Thursday, December 31, 2009

Man Shot While Allegedly Burglarizing Car

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

Thieves Keeping Up Pre-Holiday Activities

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

Stealing From An Employer, Part 2

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

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Phone Card Dispute Leads To Charges

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

Arrested With Someone Else's Urine

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

Red Light Running Woman Causes Wreck

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

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Sewer System Leaks Being Checked

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

Unusual Theft Cases Reported in Cookeville

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

Forgery Alleged In Check Cashing Case

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

Dog Shooting and Dog Theft Being Investigated

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

Monday, December 28, 2009

Three Shoplifters, Two Incidents, One Store

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

Woman Charged With Stealing From Employer

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

Assault Charges Brought In Two Cases

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

Jobless Figures Released

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

Craft Center To Offer Classes

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

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Mass Transit Service Delayed in Cookeville

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

Cookeville Museum Closing

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

Cookeville Grandfather Wins Georgia Lottery

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

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Shoplifter Cited; Then Taken To Jail

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

Cookeville Residents Given Environmental Award

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

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Holiday Vandals At Work In The Area

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

Drug Charges Filed In Separate Cases

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

Airport Receives State Grant Funding

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

Traffic Stop Leads To Drug Charge

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

Traffic Wreck Leads To DUI Charge

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

Monday, December 21, 2009

Con Artists Back At Work In Cookeville

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

Robbery and Attempted Murder Alleged

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

Commission OK's County Clerk Elevator Request

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

Putnam County Commission To Meet

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

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Experimental Radio Research Funded Again

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

Patients "Satisfied" With Cookeville Hospital

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

Tech Grads Told To "Sing"

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

Friday, December 18, 2009

Petting Zoo Business On The Increase

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

Daffodils On The Way To Monterey

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

Putnam Teacher Gains Certification

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

Fire Protection Issues To Be Discussed

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

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Road Rage Alleged In Buffalo Valley

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

Update From The Scoop

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Robbery and Carjacking Reported in Cookeville

The Cookeville police department has issued the following press release:

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Community Concert Band Schedules Holiday Show

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

Cookeville Native Highlighted on Army's website

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

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Smoke Bomb Leads To False Fire Call

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

Surveillance Video May Identify Wallet Thief

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

Livingston Man Suspected In Burglary Ring

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

Autism Documentary To Be Screened At TTU

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

Water Dispute Headed To Court

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