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On February 8, 2017, Trooper Jeremy Miller of the Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP) Interdiction Plus Team (IPT) stopped a white Toyota Sienna on I-40 eastbound in Hickman County for a traffic violation. Upon speaking to the driver, Trooper Miller asked for a driver license which the driver stated he did not have. The driver identified himself as Bernado Mateo-Lucas. Trooper Miller continued to question the driver asking how many people were in the van. The driver stated there were four additional people in the vehicle.
Trooper Miller observed six people counting the driver with an additional person lying under a blanket in the floor behind the driverís seat. As the interview continued, Trooper Miller noticed more movement in the back cargo area. He counted six additional people lying on the floor for a total of 13 people in the vehicle. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security Customs and Border Protection Blue Lighting Operations Center (BLOC) was contacted and given the driverís name and information.
Trooper Miller was later informed by BLOC that Mateo-Lucas had a history of several human smuggling incidents and that his passport was fraudulent. Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) responded to the scene and took 13 people into custody (nine adults and four juveniles). All 13 people where undocumented aliens traveling from Texarkana, TX to Nashville, TN. They were from Mexico and various Central American countries.
The driver is an admitted illegal alien smuggler with several records in BLOCís systems.
Agents with the Nashville HSI Office responded to the scene. HSI arrested Mateo-Lucas who was referred for federal prosecution in Nashville. Mateo-Lucas is an undocumented alien from Guatemala and was federally charged with alien smuggling. The four children were placed in the care of the government. This is an ongoing investigation.
The 2017-18 Tennessee hunting and fishing licenses will go on sale Saturday, Feb. 18.
Licenses are available at Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) regional offices, license agents, on the TWRA website, www.tnwildlife.org, and at the TWRA ďOn the Go AppĒ and charged to a credit card.
The 2017-18 licenses are valid through February 2018. License sales provide the primary funding for the TWRA, which does not receive any funding from the state's general fund (i.e. state sales tax). The 2016-17 licenses expire Feb. 28.
Resident licenses may be purchased by persons who possess a valid Tennessee driverís license; persons who have lived in Tennessee for 90 consecutive days with the genuine intent of making Tennessee their permanent home (but do not hold a driverís license in another state); military personnel on active duty in this state and their immediate families, who reside with them, regardless of resident status; students who are enrolled in a Tennessee school, college, or university for at least six months. A Social Security number is required to purchase a Tennessee hunting or fishing license.
Through the internet, charges are $4.25 for licenses mailed and $3 for self-print or emailed.
In case of a lost license, duplicate licenses can be obtained from any TWRA license agent for an $8 fee. Also, valid duplicate licenses can be printed online at no cost by selecting the reprint my licenses button on the customer information screen.
Resident and non-resident guide licenses will only be available by application as of Feb. 18, 2017. Replacements will only be available by application as well.
Beginning this license year, customers have the option to purchase a hard-copy collectorís card for any annual license. The size of a credit card, the license features recreated paintings by famed Tennessee artist Ralph McDonald. Specific license information is on the back of the card.
The Cumberland County High School Jets and Stone Memorial High School Panthers played for the third time this season as they met Thursday night in the opening round of the District 6AAA Tournament at Warren County High School. The two teams split their regular season games with each winning at home. Game three went to the Panthers as they posted a 59-52 victory. The two teams combined for just two field goals in the final quarter, each hitting a single two-point basket, but the Panthers used their ability to score from the free throw line to turn a seven point deficit into a seven point win as they outscored the Jets 19 to 5 in the final quarter. The Panthers advance to take on White County in the semi-finals Saturday afternoon at 4:30 and with the win SMHS has also secured a Region Tournament berth. The Jets end their season with a 10 and 16 record.
The Lady Panthers from Stone Memorial High School and the Cumberland County High School Lady Jets will see their first action in the District 6AAA Tournament on Saturday. The Lady Panthers will take the court for their semi-final match-up with Cookeville Saturday afternoon at 3:00. The Lady Jets semi-final game against the winner of Fridayís White County-Rhea County game will get underway at 6:00 Saturday evening.
Catch all the SMHS Panthers and Lady Panthers postseason action on Mix 99.3 and CCHS Lady Jets tournament games air live on 102.5 WOW COUNTRY.
The Cumberland County Soil Conservation District has announced they will be administering a Tennessee Department of Agriculture (TDA) program to provide some drought assistance to Cumberland County farmers. Due to the extreme drought experienced last summer and fall, grass stands in pastures and hay fields are expected to be damaged or even completely depleted.
In an effort to assist farmers with this problem, TDA is offering potential cost-share funding for a Cover Crop planting to establish a spring or summer annual forage crop on drought-stricken fields, in order to produce much needed forage for the 2017 grazing season. These funds will only be available for the spring seeding date for calendar year 2017.
Cost-share funding will only be available for the seed cost and the seed drill rental, at a rate of 75% of the cost of the seed and drill rental, or $30 per acre, whichever is less. There will be a payment limitation of $1,500 per person. The application deadline is February 28, 2017.
Applicants that are approved for the program must meet the guidelines for the Cover Crop Standard. There is a select list of annual grass species that can be used and they must be planted within seeding dates specified for each species, which includes a set seeding rate per acre based on the species being planted, minimum grazing heights and land treated must not be overgrazed post planting.
A representative from the Tennessee Department of Agriculture will make a site visit to determine eligibility and upon TDA approval the application will be presented to the Cumberland County SCD Board for approval.
Applications are being taken at the Cumberland County Soil Conservation District office located at USDA Service Center, 314 Old Jamestown Hwy., Crossville, TN 38555. For more information, call the district office at 931-484-5442, Ext. 3.
The Tennessee Supreme Court has announced that free legal clinics will be held around the state to help citizens who find themselves in need of a lawyer's advice on matters outside criminal law. It's all part of the court's initiative known as Access to Justice, a program aimed at helping a growing number of people find assistance when they can't afford an attorney.
Tennesseans can log on to www.help4tn.org to learn more about the clinics. The program will kick off in mid-March with press conferences in Knoxville, Nashville, Memphis, Jackson and Chattanooga and run into April.
Court officials say more than 1.2 million in the state are indigent and struggle to get legal assistance. The top legal issues facing Tennesseans include health care, family law, landlord-tenant disputes and debt.