Tennessee Rep.-elect Mark Green questions CDC data on vaccines, autism

Incoming Tennessee Republican Rep. Mark Green, a physician, suggested vaccines could cause autism during a town hall meeting with his constituents this week. Green, 54, also called into question the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data regarding vaccines at the Tuesday event, the Tennessean reported. “Let me just say this about autism,” Green said. … Continue reading “Tennessee Rep.-elect Mark Green questions CDC data on vaccines, autism”

Incoming Tennessee Republican Rep. Mark Green, a physician, suggested vaccines could cause autism during a town hall meeting with his constituents this week.

Green, 54, also called into question the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data regarding vaccines at the Tuesday event, the Tennessean reported.

“Let me just say this about autism,” Green said. “I have committed to people in my community, up in Montgomery County, to stand on the CDC’s desk and get the real data on vaccines. Because there is some concern that the rise in autism is the result of the preservatives that are in our vaccines.”

“As a physician, I can make that argument, and I can look at it academically and make the argument against the CDC if they really want to engage me on it,” he continued.

He said some of the CDC’s data has been “maybe fraudulently managed.”

Green’s remarks came in response to a question from a mother of a young adult with autism who asked about cuts to Medicaid funding, according to the Tennessean.

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A former state senator, Green was elected in November to represent Tennessee’s 7th congressional district, which Republican Sen.-elect Marsha Blackburn currently represents.

He later told the newspaper that he “would encourage families to get vaccinated at this time,” as he has done with his own children.

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“There appears to be some evidence that as vaccine numbers increase, rates of autism increase,” Green said. “We need better research, and we need it fast. We also need complete transparency of any data. Vaccines are essential to good population health. But that does not mean we should not look closely at the correlation for any causation.”

According to the CDC, “there is no link between vaccines and autism.” The American Academy of Pediatrics, too, stresses “scientific evidence does not show any link between vaccines and autism” and provides guidelines for how to help hesitant parents.

Earlier this year, Green was President Trump's pick for Army secretary, but he ultimately withdrew his nomination after mounting criticism over remarks he's made about Muslim and gay Americans.

Kaitlyn Schallhorn is a Reporter for Fox News. Follow her on Twitter: @K_Schallhorn.

Earthquake, magnitude 4.4, rattles Tennessee, Georgia

A 4.4-magnitude earthquake was reported in Tennessee early Wednesday, officials said.

The quake hit about six miles north of Decatur around 4:15 a.m., according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The shaking was felt by residents as far away as Atlanta — about 149 miles south of the epicenter.

A 3.3 magnitude aftershock struck about 10 minutes later, the Center for Earthquake Research and Information reported.

Signs of major damage or injuries have yet to be reported.

The 4.4 was the second strongest quake on record to strike eastern Tennessee, according to the USGS. The strongest ever registered was a 4.7 magnitude near Maryville in 1973.

Several smaller earthquakes have rippled through Georgia in recent years, including a 1.9 magnitude in Walker County in August and a 2.7 quake in Catoosa County in January, WSB-TV reported. Last year, a 2.3 rattled the small community of Trion in Chatooga County.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

Undocumented immigrant sentenced to 50 years for molesting 6-year-old girl

A Guatemalan citizen living in the United States illegally was sentenced Monday to 50 years in prison for raping a 6-year-old girl in Tennessee.

Edwin Alfredo Velasquez-Curuchiche, 42, faced two counts of rape of a child, the Tennessean reported.

He will serve the sentence concurrently with another 50-year federal prison sentence for receiving child pornography, which is related to the child rape investigation.

He lived in the same trailer park as the girl’s family and befriended them, eventually tricking the mother into letting him borrow her house key and making a copy without her knowledge, prosecutors said.

On Oct. 29, 2015, Lebanon police detained him after he was found hiding in the child’s bedroom. The family had been at the store and the girl’s father found Curuchiche and held him until police arrived.

Police later found two video recordings dated Sept. 23, 2015 and Oct. 1 of the same year showing him molesting the child, prosecutors said. He was accused of sneaking into the family’s home on both dates to record himself molesting the child while she slept.

Neither video showed the girl's face, but unique birthmarks, shoes, clothing and bedding led authorities to determine the victim was the 6-year-old girl, the paper reported. 

He had been detained in 2013 when he tried entering the U.S. illegally. He failed to appear at an immigration hearing.

Nashville airport travelers stop to sing national anthem for children of fallen service members, viral video shows

Travelers at Nashville's busy airport over the weekend stopped to sing “The Star-Spangled Banner,” paying their respects to a plane full of children whose parents had died in combat.

“At the Nashville airport I walked out into the concourse to this scene @americanairlines was flying a plane full of children who had lost a parent in combat to Disneyworld on an all expenses paid trip and they threw a party for them at the gate,” Jen Tringale wrote on Facebook on Saturday.

"But when they announced them over the loud speaker and they lined up to board the plane the whole airport literally stopped and sang the national anthem with military present in salute. Most every person standing around, myself included was bawling at the sight of these kids and spouses who have paid so great a price for our country. To see all of this at Christmas time was so humbling.

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“Seeing the general public in an airport stand still to honor these kids was simply beautiful,” Tringale wrote.

The social media post had earned around 9,000 impressions and was shared approximately 6,100 times as of Monday evening.

Matt Richardson is an editor for Fox News. Follow him on Twitter @MRichardson713.

Tennessee inmate who chose fried chicken, electric chair death is executed

A Tennessee death row inmate who requested to die via the electric chair was executed Thursday night.

David Earl Miller, 61, was pronounced dead at 7:25 p.m. in Nashville, correction officials said. Miller, who spent 36 years on the state's death row, the longest of any inmate, was the third inmate to be executed this year in the state.

TENNESSEE DEATH ROW INMATE 2ND TO CHOOSE ELECTRIC CHAIR OVER LETHAL INJECTION IN STATE

When asked by the warden if he had any last words, Miller — whose last meal consisted of fried chicken, mashed potatoes, biscuits and coffee — said: "Beats being on death row."

He was convicted of killing Lee Standifer, 23, in 1981 in Knoxville. Standifer was a mentally handicapped woman who had been on a date with Miller the night she was repeatedly beaten, stabbed and dragged into a wooded area.

David Earl Miller was convicted of killing Lee Standifer, 23, in 1981 in Knoxville. Standifer was a mentally handicapped woman who had been on a date with Miller the night she was repeatedly beaten, stabbed and dragged into some woods. (Helen Standifer via AP)

Miller, in a handwritten note last month, requested to die via electric chair, rather than by lethal injection. Inmates in Tennessee whose crimes were committed before 1999 can choose electrocution over lethal injection.

He became the second person to request electrocution over lethal injection in Tennessee, behind Edmund Zagorski, who was put to death on Nov. 1.

Death row inmate chooses pickled pig knuckles as last meal

A clemency application made on behalf of Miller's legal team was denied by Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam last week.

Miller’s attorney asked for mercy on behalf of the inmate, saying if the convicted killer was tried today he would not be sentenced to death and “it is likely he would not even be convicted of first-degree murder."

The request, filed last week, argued Miller had “severe mental illness” at the time of the crime and “accepts responsibility for the death of his friend." His lawyer asked Miller’s life be spared so he can live the remainder of his years in prison.

The U.S. Supreme Court also refused to halt execution plans for Miller, lawyers for whom previously filed two applications seeking to stop it. The court, in an emailed statement, said the request for a stay was denied, with Justice Sonia Sotomayor dissenting.

Fox News’ Katherine Lam and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Nicole Darrah covers breaking and trending news for FoxNews.com. Follow her on Twitter @nicoledarrah.

‘Star Wars’ star Mark Hamill reacts to crime story about suspect named Luke Sky Walker

Sentencing a child to carry the name Luke Sky Walker through life is more of a crime than violating probation on a theft charge, according to "Star Wars" actor Mark Hamill, who recently reacted to news accounts of the arrest of a Tennessee man.

“The real crime here is Mr. & Mrs. Walker saddling this poor guy with that name in the first place,” Hamill tweeted early Sunday about Walker’s probation violation arrest three days earlier.

LUKE SKY WALKER LANDS IN JAIL AFTER ARREST IN TENNESSEE

Hamill also embedded the hashtag #AlsoTooShortForAStormtrooper — a comment on Walker’s height, which was shown as just under 5 feet 6 inches in his mugshot photo.

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Walker, 21, of Johnson City, was arrested in connection with a felony theft charge. The Force was not with him, as he was being held in Carter County jail with no bond, pending further legal action, according to jail records.

Hamill is best known for his portrayal of Luke Skywalker in the "Star Wars" film series.

Luke Sky Walker lands in jail after arrest in Tennessee

The Force was not with Luke Sky Walker when he was arrested this week by Tennessee police, according to a report.

Walker, 21, of Johnson City, Tenn., was arrested Thursday on a charge of violating probation, WJHL-TV reports.

He was on probation in connection with a felony theft charge, the station reported.

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Walker was being held without bond at the Carter County jail, according to online records.

He was arrested in 2017 on charges of stealing 46 road signs with three cohorts, the Elizabethton Star reported at the time.

Walker and the others were found with the stolen signs in the back seat of a car after a traffic stop in Carter County, according to the paper.

Police officer delivered baby on side of busy highway: ‘She showed up like an angel’

A Tennessee police officer is getting her “angel” wings after helping a mom in a “scary” situation deliver her baby on the side of a busy highway west of Nashville.

Bridgette Crumley, along with her husband, three-year-old son, and mother-in-law, were all packed in the car early Tuesday morning when they realized they weren’t going to make it to the hospital in time for delivery.

“She just started coming out,” Crumley told FOX 17. “My water didn't even break.”

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In a state of panic, the family pulled over near a car dealership on Highway 46 and called 911 for help.

Dickson Police Officer Sierra Repgrogal arrived as the newborn baby was halfway out.

“My mother-in-law was praying and that’s when she showed up like an angel,” Crumley said, adding she was “just going to work like she had done this before. She never left my sight and just started to grab and pull while I pushed.”

By the time EMS had arrived, the officer had already delivered the child and had the baby safely wrapped in her mother's arms.

“I was freaking out a little bit, but I knew I couldn’t just sit there and think about it, so I did what I knew had to be done to make sure the baby and the mama were okay,” Reprogal said. “I’ll definitely remember it for the rest of my life.”

And so will the Crumley family.

To show their gratitude for their new "hero," they named their newborn girl, Isabella Sierra-Marie Crumley.

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The Dickson Police Department shared the “outstanding job” on Facebook, noting how unexpected an officer’s job is:

“One minute, you may be holding the hand of someone who is taking their last breathe…..or, on this day with Officer Reprogal, you may be watching a new life take its first breath.”

Caleb Parke is an associate editor for FoxNews.com. You can follow him on Twitter @calebparke