Thursday, August 30, 2007

August 30, 2007 (Former) Sen. Ward Crutchfield Loses Law License

78-year old (former) Tennessee State Senator Ward Crutchfield of Chattanooga has been disbarred by the Tennessee Supreme Court as a result of his guilty plea in the FBI Tennessee Waltz sting operation.

Crutchfield served in the Tennessee General Assembly for 31 years before being caught on tape taking a bribe to help a fictitious company (E-cycle) set up operations in Tennessee.

Crutchfield vigorously proclaimed his innocence and continued to serve in the Tennessee Senate for nearly two years after he was charged.

On the eve of his July 16 trial date, he agreed to a plea deal with the prosecutors.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

August 28, 2007 (Senator) Ford Gets 5-1/2 Years

Judge Daniel Breen sentenced flamboyant, arrogant, and bribe-taking former Tennessee State Senator John Ford to 5-1/2 years in prison.

Ford--like several other Tennessee legislators and local politicians--was caught red-handed on tape taking bribes in the FBI Tennessee Waltz sting operation.

Ford initially denied the charges but is now very sorry and takes "full responsibility" for his acts.

August 27, 2007 (Former) Sen. John Ford: "I Talk Too Much"

At his Tennessee Waltz sentencing hearing today, the once-proud and always boastful former Tennessee State Senator John Ford wiped a tear away as he said of himself, "I talk too much."

At trial, FBI audio and videotapes showed Ford talking too much and peddling his influence to the highest bidder. The tapes told the story, and Ford was convicted of bribery.

At today's sentencing hearing, Ford's attorney paraded numerous character witnesses to the stand to tell what a wonderful person Ford really is.

And, of course, the judge is being told how much "good" Ford did in the legislature. Sure, he did lots of good---for the highest briber. Oops, I mean bidder.

Now Ford--who knew all along that the charges were true and that he had taken bribes--has seen the light and is begging for mercy.

Despite knowing all along that the charges were true, he was never sorry or begging for mercy before the trial started.

Despite knowing all along that the charges were true, he was never sorry or begging for mercy before the audio and videotapes started to play.

Ford's pleas for mercy and acceptance of responsibility might seem almost genuine if they hadn't come only AFTER he was convicted.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

August 16, 2007 Morristown: Little League Softball Champs!

A very talented team from Morristown reigns today as Little League Softball Champions!

Last night, the young ladies from Morristown and their Texas opponents put on a real show for viewers in the Little League World Series.

It was nip-and-tuck all evening long in Portland, Oregon, but the Morristown team came out ahead 3-2.

Don't be surprised if some of the players from these teams end up playing at the collegiate level---TENNESSEE LADY VOLS SOFTBALL!?!

Congratulations to the Softball All-Stars from Morristown, Tennessee!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

August 11, 2007 Rep. Campfield Tells It Like It Is

State Rep. Stacey Campfield was the keynote speaker at a T-FIRE educational forum today at the VFW.

Campfield spoke to a group of about 60 interested citizens about illegal immigration and what the state has and has not done to address this problem.

One young lady drove over two hours on this hot, Saturday morning to hear Rep. Campfield. She left impressed as did most of the audience.

A fellow blogger David Oatney came from White Pine to hear Stacey. Knowing that David is a personal friend of Stacey, I e-mailed David late last night about Stacey's appearance

When David read my e-mail this morning, he called and said he would love to come but that he was "carless" since his wife Nicole had just left.

No problem. I picked David up and then we met Stacey at the Cracker Barrel to lead our guest speaker to the VFW.

I read David's and Stacey's blogs and felt like I already knew them, but it was very special to get the chance to meet both of them in person today.

T-FIRE stands for Tennesseans for Immigration Reform and Education.

T-FIRE is opposed to amnesty for illegal aliens and wants our borders secured.

Fabian Story, president of T-FIRE, outlined the actions that T-FIRE has taken to communicate its position on illegal immigration to elected officials (faxes, letters, phone calls, personal contact, and e-mails).

Other actions have included efforts to educate the public about the costs of illegal immigration. Several handouts with information were provided at the meeting.

Stacey is a very good communicator who tackles issues head-on. He is one of just a very few Tennessee legislators with an online blog. His blog is a real no-spin zone!

Whether the topic is immigration or taxes or wasteful government spending, Stacey tells it like it is.

August 10, 2007 Rep. Stacey Campfield Comes to Morristown

My computer has been zapped. These computer problems and a heavy workload have kept me from posting as I would like.

But I had to get this post up NOW!

T-FIRE (Tennesseans for Immigration Reform and Education) is hosting a PARTY at the VFW on 11-E (across from the east end Ingles) at 1:00 pm on Saturday, August 11.

The PARTY is to celebrate the recent defeat of the illegal alien amnesty bill in the U. S. Senate.

T-FIRE is excited to have a very special guest speaker for this event.

Tennessee State Representative Stacey Campfield will be speaking on state efforts to address illegal immigration.

Light refreshments will be served at the conclusion of the event.

It will be a party and a learning event---all in one!

Sunday, August 05, 2007

August 5, 2007 Koch Appeal: Still Not on the City Agenda

When will Koch Foods' appeal of Morristown's December 2006 demand that it pay fines and costs of sewer cleanups be heard?

A Roe Junction resident was told recently that the Koch Foods' appeal would likely be on the August 7 City Council agenda.

That same resident has since talked with a City official and has been told that the appeal that was filed in January 2007 will NOT be on the August 7 agenda after all.

More sewer odors, two sewage overflows, and more cleanup costs, but no discussion or hearing on the Koch appeal.

It's no wonder that the residents of that area---after 2-1/2 years of the City and Koch going back and forth with letters, deadlines, extensions of "deadlines," hearings, orders, and an appeal---finally filed a lawsuit.

Morristown is starting a cleanup program for neighborhoods in the city (which is good) while a small community outside of the City has endured raw sewage and the stench of sewer odors for over 2-1/2 years (not good).

The city blames Koch Foods publicly (and in piles of correspondence) for sewer problems and at least one hundred-fifty thousand dollars of cleanup costs, but the City won't go ahead and hear the Koch appeal.

According to Koch, they have worked, and are still working, on pre-treatment efforts. That's good, and perhaps that will eventually address the problem in the future.

The city's fines and charges, however, are for what happened through November 2006, and the Koch appeal is about fines and costs through November 2006.

Residents of the area are understandably upset and frustrated by the odors and overflows that have been a way of life for 2-1/2 years now.

Some of them are also beginning to wonder if the city council's refusal to hear the Koch appeal is simply a stalling tactic, with the city putting off hearing the appeal in order to buy more time for Koch to come up with something.

Then the council can just "forget" about all the fines and all the sewer odors and all the overflows and all the extra cleanup costs that the taxpayers paid for through December 2006. Plus, the council can even forget about the cleanup costs paid out after December 2006.

Friday, August 03, 2007

August 3, 2007 And Another Sewage Overflow...

It looks like there has been another sewage overflow in the Roe Junction area.

A resident called to tell me that the power went out yesterday afternoon, and then the sewage started backing up onto the road again!

The workers arrived again, the vacuum hoses were pulled out again, and the sewage was sucked up and disposed of again.

An article in the Tribune last night mentions that several residents of the area have sued Koch Foods in federal court over the odor problems that have persisted since early 2005.

Although it wasn't mentioned in the article, most people would find it interesting to know that longtime County Commissioner Guy Collins is among the residents who are suing Koch.

City Administrator Jim Crumley was quoted at length in the article. He blames Koch for the sewer-related problems and for the odor that has plagued the area for 2-1/2 years.

Koch (formerly Burnett Produce) has been out of compliance with sewer regulations for years and years and years. Former County Commissioner Maudie Briggs, who has a business that is close to Koch's West Morris Boulevard location, once commented on the continuous smells coming from the Koch operation there.

The new problem with odors in the Roe Junction area began in February 2005 when Koch's deboning plant went online in the East Tennessee Progress Center. Those odors were reported to the city almost immediately by residents.

Nearly two years later (December 2006), the City issued an administrative order on the matter. Koch appealed in January 2007, but the City Council has not yet heard the matter. [A previous post has noted that the appeal may be on the Council's August 7 agenda.]

Thursday, August 02, 2007

August 2, 2007 Sewage Overflows in Roe Junction Area

Millions of dollars are being spent on sewer repairs in Morristown.

However, there are still serious problems that haven't been addressed in the Roe Junction area--- where the city sewer passes by on its way to several businesses and on to the East Tennessee Progress Center where Koch Foods is located.

I received information that there was a sewage overflow on July 19 in the Roe Junction area. Apparently, sewage was backing up and overflowing onto the street and into a nearby creek for about 30-45 minutes.

Eric Carpenter, Emergency Management Director, was called and was at the site part of the time.

Sewer complaints in the area are not new. Residents of the area complained about sewer odors to the city in the spring of 2005 after the new Koch deboning plant started up in the ET Progress Center. Some of the residents even came to county commission to ask for help.

The city apparently blames Koch Foods for the problem(s) and has imposed numerous "deadlines" for Koch to take care of the problem. As each deadline came and went, a new "deadline" was set.

Finally, in December 2006 the City fined Koch Foods and sent Koch a bill for costs incurred by the City for chemicals and labor to "treat" the problem. The city also reserved the right to impose additional fines and to request reimbursement for extra treatment costs incurred after December 2006.

In January 2007, Koch appealed the fines and costs. When the appeal was brought before the City Council, the council members were caught off-guard by the matter, and the appeal was postponed so the council could get more information.

The appeal has been put off and put off, but a resident of that area now tells me that Koch's appeal of the December 2006 fines and costs is "tentatively" scheduled for the August 7 meeting of the City Council.