Suspected Human Smuggler Charged After Running Border Patrol Agent off Road

Suspected Human Smuggler Charged After Running Border Patrol Agent off Road

A suspected human smuggler has been charged with serious crimes after he allegedly attempted to run a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agent off the road. 

“Last week, Daniel Jerome Wagner, 54, of Phoenix, Arizona, was arrested on one count of Assault on a Federal Officer with the Use of a Deadly or Dangerous Weapon,” said a U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) press release. “Wagner was charged by criminal complaint and had his initial appearance on Friday before United States Magistrate Judge Eric J. Markovich.”

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Teachers with Rutherford County Schools Publicly Battle American Classical Academy Charter School

Teachers with Rutherford County Schools Publicly Battle American Classical Academy Charter School

A number of school teachers in Rutherford County took advantage of a public comment form in order to speak out against what would be a competing charter school in the county. 

In the open public comments, 255 of 311 comments were in favor of Rutherford County Schools, meaning that about four in five of the commenters said they did not want the American Classical Academy, a Hillsdale College affiliated school, to open in the county. 

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Left Rages at Sinema over Filibuster Support

Left Rages at Sinema over Filibuster Support

The political left is raging at a U.S. Senator from Arizona who refuses to join her fellow Democrats in abolishing the filibuster. 

“I committed to the 60-vote threshold, it’s been an incredibly unpopular view. I actually think we should restore the 60 vote threshold for the areas in which it has been eliminated already,” Sen. Kyrsten Sinema said in a speech at the University of Louisville during a conference called The Future of Political Discourse and the Importance of Bipartisanship.

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Tennessee Emergency Management Agency Sends Teams to Florida in Response to Hurricane Ian

Tennessee Emergency Management Agency Sends Teams to Florida in Response to Hurricane Ian

The Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA) plans to send support to Florida as expected Category 3 Hurricane Ian bears down on the Sunshine State. 

“As Florida braces for the impact of Hurricane Ian, Tennessee emergency service professionals are traveling to the area to help the state prepare and to provide support after the storm,” said Gov. Bill Lee (R) in a press release. “We are proud of men and women who have stepped up to represent the Volunteer State and provide critical, life-saving services to Floridians in need.”

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President of Chattanooga Pride Says Group Considering Changes After Drag Show Debacle

President of Chattanooga Pride Says Group Considering Changes After Drag Show Debacle

The president of Chattanooga Pride, an LGBT non-profit in the Scenic City, says it is considering updating its guidelines for drag events after a weekend event at a brewery spawned a public relations nightmare for the organization. 

Noah Corbin told The Tennessee Star in a wide-ranging interview Tuesday that the group is considering ways to alert audiences about the more provocative events that the group hosts. 

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Kari Lake, Liz Cheney Trade Blows in War of Words

Kari Lake, Liz Cheney Trade Blows in War of Words

Two prominent Republican political figures were engaged in a war of words over the weekend, after one of them, an outgoing U.S. Congresswoman, said she would campaign against a Republican gubernatorial candidate. 

At the Texas Tribune Festival Friday, Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY-01) said she would not vote for her Republican primary opponent, by whom she was beaten in a landslide earlier this year, and said she will “do whatever it takes to make sure [Arizona Republican gubernatorial nominee] Kari Lake never takes office.”

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Memphis Museum Cancels Drag Show Amid Protests

Memphis Museum Cancels Drag Show Amid Protests

The Memphis Police Department (MPD) Monday confirmed that it did not shut down a drag show at the Memphis Museum of Science and History (MoSH), but that the museum canceled the event due to protests. 

“Management of the Pink Palace chose to cancel all events [Friday], MPD Public Information Officer Theresa Carlson told The Tennessee Star. “MPD was asked to assist. No incidents occurred and no arrests were made.”

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Exclusive: Tennessee National Guardsman Confirms Troops Losing Benefits Due to COVID-19 Vaccination Status

Exclusive: Tennessee National Guardsman Confirms Troops Losing Benefits Due to COVID-19 Vaccination Status

A U.S. Senator from Tennessee, along with several of her colleagues, announced Friday that she had introduced legislation aiming to stop the federal government from kicking soldiers out of the National Guard due to their COVID-19 vaccination status. 

“Joe Biden announced the ‘pandemic is over,’ and therefore has no reason to continue to fire our servicemembers using his politically-motivated vaccine mandate,” said Sen. Marsha Blackburn in a press release. “America’s national readiness should not be jeopardized because this White House is hellbent on preserving their forever pandemic. My legislation continues my work to strengthen our armed forces and prevent yet another unconstitutional power grab from the Biden administration.”

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Arizona Police Seize 52 Pounds of Fentanyl from Smuggler

Arizona Police Seize 52 Pounds of Fentanyl from Smuggler

Arizona Department of Public Safety (AZDPS) troopers on September 14 seized more than 50pounds of fentanyl during a traffic stop in Pima County, according to a release from this week. 

“During the traffic stop, the trooper observed multiple indicators of criminal activity,” the release said. “A subsequent search of the vehicle led to the discovery of 52 pounds of suspected fentanyl pills concealed within a compartment built into the vehicle’s rocker panels. The suspected fentanyl was being smuggled from Nogales, Mexico, to Tucson.”

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Abrams Says Heartbeat at Six Weeks Is ‘Manufactured’

Abrams Says Heartbeat at Six Weeks Is ‘Manufactured’

Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams made an unscientific remark on the topic of abortion during a recent campaign stop. 

“There is no such thing as a heartbeat at six weeks. It is a manufactured sound designed to convince people that men have the right to take control of a woman’s body,” Abrams said. 

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Lake Completes Two Stops on ‘Ask Me Anything’ Tour

Lake Completes Two Stops on ‘Ask Me Anything’ Tour

Arizona’s Republican gubernatorial nominee, who just this week announced that she would host an “Ask Me Anything” tour as her opponent continues to duck a debate, has completed the first stop on that tour. 

“My ‘Ask Me Anything Tour’ has been an incredible experience so far,” said Kari Lake on Twitter. “I’ve been meeting patriots from all over Arizona, who are so excited to hear my plans for this state.”

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Lee Calls for Investigation into Vanderbilt Transgender Clinic

Lee Calls for Investigation into Vanderbilt Transgender Clinic

Tennessee’s governor is calling for an investigation after a scandal emerged involving a transgender clinic at Vanderbilt University. 

“The ‘pediatric transgender clinic’ at Vanderbilt University Medical Center raises serious moral, ethical and legal concerns,” Lee said in a statement. “We should not allow permanent, life-altering decisions that hurt children or policies that suppress religious liberties, all for the purpose of financial gain. We have to protect Tennessee children, and this warrants a thorough investigation.”

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Exclusive: Senator Blackburn Completes Annual 95-County Tour of Tennessee

Exclusive: Senator Blackburn Completes Annual 95-County Tour of Tennessee

A U.S. Senator from Tennessee released a video recapping a 95 county tour of the state, which she does annually, meeting with members of local communities statewide. 

“We just finished our annual 95 county tour, visiting with all our county mayors, elected officials, our business owners and citizens of this great state,” said U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn in a video uploaded to her YouTube page. 

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More Headlines…

Proposed Constitutional Amendment Could Change Tennessee Governor’s Succession Line

A ballot initiative that will be voted upon this November could change the way Tennessee’s gubernatorial line of succession is structured. 

” On the November 8 ballot, Tennessee voters will have the opportunity to weigh in on a proposed amendment to the state constitution that establishes a framework for a temporary transition of power for the highest elected official in the state,” said a press release from the Tennessee General Assembly. “If approved, the amendment would be invoked if the governor is temporarily incapacitated and unable to perform his or her duties, most likely due to a medical emergency. Tennessee is the only state that does not have a provision in its state constitution to address this issue.”

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Kari Lake Launches ‘Ask Me Anything’ Tour After Hobbs’ Refusal to Debate

Arizona’s Republican gubernatorial nominee says she will conduct a wide-ranging tour to answer voters’ questions while her Democrat opponent remains noticeably absent from the campaign trail. 

Kari Lake said in a video posted to her Twitter account that she is announcing an “Ask Me Anything” tour in response to Secretary of State Katie Hobbs’s refusal to share a stage with her, escalating what has been a one-sided war in that arena. 

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Representative Cohen Says Trump ‘Threatening Another Insurrection’

A U.S. Congressman from Tennessee said over the weekend that former President Donald Trump is still a threat, even though he no longer holds office.

“If indicted, Trump said there will be problems in this country ‘the likes of which we’ve never seen,'” said Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN-09) on MSNBC. “He’s threatening another insurrection and encouraging his people to be prepared to do it. He is a present and imminent danger to our democracy.”

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Lake Widening Margin Against Hobbs in Latest Trafalgar Poll

The latest poll in Arizona’s high-profile gubernatorial race shows Republican Kari Lake widening her margin of victory over Democrat Katie Hobbs. 

The poll, conducted by the Trafalgar Group between September 14 and September 17 among 1080 likely 2022 voters, shows Lake with a lead of 50 percent to 45.6 percent. 

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Hagerty, Blackburn Introduce ‘Restoring Law and Order Act’

Tennessee’s two U.S. Senators have introduced legislation that would speed up the process of analyzing sexual assault kits after Memphis teacher Eliza Fletcher was abducted and killed by a habitual offender two weeks ago. 

“United States Senators Bill Hagerty (R-TN) and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) introduced the Restoring Law and Order Act in response to the violence plaguing communities across America,” according to a joint press release. “Compared to mid-2019, America’s largest cities have seen a 50% increase in homicides and a 36% increase in aggravated assaults. In Tennessee, Memphis has experienced a series of shockingly violent crimes.”

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Arizona Democrats Condemn Fellow Democrat State Rep for ‘Misogyny,’ ‘Sexism’

Two Democrat state representatives from Arizona have found themselves in a spat over one’s alleged “misogyny” and “sexism.”

Misogyny and sexism have no place in the Arizona Legislature. What [Rep. Brian Fernandez (D-District 4) did is wrong and not representative of our Democratic Party. We are a party where women are respected,” said Rep. Alma Hernandez (D-District 3), attaching an open letter dated September 16 in which she aired her grievances with Fernandez. 

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Twilio Says Layoffs Planned Through ‘Anti-Racist’ Lens

A technology company based in San Francisco plans to lay off 11 percent of its workforce, and plans to do so with race in mind. 

“As you all know, we are committed to becoming an Anti-Racist/Anti-Oppression company,” said Twilio CEO Jeff Lawson in a message to employees. “Layoffs like this can have a more pronounced impact on marginalized communities, so we were particularly focused on ensuring our layoffs – while a business necessity today – were carried out through an Anti-Racist/Anti-Oppression lens.”

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Another Law Enforcement Group Endorses Kari Lake

Arizona’s Republican gubernatorial nominee Wednesday announced that she has received an endorsement from yet another law enforcement organization. 

“I have been endorsed by the Maricopa County Deputies Law Enforcement Officer Association The McDLEA seeks to ‘promote the positive role of the law enforcement profession’ throughout the county. Our law enforcement officers will have my full support & I’m honored to have theirs,” Lake said on Twitter. 

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TBI’s Average Turnaround Time for Rape Kit Analysis Is 45 Weeks

According to data provided to The Tennessee Star by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI), the average time it takes for the state law enforcement agency to conduct analysis on sexual assault kits (SAKs) submitted to it by local law enforcement is 45 weeks. 

That figure accounts for SAKs that are reviewed by TBI’s Jackson crime lab. In its Nashville lab, TBI tests and analyzes SAKs in about 25 weeks. In its Knoxville lab, that figure is around 30 weeks. 

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TBI Says Standard Procedure Was Followed in Cleotha Abston Rape Case

In a statement provided Tuesday to The Tennessee Star, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) said it followed standard procedure on securing and testing a sexual assault kit (SAK) in a case related to Cleotha Abston, who is also accused of kidnapping and murdering Eliza Fletcher. 

The following is part of TBI’s statement:

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Memphis Science and History Museum Holding ‘Family Friendly’ Drag Show, Sparking Backlash

The Memphis Museum of Science and History is facing backlash after news emerged that it will hold a drag show for people of all ages on September 23. 

“Presenting the Museum of Science & History’s grand culmination of our Summer of Pride programming and a celebration of the LGBTQ+ community, the FIRST EVER MoSH DRAG SHOW!,” says an advertisement on the museum’s website. “This historic show will star a diverse cast of performers featuring different styles, expressions, and identities, showcasing some of the infinite ways in which we can manifest the art of drag. After the show, we’ll kick off our intergenerational dance party, where everyone is invited to come together and dance the night away. Join us for a night of art, music, dance, and community at the museum.”

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Katie Hobbs’ Education Plan Bashes School Vouchers

Democrat Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, running for Arizona’s highest office, released an education plan that bashes school vouchers and calls for tighter restrictions on charter schools. 

“Katie continues to oppose the universal expansion of school vouchers. As governor, she will work to roll back universal vouchers, which the legislature enacted against the will of voters this year,” according to the plan. “Vouchers should not have been expanded to provide an unaccountable means of enriching private schools and defunding our local public schools.”

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Eliza Fletcher Murder Suspect Charged with Kidnapping, Rape in Unrelated Case

New details have emerged about more alleged crimes committed by the suspect in Eliza Fletcher’s brutal kidnapping and murder. 

Cleotha Abston has been charged separately in an aggravated rape and aggravated kidnapping case stemming from September of 2021. He is also charged in that case with unlawful carrying or possession of a weapon.

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Katie Hobbs Officially Declines to Debate Kari Lake

After the Arizona Clean Elections Commission rejected Democrat Secretary of State Katie Hobbs’s proposal for dueling town halls with Republican gubernatorial opponent Kari Lake, Hobbs has officially declined a formal debate. 

“We must respectfully decline the invitation,” said a statement from Hobbs’s campaign. 

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