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Officials Challenge Residents To Increase Census Response Rate

Greeneville and Greene County officials have teamed up to share the importance of being counted in the 2020 census and are challenging residents to beat the 2010 response rate.

A local committee has been appointed by Greene County Mayor Kevin Morrison to work toward ensuring that every local resident is counted in the 2020 census, according to a news release from the town.

The population numbers gained through the 2020 Census will be crucial in determining levels of funding for roads, schools, health care and a variety of programs that impact the community, the release stated.

“Dollars are apportioned out to us based on our population,” Morrison explained. He gave an example of population being a “heavily weighted factor” in whether national chain restaurants and other businesses locate here.

“Help us recruit business and industry by standing up and being counted,” he said.

The committee is seeking local census workers, especially in the areas of Tusculum and Mosheim. To apply online, visit www.2020census.gov/jobs.

The committee also has applied for a grant for a local marketing campaign to share awareness about the 2020 Census, the release stated. Morrison and Greeneville City Administrator Todd Smith agreed to provide funding at a split of 70 percent county and 30 percent city, up to $12,000, with hopes that the grant will cover most of the cost.

Moving into the partnership phase of its efforts, the committee is seeking individuals, groups, and agencies who are interested in holding events and sharing information on the importance of being counted.

Anyone interested in helping can contact Justin Reaves, Chief Deputy of the Greene County Election Commission, at 423-798-1715 or justin.reaves@greenecountytngov.com. Reaves is a member of the census commitee.

One of the committee’s partners is Greeneville Mayor W.T. Daniels, who has issued a challenge for citizens to “Bee Counted.”

Daniels will have a sidekick named Benny The Bee with him during census time as a fun way to raise awareness about the challenge of beating the local response rate in the 2010 Census.

To see the ongoing adventures of Benny and the Mayor, visit the Town of Greeneville’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/TownofGreeneville.

Beginning March 12, households will receive official mail with detailed information on how to respond to the 2020 Census online, by phone, or by mail, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

In April, census takers will begin visiting college students who live on campus, people living in senior centers, and others who live among large groups of people. Census takers also begin in April conducting quality check interviews to help ensure an accurate count.

In May through July, census takers will begin visiting homes that haven’t responded to the 2020 Census to help make sure everyone is counted.

The U.S. Census Bureau stresses that responses to the census are protected by law and cannot be released to identify citizens individually. The information is used for statistical purposes only, such as helping inform decisions for new hospitals, schools and roads, according to the bureau’s website.

For more information about the census, visit www.2020census.gov.

A Little Sunshine

Some Roads Remain Under Water In Greene County

Additional rainfall flowing over already-saturated ground Thursday morning contributed to the possibility of localized flooding, especially in areas of poor drainage, according to the National Weather Service.

Caution is advised traveling on all county roads.

“Do not drive through standing water and be vigilant of all road conditions because there may be some roads we haven’t seen or been reported on,” Rector said.

The Greene County Office of Emergency Management reported barricades on the following roads: North Massengill Road, Holder Road and North Massengill Road near North Mohawk Road.

High water signs are posted on the following roads: Spears Dykes Road, Marvin Road, Toby Road, Sunnydale Road, Johnson Road, Lauderdale Road, Holly Creek Road and Gilbreath Mill Road.

Poplar Springs Road remains closed due due a culvert washout last week, Greene County Highway Department Coordinator Gary Rector said Thursday morning.

Showers were expected to taper off by 11 a.m. Thursday. New precipitation up to a half-inch was forecast. Wind gusts as high as 20 miles per hour are possible in Greeneville.

According to the National Weather Service, about an inch of rain fell during the overnight hours.

Cooler weather will move in this afternoon, with the temperature dropping to about 44 degrees by 5 p.m. The forecast low temperature overnight is about 26 degrees.

“It’s looking better today, until next week at least,” Rector said.

The weather did not cause any changes for the Greeneville or Greene County schools systems as both were on a regular schedule for Thursday.

While there were reports of downed trees were received by officials Wednesday night due to the windy and wet conditions. Greeneville Light & Power System reported that there was a minor outage that affected about 75 customers and some power blinks overnight.

Additional Charges Filed Against Stanley Mossburg

Stanley Eric Mossburg allegedly used credit cards and other possessions of two people found murdered in October 2019 in a house in Polk County, Florida.

The alleged actions led to additional charges being filed earlier this month against Mossburg, charged in connection with the killings of the two Winter Haven residents and the murder earlier in October 2019 of Christopher Scott Short in Greeneville.

Mossburg, 26, was charged in an earlier indictment with two counts of first-degree murder, three counts of attempted first-degree murder of a law enforcement officer, two counts of armed kidnapping, robbery with a firearm and other felonies.

The state of Florida has filed a notice of intent to seek the death penalty for Mossburg, who entered a not guilty plea to the crimes he is charged with. Mossburg now faces a total of 48 charges in Florida, according to court documents.

Mossburg was additionally charged Feb. 4 with three counts of possession of stolen property, three counts of felony petit theft, two counts of use or possession of personal identification of a decreased person, criminal use of personal identification and illegal use of a credit card more than two times.

He was arraigned on the new charges Feb. 5 in Polk County Circuit Court and entered not guilty pleas to the counts. Mossburg has an appearance hearing scheduled March 10 on the charges in Polk County.

Tennessee prosecutors have said that they won’t be able to extradite Mossburg until Florida court proceedings are complete. Florida court officials have said that a trial this year in Polk County is possible.

The body of Short, 33, of Greenevile, was found on the morning of Oct. 2, 2019, outside the Celebrity Coin Laundry in a plaza on East Andrew Johnson Highway.

He was murdered after he went about 11 p.m. on Oct. 1 to do some laundry. Video evidence shows Short being accosted by a man armed with a knife inside the laundromat who authorities say is Mossburg.

Mossburg, a native of the Spartanburg, South Carolina, area, is charged in Tennessee with first-degree murder and other felonies in connection with the killing of Short.

Mossburg had been staying in a camp in a wooded area in Greeneville near the laundromat before Short’s death. Mossburg allegedly took Short’s car and drove to the Spartanburg area, sold the car and eventually took a bus to Orlando, Florida, before making his way to Polk County.

Authorities say Mossburg used a knife to kill Marguerite Ethel Morey and Kenneth Rex Beaver in the Winter Haven house they shared with survivor Thomas D. Kohl. Mossburg allegedly held Kohl hostage in the house after he returned home.

Mossburg left the Winter Haven house early on Oct. 14, 2019, in Morey’s sport utility vehicle. He later returned to within several blocks of the murders and barricaded himself in a nearby house.

Mossburg allegedly fired gunshots at Polk County sheriff’s deputies trying to take him into custody during the night of Oct. 14. He fought with and injured a police K-9 dog early on the morning of Oct. 15 in the garage of the house before being apprehended.

A discovery document filed in December 2019 in Polk County Circuit Court outlines evidence that will likely be presented at trial, along with a list of potential witnesses.

Witnesses include Polk County Sheriff’s Office detectives and deputies, an “expert chemist,” experts in DNA and firearms, a medical examiner, doctor, representatives of a Florida pawn shop, a Facebook records custodian, neighbors who live near where the murders took place, and Kohl.

There are about 140 items of evidence to potentially be presented at trial listed in the discovery document. Physical evidence and other items that prosecutors will be used to establish the movements and alleged actions of Mossburg before and after the deaths of Morey and Beaver in the Winter Haven house.

Forensic evidence taken from Mossburg includes gunshot residue, fingernail swabs, fingernail clippings, oral DNA swabs and underwear.

In a document filed in November 2019 in 10th Judicial Circuit Court in Florida, Mossburg was formally notified that the state intends to seek the death penalty. His alleged actions in the murders of Morey and Beaver were “especially heinous, atrocious or cruel,” the document states.

Florida State Attorney Brian Haas wrote in a notice of intent to Mossburg that the state intends to prove eight aggravating factors at trial justifying capital punishment.

One states the capital felony “was a homicide and was committed in a cold, calculated and premeditated manner without any pretense of moral or legal justification.”

Mossburg, also known by the nickname “Woo Woo,” remains held without bond in the Polk County Jail. Mossburg is considered dangerous to others in the facility and is a potential escape risk, according to remarks on his booking sheet by a supervising corrections officer.