Blount County, TN schools to sue over taxes
MARYVILLE, Tenn. — School officials in Blount County have voted to sue two cities over unpaid liquor taxes.
Media outlets report that the Blount County Board of Education decided Friday to authorize its attorney to file suit against Maryville and Alcoa seeking about $800,000.
The liquor tax has created confusion across the state. At least 15 other school districts say cities owe money and several have filed suit over the issue.
The suits follow a law passed during this year's legislative session that essentially gives school districts until June 1 to take court action seeking all back-payments.
City officials say the law on collecting the tax was poorly written and is open to interpretation. They say they don't blame the district for filing suit and hope the courts can clarify the issue.
Inmate charged in anthrax threat
NASHVILLE — A Tennessee prisoner accused of sending threatening letters to Gov. Bill Haslam and others that falsely claimed the envelopes contained anthrax is scheduled to appear in a federal courtroom in Nashville on Tuesday.
Federal prosecutors have said that Branden Frady was a prisoner at Riverbend Maximum Security Institution when he began sending the threatening letters in September 2012. Officials said he sent six letters in all, some of them going to Haslam, the secretary of state and the district attorney's office in Nashville. Four of the letters were said to have contained white power. Authorities said they also contained explicit death threats against public officials, such as "I will kill you" and "Here is some anthrax."
Frady, 32, of Johnson City, has pleaded not guilty.
Triple-killing suspect dies
KNOXVILLE — The man suspected of killing three people at a Florida home has died from what appears to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
According to the Knox County Sheriff's Office, David Eugene Smith called 911 Tuesday morning. He told a dispatcher he was the man wanted in the slayings and said he wanted to die at the hands of law enforcement.
He was captured in his motel room, suffering from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, after a standoff. He was transported to the University of Tennessee Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead Tuesday afternoon. An autopsy is scheduled for Wednesday.
One of the victims was Smith's sister, 31-year-old Danyala Smith. The other two victims were 25-year-old Nikosi Williams and 28-year-old Miranda Mims.
Child safety effort launched
ATLANTA — State officials have unveiled a public safety awareness campaign meant to reduce instances of children being left unattended in hot vehicles.
Gov. Nathan Deal and Early Care and Learning Commissioner Bobby Cagle kicked off the "Look Again" campaign at a Tuesday event at the Capitol. The outreach includes a web video in which Deal and Cagle urge parents and day- care workers to "look again" to make sure children aren't left behind in a vehicle. The video also features the parents of two children who died.
State records show that seven children in Georgia have died since 2010 due to vehicular heat stroke.