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Thursday, March 27, 2008

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                          Dash For Eggs!
Young ones throughout the community joined together to find hidden Easter eggs at the William P. Harris Recreational Park in Council Saturday. Children were treated to drawings for brand new tricycles and bicycles and other various prizes. The Kiwanis Clubs of Grundy and Council organized and sponsored the egg hunt.
(Staff photo/Brandon Dye)

Defendants in DSS Case Submit Objections to Report

by Scotty Wampler
News Editor  
Two sets of defendants in Tammy Fields' federal lawsuit against Buchanan County and members of two of its elected boards have filed objections to recent recommendations made to the court regarding the case.
      The 18-page report, filed by U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael F. Urbanski, includes recommendations on two motions to dismiss previously submitted to the court by the defendants.
      Each group of defendants filed a motion to dismiss, alleging they are entitled to qualified immunity in the matter. The parties engaged in written discovery on the issue of qualified immunity through the end of last September, according to the report, after which Fields filed a motion for partial summary judgment in October.
      Qualified immunity is a doctrine in U.S. federal constitutional law which shields government officials from liability for the violation of an individual's federal constitutional rights. This grant of immunity is available to state or federal employees performing discretionary functions where their actions, even if later found to be unlawful, did not violate "clearly established law."
       Early last year, a newly appointed DSS Administrative Board named Judy Holland to the DSS director’s post, in a move the lawsuit alleged was due to political reasons. Fields, a DSS employee since 1995, was one of the candidates seeking the director’s post after it was vacated last year due to the retirement of Harold McClanahan.
       Holland, whose husband Tom, was a former director of the agency, also applied for the post and was ultimately chosen to fill the position. The trial is scheduled to begin April 8 in federal court in Abingdon.

For more of the story, see the print edition of the Mountaineer, on sale at newsstands now.  To subscribe to the Mountaineer, call 276-935-2123 today.

E911 Officials Boggled by Mystery Phone, Trace Source

by Scotty Wampler
News Editor

A recent cell phone mishap has the Buchanan County E911 office in a "defensive posture," according to director Greg Clevinger.
     An outdated, uninitialized cell phone charged enough for use had dispatchers at E911 on Slate Creek scratching their heads and scrambling to locate the phone after it was used to dial a random sequence of numbers, Clevinger said.
      Most cell phones that have been disconnected still have the capability to dial 911 in an emergency situation. In fact, Clevinger said local cell towers pick up any buttons being pressed, even on older phones that are no longer in use. The phone in question, he said, was not in use, and was manufactured before standard GPS capabilities were installed on cell phones, making it nearly impossible to pinpoint the location of the person using the phone.
     Clevinger said E911 feared the person dialing the phone was in distress.

For more of the story, see the print edition of the Mountaineer, on sale at newsstands now.  To subscribe to the Mountaineer, call 276-935-2123 today.


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