Drug summit coming to Chattanooga

Top state substance abuse officials will meet in Chattanooga on Thursday to discuss the problem of prescription drug abuse in Tennessee. The public is invited to attend.

E. Douglas Varney, commissioner of the state Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, will join Criminal Court Judge Caroll Ross of the 10th Judicial District Recovery Court, Paul Fuchcar of CADAS and others at 2 p.m. at the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga's University Center, 642 E. Fifth St.

According to a news release, nearly 70,000 Tennesseans are addicted to prescription opioid painkillers.

"The abuse of prescription drugs, specifically opioids, is an epidemic in Tennessee, with disastrous and severe consequences to Tennesseans of every age," Varney said in the release. "Things such as overdose deaths, emergency department visits, hospital costs, children in state custody and people incarcerated for drug-related crimes can all be prevented and/or treated if we all work together and fight this deadly epidemic."

Lee students excel in auditions

CLEVELAND, Tenn. - Four students from Lee University's School of Music placed as finalists in the National Association of Teachers of Singing regional auditions held this spring at Vanderbilt University.

A news release said three levels of competition were held over two days and more than 60 regional voice professors attended to hear approximately 500 voice students.

Ten of Lee's voice faculty took 34 students to compete in 10 categories. Twenty-one of these students progressed to the semifinals and four progressed to the final round and performed in the finals concert for the entire delegation.

First place winners from Lee included Chelsea Davidson (Senior Women); Sonny Mangulabnan (Adult Beginner); and Vera Voznyuk (Advanced Women). Aaron Murphy placed second in Advanced Men.

Lee NATS members include voice faculty members Chery Brendel, Ron Brendel, Tony Deaton, Andrea Dismukes, Dayne Frost, James Frost, Virginia Horton, Debbie Sheeks, Loralee Songer and Dale Thomas.

Wife continues search for missing man

MEMPHIS - The wife of a Memphis man who vanished 10 months ago after leaving home to take an afternoon walk is keeping up a vigil hoping for his return, but also facing the idea that he may be gone forever.

The family of 72-year-old John Hudak is offering a $2,000 reward for information leading to his whereabouts.

Joyce Hudak told The Commercial Appeal that, before he disappeared, her husband "was not himself anymore" because of illnesses, but his mind was still in good order.

John Hudak was last seen by family members on Sept. 13, carrying only his wallet.

"But, since the day he left he hasn't spent a penny," his wife said. "I can't figure out how he is living with no money."

Two family members have given DNA samples to police for comparisons, should they be necessary.

Joyce Hudak said not a day goes by that she isn't tormented with the mystery of her husband's disappearance.

"If my mind's not occupied doing something, I think about it constantly," she said. "I'm trying to get outside, run, and I just joined a book club."