News Briefs:

Townsend couple dies in Tuesday morning house fire
A Townsend couple died in a fire Tuesday morning, May 22, at their home off Highway 73 on Davis Road.

According to the Knoxville News Sentinel, the man and woman, ages 82 and 92, were identified as Glynne and Pagie Rook. The couple’s grandson, William Eder, told the Sentinel they had lived at their home for 21 years.

The Blount County Sheriff’s Office responded to the residence shortly before 9 a.m. to the call of a fire. When deputies arrived on the scene, heavy black smoke could be seen coming from the residence, and it was fully involved. Townsend Police and Townsend Volunteer Fire Department, as well as the Blount County Fire Department, were on the scene.

Eder, who lives in a mobile home next door, reported he heard an explosion about 9 a.m. Tuesday. The structure was still smoking later in the afternoon.

Autopsies were scheduled for May 23 at the University of Tennessee Medical Center. Preliminary results of the investigation revealed that the cause and origin of the fire was electrical, and started in the basement of the residence.

Jarnagin to leave Maryville High School after five years
Dr. Ken Jarnagin, Maryville High School principal for five years, announced his retirement to teachers and administrators Thursday morning, May 17.

Jarnagin, 53, said his last day will be June 30, and he plans to pursue some professional activities such as real estate or contract educational opportunities. Jarnagin said he had always considered throughout this career that he would "call it
quits" after 30 years, "but each year changes."

The principal said the staff, faculty and students the school have enjoyed success. "I feel good about the staff and administrators we have in place and that they are going to carry on," he said.

Jarnagin said he and his wife, Phyllis, have some options that have opened up for them professionally. "I do a little work in real estate privately," he said. The principal said he also has an idea for some private educational opportunities he may explore.

Jarnagin said the staff has taken the news well, although many expressed that they wished he would stay. When asked what he would remember most about his tenure with Maryville High School, he said, "the relationships with the kids, with the parents and families and especially with the professionals at the school."

Dr. Mike Dalton, director of Maryville City Schools, said Jarnagin’s strengths are in his ability to listen and communicate. "That’s the trick to good leadership - get people who know what they’re talking about and listen to them," he said. "Ken’s one of those guys."

"Ken Jarnagin’s leadership style has always been to make everyone feel welcome, included and important. Faculty, students and staff have benefited from his openness and desire to communicate at all levels of the organization," Dalton said. "The culture of collaboration now functioning so well at Maryville High School will certainly be his legacy."

Dalton said the high school has benefited from many new or enhanced programs under Jarnagin’s leadership. "In addition to the Health Science Program, Media Concepts, Criminal Justice and an expanded drama and math programs, Jarnagin pushed very hard to secure an administrative position at the high school to manage curriculum and instruction, which has
been a great success," Dalton said. "His work in the community and at the state level has been exemplary, but his unique ability to encourage student leadership and give support to students with vision is an example we should all learn from."

Dalton said he has spoken with Jarnagin over the past three years about goals and interests and in that time Jarnagin has looked at other opportunities. "I’m not surprised by him taking this step, but I regret seeing him leave. He’s been very effective."

Jarnagin worked in the Knox County system for 18 years, started out as a band director and had worked his way up to assistant principal at Bearden before Maryville City Schools director Mike Dalton picked him as the Maryville High School principal.

Dalton said he would send out an announcement to all high schools in East Tennessee and to graduate schools that train administrators to recruit prospects. "Hopefully, we’ll generate a good list," he said.

Persons interested in applying for the position of principal at Maryville High School should forward a resume to Mike Dalton, director of Maryville City Schools, 833 Lawrence Ave., Maryville, Tenn., 37803 or via fax at 865-977-5055 or via email at Resumes must be received by 4 p.m. Friday, June 1, 2007.

Qualifications for the position include appropriate licensure, experience as a secondary administrator (five or more years preferred), knowledge of effective schools research and the ability to lead a comprehensive high school program with high expectations for all students.

Jarnagin and his wife, Phyllis, have four children: 26-year-old Chris Jarnagin, 23-year-old Brandon Jarnagin, 21-year-old Sara Jarnagin and 18-year-old Caitlin Jarnagin.

MPD and APD to hold sobriety checkpoint May 25
The Maryville and the Alcoa police departments will conduct a sobriety checkpoint on Friday, May 25. The location and time for the checkpoint is not being disclosed.

Officers will be checking for drivers under the influence of alcohol or drugs, along with other violations. Special attention will be given to driver and passenger restraint violations in conjunction with The Governor’s Highway Safety Office "Click It or Ticket" campaign.

MPD to hold rape defense course in June
The City of Maryville Police Department will offer a Rape Aggression Defense course free of charge June 14, 15 and 16. The three-day, 12-hour course is part of the police department’s Community Policing program to citizens.

The objective of the course is to develop and enhance options of self-defense to a woman who is attacked. The class will be hosted by the MPD and taught by certified RAD instructors.

The RAD class will take place at the Maryville Police Department located at the Maryville Municipal Center, 400 West Broadway Avenue. Advance registration is required due to the limited class size. People who are interested in the RAD class must come to the MPD to register. For further details, call 273-3700.

Traffic safety campaign kicks off for 2007
Death does not respect state borders.

That was part of the message law enforcement officials brought May 17 to a press conference kicking off this year’s Hands Across the Border campaign.

This multi-jurisdictional campaign is intended to draw attention to the "Click it or Ticket" campaign, as well as other summer enforcement efforts such as the "100 Days of Summer Heat enforcement campaign.

Kendall Poole, director of Governor’s Highway Safety Office, was on hand for the event.

Poole said that when used correctly, seat belts have proven to reduce the rate of fatalities by 45 percent. "Regular seat belt usage is the most effective way to protect people against vehicle fatalities," he said.

"We’re killing 1,200 people a year on highways across the state," Poole said. "We’ve set a goal to reduce that 10 percent."

The THP wrote 55,500 citations in 2006 for seat belt and child restraint violations. Most of those violations occurred between the hours of 6 a.m. and 6 p.m.

Sheriff James Berrong said grants from the Governor’s Highway Safety Office helped the office buy equipment, pay for training and hire personnel. The first grant for employees was in 2003 and it was a four-year grant that paid to hire six employees. Now another grant has paid for three employees. The deputies deal with speed enforcement, DUI enforcement and traffic investigations.

"We’ve been very blessed in the relationship we’ve had with them," he said of the Governor’s Highway Safety Office.

State and MPD investigating $60,000 embezzlement at Maryville High School
Maryville police released Monday that they are investigating a former employee of the Maryville school system after the state comptrollers office found evidence that more than $60,000 was embezzled from the high school between June 2005 and June of 2006.

Rene Brison, audit manager with the State of Tennessee Comptrollers Office, contacted the Maryville Police Department in December 2006 to report a theft of property by embezzlement. Brison said the office had been contacted by the finance director of the Maryville City Schools in June of 2006 and requested an audit because some funds were missing from June of 2005 to June of 2006.

According to the Maryville Police Department offense report, "Brison advised that their audit did reveal that funds were missing from Maryville High School, totaling over $60,000."

Maryville police Chief Tony Crisp said the State Comptrollers Office contacted him in early December 2006 and said that they were doing auditing work and that there was a possible embezzlement going on at the high school. "Later on we met with them again, myself and members of the investigative staff, and looked at records. We asked for certain records to be sent to us," Crisp said. Crisp’s office began the investigation when they received the requested reports and completed the offense report this week.

"We were still sifting though the documents and came to the point where we made an open and active case," he said. "We certainly are continuing our investigation, and certainly we feel like a crime has been committed. Our investigation is moving forward, and we think we’ll bring closure some time in near future."

Maryville City Schools director Dr. Mike Dalton said his office hasn’t received a report from the State Comptrollers Office yet. Anytime a school system has a question arise concerning financial matters, they are required to contact the Comptrollers Office and they determine whether there is a problem.

"That what we did last summer at the high school. We had an employee we felt had not followed proper procedure, and I asked the Comptrollers Off to investigate that," Dalton said.

The name of the employee was not listed on the police report. The individual was fired from the Maryville City School system following the 2006 school year.

Blount County Board of Health to meet Thursday
The Blount County Board of Health will meet this Thursday, May 24, in the Blount County Health Department at 7:30 a.m. in the conference room.

The board’s agenda includes a review of prevention efforts to safeguard the health of the community. Members also will approve the budget.

"This is an important time for our health of our community," health director Micky Roberts said. "Soon people we will be hearing more about and experiencing ozone alert days, obesity prevention activities, and the mosquitoes will be back."

Roberts also thanked current board members, some whom have served for years: Dr. Samuel Evans, Blount Memorial Hospital; School Superintendent Alvin Hord; County Mayor Jerry Cunningham; Dr. Robert Ramsey, DDS; Steve Myers, pharmacist; Richard Hall, Blount Memorial Hospital; and Richard A. Daugherty, D.V.M.

Tim Bledsoe Memorial Golf Tournament is June 2
The Tim Bledsoe Memorial Golf Tournament will be Saturday, June 2, at Pine Lakes Golf Course. The tournament benefits Alcoa City Schools Foundation.

A 4-man swat format is planned with a shot-gun start. Prizes will be awarded for first, second and third flights, with first through third places awarded. There will also be a closest to the pin award on par threes.

Lunch will be served at 11:30 a.m. with tee time beginning at 12:30 p.m. Entry fee is $65 per person.

For tournament information, contact Loren Bledsoe at 865-977-2724 or 865-681-3919.

Bud Allison Memorial Golf Tournament is June 8
The fourth annual Bud Allison Memorial Golf Tournament is scheduled for Friday, June 8, at Lambert Acres Golf Course, just off East Lamar Alexander Parkway on Tuckaleechee Pike.

Tee times are 8:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. and entry fee is $50 per player. It is a four player team scramble/best ball format.

Meal and beverages are included. A meal is to be served between 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. A 2007 Buick, courtesy of Twin City Buick, will be the prize for the first hole in one. The morning and afternoon will be awarded in three flights. There also will be three closest to the pins awards and one accurate drive award.

The tournament is a fund raiser for the Fraternal Order of Police. The F.O.P. supports such activities as a summer camp for
children and the Shop with a Cop program that allows underprivileged children to shop for presents for themselves and their family members at Christmas time.

For more information on the golf tournament, call Tony Rayburn at 865-755-7576, Jarrod Millsaps at 865-740-5132, Kelly Simerly at 865-755-6278 or Tom Hatcher at 865-273-5400.

© 2007 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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