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  • 15 counts of abuse after abandoned, starved, dead dogs found

    Published On: Dec 01 2015 02:17:37 PM EST   Updated On: Dec 01 2015 06:17:33 PM EST

    15 counts of abuse after abandoned, starved, dead dogs found

    Neighbors turn in a Johnson County woman and now she’s charged with nine counts of aggravated cruelty to animals, and six counts of cruelty to animals.

    The Session Court affidavit states a deputy went to talk to those neighbors on Nov. 9. They said Caroline Jessie Miller had moved out a few weeks before and left a lot of animals.

    We should warn you, the rest of the story is disturbing.

    According to the affidavit, a neighbor told the deputy he “had been smelling something dead and thought it might be coming from his neighbor’s house.”

    A woman said they used to hear a lot of dogs barking “but it didn’t seem like there were as many as before.”

    They said Miller had about a gallon of dog food and a gallon of water, a week earlier.

    They went to the house and found a German Shepherd tied up by the side of the house, a Great Dane tied to the porch, and a Yellow Lab and Husky-like dog in a kennel.

    They also saw what looked like two dead cats in a cage and two dead dogs in a kennel with two skulls next to them.

    There was also a dead dog behind an out building.

    In the back, they found a dead rabbit in a cage, and a dead dog in another.

    They looked inside and saw a dog that was alive.

    They went inside and found a dead Poodle behind the front door and a Husky alive, tied up in the kitchen.

    They could also hear a dog locked in the bathroom.

    They called Mountain City Animal Control which came and helped gather the six dogs that were still alive.

    The landlord told authorities Miller had dogs at the home but he didn’t know they were still there.

    A neighbor said Miller had been living with a man, they had a young child, and she talked about returning to pay some rent money she owed.

    On Nov. 14, police talked to the neighbor again, who said Miller “was going to try to get her dogs back and wanted to know which shelter the dogs were at.”

    Miller was arrested the next day. Bail was set at $1,500 for each of the nine aggravated cruelty to animals charges, and $5,000 for each of the six cruelty to animals charges.

    The affidavit lists her place of employment as a pet grooming business.

  • Businessman sentenced to federal prison for trafficking synthetic drugs

    Published On: Dec 01 2015 01:36:13 PM EST


    A Bristol, Virginia, businessman is going to serve two years in federal prison on drug charges. Daniel Guy Bickley was sentenced Monday in Greeneville.

    In September 2014, he pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute controlled substance analogues intended for human consumption and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

    Prosecutors said from about September 2010 to June 2012, Bickley brought synthetic drugs into the area through Cloud 9 Emporium locations, which are now closed.

    Those drugs included stimulants such as “bath salts,” and cannabimimetic substances like “fake weed” and “incense” from Florida.

    Bickley will also have to serve three years of supervised release after his two years in prison, and forfeit more than $300,000 in assets.

  • Seeing more of ‘huge’ early mastodont at Gray Fossil Site

    Published On: Dec 01 2015 11:40:53 AM EST   Updated On: Dec 01 2015 11:43:17 AM EST

    Folks at the Gray Fossil Site are celebrating a huge discovery. Their 2015 field season wrapped up with tusk fragments and teeth.

    “We have known that an elephant-like animal existed at the Gray Fossil Site since the site was discovered in 2000 during a road construction project,” said Dr. Steven Wallace, excavation director and museum curator. “Earlier researchers suggested that ‘elephant’ remains from the site might belong to a group known as the shovel-tusk elephants, so called for their large, flat lower tusks that are reminiscent of large shovels. This identification was always uncertain because flattened lower tusks and diagnostic cheek teeth hadn’t been recovered.”

    Work at the location had to be postponed because a duck nested in that area.

    Shawn Haugrud, lab and field manager at the Gray Fossil Site and the Natural History Museum, said, “Once the duck was finished, we moved in and began a number of excavation units. We immediately started finding tusk fragments under the duck area.”

    ETSU paleontologists called this find “huge” in terms of its scientific potential, as well as the overall size of the animal.

    “As soon as teeth were discovered, I rushed to the site for a look,” noted Dr. Blaine Schubert, executive director of the Gray Fossil Site and Natural History Museum. “It was clear that we had something quite different from a shovel-tusker – we had an early mastodont!”

    Haugrud and site surveyor Brian Compton mapped the tusk fragments, narrowed in on the most promising tusk area and found the tip of an intact tusk in late August.

    The excavation team then moved in the opposite direction and soon hit more tusk – a continuation of the same tusk.

    By October, part of the skull was uncovered with visible teeth. 

    According to Dr. Jim Mead, chair of the Department of Geosciences and museum curator, “There are many types of extinct elephant-like animals that roamed North America over time, ranging from mammoths to mastodonts, and stegodons to shovel-tuskers. Mammoths weren’t around in North America at the time of the Gray Fossil Site, but we still had three or four possibilities to consider. Now that we know it is mastodont, this is incredibly exciting for us, the university, and the world of paleontology.” 

    Visitors to the ETSU and General Shale Natural History Museum can see the mastodont project in action. This winter, Haugrud and his crew will work on the tusks, skull, teeth, and vertebrae in the Prep Lab. They’ll clean and put them back together in the laboratory upstairs at the museum. Then, excavation of the rest of the skeleton will start in 2016.

  • Local Jeopardy! contestant reveals what it was like on stage with Alex

    Published On: Dec 01 2015 06:58:32 PM EST   Updated On: Dec 01 2015 07:01:16 PM EST

    From Johnson City to Jeopardy: What it was like on stage

    The ETSU instructor who made it big on Jeopardy! is back home and talking about his once-in-a-lifetime experience.

    Rob Russell of Johnson City teaches an American Lit course and works in the school's library.

    He showed off his smarts on three different Jeopardy! shows – winning Thursday and Friday’s -- and walked away with $43,600.

    Unfortunately, Monday night, his run came to an end, just as he was getting comfortable in the studio, in front of the live audience.

    “I had more fun the second and third games than the first one. The first one, I was telling my wife that I barely remembered that game. I remember a couple of questions very clearly but for the most part, I was just focused and just answering,” Russell said.

    Russell said he didn't get the Final Jeopardy question right on the third night, but blames an earlier pronunciation error on a Daily Double question for the loss.

    Jeopardy! airs weeknights at 7:30pm on News 5 WCYB.

  • Christmas tree-shaped Reese's Peanut Butter Cups panned

    Published On: Nov 28 2015 03:45:25 PM EST   Updated On: Nov 30 2015 11:23:45 AM EST
    Reese's candy

    Hershey Company

    (CNN) -

    Sometimes, it's best to stick with the classics.

    The makers of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups have no trouble persuading people to stuff their faces with chocolate-covered treats in circular form (or as pieces). Why bother, then, shaping those delicious morsels into Christmas trees -- at the risk of failing miserably?

    Maybe time will show it to be a shrewd marketing move; in the meantime, the confectioner's alleged Peanut Butter Trees are drawing comparisons to "turds," turning them into a subject of social media ridicule.

    The company is apologizing one tweet at a time to consumers who are sharing images of misshapen candy trees with mocking comments.

    "What part of this looks like a Christmas tree?" one person asked.

    "#christmastree more like #christmasturd," said another.

    Reese's has a history of making seasonal candy, from Peanut Butter Eggs to Peanut Butter Pumpkins, with similar results. Consumers shared images with similar complaints over so-called Peanut Butter Pumpkins.

    Administrators of Reese's Twitter account responded similarly, with links to its customer feedback form: "We're sorry to hear your REESE'S Peanut Butter Pumpkin is less than perfect. Please send us a note."

    As one consumer noted, regardless of their shape people will eat them. #ItsStillReeses.

  • Water continues to run brown in Coeburn

    Published On: Dec 01 2015 06:37:35 PM EST
    COEBURN, Va. -

    Efforts to fix some major water woes in Southwest Virginia are not working, and some residents in Coeburn are angry that the issue has not been cleared up yet. 

    Since the summer, discolored or brown water has been running out of the taps in people’s homes.

    Lela McCracken said the dirt in the water clogged her faucet and her brand new washing machine, and everything will have to be replaced.

    "It’s brown,” said McCracken.  “Undrinkable. Sometimes it has a smell to it.”

    The water has been brown in her home for months, and she said it makes everyday chores a hassle.

    "I shut my eyes when I wash dishes,” she said. “It’s really bad. It really is."

    Town council member, Jess Powers said a valve malfunctioned at the water treatment facility. When water got pushed back through the lines, particles broke off into the water. He said they continue to flush the water through, but it is not completely clear.

    "Sometimes it gets a little clear, and then sometimes it is a grayish color,” he said.

    Here is what is clear to the people in Coeburn: They don’t want to pay more money for discolored water. But that is exactly what they are doing, because over the summer their water rate increased by 20%.

    "It’s pretty bad when you have to pay a big water bill and then go to the store to buy your water,” said McCracken.

    The Wise County health department said the water is safe to drink, but Powers  is not convinced and would like to see a study done.

    The town council will meet again Monday Dec. 7th at 6:30p.m., to discuss what they are going to do about the issue. 

  • Searching for vandals who shot church vans, neighbors' cars windows

    Published On: Nov 30 2015 03:41:22 PM EST   Updated On: Dec 01 2015 03:10:41 PM EST

    RAW VIDEO: Van vandalized at Fellowship Baptist Church in Bluff City, Nov. 27, 2015

    A series of incidents of vandalism are under investigation. All of them involved shooting windows over the holiday weekend. Two of the cases involved church vans.

    First, the Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office said someone shot up a church van with a BB gun or pellet gun. It happened Friday at Fellowship Baptist Church in Bluff City.

    Two windows of the church were also damaged. The cost to repair is estimated to be about $3,000.

    Then, they said early Sunday, there was a similar incident at Vermont United Methodist Church in Bloomingdale.

    Someone used a BB gun or pellet gun to shoot out the front doors of the church, as well as the windows in the church van. Damage is estimated at $5,000.

    Around the same time, there were three other reports in the neighborhood about car windows being shot out with either a BB gun or pellet gun. Those incidents happened on Garland Street and one on Gravely Road.

    The sheriff’s office said all four Bloomingdale shootings are related. They’re looking into whether the Bluff City shooting is, as well.

    Anyone with information is asked to call them at 423-279-7500.

  • More younger men around region contracting HIV

    Published On: Dec 01 2015 05:39:39 PM EST

    On Tuesday’s World AIDS Day, health workers at ETSU gave free HIV screenings.

    They treat approximately 450 patients at the HIV/AIDS Center of Excellence.

    Three-quarters of the patients are men between 40 and 60, but doctors said within the past year, there has been an increase in cases among college-age men.

    Dr. Karl Goodkin, Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences chairman, told us new cases are popping up around our region.

    "There are a significant number of cases in the Northeast Tennessee region and I should say more generally, rural regions around the country have become an increased focus of concern for the spread of HIV infection," he said.

    Dr. Goodkin also said modern medicine has made it possible for infected people to live longer lives.

  • Baby's 'mad face' goes viral

    Published On: Dec 01 2015 02:07:17 AM EST   Updated On: Dec 01 2015 02:26:22 PM EST

    A video of a baby girl trying to make a grumpy face is making its way around the Internet.

  • Gators wrestle on Florida golf course

    Published On: Dec 01 2015 03:28:11 PM EST   Updated On: Dec 01 2015 03:50:31 PM EST

    A Florida woman says she grabbed her camera after spotting two alligators wrestling on a golf course.

  • RAW VIDEO: Van vandalized at Fellowship Baptist Church in Bluff City

    Published On: Dec 01 2015 11:34:38 AM EST

    RAW VIDEO: Van vandalized at Fellowship Baptist Church in Bluff City, Nov. 27, 2015

  • PJ and Rebecca preview Bristol’s annual Christmas tree-lighting

    Published On: Nov 30 2015 07:06:56 PM EST

    PJ and Rebecca, with hot chocolate, preview Bristol’s annual Christmas tree-lighting

  • When will Amazon's delivery drones land in your yard?

    Published On: Nov 30 2015 09:25:01 PM EST   Updated On: Dec 01 2015 02:43:15 PM EST

    It may look like a drone, but Amazon's latest delivery prototype flies like a plane. Here's a look at Amazon's plans to revolutionize the shipping industry.

  • Stormtroopers set up family's Christmas tree

    Published On: Dec 01 2015 06:47:23 PM EST

    In a viral video, "Star Wars" stormtrooper action figures set up a family's Christmas tree.

  • 35th Annual tree lighting

    Published On: Nov 30 2015 11:53:18 PM EST
  • Solar power company based in China's most polluted city

    Published On: Nov 30 2015 12:00:06 PM EST   Updated On: Nov 30 2015 11:42:53 AM EST

    Solar power company based in Baoding, China's most polluted city, working to make coal obsolete.