Tuesday, June 30, 2009

TTU Women's Basketball Coach Resigns

Thomas Corhern is reporting that Tennessee Tech women’s basketball head coach Amy Brown has resigned from the position. Brown had just completed her third season at the helm of the Golden Eagle program, compiling an overall record of 29 wins against 61 losses. Brown was only the third head coach in the TTU women’s basketball program’s history, following Marynell Meadors (1970-86) and Bill Worrell (1986-2006). In addition to her three seasons at the head coach’s post, Brown spent 10 seasons as an assistant. A 1990 Livingston Academy graduate, Brown played at and received her degree from Louisiana Tech before joining the Golden Eaglette coaching staff as an assistant

Sentence Handed Down in Pipe Bomb Case

Two Putnam County boys, who exchanged a homemade pipe bomb at Burks Middle School earlier this year, will be doing 100 hours of community service work and will not be allowed to handle "fireworks of any kind" over the 4th of July or during the time of their probation. The two pleaded guilty last week in Juvenile Court and were given instructions on how they must behave if they are to avoid being ordered into state custody. The 13-year-olds are under a 5 pm curfew, must submit to random drug screenings, must not break any more laws, and are prohibited from being around each other. Officials say the two had no prior record of lawbreaking and apparently had no intention of threatening to explode the device at the school. But they also say that if it had gone off, it could have resulted in serious injury.

Two Fatal Wrecks in Two Days

The second fatal wreck in as many days has been reported on the roads around Cookeville. The Tennessee Highway Patrol says that an 8-month-old infant was killed in a rollover wreck on I-40 near Monterey Monday afternoon. That accident was reported just one day after a Cookeville teenager was killed in a wreck on Old Baxter Road. In the I-40 accident, the THP says the wheel came off of a vehicle travelling in the eastbound lane and that wheel was thrown into westbound traffic. 23-year-old Adrian Castro Huerta was driving westbound, hit the wheel, and then lost control of his vehicle, rolling it several times. Troopers say two babies were in the Huerta vehicle, both properly restrained in a child safety seat. A three-month-old was not injured, but the eight-month-old baby died. Two adults in the vehicle were also injured.

Convenience Market Robbed

Cookeville police are investigating the armed robbery of a local convenience store early Tuesday morning. Authorities say the incident occurred about 2 am when a man walked into the Burgess Falls Shell Market on S. Willow Ave., threatened the clerk with a knife and demanded money. He reportedly jumped up on the counter, grabbed money out of the cash drawer and then threw that container onto the floor. The suspect was described only as a white male, who was wearing a hooded gray coat with the hood tied closely around his face at the time of the robbery. Anyone with information is asked to call Crimestoppers at 520-7867.

Medicine, Money and Mail Stolen

Police are investigating several incidents reported in the past few days in which medications, money, and mail have been taken. The mail thieves hit some boxes on Locust Grove Road, taking at least two checks out of the boxes that were made out to Santa's Workshop, the annual fund-raiser put on by the Cookeville Junior Women's Club. Meanwhile, the medicine was taken from a man on Mockingbird Hill Circle who left his apartment to go to the hospital and returned to find nearly 100 pain pills missing from his home. They were identified as Oxycontin, Xanax, and Dilaudid. In the third instance, police report that case was taken from at least three cars that had been left unlocked in the area of Sutton Place and Raider Drive. Investigation is continuing.

Reward Offered in Vandalism Case

A local property owner is offering a $1,000 reward for information on who shot out the windows at several of his properties on W. Jackson St. this week. The victim told police that at least seven glass windows in four different buildings had been shot at by what appeared to a BB gun. The damage was estimated at $3,500, and while police say they have no suspects at this point, they hope the offer of reward money will lead to information that can help them make an arrest. You can call Crimestoppers at 520-7867 if you have such information.

Authorities Closing in on Driveway Scammers

Cookeville-area law enforcement officials believe they are close to solving a number of cases in which someone scams money out of local residents in return for a promise to seal their driveway. They say the suspects in the cases are a man and a woman, and they say the man apparently had done driveway sealing projects for some of the victims in the past. That is part of the reason, they think, that he is able to get money from them when he approaches them about re-sealing their drives. In almost all of the cases, the man or his female companion approach a homeowner and quote a price for the driveway work and then tell them that they will need some money upfront in order to buy materials. After receiving that money, usually in cash, they disappear and never return to finish the job. Police have the names that the two have been using and are working to determine whether those names are real or fake. If they are charged, the two could face jail time and restitution to some two dozen victims around the area.

Fireworks Problems Beginning

It's still several days before the 4th of July, but local law enforcement officials say they are already getting complaints about firecrackers being set off. Sheriff's deputy Brandon Masters was dispatched to the Knights Chapel Church this week after someone complained of youngsters setting off fireworks in the church parking lot. He said he made contact with some juveniles shooting off bottle rockets and told them to leave the area, which they did. A while later, the sheriff's department answered a complaint of someone shooting fireworkers off near Colonial Market. County officials say it is not specifically illegal to use fireworks out in the county, but you can't do it on someone else's property. Meanwhile, Deputy Jamie Hunter answered a call on Dodson Branch Road of a woman who thought someone was trying to break into her house. She told him it sounded like someone was beating on her door, but she later realized it must of been firecrackers going off in the neighborhood. Officials say they expect to have to handle a number of similar complaints over the next few days.

Tech Professor Going To Israel

A Tennessee Tech University history professor is in a class all his own. Michael Birdwell is the only historian from the United States who will be giving a presentation next month in Israel at a prestigious international workshop for Holocaust scholars. He is among only nineteen scholars worldwide who will be speaking at the event, presented July 13-20 by Israel’s official memorial to the Jewish victims of the Holocaust. The topic of Birdwell’s presentation will be "Count Me Out: The American Film Industry and the Holocaust." It is based on his book, Celluloid Soldiers, which was published in 2000 by New York University Press and offers a historical look at the efforts of the Warner Brothers motion picture studio to make America aware of Nazi activity prior to World War Two.

Cookeville Man Charged with 8th Offense DUI

A Cookeville man is facing drunk driving charges for the 8th time after police noticed him driving along Crescent Drive without headlights. 42-year-old Brian Lester Burton of Buffalo Valley Road allegedly told police that his attorney had told him never to do any field sobriety tests, but Officer Josh Ward says Burton appeared to have red, watery eyes and slurred speech and says a styrofoam cup with the smell of a strong alcoholic beverage in it was found in the center console. According to Ward's report, Burton has not had a valid license for 20 years and has been convicted on ten prior offenses of driving with a revoked license, as well as three for driving with a suspended license. He has also been convicted of seven DUI's since 1993. Any DUI after three is considered a felony, and punishable by a minimum of 150 days in jail.

Community Nuisance Team at Work

The Community Nuisance Eradication Team at the Cookeville police department has been busy lately, investigating alleged drug activity around town. And police say those investigations have led them to charge at least five people in three separate incidents. In one case on Hickory Avenue, 31-year-old Jamie Marion Edmonds was charged with possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia after police say they found a plastic bag with the drug at Edmonds' apartment, along with three small plants, four pipes, and two sets of mechanical scales. His roommate, 32-year-old Angela Lorraine Umfleet, was cited for disorderly conduct and possession of drug paraphernalia after she allegedly refused orders from police to stop cursing as they conducted their investigation. Meanwhile, on Crescent Drive, 42-year-old James McCulley was charged with simple possesion of a Schedule II drug after police found what was allegedly a bag with crack cocaine on him. Another person at his home, 46-year-old Marty Edmond Allred of Spruce Street, was issued two citations, after police allegedly saw him throw down a crack pipe, a syringe, and several hydrocodone pills.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Cookeville Teen Killed In Wreck

An autopsy has been ordered for a Putnam County teenager, killed in a traffic accident on Sunday. Authorities say 16-year-old Ethan Adam Polston of Cookeville died when the car in which he was a passenger crashed on Old Baxter Road. The driver of that vehicle, identified as 16-year-old Cody Harville, was injured. The THP says the wreck occurred about three o'clock in the morning when the 2008 Honda Civic that Harville was driving went off the road on the right side, struck a tree and then travelled back across the road and hit an embankment on the left side. Polston is the son of Algood police officer Scott Polston. Officials say charges may be filed against the driver, pending the outcome of the investigation.

Criminal Homicide Charged

Criminal homicide charges are pending against a Jackson County man, who allegedly ran over two people following an argument over the weekend. The Putnam County sheriff's department says that 47-year-old Anthony Lee Curtis of Cab Anderson Lane was charged with homicide after one of those individuals died. He was also booked on aggravated assault charges. According to reports, Curtis was riding around Saturday night with 71-year-old Ernest Preston Fulton of Pine Hill Road and a woman identified as Tammy Pippin. The three apparently ended up in the driveway of Fulton's home when, according to Sheriff David Andrews, "a domestic dispute turned into a homicide." The sheriff said Curtis is accused of backing his car into Pippin and Fulton, knocking them to the ground and then running over Fulton as he drove away.

Tractor Trailer Stolen From Goodwill Store

Detectives are reviewing surveillance video in an attempt to identify the suspects who hot-wired a tractor trailer and drove it off from the parking lot of the Goodwill Store on S. Jefferson Ave. Saturday night. Video surveillance showed two individuals removing chock blocks and closing the trailer doors. The vehicle is then shown leaving the loading dock area at approximately 2 am. The trailer contained clothes and hangers that had been shipped to Cookeville from Lebanon and which were to be unloaded the next morning. The value of the truck, trailer and cargo was put at $125,000. Less than an hour after the theft, the truck was located on a residential street in Sparta. Detective David Gragg is investigating.

Former Tech Baseball Player Makes Pro Debut

Former Tennessee Tech Golden Eagle baseball player Ryan Dennick made his professional debut over the weekend, tossing three innings in relief for the Burlington Royals in a 4-0 loss at Johnson City. Dennick didn't get a decision in his first appearance, but did strike out four batters. He entered the game to start the bottom of the sixth inning with the Royals trailing, 2-0. He held the Cardinals scoreless for two innings, stranding a runner at third in the sixth and pitching a 1-2-3 seventh inning. Burlington plays its first home game of the season Monday night, hosting Bluefield at 7 p.m., to open a six-game homestand.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Putnam County Commission to Meet

The Putnam County commission will meet once again Monday evening, just two days before the end of the current fiscal year. County executive Kim Blaylock told commissioners last week that the session is needed for her office to properly close out the books on the year by having commissioners approve any last minute budget amendments. Budget amendments, in fact, are the only things on the agenda. Some commissioners had been concerned that a jail project, which was voted down a week ago, might be brought back up because the commission did not technically adjourn their last meeting. But others say that issue is now dead and the only purpose Monday night is to deal with the budget. The county has already adopted resolutions that will allow them to continue operating after July 1st and to borrow money on what are called "tax anticipation notes" in order to make payrolls until a new budget is passed and new tax revenue begins to come in. The meeting begins at 6:00 at the courthouse.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Awards Given to TTU Public Affairs

Tennessee Tech University’s Public Affairs Office department has won awards in five categories — including a gold award for its “More Than Tech” overall promotional campaign — at a recent meeting of the Tennessee College Public Relations Association, hosted by Austin Peay University in Clarksville. The department’s other awards include a gold in the poster category, silvers in the brochure/flyer and university or alumni magazine categories, and bronze in the report category. The panel of judges for the competition included representatives of print and broadcast media, as well as public relations and marketing. Universities that are T-C-P-R-A members were eligible to submit entries to a total of seventeen different categories in the competition, representing media ranging from printed newsletter to web site.

Governor Comments on Cookeville Cancer Patients

Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen has now commented on some cases where cancer patients in Cookeville, who are on the brink of surgery, will be losing their TennCare coverage as of July 1st. The Nashville Scene asked Bredesen to address the issue. The governor said, "Let's remember what this thing is about. We have been told by the federal government and by the state's auditors for several years now that we needed to deal with the issue where there were people who were receiving TennCare benefits who were arguably not qualified to be in TennCare. We've been criticized by both HHS and the comptroller's office for failing to deal with that. ... If you're not qualified legally to be on TennCare, we need to deal with that issue as a matter of program integrity. As you know, I'm a total believer in universal health care, but there are lots of people in this world who need access to health care but don't have it because they're not insured. But I mean, you know, I need to run a program which is consistent with the law and that's what we're trying to do.

Jobless Rate Increases Again

The state Department of Labor has released the unemployment figures for Putnam County, and the news is not good. The county's jobless rate increased in May from 9.3 to 9.7 percent and is more than three and half points higher than it was at this time last year. The jobless rate in May of 2008 was 6.1 percent. Meanwhile, the same story is playing out around the area. Both Overton and Jackson counties had an unemployment rate of 14.3 percent, more than double what it was at the same time last year. In White County, 15.6 percent of the population is looking for work. According to the Department of Labor, the Cookeville micropolitan area has a work force of 48,750 individuals. And, in May, more than 5,400 of them were out of a job.

Cell Phone Distraction

It's another issue that's made more complicated by the use of cell phones. Cookeville police say a distracted driver caused significant damage to a local convenience market last week when she drove off with the gas pump still attached to her car. It happend at the Exxon "On The Run" market on W. Broad St. The clerk told police that a woman apparently paid for her gas and began pumping, but then got sidetracked talking on her cell phone and drove away without replacing the pump. Police tried to locate the vehicle, but were unable to. It's not yet known when or whether the driver realized what she had done. She was reportedly driving a maroon SUV and could be cited for leaving the scene of an accident, but most likely would just have to pay for the damages she caused.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Theft of Property Charge Filed

Law enforcement officials say much of the crime in the area can be traced back to drug use on the part of the suspects, and it appears that may have been the case for a Wilson County woman, arrested on theft of property charges after she allegedly shoplifted several items out of the Rugged Warehouse store on S. Willow Ave. According to a report by Officer Donna Revis, 44-year-old Mylinda J. Jenkins of Upton Heights in Lebanon was cited after an employee of the store noticed her come in with a large handbag that appeared empty. The employee says when Jenkins exited the store, the bag looked full. But Jenkins reportedly didn't go far. She and a friend drove to the Dollar Tree store, where police found them and began an investigation. They say there were several pieces of clothing stacked up in the back seat and also a couple of pieces of clothing in the front passenger seat, altogether valued at more than $150. Jenkins also allegedly admitted to police that she had a crack pipe in her purse. But that, apparently, was the right thing to do. Because there were no actual drugs in the purse and because Jenkins was cooperative, police decided against charging her with possession of drug paraphernalia. The pipe, though, was destroyed.

Cookeville To Consider Annexation

After going a few years without expanding its boundaries, Cookeville city officials will begin discussions in the next few weeks about a proposed annexation north of town. The annexation area was taken for study this week by the city's planning commission. It encompasses nearly 50 pieces of property located between Freehill Road and N. Washington Ave., including about 20 properties on either side of Choate Cemetery Road. The annexation study area stretches north from 22nd Street to Whiteaker Springs Road, but does not currently include the subdivisions off Dale Lane and Bluebird Lane, west of Washington Avenue. The city has postponed most annexation studies for the past few years as a lawsuit between Cookeville and the Upper Cumberland Electric Membership Cooperative made its way through the court system. That litigation was ultimately settled last year.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Wrong Way To Find Some Beer

The Putnam County sheriff's department cited a Cookeville man on charges of public intoxication this week after he allegedly went door to door in his neighborhood, asking for beer. It happened Monday night in the area of Hilham Road, across from M & M Market. Deputy Matthew Hickey says 58-year-old James Michael Fly of Village Road was going door to door in an apartment complex making the request. Hickey talked to the apartment manager and was told that Fly does not live there and was being an annoyance to people who did. That's when Hickey arrested him on the public intoxication charge.

TTU Focuses on Teacher Education

Karen Lykins contributes the following:

Dramatic quality assurance systems will soon be implemented in teacher education programs across the nation, and Tennessee Tech University’s College of Education is at the forefront of testing one of six national models.

In a Washington press conference this week, the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education announced that more than 700 programs nationwide will soon have to develop transformation initiatives in order to receive accreditation.

Working with the Tennessee Board of Regents, Tennessee Tech piloted the Teaching Quality Initiative Teacher Education Redesign, which emphasizes case or problem-based learning, a modeling component, teacher enhancement and accountability. Sandy H. Smith, TTU’s director of teacher education, says the new initiatives will provide more useful data and research on what works in teacher education, and quality assurance will become a larger part of the accreditation process.

“One strong component is the teaching hospital model we are using,” said Smith. “Case or problem-based scenarios are used, and that’s fundamentally pushing teacher education in a new direction.”

TTU physics professor Stephen Robinson spearheads the efforts in the modeling component.

“Students who will become teachers should experience best practices in teaching while learning any subject, including math and science,” he said. “Our job is to provide professional development for all university faculty members and encourage them to model best practices in their own university classrooms.”

NCATE emphasizes that transformation in teacher education must include accountability based on data that directly reflects improvement in student learning. Smith says Tennessee Tech has been gathering data in an effort to follow graduates for three years after placement and evaluate their effectiveness in the classroom.

“What will ultimately make a difference is to follow all our teacher candidates and see how their preparation in our teacher education program has made a difference to their students,” she said. “We want to quantify the positive impact our teachers have and have a collaborative discussion on how to improve our preparation.”

Ultimately, NCATE anticipates funding to go to effective programs that produce results in improving P-12 student learning.

Driveway Scams Continue

The cases of fraud involving driveways continue to pile up for local law enforcement officers. A resident of Colonial Drive told Deputy Sam Lee this week that a man came by her house and gave her what was described as a "sob story" about his kids, while telling her that he would seal her driveway and fix all of the cracks in it for $50. She told him that she didn't have that much money at her house, so he talked her into going to an ATM and drawing out the money. He was supposed to come back to her home on Monday to do the job, but has not showed up. Meanwhile, another resident of Old Qualls Road reported to Deputy Bobby Lane that a man offered to repair and seal his driveway for $100. The victim gave him $15 in cash to buy "materials," and reportedly got a receipt and even saw the suspect a few days later, but says the job was never started. Investigation is continuing.

Tech Professors Edit History Book

Three Tennessee Tech University professors have edited a new book exploring the way the Civil War changed the relationship between the states of Kentucky and Tennessee. Kent Dollar, Larry Whiteaker, and W. Calvin Dickinson have put out a book called "Sister States, Enemy States." It's available from the University Press of Kentucky. The publisher says rather than focusing on the military campaigns or war heroes, this volume delves into the social, political, and economic issues which arose from the war, looking at both the similarities and key differences between these two states. Scholars such as Thomas C. Mackey, Robert Tracy McKenzie, and John D. Fowler explore the secession movement in both states, looking into divided loyalties, sectional divides within each state, and the political debates that roiled each legislature. Once the war started, it had a profound impact on various groups within each state. Kenneth W. Noe examines a group of Union soldiers from central Tennessee who literally took up arms against their brothers. Brain D. McKnight looks at the guerrilla movement by focusing on the exploits of Champ Ferguson. Likewise, the plight of African Americans and refugees are examined by Marion B. Lucas and Richard D. Sears respectively. As the war was ending, Lincoln looked to Tennessee as a model for how all other Confederate states could be readmitted to the Union, while Kentucky—never fully trusted by either Union or Confederate leaders—experienced a more difficult transition. Jonathan M. Atkins, Ben H. Severance, and B. Franklin Cooling each look at various aspects of reconstruction in each state, while Dollar and Dickinson examine the war’s impact on the lives of those who fought.

Public Hearing Held on Road Extension

The city of Cookeville held a public hearing this week to discuss a proposed road project that will be getting underway this summer. A handful of residents who live near the West Cemetery Road extension showed up to comment on the project and ask questions. They say they want to be sure their properties are protected, especially from the expected increase in traffic and noise. The new road will be built on one side of a new school being built on the former Bullington farm on S. Jefferson Ave. But about half a dozen homes will also back up to the road. City officials say they plan to construct a tall earthen berm with trees on top of it to screen those homes from the road. Anyone with further questions about the project can call the city's public works department.

Cursing Leads to Drug Charges

If you're going to curse at a police officer, it probably helps if you're not carrying drugs at the time. Cookeville police officer Mitch Harrington was patrolling near Belle Acres Golf Course Monday afternoon when someone in a car that was driving by stuck his head out of the window and yelled a curse containing the "F" word. Harrington says the shout was heard by several individuals standing outside a nearby business, so he pulled the vehicle over to at least question the passenger. As it turns out, that passenger -- identified as 20-year-old Tadashi Ryan Erekson of Colorado Springs, Colo., allegedly had a small plastic bag of marijuana that could be seen in his left rear pocket and a pack of rolling papers in his wallet. He was charged with possessing drugs and drug paraphernalia and booked under a $1,500 bond.

Clay County Man Now Indicted for Murder

A criminal court arraignment is scheduled on Monday in Clay County for a man accused of kidnapping and killing a woman in a dispute over child support payments. 34-year-old Jason Hancock is now facing four indictments in the death of Jennifer Cornell, whose body was found in a sinkhole near his home last fall. The Herald-Citizen has a nicely detailed story on the latest developments.

Power Outage Scheduled

Not sure how many people are going to be directly affected, but I always find it a bit annoying when the lights go out, so you may want to know that the Cookeville Electric Department will have a brief 30-minute outage at their North Cookeville Substation on the morning of Saturday June 27th at 4:00am. They say the outage is required to perform maintenance to ensure station reliability. The areas affected will be the Washington Avenue area north of 8th Street and most areas north of 10th Street that are east of Willow Avenue. Officials say it's pretty much the same area that was affected by an outage back on April 25th. They say they hope this will be the last one they need to schedule -- for awhile.

Law Enforcement Looking for Help

Local law enforcement agencies, including the Cookeville police department and the U.S. Secret Service are looking for help from anyone who can identify the people seen in these bank surveillance photos. Authorities say the subjects above are the ones they believe have somehow captured the PIN numbers from several debit cards and used that information to withdraw thousands of dollars from the bank accounts of local residents. Anyone with information that may help is asked to call Detective David Gragg at 520-5316. You may be eligible for a reward.

Trashing Personal Information

Authorities say it's another potential way for your identity to be stolen. The personal information of several people apparently got thrown out in the trash when a Cookeville business shut down. Police say a man found a stack papers in a Putnam County garbage dump that were from a tattoo parlor in town. Those papers reportedly contained people's names, addresses and photo copies of their driver's licenses. They even listed the descriptions and locations of the people's tattoos. The man who found the information turned it over to police, and there is no evidence yet that it has been misued. Officers said the tattoo parlor is no longer in business.

Fires Destroy Mobile Home, Vehicles

Residents of one Putnam County neighborhood woke up to the sounds of an explosion and fire truck sirens Wednesday morning. One person had to be taken to a hospital after a fire at a trailer park on Poplar Grove Road. Authorities said the fire destroyed one mobile home -- the one occupied by Dennis Redifer in the Dietz Trailer Park. Fire officials say the blaze may have started from an oxygen tank exploding in the residence. Redifer was reportedly helped off the front porch of the home by a man who was visiting relatives in the same park. Meanwhile, Cookeville police are investigating a case of burglary, that was discovered after a vehicle was found burning in western Putnam County. A passerby noticed van on fire on the side of Rock Island Road about 3 am Tuesday, and officials learned that the vehicle belonged to J & H construction company. They called the owner, who then called Cookeville police to have them check out his business on S. Jefferson Ave. The construction business had, indeed, been broken into and the van stolen, along with a gun safe and some computer equipment. Authorities say the safe and the computers were not found in the vehicle, which was destroyed by the fire. The total loss was estimated to be about $50,000. And, in an unrelated case, a man on Southfork Road had his Ford Explorer destroyed by fire this week. He told investigators that he was changing the fuel filter and believes some gasoline spilled on a shop light, causing the blaze. He was able to push the vehicle out of the garage and into the yard, but it was destroyed.

Summer Visitors Swamp TTU

Summertime may inspire thoughts of sand, sun and surf for some, but at Tennessee Tech University, summertime means camps, conferences and other activities for learning and fun. Nearly 8,000 people visit TTU in the summer season for cheerleading and dance, music or sports camps, science and engineering workshops, studying or just looking around, say campus officials. Sports camps attract the single greatest segment of visitors, accounting for about 2,700 high school athletes in camps for six individual sports. Following athletic camps, the segment making up the second greatest number of summer visitors will be 1,250 cheerleaders and dance camp participants. Recently, American Legion Boys’ State brought about 600 high school juniors from across the state, and June kicked off with about a hundred high school musicians attending the Southeast Chamber Music Institute. About 1,100 others will be participating in summer music camps. More than 400 students will be on campus for Governor’s Schools, science camps and other science, technology, engineering and mathematics-related camps and conferences. And more than 1,500 students will visit campus during the summer season for Student Orientation and Registration, or SOAR, activities.

Identity Theft Investigated

A somewhat unusual case of identity theft is under investigation today by the Putnam County sheriff's department. A 25-year-old resident of Ben Jared Road told authorities that he believes a Cookeville man has used his name and social security number to play poker games over the Internet. The victim says he's not sure just what sites the suspect is visiting, but says the man is a convicted sex offender and says he is alarmed that the suspect could be utilizing the information to defraud him.

Fire Engine Hits Patrol Car

The Baxter fire department may have to file an insurance claim after one of their fire engines struck a Putnam County sheriff's patrol car, while at the scene of a small fire over the weekend. Deputy Jeremy Nash says that he was assisting the Baxter police department with traffic and crowd control when a fire engine responding to the scene struck his patrol car. He says the vehicle was parked on the side of the road at the time with the emergency lights activated. No one was in the vehicle at the time and the damage was relatively minor, consisting of a small scratch and hole on the passenger side rear corner of the vehicle. The damage to the home on Elm Street that caught fire was also minor, amounting to about a thousand dollars. Officials say the fire may have started from a go-cart.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Hostage Incident Unfounded

Some tense moments for the Putnam County sheriff's department this week as they answered a call reporting that a man was tied up in a local home and another man was holding a gun on him. Deputies rushed to the scene on Center Hill Dam Road in Silver Point and took up strategic positions on the outside of the residence. One deputy spoke to the person who had made the call, who claimed that he could see the men in the home, right next to the air-conditioner. The deputy, however, determined that no one was actually there. Deputies eventually got permission to enter the home and confirmed what they thought. The place was empty. The man's sister later told officials that he sometimes "sees things." She said she was going to take him to the doctor to get it checked out.

Driveway Scam Update

No it's not a typo. One day after Cookeville police warned local residents to be aware of driveway paving scams, a Putnam County resident reported a similar incident to the sheriff's department. The homeowner on Lake Valley Drive says that a man and woman came to his home earlier this month and offered to seal his driveway. A price of $250 was agreed upon for the service, and the male suspect asked for $50 upfront in order to buy materials. The victim gave him that money in cash and later wrote a check to the female suspect in the amount of $100, but says the work was never done. Authorities say they have the names of the people they believe are pulling the driveway scams and expect to be able to prosecute them.

Bank Scam Update

The suspects involved in some local bank scams may be going online with their information. A Putnam County woman told the sheriff's department this week that someone used her bank account to make a purchase from the Abercrombie.com web site. She says when she called Abercrombie about it, she found out that the bank had already cancelled the transaction. And she was told that they could track the person using the card, but that she would have to get a police report first. Meanwhile, Cookeville police are still hoping that ATM surveillance photos will give them some leads into who may be involved in stealing debit card information.

Sgt. York Fundraiser

Sergeant York has long been one of my favorite films, although my friend, Dr. Michael Birdwell, tells me it has very little grounding in fact. He should know. He spent several years as the official archivist for the York papers and has been actively involved in trying to save the historic York Institute building. Now, the effort to save that structure has moved to the World Wide Web. For those who haven't been keeping up, Sgt. Alvin York was one of the most highly decorated soldiers in WWI. When he came home to Pall Mall, Tennessee, in Fentress County, York helped build the York Agricultural Institute. The building fell into disrepair over the years and was scheduled to be demolished. Instead, it was turned over to a groupl called the Sgt. York Patriotic Foundation. Now, that group and the state's education department are working to restore the building. The patriotic foundation is hosting a ball to raise money for the project. It's set for July 25 in Cookeville at Southern Hills Golf Club. And officials say they hope the York Summer Ball will become an annual event. It will include an auction of donated items including antiques, art, trips and dinners. The group is also asking for donations to help save the institute. Click here to donate online.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Fuel Cell Research at TTU Wins Award

Sub-zero winter mornings offer a challenge to researchers working to make fuel cell powered automobiles a reality — fuel cells need and produce water, and water freezes.Tennessee Tech University’s Cynthia Rice-York has been making progress on a solution for several years. Now, her next leading research proposal has earned her a 2009 Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Award from Oak Ridge Associated Universities.

“Polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells, or PEMFCs, are a global contender to replace internal combustion engines in automobiles,” said Rice-York. “But for these fuel cells to be viable, we have to improve their cold-start performance and survivability from sub-zero temperatures. The main issue is these fuel cells must produce water, and water within a fuel cell under subzero conditions has the potential to cause mechanical damage and fuel starvation.”

To meet the power demands of an automobile, hundreds of repeat fuel cells units are stacked and compressed by large end plates that act as thermal sinks. Under sub-zero conditions, water moves toward the end plates and collects and freezes in voids and defects. Water in the wrong place could cause mechanical damage and fuel starvation to the automobile.

“Our goal is directly relevant to commercializing PEMFCs in the auto industry,” said Rice-York. “We’ll investigate design parameters to limit or minimize the negative impact of water moving into undesirable locations during freeze.We want to quantify the impact of environmental factors — relative humidity, thermal gradient and others — on the mobility of water during freeze within these fuel cells.”

Ralph E. Powe Awards provide seed money to allow faculty members in their first two years of tenure track to enhance their research. Rice-York received a $5,000 unrestricted research award that will be matched by the university. Her project was one of 30 proposals chosen from 118 applications.

Oak Ridge Associated Universities, one of the nation’s most respected university consortiums to advance science and education, is 100 members strong. These major research institutions join national laboratories, government agencies and private industry to advance science and education.

Prior to joining TTU last August, Rice-York was a staff research engineer at United Technologies Research Center in East Hartford, Conn., investigating PMEFCs for commercialization. Rice-York is the first member of Tennessee Tech’s Chemical Engineering Department to receive a Powe Award from ORAU. Previous university winners are Titus Albu (2003), Ben He (2004) and Benjamin Mohr (2007).

Teen Charged With Vandalism

A teenager, who was apparently trying to catch up to his friends, is facing vandalism charges today after he jumped onto and over a car, damaging its windshield. The incident happened on Friday night near Cookeville Regional Medical Center. Police say a hospital security guard witnessed the incident and caught up to the boys, who were attending a basketball camp at Tennessee Tech. The 16-year-old, who is from Clay, Kentucky, was cited to juvenile court after officer Michael Herrick inspected the car and found footprints matching the suspect's on the hood, roof and trunk of the damaged vehicle.

Walgreens Sign Rejected

A proposed new Walgreens, being built on the corner of N. Washington Ave. and 10th Street in Cookeville will NOT have an electronic reader board sign, like those at many other Walgreens locations around the country. The Cookeville planning commission Monday night denied a request from the developer to allow such a sign because the new Walgreens is being built in what's called a neighborhood commercial zone. City planner James Mills says that zone is intended to accommodate commercial establishments that blend in with the surrounding neighborhood, and he says that a free-standing, lighted sign would not do that. But Mills pointed out that current regulations do allow for such signs to be located on up to 25 percent of the wall space within the store. He says that could potentially be more detrimental than a process whereby reader signs would be allowed under special exception. The guidelines for granting such an exception will be reviewed by the planning commission next month. The new Walgreens store on Washington Ave. is not anticipated to open until some time next year.

Cookeville Man Now Facing Murder Charge

A Cookeville man, now charged with second degree murder, is scheduled to appear in General Sessions Court Wednesday for an arraignment. The attempted murder charge against 43-year-old Scotty Robinson of Walnut Village was amended after the man he shot last week died at Erlanger Hospital. Police say Robinson shot 37-year-old Gerald Dewayne Randolph of Old Sparta Road at least once in the head with a .25 caliber handgun. The two had reportedly been arguing over some prescription pain medication that belonged to Robinson. Although witnesses tell conflicting stories, police believe that Robinson shot Randolph as he was leaving the apartment with that medication. The court has appointed an attorney to represent Robinson, who was jailed under $250,000 bond.

Local Sam's Club Victim of Shoplifting Ring

Cookeville police say their criminal investigation division is assisting what's called the Asset Protection Division of Sam's Club in investigating a shoplifting ring targeting Sam's Club stores around the area. That division sent a bulletin to the Cookeville store advising them to be on the lookout for the suspects, and local employees reviewed security video and determined that they had, in fact, been victimized by the ring, which had taken at least 19 movies and merchandise altogether valued at more than $2,500. The thieves apparently hit the Cookeville store back on June 12 at 2:44 pm.

Wreck Leads to DUI Charges

A Cookeville man involved in a single-vehicle accident has been charged with 4th offense DUI. Police say 38-year-old David Schrichte of Hargis Drive wrecked his pickup on W. Stevens St. about 11:30 one night and was placed under arrest after failing several field sobriety tests. They say he became combative after being placed under arrest and allegedly tried to headbutt the officer and kick him in the groin. Schrichte's previous DUI convictions were in 1991, 1997, and 2002.
Meanwhile, in a separate case, 46-year-old Maxine Peppers of Greenland Avenue was charged with DUI after police responded to an erratic driver on E. 10th St. Officer Christopher Ferguson found the vehicle in a parking lot and says Peppers was apparently passed out behind the wheel in the front seat. He says that she had two previous DUI convictions -- one from 2000 and one from 2002. She was also cited for driving on a revoked license.
And 35-year-old Timothy Wayne Ashburn of Cindy Drive was charged after Putnam County sheriff's deputy Jeremy Nash noticed him weaving along Highway 56 near the Baxter Crossroads. Nash says he found both open and unopened beer in the vehicle and also alleges that Ashburn had a hydrocodone tablet for which he did not have a prescription.

Cookeville Planners To Discuss Roads and Signs

The Cookeville Planning Commission meets tonight to consider for action an amendment to the zoning code which would allow what are called electronic reader boards on monument signs in the neighborhood commercial zones. The request is being submitted by the architectural firm AEI on behalf of Red River Investments. The commission will also review the proposed extension of West Cemetery Road to make sure that it's in compliance with the city's Comprehensive Plan. Public works director Greg Brown now says that road extension project will probably be handled by an outside contractor. The city council has approved an amendment to the contract for design of the road so that an outside firm can do the construction.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Algood Man Charged With Sexual Battery

A July 13th court date has been set for an Algood man, charged with sexual battery. Police say that 34-year-old Thomas Clayton Wilson of Maddux Court was arrested after he allegedly bit a teenage girl on the breast. The incident reportedly occurred at the apartment complex where both Wilson and the victim live. According to warrants taken out by Algood police, the girl was standing by the door of her apartment when Wilson came out of his apartment and allegedly bit her. The victim then went inside and told her mother what had happened, and she called police, who later arrested Wilson. His bond was set at $5,000.

Representative Fincher Talks About The Budget

State Representative Henry Fincher of Cookeville has now wrapped up the 2009 legislative session and says the budget they passed, which goes into effect on July 1st, was a difficult one. One of the difficulties, he says, was not knowing when the recession will turn around. But he says a coalition of what he called "moderate Republicans and moderate Democrats" were able to come to a compromise to restore funding to public television and continue vital services like bridge repairs. But he says there will be budget cuts that are going to affect individuals adversely, specifically cuts to TennCare, some of which have already been chronicled. He says the ultimately solution there is at the federal level. Fincher also talked about the passage of a bill he called "the biggest gun law you never heard about." As reported here last week, it requires the state of Tennessee to report to the FBI anyone who has been involuntarily committed to a mental institution. Fincher says taking that step will prevent situations like the massacre that occurred at Virginia Tech a few years ago. You can contact Fincher at his Cookeville law office, or by emailing him at the state capitol.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Local Museum Featured on TV

The Highlands Prehistoric Museum, located on S. Cedar Ave. in Cookeville was featured recently in a segment on Nashville's Fox affiliate. You can see the story here.

Putnam Teachers Tour Shuttle Launch Site

Two Putnam County teachers attended workshops and toured Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla. on June 12, a day before the space shuttle Endeavor was scheduled to launch. And although the launch was canceled because of a hydrogen leak, the teachers reported they would be able to use the things they learned in the workshops in their classrooms back home and were "thrilled at the access they had to the shuttles Discovery and Endeavor." Janet Raines and Jennifer Diem, both science teachers at Burks Middle School, stood under the Discovery space shuttle as NASA employees were repairing her tiles and got a close-up view of Endeavor while it was on the launch pad during their tour of Kennedy Space Center. The tour was arranged through Congressman Bart Gordon's office. Prior to touring the Kennedy Space Center, Raines and Diem spent the morning in workshops. Diem said she and Raines began planning for their trip in the fall and was disappointed not to be able to see the launch, but says that safety rightly came first. Endeavor is now scheduled to launch on July 11. Her payload includes the "front porch" and spare parts for the International Space Station. The front porch will allow astronauts to conduct research outside the space station. Teachers interested in attending future shuttle launches should contact Joe Patterson at Gordon’s Murfreesboro district office by calling 615-896-1986.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Sheriff's Deputy Stays Busy

Putnam County Sheriff's Deputy Patrick Storie stayed busy Thursday, arrested a felony fugitive, an alleged forger, and a man who has been indicted on charges of aggravated burglary. Storie is part of a special task force of the U.S. Marshal's Service and spends much of his time tracking down people who are wanted because they have been indicted or because they have missed a court date. At 10:30 Thursday morning, he arrested 27-year-old Baxter resident Derek Adam Holloway at a Cookeville business. Holloway has been indicted by the grand jury on burglary charges and will be arraigned in criminal court on July 14. Less than an hour later, Storie took Monterey resident Danny Ray Alexander into custody. The 33-year-old came to the sheriff's office to turn himself in on a fugitve warrant and was in General Sessions court Friday to begin sorting that case out. Then, Thursday evening, Storie went to an apartment in Livingston, where he arrested 22-year-old Stephanie Ann Troutt on the forgery charges. Her court date is July 6

Tuition Hike Finalized

As expected, the Tennessee Board of Regents has approved tuition increases of between 6% and 9% for full-time university students in Tennessee. They approved the increase during a meeting in Cookeville on Friday. The amount an individual student's tuition increases will depend upon how many credit hours that person is taking. In the past, tuition has been capped at 12 credit hours. Additional hours were free. But officials say the change in policy will benefit part-time students. Board members have said they hope it encourages more people who cannot attend class full time to pursue a degree. According to a news release from the board, the only no vote came from student Regent Gionni Carr, the student representative on the Board. The Tennessee Board of Regents system includes six universities, 13 2-year colleges and 26 technology centers.

Women Facing Reckless Endangerment Charges

Two Cookeville women were arrested by police this week on charges of reckless endangerment after authorities found several children in their vehicle either unrestrained or improperly belted in. According to a report by Officer Shannon Smith, the case began Tuesday morning when a concerned citizen called police to report that small children had been seen inside a moving vehicle without any seatbelts on. Smith located that vehicle on E. Spring St. and initiated a traffic stop. He says that the passenger in the car was an adult, who was not wearing a seat belt, and that the driver admitted to him that she did not have proper insurance on the vehicle. The passenger, Smith said, turned out to be the mother of four children that were also found in the vehicle. She was identified as 21-year-old Heather Alyea of Paran Rd. Police say the driver was 23-year-old Ashley Marie Wright of Rice Circle. Smith says Alyea's two-year-old in the middle of the back seat was not in a car seat and was not belted in; a five-month-old was in a car seat, but was not properly restrained; and an 18-month old was in another car seat, but not one that was designed for infants. Most surprising, according to Smith, was that the mother was holding a laundry basket in the front seat and -- beneath that laundry basket, between her legs -- was another 18-month old baby. Smith called the Department of Children's Services to do an investigation and also obtained two additional car seats, after which he assisted the mother in the proper installation of the seats. The children were then transported from the scene, but their mother and her friend were arrested, each on four counts of reckless endangerment with bond set at $5,000 apiece. They'll be in court on June 22.

Name of Shooting Victim Released

Cookeville police have now released the name of a man critically injured in a shooting incident at Walnut Village Apartments Thursday afternoon. Capt. David Dukes identifed the victim as 37-year-old Gerald Randolph. He says Randolph was at the apartment of 43-year-old Scottie R. Robinson about 1:45 Thursday afternoon when the two got into a scuffle over some prescription medications that belonged to Robinson (shown in the photo above.) According to Dukes, there were conflicting statements as to just what happened, but he says Robinson, whose address was listed as 201 S. Walnut Ave., Apt. F1, allegedly pointed a .25 caliber gun at Randolph and fired, hitting Randolph at least once in the head. Randolph was taken to Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga, where he was listed in extremely critical condition Friday morning. Robinson was taken to jail on a warrant charging him with attempted second degree murder. His bond was set at $250,000. Dukes says that, generally speaking, residents of Tennessee are not allowed to use deadly force unless they believe themselves to be in imminent danger of bodily harm. He says that someone stealing from you is not usually considered enough provocation to shoot them.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Attempted Murder Charges Pending

Cookeville police say a dispute over prescription drugs led to a shooting Thursday afternoon at the Walnut Village Apartment on S. Walnut Ave. They say a man at the apartment complex allegedly tried to kill another man who may have been trying to steal medications. According to authorities, a man who lives at the apartments shot another man once in the head. The shooting victim, who has not yet been identified, was taken to Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga, where he was reported to be in critical condition. The suspect was identified as Scotty Robinson, who was jailed on charges of attempted murder.

Bank Scamming Update

The U-S Secret Service is now involved in the investigation of a series of bank fraud cases that have been plaguing the Cookeville area and, reportedly, the entire state of Tennessee. Officials say one of the more recent incidents in Cookeville involved the business account of a local flower store. The victim says she does not know how someone could have gotten her debit card information or pin number, but says there were at least two withdrawals, totaling more than $500 -- one at an ATM in Nashville; the other in Trousdale County. Police say bank surveillance photos indicate that both men and women appear to be involved in the scam and they suggest that everyone double-check their bank statements to make sure that there have been no unauthorized withdrawals.

Cookeville Council Approves Rate Hike

The Cookeville city council has approved a rate hike for water and sewer services, in part to pay for needed improvements to the system. Water Department director Ronnie Kelly says the average customer will see an increase of a couple of dollars a month. City council member Ricky Shelton requested that the implementation of the increase be put off -- given the state of the economy. But the majority of the council voted to proceed with the increase, which goes into effect as of July 1st. Also Thursday night, the council gave final reading to the city budget for next year with no tax hike; they renamed the Cookeville Drama Center to the Cookeville Performing Arts Center; and they approved a change in the scope of services for designing improvements to West Cemetery Rd. City officials say the original plan was to have the work done inhouse, but they have decided to put it out for bid instead.

Shoplifter Hit By Car

A Cookeville man, who allegedly ran away from the Family Dollar store after being confronted about a shoplifting incident, has received a citation anyway -- right after being hit by a car. Police say 27-year-old Bobby Gene Harville Jr. shoplifted three packs of batteries worth about $11.50. Employees say he ran from the scene, but was identified by witnesses and police say, about 30 minutes later, a vehicle hit a pedestrian in front of the fire hall on N. Washington Ave. They say Harville was the pedestrian victim in that wreck, so Officer Ryan Acuff went to the scene and cited him for shoplifting. He'll be in court later this month.

Man Charged with Abusing 911 System

A July 13 court date has been set for a Putnam County man, charged with calling 911 for a non-emergency. According to a report by sheriff's deputy Kyle Farley, 27-year-old Daryl Wayne Vaughn called 911 Wednesday afternoon to complain that a state trooper and a deputy were on his property, trying to serve a warrant on a relative, who was not there. He told the dispatcher that he wanted those law enforcement officers off of his property, but officials say that when the dispatcher tried to explain that he needed to call the non-emergency number and not tie up the 911 system, Vaughn allegedly became irate and started cursing. Deputy Farley took out a warrant against Vaughn, who was arrested about an hour later at his home on the Nashville Highway. Violation of the law concerning 911 calls is a Class C misdemeanor, punishable by a fine.

Tech Holds Event for Young Pianists

Applications are being accepted through September 18th for the Young Artist Piano Competition at Tennessee Tech University, which is open to high school pianists from across the state. Contestants will be notified of their acceptance and performance times by September 28th, and the competition will be held on October 10th in the Wattenbarger Auditorium of TTU’s Bryan Fine Arts Building. Participants must perform a complete movement from a sonata by composers Haydn, Mozart or Beethoven and another piece in a contrasting style. Memorization is required, and each participant will be allotted fifteen minutes of performance time. Contest entries must include a teacher’s letter of recommendation and an application fee of $25. Checks should be made payable to TTU. The competition’s grand prize is the five hundred-dollar Ballal Award, and the runner-up will receive the three hundred-dollar Herman Godes Award. Graduating seniors participating in the competition may also be considered for TTU piano scholarships. For more information about the Young Artist Piano Competition, call 372-3715.

Tuition Hike Recommended

Meeting in Cookeville Thursday, the Business and Finance Committee of the Tennessee Board of Regents voted unanimously to recommend to the full board tuition increases that will result in students paying an average of 6.1% more next year at the five TBR state universities, including Tennessee Tech. The actual amount that any given student will pay depends on how many hours the student takes, since TBR is beginning this fall to charge for every hour taken with no cap. In the past, the board has capped tuition at 12 hours, after which students didn't pay any additional fee. Now, hours above 12 will cost $10 per hour. That, however, is much less that the full tuition. Students taking under 12 hours are the main beneficiaries of the change in tuition policy. For those students, tuition will go up only about one percent at the state universities, and 2.8 percent at the community colleges. The entire board will consider the proposal Friday.

Bank Scams Continue

The bank scams continue to stack up for Cookeville-area law enforcement officers. Just this week, half a dozen new cases were reported, but officials say they're not all debit card frauds. One involves a woman who noticed an unauthorized charge on her credit card for an online dating service, and another involves a relative who allegedly stole and cashed a social security check. The dating service -- called WMV Chemistry.com -- confirmed that a different name and address had been used with the victim's credit card, but said they would not give out that information without a subpeona. In the other case, the victim said that his sister had stolen his checks in the past and had also sold his medication. Meanwhile, a Thomas Road resident told the sheriff's department that she learned of illegal activity on her account after being notified of an overdraft. She contacted a company called "GRC" that had withdrawn the money, but they refused to reimburse her without a police report. The woman also plans to pursue the case with her lawyer.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Fincher's Latest Gun Law

State Representative Henry Fincher of Cookeville has now gotten a bill passed that allows officials to send the FBI a list of the people who should not be issued a gun carry permit because they are mentally ill. Under current law, even mentally ill people who have been involuntarily committed to institutions as a danger to themselves or others can go to a gun store on the day of their release, pass the background check and walk out with a firearm. That's because Tennessee doesn't currently send their names to the FBI's national instant background check system. Under Fincher's bill, Tennessee will send to the FBI the names of anyone deemed mentally ill by a court in this state.

Funeral Home Scammed

More details have now been released about how a man was able to scam a local funeral home. Cookeville police say they know who the suspect is and have taken warrants out for his arrest. The scam artist was either a temporary employee of Dyer Funeral Home or was pretending to be when he stole some blank checks from the business and bought a mini-van from a local car dealership. Authorities say the man went to Cumberland Toyota earlier this month, portrayed himself as an employee of the funeral home, forged owner Roger Burke's name on a check and bought a $21,000 vehicle. Police now say the suspect was on parole at the time and living in a halfway house. They say he has committed similar crimes in the past. Investigators will not reveal his name. They believe he's in northern Alabama, but he reportedly told someone in Cookeville he had relatives in Overton County.

Board of Regents Meeting in Cookeville

The state's governing body that makes policy and financial decisions affecting Tennessee Tech University is holding a two-day meeting in Cookeville on Thursday and Friday. The Tennessee Board of Regents regularly holds its quarterly meetings and conducts official business at the institutions most directly affected by their actions.TBR regents and board staff will begin arriving in Cookeville this evening. Most business meetings and presentations will take place in the Bryan Fine Arts Building. Parking for meeting participants will be reserved along the Walton House driveway and in the temporary lot across from the Bryan Fine Arts building.Committee meetings will be held on Thursday, beginning at 10 a.m. The first committee meeting will be Finance and Business Operations, which will consider tuition and fees for the coming year. That meeting will be followed by the committees on Personnel and Compensation; Business, Community and Public Affairs; Academic Policies and Programs; Tennessee Technology Centers; and Audit.The full board will meet beginning at 9:30 a.m. on Friday, June 19. All meetings will be held in TTU's Bryan Fine Arts Building at 1150 North Dixie Ave. Meetings are open to the public and the press as observers. A full agenda and meeting materials are on the TBR web site, although you should note that the materials are 273 pages in length. The TBR is the nation's sixth largest higher education system, governing 45 post-secondary educational institutions. The TBR system includes six universities, 13 two-year colleges and 26 technology centers, providing programs in 90 of Tennessee's 95 counties to more than 180,000 students. The meeting is expected to cause only minimal disruption to normal campus activities.

Drug Charges Filed Against Festival Goers

One man from South Carolina and another from Colorado remain jailed in Putnam County today on drug charges. Authorities say both were pulled over, in separate incidents, on Highway 111, by troopers with the Tennessee Highway Patrol. Both were reportedly making their way to the Bonnaroo Music Festival last week. And both allegedly had large amounts of drugs. Authorities say 35-year-old Scott Fignar of Myrtle Beach, S.C., allegedly had 22 "dots" of LSD in his possession, as well as a glass pipe and a metal grinder. Meanwhile, 29-year-old Douglas Winter of Basalt, Colo., was alleged to be in possession of more than a thousand pills, as well as two ounces of marijuana. The public defender's office has been appointed to represent the two.

Center Hill Environmental Impact

No significant impact. That's what the U-S Army Corps of Engineers says about the environmental assessment they have done for proposed upgrades to the hydropower turbines at Center Hill Dam. The Corps says an original environmental impact statement covering Center Hill, Dale Hollow, and Wolf Creek dams was rescinded and an Environmental Assessment prepared specifically to determine any significant impacts related to the so-called Center Hill Hydropower Rehabilitation Project. One alternative would have been to take no action, and to simply repair the turbines as they broke down. But the Corps has decided to replace the turbines with with new, state of the art. equipment. Anyone wishing to comment on the environmental impact of the project should contact the Corps by July 13.

Cookeville Cancer Patient to be Dropped from TennCare

The Fox affiliate in Nashville is reporting the story of a Cookeville woman, who may be losing her TennCare coverage because of a change in federal law -- even as she is in the midst of chemotherapy and awaiting a bone marrow transplant. You can see the story here.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Cookeville Council To Discuss Road Expansion

The Cookeville city council Thursday night will consider a contract to expand the scope of services with the company that is designing improvements to West Cemetery Road. The city has been planning for several months to widen that road as it runs between South Willow and South Jefferson Avenues. They say the decision by the Putnam County Board of Education to construct a new school in the area played a part in the decision to prioritize the project. Officials have said that they hope to provide access to the new school off both S. Jefferson and West Cemetery. Meanwhile, the council will also be updated on the progress of renovations being done to the Cookeville Drama Center, as well as a resolution that would rename the building. Leisure Services Director Rick Woods says the new name would be the Cookeville Performing Arts Center or C-PAC, and would more accurately reflect the variety of productions that take place in the building every year.

Endowment Established at TTU

Tennessee Tech’s music and art faculty will benefit from the memory of former university first lady Joan Derryberry. An endowment for the faculty’s professional development has been established to honor cultural contributions made by Derryberry, who served as the university’s first lady for 34 years as wife of former TTU President Everett Derryberry. Funds for the creation of the endowment were raised by the sale of limited edition prints of Derryberry’s “Sudden Rain” painting, the original of which hangs in the Student Services Office in the Roaden University Center. The painting was inspired as Derryberry watched the “blossoming of umbrellas” as classes changed during a rain shower. University Advancement, under the leadership of Paul Isbell, coordinated the printing and sale of the pictures, which are still available for $35 each. With the award fully operational later this fall, the first TTU music and art faculty could benefit from it as soon as the coming academic year. For more information about the Joan Derryberry Endowment or about prints of “Sudden Rain,” call TTU’s University Advancement Office at 372-3206.

Cookeville High Graduate to Attend Naval Academy

Cookeville High School graduate Miquela Sullivan, who was nominated by U.S. Rep. Bart Gordon to attend the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., will report to the Naval Academy Preparatory School on July 1. Sullivan is preparing for both basic training and the Naval Academy’s course work. While attending Cookeville High School, Sullivan played varsity basketball and was a platoon sergeant in JROTC. Sullivan graduated in the top 20 percent of her class. The Putnam County graduate is one of 24 students Congressman Gordon’s Service Academy Selection Committee nominated to the military academies. Of these 24 nominees, seven were selected to attend the academies. The students’ physical aptitude, academic records and community involvement were all considered by the committee. The committee also reviewed letters of recommendation and interviewed the applicants. Cadets receive free tuition, room and board, as well as a monthly stipend. Once the cadets graduate, they are commissioned as second lieutenants or ensigns in their branch of service, where they must fulfill a five-year commitment.

Thieves Steal Beer, Meat and Big Screen TV

It may be a coincidence, or someone may be planning a party. Police say burglars have stolen beer, frozen meat and a big screen television in three separate incidents over the past few days. The beer theft took place Saturday night at a golf tournament being held at the Cookeville Golf Club. Someone broke into a Budweiser truck there and made off with 1oo cases of beer. The loss was placed at $2,200. Meanwhile, a resident of Maple Trace told police that someone broke into his garage and stole 40 pounds of meat from a freezer. They also took several power tools. And, on West Broad Street, a resident reported that the back door of his apartment had been kicked in and a 52-inch television stolen. Investigation is continuing.

Serial Shoplifter Arrested Again

A woman, who has been cited by police in the past for shoplifting, has now been jailed on charges of felony theft. 26-year-old Brandy Nichole Reed of Bunker Hill Road in Cookeville was arrested over the weekend after she allegedly tried to steal more than a thousand dollars worth of jewelry from the JC Penney store. Police say Reed was caught by store security trying to take $1,130 worth of necklaces, rings, bracelets, earrings, and watches. Reed had been arrested earlier this month after she allegedly admitted to stealing two packs of cigarettes from the Discount Tobacco store on Willow Avenue. Last December, she was accused of ripping open several perfume and cologne sets at the Belk store on W. Jackson St. She'll be in court on the latest charge later this month.

More Bank Scams Reported

The Putnam County sheriff's department has received yet another report of money going missing from a local resident's account -- apparently as the result of someone getting ahold of their debit card information. The latest victim is a Bloomington Springs resident who called to report at least three unauthorized withdrawals on her account with First Tennessee bank. She says the bank told her that the money had been taken out of ATMs in Nashville. Two $500 withdrawals were made on the same day, and another one, also for $500, was made the next day. All of the activity was reported in the last week, but the victim says the bank has since cancelled the old card and sent her a new one. The case is one of more than two dozen under investigation by local authorities, who say they're not sure how thieves are getting the information from the debit cards. But they say there is technology available allowing criminals to steal the information by electronic means when you swipe your card. It's called skimming and has been reported as a problem across the area.

Fincher Defends Gun Bill

Cookeville's State Representative is once again talking about Second Amendment rights.

Henry Fincher told a Nashville television station, "We need more people carrying (guns) in more places."

After state lawmakers fought to allow guns in restaurants where alcohol is served, expanding second amendment rights into state and local parks was next. According to Fincher, "As long as bad people are going to make bad choices, good people ought to be allowed to defend themselves."

Starting September 1st, more than 200,000 gun-permit carry holders will be allowed to bring their guns into the park system. After losing one veto over gun legislation, Governor Bredesen reluctantly signed the Guns in Parks bill into law on Friday.

"There's a bunch of them in downtown areas, a bunch of them with ball fields, that are full of kids, I don't think particularly it's a place where people need to be carrying guns, that bothered me very much about the bill," said Governor Bredesen. Bredesen is pushing local governments to take advantage of a clause in the bill that lets them decide in which parks gun-permit holders will be allowed to carry.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Jail Site Rejected

And another one bites the dust. The Putnam County Commission Monday night voted 15-to-7 to reject a recommendation that some 14 acres of property off Holder Avenue be considered as the site for a new jail annex. Opponents had objected to the proximity of the property to nearby schools and had also suggested that it was little more than a swamp. One neighbor said, "Even Shrek wouldn't want to live there." But attorney Mike O'Mara, representing the property owners, disputed what he called "untrue" claims about the site. He said the property was anything but a swamp and showed a topographic map to prove the point. He also said that the property had not been polluted by a neighboring junkyard and said that Bob Hill, the owner of that salvage yard, had been "besmirched" by such statements. Hill told the commission that the state had been monitoring the water samples on his property since 1992 and said that a 1998 report on the soils showed no serious pollution problems. Finally, O'Mara disputed a claim that the infrastructure on the property was crumbling. He said that city officials had assured him that the water and sewer lines were in good shape. But, after further discussion, the majority of the commission still decided against the purchase. The issue will now apparently go back to the Land and Facilities committee to come up with another recommendation.

Cookeville Man Charged with Drug Fraud

Drug fraud charges are pending against a Cookeville man, who allegedly tried to alter a prescription that a local doctor had written for him. Police say 25-year-old Roderick Jerry Shelton II of Shipley Road was arrested after he presented that scrip at the Walgreen's store on Willow Avenue. The pharmacy tech there thought that the writing appeared to be altered, so he checked with the doctor's office and found that the prescriptions for .25 miligrams of Xanax had been altered to read .75 milligrams. Shelton reportedly created a bit of a disturbance in the pharmacy before leaving. He was later arrested after a traffic stop on N. Willow Ave.

Meanwhile, police say a traffic accident led to drug possession charges being placed against a Sparta man. 19-year-old James Matthew Bryant of Olen Road was involved in a wreck in which he allegedly rear-ended the car in front of him at the end of the exit ramp from I-40. Authorities say a prescription for Xanax was found in his pocket, but -- more to the point -- they claim they found marijuana in his vehicle. He was charged with DUI after failing to successfully complete several field sobriety tests.

Shots Fired on Springboro Road

A Cookeville man who allegedly pointed a gun at a child over the weekend is now facing three counts of aggravated assault. Police say witnesses told them that 66-year-old Bud Collins of Springboro Road had come onto his neighbor's property Saturday afternoon and pointed a handgun at the neighbor and an 11-year-old child. Collins then pulled the trigger on the apparently unloaded weapon as he pointed it at the neighbor. The neighbor says Collins then chambered some ammunition and raised the weapon again. He then fired two rounds into the tree line and allegedly asked another neighbor, who came out to investigate the noise, "Do you want me to shoot you?" According to the report by Officer Josh Ward, Collins claims that he "only half-cocked" the weapon and says he did not like the way that his neighbors were treating the children, so he got his handgun out to "scare" them. But he claims that he did not threaten anyone with it.

New Musical Coming to Cookeville Drama Center

Tickets are now on sale for the latest production to hit the stage at the Cookeville Drama Center. Cultural Arts Superintendent Chad McDonald describes it as “everyone’s favorite musical,” Meredith Willson’s The Music Man. Show dates are:

July 17 7:30 pm
July 18 2 pm & 7:30 pm
July 19 2 pm
July 23 7:30 pm
July 24 7:30 pm
July 25 2 pm & 7:30 pm

The cost of admission is $15 for adults; $12 for seniors; and $10 for children 12 and under. Tickets may be reserved by calling the Box office at 528-1313 or visiting the Drama Center, located at 10 East Broad St. in Cookeville.

Child Safety Seat Checkpoint Scheduled

The Cookeville police department is continuing with its ongoing effort to educate the public about the proper use and installation of child car seats. They held a safety seat checkpoint last week and have another one scheduled next week. Randy Brown in the department's traffic division says the Department, Carlen Chevrolet, and the Putnam County Kiwanis Club will be hosting a Child Seat Checkpoint at Carlen Chevrolet located at 330 West Spring Street on Friday, June 26, 2009, from 2 to 5 p.m. Child Seat Technicians will be available to check child seats for correct installation and answer any questions that anyone may have about child seat safety and installation. He says research on the effectiveness of child safety seats has found them to reduce fatal injury by 71 percent for infants (younger than 1 year old) and by 54 percent for toddlers (1 to 4 years old) in passenger cars. But Brown says many parents and others who transport children do not understand the potential deadly results from not using a child seat or booster seat at all or using one that is not properly installed and secured in a vehicle.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Court Date Set for Alleged Bungling Burglars

A June 29th court date has been set for two men, charged with breaking into a Cookeville store Friday. Police say 27-year-old Lucas Wayne Garner of Cookeville and 22-year-old David Alan Walker of Crawford were arrested after allegedly breaking into Sportsman's World, but then fleeing the scene, leaving behind their getaway car and their cell phones. They are also facing charges of evading arrest. Police say they began the investigation when a local resident called to report seeing someone taking items from the Sportsman's World building on S. Jefferson Ave. about three o'clock Friday morning.

Jail Annex to be Discussed?

Jail overcrowding is once again on the agenda Monday night as the Putnam County commission meets. But whether it gets discussed may be an issue for the parliamentarian to decide. The commission's planning committee has recommended that the county NOT proceed with the purchase of some property off Holder Avenue for a new jail annex. But that recommendation is counter to one made by the Land and Facilities Committee. That committee has also recommended that discussion of the issue be put off until July -- in part to give more people time to gather information. Opponents of the Holder Avenue site say it is little more than a swamp and that it is contaminated with oil from the salvage yard next door to it. Proponents say it is isolated from nearby homes and would be virtually invisible to anyone who didn't know it was there. They also point out that it's been more than a year that the county has been paying other jails to house their inmates.

Chamber Officials Spend "Day on the Hill"

The Advocacy and Transportation Committee of the Cookeville-Putnam County Chamber of Commerce has now spent a day with Tennessee State Legislators to receive updates and to promote Putnam County, the Highlands and the Upper Cumberland region. The day-long "Day on the Hill" visit began with a meeting with Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey. Meetings were also held with State Senator Charlotte Burks, and Representatives Charles Curtis, Henry Fincher and John Mark Windle. Dr. Steve Copeland, chair of the Chamber's Advocacy and Transporation committee, said, "This was an opportunity for our committee members to talk one-on-one with legislators about programs and projects that directly benefit Putnam County and the Upper Cumberland Region."

Tech Buyout Saves Money

TTU Public Affairs Director Monica Greppin reports:

Tennessee Tech University could save as much as three-point-three million dollars each year in salary expenses as a result of its voluntary buyout program offered to employees this spring. All 58 employees who applied for the buyout and met eligibility requirements were accepted. They will leave the university at the end of this month. The university’s goal was to get 40 applicants. The university’s cost will be approximately one-point-nine million dollars, according to Mike Cowan, Tech’s director of human resources. Annual savings are expected to total about two-point-nine million the first two years and three-point-three million dollars thereafter. Stimulus funds provided by the federal government will be used to offset the immediate cost of the program. The decision to accept all of the applicants increases the cost of the program but increases the long-term savings as well. It also gives campus officials the flexibility to fill a few priority positions. Approved faculty will be able to participate in post-retirement services, allowing them to teach some classes on a part-time basis for the next two years until stimulus funding is depleted and normal attrition allows university officials to meet class staffing needs. Tech officials are planning to trim twelve million dollars from the university’s budget

Cookeville Resident Featured in National Geographic

For those of you who don't see the magazine outside the doctor's office, you may not know that Cookeville's Kristen Bobo is featured in this month's issue of National Geographic. She talks about her efforts to preserve caves. The article, which also includes some cool pictures, can be found here.

Red Cross Thanks Local Schools

The American Red Cross has given thanks to three schools in Putnam County for helping make this year's collection efforts a success. Red Cross Spokesperson Joette Phillips says that Sycamore Elementary School sponsored a blood drive which brough in 24 productive units of blood, and because each blood donation has the potential to save up to three lives, Sycamore staff and students helped as many as 72 hospital patients. The same multiplier was used for Monterey High School, which donated 35 units and saved up to 105 hospital patients. The staff and students at Baxter Elementary School sponsored two blood drives, bringing in 46 units, benefitting 138 patients.

New Judge Appointed

It's now official. Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen has appointed Amy V. Hollars of Livingston to fill the 13th District Circuit Court vacancy created by the retirement of her father Judge John Turnbull. The 13th Judicial District is composed of Putnam, and six other counties. Hollars was previously in private practice and was also the city attorney for Livingston from October 2007 through October 2008. Turnbull, who has held the position since 1989, is stepping down from the bench, effective June 15th. Hollars was one of three persons who applied for the position. The other two were Algood attorney Wesley Thomas Bray and Cookeville attorney and former Criminal Court Judge Lillie Ann Sells. Hollars will serve until the next regular election, which is in 2010. The person elected then will serve out the remainder of Turnbull's term through 2014.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Cookeville Architect Helps West Tennessee College

The Memphis Business Journal is reporting that a Cookeville architectural firm will be assisting Bethel College with a $20 million expansion project. Reporter Michael Sheffield says that after 10 years of growth, McKenzie, Tenn.-based college has begun a $20 million capital campaign to expand the school’s campus and is undergoing a charter and name change to Bethel University.
Greg Stamps, principal of Cookeville-based Stamps Design Group, Inc., and designer of Bethel’s master plan, says the school is only limited by fundraising because it already has the land for any expansions it needs. Stamps has worked on projects for Bethel since 2000, and says the new science building will be LEED silver certified. It will have the capability to generate its own power with solar panels and wind turbines. The project will also use recycled materials wherever possible, Stamps says.

Note from Jim: My uncle graduated from Bethel about 40 years ago after receiving a scholarship to play baseball for them. At least, that's what my dim memory tells me without calling him to actually ask.

More THP Roadblocks Scheduled

The Cookeville District of the Tennessee Highway Patrol will be conducting a series of what they call "roadside safety checkpoints" this weekend. The THP is required by law to inform the public of when they'll be having such checkpoints, although officials say many violations are caught on routine traffic stops as well as the more organized roadblocks. On Friday nigth, troopers will be set up State Route 136 and State Route 290, looking, they say, for unlicensed drivers. State Route 290 is known in Cookeville as either 12th Street or the Gainesboro Grade. State Route 136 is a bit trickier. It's the name of both S. Jefferson Ave. and N. Washington Ave. Lt. Brian Lawson says the highway patrol has found these "safety checkpoints" to be an effective means of ensuring the protection of all motorists -- at least in part because people who are driving without a license may have lost that privilege because of a previous drunk driving conviction.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Next Step in Hosting a Football Championship

Now that they have won the bid to host the high school football championships for the next two years, officials at Tennessee Tech and the Cookeville-Putnam County Chamber of Commercie are currently working out a strategy to form a tournament planning committee. They say more details about that committee will be revealed at a later date. This year's eight championship games will be played Dec. 3-5 at Tennessee Tech University's Tucker Stadium, and next year's games are scheduled for Dec. 2-4. Officials say one factor in the decision was that Tucker Stadium, which has just over half the seats MTSU's Floyd Stadium does, is more easily filled and thus looks better on television. Tucker Stadium also sports a new field surface, a new track and new lights (125 vertical and horizontal foot candles, equivalent to LP Field), and is located within two miles of most of the hotels in Putnam County. Meanwhile, if you'd like to see the full presentation that landed Cookeville the championships, you can check out the website www.cookevilleallaccess.com.

Cookeville Robbery Suspect Linked to Indiana Crime

A Cookeville man, arrested this week, on two counts of robbery for holding up the Community Bank and a US Bank branch is also being investigated for a bank robbery in Indiana just a few days before. Lafayette police said William Ray Hagood, who is currently jailed on the charges locally is now also suspected of robbing a bank in Lafayette. Hagood is suspected of holding up the Bank of Indiana branch on June 1, 2009. Lafayette police Sergeant Scott McCoy said Hagood was identified as a suspect by a tip from the public. During the Lafayette robbery, the suspect handed a teller a note indicating it was a robbery, police said. No weapon was displayed. The suspect fled of foot, getting away with an undisclosed amount of cash.

Thieves Target Medication

Law enforcement officers in the Cookeville area say they are investigating a handful of cases this month in which thieves break into homes with the intent of stealing prescription drugs. But officials say that's not the only way they're getting illicit medications. A Putnam County woman reported to the sheriff's department that she arrived home earlier this month from a trip to Walgreen's where she had picked up her husband's medicine when a red truck passed her house, turned around and pulled into the driveway. A white male wearing brown shorts, but no shirt got out and asked the woman if she knew a girl named Jessica. When the woman said she did not, the man reached for a purse on the driver's side floorboard of the victim's truck. But the woman says she was able to grab the purse, so the man then reached into the truck and got a box of brake pads, but gave them back and scooped up all seven prescription medicines -- none of which were narcotic -- and ran back to his own vehicle and sped off. Investigation continues.

Store Employee Charged with Stealing

Theft of property charges are pending against a Cookeville woman, who allegedly stole several items from the store where she worked over a period of at least six months. 27-year-0ld Legend Callen of Belmont Drive allegedly admitted to stealing more than $600 worth of merchandise from the Big Lots store on S. Jefferson Ave. According to a report by Officer Mark Loftis, Callen was wearing three stolen bracelets when he arrived to investigate. He charged her with the theft of those bracelets and took her to the Putnam County jail where she was booked and processed. He also told store managers how to follow up if they wanted to bring charges for the other alleged thefts. Meanwhile, shoplifters also continue to be an issue for local stores.
  • 23-year-old Michael Shane Holloway of Gainesboro was cited this week after he was allegedly observed putting clothes, mostly T-shirts and shorts, into a reusable shopping bag. He'll be in court July 13.
  • 20-year-old Rachel Eileen Robinston of Cookeville was issued a citation after an employee of Claire's on W. Jackson St. told police that she had seen Ms. Robinson conceal jewelry in her purse and exit the store without paying for it. That incident was reportedly caught on video.
  • And two Alabama residents, 36-year-old Angela Marie Mahony and 18-year-old Ashley Kay Mahony, were charged after they apparently paid for some items in the self-checkout line, but attempted to leave the store with several other items that they did not pay for.

"Sexting" Incidents on the Increase

Incidents of what is known as "sexting" are becoming more common in Putnam County. The sheriff's department is investigating at least two complaints from local residents about such incidents in recent days. Officials say "sexting" is the practice of sending sexually explicit text messages over a cell phone, whether they are wanted by the recipient or not. A 58-year-old Village Road resident told authorities that he had received several text messages that were vulgar in content, asking that he come to the ballfield in Livingston and perform sexual acts. According to the report, he felt that the texts were "unusual." Meanwhile, a resident of western Putnam County told Deputy Roger Cooper that two individuals had been sending his 16-year-old daughter messages soliciting sex. But Cooper says the victim apparently erased those messages. The teenager was told to stop communicating with the people who want her to have sex and the father was told to save any future text messages so the department could document them. Detective Jimmy Patterson is investigating.

Cookeville Trucking Firm Involved in TV Pilot?

The Jackson Sun newspaper has a story today about how a Cookeville trucking firm is involved in a potential television pilot involving Al Roker, an animal rescue group, and long-haul trucking. You can read it for yourself here.

Harassment Case Investigated

A somewhat disturbing case of harassment is under investigation today by the Putnam County sheriff's department. Officials say a Double Springs woman found three cars that were parked in her driveway vandalized this week. Someone had written obscenities on the windows of the vehicles and had also put glue on the wiper blades and door handles. Sheriff's deputies also found a dead cat on two of the vehicles and another carcass in the mailbox at the home. They have a suspect in the case, and Detective Mike Hoover is investigating.

Putnam Man Seriously Injured in Attack

The Putnam County sheriff's department is investigating an incident in which a man was found lying in the road bleeding Wednesday night. Deputy Randy Brown says a resident of White Cemetery Road reported that a heavy-built white male, between 20 and 30 years old, came to his front door out of breath about 9 pm and told him to call 911; that a man was down near the creek and was bleeding. Because he didn't know for sure that it wasn't some kind of prank, the White Cemetery Road resident told the heavy-set individual at his door that HE should make the call, but the man took off, racing away in an unidentified vehicle. So the resident called 911 and Corporal Jamie Greenwood responded to find a man identified as James Dale Brewer of Mine Lick Creek Road bleeding heavily from the head and face. When he asked Brewer what had happened, Brewer responded that he did not know. He was transported by helicopter to Erlanger Medical Center for treatment of what was described as severe trauma to his face and head. The sheriff's department is asking anyone with information about the case to contact them at 528-8484.

Multiple DUI Offender Facing New Charges

A July 6 court date has been set for a Monterey man, charged with 4th Offense DUI after being involved in a hit and run accident. According to a report by Deputy Steven Elrod, a vehicle being driven by 61-year-old Harson Dee Vaughn of Speck Road was involved in an accident last week in Monterey, but had driven away from the scene. Elrod spotted his vehicle on Crossville Street and attempted to pull it over, but says Vaughn was slow to respond to the blue lights and instructions given over a loudspeaker. When he finally did stop, he allegedly ran over a roadside curb. Elrod says he found a cup with about ten ounces of an alcoholic beverage in the vehicle, as well as a quart Mason jar about three-quarters full of a liquid that Vaughn allegedly said was moonshine. Elrod says Vaughn agreed to take a breathalyzer test, but was unable to give a sufficient sample after three attempts. Meanwhile, 2nd offense DUI charges are pending against 31-year-old Christopher Dale Scantland of Gainesboro after he was pulled over by a Cookeville police officer. A fellow motorist had complained about Scantland's driving and Officer Adrienne Lintz pulled him over on W. Broad St. Scantland allegedly failed three field sobriety tests, and a driving history indicated that he had been convicted of DUI in Jackson County in November of 2002. According to the report, Scantland was also wanted on a probation violation warrant and was found to have more than a dozen Xanax pills on him for which he did not have a prescription. That led to a drug possession charge being placed as well.

Sex Offender Accused of Violating Probation

The Putnam County sheriff's department has arrested a man for allegedly violating the terms of his probation on a sex offense. 57-year-old Richard Wayne Scott of McBroom Branch Road, Baxter, had been convicted of sexual battery back in 1984. The sheriff's department says that as a result he faced certain restrictions on where he could work and where he could live. For example, he was prohibited from living with minor children who he was not the parent of. Deputy James Patterson arrested him this week after verifying that Scott's grandchildren were residing in the same home that he lived in. Scott will be in court on the charge July 6.

E-Waste Collection Friday and Saturday

Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore is teaming up with the Clean Commission and Putnam County Solid Waste department to collect donations for the E-Waste collection days Friday and Saturday. If you have something that plugs in, working or not-working, Habitat and the Clean Commission will be on site at Jefferson Ave Church of Christ parking lot to collect what you don’t need. You can stop by Friday from noon to 6 pm or Saturday from 8 am to 2 pm with your electronics, appliances, fans, cell phones, or batteries and drop them off. If they are in good working condition Habitat ReStore will take them as a donation. If not, they will be recycled. Call 528-1709 or 537-3278 for more information and for a complete listing of what will be accepted.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Compromise Reached on Baxter Fuel Tanks

A compromise has apparently been reached over some above-ground fuel storage tanks at a market in Baxter. The town's board of aldermen has OK'd a plan providing for a concrete wall to be built around the tanks and for them to be located more than 100 feet from the road and from nearby buildings. A mobile home behind PFS market will also be relocated. Officials say the state of Tennessee ordered the removal of underground fuel tanks at the business after becoming concerned about ground water contamination. And the level of the water table in that area also prevents the new tanks from being placed underground. City officials say their biggest concern is containing any explosion should the tanks be damaged. They say they hope a containment wall would do that.