'Dream' home leads to state indictment - and more Chattanooga region news

'Dream' home leads to state indictment - and more Chattanooga region news

October 9th, 2013 by Staff Reports and Wire Service in Local Regional News

The Tennessee Comptroller's office documented some of the lavish improvements taxpayers paid for at the main house where former Upper Cumberland Development District executive director Wendy Askins and her daughter lived at the "Living the Dream" independent, assisted-living facility in Cookeville, Tenn.

'Dream' home leads to state indictment

NASHVILLE - Wendy Askins, former executive director of the Upper Cumberland Development District, was indicted Tuesday by a Putnam County grand jury for taking money from the district to use toward the "Living the Dream" home for seniors.

Askins, 52, of Cookeville, Tenn., was indicted on one count of theft over $60,000, one count of money laundering and one count of forgery, according to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

While employed as executive director in 2010, Askins inserted a paragraph into development district board meeting minutes stating that $300,000 was to be transferred to the district for an independent living home. A TBI investigation revealed that the transfer of funds was never discussed at the meeting.

Askins turned herself in at the Putnam County Jail and was released on a $25,000 bond. She is scheduled to appear in court on Nov. 12.


4 dead in car tied to porn case

DOUBLE SPRINGS, Ala. - An Alabama sheriff says four people found shot to death in a car were linked to a child pornography investigation in Tennessee.

Winston County Sheriff Rick Harris said Monday the four died in what appears to be a murder-suicide with a shotgun.

Harris says 29-year-old Robert S. Hamrick and his 39-year-old ex-wife, Kristi Hunt Hamrick, were under investigation for allegations of child pornography and molestation in Hardin County, Tenn.

The sheriff says they shared an address with 30-year-old Kevin Carey and 37-year-old Keith Hunt, who also were implicated.

All four were found dead last Wednesday in a car on a dirt road about 100 miles south of their home in Savannah, Tenn.

Harris says it appears Keith Hunt killed the others, then himself. He was the brother of Kristi Hunt Hamrick.


Repairs continue on freeway hole

ATLANTA - Crews are continuing repair work on a gaping hole in some lanes of Interstate 85 near the northeast edge of Atlanta.

Workers early Tuesday morning had two southbound lanes blocked just before the start of the morning rush hour. By 6:30 a.m. Tuesday, traffic was backing up ahead of the construction zone as commuters headed into the city.

The southbound HOV lane and the lane next to it on the left were closed Tuesday while maintenance crews repair a broken drainage structure and repair a sinkhole beneath it. State transportation officials tell WSB-TV that work to make the repairs would likely last until at least midday today.

Drivers are being asked to carpool or avoid the area -near the Clairmont Road exit - if possible.

Also, Georgia Department of Transportation officials say portions of Interstate 75 in Tift County will be closed in both directions for maintenance work this week.

Officials say the outside right lines will be closed in each direction overnight and into the early morning for maintenance. The work is being done on a stretch of the highway near the area where the Omega/El Dorado Road interchange is being built.

Officials say the lanes will be closed from 7 p.m. today to 7 a.m. Thursday, and again from 7 p.m. Thursday to 7 a.m. Friday.