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Local News for Friday, March 4th

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In news today…

Cleveland State will host the 18th annual Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss celebration on Saturday, March 5. The event will take place from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. at the Cleveland State Library. The celebration is organized by students in the language and literacy class. The event is sponsored by the Early Childhood Education program, the CSCC Library, the Maylyn and Carson Thacker Memorial Fund, the United Way of Ocoee Region, and the Kiwanis of Cleveland. 

This year’s event will honor the book The Cat in the Hat Comes Back. The book is an entertaining sequel to the original, popular children’s tale about a mischievous cat who visits children while their parents are out, promising destruction and lots of mess. In this story, a boy is at home alone while his mother is out, and has been asked to shovel the driveway. Although this begins like a normal day, the Cat in the Hat visits, promising the same destruction and chaos as in the first book.

As with previous events, special guests will include Dr. Seuss’s most well-known characters, the Cat in the Hat, Thing One and Thing Two and the Grinch.

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss is free to children of all ages; however, all children must be accompanied by an adult. Each child will receive a goody bag, a hardback Dr. Seuss book, and may participate in literacy-related activities assisted by students in Cleveland State’s language and literacy class.

From NewsChannel 9…

Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) workers discovered a loaded gun at a security checkpoint at the Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport Thursday morning.

This happened at about 6 a.m., according to a TSA release.

The gun was a loaded Ruger .380 caliber handgun. Agents detected it in a passenger’s carry-on bag.

TSA immediately alerted airport police. Officers took possession of the bag and escorted the passenger out of the checkpoint area.

It’s unclear whether the passenger will face any charges, but the TSA says there is potential for that.

Also from NewsChannel 9…

Two new reports indicate Hamilton County’s District Attorney’s Office may be experiencing turmoil.

All of this comes after Tennessee’s comptroller found Neal Pinkston violated state law by marrying a staff member and hiring her brother.

Thursday, we obtained two more documents highlighting problems within Pinkston’s administration.

One of those documents is a Sheriff’s Department incident report filed by a former employee of the Hamilton County District Attorney’s Office.

Barbara Branum says she started working in the DA’s office in November 2006 when the DA was William Cox.

She says she resigned in December 2021, and her last position within the department was a secretary support staff member to DA Neal Pinkston.

According to Branum, she was copied in a group text message last Wednesday. The group text included Melydia Clewell, who is District Attorney Neal Pinkston’s chief of staff and wife.

Branum says the third person in that group message sent screenshots of comments Barbara had made on NewsChannel 9’s Facebook page to the group.

In those screenshotted comment’s Branum addressed Pinkston’s violation of state nepotism law.

They show Clewell telling Branum at the start of the exchange, “ I do hope you keep talking… please… I need you to talk more. I’m collecting screen shots. If you get a phone call from an unknown number, that would be a process server looking for you. Please. Keep. Talking. Please.”

The screenshots also show Branum repeatedly tell Clewell “Stop” and “leave me alone.”

Branum says she wanted to file a police report about this incident for her records. But, she says it’s indicative of the hostility in the DA’s office.