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A woman from Morgan County was charged with attempted second degree murder on Friday night. Local 8 Now reports the incident took place at a home on Morgan County Highway in Sunbright, Tennessee. Officials were called to the scene around 5:00 p.m. to find Leroy James Smith Jr., 61, with a gunshot wound. The Sunbright Police Department, Morgan County Sheriff's Office and TBI Special Agents all responded to the scene. Police believe the person responsible for the incident was Jennifer Darlene Smith, the gunshot victim's wife. Jennifer, 39, was charged and is being held in Morgan County Jail on a $100,000 bond. Leroy was transported to UT Medical Center for treatment and his condition is currently unknown. (Photo Courtesy WVLT)
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – A mandate for a 48-hour waiting period before an abortion is one of many new Tennessee laws [took effect Wednesday].
The abortion measure affects all seven of the state’s abortion clinics. Another law [now] require abortion facilities performing more than 50 abortions a year be held to the same health and safety standards as other outpatient surgical facilities.
The 48-hour requirement would be waived if there’s a medical emergency.
Both measures aim to restore abortion laws that were struck down by a state Supreme Court decision in 2000.
In that ruling, the justices threw out the waiting period, along with requirements that clinics provide detailed information about the procedure and that all but first-term abortions be performed in hospitals.
The latest abortion measures came after voters approved a constitutional amendment in November giving state lawmakers more power to regulate abortions.
Last week, a federal judge granted a temporary restraining order to two abortion clinics after they said they wouldn’t be able to be licensed as ambulatory surgical treatment centers before July 1.
Hedy Weinberg, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee, said her group opposes the abortion laws because “they interfere with a woman’s ability to make personal, private health care decisions.” She said the requirements interfere with the doctor-patient relationship, are burdensome for women and interfere with women’s health and safety.
Another new law boosts the state’s efforts to combat human trafficking. The Legislature has approved multiple bills over the past several years addressing the problem after a 2011 Tennessee Bureau of Investigation report showed 73 of the state’s 95 counties have reported the crime within their borders.
The new law gives authorities more training to identify, investigate and prosecute human trafficking. The TBI has hired four new agents to help train local law enforcement on how to recognize human trafficking.
“The large part of human trafficking is changing the culture from a law enforcement perspective to understand that these are not prostitutes on the street corner trying to make money,” said TBI Director Mark Gwyn. “These are many times young girls who have pimps somewhere that’s abusing them, that’s giving them drugs, that’s coercing them, and they’re being forced to do this. That’s trafficking and we need to stop it.”
Two other new laws pushed by Gov. Bill Haslam aim to encourage Tennesseans to get a postsecondary education.
Tennessee Promise and Tennessee Reconnect were launched as part of Haslam’s “Drive to 55″ initiative, which aims to increase the percentage of Tennesseans with a degree or certificate beyond high school, help improve overall job qualifications and attract employers to the state.
Of the state’s 74,000 high school graduates, as many as 18,000 are expected to utilize Tennessee Promise in the fall, according to Mike Krause, who oversees Tennessee Promise. The program offers free tuition at any of the state’s 13 community colleges and 27 colleges of applied technology.
“Previously, a lot of students said because we don’t make very much money I’m not going to be able to attend college,” Krause said. “Tennessee promise has changed that conversation.”
Tennessee Reconnect allows adults to attend one of the state’s 27 colleges of applied technology for free by paying tuition and fees not covered by existing grants and scholarships. So far, nearly 11,000 Tennesseans have applied to the program.
Thursday’s flash flooding has taken a toll on Cumberland County roads, making many impassable. Numerous roads were washed out with one of the worst being George Branch Road. There flood waters eroded away a 30 foot section of roadway, resulting in the death of one man and stranding dozens of residents. The Cumberland County Highway Department posted on their Facebook page that road crews have built one lane in the washed out section of George Branch Road for this weekend. Robin Griffin notes it will be at least Monday before the Highway Department can order the 6ft wide, 20 ft long culverts needed to properly repair the two-lane road. Barricades will remain up on several other washed out roads until road crews can address those areas next week. Motorists are urged not to go around these barricades or attempt to drive through a flooded area. A Flash Flood Watch is effect through Saturday night for Cumberland and surrounding counties.
A former Cumberland County educator has passed away. Dana Winningham was discovered dead in a pasture off Russell Ridge in the Linary Community. Authorities say they got the call of a man down about 11:23 p.m. Tuesday night. The cause of death has not been determined but foul play is not suspected at this time. During his 27 years of service in the Cumberland County School system, Mr. Winningham served in various positions. He was a Principal at Homestead Elementary for a decade, an Assistant Principal at Martin Elementary for two years, and he also served 16 years as Special Education Director. Mr. Winningham resigned in 2007 to accept the position of Assistant Professor of Instructional Leadership for Graduate Students at Tennessee Technological University in Cookeville. Dana Winningham was 62. Funeral Service for Dana Winningham, I will be held Sunday, July 5 at 4 p.m. at Bilbrey Funeral Home. Visitation will be prior to service from 1 to 4 p.m. at Bilbrey Funeral Home
A washed out road in Cumberland County claimed the life of a man on early Friday and left about 30 residents stranded. Authorities say 31 year old Dale Wilson was driving a pickup truck on George Branch Drive in western Cumberland County and apparently never saw that flood waters had washed out a 30 foot section of roadway. Wilson’s truck plummeted about 15 feet, killing him. (Photo Courtesy Robin Young Griffin-Cumb. Co. Hwy Dept.)