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WDEF News 12 - Local News
Updated: 54 min ago

Man arrested for Child Neglect

5 hours 31 min ago
Chattanooga, TN (WDEF)- A man is arrested for Child Neglect Saturday.

The CPD arrested 61-year-old Joseph Thornton at 2005 Cleveland Ave.

Officials say he is booked at the Hamilton County Jail and held on a $3,000 bond.

We will keep you updated as more information becomes available.

Color Run

5 hours 49 min ago
Chattanooga, TN (WDEF)- The Spring for Life 5K Color Run, Walk and Festival was Saturday.

The event took place at Camp Jordan Amphitheater just after 3 pm.

There were inflatables, music and food for the entire family to enjoy.

The cost was $30 per person and all donations were tax-deductible.

You can still donate by clicking on the related links box.

Invent Anything Day

7 hours 58 min ago
Chattanooga, TN (WDEF)- TechTown and The Chattanooga Public Library hosted a free Make-a-thon with littleBits electronics on Global Invent Anything Day Saturday.

It was a free exploration workshop using littleBits magnetic circuitry kits for children and adults alike.

Students, educators and their families were invited to the official Chattanooga chapter for littleBits.

Starting March 30th, seventy area Chattanooga students will spend the week learning about videography, circuitry and robotics.

TechTown is also offering five weeks of summer camp, open to students ages 7 to 17. The camps will begin Monday, June 29th and end Friday, July 31st.

Students can learn coding, video game and website design, 3D printing, film and video production, robotics and circuitry in the summer camp.

Cleveland State hosts the 8th annual Multicultural Fair

10 hours 1 min ago
Cleveland, TN (WDEF)-

Cleveland State Community College hosted its 8th annual Multicultural Fair on Saturday.

The fair is designed to celebrate the different cultures.

It featured a colorful parade of nations, international studies information, booths featuring different nationalities, and culturally based entertainment.

Some of the entertainment included the St. Therese Spanish Youth Dancers, Mawre and Company African Dance and Drum Troupe and the Cleveland State Chorus and Vocal Rhapsody.

Irish Soles Crossing fundraiser

10 hours 24 min ago
Chattanooga, TN (WDEF)-Notre Dame High School hosted its Irish Soles Crossing fundraising walk this morning.

Walkers started along East 3rd Street, then walked along East 8th Street until they reached All Saints Academy.

The total distance is 6 miles.  Students are raising funds for the school by soliciting sponsors at the rate of $5 per mile.  Each sponsor will be asked to contribute $30 per student.

Students have received solicitation letters and remittance envelopes for cash, check and credit card donations.

All donations will be contributed to Notre Dame's Annual Fund.

Park day

12 hours 3 min ago
Dalton, GA (WDEF)- History buffs, community leaders and preservationists will team up with the Civil War Trust and take pride in America at more than 98 historic sites across the country to participate in the 18th annual Park Day.

Last year, there were nearly 9,000 volunteers at 105 historic sites across the country.

Park Day will be held at Prater's Mill from 9 am until noon on Saturday.

Sign ups will begin on the front porch of the mill.

Volunteers are expected to wear clothes to work outside in. They are also asked to bring work gloves, garden tools, pruning shears and shovels.

The Civil War Trust is the largest nonprofit battlefield preservation organization in the United States.

Local Man Charged After Assaulting Officers with a Vehicle

13 hours 54 min ago
Chattanooga, TN (WDEF) - A local Chattanooga man has been charged with assault after ramming multiple police cars with his own vehicle.

Lovell Lightner, 42, has been charged with three counts of aggravated assault on police.

Officers were originally called to the scene about a theft in progress.

Lightner rammed the police vehicles in attempt to escape the scene.

He is being held on a $95,000 bond. 

Shelters Opening Again

14 hours 5 min ago
Chattanooga, TN (WDEF) - The Salvation Army center will be opening its doors once again due to the recent cold temperatures.

The overnight shelter opens back up tonight at 9 p.m. and its open to anyone who needs a warm place to stay.

Those who want to help out at the shelter are encouraged to either stop by or give the Salvation Army a call.

Naming auction for Chattanooga Zoo Fennec Fox Kits

Fri, 03/27/2015 - 9:31pm
Chattanooga, TN (WDEF) Do you want to name one of the Chattanooga Zoo's new Fennec Fox kits?

Well, pull out your check book.

The zoo is doing a naming auction for the rights to name each kit; one male and one female.

The auction ends on the 31st at 5 p.m., so you don't have a lot of time left!

Click on the related link to bid.

HIV Survivor's Quilt To Recognize Those Living With The Virus In Chattanooga

Fri, 03/27/2015 - 5:47pm
CHATTANOOGA,TN, (WDEF)-Chattanoogan Chuck Hill has attended more than 20 funerals of friends, HIV sufferers in the Scenic City.
        There were more new cases of HIV in the Volunteer State in 2014 than there were in San Francisco.
        However he believes the tide will turn in the South's fight against HIV.

"I have a lot of friends because of the advances in medicines who are no longer dying, they are actually surviving, I feel it's important for me now, to honor the people that are surviving with this."

Hill is voluntarily compiling a giant quilt with custom panels for those who are still fighting the virus in East Tennessee.

"Show people you can live with this if you take your meds, do what you are supposed to, we have survivors who are living, who are I think one who is 42 years surviving."

A dozen Chattanoogans have already come forward.

One Chattanooga man has been living with HIV for 31 years and says it's a very real problem affecting hundreds of people right here in the Tennessee Valley.

Mark Grantham, HIV Positive Since 1984,"I introduce myself as Mark and I am HIV positive, I want to put that on the table, flat out, if you can deal with it or not deal with it, choice is yours."

Grantham wants more Chattanoogans to get checked for the virus.
He added there are multiple state and federal grants available to cover medical costs including the Ryan White Care Act of 2009.

"If I didn't have my current insurance i would be up a creek without a paddle just the one pill alone is 1500 dollars a month, that's more than i make on disability."

The HIV survivors quilt will be publicly displayed downtown on December 1st of 2015.

If you would like to get involved with the HIV survivors quilt or to find out more information about HIV prevention, links below.

Chuck Hill-

Former Meigs County Interim Finance Director Charged with Theft

Fri, 03/27/2015 - 5:29pm
(WDEF)   An investigation by Special Agents with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has resulted in the arrest of a former Meigs County interim Finance Director on theft charges.
        At the request of 9th District Attorney General Russell Johnson, TBI Special Agents began investigating Connie Allen on November 24, 2014. TBI Agents worked in conjunction with the Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury after an audit of the Meigs County Finance Department uncovered an irregularity. During the course of the investigation, Agents discovered that between February 2009 and November 2013, Allen received unauthorized compensation totaling more than $24,500. During that time period, Allen was employed as a bookkeeper and then interim Finance Director for Meigs County. She left that position in November 2013.
        On Monday, the Meigs County Grand Jury returned indictments charging Allen, 66, with one count of Theft over $10,000 and one count of Official Misconduct. Allen was arrested and booked at the Meigs County Jail today after turning herself in to a TBI Agent. She was released on her own recognizance.

Sex offender arrested in Bradley County

Fri, 03/27/2015 - 5:07pm
Bradley County, TN (WDEF) A Bradley County deputy arrests a Georgia sex offender for registration violations in two states.

47-year-old Bobby Hawkins was arrested on February 25th for public intoxication under the name Tony Tolen.

The Board of Pardons and Parole had been trying to find Hawkins for months for not registering, and found Tolen shared some personal information with Hawkins.

Officials found the two were the same person by comparing fingerprints.

A patrol deputy took Hawkins into custody on March 24th at a business on South Lee Highway where he had been staying for 8 months under the name Tolen.

He's charged with forgery, criminal simulation and violating the sex offender registry. 

He's being held without bond in Bradley County and awaiting extradition to Georgia.

Segment of the Yellow Trail in Chickamauga Battlefield Closed

Fri, 03/27/2015 - 4:57pm
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        It will remain closed until further notice.
        The section of trail that is closed runs parallel to Reed’s Bridge Road, in between the parking pull-off areas for the Blue Trail and the Green Trail.
        The closure of this segment is due to the structural failure of a foot bridge located near the midpoint of the trail.
        The park is reviewing possible repair options but has not decided on a course of action at this time.
        For more information about the trails at Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park, contact the Chickamauga Battlefield Visitor Center at (706) 866-9241, or visit the park’s website.

Georgia Governor Deal instructs agencies to prepare for medical cannabis law

Fri, 03/27/2015 - 4:48pm
Deal instructs agencies to prepare for medical cannabis law

Gov. Nathan Deal today signed an executive order directing state agencies to begin preparations for enactment of H.B. 1, legislation that will allow the use of cannabis oil for eight medical conditions. Deal will sign the bill after the session to ensure that no conflicts arise with other pieces of legislation.

“This executive order is the first step in bringing home families who’ve sought relief elsewhere and for providing new medical solutions for Georgians suffering from debilitating conditions,” Deal said. “I’ve instructed the Georgia Composite Medical Board and the Department of Public Health to begin taking immediate steps ahead of this law’s enactment. At the same time, law enforcement, health care providers and other stakeholders should make appropriate preparations.

“While we want to treat suffering patients and bring children home as quickly as possible, it is critical that we take every precaution to safeguard private health information and ensure the security of the new patient registry. In the coming days, these agencies will continue providing updates and further guidance to patients and the public.”

Under this legislation, the Georgia Composite Medical Board will draft a patient waiver and a physician certification form. Upon completion, the forms will be available to patients meeting the specified criteria through DPH. Once certified by the appropriate health care provider, patients will be provided with documentation allowing for possession of low-THC cannabis oil.

“I look forward to the day when I can sign this legislation into law – a day that is coming soon,” Deal said. “While many advocates dedicated countless days to this worthy cause, Rep. Allen Peake deserves special recognition for his selfless devotion to these affected families. He provided both the hand that guided our General Assembly and the shoulder that many families leaned on. Today, we’re beginning to reap the harvest of that hard work. Soon, families will be reunited and more Georgians will gain access to the treatment they require. I’m proud to see Georgia leading in this way.”

“I would like to express my deepest gratitude to Governor Deal and his staff for seeing this legislation through and making it a priority in the General Assembly,” said Peake (R-Macon). “I commend Governor Deal for taking the initial steps today to prepare our state for HB 1 to become law very soon. I continue to look forward to that day when this bill is signed and our Georgia families can finally come back home.”

Patients with the following conditions are eligible for medical cannabis oil under this law: cancer, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), seizure disorder, multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, mitochondrial disease, Parkinson’s and sickle cell.

Several local convenience stores fail underage compliance check

Fri, 03/27/2015 - 4:22pm
Chattanooga, TN (WDEF) Six out of 14 local convenience stores failed Spring Break Compliance checks.

Chattanooga Police partnered with the Hamilton County Coalition for the checks Thursday.

The coalition coordinated the buyers, using 18 to 19-year-olds with real IDs. 

The six businesses below sold beer to the underage buyers, failing the compliance check.

1.Big K located at 909 Dodson Avenue
2.Ace Food Market located at 2100 E. Main Street
3.Big Poppa’s Quick Stop located at 4107 Dodds Avenue
4.Nine Brothers located at 101 W. 38th Street
5.Southside Market located at 202 W. 38th Street
6.Kangaroo Express located at 3729 Tennessee Avenue

They were cited and will have to appear before the Beer Board on April 16th.

Chattanooga Police say the checks were to make sure no underage Chattanoogans would be able to buy beer during Spring Break.

They're also conducting the Crash Reduction Initiative through the Spring Break weekend.

Ridgeland High School Students Get Visit from Cobra Helicopter

Fri, 03/27/2015 - 3:41pm
(WDEF) Ridgeland High School students got a high-flying lesson in STEM careers today.
     A Cobra helicopter landed at the school.
     The students got to ask the crew all about careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.
     The helicopter is part of the Celebrate Freedom Foundation's School/Student Opportunities and Rewards (SOaR) program.
     The program's mission is to help build a workforce with the technical know-how to compete globally.
     Robert Day serves as the Program Manager for the Celebrate Freedom Foundation.  He said, "We want them to understand that although the military has over one hundred and eighty different career specialties, and a lot of emphasis (is) being place on STEM today, so that's one of our emphasis; providing them opportunities."
     The SOaR program also provides information about careers in aeronautics.

Robbery suspect & shooting victim passes away

Fri, 03/27/2015 - 3:11pm
Chattanooga, TN (WDEF) We have an update in that attempted robbery that went bad Thursday.

The suspect in the case passed away.

Police say a man entered Miller Auto sales on Rossville Boulevard and told Alan Miller he was going to rob the place.

But that's about as far as he got.

Officials say Miller and the suspect had some sort of exchange that ended with the suspect being shot.

Authorities ruled the case as a justifiable homicide.

Shakeup at Chattanooga History Center

Fri, 03/27/2015 - 11:57am

Chattanooga, TN (WDEF) - The Chattanooga History Center announces a staff changes after direcotr leaves.

Executive Director Dr. Daryl Black has resigned to take a new job with the Seminary Ridge Museum in Gettysburg, PA.

As a result, they are promoting Marlene Payne to a new position of Museum Director.

And they are hiring a part time financial consultant to complete the capital campaign.

The History Center is overdue for opening next to the Tennessee Aquarium on the Riverfront.

“We want to thank Daryl for his passion, leadership, and overall academic contributions to the Chattanooga History Center, and we wish him well in his new position at the Seminary Ridge Museum,” said Jo Coke, board president for the Chattanooga History Center.

“We are extremely fortunate to have Marlene Payne and Andrew Kean working in collaboration to turn our vision for a world-class, state of the art history museum into a reality for this community.”

UT Fires Men's Basketball Coach

Fri, 03/27/2015 - 11:12am

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Tennessee has fired basketball coach Donnie Tyndall after one season.

Tyndall's firing comes as the NCAA investigates his two-year stay at Southern Mississippi, where he coached before coming to Tennessee last year.

Tennessee athletic director Dave Hart said in a statement Friday it is "highly likely" Tyndall will face "significant penalties" after the NCAA completes its inquiry. He added that the decision by the school is "in the best interests of the University of Tennessee."

CBS Sports first reported Tyndall's dismissal. A news conference is scheduled for later in the day.

Tyndall was 16-16 in his lone season at Tennessee while dealing with the NCAA investigation. His successor will become Tennessee's third coach in three years and fourth in six years.

East Ridge Elementary employee placed on leave after allegation from student

Fri, 03/27/2015 - 10:00am
EAST RIDGE, Tennessee(WDEF) - A non-licensed employee at East Ridge Elementary has been placed on leave following an allegation of misconduct.

School officials won't specifically talk about the allegation because the incident is under investigation by the Hamilton County School District.

School officials did confirm the allegations came from a student.

Principal Gal Huffstutler told WDEF that she sent out a recorded audio message to parents that an employee was placed on leave as a result of an allegation by a student.