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Pickett State Park Opens New Archaeology Museum and Research Station

Pickett State Park Opens New Archaeology Museum and Research Station
TN Dept. of Environment & Conservation Tuesday April 25, 2017

Pickett CCC Memorial State Park has unveiled a new Archaeology Museum and East Tennessee State University (ETSU) field research station. The new facility is a working museum that will display artifacts unearthed on-site from the park, Pogue Creek Canyon State Natural Area and surrounding areas.

The museum boasts archaeological artifacts from 400 to up to 13,000 years ago. An active site excavation is located within a mile from the city. Evidence at the site dates back to the Upper Cumberland Plateau area’s first inhabitants up to 12,500 years ago.

The facility opening also coincides with Tennessee State Parks’ 80th anniversary and marks just one of the events being held statewide to showcase the natural beauty and educational opportunities at Tennessee’s 56 state parks.

In the same facility as the museum, a team of ETSU Anthropology undergraduate students will live and conduct research at the facility on a regular basis year-round.

Pickett CCC Memorial State Park lies within the 19,200-acre Pickett State Forest, and is adjacent to the massive 120,000 acre Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area. For more information, visit

(Photo courtesy TN Dept. of Environment & Conservation)

Rhea County Woman Arrested, Charged in Husband’s Murder

Rhea County Woman Arrested, Charged in Husband’s Murder
TBI Tuesday April 25, 2017

Special Agents from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation have arrested and charged a Rhea County woman in connection to the death of her husband.

At the request of 12th District Attorney General Mike Taylor, TBI Special Agents began investigating the death of Thomas Richard Wilkey, Jr. Monday, shortly after deputies from the Rhea County Sheriff’s Department found the body of the man (DOB 12-9-65) in his home in the 1200 block of Walkerton Road in Dayton. During the course of the investigation, Agents, working alongside investigators from Rhea County, developed information leading to Wilkey’s wife, Patricia Kaye Wilkey, as the individual responsible for the crime.

This evening, Agents arrested Wilkey (DOB 4-4-67) and charged her with one count of Criminal Homicide. At the time of this release, she was being held without bond in the Rhea County Jail.

(Photo courtesy TBI)


Tennessee lawmakers give final OK to Haslam's roads bill
AP Tuesday April 25, 2017

The Tennessee House has voted to put the finishing touch on months of work on Gov. Bill Haslam's bill that increases the gas tax to fund roadwork and cuts other taxes.
The House cast a 67-21 final favorable vote Monday, which lets the Republican governor soon sign the bill into law.
Both chambers passed the bill Wednesday, but left a property tax break for disabled veterans unresolved.
Senators amended the legislation to increase property tax relief to disabled veterans to up to $175,000 in property value, from the current $100,000.
The House adopted that change and passed the bill a final time Monday.
The bill also cuts sales tax on groceries, corporate taxes on manufacturers and tax on earnings from stocks and bonds.


Cummins admits to authorities he planned to escape country
WVLT Monday April 24, 2017

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (WVLT) -- A motion to support detention for Tad Cummins, the suspected kidnapper of AMBER Alert subject 15-year-old Elizabeth Thomas, was released, detailing Cummins' admission to fleeing authorities and attempting to cross international borders.

According to the motion, Cummins admitted to leaving Tennessee at a time when he "knew he was the subject of an investigation about engaging in improper sexual behavior with the juvenile victim because he had been interviewed multiple times by officials about his involvement with the victim."

Cummins allegedly fled Tennessee with Thomas because he did not want to face legal consequences for his relationship with the juvenile. After fleeing, Cummins told officials that he intentionally used techniques to escape police detection, including changing license plates on his vehicle, disabling the vehicle's GPS system, using cash only, changing the appearances and apparent identities of both himself and the juvenile victim and leaving a deliberately misleading note to his wife in order to divert investigators.

Cummins also told authorities that he planned to escape the United States through the Mexican border, after which he would then flee to other countries further south. While working towards these goals, Cummins obtained a small watercraft and conducted a test run to make sure it could reach Mexico from San Diego.

The motion for Cummins' detention also details the method in which he allegedly found Thomas, through employment at her school. The motion describes Cummins' work to cover up the relationship between himself and the 15-year-old to his employers.

Cummins reportedly attempted to take Thomas from Tennessee multiple times, using multiple different techniques to avoid detection by law enforcement authorities.

"Indeed," the motion states, "the moment the defendant was suspected of his improper relationship in early 2017, he began plotting his escape with the juvenile victim."

The motion was filed by Phillip A. Talbert, United States Attorney, and Jason Hitt, Assistant United States Attorney. The motion was filed on behalf of the United Sates of America versus Tad E. Cummins.

Cummins was scheduled to appear in court at 2 p.m. PST (5 p.m. EST) today in Sacramento.

Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. and Perrigo Animal Health Provide Ultimate Protection for Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office K-9

Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. and Perrigo Animal Health Provide Ultimate Protection for Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office K-9
Submitted: Cumb. Co. Sheriff Casey Cox Monday April 24, 2017

Press Release:

Crossville, TN – PetArmor®, a flea and tick brand of Perrigo Animal Health, helped to protect a Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office, TN K-9 by donating a bullet- and stab-protective vest.

In most cases, law enforcement agencies do not have the budget to purchase K-9 protective vests because they cost $1,050.00 each. As a result, police dogs are left unprotected while fighting crime.

In partnership with Vested Interest in K9s, a nonprofit organization that provides bullet- and stab-protective vests to police departments nationwide, since 2013, Perrigo Animal Health has donated more than 75 police dog vests to date.

"Our K-9 officers are as much a part of our team as any human officer and it is our desire to see them protected and safe," said Sheriff Casey Cox. "We are thrilled that PetArmor is helping to protect Niko. This donation will now allow Niko a higher level of protection."

For the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office, the donation is benefiting one team, Deputy Zach Gilpin and K9 Niko who have been working together as a team since 2014 to keep Cumberland County safe.

About Perrigo Animal Health
Perrigo Animal Health is a division of Perrigo Company plc (NYSE: PRGO; TASE), a leading global manufacturer of over-the-counter healthcare products. Comprised of Sergeant’s, SENTRY® and PetArmor® brands, Perrigo Animal Health brings quality, affordable flea and tick treatments, health and well-being solutions, and consumables for dogs and cats to grocery, mass, dollar, drug, club and pet specialty retailers. For more information, visit

About Vested Interest in K9s, Inc.
Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) charity located in East Taunton, Mass., whose mission is to provide bullet- and stab- protective vests and other assistance to dogs of Law Enforcement and related agencies throughout the country.

The nonprofit was established in 2009 to assist law enforcement agencies with this potentially lifesaving body armor for their four-legged K-9 officers. President Sandy Marcal began working with law enforcement agencies in 2000 to coordinate efforts between various law enforcement agencies, vest sponsorships, fundraising events and the media within Massachusetts. In 2011, efforts were expanded to assist police dogs throughout the U.S. Over 2400 law enforcement dogs in all 50 states have received lifesaving body armor from Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. Learn more at

(Photo Deputy Zach Gilpin and K9 Niko courtesy Cumb. Co. Sheriff’s Office)



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