published Friday, January 25th, 2013

Three charged in teen drug death and other news from areas around Chattanooga

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Three charged in teen drug death

NASHVILLE — The TBI has arrested three people in the drug overdose death of a teenage girl.

Kristin Irizarry, 17, of Clarksville, was found dead Oct. 14 in Cumberland City. An autopsy showed prescription narcotics in her system.

Those charged include the victim's mother, Nicole Irizarry, 41, who was charged with second-degree murder. Also indicted by a Stewart County grand jury were Darius Skelton, 20, and Dayzon Skelton, 19, both of Cumberland City. Among their charges is criminally negligent homicide.

Investigators said Nicole Irizarry gave her daughter oxymorphone, also known as Opana, to sell. The girl and the two men went to a party where alcohol was consumed, and the teen was found dead the next morning.

Death was attributed to the combined effects of drugs and alcohol.


State gets grant for food safety

Tennessee is one of five states to receive a federal grant to establish an Integrated Food Safety Center of Excellence.

The center will be at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville and operated in cooperation with the state health department.

According to the department, the center will allow Tennessee to improve food safety and its response to outbreaks of foodborne illness.

The effort is funded by a $200,000 grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Lawmakers' hotel pay targeted

A bill filed in the state Senate would end an automatic hotel allowance for lawmakers who live within 50 miles of the Statehouse.

Under current rules, all lawmakers receive $173 each day to offset meals and lodging while they are participating in legislative proceedings, regardless of whether they spend the night at a hotel.

The bill sponsored by Republican Sen. Ferrell Haile, of Gallatin, would eliminate the lodging allowance for lawmakers who live nearby. But it would continue to allow them to receive food money based on the current federal per diem rate, which is $66 in 2013.


School safety plan praised

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Alabama schools Superintendent Tommy Bice says the state's schools have a comprehensive safety plan that he feels good about.

Bice's comments came at a Thursday work session of the Alabama Board of Education called to discuss school safety in the wake of last month's mass shooting at a Connecticut elementary school.

The superintendent has asked state public school systems to turn in their safety plans to him by early next month.

Bice told state school board members that there are established policies that do not allow guns on school property unless they are in the hands of law enforcement officers or others trained to use them.

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