Driver Runs, Takes Plate After Antioch Crash

ANTIOCH, TN — The driver who crashed his car into an Antioch yard early Thursday left the scene with his license plates before police arrived on the scene.

Around 2:30 a.m., the car crashed into the yard in the 5000 block of McClendon Avenue, hitting a mailbox and shrubs and coming to rest against the porch. Witnesses saw two men walking away from the wreck.

Police said the car had not been reported stolen.

No one was home and there were no apparent injuries.

Image via Shutterstock


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East Tennessee churches learn from active shooter response training

Church representatives from as far as Chattanooga and Southeastern Kentucky met in Knoxville on Saturday to participate in active shooter response training.

That’s something many people hope they won’t need to ever use in a church.

“We live in different times,” Calvary Chapel Senior Pastor Mark Kirk said. “This is a time, unfortunately, where the church needs to be more prepared, although I wish we didn’t have to.”

That’s why Kirk opened up a Civilian Response to Active Shooter Events (CRASE) training course to any churches interested in taking the class.

CHURCH SAFETY: Knoxville churches review safety policies after Antioch shooting

More than 500 people from over 100 churches came to the two hour course.

“We had no idea we’d have this kind of response,” Kirk said. “It’s been really overwhelming and it just shows to me the need that’s out there.”

Detective Kris Mynatt with the Roane County Sheriff’s Office led the course, teaching attendees to “avoid, deny and defend” if they ever encountered an active shooter.

That means avoid the shooter if possible, deny them entry to where they are seen, and if all else fails, fight back.

“If you’re trying to deliberate a plan when the chaos happens, it doesn’t work,” Mynatt said.

He emphasized the importance of always finding multiple ways to escape a room or building if necessary.

That’s something West Park Baptist Church security volunteer Steve Parker said he had never really thought about.

“Really as we as individuals go throughout our lives, [we] do not really take away our surroundings, our environment,” said Parker. “Whether it’s here in a building, at a restaurant, a church.”

MORE: After church shootings, concerned congregations aim to protect their flocks

Parker and Kirk are glad to now have an understanding of how to deal with an active shooter.

“Hopefully nothing ever happens, but if something ever does we want to make sure that we know what we’re supposed to do so that our people are protected,” said Kirk.

The training was held at Calvary Chapel in Knoxville.

Kirk said if the interest remains, he’d be open to holding another CRASE training session.

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Metro OKs Permits For Controversial Antioch Gas Compressor

ANTIOCH, TN — The Metro Health Department issued a construction permit for the controversial gas compressor in Antioch, saying it meets air pollution standards.

The natural gas compressor proposed by Columbia Gulf Transmission for a tract on Barnes Road northwest of Lenox Village and near Old Hickory Boulevard and Mill Creek met with controversy from neighbors who argued that it was too close to residential areas and that the gas company could easily build the compressor in more isolated rural areas. Nevertheless, the federal government issued its permits, though construction stayed on hold awaiting the appropriate local approvals.

Antioch residents found common cause with people in Joelton fighting against a similar project by Tennessee Gas Pipeline proposed for a lot on Whites Creek Pike. Metro gave the OK to that project in June.

Tennessee Gas filed a federal lawsuit in February against Metro, seeking injunctions that would allow construction to move forward. The Metro Council passed an ordinance in 2015 saying that compressors couldn’t be built in agricultural-zoned areas and in 2016 sent a petition to the state’s Air Pollution Control Board asking that projects be required to comply with Metro Codes air-pollution standards before receiving air quality permits. Tennessee Gas argued Metro overstepped its authority because the federal Natural Gas Act gives pipeline power to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. The FERC issued the necessary permits to the pipelines and the parties agreed to a dismissal of the federal case in August.

The permits and responses to public comment for both projects are available online.


Image via Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County

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Fastsigns International, Inc. to End Brand Imaging Test

Press release from the issuing company

Carrollton, Texas – FASTSIGNS International, Inc. and FASTSIGNS Franchisee Scott Snoyer, have agreed to end the test of the brand extension named Brand Imaging Group – Powered by FASTSIGNS®, effective May 31, 2018.

This test began with Snoyer in Antioch, Tennessee in January, 2012 to see if a high volume, in-house production capability brand extension would increase sales by winning more complex projects and larger clients. Today, Snoyer has over 50 employees in his 40,000 square foot facility that houses approximately $5 million of high-tech in-house production equipment including an HP Indigo printer for small format printing.

About the same time the Brand Imaging Group – Powered by FASTSIGNS test launched, FASTSIGNS’ launched new “More Than” brand positioning that has resulted in franchisees selling higher margin and less commoditized products, expanding their products and services offered, attracting larger customers, purchasing a broader range of equipment to be able to produce more custom products in-house, and hiring more Outside Sales Professionals.

From a franchisee standpoint, the Brand Imaging Group model required a much greater footprint and capital investment, as well as a much larger staff. This, coupled with Snoyer’s decision not to renew his Franchise Agreement when it expires in May, 2018, led to a mutual agreement to end the Brand Imaging Group test.

January 1, 2018, Snoyer will begin using a new company name along with the “formerly Brand Imaging Group”. Effective May 31, 2018, he will only use his new name.

FASTSIGNS International, Inc. retains the rights to the name, Brand Imaging Group. We wish Scott great success in his new endeavor, and appreciate all of his many contributions to the FASTSIGNS system over the past twenty plus years.

FASTSIGNS continues to operate in the greater Nashville area with six other independently owned and operated FASTSIGNS centers. To find a location, click here:

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‘I don’t think family is all tied with bloodlines;’ Man takes in 89-year-old Navy vet

**EMBARGO: Nashville, TN** A Navy veteran’s life has undergone an overwhelming change, and it all had the unlikely start of a golf lesson.

Antioch, Tennessee — A Navy veteran’s life has undergone an overwhelming change, and it all had the unlikely start of a golf lesson.

“What do I do at the golf course? I teach,” said 89-year-old Art Quick, standing at Family Golf Center in Antioch.

Six-year-old Malia is set to be a strong golfer someday. After all, she’s got a teacher in Quick.

“Right there,” said Quick, showing Malia how to hold her hands around a club. “That’s what makes it strong.”

Art’s been helping Malia and dad Corey Jones with their swing.

“He’s a good athlete,” said Quick, watching Jones knock another golf ball into the field.

“Well, he did okay,” smiled Malia.

One day, Jones found a way he could help Quick.

Quick was living in motels along the Bell Road area.

“My whole family has passed away,” he said. “They’re all gone.”

Quick said that motel life wasn’t right for him anymore, and he wasn’t sure where he could go next.

Jones had a plan.

“I couldn’t imagine being alone, especially at the point he’s in in his life,” said Jones.

Jones took Quick into his home.

There, pictures decorate the refrigerator and golf’s always on the TV in a place that feels like home.

“He let me stay here and be a part of the family,” said Quick.

“I don’t think family is all tied with blood lines,” said Jones. “It’s the people who take care of one another, that’s family. He’s Navy, and I’m a Marine. That’s a close brotherhood there.”

“Would you like for me to get that, Mr. Art?” asked Malia, reaching down to pick up a golf ball for Quick.

With Quick’s coaching, Malia knocked a ball far into the field.

“There! You see that now! That’s the idea,” said Quick. “You did good today! Gimme five!”

Jones, Quick and Malia know by helping each other, great things can happen.

“That’s what life is all about,” said Quick.

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After shootings, concerned congregations learn to protect

Police tape lines the scene at the Burnette Chapel Church of Christ after a deadly shooting at the church on Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017, in Antioch, Tenn. (Andrew Nelles/The Tennessean via AP) Photo by Associated Press /Times Free Press.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — East Tennessee church leaders are filling sanctuaries, learning to protect their flocks from armed intruders after shootings targeting Tennessee and Texas congregations.

Houses of worship without security plans “are in denial,” said Blount County Sheriff’s Department Sgt. Josh Blair.

“We have got to get rid of the thought that it’s never going to happen in my church,” Blair told 1,100 people at a Nov. 27 “active shooter” seminar for houses of worship he led at East Maryville Baptist Church.

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“Do you think in Texas, when they came to church to worship the Lord, they thought someone was going to come in and shoot their church up? I guarantee they didn’t,” Blair said.

It was Nov. 5 when a gunman killed 26 people, including an unborn baby, and wounded 20 more at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. Six weeks earlier, on Sept. 24, a woman died and seven people were injured at Burnette Chapel Church of Christ in Antioch, Tennessee.

After the Texas massacre, many East Tennessee churches called law enforcement seeking guidance. Their calls resulted in free Blount and Knox county security meetings. An estimated 1,000 faith representatives attended a Knox County Sheriff’s Office church safety seminar Dec. 2 at Temple Baptist Church in Powell.

Law enforcement officials often advise individual churches on safety, but such large meetings are rare. Religious leaders and law officers agreed the sessions were heartbreaking, soul-searching and necessary.

What should a church do?

Many Tennessee congregations are discussing what security they need, want and can afford. Some no longer debate guns. They worship, some for years, under the watch of security teams comprised of armed and unarmed church members.

At Antioch’s Burnette Chapel, services held after the September shooting saw a few churchgoers, handguns on hips, watching the church entrance.

Some churches employ off-duty law enforcement or private security guards. Many houses of worship create what’s called “layers of protection” — security may include employing an off-duty officer, using in-house security and locking doors.

Some congregations decide against guns. They lock doors during services, monitor security cameras, and ask members to be more watchful of anything or anyone unusual.

Who’s bringing the guns?

Josh Blair advocates churches use armed, trained security. Proper security training is key. East Tennessee law officers don’t encourage every church member with a handgun carry permit to pack a pistol to worship.

Blair asked those at the Maryville seminar to imagine an armed intruder in the church. If everyone in the congregation pulls a gun, innocent people will get hurt.

“What if every person in this room picked up a hymnal and tossed it at that gunman?” Blair suggested. “I don’t know a marksman alive that can make accurate hits if we are throwing every hymnal we got at him.”

Protecting the flock

Churches must balance welcoming everyone while protecting worshipers as they consider issues like legal liability and budget constraints. Legal experts advise congregations talk to an attorney and their insurance companies as they plan.

Churches using armed security have three options, said Knox County Sheriff’s Office legal counsel Mike Ruble. Those choices are set by a Tennessee law, and the requirements surprised some church leaders at the seminars.

Congregations can hire private security forces or employ off-duty law enforcement. “If you put a police car outside your church on Sunday, that lets people know there is trained security,” Blair said.

Churches often hire off-duty officers for Sunday traffic control and security. Cost varies, but ranges from $90 to $120 for three to four hours in Blount or Knox counties. Officers said more East Tennessee churches have inquired about hiring officers since the Texas shooting.

A church also can form its own team of armed and non-armed members. A church employing members as security must be certified as a proprietary security organization with the state of Tennessee. The fee is $300.

Each person, armed or not, on the church security team must complete a set course of training. Cost varies but can be $200 for 16 required hours of armed guard instruction.

‘Faith over fear’ at TVUUC

At Knoxville’s Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church, gun violence isn’t a “what if.” It’s what happened.

A gunman killed two people at TVUUC before being tackled by churchgoers on July 27, 2008. Jim David Adkisson pleaded guilty to two counts of murder and was sentenced to life in prison.

Senior minister the Rev. Chris Buice is reluctant to detail TVUUC’s post-shooting security. Measures include locking all but one door for services and asking staff and members to be vigilant. The church employs armed security for special events.

Buice said TVUUC worked with law enforcement for advice on church safety, something he recommends for other houses of worship.

“It’s easy to become guarded and cautious and forget that the whole mission of a church is about welcoming. It’s important to remember why are we here and how do we keep this a safe place and be true to what we are,” Buice said.

“It’s about being grounded in faith not about living in fear.”

‘A spiritual battle’

Church leaders say protecting members isn’t always about guns. It’s also about alertness and, sometimes, ministering. Domestic disputes and child custody issues can follow people through church doors.

“We have a unique balance — to love God and to love people, but we have to protect our (church) body as it gathers and studies the world and worships together. We don’t want people to have to look over their shoulders,” said the Rev. Keith Johnson, East Maryville Baptist’s senior pastor. That church’s in-house security team includes armed and unarmed members.

“We understand that the battle we are in is a spiritual battle,” Johnson said. “We can’t necessarily deal with evil except with force. And we believe that our first obligation is to protect our church family.”

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Getting An Apartment In Antioch TN

If you’re going to move to Antioch TN, then you may want to know how to get an apartment there. That way, you can avoid moving into a place that has its fair share of problems. Here are some tips that you can start out with.

Before you move into an apartment, you want to find reviews on the complex to see if anyone has had problems with it recently. If all you see are complaints from recent tenants, then you need to avoid renting from that place unless you don’t mind the problems that they are talking about. You may, for instance, find out that there is a pest problem and that the apartment staff aren’t doing much about it. You don’t want to move into a place with a problem like that because then it just gives you something to worry about as soon as you move in.

You’re going to need to know whether you’re getting a good price or not on the apartment when you are thinking of renting it. Generally, you can find out if you’re getting a fair deal if you just shop around a little and see what people are charging in general in the area. Don’t pick out an apartment, however, just because it’s cheaper than the rest. Sometimes places are cheap because they have a hard time getting tenants to stay because they don’t treat people well or their apartments have a lot of problems.

When you want to live in Antioch TN, it helps to know where the nice places are to call home. Find an apartment that has a good reputation and you’ll do fine. You don’t want to pick out anything at random or you may end up in a home that you dislike.

The idol of safety

In late September, an armed man walked into Burnette Chapel in Antioch, Tennessee, about 25 miles away from my own congregation, and killed one woman and injured six. This month, at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, a gunman killed twenty-six. In the wake of shootings at concerts and schools and shopping malls, the veneer of safety and peace around Sunday mornings at church was shattered.

Many church-goers around the country are understandably anxious and afraid. Pastoring a church slightly smaller than First Baptist, Sutherland Springs, it isn’t hard to imagine an equally catastrophic result should someone target my congregation. As a woman clergyperson in a religiously conservative area, as a public figure whose opinions are published on the internet, and as the author of a book on reproductive rights, it is not far-fetched to think that an unhinged individual might make me or my congregation the subject of his rage, particularly based on the e-mails and social media messages from fellow Christians that I received in the wake of the publication of my book.

Certainly, each church will have to decide what works for them, their values, their tolerance for risk, and their physical plant. Just as we take precautions in preventing the sexual exploitation of minors, we must take other security precautions. After all, Jesus tells us to be “wise as serpents and innocent as doves.” But we also must weigh our security precautions against the other values that we profess as Christians, particularly hospitality and welcoming the stranger.

In the wake of wall-to-wall media coverage of horrible atrocities like mass shootings, I worry that we will let our fear and anxiety trump our Christian vocation, turning our churches into bunkers for those already present. As many of us bemoan dwindling attendance, how welcoming is it to newcomers to be greeted by skeptical ushers, locked doors, or people with weapons patrolling the parking lot? In the interest of safety and security, we risk giving up the mission and ministry of the church to welcome the downtrodden and the stranger, for by doing so, we may be entertaining angels.

For people who profess that God has triumphed over death and the grave through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, we sure act like death is the worst possible thing. While I wouldn’t recommend courting death or acting recklessly, there are certain risks to living according to our faith. So if you’re looking for a safe religion, I don’t recommend Christianity. Jesus himself ended up crucified at the hands of the Roman Empire and told us to follow him. Rarely in my life has following Christ and obeying the urges of the Holy Spirit led to safety and security as defined by the world.

In the wake of horrible tragedies, we fall prey to our fear and anxiety at the expense of rationality and our faith. We’re much more likely to perish in a car accident than a mass shooting, but most of us still get in our cars day after day. Mass shootings are terrible, and we should strive to prevent them in our broader society without losing sight of other kinds of violence that are much more prevalent.

Decisions about safety and security in the church are not easy or one-size-fits-all, but they should be made out of discernment and conversation, not a knee-jerk response to news reports. Some local police departments are happy to discuss options and strategies with church leadership in order to balance being open and welcoming with keeping children and other church-goers safe. We must be careful not to make an idol out of safety to the point where we forsake the gospel of Jesus Christ. We must ensure that our hearts are not hardened to the stranger, the outcast, and those who show up to the church looking “different.” Our world needs the example of the church, that fear can be overcome with love.

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White Nationalists Harassed A Tennessee Church

Inside the Burnette Chapel Church of Christ in Antioch, Tennessee, on Sunday morning, preacher Ben Lambeth stood at the podium, lowered his eyes and spoke solemnly of pain and Satan. He addressed a crowd of survivors of the mass shooting incident that unfolded at the holy space in late September. Members of the scattered and multi-racial crowd of roughly 40 people wept as he recalled the bloodshed and the one life that was lost.

Lambeth then turned to the subject of white nationalists, who had descended on parts of middle Tennessee over the weekend, claiming to speak on the congregant’s behalf. Emanuel Samson, 25, a Sudanese born man who may have deliberately targeted white victims, is the suspect in the shooting, and so-called alt-right protesters had threatened to hold a torch light rally at the church, coloring it with a palpable sense of dread.

“Satan hates light and he hates truth,” Lambeth told the crowd. “Just know that you’re on the right side. The side that has already been victorious and will never be defeated.”

Outside the church, the fears of police and churchgoers had been realized. Five college-aged white nationalists had assembled during the service, unbeknownst to the people inside. They yelled from across the chilly parking lot that “white people are under attack,” and ranted about a well-publicized recent poll that found that more than half of whites believe that they are being discriminated against in America.

The four men and one woman staging the pop-up protest at the church were eventually chased away by police without any arrests, but the brief incident demonstrates the degree to which alt-right activists are still intently focused on the mass shooting that took place in Antioch last month—an incident they argue is a “reverse Dylann Roof” attack—even as the victims of the tragedy say they desperately want to leave it behind.

“These people are not who we are here at this church,” Alana Bishop, a black churchgoer in her late teens, told Newsweek. “These kind of views are just not what we’re about here.”

The protest at the church followed a much larger rally of neo-Nazis and white nationalists that took place on Saturday in nearby Shelbyville, Tennessee, hoping to draw attention to an influx of refugees that have settled in the area. There, one of the more than 100 white men in the crowd repeatedly screamed epithets at a group of counterprotesters, warning that “n—ggers are f—cking your daughters!” Brad Griffin, one of the organizers of the “White Lives Matter” event, told Newsweek that the church shooting added gravity to his message condemning refugee resettlements, even though Samson had already been living in the U.S. for roughly 20 years.

A day later at the church on Sunday, four of the five alt-right protesters, all young men, told Newsweek that they were members of Identity Evropa, a self-described “European Heritage” organization that frequently participates in white nationalist protest events alongside Richard Spencer. The fifth protester was a woman who identified herself as Leah, and claimed to not be affiliated with any group.

“This is not something that should be forgotten,” Leah said to Newsweek about the mass shooting that was allegedly perpetrated by Samson. “I’m here for the interests of our people and our country.”

Eli Mosley, the head of Identity Evropa, told Newsweek in explicit terms that they were not members of his organization. Asked why they would lie, Mosley said he believed that they were members of another white nationalist group “trolling.” Identity Evropa did not formally participate in the “White Lives Matter” protests that took place in Tennessee over the weekend in Shelbyville and Murfreesboro, but it is also not uncommon for crossover to occur in protest groups on the far-right.

Inside the church, the congregants had assembled in a drafty adjoining room from the main gathering space, to avoid the bullet holes and "splattered blood" left behind from the violence, according to Lambeth, the guest speaker. Five Sundays prior, Samson, armed with two guns, allegedly shot and killed 39-year-old Melanie Crow Smith, a mother of two.

He then entered the church from the rear, firing on churchgoers, injuring others, before being confronted by a man named Caleb Engle, according to police. During the altercation, Samson was shot in the left side of his chest with his own gun, according to police. He survived. A police detective recently told a court that Samson left behind a note saying that he had heard voices before the shooting.

Mike Stewart, a Tennessee State Representative from Nashville, who recently attended a virgil at the church, emailed Newsweek after learning of the pop-up protest on social media. "Their message of love and turning the other cheek was the opposite of the hateful nonsense these neo-Nazis are trying to spread," Stewart wrote. "It’s outrageous that they tried to use the tragedy suffered by that congregation to spread their hateful message."

Lambeth, who preaches both in Antioch and in parts of North Carolina, told Newsweek that he did not want the white nationalists to distract from the message of the gospel. “I love the white nationalists and I love the shooter,” Lambeth said, speaking of forgiveness. “Everyone’s soul is precious in God’s eyes.”

Lambeth told Newsweek that the Burnette Chapel community was progressing despite the distractions that still hover around its orbit. People who were injured in the ordeal are returning to their normal lives. Services had resumed there, even if speakers still frequently reference the violence that took place inside. He said his church would always remain open to accepting people of all color and backgrounds.

“We consider everyone to be our brother or sister,” he said of the church’s community. “Black, white or foreign it doesn’t matter to us."

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Faith leaders meet with local law enforcement to develop security plans

Looking out over the faith leaders gathered Thursday in the Evangelical Reformed United Church of Christ, Frederick County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Mark Landahl asked how many congregations had safety plans in place.

“A show of hands,” the lieutenant prompted. “Does anyone have a designated safety and security plan? No one?”

While houses of worship don’t typically come to mind when one thinks of disasters or horrific violence, a closer look at several recent events shows that churches, temples and synagogues aren’t immune. Thursday’s meeting took place a month after a gunman killed one person and injured seven others at the Burnette Chapel Church of Christ in Antioch, Tennessee, Landahl pointed out.

And shootings aren’t the only emergency worth preparing for, the lieutenant added, listing natural disasters, fires or medical emergencies as even more common occurrences.

“Do you have somebody designated who is willing to act and say, ‘I’ll be the person who will handle that,’ rather than the person leading the sermon, ‘I’ll be the one to call 911,’ or ‘I’ll meet the ambulance up front in case something happens’?” Landahl said. “Those are the types of conversations that we need to be having.”

To help with the organizing of such a plan, Landahl, the sheriff’s office’s resident expert in disaster planning, preparedness and counterterrorism, presented the Safeguarding Houses of Worship (SHOW) app developed by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Justice Technology Information Center.

Designed specifically to help faith groups organize their own security plans, the app — available for iPhones and Android devices, requires a code to activate it, which Landahl and Deputy Hal Jones were happy to hand out to interested pastors and parishioners after the meeting.

Bob Kells, a pastor at Weller United Methodist Church in Thurmont, was one of a long line of leaders who exchanged information with Jones after Thursday’s presentation.

“Just watching the news and seeing the events that are happening across the country, particularly in Las Vegas, we’ve become concerned about some of the potential threats to our congregations, so we just need to be prepared,” Kells said.

Landahl also pointed out a number of representatives from the Frederick Police Department, Hagerstown Police, the county’s Health Department and other agencies that sat in on the meeting. Aside from downloading the app, attendees were advised to sign up for the county’s email and text alert system or to consider taking advantage of CPR or drug overdose training offered by the Health Department.

Several of the topics Landahl touched on elicited immediate responses from attendees, many of whom brought up their own experiences with incidents or emergencies for which they weren’t quite prepared.

“We tried to give him a name tag, only to find out he wasn’t very interested in joining us for worship,” Kershner Daniel said.

Others took advantage of their time with the sheriff’s office and other law enforcement to ask about situations they’ve dealt with at their respective places of worship.

“That’s going to have to be a decision that your individual organization needs to make,” Landahl replied. “But the training is available through the county.”

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