Local News Articles

BQA Class To Be Held At UT Extension Office

April 2, 2012
Michael Barry
Michael Barry

Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) is a national program that provides guidelines for beef cattle production. The program raises consumer confidence through offering proper management techniques and a commitment to quality within every segment of the beef industry.

BQA certification in Tennessee is good for a two year period. If your certification has expired or if you have never been certified, County Extension Director Michael Barry will be offering some BQA certification classes at the UT Extension office in Smithville. The class lasts about an hour. The BQA fees are $15 if you are a member of the Tennessee Cattlemen’s Association. However, if you are not a member of the Tennessee Cattlemen’s Association, the cost is $30. And there is only one discounted BQA per TCA membership.

In addition to learning practices which are designed to help improve individual operations, increase profits and raise the overall quality of livestock and management practices in the state, BQA certification is also required to participate in the Tennessee Department of Agriculture’s Ag Enhancement programs.

Producers have embraced BQA because it is the right thing to do; but they have also gained through increased profitability. As an educating program, BQA helps producers identify management processes that can be improved.
BQA classes will be offered on Tuesday, April 10 at 6:00 p.m. and on Wednesday, April 11 at 1:00 p.m. The classes will be at the new UT Extension office location at 722 South Congress Boulevard, across the road from Food Lion. If you would like to register to attend one of the classes or have any questions, give me a call at the Extension office at 597-4945.

Annual Celebration of Spring at Edgar Evins State Park set for April 14

April 1, 2012
Celebration of Spring
Edgar Evins State Park Celebration of Spring

The Annual Celebration of Spring will be Saturday, April 14th at Edgar Evins State Park, Silver Point, between Smithville and Cookeville on Center Hill Lake.

This year it will also commemorate the 75th Birthday of Tennessee State Parks. It will be a FREE day of outdoor recreation and entertainment for families and individuals, sponsored by the Friends of Edgar Evins State Park and park employees.

The day's activities will begin at 8 a.m. at the Visitors Center with registration for all and sign-ups for the events that have a maximum number of participants. The activities that have limits are the popular nature hikes led by State Naturalist Randy Hedgepath, Park Ranger Mark Taylor, and Holly Taylor as well as the approximately hour long pontoon boat rides for adults and children over 3 years accompanied by an adult.

Other events will include kite flying, face painting, 3-legged and sack races, living history demonstrations, and Ssssnakes! Ranger Ramble Raccoon, the Tennessee State Parks Mascot, will be on-hand for picture opportunities and to take part in the festivities.

Boy Scouts of Troop 875 will show how to cook in a Dutch Oven over a camp fire. Girl Scouts of Troop 1147 will assist anyone interested in making honeysuckle baskets or cornshuck dolls at the crafting workshop.

Many offerings will overlap so there will be something going on most of the day for various ages and interests. In addition there are approximately 11 miles of trails waiting to be hiked by those who prefer to explore on their own.
Live on-stage performances beginning at 8:30 a.m. will include a welcome address by James Westerfield of Murfreesboro as James Edgar Evins for whom the park was named, Minnie Pearl impersonator and country/pop singer, Patricia Jackson from Nashville, the Cannon Arts Dance Studio with Lori Christensen ("Ms. California" ) of Woodbury as Mother Nature, and the popular Flat Broke Blue Grass Band.

During the stage show there will be random Tennessee State Parks Trivia questions and prizes for correct answers. Other prizes will be awarded for the most nearly correct estimate of the candies in a jar and for winners of the races.
Participants are encouraged to pack a picnic or sack lunch and plan to stay for a fun day in the park. Those who wish to make it an overnight or weekend outing may phone the park office (1-800-250-8619 or 931-858-2114) to inquire about camping and cabins.

The website for the Friends of Edgar Evins State Park may be visited at http://foeesp.ne1.net

Election Commission Makes Plea for More Operational Space

March 31, 2012
Dwayne Page

Almost eight months after four of the public officials re-located to the new county administrative building on South Congress Boulevard in an effort to free up space at the courthouse, the election commission remains in cramped quarters.

Last Monday night, Election Commission Chairman Walteen Parker, Secretary Harry Lasser, and Administrator Dennis Stanley addressed the county commission requesting more storage and operational space.

The election commission operates out of two small offices on the first floor of the courthouse. Supplies and materials are kept stored in closets, hallway filing cabinets, under tables, and other nooks and crannies on the first floor.

"We were hoping we would be allowed to have more square footage and more room with the transition to the complex but it never materialized," said Chairman Parker. "Space is needed to accommodate voters, candidates, and citizens who come to our office to conduct business. That is business which is confidential or needs to be a private discussion. Much to our chagrin though we often have to discuss private information, inquiries, and matters openly and we always lack the accommodations and conveniences that our handicapped and elderly citizens and voters deserve just to complete forms. We just don't have the space. Election night is always a cramped and crowded situation. We have six to eight people in a room trying to do our job. Its just extremely overcrowded. We make this request, for more operational space," she said.

Lasser, one of two Democrats on the commission, also appealed to the County Mayor and County Commission for help. "We hold commission meetings in the back corner space (of an office). There are seven people packed in there with desks and filing cabinets. I get to sit between the door and the filing cabinets. It is not an exaggeration that Mr. (Kenneth) Moore and I have to take turns crossing our legs, otherwise we'd be playing footsie. I got to see my first countywide election on March 6 and it was chaotic. Every chair was occupied by a commissioner or by someone who was coming to vote. The election workers were in and out with folks who had questions. The phones were ringing constantly. Voters wandered in there wondering where they were supposed to vote. Chaos is the most appropriate word I can think of to describe what election day was like. When you walk into those offices, there are voter registration cards setting on desks. Those voter registration cards have names, addresses, birth dates, and social security numbers. A person could very easily walk into that office and grab a handful of voter registration cards. We're the only office that I'm aware that doesn't have some form of counter or barrier to keep visitors from sensitive information," he said.

County Mayor Foster said more storage space could be made available at the new county complex. "I think we all agree with your problem," said Foster. I think we have talked about doing some space. I went with Dennis out to the new building about storing all the things you need to store out there as soon as we can get two or three things done here. We've not even moved out of where I was into our office. We're still in that process. I told Dennis we could start moving anything he wants to move out there in the way of storage. We also told Dennis that you can use the conference room upstairs (for election commission meetings) which is a much better place for you to meet. That should create a lot more room for you and be a bigger help," said Foster.

Stanley said there is also a need for more space to conduct daily operations. "There are two issues here. One is a storage issue and the other is an operational issue. Really they are separate. On the storage issue, Mike (Foster) and I have talked and we have resolved most of that. I am not sure we need to move those (election) machines over there (new complex) and we'll talk about that. But a lot of the other stuff we can move over there and it'll be done. It'll be out of the way," said Stanley.

"On the operational issue, we need at least one more office so we can open up the other two (offices) and make some counter space for people to register to vote and have some privacy. At least a bar separating those people from our actual work. We've got stuff in the hall. We've got stuff in closets We've got stuff everywhere. It really needs to be organized," he said.

"If we have more operational space, it will in the end give us more storage space as well," said Stanley. "The only issue as far as storage inside the courthouse is simply voting machines and the printers. We really need some help. We've got a city election in June. Its not very large. But we've got a county wide election in August and November and if those two are any worse than what we had in March as far as activity in our office, its going to be a nightmare," said Stanley.

"Privacy was a major issue (in the March primary). One office was full of election commissioners or an inspector. I was in the other office where the machine technicians were. I had a phone call from the state coordinator's office that really needed to be private. There's no privacy at all. It is a major problem. Its rather embarrassing to me for someone to walk in and say I want to register to vote and I have to move a chair or have them move a chair and then I have to move stuff off of a desk so they can sit down and fill out a form. There is no counter there at all. Anything you can do to help us, we would certainly appreciate it and the sooner the better," said Stanley.

Other than County Mayor Foster, no county commissioner had anything to say about the problem and they moved on to other business.

While it was not mentioned publically Monday night, some election commissioners are reportedly upset that the county commission or mayor never asked them if they needed more space when the plans were being made about who was moving (to the new complex) and how office space was going to be designated. It has also been pointed out that almost every office that was moved from the courthouse has been replaced with an entity or organization that was not in the courthouse originally.

Last October, the county commission authorized the assignment of that courthouse space to others. Since then the Tennessee Highway Patrol, who had an office in the old Veteran's Building, moved into the courthouse where the Trustee's office had been. The Chamber of Commerce, in an effort to save expense, relocated from its office on the public square to the courthouse where the Register of Deeds had been. County Mayor Foster has moved his office across the hall to where the County Clerk office had been. Others are using some of the available courthouse space as well.

During that meeting in October, seventh district member Jimmy Poss came to the aid of the election commission strongly advising that the county take care of all those in the courthouse needing space before assigning all of the available courthouse space to others. Poss said the election commission is in dire need of extra space."I think we should take care of the ones in the courthouse first before we start giving rooms out," said Poss.

DeKalb Jobless Rate at 8.4% in February

March 30, 2012

DeKalb County's unemployment rate for February was at 8.4%, down from the revised rate for January of 8.6%, and down from 10.1% in February, 2011

The local labor force for January was at 9,800. A total of 8,970 were employed and 830 were without work.

DeKalb County's unemployment rate for February was the fourth lowest among the fourteen counties of the Upper Cumberland region as follows:

Pickett County- 15.9%
Van Buren- 11.9%
White- 11.1%
Clay- 11%
Jackson- 10.7%
Cumberland- 10.4%
Overton- 9.7%
Fentress- 9.5%
Smith- 8.9%
Macon- 8.1%
Cannon- 7.8%

County non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rates for February 2012, released today, show the rate decreased in 75 counties, increased in 10 counties, and remained the same in 10 counties.

Tennessee's unemployment rate for February fell to 8.0 percent, down from the January revised rate of 8.2 percent. The national unemployment rate for February 2012 was 8.3 percent, unchanged from the January rate.

The state unemployment rate is seasonally adjusted while the county unemployment rates are not. Seasonal adjustment is a statistical technique that eliminates the influences of weather, holidays, the opening and closing of schools, and other recurring seasonal events from economic time series.

Knox County had the state's lowest major metropolitan rate of 6.1 percent, down from 6.2 percent in January. Davidson County was 7.0 percent, down from 7.1 percent in the previous month. Hamilton County was 7.7 percent, down from 7.9 percent, and Shelby County was 9.2 percent, down from the January unemployment rate of 9.4 percent.

Meadows and Young Receive DCHS Basketball MVP Awards, Judkins Named MVC

March 29, 2012
Dwayne Page
DCHS Basketball MVC and MVP Award Winners
DCHS Tiger Basketball Award Winners
DCHS Lady Tiger Basketball Award Winners
DCHS Basketball Cheerleader Award Winners
Edward and Edsel Frazier Receive Tiger Fan Award

Senior Alex Meadows and Junior Sonni Young were named the 2012 DCHS basketball Most Valuable Players Thursday night at the annual team banquet, while Senior Ally Judkins was selected as the Most Valuable Cheerleader. The awards were presented by Chad Kirby of Love-Cantrell Funeral Home. The MVP and MVC awards are named in memory Chad's grandfather, Allen D. Hooper.

Young, who has scored 1,112 points to date in his career at DCHS, also received the best defensive player award and he was recognized for being best athlete and best rebounder. Young was also named the Defensive Player of the Year in District 8 AA while Stephen Howell was the District's Co-Most Improved Player of the Year. In addition to taking the District Defensive Player of the Year award, Young was named to the All-District's 1st Team. Braxton Atnip made the 2nd Team. Stephen Howell was named to the 3rd Team and Lucas Phillips and Will Molander received Honorable Mention. Braxton Howell was selected to the All Freshman Team.

In addition to winning the MVP honor, Meadows took home awards for best defender as well as the hustle and coaches award. Meadows also made the All-District 2nd Team and Loren Cripps was selected to the All Freshman Team.

The season for the DeKalb County Tigers ended with a loss to the Sequatchie County Indians in the semi-finals of the Region 4-AA Tournament at White County High School in Sparta. The Tigers concluded the 2011-12 campaign with an over-all record of 26-7. They were also runners-up in the district tournament.

The DeKalb County Lady Tigers wrapped up their season losing to Cannon County in the opening game of the District 8 AA basketball tournament at Sparta. The Lady Tigers finished with an over-all record of 13-16.

Other individual cheerleading awards included:

Most Spirit: Kelsey Hale

Most Improved: Morgan Mullican

Best Jumps: Jasmine Dimas

Best Dance: Christian Atnip

Best Stunts: Victoria Vincent

Best Overall Attitude: Taneah Cantrell

STAR Award (Spirit, Team, Attitude, Respect): Ashlee Whitehead

Other Lady Tiger basketball awards were as follows:

MVP, Best defender, Hustle, and Coaches Award: Alex Meadows

Tiger Award: Loren Cripps

Best Practice: Ashley Barnes

Best Attitude: Chelsea Cantrell

Best Rebounder: Lydia Foutch

Most Improved: Danielle Tyson

Best Offensive Player and Best Free Throw Shooter- Chelsea Lewis

Best Passer- Abbey Caldwell

For the Tigers,

MVP, Best Defender, Best Athlete, Best Rebounder: Sonni Young

Best Offensive Player, Best Free Throw Shooter, Best Ball Handler: Stephen Howell

Best Practice Player: Zach Vincent

Best Passer: Will Molander

Best Sixth Man: Ethan Roller

Smartest Player: Braxton Atnip

Most Improved Player: Lucas Phillips

Best Attitude and Hustle Award: Eli Lomas

Meanwhile, Edward and Edsel Frazier were named the Tiger basketball Fans of the Year.

The annual DCHS basketball banquet was held at the Smithville First Baptist Church Life Enrichment Center.

(TOP PHOTO: Chad Kirby (right) and Shelia Kirby (left) present the Love-Cantrell Funeral Home Allen D. Hooper Memorial MVC Award to Ally Judkins (SECOND FROM LEFT) and the MVP to Sonni Young and Alex Meadows of DCHS Basketball)

(SECOND PHOTO FROM TOP: Seated, Will Molander, Eli Lomas, Zach Vincent, Ethan Roller; Standing, Sonni Young-MVP, Braxton Atnip, Lucas Phillips, and Stephen Howell)

(THIRD PHOTO FROM TOP: Seated, Chelsea Cantrell, Alex Meadows-MVP, Abbey Caldwell, Lydia Foutch; Standing, Danielle Tyson, Ashley Barnes, Loren Cripps, and Chelsea Lewis)

(BOTTOM PHOTO: Seated, Ashlee Whitehead, Jasmine Dimas, Ally Judkins-MVC, Christian Atnip; Standing, Taneah Cantrell, Kelsey Hale, Morgan Mullican, Victoria Vincent)

Holocaust Speakers Return to DeKalb Middle School

March 29, 2012
Amy Fletcher, Jimmy Gentry, Tena Davidson
Jaidyn Huggins, Faidrah Flesher, Trudy Dreyer, and Gage Ervin

For the second year in a row, the 8th grade at DeKalb Middle School welcomed speakers in honor of their study of The Diary of Anne Frank and the Holocaust. This year, Mr. Jimmy Gentry, an Army veteran and liberator of Dachau concentration camp, returned to recount his story of a depression-era childhood in Franklin, Tennessee, and later experience as a young Army soldier. Mrs. Trudy Naumann Dreyer finished the assembly by telling how the Holocaust forced her family’s emigration from her hometown of Unsleben, Germany, to America when she was just six years old.

Mr. Gentry began by describing how rabbits, squirrels, and fish can be caught with only your bare hands. After his father passed away leaving their mother with seven mouths to feed, he and his brother caught them this way just to help feed the family. Despite their poverty, Gentry pointed out that his mother taught them to “never eat the last biscuit,” because “someone always needs it more than you do.” Mrs. Gentry proved this by example, as she would often give their last biscuit to a homeless person after the family had eaten.

Gentry also brought along a trap and pieces of fur like the ones they sold during this time to earn extra money. According to Mr. Gentry, they sold the furs to the only Jewish man he knew of that lived in Franklin, and that he knew of him as a good man.

Gentry held the students’ attention with his reminders – such as the date, April 29, 1945, to which he would return near the end of his story. This was the date American troops discovered Dachau concentration camp in Germany. According to Gentry, they weren’t looking for it, but the indescribably terrible smell of the death there hit them before they even saw the place.

Gentry described his time as a soldier as the “greatest patriotism this country has ever seen” because so many young men gave their lives during World War II, resulting in the display of gold stars in the windows of the families who’d lost sons and husbands to the cause. He himself lost his older brother, who’d helped him catch their family’s food only a few years earlier.

Then there were the horrors of war, such as falling asleep while walking, and asking your commander a question only to turn around for the answer to find him shot and killed. Mr. Gentry did not tell his story for close to 40 years, but following a Brentwood High School football game where Gentry coached for many years, a man approached him across the field.

Mr. Gentry soon recognized the man, and they both broke into tears. The man was one of the Dachau prisoners whom Mr. Gentry helped liberate. He recognized him so easily because this man had given the then young soldier all that he had as a token of his gratitude, a small box filled with cigarette butts. Mr. Gentry explained that these were considered to be quite valuable at this time, when nearly everyone smoked (and didn’t know the danger), and cigarettes were considered a valuable possession for the soldiers. He used the comparison of the woman in the Bible who gave her last pennies to Jesus – like her, this man had given Mr. Gentry “all that he had.”

This meeting, along with an encounter with a man who insisted that the Holocaust never happened, convinced Mr. Gentry to begin telling his story. Now his mission is to tell as many people as possible, so that it will never happen again. He himself was so shocked at what he saw because, as he stated, these were “just religious people” being kept locked up and allowed to starve to death and worse. As a soldier, he expected to see death, but not the deaths of so many innocent people in such a horrible way.

Mrs. Dreyer began by pointing out that there are five categories of survivors, including liberator soldiers, witness soldiers, concentration camp survivors, hidden children, and refugees such as herself. She remembers Kristallnacht, which is the “night of broken glass,” that occurred in 1938. Her family’s home was attacked on this night, and she remembers her grandmother’s feet getting cut by the glass of their windows. Her family had been successful business owners in the small town of Unsleben, Germany. After the Nuremberg Laws were passed, however, they lost everything, and the children had to stop going to school. Fortunately, they were one of the few families able to obtain a sponsor from America who had to pay two thousand dollars in order for the Dreyer family to be allowed to enter the country.

Finally, they were able to emigrate to America, only to end up having to live in the slums of Cuba for almost a year before finishing their trip. When she did make it to America she says she was relieved but frightened, and she knew no English, so she was often made fun of at her new school. One of the students asked her what she thought would have happened to her had her family not come to America, and she replied that she “would be ash.” In her younger years, Mrs. Dreyer was angry at Germany and did not ever want to return, but after 40 years, she decided to finally return to her hometown with several other members of her extended family.

She said that the people of Unsleben were for the most part very welcoming when they returned to visit, and that one man, who was about the same age as her, asked for her forgiveness. She asked him what she was forgiving him for, and he stated that he had given her a rock in a candy wrapper as a child. Mrs. Dreyer, however, wondered if he wasn’t trying to apologize for a much more significant attitude behind the childish prank, which she did not even remember. Although there were no longer any Jewish people in Unsleben, she told that the graveyard was in decent condition, with only a few broken headstones, even though in some German towns the Jewish graveyards were completely destroyed, and the headstones even used for paving stones. Mrs. Dreyer stressed to the 8th graders that the responsibility to prevent further genocide is now in their hands. She pleaded with them to carry on the message that she and other survivors have tried to pass on – that such hatred is possible and is devastating beyond belief when allowed to grow.

A retired teacher from Knox county, Mrs. Dreyer commented on the enthusiasm shown by the 8th graders at DeKalb Middle School, and she is donating an honorarium given to her by the students to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. in the school’s honor.

Disaster Food Stamps Available for Tornado Victims in DeKalb County

March 29, 2012

On Thursday, March 29, the Tennessee Department of Human Services, with USDA approval, will begin issuing D-SNAP (Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits to eligible residents of ten tornado-ravaged counties that have been federally declared disaster areas following the storms that occurred earlier in March. The D-SNAP program is the Food Stamp Disaster program approved via a waiver from the USDA, Food and Nutrition Service. The program allows households that are not otherwise eligible for the standard SNAP program to receive supplemental food assistance during a time of financial hardship caused by tornado damage.

The benefits are ONLY for eligible residents of Bradley, Hamilton, McMinn, Polk, Monroe, Claiborne, Cumberland, Overton, Jackson and DeKalb counties. Applications for D-SNAP benefits can be submitted Thursday, March 29, 2012 through Thursday, April 5, 2012, including Saturday, March 31.

Only residents of these counties, who sustained tornado loss or damages and wish to apply for the D- SNAP benefits, can apply. Residents who are currently receiving standard SNAP benefits can also apply for the D-SNAP program. All eligible residents are asked to bring photo identification, address information, Social Security verification, statements of income or resources, and estimated disaster expenses to one of the DHS offices in their county. Staff on-site will make eligibility determinations, and benefits in the form of EBT (electronic benefit transfer) cards will be distributed the same day. The benefits will represent up to a one-month allotment of food stamps for the appropriate household size, and can be used for up to 90 days in any authorized SNAP grocery retailer.

The following locations are DHS offices in each of the ten effected counties. They will be open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m, local time to process applications for disaster SNAP benefits:

DeKalb County

715 Walker Drive
Smithville, TN 37166-2028

For more information, including a list of key questions and answers about the assistance program, please visit the DHS website at www.tn.gov/humanserv or contact your local DHS office.

One Week Left for Candidates to Qualify for August Elections

March 28, 2012
Dwayne Page
Kevin D. Hale
W.J. (Dub) Evins III

Anyone wanting to run for the School Board in the fifth or sixth district, State Representative, or in the Dowelltown or Liberty Municipal Elections has one week left to qualify with the election commission office.

Kevin D. Hale and W.J. (Dub) Evins III have picked up petitions for the fifth district school board seat. Boyd Trapp and Doug Stephens have obtained petitions for the sixth district position. Hale is the only one who has returned his petition to the election commission office, as of Wednesday. The qualifying deadline is NOON April 5 and the last day to register to vote in that election is July 3. The school board elections will be held on Thursday, August 2.

Dowelltown and Liberty will also have elections on August 2. In Dowelltown, a mayor and two aldermen will be elected. The seats are currently held by Mayor Gerald Bailiff and Aldermen Joe Bogle and Elizabeth Redmon. The qualifying deadline for the Dowelltown election is NOON April 5 and the last day to register to vote is July 3. Those who have picked up petitions so far are Gerald Bailiff for Mayor and Joe Bogle for Alderman.

In Liberty, three aldermen will be elected. The seats are held by Todd Dodd, Dwight Mathis and Paul M. Neal. The qualifying deadline is NOON April 5 and the last day to register to vote in that election is July 3. Dwight Mathis, Paul M. Neal and Jason Ray have all picked up and returned their petitions to the election commission office to run for alderman.

The election commission has also received petitions from State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver and State Representative Mark Pody to seek re-election in the August 2 Tennessee Republican Primary. No other Republican or Democrat has yet submitted a petition to run for State Representative. The qualifying deadline is NOON April 5 and the last day to register to vote in that election is July 3.

Congressman Diane Black and U.S. Senator Bob Corker are also up for re-election this fall.

Stephens Thanks County Commission

March 28, 2012
Dwayne Page

Sixth district school board member Doug Stephens has issued a statement thanking the county commission for appointing him to the position Monday night.

"I am very thankful for the consideration of the commission and look forward to serving the county to the best of my ability," said Stephens.

"I pray for wisdom to make the right decisions and represent the sixth district in an honorable fashion," he said.

Smithville Man Charged with Vehicular Homicide in Double Fatality

March 28, 2012
Kayla Biddy and Brian Walton (Herald-Citizen Photo)

A Smithville man has been charged with vehicular homicide in a Jackson County accident last month that killed a Cookeville man and his girlfriend.

29 year old Randy B. Johnson is charged with two counts of vehicular homicide in the death of 21 year old Brian C. Walton of Cookeville and 22 year old Kayla C. Biddy of Cleveland. Johnson was also charged with driving on a suspended license.

According to the Herald Citizen, Johnson was driving a 2005 Dodge Ram pickup and had three passengers, Kandle R. Bethcher of Cookeville in the front seat and the young couple in the back seat. He lost control of the vehicle on a curve, and the truck ran off the road, went airborne, struck a tree and landed on its top. The accident happened on Saturday, February 25, on Highway 135 near Spring Creek in Jackson County.

Walton and Biddy, who had just recently become engaged to be married, were killed instantly, according to the report. Investigators said the four occupants of the truck had been at a gathering of four-wheeler enthusiasts.

THP Trooper Darren Butler said the charges against Johnson were for allegedly being "unable to operate the vehicle safely" thus causing the deaths of Walton and Biddy. Johnson is under a $250,000 bond and he will be in court April 6.


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