade.

Luther's Role In Saving Christmas For A Soddy Daisy Family Back in 1979

Tue, 10/21/2014 - 6:13pm
CHATTANOOGA,TN, (WDEF)-"I came back into the bedroom and I said Stummy I think our house is on fire."

Kathy Shrum, her two small children and husband lost everything they had in the world when their  Soddy Daisy home burned to the ground that night on a cold December evening in 1979.

A certain Chattanooga broadcaster heard of the tragic fire  and decided to take action.

"Luther had announced it on the radio, people started sending us money in the mail."

Kathy's church also stepped in providing an apartment to help and strangers from across Chattanooga brought clothes toys and groceries after hearing the radio broadcast.

"My husband said that it restored his faith in human nature."

In a 2013 interview with Ben Cagle, Luther mentions using his broadcasts to support fire victims and others in distress.

"Tried to help people along on the air when they were burned out and so forth and with the storms we had and I don't know, radio and tv can be so helpful to people," said Luther.

Kathy says she wishes her husband had lived to say thank you for what Luther Masingill did 25 years ago.

"You have helped more than you know, you are one of God's Angels"

Check out the Orionid Meteor Shower Live Online Tonight

Tue, 10/21/2014 - 5:08pm
(WDEF)  A celestial show promises to rank a 10 on the Amy-O-Meter.  The Orionid Meteor Shower peaks Tuesday night.  But you don't have to camp outside to see the show...  The Slooh Community Observatory telescopes will broadcast a live view of the meteor shower from its telescopes in the Canary Islands and Arizona. describes the Orionids as a kind of "Perseid Meteor Shower Junior." The meteors are called "Orionids" because they seem emanate near the constellation Orion’s second brightest star, Betelgeuse.
        The show promises to dazzle with commentary from the experts and a way to hear the ionization of the meteors as they stream into our atmosphere.  Check out the Slooh show here.  It begins at 8:00pm EDT. will also carry Tuesday night's show live from NASA's Marhsall Space Flight Center.  Check it out here.  The NASA show starts at 10pm EDT.
        Happy skywatching!

Services for Luther at Historic Engel Stadium

Tue, 10/21/2014 - 5:03pm
CHATTANOOGA, TN (WDEF-TV) - Preparations are underway at Historic Engel Stadium for something that's never been done there before-----hosting the funeral of a famous man.
By now you know that services for Luther Massingill will be held there on Thursday.
But what you may not know is that it's a bit of irony that takes the story of Luther's life full-circle.

LUTHER, JANUARY 23, 2012 "I guess you could say that Joe Engel gave me the idea because he's the one who said I think you can do've got a smooth sounding voice."

Luther told that story many times over the years. He was working at a service station when he Chattanooga's biggest promote, Joe Engel who was putting a radio station on the air back in 1940. But it seems Luther was destined to be a broadcaster--even when he was a student in the broadcast club at Central High School

JUNE JONES, FELLOW STUDENT "They would bring them out from the be announced and Luther would grab them first thing and say, 'I'll do it,' so the rest of us never got any experience."

But it was still Engel who set off a 74 year career in radio and t-v.

LUTHER, 2000 "This guy was well-known...he started WDEF incidentally,he was president of the Lookouts....there he is..his favorite spot on top of Engel stadium .....that's where he sat, that's where I remember him."

Joe Engel's stadium is still around 85 years later, one of the few historic baseball stadiums in the country.
And the staff began today getting it ready for the Thursday service.

BECKY BROWDER, CHAIR, ENGEL BOARD OF DIRECTORS "We were very honored when the family called and said they would like to have Luther's service at Engel Stadium."

Volunteer John Baker was making some final touches to the field.

JON BAKER, VOLUNTEER "You know that's a lesson he taught everybody in this life. Its that we help each other whenever we can without thought of payback."

BECKY BROWDER "Engel stadium has seen many things in its 85 year history. I mean its seen some of the greats come through there like Babe Ruth, and Lou Gehrig...Satchel Paige,and course Joe Engel himself....but I don't think that Engel Stadium has ever seen a memorial or a funeral in all of its 85 years."

But Becky says the board was unanimous in its approval.

BECKY BROWDER "We'll roll out the red carpet and do whatever it takes to make Luther proud ..And to make Joe Engel proud, too. I believe he's smiling right now."

Funeral services for Luther will be held Thursday at Engel Stadium at 2:00pm.
His family will receive friends at the East Chapel of Chattanooga Funeral Home from 1 to 6pm Wednesday.
And from noon until 2pm on Thursday at Engel Stadium.
A private burial will be held at Chattanooga National Cemetery with full military honors.
Luther's family asks you make memorial contributions to your local animal shelter or other favorite charity.

Copperhill Conserve Water Advisory

Tue, 10/21/2014 - 4:45pm
Copperhill, TN (WDEF) Copperhill city officials ask residents to conserve water.

They're under a Conserve Water Advisory starting Wednesday at noon until Thursday at noon.

The City of McCaysville, where Copperhill purchases their water, will be working on their equipment during those hours.