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WDEF News 12 - Local News
Updated: 7 min 1 sec ago

Holiday Traffic: Tips to Avoiding it and Staying Crash Free

Wed, 11/25/2015 - 11:16pm
Chattanooga, TN (WDEF) - Tennessee Highway Patrol is cracking down on highway safety this Thanksgiving to guarantee a crash free weekend. For the next few days, travelers can expect to see a State Trooper every 20 miles on every Interstate in Tennessee.

"We will be monitoring the traffic, the heavy volume of traffic, throughout the state of Tennessee, and drivers need to be aware of their following distance, with this heavy volume of traffic," said Lt. John Harmon with the highway patrol.

Other traffic safety tips include avoiding distractions, like texting or loud music, because when you're driving in heavy traffic or slick winter road conditions, the best thing you can do is pay attention to avoid any unwanted accidents. 

Also, downloading traffic apps like "Beat the Traffic" can help you avoid hours of sitting in your car, by showing you alternate routes. "It's all about the interest of safety," said Lt. Harmon.

Market Street stabbing investigation

Wed, 11/25/2015 - 9:31pm
Chattanooga, TN (WDEF) -  A dispute over money leaves one man with a stab wound to the stomach and another facing charges.

Chattanooga Police say it happened at the corner of Market Street and Frazier Avenue Wednesday night.

Police found the victim, 56-year-old Danny Henderson, with the stab wound.

He was taken to a local hospital to be treated.

Police found the suspect, 46-year-old Yong Phouvanh, in the area.

He was arrested and charged with aggravated assault and taken to the Hamilton County Jail.

Police say the victim and suspect were acquainted.

Police continue to investigate and ask anyone with information about it to call 423-698-2525.

Not Everybody Gets to Take Off for Thanksgiving Holiday

Wed, 11/25/2015 - 6:37pm
CHATTANOOGA, TN (WDEF-TV) - Electricity use will go up tomorrow morning as families prepare their Thanksgiving meals.
That's one of the little known facts that TVA and your local power companies have to plan for.
Somebody has to make sure it's done right---and that means technical staff is working on holidays.
Now, an inside look at TVA employees taking care of business.

This control room is where the decisions are made: how to make sure there's plenty of power available; how to deal with periods of low demand, like Thanksgiving Day After the big meal.

SHANNON BROWN, TVA "Turkey time..anywhere from 8 to 9 or 9:30..we're going to see those ovens..we're going to notice it, we're going to notice the power demand increase ..we're ready for it."

But that generated power has to go somewhere--

JERRY WYNNE "Everyone knows about the peak, and how they can be difficult...but the generators..especially the coal plants and nuclear plants and all...they have minimum levels that they can operate be able to maintain a stable unit."

And like millions of other Americans..the folks at this control room in downtown Chattanooga will be here on Thanksgiving Day.

SHANNON BROWN, TVA SYSTEM AUTHORITY "If I couldn't be with my family at home on a holiday, I couldn't pick a better group of people to spend the holiday with. We are a family, we spend a lot of time together...12 hours at a time ..somedays...6 or 7 days in a we get to know each other pretty well."

JERRY WYNNE, SR. SCHEDULING MANAGER "But its not about just the people in this room...the people at the plants, at the generating stations are in the same boat. They are out there working 24/7 also. We couldn't do what we do without the people at the plants. The nuclear plants, the coal plants , the gas plants ..they're all there doing the same thing."

Just a close look at some people who will have their turkey dinner with the family---a little later that everybody else.

Tis the season for armed robberies

Wed, 11/25/2015 - 6:06pm
CHATTANOOGA, Tennessee(WDEF) - This may be the season for giving but to many crooks, it's also the season for taking.

Law enforcement throughout the area have been busy investigating armed robberies and armed robbery attempts. Experts say a rise in these types of crimes coincides with the holiday season.

Recent examples include the arrest of Desmond Jarrett, 18. According to the arrest report, Jarret took part in an armed robbery in which the victim was held at gunpoint.

Other examples an armed robbery attempt in Chattanooga in which Jorge Angolo was nearly shot when a gun tried to steal his motorcycle.

"He put the gun to my head. He wanted the motorcycle," Angolo said.

In Cleveland, police have intensified a search for a suspect who used a gun to rob a Zaxby's restaurant.

"A male went into the back door as Zaxby's was closing; went in demanding cash. He got the cash and left," said Cleveland Police Detective Cody Hinson.

According to law enforcement sources, now through Christmas is the time period when more and more people with bad intentions are willing to take desperate and even dangerous measures to get what they want.

"We often see this trend start around Thanksgiving then go through the Christmas Holiday. Desperate people are seeking whatever. So then you have innocent people who become victims," said Whitfield County Sheriff Scott Chitwood.

"People get more brazen as the holidays go on. We see it throughout the year, but around the holidays people seem to get more desperate," said Detective Hinson

The question now is why so bold and desperate?

"That's the question we ask. We don't know if it's a state of loneliness or depression for some people; if it is just seeking those gifts because they don't have the affordable means to supply for their family, so they stoop to the level of stealing and robbery and stuff like that," Chitwood said.

Fortunately, none of these brazen crimes have resulted in death.

Update on Mother Killed in Home From Drive-By Shooting

Wed, 11/25/2015 - 5:04pm
"This woman was simply standing inside of her home with her family and was struck by gun fire and killed," said Chattanooga Police assistant chief David Roddy.

Just before 6:30 Tuesday night, police say 37 year old Monica Mcmillon was killed inside her home.

Broken glass and bullet holes cover the residence at the 3800 block of Highland Avenue.

"All of her appliances are full of bullet holes," said Nick Wiggins who is a maintenance worker for the Villages at Alton Park. "Her windows, back door, the place is tore apart. Probably more than one gun unloaded into the house definitely. It looked like it all went down in the kitchen. There was still some blood spill in the kitchen. It was definitely a scene in there."

Police say she was a mother of three children ranging from teenagers to two years old.

Neighbors told News 12 they are stunned the quiet mother who was known as a good listener and friend is dead.

"This is unacceptable," Roddy said. "You had a mother of three standing in her home the weekend before Thanksgiving and she's not here today. And she will not see Christmas with her children. So these acts are not anything that this department takes lightly."

And while the police is buckled down investigating all possible leads they have not ruled out gang violence.

"There are some indications that it could possibly," Roddy said. "We are looking at it as all options are open at this point because we are wanting to make sure that we leave that investigation to run down any road it takes us."

Police said the possibility of retaliation for this shooting is something they are concerned about.

Investigators Arrest Postal Employee For Shooting Up in His Truck

Wed, 11/25/2015 - 2:43pm
Ooltewah (WDEF) Hamilton County deputies arrested a postal employee on Tuesday for shooting up in his truck.

They teamed up with agents from the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General to investigate him several months ago.

On Tuesday, they found him in his postal truck parked at the Christ United Methodist Church parking lot on Brainerd Road.

Authorities found him with heroin and meth, plus drug paraphernalia.
Authorities with the U.S. Postal Service Inspector General stated, “The vast majority of the 600,000 postal employees nationwide are honest, hard-working individuals who would never engage in such conduct. Special agents with the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General (USPS OIG) aggressively investigate allegations that involve postal employees putting the safety of the general public at risk, as in this case."

UT Sends Out 22 Acceptance Letters By Mistake

Wed, 11/25/2015 - 11:32am

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - The University of Tennessee has mistakenly sent acceptance letters to 22 students.

Spokeswoman Margie Nichols tells the Knoxville News Sentinel that some of the letters were sent to students who were going to be granted admission, while others were not.

Nichols would not say how many of the students who received the letters were not going to be granted admission to the state's flagship public university. She says admissions staff members were in the process of notifying applicants with "care and sensitivity" about the mistake.

Nichols said human error caused the letters to be sent and that the school "deeply regrets it."

The university sends out admissions letters on a rolling basis. The deadline for priority and scholarship admissions was Nov. 1, but the regular deadline is Dec. 1.


Information from: Knoxville News Sentinel,

(Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

No Parking Fees in Downtown for Thanksgiving Weekend

Wed, 11/25/2015 - 8:10am
Chattanooga (WDEF) The Chattanooga Parking Authority is giving us a break for the long holiday weekend.

Downtown parking meters will be turned off Thanksgiving Day, Black Friday and Saturday.

So Grateful Gobbler participants won't have to fee the meters.

Neither will people who plan to eat out for Thanksgiving, or shop downtown through the weekend.

Police Arrest Suspect in Miller Park Shooting

Wed, 11/25/2015 - 7:54am
Chattanooga (WDEF) - Chattanooga police arrest a suspect in the Miller Park shooting on Tuesday.

47 year old Anthony Thomas faces attempted murder, assault, gun and drug charges.

Darrius Starling was shot twice just after noon on Tuesday in the 900 block of Market Street.

He survived his wounds.

Two Injured in Shooting on South Holtzclaw

Wed, 11/25/2015 - 7:41am
Chattanooga (WDEF) Another violent day in Chattanooga ended with a shooting on South Holtzclaw Avenue.

Around 10:30 Tuesday night, police responded to a shots fired call in the six hundred block.

At the same time, two gunshot victims showed up at a local hospital.

A male victim had a non-life-threatening wound to the head.

A female victim had a non-life-threatening injury to her arm.

Police do not have any information on who fired the shots.

If you can help them with that, call 423-698-2525.

JOE FRUGAL: 2015 Black Friday Preview 3 of 3 - Walmart & Target

Wed, 11/25/2015 - 4:10am
Need help working a deal? Join me today at 8am for a live chat on the News 12 This Morning facebook page.

We complete our highlight of this year's Black Friday deals, beginning with Wal-mart's one-hour in-store guarantees, which begin at 6pm Thursday.

It's not the best price on an iPad Air 2 Gold, but at $399, you don't have to jump through hoops, which could be worth paying an extra $25 or so. Also, it appears the same LG 55" LED 4K TV on sale at Best Buy will be for guaranteed in stock for $698.

Gamers can secure 3 month access to Playstation Plus or Xbox Live for $10. They can also add a PS4 or Xbox One Controller for $39 or 20 games like Mortal Kombat X or Batman: Arkham Knight for $25.

Parents on the lookout for toys will marvel at the price of the V-tech Chug & Go Railroad set for $25. Marvel 20" figures, like Spiderman and Iron Man will be $10 each. The Doc McStuffins Check Up Center will be $35.

As for movies, Walmart has the best price on Disney's Aladdin on Blu-ray at $9.96 and Terminator Genysis. There will also be 102 different TV titles to binge watch, like Flash and Arrow.

Over at Target, there's a different deal on the iPad Air 2 Gold. Target wants $499, but they'll give you a $150 store gift card... so technically you come out ahead. Same goes for the Xbox One Gears of War Bundle at $299. You don't get the extra controller and game that offers at 6pm Thursday, but you do get a $60 gift card. In addition, you can score a $15 gift card when you buy the Keurig K40 brewer for $79.99.

Target has the best price on the Disney Infinity 3.0 and Skylanders Superchargers starter packs at $34.99. They'll also have Guitar Hero Live for $59.

A couple of other items of note: Beats Solo Headphones will be $96.99, The Simpsons Season 17 on DVD will be $8, and if you spend $75 on Friday, you get a shopping pass to return in early December and save 20%.

Follow me on twitter, @JoeFrugalTV

City Council Members Propose 'Banning the Box'

Wed, 11/25/2015 - 12:40am
Chattanooga, TN (WDEF) - Chattanooga's NAACP chapter is working with city council members to help get people back in the work force, with a new proposal.

It's called Ban the Box, and it's all about giving those living in the Chattanooga area, who may have a felony on their record, a better chance of getting a city government job.

Officials say the first step would be to remove the infamous "have you ever been convicted" question from job applications. The second step would be to change the city's Charter regulations that requires employees to be registered to vote.

"Chattanooga's a place where unemployment shouldn't be a problem," said city councilmen, Yusuf Hakeem, "We're trying to afford these people an opportunity to rise above that economic condition they're in."

If approved, the new proposal could go into affect in as soon as two weeks. As of now, the only jobs this would affect would be general service, or non critical, positions. Fire and police officer positions would not apply.

CPD Investigates: Homicide on Highland Avenue

Wed, 11/25/2015 - 12:29am
Chattanooga, TN (WDEF) - A deadly shooting turned into a homicide in the community of Alton Park tonight, leaving a young woman dead and her family asking for justice.

The victim, who has now been identified by the Chattanooga Police Department as 37-year-old Monica McMillon, was shot in her home on the 3800 Block of Highland Ave, "Rounds were fired into the residence, and as a result of that one of our community members lost their life," said CPD Chief of Staff, David Roddy.

Amanda Crowder, McMillon's younger sister, calls the incident a senseless murder, "I hear stuff like this happening every day. Every two hours, every two three days, I'm logging onto Facebook seeing Rest in Peace. Not once did I think that I was going to be one to receive that message," said Crowder.

Sadly McMillon died shortly after police arrived on scene, leaving behind two young children.

"We're looking for any information people can provide for us," said Roddy, "Anyone that was standing down here, anyone that believes they knew the victim or the victim's family. All information is pertinent at this point."

Chattanooga Police ask anyone with information regarding this crime to call 423-698-2525.

Attempted Motorcycle Hijacking in Chattanooga

Tue, 11/24/2015 - 7:08pm

Chattanooga Police responded to an attempted motorcycle hijacking Tuesday afternoon along Lee Highway and Airport Road.

Jorge Angolo was inside Frida's Hair Salon getting a haircut when a man came inside with Jorge's motorcycle helmet on his head.

Angolo said the man ordered that he give him his keys.

"He take my helmet...he put the helmet on...he take the gun...put on my head."

The suspect also demanded his wallet and money.

That's when Jorge refused to give the man the keys or wallet and the suspect fired two shots that missed Angolo.

Angolo said they went outside the salon and began fighting.

"We come outside...but the pistol was stuck so I don't think he shot it anymore."

The suspect's gun jammed which allowed Jorge to take the gun away from him.

Jorge is left with a cuts on his arm from glass from a broken window.

A man visiting the Citgo gas station nearby said the Chattanooga Police sequestered several people near the scene after the incident because they were unsure exactly who the suspect was.

They have have now released an image from a store camera of the suspect and a woman he is believed to be with.

The two suspects are both caucasian and are believed to be together.

If you know any information your asked to call the Chattanooga Police.

CSLA Students Give Back to the Community

Tue, 11/24/2015 - 6:48pm
CHATTANOOGA, TN (WDEF-TV) - Many people here in the tri-state area find time every year to give back to the community.
And some of them are school kids.
Students at CSLA were busy Tuesday.
They were making the the world a little better as Thanksgiving day approaches.

The 6th, 7th and 8th grade students worked with Hope for the Inner City, two local animal shelters, Audubon Acres, and a child development center.
Others were making caps for the city's needy. The CSLA youngsters actually learned how to knit for this project.

REBECCA MILLOTT, MATH TEACHER, CSLA "We've done this for different reasons, today its for the homeless shelter in Chattanooga, make hats."

MOHAMMAD EL-ETR, CSLA STUDENT "Some people are hel;ping out the school some of the 8th graders are helping the the P.E. teacher ..helping out with his classes , and some people are sewing, and some people are donating toys."

CINDY GASTON, INSTRUCTIONAL COACH, CSLA "We want our kids to learn that its in the giving that you all of our students are doing service today and we're really proud of them."

And that's what the students were learning in half a dozen locations off campus.
Some partnered with Hixson Elementary on their Toys for Tots drive.
A group volunteered to clean up the CSLA school playground.

JOHN LAZENBY, 8TH GRADE, CSLA "Because I felt like it would be cool to help out my school by cleaning up the playground...and making it more safe for the younger kids."

Hope for the Inner City got a helping hand.

SUMMEI WEBB, 6TH GRADE, CSLA "We were assigned in groups to clean certain sections...and a man who is physically challenged..we helped him clean up his room."

SAVANNAH WASHINGTON "It makes me feel like I'm doing something in volunteering for my school..and helping others."

Highland Avenue shooting

Tue, 11/24/2015 - 6:37pm
Chattanooga, TN (WDEF) - Chattanooga Police were called to Highland Avenue Tuesday night for a shooting.

One person was taken to the hospital.

Emergency personnel said over the scanners that the victim was shot in the leg and chest.

No word of their condition.

Police are on the scene investigating and talking to witnesses.

Officials say they have no suspect information at this time.

We'll bring you more as it becomes available.

Air travelers in Chattanooga discuss the current travel alert

Tue, 11/24/2015 - 6:19pm
CHATTANOOGA, Tennessee(WDEF) - Now that the State Department has issued a worldwide travel alert because of concerns about a potential terrorist attack, most people traveling through Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport say they are not too worried.

While millions of people will hit the roadway to spend time with family this Thanksgiving holiday, millions more are flying. News 12 spoke to several people taking flights out of Chattanooga.

"If something is going to happen, it's going to happen. But I believe that our government is doing the best it can to protect us," said Paul Hogan who was waiting for his flight.

"It pays to be alert. But from all the traveling I've done, I've not seen anything that made me need to be alert," said Jim Gallagher who was also waiting for his flight.

"I try to be vigilant and pay attention to what's going on but I'm not concerned," said Paul Depalma who had just arrived at the airport.

But some travelers like Talia Campease were concerned about the alert.

"It makes me a little bit nervous. I'm definitely more aware of my surroundings," Campease said.

Travelers who have to go through busier airports told News 12 the alert does impact security screenings.

"Maybe slower getting through security but it's in our best interest to do that," said Rick Oseroff who was taking a flight to New York.

Chattanooga Airport President and CEO Terry Hart said there are some things travelers can do alleviate the wait.

"Plan accordingly. Get to the airport just a little bit earlier than normal so that you can check in and get your luggage checked in and go through the checkpoint. There have been no other changes occurred. We're still following the TSA regulations and requirements," Hart said.

As of now, there has been a total of six worldwide travel alerts within the last four and a half years.

GOLDEN APPLE: Star Pyburn from Rivermont Elementary School

Tue, 11/24/2015 - 6:13pm
Star Pyburn spends 10 to 12 hours a day at school offering help to anyone who needs it.

In addition to her normal teaching duties at Rivermont Elementary, Pyburn videos programs, maintains the school's gardens and ponds, and serves as a mother hen to other teachers.

Watch the video to see why she's this week's Golden Apple Award winning teacher!

Nominate your child's teacher for our Golden Apple award by clicking here. Then watch every Tuesday at 6:00pm to see if they make the grade.

Sheriff's Office Offers Tips on Black Friday Safety

Tue, 11/24/2015 - 6:05pm
Brawling over Barbies or fighting over flat screens, Black Friday bedlam has led holiday newscasts for years.

As if the recent string of purse snatchings wasn't enough, the shopping crowds which are ten times their normal size means more opportunities for criminals.

So the Hamilton County Sheriff's office shared with News 12 some things the public can do to make holiday shopping safer for all.

Cars and those vast parking lots are a place to start.

"The parking lot is where the largest amount of thefts occur," said matt lea with the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office. "We want to make sure when you bring your packages to your car, don't ever leave them in plain sight. Put them in a back seat if you have tinted windows or in the back of your SUV."

And with some stores opening in the middle of the night, shopping in groups is safest.

"Always shop with a friend or a family member," Lea said. "Don't ever get in your car especially after dark without checking the back seat. You never want to get into your car if there is a suspicious looking van sitting next to your car."

Officers say to pay with cash discreetly and to always guard your credit card and PIN information.

"Carry your purses over your shoulder so it fits tighter to your body. And men should always carry their wallet in their front pocket," said Lea. "It's easier to feel if someone is trying to pick pocket them."

But perhaps most important is the safety of children in these crowds and confusion.

So the sheriff's office has made ID cards for your kids that can be printed and filled out.

"We want to encourage you to have some sort of identifiable ID placard that talks about who your child is, has a picture and an address so that if your child was to get lost, you have an immediate photograph you can supply law enforcement."

The ID templates are available at <>

And as always, officers remind the public to never drive drunk.

Meigs County man facing multiple sex-related charges

Tue, 11/24/2015 - 4:51pm
Cookeville, TN (WDEF) - The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and Meigs County Sheriff's Office started investigating Richard Morris Feaster Junior in June for sexual battery.

They found information that he sexually assaulted a teenage victim for almost 9 years.

The TBI had also previously charged him with  failing to register as a sex offender in July.

Feaster is now charged with two counts of Aggravated Sexual Battery, three counts of Solicitation of a Minor, two counts of Aggravated Statutory Rape and one count of Attempted Solicitation of Sexual Exploitation of a Minor. 

He was arrested Tuesday and is being held in the Meigs County Jail on a $120,000 bond.