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Sherriff’s Office tracks down alleged thief


Nikita Branstetter


The Scott County Sherriff’s Office has arrested one man who allegedly stole over $10,000 worth of property and tools and found him to be in possession of a loaded handgun, drug paraphernalia, and all while under the restriction of an Order of Protection.

Andrew Wayne Anderson, 34, was arrested on March 29, following a narcotics and theft investigation. According to an arrest warrant filed by Scott County Sherriff’s Office Detective Abby Duncan, it was an anonymous tip that came on March 28, from a private citizen that led them to Anderson’s home on Buffalo Road in Oneida. Following up on the investigation, Duncan assisted by Detective Randy Lewallen, Sergeant Paul Dean Adkins, Detective Lisa Anderson, and Oneida Police Department’s Drug Agent Bill Miller, went to the residence. Authorities identified the allegedly stolen trailer on Anderson’s residence, as it could be seen from the road, but obvious attempts to conceal the property had been made using paint and tree limbs

Reportedly, officers waited an extended period before Anderson came to the door, and refused to let officer’s look inside his home while denying knowledge of the trailer at his residence. According to Miller, a search warrant was obtained and found inside the trailer were thousands of dollars worth of allegedly stolen tools with the victim’s name on them. Additionally, more tools with the victim’s name were found in the spare bedroom of the suspect’s home.

While searching the residence, Miller recovered digital scales from a closet, two meth pipes with residue on them, and a loaded .22 caliber handgun. According to an arrest warrant filed by Detective Michelle Sexton, Anderson had been under an Order of Protection for the past year obligating him to have no contact with his ex-wife, nor possess a firearm. Reportedly on March, 24 Anderson allegedly contacted his ex-wife, stating to her, “that things could be worse than the Nancy Bankston case.”

Anderson was charged with Burglary, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, Theft greater than $1,000, Theft Greater than $10,000, Unlawful Possession of a Weapon, Violation of an Order of Protection, and Violation of Probation. He received no bond, Attorney Travis Stanley was appointed to represent him and is currently awaiting a court date of April 11, 2018, at 9a.m.

Smoky Mountain Children’s Home relocates


Serving Scott County since 2004, The Smoky Mountain’s Children’s Home has relocated its Oneida office to a more accessible location. During a grand opening on March 28, Executive Director of the Smoky Mountain Children’s Home, Dr. Walt Mauldin spoke introducing his staff and holding a brief ceremony dedicating the building. He advised that the Oneida Office alone served 58 families in the county providing safe places for children with their mission statement being,

Smoky Mountain Children’s Home is a private, faith-based, not-for-profit agency which exists to provide care, love, and healing to children and youth who have no one else to advocate or care for them. This mission is mandated by the Word of God in James 1:27 (NLT), “Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.” A continuum of quality programs is offered to meet the unique needs of children of different ages, capacities, races, and creeds, as well as their families.

The program is based out of Sevierville, TN, where there is a residential program with approximately 70 youth and skilled staff on the premises to advise and minister. In addition, the adoption agency averages 30 adoptions per year with 40 in 2016.  According to Mauldin, the home is estimated to have ministered to 30,000 children since its opening nearly 98 years ago.

Mauldin thanked Scott County and the foster families therein for their service and  love to the children. The new office is located at 18718 Alberta Street in Oneida. Anyone interested in fostering a child is encouraged to contact their office.

Helenwood Foods robber nabbed


Authorities have apprehended a man that they believe to be responsible for robbing Helenwood Foods on January 24.

Charles Arnold, 61, was taken into custody on Friday, February 26 following an investigation by the Scott County Sherriff’s Office. According to Detective Randy Lewallen, surveillance footage and eyewitness observations were key in making the arrest.

“We arrested a man Friday afternoon on this case,” Lewallen said. “We have eyewitnesses and surveillance footage. It was really a lot of hard work and good luck.”

According to an arrest warrant filed by Lewallen, surveillance systems caught Arnold allegedly walking into the store, directly heading for the safe, and then immediately exiting the store. Eyewitnesses to the incident also indicated Arnold’s actions.

One hour after the theft occurred, Arnold dressed in the same attire, was identified by camera footage at Stone Cold Liquor store in Winfield, TN. Reportedly, Arnold was carrying a large sum of money and told the cashier he had won the lottery.

Eyewitnesses to the crime positively identified Arnold in a lineup, as the man who had come into the store, robbing the safe, and getting away with over 1,000 dollars. Arnold was also noted by authorities to be wearing the same clothing as the man in both surveillance tapes while leaving the jail after being questioned on January 24.

Arnold was charged with burglary and theft under one thousand dollars. He is currently being held without bond awaiting court on January 31.

Former Scott County woman charged with murder


A former Scott County woman has been charged with second-degree murder in Knox County.

Authorities say Janice Cox, 67, shot and killed her husband after an argument between them on January 25.  Shortly after 7 p.m. officers responded to a 911 call from Cox reporting the shooting. Upon arriving at the couple’s residence in North Knoxville, authorities say they found Terry Cox, 55, deceased with an apparent gunshot wound. According to an arrest warrant filed by Knox County Detective Keith McFarland, Cox admitted to shooting her husband.

The Sherriff’s office was unable to deny or confirm domestic violence as a factor in this tragedy, however, Public Relations officer Martha Dooley did confirm Ms. Cox had some physical issues.

Cox and close family were unable to comment, however, close friend Jackie Ray Moore utilized Facebook on January 27 to share her thoughts referencing over a decade of 911 calls involving domestic violence and even charges that were ultimately dismissed by Ms. Cox.

The investigation is currently ongoing, but Cox is out on bond.

Man chokes woman in her sleep


Harry Dilts was arrested on January 25 after authorities say he choked his estranged wife in front of her children.

According to an arrest warrant filed by Detective Michelle Sexton, Dilts entered his former residence around 3:30 a.m. in search of his former wife, Jennifer Dilts. Finding her asleep in bed the attack began. Allegedly Dilts leaned over her and began choking her while their 10-year-old daughter lay sleeping beside her. The commotion awakened the child. Afraid,  the two began screaming. Mr. Dilts reportedly then dragged his victim by her throat from the bed to the outside of the home. The struggle woke up two other children inside. Finally all three of Ms. Dilts children stood witness to the altercation. After Ms. Dilts calmed her aggressor the two went inside. At this point, Mr. Dilts allegedly walked from room to room yelling, all while destroying an antique stereo and punching a hole in the wall.

The brawl continued for nearly 45 minutes before Mr. Dilts allegedly threatened to burn their house down.

The alleged tirade continued coming to a halt, but not before one last struggle. Mr. Dilts moved to the bedroom allegedly stealing Ms. Dilt’s cell phone. A more serious struggle then began between the two. In attempts to stop the violence, the children intervened resulting in bruising.

Prior to this incident, Mr. Dilts was arrested in June of 2017 for domestic violence and aggravated assault when he used a chainsaw as a weapon. Later pleading guilty to two counts of domestic violence, a class a misdemeanor, Dilts was sentenced to two years on level one probation. According to the circuit court clerk’s office, Dilts could be violated for his new charges.

Dilts was formally charged with one count of aggravated assault, three counts of reckless endangerment, and vandalism under five hundred dollars. He is currently being held on a 40,000-dollar bond with special bail conditions set; he will have no contact with the victim nor the victim’s children and not come within 1000 feet of the residence. Dilts is scheduled to be in court January 31.

Daugherty named “Firefighter of the Year”


Eddie Daugherty, member of South Scott Volunteer Fire Department was recently named Firefighter of the Year.

Every year a man or woman is selected from the eight departments in the county to receive the prestigious honor of Firefighter of the Year. This year Daugherty was chosen out of numerous others, by Fire Chief Jared Hughett and Assistant Chief, Eddie Terry. According to Terry, Daugherty continually goes above and beyond the call of duty while demonstrating his dependability and drive to serve his community.

“When something happens, we know we can count on Eddie,” Terry said. “Over the years, he has accelerated in the department and become committed to helping the community.”

Daugherty says he became interested in firefighting around twenty-five years ago. He was assisting the department during a call in which Johnny Tate needed some help hooking the hose. One single experience has made a lifetime volunteer firefighter out of Daugherty.

“I use to run calls with the ambulance service down here,” Daugherty said. “I just happened to be there when Jonny Tate asked me to help him hook the hose. Right after that I went and signed up.”

Although Daugherty was surprised to earn the achievement, this isn’t the first time he has received it. He was also given the award after one year of service. He doesn’t necessarily believe he deserved the title, however, he’s pleased to have it.

“It feels good,” Daugherty said. “It’s an honor and a privilege, it sure is. I sure wasn’t expecting it, but I reckon they thought I deserved it.”

Daugherty plans to continue volunteering as long as his health allows. He enjoys volunteering his time to serve his community and has made lasting memories during his years. He wants to invite anyone interested to their meetings on the second Thursday every month at 7 p.m.

“It’s a great privilege to be a firefighter and serve the community,” Daugherty said. “I plan to do it as long as my health allows and the department will keep me, but we’re always looking for new blood because some of us are getting older.”

Working with the stars


Just a small-town girl with a big-time dream. Bailey Kirkpatrick Sexton says the Lord put a dream in her heart and gave her the ability to achieve it.

Sexton grew up in Oneida, living inside the walls of the same small house her entire life. Daughter of Larry and Donna Kirkpatrick, she attended Huntsville Elementary and Middle School where she was a cheerleader and Football Homecoming Queen.

Like any other girl, Sexton enjoyed going “mudding” and received her first four-wheeler at a young age. She even married her high school sweetheart who she dated all throughout high school and college. Her life may appear average, however, now barely a college graduate of three years, Sexton is living her God-given dream. Driven, Sexton has traveled from Coast to Coast holding two internships with The National Broadcasting Company (NBC) and one with Country Music Television (CMT). Each journey brought her one step closer to where she needed to be.  Her life is anything but ordinary, Sexton fought her fears and reached beyond her comfort zone, following her heart and trusting in God all the way to Los Angeles, California, where she currently resides with her husband, Jacob Sexton, working as a personal assistant to Hollywood Star, Candace Cameron Bure.

“Scott County will always be home,” Sexton stated. “I wouldn’t change the way I was raised. I love the people there.”

Sexton was in the sixth grade, but she recalls it vividly, watching her favorite TV show, Zoey 101, and telling her mother she wanted to visit the place it was filmed. Now, not only has she visited that place she once dreamed of, she can drive right by it every day. Sexton is hardly 24 years old but has done more in the past six years than most do in a lifetime. Some might call her driven, but she believes her drive comes mainly from the Lord. While dreaming of entertainment as a youth, Sexton had no idea this world was attainable until she got a glimpse into stardom.

“A lot of people in Scott County, including myself, don’t know what’s available to them,” Sexton stated. “I never realized entertainment was possible until my aunt started taking me every summer behind the shoots at CMT. I would be a fly on the wall, but I loved it. My aunt helped me to realize this world did exist, and you could be a part of it.”

Sexton graduated Scott High School in 2011 as Valedictorian of her class. Still unsure of her educational path, she moved to Clarksville, Tennessee and began her college career at Austin Peay State University. During her first year, Sexton was surrounded by friends who had declared very common majors. Entertainment continued to resurface in her mind as an option, but the thoughts were repressed because the career didn’t seem plausible.

“My freshman year in college I hadn’t declared a major yet, but entertainment kept popping up,” Sexton said. “I steered clear of an entertainment major initially because it wasn’t safe, it was unknown. People I knew were majoring in things like Education and Physical Therapy. Those were great, but I just didn’t enjoy them.”

Happiness is what it came down to for Sexton as she followed her heart and took a gutsy step, declaring a major of Broadcast Media.  She credits her parents and the Lord for giving her the courage to pronounce such an unusual and uncomfortable major.

“I knew that at the end of the day you need to love what you do,” Sexton said. “I have amazing parents. Parents that aren’t fearful. Parents that never held me back and never pushed me forward. Parents that never hovered, but were always there. They never clipped my wings but raised me up to help me fly. They were a huge contributor to my confidence.”

Now with a major declared the young sophomore dedicated herself towards her dream. Having done thorough research prior to becoming a broadcast media student, she knew she would need a lot of experience to be successful in the field. Applying for hundreds of internships, Sexton accepted her first position with CMT as a production assistant in the news department for the show “CMT Top 20 Countdown”.

“At first I was more interested in hosting, but I discovered I like behind the scenes,” Sexton said. “It was really an amazing experience. I got to go on interviews with the producers, and I transcribed a lot of interviews for the producers.”

Sexton continued to dedicate herself after her first summertime internship was over.  In hopes to gain even more experience, she sought after another position. Stepping way out of her comfort zone she accepted her second internship in New York City with NBC and “The Today Show.” One of only ten applicants accepted and the only one without internal connections, Sexton knew this was a Godsend. Hardly even an adult, Sexton landed an apartment in the city and found roommates to share it with her. She faced fears of the unknown as she took her first plane ride alone to New York.

“I was one of only ten applicants to be chosen for the position, and the only person without internal connections, she said.  “The internship definitely came from God, and I could easily say it was the best summer of my life.”

With one year left before graduation, Sexton decided she loved producing and knew she had to complete an internship on the West Coast. Again, she applied for hundreds of positions, but finally accepted another internship with NBC and “E!” News. During her last semester in college, Sexton went all online with her classes and drove cross country to California. The transition, although beneficial, was grievous for the recently engaged woman.

“It was a very difficult transition for me,” Sexton stated. “The first four months I cried more than I laughed. I was very lonely, and sad being away from my family.”

After several months of working across the country, Sexton began settling in. She made friends and got involved with a church. An internal struggle grew inside her; she liked living in California, and she knew God wanted her there.

“There was an internal struggle for me because I truly felt the Lord drawing me to Los Angeles,” Sexton stated. “I was terrified because I was about to have to decide where I wanted to go, and sad because I did like it there.”

The internship ended and Sexton graduated in May of 2015. Without a job lined up, Sexton moved back to California having only the support of her family and fiancé. She was afraid but full of faith.

“I just knew it would work out without a plan,” Sexton said. “I knew in my gut the Lord would provide for me.”

Upon returning, Sexton “hustled”, working part-time jobs as a casting recruiter for a reality show, transcribing for an audio recording company, and a producing assistant for an awards show. Word of mouth travels in the industry, and that’s what landed Sexton her first full-time job.

“I hustled,” Sexton said. “I was kind and willing to do anything to get experience and meet people.”

Willingness paid off in more than one way for this young Scott County native. She now works as a personal assistant to Candace Cameron Bure. Cameron is popularly remembered for her role as “DJ Tanner” in the former show, Full House. Now Bure stars in Fuller House and recently appeared on Dancing with the Stars. While acting as a liaison to get things done, Sexton travels alongside Bure while she films for Hallmark, starring as “Aurora Teagarden” and in many other Christmas films. Sexton calls Bure an “amazing boss” and an “amazing person” and is elated with her job.

“She (Bure) says I’m her extra set of ears, hands, brain, and mouth,” Sexton said. “I’m her extra. I help coordinate a lot of things.”

This former Scott County girl may not be an accredited film producer at the ripe age of 25, but the film industry is also a slow climbing ladder. There is plenty of time left for the future, but enjoying the now is important to Sexton.

“I think it’s very important to live in the now,” Sexton stated. “I’m working in the industry I chased after and I’m happy. At the end of the day it’s about pursuing God’s will for your life because where God wants you to be, you will be truly happy. I knew the Lord was calling me to this.”

Town of Huntsville focusing on growth


The Town of Huntsville now offers a lot to its citizens, and many are beginning to see that.

According to Mayor Dennis Jeffers, growth in the Town of Huntsville has been stagnant for some time, but they are also seeing a change. A plan of service has been developed for the citizens of Huntsville including; brush chipped, garbage pickup, right of way cleared, free streetlights, cheaper sewer with existing, free inspection services, and drain cleaning services. In addition to those services, most people find their homeowner’s insurance is lower due to the close proximity to a Fire Department.

“People are starting to see all the benefits the citizens of Huntsville get, and they want to be a part of it,” Jeffers said. “You get a lot of bang for your buck.”

Annexation has long been a negative word, evoking fear in the streets, however, in Huntsville, homes are being annexed by request only. The first of many requested Annexations began in the city of Huntsville last week. Growth in the city’s population is just beginning to increase as citizens are realizing the benefits of coming into the city far outweigh the cost. According to Jeffers, the town has had several people living within the area’s large urban growth boundary, but they were not citizens of Huntsville. The cost to be annexed is nothing, and the tax rate is one of the lowest around at fifty cents on the dollar per 100,000 dollars of property assessed. For most, the price of garbage pickup cost more than their city taxes would.  Although the process is simple and beneficial to most Jeffers wants to ensure the people that annexation is by request only.

“I can’t stress it enough,” Jeffers stated. “We are annexing homes by request only. No-one is being forced to come into the city of Huntsville.”

Jeffers is pleased with the growth and foresees the numbers to increase due to the city’s large urban growth boundary. With the increase, the city becomes more attractive to retail and restaurants. Jeffers believes the town could sustain an additional two fast-food chains.

“Huntsville is trying to grow number-wise,” Jeffers said. “That’s what the annexation is all about, but it is all voluntary.”

Keisling fights for full bypass


The Tennessee Department of Transportation(TDOT) plans to construct a five-lane by-pass in Oneida, but not as soon as previously said by House Representative Kelly Keisling. The city can look forward to a smaller less expensive form of construction to the roadways.

House Representative Kelly Keisling spoke on numerous occasions and in front of many committees in Scott County about the TN Improve Act, a little piece of legislation that outlined 962 highway projects across the state to be completed in a three- year time. A five-lane Oneida bypass was one of the projects. Although rumors circulated that the bypass had been scaled down, Keisling still spoke in front of many ensuring the full project would be done, and soon.

On January 22, Keisling told the Scott County News there were “fiery debates” in Nashville regarding the misleading information that had been presented to him.  He is still fighting for the full projects completion.

In a letter dated November 30, 2017, Keisling addressed Paul Daugs, Deputy Commissioner for TDOT scolding him for making him unaware that the five-lane bypass had been scaled back. Keisling writes, “Throughout the previous two legislative sessions your department promoted the pressing issue of additional funding our state needed for new highway construction as well as bridges, and I believed you. So, for the past two years whenever I had an opportunity to speak before the Scott County Commission, the three city councils within the community, both boards of education (Scott County and Oneida Special School District) or Chamber of Commerce, I not only conveyed your department’s message, but distributed the project lists which you provided (see attached exhibits A & B).It isn’t necessary that I remind you I openly supported and voted in the affirmative for this legislation throughout the committee process as well as the House Chamber which knew would improve traffic efficiency in Oneida. Suddenly, however, in late summer I began hearing rumors there wasn’t going to be an Oneida By-Pass, but a tweaking of US-27 (SR-29) on the south side of the city. When confronted, I immediately began dispelling these rumors stating this project was now officially within our Tennessee Code Annotated, Section 67-3-912 (added by Public Chapter 181-Section 23), and it would continue moving forward. But, then on September 28, 2017 I was a party to a conference call which included Danny Oliver, Region One Project Development; Steve Borden, Director Region One; and Jennifer Grissom, assistant to Senator Yager. During the 38th District Clay Fentress Macon Pickett Scott Counties conversation both Oliver and Borden confirmed the project had been redesigned and a 5.03 By-Pass was no longer being planned. They further stated, “Within the act(Improve) the project is listed as a ‘Five Lane By-Pass,’ but that is just the title of the project and does not necessitate the exact work that will be done” (see exhibit C). I couldn’t believe what I just heard … needless to say, it was shattering to hear such a statement. Now, place yourself in my position, and try explaining that to all those who have trusted that I’ve told them the truth … that there will be a By-Pass. To conclude, it is my request that any project design other than the one that is currently in statute be stopped immediately and continue with the original plans for Project 792 for the benefit and safety of the constituents I serve.’”

Despite Keisling efforts, the five-lane bypass was estimated to cost, at most, 93 million dollars, and the scaled down version 3.5 million. Daggs responded to Keisling on December 22, 2017, confirming there would be a five- lane bypass, but with no time frame given. Only responding with, “The department understands the community’s interest in the full bypass project and we will move forward with its development. Please note that the larger more involved project will take longer to develop, although some of the preliminary work has already been completed”.  Daggs additionally confirmed the smaller project would proceed the larger one. This once-only rumored project is now a certain one that will involve some of Oneida’s oldest structures.

According to the latest reworking, three intersections will be affected. Press Avenue will be completely restructured intersecting with Alberta Street where the Scott County News Building is now located. Depot Street will intersect with Alberta Street where the Marcum’s Parts Building is now located. A slight restructuring is expected where Alberta meets Bilbrey Street and West Beets Avenue. It’s unlikely this project will fix the traffic woes of Alberta Street, especially the after-school traffic issue.

Cox first ever to win state title.


2017 Miss Scott County Fairest of the Fair, Gracie Cox, was crowned Miss Tennessee, Fairest of the Fair, January 19 in Nashville, TN. Cox is humbled to be the first ever from Scott to receive this title. Vying against 54 other young ladies ranging in ages of 16 to 20, this beauty queen was shocked when she won.

“The thought of winning never crossed my mind because I was in this pageant to just represent Scott County to the best of my ability,” Cox stated. “I think the look on my face when I won was pretty clear that I was in disbelief. I still cannot wrap my head around the fact that I was chosen to represent Tennessee out of 54 gorgeous young women. To be the first ever young woman to win this state title from Scott County is an honor. I would have never imagined a small- town girl like me would have this type of opportunity.”

In August of 2017 Cox was crowned as Miss Scott County Fairest of the Fair. Since her crowning moment, she has been an ambassador for the community volunteering her time to serve others. Cox participated in two large community events, Shop with a Cop and Toys for Tots. In addition, she helped prepackage meals for families on Thanksgiving and read aloud to children at the Oneida Elementary School. Cox has been overwhelmed by the amount of support her community has shown her.

“Ever since I won the Scott County Fair I have had the biggest support group,” Cox stated,  “My family and friends have made all of my dreams possible and stood by me every step of the way. I can seriously say I have the best County standing behind me. I would like to thank the whole county for the continued thoughts and prayers, votes on my shoe, watching my pageant live on Facebook and all of the congratulations. I am so humbled by all of the love and support this community has shown me. “

Cox is the 19 -year old daughter of Tim Vaughn and Nikki Cox, she is a 2017 Oneida High School graduate. She is continuing her education at Roane State Community College where she hopes to become a Surgical Assistant and move to New York someday.

As for now Cox is unsure what this title will bring to her but she plans to continue to stay active in the County and all throughout the State. She is unsure if she will compete for the title of Miss America this year or wait until next year when she is another year older.

“I am so excited for my year as Tennessee State Fairest of the Fairs! Although I don’t know what all this title will bring me, I am so excited to see how God will use me during this time.