Thursday, December 31, 2009

Man Shot While Allegedly Burglarizing Car

Cookeville police are continuing their investigation into a shooting incident which was reported early Thursday. At about 12:40 am Thursday, authorities responded to a burglary incident at 4601 Lovelady Road. A resident there, 29-year-old Byron Justin Parrott, had discovered an alleged burglar in his father's vehicle. He confronted the suspect and attempted to detain him at gunpoint. But -- according to the victim’s statement and other evidence at the scene -- the suspect did not comply with the victim’s instructions and became aggressive. Police say that resulted in Parrott shooting first into the air and then at the suspect, who was later identified as 33-year-old Kenneth Wayne Jones. Police say even through he was shot several times, Jones managed to flee the scene. Some two hours later, he was located at a home on Joe Rawlings Road after his father called the sheriff's department. Jones was taken to Cookeville Regional Medical Center for treatment and later transferred to Vanderbilt Hospital. As in all use-of-force incidents, police say this particular incident will be thoroughly reviewed by investigators and then by the District Attorney Generals Office. Det. Sgt. Tammy Goolsby is investigating.

Thieves Keeping Up Pre-Holiday Activities

Christmas is over, but thieves in the Cookeville area are still at work. A resident of North Maple Avenue told police that someone broke into his truck this week and stole a .20 gauge shotgun, a box of shells, a digital camera and a five hundred dollar GPS unit. Meanwhile, an LCD television, a video game system, and several games and movies were stolen out of an apartment on Carolina Avenue. Burglars made entry by prying open a back door. In a separate case, a Tennessee Tech student on Whitney Avenue told police that while he was gone over Christmas, someone broke into his apartment as well -- but since they had been the victim of a similar burglary over Thanksgiving, he and his roommates had taken all of their valuables to the parents' homes -- including the TVs and computers.

Stealing From An Employer, Part 2

A Putnam County woman who allegedly tried to steal from both her employer and a customer has been issued a citation for theft. According to a report by Officer Brandon Tayes, 27-year-old Christina Lynn Goolsby of Brown Ridge Road, Baxter, was working as a cashier at K-Mart when a customer came through and purchased seven gift cards. Store officials claim that Goolsby rang up all seven cards, gave the customer six of them, and kept one for herself. They say she later used that card to make purchases at the store. When the customer complained, he was given a replacement card and Goolsby allegedly admitted to the theft. A similar case of employee theft was reported to police last week.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Phone Card Dispute Leads To Charges

A dispute over a phone card has led to aggravated assault charges being filed against two area men. Sgt. Ken Clement of the Cookeville police department says it began as he was patrolling on North Dixie Avenue about three o'clock in the morning and noticed three men walking northbound. He says it appeared that the first two men were trying to get away from the third one -- who had what appeared to be a large kitchen knife in his hand. Clement turned his patrol car around and ordered the man with the knife to drop the weapon and get on the ground. That man was identified as 23-year-old James Lewis Myers of Commodore Circle in Baxter. Myers claimed that the two men had come to his door armed with knives and demanded ten dollars. He says he got his own knife out to protect himself. The other parties involved claimed that Myers had sold them a phone card that did not work and that they were simply trying to get their money back. Myers denied knowing anything about that, but police say none of the individuals were being entirely truthful. Myers and one of the other men, identified as 32-year-old Donnie Allen Puckett of Hilham, were both charged with assault. Police say Puckett had two knives in his right rear pocket at the time of his arrest.

Arrested With Someone Else's Urine

A Cookeville man who was wanted on outstanding warrants was arrested on Tuesday after being noticed by an off-duty police officer, who was working security at The Pain Clinic on Neal Street. The report says Officer Jeff Glass recognized 23-year-old Robert Joseph Spurlock of Heartland Lane when he showed up at the clinic to get a prescription. Police say Spurlock was wanted for failing to show up in court on an unrelated charge. While searching him, they claim that they found a pill bottle with a liquid in it that Spurlock allegedly told them was someone else's urine ... that he was going to use so he could pass a drug test. When the staff at the clinic was advised of that information, they reportedly took the prescription that Spurlock had just been given away from him.

Red Light Running Woman Causes Wreck

A grand jury will decide whether charges should be brought against a Wilson County woman who allegedly caused an accident by running a red light. Cookeville police say the 25-year-old Lebanon woman was disoriented after the wreck at the intersection of East Stevens Street and Jefferson Avenue. They say they found a half empty bottle of Xanax, an empty bottle of Adderall, a small amount of marijuana and a glass pipe in her car. Witnesses claim that she had stopped in the middle of a nearby intersection before striking a curb and then accelerating through the red light at Stevens and Jefferson. A passenger in the other car involved in the wreck reportedly sustained a broken nose and a four-inch laceration that required several stitches to close. Officer Michael Herrick says charges are pending the results of a TBI lab analysis and says the case will be taken to the grand jury.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Sewer System Leaks Being Checked

Some residents of Cookeville are being asked to pour some water down the drain today -- especially if it's a drain they don't use very often. The city is testing for leaks in its sewer system in the area north of the Belle Acres golf course. They do that by pumping smoke into manholes and seeing where it comes out. City officials say the smoke will enter lines that provide sewer service to houses in the area being tested, but they say the smoke should exit through the roof vents. It should not enter your home, they say, unless there is defective plumbing or drain traps that are dry. That's why the city is asking residents living in the test area to pour water into drains that are seldom used. If you experience smoke, contact the water department at 520-5239. Officials also say the smoke used is non-toxic and harmless. The affected area is located west of Highway 111 and east of Breeding Avenue. It includes homes located south of 10th Street, along North Old Kentucky Road and Broad Street

Unusual Theft Cases Reported in Cookeville

A number of unusual theft cases are being investigated by Cookeville police, including one in which 12 full tanks of propane were stolen from a Cookeville convenience store. Police say someone cut the lock on the cage that housed the tanks at the Breadbox on West Jackson Street and removed all of them. The loss was placed at $600. Meanwhile, twelve pallets of metal shelving intended for a local CVS store were stolen, along with the 53-foot trailer they were being hauled in. The trailer, valued at $25,000, was stolen while it was parked at a business on South Willow Avenue. The trailer belonged to a transport company in Murfreesboro. And one bag of individually wrapped micro fiber towels, two laundry bags full of industrial air freshener dispensers and a silver "king size" comforter were found hidden in the bushes off Humble Drive. Officer Jimmy Blankenship noticed the items while he was patrolling and later confirmed that they had been stolen from work vans owned by Unifirst.

Forgery Alleged In Check Cashing Case

Forgery charges are pending against a Sparta man who allegedly tried to cash a $1,500 check at a Cookeville bank drive-thru last week. Police say it happened at a branch of the Bank of Putnam County. 20-year-old Bojan Allen Williams of Canary Lane, Sparta, reportedly presented a check with a name on it that the teller recognized. But when the teller did not see the man in the vehicle with Williams, an investigation began which resulted in the discovery that the check had been stolen from a Crossville man.

Dog Shooting and Dog Theft Being Investigated

The shooting of one dog and the theft of two others are among the cases under investigation today by the Putnam County sheriff's department. A woman on Heartland Lane told the sheriff's department that someone had stolen two dogs from her -- one a black cocker spaniel and the other a yellow retriever. The woman said that she had owned one of the dogs for ten years and the other for five years and that they had never before left her yard. They were reported missing on Christmas Day. Meanwhile, a resident of Long Lane told the sheriff's department that he found a dog bleeding near his home and took it to the vet to discover the animal had been shot in the head with a .22 caliber bullet and that the bullet was still in the dog's jaw. Authorities told the man, who had spent more than four hundred dollars on veterinary bills, that he could keep the dog as long as no one else claimed ownership.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Three Shoplifters, Two Incidents, One Store

Three people have been cited for shoplifting in two separate incidents at one Cookeville store. Loss prevention officers at the Kohl's store on Jackson Street claim that 34-year-old Tina Michelle Young of Sparta took two bracelets and two bottles of perfume without paying for them; meanwhile, 36-year-old Hollie Dawn Nash and 43-year-old James Glen Whittenburg, both of Thomas Road, were cited for trying to steal some $200 worth of clothing. They reportedly ran from the scene when confronted, but were caught nearby.

Woman Charged With Stealing From Employer

A January 25th court date has been set for a Smith County woman, accused of stealing from her Cookeville employer. Police say 19-year-old Jessica Bernice Vaden of Gordonsville was arrested after an internal investigation at the Belk Department store, where she was working. She is accused of purchasing items from the store, returning them for a refund, but then keeping the items instead of putting them back on the shelves. She also allegedly used gift cards to make fraudulent refunds. She is charged with theft of property.

Assault Charges Brought In Two Cases

A Cookeville man was arraigned yesterday on charges of aggravated assault, following an incident outside a local bar on Christmas Eve. Police say 21-year-old Courtney Michael Barrett of East 6th Street was arrested the day after the incident in the parking lot of the Hawg Barn tavern. The 19-year-old victim told police that he was attacked as he was sitting in his car when a man he knows came up and asked to use his cell phone. He says that man then hit him in the nose and stole his wallet, which contained more than two thousand dollars in cash. The victim says that as he was struggling to get his wallet back, Barrett came up and also began attacking him. Meanwhile, in a separate case, 35-year-old Ruben Vasquez Jr. of North Chestnut Street in Monterey was charged with assault after allegedly hitting a homeowner on Gibbons Road with a stick. Vasquez had reportedly been fleeing the scene of an accident on Highway 111 when he encountered the homeowner and knocked him down.

Jobless Figures Released

The final unemployment figures that will be released before the end of 2009 are now available and they show that Putnam County's jobless rate was down slightly from the month before, but still up significantly from a year ago. The November jobless rate was 9.5 percent -- one-tenth of a point lower than it was in October, but 2.7 percent higher than it was in November of 2008. Out of a labor force of 34,000 workers, 3,200 were looking for a job. Meanwhile, in Overton County, the jobless rate was 11.5 percent; it was 12.4 percent in Jackson County, and 13.6 percent in White County.

Craft Center To Offer Classes

Tennessee Tech University’s Appalachian Center for Craft will offer evening classes in ceramics beginning Monday, January 25th. The workshops run one night a week from 6 to 9 p.m., for eight weeks. On Monday evenings, Functional Handbuilding with instructor Melody Tiemann will be offered. Officials say this class is appropriate for all skill levels, and includes working with low-fire terracotta clay and surface design techniques. The Tuesday evening class, Beginning Wheel Throwing, also taught by Tiemann, focuses on helping beginners become comfortable with the processes of throwing on the potter’s wheel. The goal is for students to be able to successfully throw 6-inch tall vases and vessels and 6-inch wide bowls by the end of the course. For more information, call 372-3051.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Mass Transit Service Delayed in Cookeville

A mass-transit bus service that was scheduled to start in Cookeville next week has been put off. Officials with the Upper Cumberland Human Resource Agency say the start of the public transit bus service has been delayed because the buses won't be available on time. They say the service has been postponed from January 1st to February 1st, so the three 26-passenger buses can be delivered. When it DOES get started, the bus system will run a 10-mile loop around the city, stopping at designated points along the way. The agency received $178,000 in stimulus money for the first year of operation. Partners in the project are the city of Cookeville, Tennessee Tech University and the Cookeville Regional Medical Center. Officials say they expect the service to provide transportation for up to 2,000 people.

Cookeville Museum Closing

This is the last week that a Cookeville museum will be open for regular hours. The museum and its owner, Jerry Jacene, will be moving to Kingsport next year. Jacene says the Highlands Prehistoric Museum will be closing on Thursday to begin preparations for the move. At its current location since June, it had attracted about 3,800 visitors. Jacene says he hopes to reopen the museum in Kingsport by March, and says reserved tours of the Cookeville site will be available during the month of January. A full T-Rex skeleton that's reportedly larger than the one on display at the Smithsonian will be among the exhibits on display.

Cookeville Grandfather Wins Georgia Lottery

A Cookeville grandfather may be in store for a better than expected year financially, after winning a lottery prize in Georgia over the holidays. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution says that when 75-year-old Bethel Pippin of Cookeville realized he was a big winner, the first words out of his mouth were, "Oh my goodness." Pippin won $2,010 a week for one year, totaling a top prize of $104,520, playing the instant game 2010 Cash Celebration. He was on his way to Florida when he stopped at a Shell Food Mart in Marietta, Georgia. While there, he bought the ticket and gas, and scratched the ticket in his car. "Then," he says, "I went on to Florida and had a very nice weekend." Pippin also told the paper he may just give his seven grandchildren some money.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Shoplifter Cited; Then Taken To Jail

A slight uptick in the number of shoplifting incidents has been reported as the holiday gets closer. Cookeville police say 43-year-old Bobby Ray Julian of Buffalo Valley Road was cited for shopliting at Walmart after he allegedly went through the checkout and paid for a less expensive item and then returned to a location in the store where he had placed a more expensive version of the same item and tried to leave with it. Julian was also taken into custody on an outstanding warrant for violating his probation in a previous case. Meanwhile, an employee of Shoe Sensation told police that two teenage girls had stolen two pairs of women's shoes, valued at more than a hundred dollars. The two young white females were in the back of the store and ran away when approached by the employee. She gave chase, but lost them in the parking lot.t and paid for a less expensive item and then returned to a location in the store where he had placed a more expensive version of the same item and tried to leave with it. Julian was also taken into custody on an outstanding warrant for violating his probation in a previous case. Meanwhile, an employee of Shoe Sensation told police that two teenage girls had stolen two pairs of women's shoes, valued at more than a hundred dollars. The two young white females were in the back of the store and ran away when approached by the employee. She gave chase, but lost them in the parking lot.

Cookeville Residents Given Environmental Award

The Tennessee Environmental Council has given Brian Paddock of Cookeville one of its 2009 Outstanding Volunteer Awards. Paddock, an environmental lawyer and chairman of the Tennessee Chapter Sierra Club transportation Committeee, had a 35-year career as a lawyer and lobbyist, but has spent the past 10 years in environmental law doing most of his work on a pro bono basis. He has drafted legislation, found legislative sponsors and worked with speakers and other individuals and groups to support passage of environment-friendly bills, including drafting legislation requiring a balanced representation on state regulatory boards, and legislation requiring open meetings for local electric coops. He also publishes a monthly newsletter for Save our Cumberland Mountains, and his home has a 6.25kw Solar system.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Holiday Vandals At Work In The Area

A number of incidents of holiday vandalism are under investigation today by local authorities. A Putnam County man reported to the sheriff's office that a mailbox on a 4 by 4 post had been tossed through the back window of his mother's 1996 Town Car while it was parked in her driveway on Phifer Mountain Road. Authorities say the mailbox had been stolen from a home on Stone Seminary Road. An extra watch was placed on both homes. Meanwhile, a Cookeville businessman is offering a reward for information on who has been shooting out the windows of several buildings he owns on West Jackson Street, across from the Kohl's store. Herb Sweetland says that someone has shot at the windows at least four times over the past several months. He's offering a one thousand dollar reward in the case. Anyone with information can call Crimestoppers at 520-7867.

Drug Charges Filed In Separate Cases

Two separate investigations have led to drug charges being filed against two Putnam County men. Police say 23-year-old Joshua Shane Barber of Freehill Road, Cookeville, was charged with possession of a controlled substance after Officer Chris Melton made an investigation at the Walmart store. Allegedly, Barber was in a checkout line at the store and had 12 Oxycodone pills, in his pocket, along with $1,787 in cash. Meanwhile, 24-year-old Daniel Adam Boyce of Silver Point was charged with possession of marijuana for resale after police discovered the drugs during a traffic stop. He was also charged with illegally carrying a weapon. Boyce allegedly had three bags and two plastic containers of marijuana, and police say a fully loaded Glock handgun was on top of the container.

Airport Receives State Grant Funding

Governor Phil Bredesen announced today that a federal aeronautics grant in the amount of $36,000 has been approved for the Livingston Municipal Airport in Overton County. Funds from this aeronautics grant will be used for a self-fueling system at the airport. The grants are made available through the Tennessee Department of Transportation’s Aeronautics Division. Except for routine expenditures, grant applications are reviewed by the Tennessee Aeronautics Commission (TAC), which is a five member board charged with policy planning and with regulating changes in the state airport system plan.

Traffic Stop Leads To Drug Charge

A Cookeville man, who allegedly ran a stop sign while talking on his cell phone, is today facing a charge of possessing drugs for re-sale. Cookeville police officer Josh Ward says that 49-year-old Dallas Carl Allen of Shag Rag Road came close to striking Ward's patrol vehicle when he rolled through the stop sign at Mahler and West 7th Street. Ward alleges that Allen was driving on a revoked license and says that a search turned up more than 50 valium pills for which Allen did not have a prescription. Ward says Allen's cell phone was also confiscated because it allegedly contained several text messages related to drug sales.

Traffic Wreck Leads To DUI Charge

A January 15th court date has been set for a man who allegedly fled the scene of an accident after police arrived to investigate. According to the report by Officer Jeremy Lintz, the wreck occurred on North Dixie Avenue, but the driver -- identified as 18-year-old Justin Lynne Phann of Shipley Road -- allegedly drove away, dragging what was described as a "medium-sized tree." A short distance away, his vehicle became disabled and he was placed under arrest for DUI, among other charges. Meanwhile, police say a Celina woman was also charged with DUI after an officer observed her vehicle driving down the road without any headlights. 20-year-old Terra Rose Kimes allegedly failed several field sobriety tests after being pulled over on 18th Street.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Con Artists Back At Work In Cookeville

Cookeville police say they're not sure if the same con men are involved, but they are advising residents of a scam in which someone comes to your door claiming to represent an alarm company and asks to gain entry so he can change out the keypad. It happened last week at a home on South Cedar Street. Police say the victim did not admit the suspect to her home and later called the alarm company who advised her that they had no work order on file for the residence. Authorities say the scam is similar to one in which two men posing as employees of the Cookeville Housing Authority knocked on a door and claimed to be checking smoke alarms. In that case, they stole money and other items from the apartment they gained access to.

Robbery and Attempted Murder Alleged

Attempted murder charges have been filed against a Putnam County man who allegedly tried to run over sheriff's deputies who were conducting a drug investigation. Authorities say 29-year-old Rocky William Hunter of Hiram Brown Road, Cookeville, is also charged with robbery and aggravated assault. They say he and a woman identified as 23-year-old Sierra Lasha Grisham of Gainesboro allegedly took money from an undercover officer who was conducting a drug investigation, but then fled the scene, trying to steal the money and also nearly striking other deputies. Grisham was also charged with robbery. They'll be in court on the charges December 28th.

Commission OK's County Clerk Elevator Request

The Putnam County commission has voted, 18-to-5, to include an elevator in the construction of a new space for the county clerk's office. The clerk's office will be moving to the old Health Department building on Dixie Avenue, once renovations are completed. A majority of the commissioners agreed with county clerk Wayne Nabors that the addition of an elevator, which will be accessible to the public, was needed. Among those voting against the idea was commissioner Jere Mason, who said the $115,000 cost was, effectively, being thrown away because the elevator was not required by ADA standards or by city codes. Meanwhile, on a separate issue, the commission voted 19-to-4 to allow county fire chief Daryl Blair to apply for a Homeland Security grant which would pay the salaries of up to five firefighters. If the grant is awarded and the county accepts it, they would also accept the obligation to pay those salaries once the grant runs out.

Putnam County Commission To Meet

The regular meeting of the Putnam County commission tonight will be taken up with discussions of budget amendments, fire protection and other issues -- including whether or not an elevator should be included in the construction of a new county clerk's office. The clerk's office will be moving into space recently vacated by the county health department -- once all of the renovations are completed, and county clerk Wayne Nabors says a private elevator, intended for use by his employees, should be a part of the building design. His request to include that elevator was rejected by the commission a few months ago, but is back on the agenda for discussion tonight. Also tonight, the commission will talk about applying for a Homeland Security grant which would pay the salaries of several county firefighters and will discuss how to assist DeKalb County in their firefighting efforts -- especially those in the areas on the Putnam County side of Center Hill Lake. The meeting begins tonight at six.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Experimental Radio Research Funded Again

Congressman Bart Gordon has announced that he was able to secure funding for Tennessee Tech University to help design innovative radios for military use. TTU’s Cognitive Radio Institute will receive $800,000, which will be used to design radio experimental models and system test-beds that are resistant to conventional jamming techniques. Gordon says, "TTU is on the cutting edge of research when it comes to developing radios that can help our soldiers communicate in the battlefield." The funding TTU will receive is an extension of its ultra-wideband test-bed prototype project that has received funding from the Office of Naval Research, the Army Research Office and the National Science Foundation. The technology being worked on is capable of identifying an unused broadcast frequency when an enemy is attempting to jam the original signal. Funding for the project was included in the 2010 fiscal year Defense Appropriations Act, which is expected to be signed into law.

Patients "Satisfied" With Cookeville Hospital

Cookeville Regional Medical Center has been named a recipient of the 2009-2010 HealthGrades Outstanding Patient Experience Award, one of ten hospitals in Tennessee to receive the designation, and placing CRMC in the top 15 percent in that category nationwide. The rating was based on the result of a patient satisfaction survey conducted by the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems. It includes 27 questions related to physician and nurse communication, responsiveness, noise levels and cleanliness, post-discharge care instructions and other criteria.

Tech Grads Told To "Sing"

Write your own song in life and sing it out loud. That was the message to Tennessee Tech University graduates Saturday from speaker John W. Rose, a Tech alumnus, farmer, entrepreneur and public servant. Degrees were presented to 721 men and women during ceremonies at Hooper Eblen Center. Saturday's TTU graduates hail from 72 Tennessee counties, 26 states and 12 other countries. The undergraduate degrees awarded represent 40 fields of study and those who received graduate degrees represent 20 fields. The oldest graduate was born in 1918; the youngest in 1989. To date, more than 66,000 graduates have received degrees from Tech.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Petting Zoo Business On The Increase

A Cookeville family's unusual petting zoo is in high demand this time of year. That's because Ronald and Joyce Maynard and their two sons raise reindeer. Joyce Maynard says they begin making the rounds with the animals the day after Thanksgiving and nearly every day is booked until Christmas. At some of the events, the couple dress up as Santa and Mrs. Claus and bring a sleigh. Ronald Maynard told the Cookeville Herald Citizen the most common question they get from children is whether the reindeer can fly. He said the petting zoo began as a hobby but is now a full-time job. Also around the holidays, the petting zoo's camels, llamas and donkeys are used in live nativity scenes.

Daffodils On The Way To Monterey

Governor Phil Bredesen has announced that the state will provide a Tennessee Roadscapes Grant in the amount of $18,900 to the town of Monterey in Putnam County. Bredesen said, "These funds will help make improvements along the roadways that serve as the front door to our communities." The Monterey Roadscapes project includes planting some 10,000 daffodil bulbs at two Interstate 40 exits (300 and 301). Once planted, officials say the daffodil bulbs will reappear each spring and will continue to multiply each year providing a beautiful, naturalized landscape. The Tennessee Roadscapes initiative was developed in 2006 as a partnership between community organizations across the state and TDOT to create inviting spaces through an integrated approach to roadside landscaping. TDOT funds 80 percent of the cost of a project with the grant recipient contributing the remaining 20 percent. Grants are derived from federal funds that are specifically earmarked for roadway enhancement projects.

Putnam Teacher Gains Certification

A Putnam County educator is among several dozen statewide being recognized today for attaining National Board Certification -- a stringent, voluntary certification process administered by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. Linda Bennett was the single teacher from the Putnam County School District to earn the certification this year. She joins Jessica Erdeljac and Barbara Whitefield, who gained their certifications in 2007. Candidates undergo a 10-part evaluation process specific to the teacher’s discipline, including performance assessments of teaching strategies and written exercises to assess subject knowledge. To be eligible, a teacher must be a college graduate with a professional teaching license and have at least three years experience in the classroom.

Fire Protection Issues To Be Discussed

The Putnam County commission on Monday will be discussing at least two items related to fire protection. The commissioners will consider authorizing Fire Chief Daryl Blair to apply for a Homeland Security Firefighter Grant which will provide funds for 5 full time firefighters for
2 years in an amount of $162,500 per year. If the grant is awarded and accepted, the county would have to fund these positions for the 3rd year. Meanwhile, the commission will also talk about allowing the Putnam County Fire Department to provide help to DeKalb County as needed and to ask DeKalb County to address problems with their basic emergency services.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Road Rage Alleged In Buffalo Valley

A January 25th court date has been set for a Putnam County man charged with aggravated assault in what authorities described as a case of road rage. The sheriff's department says it happened on Wednesday when 69-year-old Jack Pullum of St. Mary's Road reportedly stopped his vehicle in front of a dump truck that had backfired as it passed his house. The driver of the truck told authorities that when he got out of his vehicle to explain the situation, Pullum pointed a 30-30 rifle and threatened to shoot him. The dump truck driver then got back in his truck and called the sheriff's department, which later arrested Pullum. His bond was set at $5,000 pending the court appearance.

Update From The Scoop

Jane and I have been heavily involved in a project over the past few weeks that required us to spend an inordinate amount of time reading books. You will apparently be able to purchase these audiobooks, featuring our lovely voices, in time for Christmas, but we don't have the details as yet. We'll let you know when we know. In the meantime, we are now able to update the Scoop on a more regular basis. While we were otherwise occupied, these items made news:

An incident that was first reported as a "carjacking" has led to charges being brought against a Jackson County man. Police say 26-year-old Michael Gene Lynch of Seven Knobs Road, Gainesboro, was charged with being in possession of a stolen vehicle after he was stopped while driving a car that the owner claims was stolen from him at gunpoint. It happened Sunday afternoon when the victim explained to police that he had, quote, "robbed several drug dealers over the past few months" and, thereby made several enemies. He claims the carjackers contacted him to say that they would give him back his vehicle when he paid them their money. For his part, Lynch claimed that he had purchased the vehicle and produced a bill of sale, but the victim claims the name on that document was forged.

State Representative Henry Fincher of Cookeville says he is thinking about making a run for the Congressional seat held by Bart Gordon ... now that Gordon has announced he WON'T be running for re-election. Fincher, who was described by the Associated Press as " a vocal supporter of gun rights and an opponent of abortion rights in the state legislature," said he expects a Democrat with "rural values" to have a strong showing. He is quoted as saying, "A pro-life, pro-gun Democrat can go toe-to-toe with anybody the GOP has to offer." But he also admits that he, quote, "has a lot of company" among other Democrats who are mulling over a race for Congress.

December 28th is the court date for a west Tennessee woman who was arrested in Cookeville last week on charges of child abuse and neglect. Police say 38-year-old Amy L. Sullivan of Memphis was allegedly seen "staggering" in the parking lot of a local motel. When officers arrived on the scene, they claim that Sullivan was getting ready to drive away with her two children -- one an infant and the other four years old. But police reportedly convinced her to stay another night in the motel. It was in her motel room that police say they witnessed Sullivan inadvertently bump her baby's head into a TV set. She was then jailed under a ten thousand dollar bond and the children placed into DCS custody until their grandmother could come and pick them up.

An incident in the parking lot of a local tavern has resulted in charges being brought against a Cookeville man. Authorities say 22-year-old Aaron Joseph Borden of Paris Street is charged with aggravated assault and reckless endangerment. Warrants on file in the case allege that Borden had been in the Boondocks Bar in Baxter and had been in a fight. He then attempted to leave, and another man tried to stop him from driving by taking his vehicle keys. But Borden allegedly put the vehicle into gear and "and dragged the victim through the parking lot before stopping in a ditch on the property." Borden also allegedly ran into another man in the parking lot as he drove the vehicle. Both victims were injured, and Borden was later taken to jail, where his total bond was set at $3,500. He has a January 25th court date.

Christmas is not yet here, but the Cookeville police department's traffic division is already making plans for the New Year's holiday. Police say the Traffic Division will be conducting a Sobriety Checkpoint on Willow Avenue at the intersection of Jere Whitson Road on December 31, 2009. In their press release on the checkpoint, they say "The Cookeville Police Department encourages everyone not to operate a vehicle if alcohol has been consumed. If alcohol will be consumed, plan ahead of time to have a designated driver." The department is one of several that are expected to have high visibility throughout the holidays.

A misdemeanor drug citation, issued to an assistant football coach at Tennessee Tech University, has led to that coach's resignation. 28-year-old Matthew Schmitz, who has helped with recruiting for the past three years, was issued a citation after a traffic stop on Dry Valley Road earlier this month. Algood police allege that they found a small amount of marijuana during a search of the vehicle. He'll be in court on the charge in January. Meanwhile, Tech officials say he resigned from his position, effective this week. A joint statement issued by TTU Director of Athletics Mark Wilson and head football coach Watson Brown, said, quote, "Tennessee Tech athletics has high expectations of our coaches, student-athletes and staff. We represent the University and the community, and we want to uphold the high standards that are expected of us."

Officials with the Cookeville district of the Tennessee Highway Patrol say that a trooper, who works out of that office and is normally assigned to Overton County, is reported to be somewhat better after he was seriously injured in a one-vehicle crash on I-40 in Wilson County. 42-year-old Wendell Reagan was traveling east on Interstate 40 Monday afternoon -- in his SUV patrol vehicle -- when he was involved in what was described as a one-vehicle roll over crash. Reagan was airlifted from the scene, and authorities are still trying to determine just what happened and why. The accident is under investigation by the Nashville district of the THP and by the THP Critical Incident Response Team.

The second person indicted in the drug overdose death of an Overton County teenager has now been arrested. 27-year-old Andy Franklin of the Alpine community, reportedly turned himself in at the jail in Livingston after it became known that he had been charged with second degree murder in the September 29th death of 16-year-old Kayla Bilbrey. 26-year-old Tresta Stepp of Livingston has also been charged in the case. Stepp and Franklin, who were reportedly friends of Kayla Bilbrey, are accused of having provided Oxycodone to the teenager while the three were at the Franklin home in Alpine. Stepp later dropped Bilbrey off at the emergency room of Livingston Regional Medical Center and fled the scene.

Officials with the Cookeville Putnam County Chamber of Commerce are now out with a report on the the BlueCross Bowl, Tennessee's high school football state championship games held at Tennessee Tech University’s Tucker Stadium Dec. 3-5. Officials say with an estimated 5,000 to 8,000 people in the stands for each game, the crowd was more than expected. The paid attendance figure came out to be 21,305, which is a 9.3 percent increase over last year’s paid attendance number. They say the region felt the impact with dining, retail and lodging facilities receiving an extra boost. Karla Clarke, general manager of Fairfield Inn & Suites and chair of the Convention and Visitors Bureau Steering Committee, reported that the economic impact of hosting the games was very good. She says Fairfield was sold-out Thursday, almost sold-out on Friday, and about 75 percent on Saturday.

Another case of apparent identity theft has been reported to the Putnam County sheriff's department. The 56-year-old victim came to the department this week to report that a woman who lives in Los Angeles, California, had used HIS credit card information to make several purchases from the Home Shopping Network. He says he found out about the purchases of an XBox gaming system, a home theater system, and a digital camcorder after the Home Shopping Network contacted him. He also says he did not authorize this fraudulent use of his credit card, but says a similar issue occurred with his wife's debit card a couple of months ago.

A man who allegedly tried to avoid being arrested by giving police a false name is now facing additional charges. Officer Brian Long says 21-year-old Joshua Cain Jones of Broad Street was a passenger in a vehicle that had been stopped for a brake light violation. According to the police report, Jones did not have any ID on him, but told the officer that his name was Josh Young. But police say the driver identified his passenger as Joshua Jones, and they say Jones then allegedly admitted to giving a false name because he had failed to show up for a court date on a violation of probation charge. He also allegedly admitted to having two baggies of marijuana hidden in his underwear. Jones was arrested and also issued citations for criminal impersonation and drug possession.

Law enforcement authorities say would-be thieves in the area are doing some Christmas "shopping" by stealing valuable items from other people -- particularly those who leave their vehicles unlocked. A Maple Avenue man told police that a compound bow and a set of wrenches were taken from his vehicle, and a resident of North Pine Hill Road told the sheriff's department that a .32 caliber handgun had been taken from his truck. Meanwhile, a resident of 16th Street reported his 16-gigabyte Apple Ipod was stolen out of a locked truck sometime overnight Tuesday. And a couple on Buffalo Valley Road reported that they were gone from home for less than an hour when they returned to find someone had broken in and stolen a laptop. The thief also apparently tried to take their TV, but may have been scared off. In other cases, a home on West Whitehall Road was burglarized by someone who took an Xbox gaming system and a thirty-aught-six rifle and scope.

A Cookeville woman has been charged with driving under the influence after being pulled over on Willow Avenue early Wednesday morning. Officer Christopher Ferguson says he was patrolling about 3 am when he noticed a vehicle travelling north with only one headlight. When he got turned around, he says he observed the vehicle cross the yellow line twice and decided to conduct a traffic stop. The driver -- identified as 39-year-old Lisa Gail Flynn of Maplewood Drive -- allegedly admitted to having "a few drinks," but Ferguson says she refused to perform any field sobriety tests or to submit to a blood test to determine the alcohol and/or drug content of her blood. She was then transported to the Putnam County jail and her vehicle towed from the scene.

Charges of drug possession, resisting arrest and criminal impersonation are pending against a Wilson County man, who allegedly tried to shove a bag of cocaine into his mouth after being questioned during a traffic stop. 19-year-old Desmond McClenon of Lebanon was taken into custody after police saw the bag drop from his hands and float down the street in a heavy rainfall. They claim that McClenon even tried to "eat the item" as it floated away. Authorities later retrieved the baggie and found it to contain a white rock-like substance that they believe to be crack cocaine.
Congressman Bart Gordon has announced that he was able to secure funding for Tennessee Tech University to help complete construction of the Millard Oakley STEM Center. TTU will receive $400,000 for its STEM Center, a 20,000 square foot facility that will focus on teacher training and the research, development and application of the best teaching practices for students in preschool to college grade classes. Gordon says the money will help TTU get one step closer to completing the Center, which will train new and existing teachers in the Upper Cumberland area, enabling them to provide students with a strong grounding in math and science, which he says will be needed for the technical jobs of the future. TTU laid out its initial plans for the building several years ago. Construction of the actual facility began in 2008 and is expected to be completed in May.

Now that we're caught up, we'll try to get back to business as usual.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Robbery and Carjacking Reported in Cookeville

The Cookeville police department has issued the following press release:

At approximately 7:20 am on December 2, 2009, officers were dispatched to the area of 12th Street and Willow Avenue to investigate what had been reported as a car-jacking. Upon arrival, officers learned that a robbery had occurred at an apartment complex on Carolina Avenue in which multiple suspects, armed with a handgun, attempted to rob two victims of cash. Unable to obtain any money, the suspects demanded and obtained the keys to one of the victim’s vehicle. The suspects fled in multiple vehicles, including the victim’s Dodge Neon.

The investigation resulted in locating the suspects at a residence north of Cookeville. Because of the danger involved in these types of arrests, the Putnam County Sheriff’s Department’s SWAT team was used to apprehend the suspects at this residence.

Arrested were: Patti J Hall, age 21, of Cookeville; Keith P Doherty, age 20, of Cookeville, and James T Tabor, age 18, of Cookeville. All three are charged with Aggravated Robbery and are jailed with a $25,000 bond. Ms. Hall is currently out on bond for a previous Aggravated Assault charge that was lodged November 3, 2009. Mr. Doherty was released from the Charles B. Bass State Correctional complex in early 2008. Capiases already existed for the arrest of Mr. Doherty and Mr. Tabor.

Anyone who has seen anything or who has any information about this incident, please contact the Cookeville Police Department at 931-526-2125.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Community Concert Band Schedules Holiday Show

The Cookeville Community Concert Band’s Holiday Concert is set for this Sunday, December 6th, at 3:00PM, in the Cookeville Performing Arts Center. Organizers say this Concert will emphasize songs associated with several of the season’s Holidays. Tickets for this concert are $5 for adults and $3 for Children twelve and younger, and are available now at the Performing Arts Center during regular business hours, 9 am to 5 pm Monday through Friday. The concert will begin with an original march written by Director Wayne Pegram entitled "Season’s Greetings," but will also include a selection called "Russian Christmas Music", and a new work by Nashville composer John David Hazlett, entitled "Advent Rhapsody." A medley of Christmas carols will include: "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen", "Deck the Halls", "The First Noel", and"Angels We Have Heard On High. For more information or ticket reservations call 528-1313.

Cookeville Native Highlighted on Army's website

A Cookeville native, who is serving in the Army National Guard, has been highlighted for his work in "keeping northern Iraq aviation moving." Cookeville's Sergeant David Roach, a 29 year-old mechanic and truck driver, with Troop G of Tennessee Army National Guard, 1st Battalion, 230th Air Cavalry Squadron is shown conducting early morning pre-combat checks and inspections on a Mine Resistant, Ambush Protective up-armored fighting vehicle before that vehicle deployed on a Combat Logistics Patrol from Forward Operating Base Sykes in Tall Afar, Iraq. The photo was taken by Staff Sgt. Mike Alberts and is featured on the Army's website.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Smoke Bomb Leads To False Fire Call

Authorities say disciplinary action will be taken against a 17-year-old girl who allegedly set off a smoke bomb at a private school outside of Monterey -- causing the several units from the Putnam County fire department to begin racing to the scene. It happened Monday night at Heritage Academy on the Clarkrange Highway, and officials say two trucks out of the Monterey station, three out of Cookeville, and one out of Bangham were on their way to what was initially reported as a fire in a dormitory at the school. They later learned that it was just a smoke bomb that had been set off.

Surveillance Video May Identify Wallet Thief

Authorities say video surveillance tapes have helped them to develop a suspect in the theft of a wallet from a Cookeville woman last week. The woman told police that she was at Walgreens when the wallet apparently went missing, but says she did not realize it was gone until her credit card company called her about an hour later to tell her about suspicious activity. The card had been used less than an hour after it was taken to make a large purchase at Walmart. Thirty minutes after that, it was used to make a purchase at the Shell Station in Monterey. However, it was turned down when the thief tried to use it at the Monterey Burger King five minutes later. Monterey police are working with detectives in Cookeville to solve the case.

Livingston Man Suspected In Burglary Ring

An Overton County man is facing charges today as the alleged ring leader in a series of burglaries that took place all over the area. Police say 29-year-old Russell Dion Copeland of Livingston was jailed on a violation of probation charge and is one of the suspects they believe is connected to more than 100 break-ins in Overton, Jackson, Putnam, and Pickett counties. They say it was a joint investigation by the police agencies in Algood, Gainesboro, and Livingston that helped authorities track stolen goods -- some of which ended up in Chattanooga. Police say they expect to make more arrests as the investigation continues.

Autism Documentary To Be Screened At TTU

"The Horse Boy," a documentary-style film following a child with autism and his parents on their journey to find effective treatment, will be shown twice at Tennessee Tech University on Saturday, Dec. 5. The award-winning film will be shown at 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. in TTU’s Backdoor Playhouse. In an effort to reach out to the autistic community, the family friend viewing at 1 p.m. will offer dimmed lights, lowered volume and a quiet room for persons with autism. TTU senior Jeremy Holt watched the movie trailer in a course about autism and was inspired to contact Zeitgeist Films about bringing the move to campus. Admission is free, but seating is limited to 250. Reservations are recommended.

Water Dispute Headed To Court

A hearing is scheduled to be conducted Friday in an ongoing dispute between the town of Baxter and the Cookeville Boat Dock Road utility district. The town claims that the utility district is putting water lines into areas that are more properly served by the city of Baxter. They have gotten a temporary restraining order to prevent the water district from continuing work in the area of Ditty Road, between Mine Lick Creek Road and Highway 56. Chancellor Ron Thurman will hear argument Friday on whether to make that temporary injunction permanent.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Football Championships Come To Cookeville

Now that another Cookeville Christmas Parade is in the books, the Chamber of Commerce is turning its attention to promoting the state high school football championships which will be held in town later this week. Starting on Thursday afternoon, the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association will hold its annual championship games for both private and public schools. On Thursday at 3:30, Knoxville Webb will play USJ for the Division II-A championship. Then, at seven o'clock on Thursday, Memphis University School will take on MBA for the Division I-AA championship among private schools. On Friday at noon, South Pittsburg plays against Union City for the Class 1-A championship; Alcoa takes on Milan for the Class 3-A championship, starting at 3:30; and at 7 pm Friday, Beech High School will play Columbia for the Class 5-A title. On Saturday at noon, Trousdale County meets Boyd-Buchanan in the Class 2-A championship game. At 3:30, Greeneville takes on Giles County for the Class 4-A title; and at 7 pm, Maryville will meet White Station in the 6-A title contest. All the games will take place at Tennessee Tech's Tucker Stadium. Tickets are twelve dollars apiece and cover all the games on a single day. They are available at the Chamber or at the gate.

Citation Issued For Drug Possession

A woman who reportedly told authorities that she had just gotten out of jail on a probation violation may be headed back there after a traffic stop conducted by Cookeville police. Officer Cary Matheney says 33-year-old Michelle Y. Knight of Smith Lane, Cookeville, was a passenger in a car he stopped on Saturday evening. He says a pat down search of Ms. Knight allegedly turned up eleven Xanax bars in a prescription bottle with the label torn off. Matheney says two used hypodermic needles were also found in Knight's purse. He issued her a citation for simple possession of drugs. Authorities say remaining drug-free is usually a condition of probation.

278th Deployment Ceremony Planned

A special deployment ceremony for the second squadron of the 278th Armored Cavalry Regiment has been scheduled for this Wednesday night at six o'clock in the Avery Trace Middle School auditorium. The keynote speaker will be Lt. Colonel John Krenson, the commander of the second squadron. The unit's chaplain will also speak, as will local and state elected officials. The 278th is scheduled to deploy to Iraq early next year and will be leaving for training at Camp Shelby in Mississippi later this week.

Meth Charges Pending Against Local Residents

Two Putnam County residents will be in court this Friday in Sparta after being charged in connection with a meth lab operation. Authorities say 23-year-old Stephanie Joanne Gray of Baxter and 23-year-old Sarah Kay Greene of Cookeville were both arrested, along with Sparta resident Lamar Mendell Cullom, earlier this month. White County sheriff's detective Dale Bumbalough was reportedly conducting a routine check of the area around the boat ramp on South Church Street, when he came into contact with the three individuals in a parked car. Bumbalough alleges that as he approached the vehicle, he noticed a strong chemical smell consistent with meth. He also noticed tubing and other materials used to make meth. All three were charged with intent to manufacture, deliver, or sell a controlled substance. Meanwhile, December 14th is the court date set for a Cookeville man, accused of running a meth lab operation in a rented house. Members of the Community Nuisance Eradication Team of the Cookeville Police Department arrested 35-year-old Christopher George Cowan this month after a long-running investigation into complaints about the house he rented at 5496 South Jefferson Avenue. Officers claim a search of the home turned up several different kinds of prescription drugs, as well as the ingredients commonly used in the manufacture of meth, including hydrogen peroxide, pseudoephedrine, acetone and coffee filters.

Counterfeit Check Ringleader Convicted

Sentencing has yet to be determined for a Tennessee man, who was convicted last month in federal court of stealing thousands of dollars from Cookeville-area businesses in a check-cashing scam. The U-S Attorney's office says that 30-year-old James Christopher McWhorter was found guilty on a five-count indictment. The investigation of his counterfeit check cashing ring began three years ago after one of the defendants dropped a driver's license in Sparta at the scene of one of the fraudulent attempts to cash a counterfeit check. Further investigation revealed that the ring had been operating in Cookeville, McMinnville, Nashville and Murfreesboro. The exact amount of money that they defrauded from local businesses has not yet been determined, but authorities say McWhorter could be going to prison for more than 15 years.

Smoke Detector Scam Reported In Cookeville

Cookeville police are investigating an incident in which a local resident lost money to con men. A resident at an apartment on Walnut Avenue told police that a man came to her home on Saturday evening, identified himself as working for the Housing Authority, and told her that he needed to check her smoke detectors. The victim told the man that she needed a smoke detector for the bedroom of the unit and the man returned a minute or two later with another individual that he identified as his "boss." Both men went to the bedroom of the apartment, stayed several minutes, and came back out telling the resident that they would return to install her smoke detector. But after they left, the woman says she noticed that they had gone through the dresser in her room, stealing five dollars in cash, about fifteen dollars in quarters, and several prescription medications. The suspects were described as white males -- one with a medium build, about 5-10, 40 years old, wearing a cap, a gray coat and camouflage pants, the other with a slim build, about 30 years of age, with blonde hair and wearing a black and white sweater. Anyone with information about the case is asked to call the police department.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

More Developments In Police Chief Resignation

More developments to report today in the sudden resignation of Monterey police chief Tim Murphy last week. The Hilltop Express newspaper, which is run by Monterey Alderman Dale Welch, is reporting that even as rumors fly, town officials have been asked to remain quiet about the matter as an investigation begins involving the district attorney’s office and state auditors. Welch says applications for police chief are being taken at Monterey City Hall now through November 30th. Starting wages for Monterey police chief begin at $16.81 per hour. After a six-month probationary period, it goes to $17.46; and, after a year, to $18.74. K-9 Officer Larry Bates is currently serving as interim police chief.

Cookeville Man Beaten and Stabbed

Aggravated assault charges are pending today against a Cookeville man, who allegedly attacked another man at a home on 17th Street over the weekend. The 23-year-old victim told police that he was outside his home early Saturday morning when he heard tires squealing and was approached by two white males and one white female. One of the suspects hit him in the face with a baseball bat, while the other stabbed him in the right foot and right thigh. The victim says the female was yelling, "you got what you deserved" during the incident. The three then fled the scene, but friends of the victim were able to follow them to an apartment on 18th Street, where police later found 25-year-old David Shawn Thompson. Thompson denied any part in the affair, but was positively identified by a witness. After being asked again about the incident, Thompson allegedly said, "I need a lawyer." He was then placed under arrest, and police say other charges may be filed as the investigation continues.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Attempted Criminal Homicide Charges Filed

Attempted criminal homicide charges have been filed against an Overton County man, who allegedly stabbed someone outside of a Putnam County nightclub over the weekend. A December 21st court date has been set for 35-year-old Timothy Daryl Richardson of Clark Street, Livingston. Authorities say Richardson is accused of stabbing 42-year-old Frankie S. Webb of Robinson Road, Cookeville, several times in the throat and arms. The incident reportedly took place as the two were sitting in Webb's vehicle, which was parked outside Club Forbidden on Miller Road Saturday night. Richardson allegedly fled the scene after the stabbing, but was tracked down by law enforcement officers and jailed without bond. No motive for the stabbing has yet been reported.

Alleged "Sexting" Gets Cookeville Man Arrested

A Putnam County man who allegedly texted sexually explicit messages to a cell phone he thought was being operated by a teenage girl is now in trouble with the law. Authorities say 34-year-old Sammy R. Stout of Pippin Road was charged with solicitation of a minor. Warrants on file in the case claim that a law enforcement officer -- posing as a minor female -- received text messages from Stout in which he allegedly requested that she send pictures of herself to him, and requested that the female have sex with him. His court date has been set for December 14th.

Local Students Speak To Shuttle Astronauts

Do magnets work in space? And how does a space shuttle, travelling more than 17-thousand miles an hour, find a landing strip on a rotating Earth? Those were among the questions posed by Cookeville area students to astronauts aboard the Space Shuttle Atlantis this week. Shuttle pilot Barry Wilmore is a Tennessee Tech alumnus and says his education is what helped him achieve his goals in life. The "Ask An Astronaut" event was held by TTU's Stem Center, a program that emphasizes the teaching of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. You can see the entire program at this link.

Monterey Teenager Killed In Wreck

The Hilltop Express newspaper is reporting that one Monterey teenager was fatally injured and three others were hurt as they were returning to Monterey on Interstate 40 Sunday after they had been to see a movie in Crossville. According to Tennessee Highway Patrol Trooper Scott Bilbrey, 18-year-old Matthew Harris was driving a 2004 Ford Escape in the westbound lane near the 303-mile marker. Trooper Bilbrey said an unknown semi-truck tried to pull over into Harris’ lane forcing him off the road. Trooper Bilbrey said that Harris hit a guard rail and the truck kept going. Another semi-truck in the back of the Harris vehicle saw what was going on and went into the left lane trying to avoid the the wreck, but the Harris vehicle, after hitting the guard rail, bounced back out and hit that semi-truck. At that point, Trooper Bilbrey said, Lindsey Toft, 18, of Evergreen Lane, Monterey, who was sitting in the back passenger-side seat was ejected through the back window and landed some distance from the vehicle on the other side of the guard rail in the grass and was killed. Matthew Harris, who was wearing a seatbelt, was taken by the Putnam County Ambulance Service, first to Cookeville Regional Medical Center and then, by the ambulance service to Vanderbilt Hospital, in Nashville. His sister, Kayla Harris, 19, who was wearing her seatbelt and was in the front passenger side, was not seriously injured. Jessica Toft, 17, who Trooper Bilbrey said was not wearing a seatbelt and was in the back seat on the driver’s side, was taken to the hospital by personal vehicle.

Governor Bredesen Attends Fincher Fundraiser

Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen came to Putnam County last week as the special guest of State Representative Henry Fincher of Cookeville. Fincher held a fundraiser at Delmonaco Winery in Baxter. More than 100 people attended and heard remarks from the Governor, State Senator Charlotte Burks, and Fincher himself. All three spoke of the need to work hard to bring jobs to the Upper Cumberland and for government to live within its means and not raise taxes on working families.

"I thank my friend Gov. Bredesen for all he has done for Putnam County," Fincher said. "I appreciate him coming up here tonight to show his friendship. And when I went to Nashville, I knew I already had one friend - Charlotte Burks. She's smart, hard working and wise, and it's a pleasure to work with her to try to make some things right."

Putnam County Debates Finance Issues Again

Another meeting of the committee studying Financial Management Acts will be held Monday night at the Putnam County courthouse. Proponents of putting the county under the 1981 Financial Management Act argue that doing so would save money in the long run and would keep the county from being written up in their audit every year for not having centralized accounting. Opponents claim the Act does nothing more than establish a new department of county government to handle functions already being taken care of. Earlier this year, a majority of the members of the county commission voted to go under the act, but the votes fell shy of the two-thirds majority that was needed for passage. The meeting tonight is intended to be a roundtable discussion of the issue. It begins at six o'clock.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

MADD Holds Candlelight Vigil

The 17th annual candlelight vigil to commemmorate the victims of drunk driving and crime, in general, was held Sunday in Cookeville. Norris Skelley is with the local chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, and says his wish is that the organization did not have to exist. He says the vigil yesterday is intended to honor both victims and families. He also says the group plans to encourage local restaurants to establish designated driver campaigns and hopes to have local drivers commit to enjoying the holidays without drinking and driving. For more information about the local MADD chapter, you can call 520-6233.

Lincoln Lecture Looming

"Abraham Lincoln and the First Person Plural" will be the topic of Tennessee Tech University’s study in leadership sponsored by the history department at 7 p.m. tomorrow in Foster Hall, Room 233. Focused on one of the greatest leaders in American history, the forum will examine Lincoln’s use of leadership and language during one of America’s worst conflicts. The study will also explore how Lincoln’s use of the first person plural served to construct a new world of collective subjects. The guest speaker is Peter S. Field, a former TTU assistant and associate professor. Field is currently a visiting scholar at Princeton University. The event is free and open to the public.

Overton County Woman Killed In I-40 Wreck

An Overton County woman was killed over the weekend in a traffic crash on I-40, which caused the interstate to be shut down for several hours. Officials with the Cookeville district of the Tennessee Highway Patrol identified the victim as 64-year-old Donna Brennan of Livingston. Troopers say Brennan lost control of her 1997 Mercedes C23 and crossed the median. They say her vehicle hit a tractor trailer driven by Albert Galvin head on. That's when Galvin's truck slammed into another tractor trailer causing it to immediately burst into flames. Troopers are still investigating but they say everyone involved was wearing their seatbelt. They don't suspect drugs or alcohol played a factor.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Road Construction Contract OK'd

Highways, Incorporated has gotten the bid to do a road construction project in south Cookeville. They'll be expanding West Cemetery Road, and Cookeville public works director Greg Brown says he hopes the work can be done quickly. The new Prescott South Elementary and Middle schools plan to use the road as an access point. Also Thursday night, the council OK'd an amendment to its municipal code as it relates to the collection of business tax. Taxes will now be paid directly to the state of Tennessee, although business licenses must still be purchased through the city or county. The council also gave approval to an ordinance which city officials say they hope to use to encourage the development of owner-occupied townhouses in Cookeville.

Alleged Perfume Shoplifter Caught

A January 11th court date has been set for a Jamestown woman who may have come to Cookeville to do some early Christmas shoplifting. A theft of property citation was issued against 61-year-old Jerlene Howard Richards of Coon Hunter Lodge Road after she was allegedly caught stealing perfume and cologne products from the Walmart store. Store officials say she concealed more than ten bottles of cologne in her purse, along with three toothbrushes and some skin cream. They claim she went through the checkout to pay for other items, but attempted to leave the store without paying the items in her purse. Meanwhile, there is no apparent connection, but police say three white males and a white female -- all in their twenties -- came into Cosmo Pro Supply on South Willow Avenue this week and shoplifted a make-up brush kit, valued at thirty dollars. They left in a newer model Mustang with a large white decal in the rear window.

Cookeville Road Project Up For Approval

The proposed extension of West Cemetery Road -- from South Willow to South Jefferson Avenue -- could take another step forward this evening as the Cookeville city council meets. The council is scheduled to award the bid for that road construction project, which is being undertaken in conjunction with the construction of a new elementary school being built in the same area. Officials also say the proposed new road is part of their long range transportation plan to provide an east-west corridor through the portion of town that is located south of I-40. Although weather delays may impact the schedule, the school is expected to be ready to open for class by next fall, and school officials hope to use the new road as one of their access points to the school. Also tonight, the council will consider amending the municipal code as it relates to the business tax; they'll discuss several ongoing projects of the water and sewer department; and they'll consider approval of yet another acquisition of property near the campus of Cookeville Regional Medical Center. The meeting begins tonight at six.

Oil Thievery Investigated

Some people steal gasoline without paying for it, but Cookeville police are investigating a case this week in which three men are suspected of stealing oil from the Pilot Station on S. Jefferson Avenue. A clerk says the men came into the store Tuesday afternoon and took two gallons of what was described as "Lucas Oil" out of the business without paying for out. They then got into a small, gray vehicle and headed west on Bunker Hill Road. The oil was valued at about $55. According to the report, the man who carried out the oil comes into the Pilot store several times a week. Police advised the business to call them if he came back in.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

TTU Basketball Featured on ESPN

Exactly two weeks into the 2009-10 basketball season, the Tennessee Tech men's basketball team will visit the No. 1 ranked team in the country, the Kansas Jayhawks, and Golden Eagle fans all over the country can catch the action. Tech will visit historic Allen Fieldhouse to take on KU on Friday, Nov. 27, at 7 p.m. ESPN Full Court announced it has picked up the Jayhawk TV Network's broadcast of the game. Fans will be able to access the game through Direct TV or most cable systems. TTU head coach Mike Sutton called Kansas "essentially, the birthplace of college basketball." In addition to the Golden Eagles and Jayhawks being televised on ESPN Full Court, Tech will appear on ESPNU on Jan. 14 when they visit UT Martin, and may be on television during the semi-finals and finals of the OVC tournament on March 5 and 6.

Space Shuttle To Downlink To Cookeville

Tennessee Tech University alumni and students, and K-12 students from across the Upper Cumberland region will have an opportunity on Sunday to talk with NASA Astronaut Barry Wilmore, a TTU graduate, during a live videoconference from the International Space Station. The 30-minute downlink will be broadcast Sunday morning on Cookeville's public television station. And officials say that as Wilmore works aboard the space station after piloting the Space Shuttle Atlantis, he follows a long line of TTU alumni and Upper Cumberland natives who have gone on to work for NASA and in the aerospace industry. Roger Crouch was TTU's first alumnus to travel into space. The Jamestown native served as a payload specialist on two flights aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia in 1997 and took with him a TTU pennant and replica of the university seal. On both of Crouch's missions, two TTU alumni served in direct support positions on the ground - Teresa Vanhooser as mission manager and Mike Robinson as mission scientist. And eight years before Crouch's missions, in 1989, Michael McCulley of Livingston flew aboard the same Shuttle Atlantis that Barry Wilmore is piloting on this mission. McCulley is a member of TTU's Millard Oakley STEM Center advisory board.

Cookeville Woman Indicted For Child Abuse

Child abuse charges are pending against a Cookeville woman who was indicted after a spanking she gave a four-year-old caused bruising. The investigation of 20-year-old Amanda Christine Winebrenner of Carr Avenue began after the child's mother took him to the emergency room last month. Authorities say it was at the hospital that the bruising allegedly caused by a spanking was documented. Meanwhile, the grand jury also indicted a Cookeville man for the sale of cocaine. An agent from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation presented evidence against Daniel Delape.

Tech Employees Given Awards

Five Tennessee Tech University employees have won 2009-10 Outstanding Clerical and Support Staff Awards for their ongoing dedication to the university, stellar job performance and great attitudes. Sharon Buckner, executive aide at the Angelo and Jennette Volpe Library and Media Center, and Shannon Terry, administrative secretary at the Joe L. Evins Appalachian Center for Craft, won clerical awards. Custodians Ruth Snyder and Rosemary Taylor, and Joe Williams, mason supervisor, all Facilities and Business Services support staff, received support staff honors. Established in 1989, the awards show appreciation to our most dedicated and outstanding clerical and support staff members. These awards are based on job performance, attitude toward work and the university, attendance and perseverance, professional development and suggestions for improvement.

Valeri Oliver with the Tech public affairs office put together the following profiles:

Sharon Buckner

This has been a standout year in Sharon Buckner’s career. When the library’s director asked to be re-assigned, Buckner didn’t miss a beat. Her knowledge of all aspects of the library’s administration – from service to budgets, personnel, policies and vendors – played a critical role in keeping operations humming smoothly.

“If you did not know we had a change in leadership this year, much of the credit is due to Ms. Buckner,” said Deanna Nipp-Kientz, the library’s interim director. “Ms. Buckner’s attitude is: ‘If it needs to be done I’ll do it.’ And not only does she get things done, but she also identifies what needs to be done.”
Buckner is quick to step up and take on additional responsibilities. She serves on the staff advisory committee to TTU President Bob Bell, the evaluation committee for the university’s office supply contract, the library’s social committee and the library’s disaster preparedness committee. Buckner, who began working as a library clerk in 1983, holds a certified professional secretary rating and is an active member in the association that supports the ratings program, the International Association of Administrative Professionals. She also holds a bachelor of science in business administration. She regularly attends seminars and workshops to expand her knowledge and skills.

Shannon Terry

Shannon Terry may just be the Appalachian Center for Craft’s secret weapon when it comes to student recruitment. Terry takes such an interest in attracting new students, she doesn’t mind giving prospective freshmen her personal phone number in case they have questions on Terry’s days off.

“When I asked her about it she said, ‘Everyone was a freshman at one time. It can be overwhelming.’ It is this personal investment that she makes in developing relationships and her commitment to helping others that makes her stand out so much,” said Curtiss R. Brock, professor of art.
Terry joined the center in 2003 after graduating from TTU with a bachelor’s degree in English-journalism. As a student, she covered the center’s activities for The Oracle student newspaper.
“I fell in love with the place immediately. I had no idea how working here would change my life and give me a place to grow,” she said.
Terry is considered the “go-to” person for questions of any nature when it comes to the Craft Center. She works tirelessly to organize procedures and special events for the Craft Center, said Kathie McGlamery, assistant director for the center.
“Shannon is the most dependable employee at the Craft Center,” McGlamery said. “Many students said that Shannon was the reason that they made their final decision to attend here.”

Ruth Snyder

Ruth Snyder, as custodian at Cooper/Dunn residence halls, said she like to think of her job as “cleaning up the world one small space at a time.” Her dedication hasn’t gone unnoticed by students and co-workers alike.

“I have never seen a bathroom unstocked or dirty. After the weekends when there are messes everywhere, she makes them disappear. When I go to my 8 o’clock classes, I see her even separating the recyclables from the trash! Her work ethic is higher than any I have seen,” said student Mary Christine Niver.

Snyder just received her five-year service pin and is often called upon to perform additional duties because her work is so admired by others.

“When I was promoted to lead worker in Capital Quad, I often asked Ruth to train the new employees due to her outstanding job performance and ability to consistently get the job done,” said Lyn Littrell.

Snyder says she doesn’t just view her job as one as just “janitor.” She enjoys mentoring the students as well. “Some of them have never been away from home before now. As an older person with many experiences, some of the students benefit from my listening to them and offering advice.” During her time at TTU, Snyder has taken advantage of the employee benefit to take one free university class per semester. She’s now a sophomore.

Rosemary Taylor

The faculty, staff and students who work and study in Johnson Hall regularly tell College of Business Dean James Jordan-Wagner that the building is the cleanest on campus.
Custodian Rosemary Taylor, who joined TTU in 2004, is the reason why.

“Ms. Taylor’s performance of her duties is second to none. I regularly receive comments about the cleanliness of our building from faculty, staff and even students,” Jordan-Wagner said.
It isn’t uncommon for Taylor to be found working in the building before regularly scheduled work hours to handle a problem that has or may arise, the dean said. “We have occasional problems with flooding in Johnson Hall, and Ms. Taylor has come in during periods of heavy rain just in case there is a problem. This attitude and dedication has saved the university significant money in averting repairs."

Taylor’s work ethic and commitment are enough to set her apart for the staff award, said Curtis Armstrong, decision sciences and management chairperson.

“But it is her positive attitude that really distinguishes her. She always has a smile and a warm hello.”

Joe Williams

Joe Williams is a mason supervisor for Facilities and Business Services, but the first objective listed on his resume is to “serve as an ambassador of TTU and as a positive role model.”
According to many, his contributions to TTU go well beyond what his job title might imply. He joined TTU in 1993 after 35 years of commercial work in masonry. Williams has been instrumental in finding innovative ways to maintain campus roofs and sidewalks as well as water proof buildings. His work has saved the university tens of thousands of dollars. His talent and critical thinking were instrumental in the oversight of high quality masonry work done at the new School of Nursing and Health Services Building.

“Joe’s work and experience is nothing short of superior and he is willing to do anything, anywhere, anytime when asked,” said Don Shockley, director of maintenance services.

As a master brick mason, Williams is always willing to help co-workers with problems and is the first to volunteer to find new ways to prevent maintenance problems.
Among Williams’ strongest assets is his ability to build and maintain effective relationships, especially with is co-workers.

“His caring, service-oriented attitude is very effective in his work with others both in the unit and across campus,” said Susan A. Elkins, Extended Programs and Regional Development vice president and School of Interdisciplinary Studies dean.

Williams’ attention to detail is probably best shown by the work he and his crew did transforming an unexciting concrete wall at Tucker Stadium into a structure rich in character, said Glenn B. Binkley, Facilities and Business Services assistant director.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Motorcyclist Charged With Reckless Endangerment

A variety of charges are pending against a Putnam County man, who allegedly led police on a high speed motorcycle pursuit. Officer Christopher Ferguson says he was patrolling the area of South Jefferson Avenue about one o'clock in the morning when he saw a motorcycle travelling at what he described as "a very high rate of speed." He turned on his emergency equipment, but claims that the cyclist refused to stop, crossing Fairground Street over to Willow Avenue and then taking a left on West Jackson Street. Ferguson was finally able to make a stop on the vehicle at the intersection of Jackson and Broad Street, where he says the rider refused several commands to get off the bike. The officer says he then performed a controlled takedown on the subject and took him off the bike to the ground. The man was identified as 18-year-old Aifer Paciunas of Brown Ridge Road, Baxter. He allegedly told the officer that he ran because he didn't have a license to be driving a motorcycle. He has now been charged for driving without a license, and also with reckless endangerment and evading arrest. He was also issued six citations for allegedly running two stop signs and four red traffic lights.

Monterey Police Chief Resigns

Monterey police officer Larry Bates has been named interim police chief in Monterey after the sudden resignation this week of former chief Tim Murphy. Murphy reportedly submitted a letter of resignation saying only that he was going to pursue "other interests." Murphy started work for the Monterey Police Department after being hired as a patrolman in 1996. He worked a couple of years for the county sheriff's department, but returned to the city department in the year 2000 and was named chief in 2008.

Burglaries Under Investigation

A Virginia Avenue resident who arrived home last week to find her laptop computer missing also soon discovered that thieves had taken a digital camera. The burglary apparently happened during a four-hour time period when the residents were not home The victim says the laptop went missing from a table in the living room, while the camera was taken off a bedroom dresser. Police say there did not appear to be any signs of forced entry. Meanwhile, police say there was a forced entry at the Affordable Dentures business on Old Salem Road. Someone took a large flathead screwdriver and pried open a door, but did not apparently get away with anything.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Cookeville Police Recover Stolen Vehicle

Cookeville police say a vehicle that had been reported stolen out of Jackson County was located cruising the streets of Cookeville about three o'clock in the morning. Officer Jeff Glass reports that he noticed the silver Chrysler van and confirmed that the tag number matched that of the stolen vehicle. He and other officers conducted what is called a "high risk traffic stop" near the intersection of Boatman Street and Darwin Street. They found two people in the van and took both into custody. After questioning, they let the passenger go, but charged the driver -- identified as 18-year-old Anthony Matthew Goldsmith of Jackson Passage in Bloomington Springs -- with theft of a motor vehicle. Goldsmith will be in court later this month.

Man Arrested on Drug Charges Two Days in a Row

The Hilltop Express newspaper is reporting that a Monterey man was arrested on drug charges -- two days in a row -- as the local drug task force conducted an investigation. 66-year-old Donnie Billy Fritts, of 1833 Mackie Road, Cookeville, also has 512 S. Poplar St., Monterey, listed as an address. He was first charged on Nov. 9 with possession of a controlled substance. Warrants taken by the Drug Task Force allege that an undercover agent sold 100 Oxycontin pills to Fritts. He was arrested outside CVS Pharmacy on Jackson St., in Cookeville and later released on bond. The next day, Task Force agents arrested him again on warrants, alleging that they found Oxycontin pills and Xanax pills hidden in a car they had seized from Fritts. Fritts is set to appear in Putnam County General Session Court on Nov. 30.

DUI Charges Filed In Two Separate Incidents

A Cookeville man who allegedly crashed his vehicle into an apartment building on North Walnut Avenue is facing charges of DUI today. Police say they arrived at the crash scene about 3 am Saturday morning and found a white Ford Ranger pickup truck against the side of the building.One of the residents -- identified as 36-year-old Michael Wayne Autrey -- was sitting in the driver's seat with the door open. Autry allegedly told police that he had just come from a local bar. He failed two field sobriety tests and was taken into custody. Meawnhile, DUI charges are pending against a Baxter woman, who was allegedly going some 40 miles an hour through the 15 mile zone on the campus of Tennessee Tech. Police say they pulled over 42-year-old Jeanetta Ruth Ann Hickey of Jones Road after getting complaints from other drivers that Ms. Hickey had been "all over the road, almost striking several vehicles." The incident was reported about 9 am on a Saturday morning, and Hickey was pulled over near the intersection of Dixie Avenue and Broad Street. Hickey allegedly failed sobriety testing and was taken to the hospital to have a blood alcohol test done. She was then charged with DUI.

Police Arrest Alleged Drunk With A Gun

A man who was allegedly trying to sell a handgun on the streets of Cookeville Sunday afternoon is facing criminal charges. Officer Chris Melton says 22-year-old Jeremy Travis Reels of North Cedar Street was arrested on charges of public intoxication and possession of a weapon while under the influence. Melton says he was dispatched to the area of 6th Street and North Walnut in reference to an apparently intoxicated individual with a handgun. He says that individual had reportedly been showing the gun to people on the street trying to sell it. Police say they recovered a Jennings J-22 pistol and one bullet from Reels' right front pocket. The pistol was placed into evidence.

New Technology Leads To New Complaints

The Putnam County sheriff's department is investigating several instances in which local residents report being harassed by cell phone or computer. A man told Deputy Mike Hicks that his 14-year-old daughter had been getting inappropriate text messages from a relative, who is in his thirties. Authorities advised the man to go to his cell phone provider and get a copy of all of the text messages that were coming and going from his daughter's phone. Meanwhile, Hicks also fielded a complaint from a Baxter woman who says that a drug dealer has been texting her 17-year-old son's cell phone, offering to sell him marijuana. She wanted a report done so that "maybe someone could catch the ones dealing drugs to her son." Corporal Jamie Greenwood, meanwhile, filed a report concerning instant messages that a Cookeville woman has been receiving from an ex-boyfriend. The messages, which the woman says are threatening, have been popping up on her MySpace page. And Deputy Tony Sherrell took a report from a woman who encountered a threatening individual in a computer chat room. Authorities say they have a copy of the communications and are investigating.

Putnam Commission Meets Tonight

Budget amendments and quarterly reports are among the items on the agenda as the Putnam County commission meets tonight. But commissioners will also be deciding whether or not they want to go forward with a program intended to make some county buildings more energy efficient. It would involve replacing and retro-fitting a number of light fixtures. And it would cost nearly a million dollars to achieve, although proponents say some of that cost may be covered by grants. They also estimate that the county would recover the cost in annual energy savings over the next thirteen years.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Fincher Proposes Insurance Mandate

State representative Henry Fincher of Cookeville is the sponsor of legislation that may force insurance companies to pay for routine cancer screenings. According to the Tennessean newspaper, Fincher and others will propose a law next session that would require insurers to cover colonoscopies and launch a state-funded colorectal screening program similar to Tennessee's breast and cervical cancer screening program. Fincher tells the paper, "I think this is a logical, modest step where we can save a bunch of lives for a little bit of money." The American Medical Association recommends colonoscopies once a decade starting at age 50 or earlier if patients have symptoms or a family history of colorectal cancer - the same guidelines Fincher wants on the state coverage mandate.

Bank Mistake Cleared Up

It was just an honest mistake. That's what a Putnam County woman says about a deduction from her bank account that she did not authorize. The woman told the sheriff's department this month that $475 had been withdrawn from her account without her knowledge. She noticed it when she checked her account balance online, and she suspected that some form of identity theft or other criminal activity may have been involved. But the woman called back a few days later to report that it was a data entry error. After she contacted her bank, they investigated the matter and found that a clerk at a Christian school in Atlanta, Georgia, had mistakenly punched in the wrong numbers from which to debit an account. The victim says the bank later straightened everything out with her account.

Former Sheriff's Deputy Indicted

A December 14th arraignment has been set for a former Putnam County sheriff's deputy, indicted on charges of official misconduct and tampering with evidence. The allegations stem from the arrest of former Deputy Chris Muncy in Coffee County earlier this year for allegedly soliciting a prostitute. The 31-year-old was arrested in February after he allegedly offered to trade drugs for sex. He was terminated from his job in Putnam County and was indicted by the Putnam County grand jury last week on the official misconduct charges -- including allegations that he knowingly "refrained from performing a duty ... this is clearly inherent in the nature of his office." The evidence tampering charge reportedly relates to Muncy's attempt to conceal marijuana he had with him at the time.

Naked Pictures Lead To Indictment

A Putnam County man has found out that you cannot send naked pictures to young people -- even if they want you to. 41-year-old Timothy Alan Clouse of Edgewood Drive in Cookeville has been indicted by the county grand jury on charges of contributing to the delinquency of a minor and of the "sale, loan, or exhibit of material to minors." He allegedly sent nude pictures by cell phone to a 14-year-old boy who then forwarded the pictures to other students at his school. The sheriff's department began investigating after the other students -- and their parents -- complained. The 14-year-old's cell phone was confiscated and the investigation led to the indictment of Clouse.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Tour De France Doping Scandal Discussed At TTU

Fans of the Tour de France and professional cycling have a chance to hear a forensic analytical chemist talk about the Floyd Landis doping scandal when the Nashville section of the American Chemical Society hosts its November meeting at Tennessee Tech University. Robert D. Blackledge, a retired NCIS senior chemist, will evaluate the case in a talk at 7:30 p.m., Monday, Nov. 16, in TTU’s Foster Hall, Room 233. Landis, a professional bicycle racer from Murrieta, Calif., won the 2006 Tour de France. However, not many days after the race's conclusion, information was leaked to the press from the Laboratoire National de D├ępistage du Dopage that a urine sample obtained from Landis after stage 17 had been found to be positive for a form of synthetic testosterone. An upheld finding would mean Landis would be stripped of his title and also banned from participation in the sport. Landis denied any sports doping and his strategy in fighting these charges has been to try to generate public support and to make all of the documentation of the LNDD tests available to the public. GC/MS is used by LNDD for preliminary sample screening, and carbon stable isotope ratio mass spectrometry is used for final confirmation. Blackledge will address the issue from the standpoint of a forensic analytical chemist with experience in forensic laboratory accreditation standards. His presentation will examine the analytical data and correspondence from the Landis case in terms of chain of custody requirements, World Anti-Doping Association guidelines and LNDD SOP, and reasonable standards of good laboratory practice. The public is invited to have dinner with the speaker at 5:30 p.m. at Logan’s Roadhouse, 1395 Interstate Drive., Cookeville. Reservations must be made for dinner by noon on Monday. To make dinner reservations or for more information, contact David Crouse at

Wii-Habilitation Begins At Cookeville Regional

Through a joint donation from the hospital’s Auxiliary and the “Button Fund,” the Outpatient Rehabilitation Center at Cookeville Regional Medical Center received a Wii gaming system to use with patients undergoing rehabilitation. The use of the popular gaming system in physical rehabilitation – referred to by many as “Wii-habilitation” - is a growing trend at rehabilitation centers across the country.

“The Wii allows patients to regain movement and motor skills as well as regain balance and stability,” says Bruce Elswick, Director of Outpatient Rehabilitation at Cookeville Regional. “It doesn’t replace traditional therapy, but our patients enjoy the variation and fun that comes with using the system.”

The Outpatient Rehabilitation Center at Cookeville Regional offers a wide range of rehabilitation services for patients from pediatrics to geriatrics – from physical therapy to occupational and speech therapy. Many of the staff members are certified in specific areas of therapy. For more information, call 783-2900.

The hospital Auxiliary has more than 125 active members who provided more than 28,000 hours of service at the hospital last year. To become a member, call 783-2740. The “Button Fund” is a part of the hospital’s Foundation and is named in honor of Cookeville Regional’s pet therapy dog Button. The fund is designed to raise money for rehabilitation needs at the hospital. To make a donation or for more information about the Button Fund or the Foundation, call 783-2037.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Pet Ordinance Draws Debate In Baxter

Residents in one Putnam County town are complaining about a proposal to limit how many cats and dogs people can have at their homes. The ordinance has been proposed by the codes inspector in Baxter, Bob Lane, who says he's had dozens of complaints regarding vicious dogs, bad smells and incessant barking from homes that have large numbers of pets. His ordinance proposed for both Baxter and Algood would limit pets based on the amount of space or property. Michelle Tackett, a pet owner in Baxter, told WSMV-TV that it would be like someone telling her that she couldn't have children. Lane said other residents are supporting the proposal, but Baxter Mayor Jeff Wilhite told the Cookeville Herald-Citizen that there's no pet overpopulation problem in the community and he doesn't agree with the proposal. And Baxter's newly appointed animal control officer Jeremy Helm said the complaints are more about cats than vicious dogs or dogs running free.

Horse Thieves At Work In Putnam County

The loss is estimated at $6,000. That's what the owner of several horses that were apparently stolen from some property on Old Cane Creek Road says they were worth. The owner says he first noticed that the four animals were missing on Saturday. He told sheriff's deputy Bill Hunter that he checked the property and the surrounding area for signs that the horses may have wandered off, but didn't find anything and believes they may have been taken illegally. An investigation is underway.

Stolen Social Security Numbers Investigated

An investigation is underway into the possibly illegal use of social security numbers in Putnam County. According to a report by Sheriff's Deputy Ron Harris, two women allegedly tried to use invalid social security numbers to obtain electric service through the Upper Cumberland Electric Membership Cooperative. An employee of the co-op ran a credit check on one of those numbers and found that it came back to someone who was listed as being deceased. The other social security number came back to a man, not a woman. One of the suspects told Deputy Harris that she would turn over the ID card with the fake number, but the report does not indicate just how she came to be in possession of it.

Putnam County Tries For Energy Efficiency

Putnam County executive Kim Blaylock is hoping to use block grant monies to pay for part of an effort to retrofit and upgrade the lighting in county buildings to make them more energy efficient. Lights in the old courthouse, the library, the juvenile detention center and the justice center would be replaced, and the fire alarm system at the justice center would also receive an update. But the upgrade doesn't come without cost -- estimated to be $965,141. Blaylock says grant money will pay for part of that and the rest will come from the capital projects fund ... or it will be borrowed from the Local Government Energy Loan program. Once the project is complete, Putnam County is expected to save about $75,000 a year in energy costs, meaning it will take about thirteen years to pay for itself. And proponents say the newer equipment will also reduce greenhouse gas emissions, taking 2.7 million pounds of CO2 out of the atmosphere. The full county commission will vote on the proposal next Monday.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Vacuum Cleaner Scam Fails For Sparta Man

Charges of theft and evading arrest have been filed against a Sparta man, who allegedly purchased one vacuum cleaner and then tried to steal a second one from the Cookevlle Walmart store. Police say the suspect is 41-year-old Brian Eric Packard of Everitt Street. They say he came into Walmart and loaded a Dyson Vacuum Cleaner into his shopping cart and attempted to leave with it. When he was confronted by store security, Packard reportedl produced a receipt for a Dyson vacuum cleaner. But store officials say the receipt did not match the serial number for the vacuum he had. They told police that Packard had come in earlier and purchased an identical vacuum cleaner -- just so he would have the receipt. But as they were questioning him, he took off. Officer Mitch Harrington saw him running through the grass near Hollywood Video and claims that Packard refused several commands to stop. Harrington caught up to him on foot and took him to the ground to be handcuffed and returned to the store for identification.

Prowler Shot At On Brotherton Mountain Road

A Putnam County resident used a gun to defend himself and his property this week after coming upon a prowler near a storage shed. The resident of Brotherton Mountain Road told the sheriff's department that his mother had heard someone trying to get in the kitchen door so he went outside to look around. He says he saw someone in the back by a storage building and claims that the suspect raised a long gun toward him. The victim then started firing his .45 caliber pistol at the man, while running back into his house. He fired off eight rounds, but apparently didn't hit anyone. Authorities say an attempt to track the would-be burglar with a police dog was unsuccessful.

Police Investigate Cookeville Dog Shooting

The dog is called a "Yorkypoo" and its name is Buster. The mixed breed poodle-Yorkshire terrier animal had been let out of his house on 17th Street last week to use the restroom. The owner told police she then heard a gunshot and says her dog began to yelp and ran back inside. Officer Jamey McCurry says an entry and exit wound made it clear that the dog had been shot with a firearm and not an air gun. The officer says that several people in the apartment complex heard the shot, but no one saw anything.

Child Nearly Hit In Church Parking Lot

Reckless endangerment charges are pending against a Cookeville man who allegedly came close to hitting a five-year-old child in a church parking lot this week. Sheriff's deputy Sam Lee says he was off-duty when he noticed two men running around the back of the Rocky Point Baptist Church. He says they were chasing the driver of a truck which had pulled into the parking lot of the church at a high rate of speed. That driver was identified as 71-year-old Poteet Bohannon of North Chestnut Street in Cookeville. He allegedly told deputies that he accidentally got to going too fast on Rocky Point Road and that he did not see the small child in the parking lot when he pulled in.