Author Archives: Patrick Pebley

Farmer Arrested For Theft

Last week Deputy Christopher Chapman was dispatched to take a report of theft from Ben Dykes. Mr. Dykes reported that seven fishing poles valued at approximately $1,300 were stolen from his boat that was on the carport of his home.

Some of the stolen poles were located at the Cash Express pawn shop by Deputy Chapman. After having Dykes identify the poles Deputy Chapman obtained the surveillance video from the store. The video showed Tasha Farmer, 30 of 317 East Hemlock Street in LaFollette, pawning the poles. Deputy Chapman also received the pawn receipts where Farmer had signed her name and provided her driver’s license number.

A few days later Deputy Chapman located Farmer. Farmer admitted to pawning the poles. SHe also reportedly claimed she had purchased them from a man named Tommy.

Farmer was arrested and charged with Theft of Property $1,000-$2,499.

Dispute Between Neighbors Leads To Investigation

Last Saturday night Deputy Cody Douglas was dispatched to Cowan Lane in the Valley region of the county just after 11 PM. Upon arriving he spoke with Brandon Cooper who reported that his neighbor, Travis Walker, had been doing burnouts in the street.

Cooper claims that he confronted Walker about it and that an argument ensued. Cooper claims that Walker went up and down his driveway and that Walker fired a trio of gunshots into an embankment belonging to Walker. Cooper identified the weapon as a black .22 caliber revolver.

Deputy Douglas also interviewed Walker at his home. Walker told Cooper that he had just returned from mudding and that he did indeed do a burnout in his truck in his own driveway. Walker also stated that he and Cooper did indeed have a back and forth argument. Walker further stated that when he heard the gunshots that he ran up his hill and did not see who was shooting.

No firearm was found on Walker’s person or in his vehicle. A .45 caliber handgun was located in another vihicle but it did not show any signs of being recently fired.

There were no injuries or arrests in the incident.

Boshears Named All-State

In the 1980’s Sherry Bostic was the first ever Lady Cougar to be named All-State in basketball, in fact she was the only one in history. That is until now. Skylar Boshears has now also earned this lofty honor. Boshears was named to the Tennessee Report All-State team. She is joined by district foe Jada Guinn of Oak Ridge and Tournament foe Lindsay Taylor of Maryville.

Skylar had an outstanding season that capped off an outstanding career as a Lady Cougar. She eclipsed 1,900 career points which puts her as the Lady Cougars all time leading scorer and potentially the school’s all time leading scorer.

As part of the Lady Cougars she was part of a senior class that went 95-31, with a district record of 54-6, for their careers. The teams were often ranked in the AP’s Top Ten. They started their senior season 13-0 for the teams longest winning streak in their four year span.

With her high school career over Boshears will play on the next level for the Lady Paladins of Furman.

Not All Heroes Wear Capes: The Middleton Family Story

To say that we had a story of a supermom would be an understatement, but to say we had a story of only a supermom would be denying an amazing father his due credit as well. Each one is as much a part of this incredible story as the other. The husband and wife duo of Jason and Sylvia Middleton, both originally born and raised in Harlan, Kentucky had a story set that humbled me a bit after hearing it. I received a phone call from Sheila Falls. Sheila said it was laid on her heart to bring Sylvia up for attention with a story involving Mother’s Day. I jumped at the opportunity to tell it. I also soon learned it required the couple making hard decisions and sacrifices together to adopt a total of eight children, five of whom have special needs. All this while noticing the children in the home also did their part to make it work. It soon became “their” story. The story of Jason, Sylvia, Gabby, Ava, Madalie, Embersyn, Luke, Maisie, Livie and Reed.

The full unedited videos will be released Friday and put on our YouTube channel, so viewers have an opportunity to watch each individual story of their eight adoptions. You will soon meet this beautiful family while watching the video, and see that their challenges are real. The following is a diagnosis listing of what the family faces every day. Gabriana (Gabby) has Down Syndrome and Autism. Ava has Down Syndrome. Madalie has Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and Institutional delays. Embersyn has Mike-Moderate Development Delay of Unspecified Origin. Luke has Autism and Tracheal-Esophageal Fistula (eats with a G Tube although he is training to come off the tube). Maisie and Livie have no diagnosis but have developmental delays that have stemmed from being in foster care. The youngest, Reed, has Cerebral Palsy, Bilateral Polymicrogyria, Bilateral open-lipped Schizencephaly, Microcephaly and was a premature birth, born at 35 weeks. Each child has their unique story but the Middleton family has embraced these children with all the love they can pour out. They face their daily challenges with smiles and hugs.

The Middleton’s, having dated since their early teenage years and must have always known somehow that they were going to be together and raise a family. Although, they most likely didn’t know quite how wonderful and challenging it was going to be for them. They started out with one international adoption in mind, finding a beautiful little girl in the Ukraine. This first and particularly unique adoption of Gabby, cost them a lot of money but apparently gained them a volume of experience. With vast learning experience into how the system of international adoptions work, the couple decided to revisit the process and apply their hard earned knowledge. They managed to adopt two more children that way, this time without the massive financial strain the first adoption had put upon them.

Each of their stories is heartwarming, as every child was different making their way into the Middleton home. When asked if they had any natural children of their own Sylvia replied “We get asked that a lot and I really think it’s an odd question and I don’t always know how to respond because these are our natural children. To us, there is no difference in having a child biologically or rather through adoption. We love them just as much. We are a family. We decided long ago that we will not need to have biological children as we have our family here, through these circumstances, and we love it.”

The Middleton’s have also adopted children through foster care and a few of those are still in the process of being worked out. This is why during the video you may see some blurred faces to protect the children. The most recent adoption was an infant named Reed whom you will see in the video. Reed came into their lives as he was born to 14 year old parents. Jason and Sylvia were more than happy to offer their hearts and home to this beautiful baby. According to doctors, Reed has already surpassed any stage level development they expected. Of course, it only makes sense that constant love and attention, real love, given to any child would certainly have a positive impact. Mind stimulation and a nurturing environment in which one could thrive I’m certain is key. What child born with any type of handicap would not excel through love and affection as provided in this environment.

Hands down, I not only give this incredible woman, Sylvia Middleton a Mom Award in the appropriate month of May, but I also give the same shout out for the approaching month of June to her wonderful husband Jason for an absolute Dad Award in our book.

Sylvia shared a lot of information about adoption but time constraints in the original video would not permit all of it to be shown. However, that will all be available in the non-edited video that publishes Friday. The beauty of Facebook, our Volunteer Times media platform and other sources come together in a perfect storm in that we are able (with Sylvia’s permission) to also link her personal Facebook page to this story below. So, if you are one of those people that have been struggling with making an adoption decision be it internationally or domestically or if you’ve wondered about adoption through the foster system, Sylvia and Jason are both more than happy to answer any questions. They can assist in guiding you through the process should this be right for you. The Volunteer Times would like to thank Sheila Falls for reaching out to us about this amazing couple. Also, thank you to the Middleton family for granting me a small peek into their life on a warm, Spring day. I’m a better person for having met this incredible family. Another success story right here in Campbell County.

LaFollette City Council Conducts May Meeting

On Tuesday, May 7th, 2019, at approximately 5:30 P.M., the City of LaFollette held a council meeting in the LaFollette Municipal building. The intent of the meeting, as stated on the agenda, was to discuss a variety of ongoing plans, comments from citizens, and announcements. Also included in the meeting were ordinances and resolutions to the 2018/2019 budget, as well as changes in staff position among the fire department and police department.
The meeting was opened with a call to order by Mayor Mike Stanfield, which was followed with a prayer and pledge. The clerk called roll, and the discourse began.
First on the agenda was the the approval for the meeting minutes of April 2019. Approval was motioned, which was followed by a second, and the approval was carried. Next to be carried were the reports from boards, committees, and departments. After these approvals were met, comments from citizens were heard.
Mayor Stanfield started the topic with the suggestion of a ‘sock hop’ to be held for teenagers on a Friday or Saturday at a local school gym after the school term ends. He proposed to come up with a mix of drinks and snacks to serve. Mr. Bill Archer, a councilman, later echoed Mr. Stanfield’s request for entertainment for teenagers in Campbell County by asking about the possibility of the construction of more centers, such as bowling alleys or movie theaters. No definite plans were made, but the board was asked to look more into having this done.
In other citizen comments, Mr. Sharp, a citizen of LaFollette, complained of drainage problems on his land, which he claimed to be caused by the disposal of illegal substances by another citizen, years prior to the meeting. He also claimed to have witnessed the dumping of drugs on his land personally. He expressed a wish for the board to take action and view it personally, in order to make the decision to clean up the mess. However, City Administrator Jimmy Jeffries brought up records of previous investigations into the matter, which included the enlistment of help from the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), and spoke of tests for drugs that came back negative. This debate continued for some time, but no agreement on either side was reached. Mr. Jeffries promised to request the reports from the EPA to be available at the next meeting.
The final citizen comment came about the post office that the county purchased, in which the program Postmark holds different activities. The citizen thanked the board for their involvement in the purchase, as the projects and competitions make way for unatletic kids to shine amongst even the athletic in Campbell County. Mayor Stanfield commented on the grants being applied for on behalf of the post office, in order to continue fixing the inside of the old building, and keep the program going.
Announcements came next. First heard was the fire department, who announced that their new firetruck will arrive this Friday, May 10th. This preceded the announcement from Mr. Jeffries, who took the time to thank city employees for the work they put in cleaning up the area.
He also touched on an issue that took place during the last workshop, and verified that the board was in compliance on a vote that took place when a number of voting members were not present. Investigation was asked for, and Mr. Jeffries, with the help of a legal aide, confirmed that the voting reached, and was in line with, a quorum. He explained that a quorum is the minimum number of voting members needed to ensure that the voting is 100% legal, and as there were three out of five members present, the board was in compliance with the set rules.
Mayor Stanfield moved onto the resolutions of the 2018/2019 budget after the announcements. A motion was carried on the resolution on the amendments to the original budget, as well as the resolution on the government obligation contract dated as April 25, 2019, between Republic National Cooperation and City of LaFollette, Tennessee.
This turned the meeting to the fire department and the police department, who both wished to make changes in the positioning of some of their staff.
The fire department petitioned to promote Eric Sowanick, at a salary of $29,213.60, to a full time position, effective 05/11/2019. A motion was made from members, and was approved with unanimous agreement.
Likewise, the police department also wished to promote one of their staff, Darryl Chapman, from a part time position to a full one, at a salary of $32,580.00, effective 05/11/2019. This was also motioned, and approved with unanimous agreement.
In other ongoing plans, the board discussed the Safe Sidewalk grant, and stated that they are now waiting for the final approval from TDOT, after which construction will occur. Everything has been turned in and finalized in accordance to the grants, and after the approval is made, it will only take about six weeks thereafter for construction to begin. He also talked of waiting on approval from TDOT for the downtown grants, as well.
According to Jim Mullens, the street department manager in LaFollette, the Big Street Project/Cumberland Avenue is also awaiting the final approval of TDOT in order to begin construction.
The final business inquiry came at the end of the meeting, and discussed the drainage problem by the Corner Market, regarding how long it would take for construction to begin, and how much it would take of the budget, of which would depend on the of more details, such as pricing of pipes.
This successfully completed discussion on the agenda for the meeting, and without any further comments from citizens or members of the board, the meeting was adjourned. The next workshop is scheduled for the last Monday of May.