published Saturday, April 13th, 2013

Man charged with raping girl and other news from areas around Chattanooga

Man charged with raping girl

DeKALB COUNTY, Ala. — A Birmingham, Ala., man has been charged with raping a 14-year-old girl he met on the Internet, the DeKalb County Sheriff's Office said in a news release.

Sheriff Jimmy Harris said Henagar, Ala., police found John Alexander Ballard, 26, in a car with the girl on March 29.

Harris said Ballard communicated with the girl on the Internet and by text and arranged to meet her in DeKalb County.

Ballard was arrested April 4 in Birmingham and brought to DeKalb County on charges of second-degree rape, second-degree sodomy, interference with custody and enticing a child to enter a vehicle for immoral purposes. His bond totals $55,000.


Three arrested in camp killings

KNOXVILLE — Knoxville police say two men and a woman were killed at a homeless camp, and three people have been arrested.

Police have arrested Hope Warvi, 22; Joshua Cool, 27; and Brandon Roberts, 28, who are being held on unrelated charges.

Officers said the investigation began with a disturbance call Monday night that led them to a homeless camp where they found four people sleeping in a tent.

A body was discovered in a corner of the tent, covered by blankets.

Two more bodies were found over the next two days in areas near the camp.

Police have not released the identities of the victims or said how they died.


School board OKs new test

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — The State Board of Education has approved a resolution making Alabama the first state to adopt a new standardized testing system aligned with the Common Core school standards.

The board voted 6-2 Thursday to have the ACT Aspire system take effect in August as the annual reading and math assessment for grades three through eight in public schools statewide.

State Superintendent of Education Tommy Bice, who supports Common Core, said the new assessment aligns K-12 with the demands of colleges, business and industry and will allow state educators to guide instruction better.


Bill eyes saving on state cars

The Alabama Senate has passed legislation aimed at saving money on managing the 5,800 vehicles owned by state government.

The bill endorsed by the governor cleared the Senate unanimously Thursday. It establishes the Office of Fleet Management within the state Department of Transportation to manage the purchase, lease, operation, maintenance and disposal of vehicles. In the past, much of that has been left up to each state agency. Its sponsor estimates it could save $10 million to $20 million over the next five years. The bill now goes to the House.

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