JCP Week in Review, February 16

Jared Bentley • Feb 16, 2018 at 1:45 PM

We were once again faced with a horrible mass shooting this week, this time at a high school in Florida. A 19-year-old former student walked into a school in Parkland, Florida on Wednesday and took the lives of 17 people.

Nikolas Cruz legally purchased the AR-15 rifle used in the assault, and participated in paramilitary drills with a white nationalist group called the Republic of Florida before taking the rifle to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where he put that training to use. Cruz has confessed and has been charged in the crime, and the gun debate, while never silent, has reached a fever pitch.

I’m not about to discuss the gun issue here, I’ll simply join the chorus of support and condolences for the families and the fallen.


And please, folks, when you read about the shooting,also  read the stories of those who survived, and those who made the ultimate sacrifice - people like Scott Beigel, who pushed students to safety as he was struck by gunfire, and Aaron Feis, who also died protecting students. When everyone was running from the shooting, Feis ran towards it, throwing himself in front of students and giving his life for theirs.

While we know we will always remember the name Nikolas Cruz, lets try to never forget the name Aaron Feis as well.

A North Carolina man disappeared in Johnson County last month, and the kidnapping charges levied against three people suspected of being involved in the disappearance have now been upgraded to murder charges.

Michael Stacey May, James Parker Combs, and Brittany Michelle Arnold now face murder charges stemming from an incident that started in Burke County, North Carolina, on Jan. 19. As many as six people may have been involved in extracting a drug debt from 29-year-old Carlton Lamar Edmondson.

Johnson County and North Carolina investigators believe Edmondson was taken from Burke County into a remote wooded area of Johnson County where he was beaten and held for $700 in extortion money. Investigators recovered cellphone video evidence that identified the area in Johnson County where investigators said the assault occurred. That area has been searched extensively, and some evidence was collected, but there was no trace of Edmondson.

For a full list of charges, and more information on the case, find Becky Campbell’s article in the Johnson City Press, or here on our website.

Tennessee Rep Marsha Blackburn’s campaign said Tuesday that anyone who thinks she can’t win the general election in Tennessee’s U.S. Senate race is a “plain sexist pig.”

Campaign spokeswoman Andrea Bozek released the statement after reports that some Republicans are encouraging U.S. Sen. Bob Corker not to retire over fears that Democrats will win the seat.

A Corker spokeswoman said Tuesday the senator is “listening closely.”

Whoever decides to run, if they make it past the primary, will more than likely face off against former Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen in the Senate general election matchup. Several polls have found Blackburn leading at this point, while others found Bredesen with an advantage. Blackburn will face former Republican U.S. Rep. Stephen Fincher in the August GOP primary.

Hurricane Harvey hit Texas with a vengeance this past summer, and parts of the state were devastated. Fresh water was scarce, and people were in need. That’s when a local 13-year-old stepped up.

Over a period of two weeks in September, Derek Onks collected and donated 43,000 pounds of water for people in need.

The Grandview Elementary 8th grader said he watched the news and saw photos and footage of the victims in the aftermath of the hurricane and he felt he had to do something. His parents urged him to pray for the victims, but Derek needed to do more; starting a water drive and spreading the word in his school, church, and on social media.

The delivery went to a church distribution center in Houston, and most of the water was sent to an orphanage, as well as displaced people who were involved in foster care.

Since Derek’s water drive, he has been honored at the Jonesborough Board of Mayor and Aldermen and Washington County Board of Education meetings, and he will travel to Franklin next month to represent Washington County in the Governor’s Volunteer Stars Award. The award recognizes youths from all 95 counties in the state for their volunteerism.

Congratulations, young man. And thank you.

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