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Johnson City teen accused of murder to be tried as an adult

A Johnson City teenager charged with first-degree murder will be tried as an adult and have his case transferred from Johnson City Juvenile Court to Washington County Criminal Court.

Darius Adler, 17, is charged with first-degree murder, especially aggravated robbery, possession of a schedule III drug for resale and simple possession of schedule IV drug.

Adler is accused of shooting Daniel King on March 10 in the parking lot of Plymouth Ridge Apartments, 2560 Plymouth Road, where the two reportedly planned to meet so Adler could buy a gun from King. According to police testimony, Adler’s intention was to rob King.

Certain criteria must be met in order to transfer a case from Juvenile Court to Criminal Court, one of which for a child of 17 is that the court finds probable cause that the child committed the delinquent acts.

“(Adler) said he had arranged for the purchase of a gun, told the detective that he had shot Daniel King with the Taurus 9mm gun for money, said that he shot him 17 times, told the investigator that he took his soul,” said Johnson City Juvenile Court Judge Sharon Green. “The child told the detective that he had no remorse. He also was recorded as telling his mother that the worst thing about it was that he didn’t make any money.”

Other requirements are that the court finds probable cause that the child is not committable to an institution for the developmentally disabled or mentally ill, the extent and nature of the child’s prior delinquent records, the nature of past treatment efforts and the child’s response to those efforts, whether the offense was against person or property, whether the offense was committed in an aggressive or premeditated manner, the possible rehabilitation of the child by use of procedures, services and facilities currently available to the court and the interest of the community requiring that the child be put under legal restraint or discipline.

“Having found probable cause of the factors set out in 37-1-134, Darius Adler is transferred to the Criminal Court of Washington County, Tennessee, for trial as an adult on the charge of first-degree murder, especially aggravated robbery, sale of controlled substance schedule III and simple possession of schedule IV,” Green said.

Adler turns 18 on June 23, at which time he will be transferred to the Washington County Detention Center.

Johnson City couple founds eco-friendly cleaning product company

With virus-related lockdowns keeping people home early on in the pandemic, Kay Baker found herself doing some cleaning at home, thinking about ways to further reduce her single-use plastic waste — something she’s been trying to do to reduce her carbon footprint in recent years.

Baker, an occupational therapist by trade, turned to her husband, Matt, and said “Matt, I haven’t found an all-purpose cleaner that’s plastic-free or waste-free, something I can refill.” Rather than trying to find a solution elsewhere, Matt, a neuroscientist, responded: “That’s a great idea. Let’s do it.”

And so, with both spending more time at home than usual, they decided to go all-in on creating a reusable alternative to traditional cleaning products, which are discarded once finished. Green Llama, which currently sells an all-purpose, bathroom and glass cleaner, uses dissolvable packets of cleaner, which can be mixed in their Green Llama’s reusable glass bottles (which do have a recyclable plastic spray trigger) or any reusable bottle of cleaner.

“I think one of the things I’m most excited about is just letting people know about the concept — maybe they don’t have to buy our bottles all the time, but maybe they can start thinking of a better way to live without multitudes of plastic and chemicals that can be harmful to the environment,” said Matt Baker. “It’s almost like a personal journey for both us trying to do something positive as well as start a company for ourselves because it’s fun.”

As for the name, the Bakers stumbled upon it by chance during a snowboarding trip to Sugar Mountain earlier this year.

While visiting a nearby alpaca farm, they saw a llama, and when the light hit its fur, it gave off a green hue, Matt Baker said. Kay Baker suggested Green Llama, and “it really stuck,” said Matt.

“I was going to, at some point, travel to Peru to give some more authenticity to the story and llamas, but it’s really just a local thing,” said Matt Baker.

Kay and Matt Baker said they have plans to expand their offerings, including a disinfectant, which they hope to launch in the future.

Green Llama is currently being sold online and at the Johnson City and Jonesborough Farmers Markets. The company is also offering a coupon code, M1QFJX5, for “Plastic Free July”, which can net you 25% off your purchase. To learn more about the company, visit greenllamaclean.com.

“We realize plastic is necessary in a lot of products, but I think we use so much of it ... this is one place it can easily be cut out,” said Kay Baker.

ETSU celebrates retiring administrator

After more than four decades with East Tennessee State University, Interim Provost and Senior Vice President for Academics Dr. Wilsie Bishop is calling it a career at the end of June.

In honor of her dedication to the university, ETSU’s Board of Trustees named its Interprofessional Education and Research Center, also known as Building 60 on the Mountain Home Veterans Affairs campus, Bishop Hall. The university hosted a celebration on Friday, drawing a large crowd to congratulate Bishop on her retirement.

“I feel excited, I’m honored and, of course, I’m humbled,” Bishop said Friday. “When (ETSU President) Dr. (Brian) Noland told me about it I was speechless. I love this building, and to me it’s a symbol of our interprofessional education — to me its a symbol of what happens when people work together in teams because the five health sciences colleges came together to make this happen, and the five health sciences colleges have classwork in there, students learn together in there.

“So much of what I’ve done is building teams, empowering people and, to me, it’s really nice to have my name on a building where that’s taught, where people get to practice that, and hopefully it’s going to make a difference for years to come,” Bishop continued.

Bishop began her career at ETSU in 1978 as a temporary faculty member in the College of Nursing, moving up the ranks to serve as a department chair, dean and associate vice president before becoming a vice president in 2005. In an interview last year, after her retirement announcement, Bishop said she was particularly proud of her work to create the Interprofessional Education and Research Center and ETSU Health, which launched in 2019 to consolidate the university’s health science colleges’ clinical, educational and research efforts.

Bishop said it’s been wonderful to watch the university grow throughout her tenure, and said she has a sense of pride and feels good about her life’s work at the university.

“It sounds like a cliché, but I do stand on the shoulders of giants,” Bishop said. “A lot of people helped me get to this point, and I’m appreciative of that, and hope that, in some way, my work will inspire other people to do some of the same things. Leadership is not about the person doing the leading, it’s about the people who come together to make things happen.”

Johnson City is grand prize winner in Tennessee Dog Park Dash

Johnson City has won the $100,000 grand prize Friday from the Boyd Foundation to build a dog park in downtown Johnson City.

Fifteen communities across the state won Boyd Foundation grants to build or improve dog parks.

“Dozens of communities worked all year long to organize residents, coordinate with local officials, mobilize on social media, and host pet-friendly events to compete to win a $25,000 grant to build or improve an existing dog park in their community,” the Boyd Foundation said Friday in announcing the winners.

“One community, Johnson City, who went above and beyond the requirements, will receive the $100,000 grand prize grant as one of the ‘Most Dog-Friendly’ communities in Tennessee.”

Connect Downtown Johnson City in conjunction with the Johnson City Development Authority applied for the grant earlier this year.

Randy and Jenny Boyd, with the Boyd Foundation, said 15 communities across Tennessee will be awarded grants totaling more than $400,000 “to help make our state the most pet-friendly in the nation.”

“Jenny and I love to see the enthusiasm for our pets from so many Tennessee communities who competed for these grants,” said Randy Boyd, co-founder of The Boyd Foundation. “We are honored to support them in their work. We have been impressed with the dozens of parks built from Dog Park Dash grants over the last three years and cannot wait to see how these new winners make their communities a better place for people and pets.”

The other winners

In addition to Johnson City, the communities winning $25,000 for the 2021 Tennessee Dog Park Dash grants include:

EAST TENNESSEE: Charleston, Decatur, East Ridge/Chattanooga, Gatlinburg and Sweetwater.

MIDDLE TENNESSEE: Ardmore, Cheatham Co., Clifton, Dickson and Tullahoma.

WEST TENNESSEE: Beech River/Lexington, Huntington, Savannah and Shelby Farms/Memphis.

In 2018, the Boyd Foundation announced a commitment of $3 million and launched the Dog Park Dash to build 100 dog parks across the state of Tennessee. To date, the Boyd Foundation and Dog Park Dash have already awarded more than 80 deserving communities with their local grants. A full list of previous winners can be found at dogparkdash.com.

About The Boyd Foundation

Established in 2018, The Boyd Foundation is led by Randy Boyd, his wife, Jenny, and their sons, Thomas and Harrison, and daughter-in-law, Lindsey. Randy Boyd is the President of the University of Tennessee, founder of Radio Systems Corporation, and former commissioner for the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development.

Jenny Boyd is passionate about promoting animal welfare, has worked alongside her husband to make Knoxville the most pet-friendly city, and is proud to play a significant role in expanding efforts to communities across Tennessee.