A1 A1
News
20 arrested in drug conspiracy case, six still sought

Twenty-one people indicted in March in a multi-count drug conspiracy case have now been arrested, but five more are still sought by authorities.

Peyton Howren, 26, 412 Ferndale Drive, Johnson City. was the first one arrested on March 30 when police responded to a 911 call about him having his pit bull unleashed.

Those charged who have been arrested are:

• Jesse Alexander Rogers (Charged with conspiracy to distribute over 300 pounds of marijuana, conspiracy to distribute over 300 grams of cocaine, money laundering, two counts of Tennessee drug-free school zone enhancement)

• Howren (Charged with conspiracy to distribute over 300 pounds of marijuana, conspiracy to distribute over 300 grams of cocaine, possession of a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony, possession of schedule II narcotics with intent to distribute, two counts of Tennessee drug-free school zone enhancement)

• Zachary Evan Rafalowski (Charged with conspiracy to distribute over 300 pounds of marijuana, possession of a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony, Tennessee drug-free school zone enhancement)

• Matthew James Lyall (Charged with conspiracy to distribute over 300 pounds of marijuana, Tennessee drug-free school zone enhancement)

• Ashton Bailee Burnette (Charged with conspiracy to distribute over 300 pounds of marijuana, Tennessee drug-free school zone enhancement)

• Austin Taylor Clark (Charged with conspiracy to distribute over 300 pounds of marijuana, possession of schedule VI narcotics with intent to distribute, Tennessee drug-free school zone enhancement)

• Joshua Seth Gagne (Charged with conspiracy to distribute over 300 pounds of marijuana, Tennessee drug-free school zone enhancement)

• Dustin Aaron Cash (Charged with conspiracy to distribute over 300 pounds of marijuana, Tennessee drug-free school zone enhancement)

• Jaylen Malik Simmons (Charged with conspiracy to distribute over 300 pounds of marijuana, possession of schedule VI narcotics with intent to distribute, Tennessee drug-free school zone enhancement)

• David Lee Murray II, aka Davy, (Charged with conspiracy to distribute over 300 pounds of marijuana, Tennessee drug-free school zone enhancement)

• Matthew Daniel Christian (Charged with conspiracy to distribute over 300 pounds of marijuana, Tennessee drug-free school zone enhancement)

• Derrick Holland Alston (Charged with conspiracy to distribute over 300 pounds of marijuana, Tennessee drug-free school zone enhancement)

• Adam Keith Griffith (Charged with conspiracy to distribute over 300 pounds of marijuana, Tennessee drug-free school zone enhancement)

• Matthew James Lingerfelt (Charged with conspiracy to distribute over 300 pounds of marijuana, Tennessee drug-free school zone enhancement)

• Sam Edward Willoughby (Charged with conspiracy to distribute over 300 pounds of marijuana, Tennessee drug-free school zone enhancement)

• James Anthony Berry (Charged with conspiracy to distribute over 300 pounds of marijuana, sale of schedule VI narcotics (two counts), sale of schedule I narcotics, Tennessee drug-free school zone enhancement)

• Chance Michael Pierce (Charged with conspiracy to distribute over 300 pounds of marijuana, Tennessee drug-free school zone enhancement)

• Christopher Robert Morelock (Charged with conspiracy to distribute over 300 pounds of marijuana, Tennessee drug-free school zone enhancement)

• Rodney James Jones (Charged with conspiracy to distribute over 300 pounds of marijuana, Tennessee drug-free school zone enhancement)

• Michael Noah Chambers (Charged with conspiracy to distribute over 300 pounds of marijuana, Tennessee drug-free school zone enhancement)

• Malik Darius Deshaun Williams, aka Dazzy, (Charged with conspiracy to distribute over 300 pounds of marijuana, Tennessee drug-free school zone enhancement)

Five subjects named in the indictment are still wanted and still being sought by investigators. Their names and charges are as follows:

• Cody Allen Dippel (Charged with conspiracy to distribute over 300 pounds of marijuana, Tennessee drug-free school zone enhancement)

• Tyler Wayne Tomlinson (Charged with conspiracy to distribute over 300 pounds of marijuana, Tennessee drug-free school zone enhancement)

• Jennifer Annette Tomlinson (Charged with conspiracy to distribute over 300 pounds of marijuana, Tennessee drug-free school zone enhancement)

• Matthew Dale Burke (Charged with conspiracy to distribute over 300 pounds of marijuana, Tennessee drug-free school zone enhancement)

• James Lewis Shuff III (Charged with conspiracy to distribute over 300 pounds of marijuana, Tennessee drug-free school zone enhancement)

Anyone with information on the whereabouts of the individuals still wanted in connection with this case or information relevant to this case can contact the Johnson City Police Department Criminal Investigations Division at (423) 434-6166 or to remain anonymous, Crime Stoppers at (423) 434-6158. To send a confidential tip, text 423JCPD and your tip to 847411 (TIP411) or send a tip to www.citizenobserver.com.

You can also send messages through the Johnson City Police Department website, http://www.johnsoncitytn.org/police/cid/.


News
spotlight
Niswonger Children's Hospital unveils new adaptive playground

Kids took turns clambering up the slide at Niswonger Children’s Hospital’s new adaptive playground on Friday, beaming as they coasted back down to earth.

Ballad Health unveiled the new play area during a press conference Friday morning. It is designed to be inclusive for young patients of all abilities.

“The equipment that you’ll see that’s stationed throughout this area is designed for all children,” said Lisa Carter, the CEO of the Niswonger Children’s Hospital.

“Obviously we have children in our building who have medical devices and equipment. They’re on oxygen, they have IVs attached to them, but we wanted to create a space where any child with any issue, any piece of equipment could come out and participate in play.”

The playground is also part of the hospital’s therapy department and features a saucer swing, roller slide and a music center.

Carter said the project really started roughly two years ago when Hayley Dietrich, the director of a school called Children Exceeding Expectations, which serves kids with cancer, reached out to her with an idea.

“She had the wonderful fortune of working with the Jeff Byrd Foundation on some grants (and) also with Speedway Children’s Charities,” Carter explained, “and she said, ‘How can we come together collectively to create a new and different kind of space for kids?’”

The system and its partners started brainstorming, meeting with its child life and facilities and construction departments. The playground is a culmination of that process.

According to Ballad, support from the Speedway Children’s Charities Jeff Byrd Grant, Children Exceeding Expectations and donations collected through the 2020 Niswonger Children’s Hospital Radiothon funded the playground.

Ballad Health Foundation President Jack Simpson said money from about 1,200 radiothon donors helped support this effort.

“Children learn through play, and they heal through play,” Simpson said, “and this is going to be a place of healing for our children.”

Carter said the playground is the first community outreach project of the Niswonger Children’s Network, an almost $60 million investment designed to improve the quality of care for children in Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia. Health officials announced the initiative in March, which includes a two-story addition to Niswonger Children’s Hospital.

“This goes right along with all the investments we’re making as a health system to truly, truly impact the lives of kids in this region,” Carter said.


News
top story
Five questions with Jonesborough Town Administrator Glenn Rosenoff

When Glenn Rosenoff was offered the position as Jonesborough’s town administrator last year, he was surprised but looked forward to “continuing to advance the interests and prosperity of Jonesborough.”

And despite joining the town staff in the midst of a pandemic and myriad major projects, Rosenoff hasn’t missed a step — something he credits to the staff surrounding him. Now a year into his role, Rosenoff is right at home and looking forward to year two — and again helping Jonesborough continue moving forward.

Recently, Rosenoff spoke with the Press about his thoughts on the job thus far, some of the challenges he’s faced and what he’s looking forward to in year two.

Note: Answers have been edited for length and clarity.

What do you think of the job thus far?

I think it’s everything that I was thinking that Jonesborough was as far as probably checking off all the boxes of progressing the community from community development with so much growth inside and outside the city, commercial development (even prospects for the industrial park) is exciting and everything from every department from the McKinney Center to the Senior Center to the Visitors Center — just all of our different departments and activities. It’s a very impressive operation.

What’s your favorite

part of the job?

I would say my favorite part of the job is probably being included in so much of the progress and being privy to it. And probably for me, number one is the impressiveness of, not only people wanting to move here and live here, but also do business here. It’s very impressive, there’s a lot of people that are looking to either set up their own roots here or set up business here and just there’s so much activity, and you can see it from the school project to the Jackson Theatre project to all these other projects. Jonesborough doesn’t remain idle, even during COVID.

When you joined the town staff, you joined in the midst of a lot of ongoing projects — what’s your learning curve been like?

I think that I’ve fallen right in very well with staff, operations and all the projects that are going on. It’s a great team effort, so it has made it a lot easier for me. And like I said from the beginning, probably being included so much in all the different aspects of our progress and just being privy to it is probably number one. It shows the team spirit but then also it reflects on our great staff and great employees — I couldn’t be doing what I’m doing without them. And the other thing is having a great board of mayor and aldermen to give staff clear direction on where we need to be going, that’s also very helpful.

Did the pandemic

make it more difficult for

you to settle into your role?

I think I’ve been able to navigate it well, but that’s because I have great support staff. Probably the most difficult is balancing the employer-employee relationship in COVID and protecting your employees while, at the same time, everyone still has to function in their job and do their job and then also balancing with the general public. That’s been challenging, being sensitive to the public, being sensitive to the employees, and just really monitoring the transmission rates and whether they’ve increased or decreased. That part’s been challenging, but I think overall we’ve navigated it very well. I’ve not been encouraging any kind of idleness, I haven’t been encouraging ‘let’s just give up’, but we’ve also been very sensitive to the public and I think we’ve done a great job.

What’s been your biggest

challenge on the job so far?

That’s a good question. I would say probably the biggest challenge is there is so much activity going on, and really trying to be on top of everything and making sure that we’re tactical, meaning that we are executing plans whether it’s a project or an activity or a program or its a rental. I’d probably say that’s been one of those challenges because we don’t remain idle and there’s so much activity people can see it both physically out in the open but then even on the water and sewer side or parks and recreation — those parts that maybe you don’t see at first. We’ve got so much activity going on it’s a laundry list but again I’ve got a great staff, great employees, so that has helped to make it a whole lot easier for me.

Plus-one: What are you most looking forward to in year two?

That my decision-making and progress for the future will be wiser with more time on the job.


Back