JCP Week in Review, January 19 - VIDEO

Jared Bentley • Updated Jan 19, 2018 at 4:33 PM

A divided Congress is yet again facing a government shutdown, and tonight is the deadline.

Democrats in the Senate have served notice they will filibuster a four-week, government-wide funding bill that cleared the House Thursday evening, seeking to shape a subsequent measure but exposing themselves to charges they are responsible for a looming shutdown.

Republicans, who narrowly control the Senate, argue that Democrats are holding the entire government hostage over demands to protect “dreamer” immigrants brought to the country illegally as children.

As the shutdown looms, the White House said Friday that President Trump would not leave for a planned weekend in Florida unless a funding bill passes. Trump had been set to leave Friday afternoon to celebrate the one-year anniversary of his inauguration at his Palm Beach estate.

For more information, and a short history of what events brought us to this point, please read the Johnson City Press, or find the article on johsnoncitypress.com.


The Unicoi County Sheriff’s Office charged more than 20 people this month with drug related crimes after seizing a large amount of illegal narcotics during a six-month investigation.

After a joint drug operation between the Unicoi County Sheriff’s Department, Erwin Police Department and agents with the 1st Judicial Drug Task Force concluded in the arrests Saturday, Jan. 13. Sheriff Mike Hensley held a press conference Friday morning to unveil the findings and charges.

The operation, codenamed “Operation Snowball,” targeted the sales of methamphetamine, Xanax, Suboxone, hydrocodone and marijuana and resulted in the indictments of multiple suspects by the Unicoi County Grand Jury Jan. 8, according to Hensley. Other arrests stemmed from warrants issued and people who were at locations where warrants were being served and found to be in possession of drugs and or paraphernalia.

The joint operation was the product of hundreds of man hours, and law enforcement expects other narcotics-related arrests to take place in the near future as the investigation continues.

For a full list of those arrested, visit our website.

The Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office was investigating a homicide yesterday at a mobile home in the Rock Springs community.

At a press conference today, Sheriff Wayne Anderson said dispatch received the call about 4:30 p.m. A woman was found deceased inside the residence at 426 W. Valley Drive.

27-year-old Lakeesha Neece was found strangled to death with an electrical cord, apparently at the hands of her husband, Randall Neece. Neece called the police to alert them to the crime, and then admitted to the murder when they arrived. He was taken into custody with no resistance.

The two worked for the same employer, and gave no indication that there were problems. They were not estranged, according to friends and relatives, and Neece made arrangements prior to the crime for his brother to watch their child. For more details, follow the investigation in the Johnson City Press.

More Tennesseans than ever are dying by their own hands, according to a new study by the Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network, and efforts are underway to address the issue.

While suicide rates in Tennessee went up only slightly in 2016, the new figures are the highest recorded in Tennessee in over 35 years of record-keeping and the suicide rate remains above the national average. The most recent statistics available are for 2016.

Tennessee Department of Health's Office of Health Statistics reported 1,110 recorded suicide deaths in Tennessee in 2016, up 4 percent from the previous year. The suicide rate per 100,000 people also went up 4 percent, from 15.6 to 16.2.

Research showed that suicide ideators (those imagining suicide) consistently made up about 15 to 18 percent of the total number of people in the research; young women have consistently revealed higher reasons for living than do young men; African-Americans have revealed higher RFL, or reasons for living, scores than do whites; and you can expect higher RFL scores for heterosexuals than for gay people.

It is suggested that a change in the way boys learn to ask for help could make a difference in the rate of suicide among young men.

One of the fastest-growing groups of people who commit suicide are young black men, according to the study, and the highest growth is people in their 80s.

The report showed that firearms remain the most common means of suicide death in Tennessee, accounting for 61 percent of the recorded suicide deaths in 2016.

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