Monday, May 31, 2010

Hospital Begins Spreading News Of Tobacco Ban


Cookeville Regional Medical Center is going tobacco-free on July 1, 2010. As of that date, no tobacco use of any kind will be permitted – inside or outside – on hospital property. This initiative also will include the elimination of designated areas outside Cookeville Regional where patients and visitors currently use tobacco products.

As a health care organization, we are committed to the health and safety of our employees and patients. We believe that we have a responsibility to take a leadership role on this major health issue, and allowing people to use tobacco products defeats this purpose.

Tobacco is the cause of death for over 9,000 Tennesseans every year and is the root cause of many illnesses and lost productivity. Tobacco use in and around hospitals poses health and safety risks for patients, employees and visitors.

Cookeville Regional’s decision to go tobacco-free is not an attempt to “force” anyone to quit using tobacco products. Rather, the tobacco-free initiative is a concrete way we can demonstrate our ongoing commitment to healthy living.

If you would like assistance on how to quit smoking, visit the Quit 4 Life Support Group on Thursday evenings at 6 pm in the hospital cafeteria conference room or call (931) 528-QUIT.

We are asking for community support in Cookeville Regional’s tobacco-free initiative as we move toward July 1, 2010.

Mistaken Identity Claimed In Drug Case

Charges have now been dismissed against a Cookeville man arrested in January of this year for allegedly selling marijuana to an undercover police officer. That after the man told his attorney that he was not in the area at the time. 28-year-old Ivor Hansen was one of two defendants charged in the case. One of them pleaded guilty to a reduced charge, but Hansen's attorney says his client insisted on taking the case to trial because he believed it was a case of mistaken identity -- brought on by the fact that another man was driving a car that was registered in his name. Hansen was indicted in the case, but the D.A.'s office chose not to pursue prosecution.

Arraignment Set For Alleged Burglars

A June 28th court date has been set for one of two Putnam County residents facing charges of aggravated burglary. Authorities say Angela Beth Western and her ex-husband, John Mark Western, were allegedly caught inside a home on Pippin Road. Authorities say the victim, who is in the process of moving out of her rented home walked in on the two last week. According to a report by sheriff's deputy Chris Brown, the victim saw the door to the home standing open and found the two suspects inside. Mr. Western reportedly jumped out a window, but Angela Western waited as deputies arrived on the scene. The victim told the deputy that items missing out of her residence included two computers, a BB gun, a camera, and an iPod.

Tennessee Governor Scheduled To Be In Cookeville

Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen is scheduled to be in Coookeville Tuesday, addressing the delegates to American Legion Boys' State. During the week, delegates are immersed in learning state government by running a mock 51st state, called Boys' State. They organize political parties and establish city, county and state governments by election, complete with primaries and political campaigns. American Legion Posts across the state sponsor delegates and fund the activities held at Tennessee Tech. Judge John J. Maddux Jr. has overseen the program as Tennessee Boys' State chairperson for almost three decades and invites all the speakers and guests.

Emergency Training Offered To Local Residents

This is the month that residents of Putnam County can get training from professional firefighters, police officers and other emergency responders in what are being called Citizens Emergency Response Team classes. They begin June 22 and will be offered once again in October. According to the Herald Citizen, every instructor is trained and certified by the Department of Homeland Security. Citizens who sign up will learn basic emergency skills, such as the proper procedures for search and rescue, fire suppression and medical treatment. Classroom participants will also learn about the emotional toll of a disaster, and how to best deal with the psychological trauma. To take the class, participants must be at least 18 years of age and a resident of Putnam County. Those interested must register in advance because space is limited. To register, you can call 528-7575.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Cookeville Hospital Gives Out Roberson Award

The twenty-second annual Roberson Award has been presented to David Henson, M.D., a critical care and pulmonary specialist, who has served Cookeville Regional Medical Center and its patients for more than 12 years. The award was presented to Henson at Cookeville Regional Medical Center’s annual service awards banquet. CRMC’s Medical Staff President Tim R. Collins, M.D. made the presentation, citing Henson’s dedication and efforts in serving patients at Cookeville Regional.

The Roberson Award is named for Mr. Fred Roberson who served on the hospital’s Board of Trustees for twenty-seven years. The award is presented annually to the individual who best exemplifies the same dedicated and loyal service to Cookeville Regional Medical Center and its patients as was demonstrated by Mr. Roberson.

Previous recipients have been Dr. Thurman Shipley, H.S. Barnes, Dr. J.T. Moore, Jr., Dr. Claude Williams, Eleen Harkins, Jean Davis, Dr. William Francis, Senator Tommy Burks, Dr. William Taylor, Reverend Lexie Freeman, Dr. Alex Case, Dr. Katherine Bertram, the CRMC Auxiliary, Linda Crawford, Dr. Walter Derryberry, Dr. J.T. DeBerry, Dr. Charles Womack, Dr. Opless Walker, Dr. Charles Jordan, Martin Coffey and Linda Buchanan.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Outburst Leads To Vandalism Charges

A Cookeville man, who allegedly got upset when told how much money he owed to the court system, is now facing charges of vandalism and disorderly conduct. Deputy Stephanie Cantwell says that she was the Circuit Court Clerk's office on Wednesday she heard a loud boom. She says that she and several of the employees looked around to see what it was and were told by one of the clerks that a disgruntled customer had slammed open the door as he left. According to Cantwell's report, that caused damage to the drywall behind the door. Further investigation revealed that the suspect was 20-year-old Damon Juan Sherrer who allegedly became upset when he learned that he owed nearly $3,000 in unpaid fines for driving on a suspended license. Cantwell then took out warrants against him. Sherrer reportedly contacted her, asking how to "take care of the problem," and was told that he needed to go to court to take care of things.

Police Investigate Report Of Shots Fired From Car

Authorities are not calling it a drive-by shooting, but they are investigating an incident on Ash Avenue this week in which a Cookeville resident reported being shot at by someone in a vehicle. It happened about 9:30 Tuesday night when someone identified by witnesses as a man named "Stewy" apparently got upset when he was asked to leave a home in the area. He got into a white car and allegedly fired several shots toward a man who was getting out of a vehicle at the corner of Ash Avenue and W. 6th St. Police say that man was the only eyewitness, although others in the area heard the gunfire. Authorities recovered seven spent shell casings in the immediate area. Investigation is continuing.

"Homeless" Individuals Charged With Trespassing

Cookeville police say two people who claim to be homeless are facing trespassing and other criminal charges today after being found in the loft of a barn on Bouton Bend Road. Sgt. Steve Marcrom says that 36-year-old Troy Dale Dillon and 26-year-old Melanie Harris Randolph had been told by the property owners to not be in the barn and says they were told again in his presence. He says the two had warrants pending in Putnam County for unpaid fines in other cases, so he had them transported to the jail. Marcrom says the property owner planned to pursue criminal trespass warrants on both.

Alleged Drug Dealers To Be Arraigned In June

A June 28th court date has been set for two Cookeville residents arrested on drug charges this week by the Community Nuisance Eradication Team of the Cookeville Police Department. Police say 36-year-old Calvin Reeves of S. Washington Ave., and 26-year-old Jessica Marie Vickers of W. 9th St. are both facing charges of possessing drugs for re-sale. They allege that a search of Vickers' apartment turned up two bags containing cocaine, a number of pills, including Percocet, methadone, and Lortab, as well as two bags containing marijuana. Police say they had gone to the apartment to investigate a complaint about possible drug activity. They say Vickers refused to give them permission to search the home, so they obtained a search warrant.

Local Streams Included On Pollution List

The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation has released a statewide listing of streams, lakes and reservoirs that state officials say "do not support the public’s use of them." This draft list – also called the 2010 303(d) List – is a requirement of the federal Clean Water Act and includes Putnam County's Spring Creek, which the state says is contaminated with E. Coli because of pasture grazing. Also on the list is Little Piney Creek, which has had its flow altered, according to the state; and Meadow Creek, which the state says is losing biological integrity because of siltation from abandoned mining efforts. Cane Creek, Hudgens Creek, Pigeon Roost Creek, and the Calfkiller River are also on the list. The state also says that Mine Lick Creek is polluted because of overflows emanating from the Baxter sewer treatment plant. On the plus side, the Falling Water River was de-listed from a previous designation that came about on the basis of a 1993 survey. In both 2002 and 2007, the department repeated biological surveys at Adams Acres Road. Both times, the stream passed what were called biorecon goals. State officials say dissolved oxygen levels were fine and excessive algae was not present. Public meetings to discuss the list are being scheduled in Nashville, Knoxville and Chattanooga. To see the complete list, click here.

Plans Made For Memorial Day Ceremony

Organizers today are putting the final pieces together on a Memorial Day program, planned for Monday morning at the Putnam County courthouse. The event is scheduled to take place starting at 11 am and will feature retired Major General David Evans as the speaker. It is being sponsored by several local veterans organizations, including American Legion Posts 46 and 135, VFW 6277 and 6296, Disabled American Veterans Chapter 117 and Vietnam Veterans of America, Chapter 741. The annual service, which pays tribute to those who have lost their lives in service to the country, traditionally includes the playing of "Taps."

Fresh Fruit Program To Start In Putnam Schools

Two Putnam County elementary schools are among those chosen to participate in the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program for the 2010-11 school year. The program allows students to newly experience fresh fruits and veggies in hopes their consumption will increase throughout their lives. Money for the program is provided to the Department of Education through the United States Department of Agriculture as part of the National School Lunch Program. Schools submitted applications to be considered and were selected based on factors such as staff commitment, efficient use of resources and innovative promotional efforts. Schools with the greatest percentage of economically disadvantaged students were given the highest level of consideration. The program will allow schools to provide approved fruits and vegetables at no charge to students during the school day. But fruits and vegetables must be fresh, not canned or frozen, or vacuum packed. In Putnam County, the schools that will be participating are Jere Whitson and Uffelman.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Arraignment Date Set In Statutory Rape Case

A July 13th arraignment date has been set for a 20-year-old Cookeville man, indicted on charges of statutory rape. Officials say Danny J. Hawkins of 18th Street is accused of having sex with a 15-year-old girl in March of this year. Under state law, statutory rape is defined as sex between two people when one of them is between age 13 and 18 and the other is at least four years older. Hawkins reportedly told police that he thought the girl was older than 15. He was arrested after evidence in the case was presented to the grand jury. Officials say he was taken into custody without incident at Northeast Elementary School, where he had been employed by the contractor who does janitorial work there.

More Charges Filed Against Overton County Woman

An Overton County woman, who is already facing charges in that county for the illegal sale of prescription drugs, has now been arrested in Cookeville -- where police claim she was selling Dilaudid pills out of a motel room. Members of the Cookeville Police Department's Community Nuisance Eradication Team had set up a surveillance on the room occupied by 41-year-old Christina Kay Robbins of Livingston after getting reports of suspicious activity there. They claim that Robbins consented to a search of the room and that she allegedly admitted to having a drug habit, which she supported by selling the pills. She was charged with possession of drugs for re-sale and her bond was set at $150,000.

Governor Gives Local Company Environmental Award

Governor Phil Bredesen and Environment and Conservation Commissioner Jim Fyke have announced the winners of the 2010 Governor’s Environmental Stewardship Awards. The 14 winners include Tri State Distribution of White County. Established in 1992 as a prescription container manufacturer, Tri State Distribution, Inc. has nearly 350,000 square feet on 23 acres in Sparta. Officials say that by eliminating a hazardous acetone mix from their waste material, Tri State Distribution dropped from a Large Quantity Generator to a Small Quantity Generator – going from 1,348 pounds to 230 pounds per month. This reduction in acetone mix was achieved while growing their operations by 24 percent in 2009. Tri State Distribution also sends its non-hazardous waste off-site for laundering and reuse. And they recently installed an oil / water separator – a $30,000 investment to minimize their oily water solid waste stream. They will be recognized for their achievements and positive impact on the state’s natural resources in an awards ceremony to be held in Nashville on June 24.

TTU Physicists Help Uncover ‘Magic’ Nature Of Tin

A team of nuclear physicists with Tennessee Tech University connections is the first to explore and confirm the “magic” nature of a short-lived isotope of tin. Their results are published in tomorrow’s issue of the journal Nature. Scientists have been working in recent years with elements known to have a “magic” number of protons and neutrons. But many isotopes decay so rapidly that their nature can’t be measured readily. So by experimenting with closely related isotopes, researchers hope to learn more about how atoms work. In short, they want to understand nuclear explosions without actually doing them. Officials say the scientists were able to study the “magic” qualities of Tin-132 (an isotope) by measuring characteristics on a neighboring isotope, Tin-133. TTU physics professor Raymond Kozub, who also works with Oak Ridge National Lab, says the experiment he helped conduct had been planned by a number of facilities around the world.

“We just had the opportunity to do it before everybody else,” he says.

Physics professor John F. Shriner Jr. of TTU is also a co-author, as are former TTU undergraduates D.W. Bardayan and B.H. Moazen, as well as former TTU faculty member C. D. Nesaraja. The experiment was conducted at the Holifield Radioactive Ion Beam Facility at Oak Ridge, currently the only facility in the world with the necessary combination of equipment and expertise. Among Kozub’s many roles in the work was to design and develop experimental tools and techniques, set up the equipment and unique detectors, run the experiment, and analyze and interpret the data including theoretical calculations. According to a press release from Nature, the experiment’s results confirm the successful shell model of nuclear structure and will help to predict the properties of more exotic nuclei such as those involved in the synthesis of the heaviest elements.

Congressional Candidate Opens Cookeville Office

The Jim Tracy for Congress Campaign has announced the opening of its new office in the Upper Cumberland. Located at 402 East 10th Street in Cookeville, the regional campaign office will be the hub location for the entire Upper Cumberland region. Cookeville native and Cookeville High School graduate Jonathan McNabb will manage the day-to-day operations. McNabb just recently earned his Political Science degree from Miami University in Oxford, OH. The Cookeville location will maintain all campaign materials, including yard signs and bumper stickers, and will be the focal point for volunteer activities in the Upper Cumberland for the campaign. McNabb can be contacted at 931-267-5010.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Ban On Campaign Signs Recommended

Putnam County's Land and Facilities Committee has recommended -- on a 5-2 vote -- that no campaign signs be allowed along the 60-foot easement that encompasses County Services Drive. Ambulance Service Director Randy Porter had told county commissioners that signs which were put up along that private entrance to the Ambulance Service, Health Department and Election Commission buildings became a safety hazard during the run-up to the May primaries. Committee members Mike Medley and Joel Cowan questioned that assessment, arguing that no such safety issue existed, but the majority of the committee voted for the ban. The full county commission will take up the issue at its June meeting. Medley, meanwhile, noted that the ban, if passed, would not apply to the private property outside of the county's easement. That area is controlled by another property owner.

Sheriff's Office Investigates Homemade Explosives

A Putnam County man who found some unusual items in the cul-de-sac near his home this week decided to call the sheriff's office to investigate. According to a report by Deputy Brandon Masters, the man said he had found several plastic Gatorade bottles and some small pieces of aluminum foil near the end of Hayden Court, which is located off Baxter Road, south of I-40. The man told officials that he was concerned that the items may have been used in the manufacture of drugs. But the deputy says when he examined the material, he found that some of the Gatorade bottles had exploded and says it appears that they had, in fact, been used as small explosive devices -- with the aluminum foil used as shrapnel. There was no indication of why someone would want to do that, but an extra watch has been placed on the area.

Summer Programs Beginning At TTU

It didn’t take long for the summer doldrums to end on the Tennessee Tech University campus. The short respite following spring commencement has given way to a campus described as being literally alive with young people learning, cheering, dancing, playing music and honing leadership skills. At least 2,000 future TTU freshmen will take advantage of the Student Orientation, Advising, and Registration program this summer. This two-day experience exposes incoming freshman to campus life and answers a multitude of questions and concerns through panel discussions as well as meetings with current students, staff and faculty members. Before leaving the session, students are fully registered for Fall 2010 semester classes. Meanwhile, between 900 and 1,200 youngsters will cheer and dance their way across campus during a five-week period beginning June 8. Groups of mostly team-oriented high school cheerleaders from Middle Tennessee will attend one of the state’s only Universal Cheerleaders Association-contracted cheer and dance summer camps. TTU also hosts the top American Legion Boys’ State program in the nation beginning May 30. About 600 high school juniors visit TTU for a week each summer for that program. And also beginning May 30, and ending June 4, about 85 high school musicians visit campus for the Southeast Chamber Music Institute.

Sex Offender Charged With Violating Rules

A Putnam County man is scheduled to be in court next month on what is described by the sheriff's department as a "sex offender registry offense." 50-year-old James Alvie Smoot is listed on the arrest report as living in a motel in McMinnville, but his address, according to the state's sex offender registry is on East Spring Street in Cookeville. Deputy Bobby Lane arrested Smoot at the Warren County jail on Monday for an unspecified offense, but officials say such charges normally involve failing to keep authorities updated as to your whereabouts. According to the registry, Smoot -- who is originally from Ohio -- was convicted in 2001 on charges of third degree sodomy and second degree sexual abuse.

TTU Pitcher Named OVC Player Of The Week

Tennessee Tech's Chason Choate, a left handed pitcher for the Golden Eagle baseball team, has been named OVC player of the week. Choate pitched seven scoreless innings in Saturday's 11-1 victory over Murray State as Tennessee Tech completed the sweep of the Thoroughbreds and claimed its seventh OVC Championship and first since the 1997 season with the victory. The junior allowed just two hits (one each in the first and second innings) and walked only two batters while striking out three. Choate did not allow a Murray State base runner past first base and retired 12 of 14 batters at one point of the game. Although the game was his 17th appearance of the season, it marked only the third start for the lefty who is now 3-and-3 on the season. Tech starts OVC tournament play with a game Thursday in Jackson.

Drive-by Shooting Revealed As Hoax

What some people thought from the beginning has now been revealed to be true by police in Algood. A reported "drive-by shooting" last week turns out to be a hoax. And Algood police chief Jim Eldridge says two people are now facing charges in the incident. 22-year-old Alicia Montero of Maddux Court, Algood, who drove the shooting victim to the hospital last week, has been charged with filing a false report. Meanwhile, Eldridge says 24-year-old Alicia Rae Willoughby, also of Maddux Court, has been charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor. The 15-year-old "victim" was reportedly shot in the leg by someone who yelled racial slurs before firing the gun. But Eldridge says an investigation revealed that while the boy, a runaway from Bolivar, Tenn., was indeed shot in the leg, that shooting did not take place as he claimed, and the chief says there is no evidence that racism played any role. He declined to say how the boy came to be shot, but says Montero allegedly assisted the boy in covering up the facts of the shooting and says more arrests are pending as the investigation continues.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Man Cited For Stuffing Video Games Down His Pants

A Knoxville man and his alleged accomplice have both been cited for shoplifting in Cookeville after officials at Sears claim they saw the man shoving Playstation video games into his cargo shorts. Authorities say 27-year-old Randall Brent Allen was arrested as he tried to leave the store without paying for the games. Security officers allegedly observed Allen place four games into the pockets of his cargo shorts and then witnessed 27-year-old Amie Jo Price of Darwin Street in Cookeville allegedly take three more games, which she handed to Allen. According to the report, Allen then placed those games down the front of his shorts. Both were cited for shoplifting and told they could not be back in the store. Police say Price was charged because she allegedly assisted Allen in shoplifting the games. Meanwhile, police are reviewing video evidence of a shoplifter who ran from the Smoke Station store on W. Jackson St. after being confronted by a clerk. The "heavy-set" female reportedly put two packages of tobacco in the waist band under her shirt and did not pay for them.

Child Assault Being Investigated

Cookeville police are investigating what is being described as a case of assault against an eleven year old girl. Authorities say the girl's mother told them that she and her daughter were walking in front of the Medical Complex at 100 W. 4th St. around 9:30 in the morning when they passed a white male, who said "Hey" to the girl, and then turned around, placed his arm around her neck and started pulling her backward. Just as the victim started to scream, the man let go. He then got into what was described as a "silver car" and drove away. The suspect was described as being skinny, about 5-8 or 5-10, with gray hair. He also had a "weird" smile on his face as he drove away. Anyone with information on the case is asked to call the police department.

Additional Charges Filed Against Former Deputy

Additional charges have been filed against a former deputy with the Putnam County sheriff's office, who had already been arrested for issuing checks on a closed bank account. Authorities now say 30-year-old David Shannon Blackwell of Salem Church Road is charged with two counts of theft and one count of burglary in cases being investigated by both the Cookeville police department and the county sheriff's department. Cookeville Police Detective Tim Terry alleges that Blackwell broke into the Firestone store on S. Jefferson Avenue, and then "staged the crime scene to make it appear as if someone else had committed the burglary." He also allegedly broke into a safe at the business, making off with some $6,000 worth of cash and merchandise. Meanwhile, sheriff's Detective Shane Higgenbotham took out a warrant that claims Blackwell stole more than $7,500 worth of jewelry from his brother's home on Chimney Springs Road. That jewelery was later pawned, police say.

Openings Still Available For Burgess Falls Camp

Officials at Burgess Falls State Park, on the Putnam-White county line say there are eight slots left for the June 14th through 18th Basic Program camp. The park's Junior Ranger Camps are a series of summer day camps for young people who will be entering the fourth, fifth or sixth grade in the 2010-2011 school year. Class topics include Reptiles and Amphibians, Aquatics, Birds of Prey, Insects and Spiders, Ecology and Introduction to Biological Research. There is a $20 non-refundable fee per student for the basic Junior Ranger day camp. Enrollment is limited to 14 pre-registered campers each week and day camp hours are 8:30 to 11:30 a.m., Monday through Friday. For more information or to request a registration packet, call the park office at 432-5312

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Cookeville Rep Speaks Out On Traffic Light Cameras

State Representative Henry Fincher of Cookeville is, once again, being quoted in media outlets across the state for his comments on traffic light cameras and whether or not they should be banned in Tennessee. The issue came up last week during a discussion on the House floor. An amendment seeking the ban was attached to a bill that had been offered by Representative Charles Curtiss of Sparta, which sought to put a cap on the amount of the fines. That bill may be brought back up again Monday night for discussion. During last week's debate, Fincher said, "I really don't like these red light cameras. I think there just something that local governments use to yank money out of people's wallets." But Fincher acknowledged that there would be issues with "going back" on contracts for the operation of such cameras.

TTU May Have Senior Citizen On Its Squad This Fall

A 75-year-old man may be playing basketball for the Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles this fall -- if the NCAA decides he is eligible. Tech coach Mike Sutton says that Ken Mink has an open invitation to participate as a walk-on player -- in part because Mink played in seven games for the Roane State Community College team two years ago. The NCAA says Mink is not eligible to play because all players are given four years of eligibility which must be completed in a five-year time span. They say Mink is ineligible because he first played college basketball back in 1955. But Sutton and Tennessee Tech are appealing to the NCAA to grant a waiver in Mink’s case. Mink is also talking to the U.S. Justice Department’s education division about the legality of a rule that he says is retroactively blocking the continuation of his college basketball career.

Cookeville Trucking Company In Bankrputcy

The lawyer for a Cookeville trucking company owner tells a Nashville television station that he is in the process of trying to work with a bankruptcy court and his creditors to take back control of property and equipment that have been seized -- at least for now. He also wants to pay down debts and pay his drivers. WTVF is reporting that about 70 drivers with Songbird Enterprises came by Friday afternoon to get their pay checks, only to find that the checks were not there. The TV station says their rigs have been seized and the company shut down by its lender. The company is located off Highway 111, north of Algood,

Cookeville Planning Commission To Meet

An effort to locate a group home for the aging on some property in south Cookeville is scheduled to be heard Monday night by the Cookeville planning commission. The owner of the five-acre tract at 151 Pigeon Roost Creek Road is requesting that the zoning be changed from single family residential to medical services to allow for the development of the group home. She reportedly has a contract with the Upper Cumberland Development District to operate the home, if the rezoning is granted. But city officials say they will be recommending against the proposal -- at least in part because it does not fit with the surrounding zones. They also note that several neighbors are concerned not so much about a home for the aging as they are about other potential uses allowed in the medical services zone.

Putnam County Students Begin To Wind Down Year

Students in the Putnam County school system are now entering the final days of the 2009-2010 academic year. Nearly 800 seniors received their diplomas over the weekend, but for the rest of the students, classes will remain in session until Thursday of this week. Friday is scheduled as an administrative and teacher work day with the "final" day of school scheduled to be a two-hour day on Saturday with a 10 am dismissal. The school system calendar was thrown off a bit this year when officials had to scramble a bit to make up 14 snow days that they took because of the weather. That meant students went in early and came home late for a few weeks, and also attended school on May 4th, when classes were originally scheduled to be called off because of the election. The summer break won't last long, either. Classes resume in late July.

THP Cookeville District Gears Up For Holiday

The Cookeville district of the Tennessee Highway Patrol says they are hoping for a better start to this year's Memorial Day Holiday weekend than they had last year. In 2009, a wreck in Putnam County on the Friday of the Memorial Day weekend was among the first of twelve fatal accidents recorded across the state. The majority of those crashes -- including the one in Cookeville -- involved just a single vehicle, and half of those killed last year were NOT wearing seat belts. The Tennessee Highway Patrol is joining forces with the Governor’s Highway Safety Office for a high visibility Click It or Ticket enforcement campaign, urging all drivers and passengers to buckle up every time, all the time. The initiative runs from today through June 6, which includes the Memorial Day holiday weekend. Officials say drivers can expect to see plenty of troopers on the road enforcing seat belt laws and looking for aggressive and impaired drivers. More than 70 checkpoints are scheduled throughout the long holiday weekend, including a sobriety checkpoint that will be set up at the Baxter Crossroads this Friday evening. They will also conduct a driver's license checkpoint on Highway 70 near Dry Valley on Saturday.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Arraignment Date Set For Alleged Drug Dealer

A June 7th arraignment has been set for a Putnam County man, accused of selling the painkiller oxycodone. Authorities say 41-year-old James Robert Bilbrey of Wall Street in Algood, was arrested after being indicted by the grand jury. Bilbrey allegedly sold the pills to an undercover agent with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, and it was a TBI agent who testified before the grand jury, claiming that the sale took place back in February. Bond in the case was set at $10,000.

Four Year Sentence Given To Statutory Rapist

A plea agreement has been reached in the case of a 25-year-old Putnam County man who had sex with a 14 year old girl two years ago. Officials say Darrell Wayne Rhea got the victim pregnant and she had a baby. And although he initially denied any sexual contact with her, officials say DNA testing revealed him to be the father. Rhea was originally charged with four counts of rape, but agreed to plead guilty to a reduced charge of statutory rape. He had been seeking probation in the case, but that request was denied by Criminal Court Judge Leon Burns and Rhea was taken into custody to begin serving his sentence.

Magazine Swindle Prevented At Walmart

A Cookeville man has been cited for shoplifting at Walmart -- even though he "paid" for some magazines he had purchased. The problem, police say, is that the man -- identified as 41-year-old Barry Robert Hamlet of Jere Whitson Road -- changed the bar code on those magazines so he could get them at a cheaper price. Walmart security officers claim they watched as Hamlet took six magazines from a rack at the store and proceeded to the school supply area. Three of the magazines sold for $1.75 apiece; the other three were priced at nearly $5 apiece. Authorities claim that Hamlet removed the price code from the inexpensive magazines and used a glue stick from the school supply area to attach those inexpensive codes to the more expensive magazines. He left behind the cheaper magazines -- without their price codes on them -- and went through the self-checkout "paying" just over five dollars for what amounted to more than fifteen dollars worth of reading material. He was stopped as he walked out of the store and allegedly admitted to the scheme. Officer Brian Long gave him a citation for shoplifting.

State Park Plans Folk Celebration

Cordell Hull Birthplace State Park and the Friends of Cordell Hull Birthplace State Park will host its annual Folk Celebration on Saturday, May 29, 2010, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. This year's festival theme is “1865-1877: The Reconstruction,” which is the time period Cordell Hull and his family lived on what is now the state park’s grounds. The day will include a variety of cultural and living history events that relate to the way of life in the historic Upper Cumberland region. The event is free and open to the public. Cordell Hull Birthplace State Park and Museum is a historic site near Byrdstown, north of Cookeville. The 45-acre site includes a representation of Hull's log cabin birthplace, an activities center and a museum housing documents and artifacts, including Hull’s Nobel Peace Prize. For more information, including a schedule of events, visit

Campaign Signs Debate Moves To Committee

May 25th is the date that has been chosen for Putnam County's Land and Facilities committee to meet and discuss whether or not to ban campaign signs on county property. Officials with the Ambulance Service and the County Health Department say the signs became something of a safety issue during the May primaries, but county attorney Jeff Jones says an outright ban on such signs may not be legal because it would infringe on a candidate's right to freedom of speech. He says the tilting point for governmental intervention would be whether or not it is determined that the signs create a safety hazard. A recommendation from the committee will be heard by the full county commission next month.

Cookeville Baseball Player Heads To Ark. State

Arkansas State head coach Tommy Raffo has announced that Brandon Farley of Cookeville has signed a National Letter of Intent to continue his baseball career at ASU. The 6-1, 205-pound right-handed pitcher finished his sophomore season at Northeast Mississippi Community College with an ERA of 2.79. In 67.2 innings of work, Farley struck out 67 batters, while giving up just 32 runs (25 earned). He held opposing batters to a .234 average, allowing just 55 hits and 21 walks. He finished the 2010 season with a record of 4-6 with one save. Additionally, Farley hit .345 with two home runs, six doubles and a pair of triples. He was selected to the Mississippi Association of Community/Junior Colleges All-State first team. In his final two years at Cookeville High School, Farley posted a record of 7-0. He posted an ERA of 3.10 in his junior year, then lowered the average to 2.70 in his senior season when he led Cookeville to the District 7AAA championship. In addition to earning All-District honors, he was selected as the Offensive Player of the Year and Pitcher of the Year.

Cookeville Man Looking For WWII Soldier's Kin

WBIR television in Knoxville is reporting that for more than 60 years, the widow of Corporal Francis DeVane kept her husband's memories out of public eye. A briefcase she kept included photos of her late husband, war documents, and the prestigious Purple Heart. Since her recent death, it's been the mission of Cookeville resident Daryl Hill to return those memories to DeVane's family. The problem: DeVane's family is nowhere to be found. Hill is a retired member of the Tennessee National Guard. He believes the family may be in Knox County, but says his sources have not had much luck looking for any ties to the WWII soldier. If you know anyone who might have known the DeVane family, you can reach Daryl Hill at (931) 265-0144.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Road Supervisors Position To Be Discussed

The nominating committee of the Putnam County commission will be meeting Thursday evening in the conference room of the county executive's office. Chairman Gene Mullins says the purpose of the meeting is to "further discuss nominations for road supervisor." Earlier this week, the county commission deferred a decision on the appointment of an interim road supervisor. Long-time department head Billy "Red" Lamb passed away in February, and even though there is an election in August, by state law, the commission has 120 days -- or until June -- to fill that position on an interim basis. The agenda for this week's meeting had both Randy Jones, who earned the Democratic nomination during the May 4 primary, and Terry Lamb, Red's brother and the current assistant road supervisor, recommended for the position. The meeting of the nominating committee gets underway at 6 pm.

Indictment Handed Down In Car Burglary Case

Burglary charges are now pending against a Putnam County man, who was shot while allegedly trying to break into a car last year. The indictment against 33-year-old Kenneth Wayne Jones was returned after Detective Tammy Goolsby presented evidence to the grand jury. Jones was allegedly found to be breaking into a car at a home on Lovelady Road in late December. The homeowner, identified as 29-year-old Justin Byron Parrott, confronted Jones with a handgun and told him to remain where he was until police arrived. But Jones allegedly made an aggressive move toward Parrott who fired several shots. Jones was hospitalized after the shooting, but has since recovered and will be in court on the burglary charge July 13th.

Arrests Made In Storage Unit Burglaries

Authorities say three people have now been arrested in the burglary of several mini-storage units on East 15th Street this week. Police say 26-year-old Ronnie D. Phillips of Phillips Drive in Cookeville, 26-year-old Shone Ray Frazier of Byres Road, Baxter; and 27-year-old Becky S. Young of Cummins Mill Road, Baxter, were each charged with burglary. They were booked on ten thousand dollars bond apiece and are set to appear in court June 21st. Detective Tim Terry investigated the case in which the three allegedly broke into several units at Northside Mini-Storage and stole video gaming systems, jewelry, TV sets, a washer and dryer, and other items.

Former Sheriff's Deputy Charged In Check Case

A former employee at the Putnam County sheriff's department will be in court next week on charges of issuing worthless checks. Authorities say 30-year-old David Shannon Blackwell of Salem Church Road is accused in three separate instances of issuing checks on an account that had already been closed. The checks were issued on the account of a business called Unique Automotive, and were passed on May 10th. Sheriff David Andrews says that Blackwell had worked as a corrections officer and later as a deputy in Putnam County for about five years before being let go from the job last January. Andrews said he could not comment on the reason for the release.

Chamber Sponsors "Penny Saved" Workshop

The Cookeville-Putnam County Chamber of Commerce along with Volunteer State Community College is presenting a workshop next month focusing on how to keep more of your money and improve your financial bottom line. The workshop is scheduled for Tuesday, June 15 at the Leslie Town Centre. Registrants may choose to attend either the morning session from 9 a.m. until noon or the afternoon session from 1 until 4 p.m. Organizers say presenter Richard Britnell has significant management experience and will discuss how to use a repeatable problem solving method to improve business methods by removing waste and errors. Participants will learn to identify financial savings from process improvement efforts in various businesses, as well as how small losses can quickly add to significant financial impacts on the bottom line. They will learn how large and small businesses solve process failures with a repeatable problem solving approach. Other topics to be covered include process improvement, brainstorming and change management. The cost is $69 for Chamber members and $79 for non-members. To register or for more information about this workshop, contact Andrea Dudney at 526-2211 or For information on other Chamber events, visit

Cookeville Police To Hold Child Seat Checkpoint

The Cookeville Police Department, The Lollipop Shoppe and Pilot Club of Cookeville will be hosting a Child Seat Checkpoint at The Lollipop Shoppe located at 552 E. 10th Street, on Thursday, May 27th, 2010 from 2 – 4:30 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. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA),. 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 (1to 4 years old) in passenger cars. 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 used or secured in a vehicle. Research also shows that high visibility enforcement, accompanied by education and media, is most effective in raising occupant restraint use.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Burglary Cases On The Rise

Burglary cases are on a bit of an uptick in the Cookeville area this week. Police say items were stolen from at least three vehicles on Mount Vernon Road Monday. In one case, the victim says a purse with several credit cards, a social security and a driver's license was taken. In the second case, a GPS unit and a cell phone car charger were stolen. And, in the third instance, a check book, an IPod and a GPS device were taken. In all of the cases, police say the victims may have left their vehicles unlocked. Unlocked doors also made in possible for thieves to steal several items from two cars on Farmington Drive, including wallets, cash, checks and a cell phone. Meanwhile, in a separate case, police say several storage units were broken into at the Northside Mini-Storage on East 15th Street. Among the items taken were a set of China, camping equipment, golf clubs, jewelry and some Army awards and ribbons. Detective Tim Terry is investigating.

Putnam County EMS Wins Award For Second Year

Putnam County Ambulance Service Director Randy Porter says the service has been recognized for the second year in a row with what's called a "Star of Life" award. He detailed the award to county commissioners this week, saying it came about because of the response to an incident in Baxter in 2009. On the morning of April 15th, Mr. Bill Stines was engaged in his usual routine when he collapsed, not breathing and with no pulse. His stepson, Donald Lynn found him within minutes and performed CPR and called 911. The Baxter Fire Department and Putnam County EMS soon arrived on the scene, and Mr. Stines was resuscitated and taken to Cookeville Regional Medical Center where a stent was placed in his blocked artery. After a few days in the hospital, he was discharged home with no long-term effects. Porter says the award illustrates what is known as the "chain of survival," which includes having private citizens who know CPR as well as trained professionals who are close at hand. He says, to date, Putnam County has trained 11,984 individuals in CPR.

Teenager Facing Vehicular Homicide Charges

A Putnam County teenager, involved in a fatal wreck last June, has now been charged with vehicular homicide. 17-year-old Cody Harville was in Juvenile Court on Monday for a hearing in which his bond was set at $25,000 and he was ordered to remain under house arrest.
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 last year. 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.

Algood Police Investigate "Drive-By" Shooting

Algood police are asking for the public's help in solving what is described as a "drive-by shooting," which occurred Monday night. It happened on Mill Street just after seven o'clock when the 15-year-old victim told police that three white males drove by in a green GMC pick-up truck, shouted some racial slurs at him, and then fired a gun in his direction. He was reportedly struck in the calf by one of the bullets and was taken to the Cookeville Regional Medical Center for treatment. Authorities say the injuries were not life-threatening and the boy -- who is a runaway from Bolivar, Tennessee, was then taken to the Juvenile Detention Center where he was to be picked up by his mother. But the investigation of the case is continuing, and anyone with information is asked to call 537-6830.

Three Citations Issued To Alleged Repeat Shoplifter

A Cookeville woman, who was reportedly warned to stay out of Walmart after she was caught shoplifting, has been cited again for the same crime. And police say 25-year-old Rachel Judith Budinger of Jere Whitson Road was also charged with criminal trespassing and with possession of drug paraphernalia. Walmart officials told Officer Ryan Moore that they observed Budinger taking DVDs and trying to conceal them. She also allegedly had a Ph testing kit in her possession. According to Moore's report, Budinger said that she was an IV drug user and that she had two hypodermic needles in her purse. Moore says the needles were retrieved and disposed of, and he escorted Budinger to the front of the store, where he issued her the citations and warned her once again not to be back on Walmart property.

Man Charged With Burglarizing Mom's Home

A Putnam County man has been charged with aggravated burglary after allegedly confessing to breaking into his mother's home on Monday. Sheriff's Detective Brian Maxwell says 20-year-old Richard Samuel Helm of Maddux Court in Algood was questioned after a neighbor saw him near his mother's home in Silver Point. The mother told authorities that her son was not supposed to be at the residence, and further investigation revealed that someone had pried open the screen on a window at the front of the house to gain entry and had stolen a Wii gaming system and a video game for that system. Helm was located at his apartment and brought to the sheriff's office for questioning, during which he allegedly confessed. He goes to court on the burglary charge June 21st.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Putnam Commission OKs Spending Freeze

With little discussion Monday night, the Putnam County commission gave approval to a freeze on all expenditures in the county general fund, except those deemed necessary for daily operations. The vote was 23 to 1, with Commissioner Bill Walker voting against the proposal which had been requested by County Executive Kim Blaylock. Blaylock says any major purchases that county departments have done without for the first ten months of the fiscal year can probably be put off another six weeks. Despite the spending freeze, the commission also agreed to go forward with the purchase of more than $440,000 worth of software for the Juvenile Court and Circuit Court Clerk's office. Officials say they will pay for part of that purchase with the monies left over from a bond issue that is paying for the construction of a new clerk's office, emergency services building and health department building. The rest of the funding is expected to come from the county's capital projects fund. Meanwhile, the commission went into recess until 6 pm on Thursday, May 27, at which time they are expected to appoint an interim road supervisor. County attorney Jeff Jones says the appointment needs to be made by the beginning of June.

Drug Charges Pending In Several Incidents

Cookeville police say charges are pending in a case of alleged drug dealing activity at the Alpine Lodge on East Spring Street. Officer Brandon Tayes says he went to that location after receiving information that two individuals were selling Dilaudid pills out of a room there. Police say a search of the room turned up 23 "suboxone" pills, which authorities say are an addictive type of painkiller. One of the people in the room allegedly admitted to selling the pills, but was released from custody pending further investigation. Meanwhile, police say a drug possession citation was issued against a Cookeville man who was stopped for speeding. Officer Marc DeClaire says he found two oxycodone pills in a cigarette pack on 24-year-old Raymond Curtis Garner, Jr. of 15th Street. And police say they are waiting for a positive ID on some yellow tablets found in a room at the America's Best Value Inn. The woman staying there, 42-year-old Christina Kay Robbins of Livingston, was wanted on felony drug charges in Overton County. Police say Robbins told them the pills were dilaudid and they say that she and others in the room allegedly admitted to "shooting up" the drugs.

Alleged Vandals Told To Repair Their Damage

The parents of two teenage girls who were allegedly caught spray painting a building on Burgess Falls Road have agreed to have the girls re-paint the building and cover up the damage they caused. According to a report by Deputy Jamie Hunter, a woman who owns the building was out with her dogs when she saw the two in the act of spray painting. The girls later told Hunter that someone had painted a date on the building about a year ago, and that they were simply painting over that date. Hunter says both juveniles had black paint on their hands, and says the owner wanted the two to repair the damage by painting the entire building. Hunter advised the parents of that request and they reportedly agreed. Hunter says charges have not yet been filed against the juveniles, but still could be in the future.

Barn Fire Believed To Be Deliberately Set

The Putnam County sheriff's department says somebody who was drinking beer inside a barn on Old Mill Road over the weekend may have set the structure on fire. Deputy Jeremy Nash says the barn is located at the end of Old Mill Road, which is also known as Old Cane Creek Road. The owner told Nash that the only thing in the barn was a couple of feed troughs, but says he found two beer cans that he believed someone had left there over the weekend. The cost to replace the structure was estimated at some $10,000.

Deadline Approaching For Summer Workshops

The first workshops hosted by Tennessee Tech University’s STEM Center start in June, and the deadline is approaching for those sessions. For high school students who will be in grades 9 through 12 this fall, the center is offering “Autopsy a Shark” on June 8 and 9. Students will explore the anatomy of the shark and compare it to the anatomy of the perch. Students interested in careers in the health sciences are particularly encouraged to attend. Meanwhile, students who will be in grades 5 through 8 next fall can learn about robotics in the LEGO Mindstorms workshop on June 3 and 4. Middle school students can also get a head start on next year’s science and engineering fair by attending a workshop June 9, 10 and 11. Students will select a topic, begin research on the topic, and develop a design for their study. The deadline to register for these workshops is Wednesday, May 19. For more details, visit

Sunday, May 16, 2010

County Commission To Consider Spending Freeze

The Putnam County commission meets Monday evening to consider a number of issues, including a recommendation that the county freeze all expenditures other than those necessary for daily operations, necessary projects and the completion of grant funds for the County General Fund and the Solid Waste Fund. That recommendation comes from the Fiscal Review Committee, at the request of County Executive Kim Blaylock, who says that revenues are not coming in to the county at the rate that was budgeted. Meanwhile, the commission will consider the purchase of software for the Juvenile-Circuit Court system from Tyler Technologies. The total cost of that software package would be $446,260, with funding coming from the Juvenile Court budget, the capital projects fund and the Debt Service Fund. In other words, the county would be borrowing the money to pay for the software. And the commission will also be considering the appointment of an interim road supervisor, although the final decision on that matter may not be made tonight because of the requirements of having the appointment advertised at least seven days in advance.

New Scholarship Available To Putnam Students

Putnam County students wishing to attend Tennessee Tech University now have additional assistance available to them by way of the just-established Cookeville Jaycees Academic Scholarship Endowment, which will be operated within the TTU Foundation. The endowment, to be administered by the Tennessee Tech Scholarship Office, will provide scholarships to prospective or current TTU students from Putnam County. Students must have a 3.0 GPA or better to qualify. The endowment is funded with an initial gift of $300,000 from the Cookeville Jaycees Academic Trust Foundation board of directors consisting of Cookeville chiropractor Max Atnip, banker Larry B. Garrett, banker Jim Hicks, attorney Scott Lytal, pharmacist Clarence Smith and Donnie Westbrooks, who is retired from East Tennessee Natural Gas.

Hail Reported From Storms In Putnam County

We missed the flooding from two weeks ago, but local weather spotters say hail was reported Saturday afternoon during severe storms in Putnam and Warren counties. According to the Warren County Sheriff's office, several trees were knocked down by strong winds, but no major damage was reported. Authorities also reported hail about 1 inch in size east of McMinnville. Eyewitnesses from the Cookeville area reported pea-sized to marble-sized hail there. Officials say another severe storm that fired up briefly on Sunday morning also caused some minor damage.

Cookeville Company Expands Into Banking Biz

A Cookeville company, which specializes in making signs for banks and other clients, has now decided to get into the banking business. According to a report in the New Hampshire Business Review, Identity Group of Cookeville has acquired from TD Bank some of the assets of a company called BrandPartners. BrandPartners had laid off some 50 employees on April 16, when it suddenly shut it doors with more than $10 million in debt. And Identity Group won't be hiring back most of those people, and it won’t work out of the same building. Instead, the story says Identity will hire three employees from the community bank division and “reach out” to other employees as independent contractors. While it's located in Cookeville, Identity Group is a firm owned by Saw Mill Capital of Briar Cliff, N.Y., and primarily makes signs for the health care and hospitality markets. CEO Patrick Spear is quoted as saying, “Identity Group’s expansion into the community financial services market is a natural move for us." Thomas said Identity has acquired none of BrandPartners’ debt. He declined to say how much Identity paid for the assets.

Court Date Set For Suspect In Motor Home Theft

A June 14th court appearance has been scheduled for a Cookeville woman, accused of stealing a motor home. A Putnam County sheriff's deputy first noticed that 28-foot long motor home weaving along Fisk Road late Thursday night and learned that it had been reported stolen from a house on Freedom Avenue. The driver of the vehicle was identified as 49-year-old Rowena Fuchsberger, who police say gave a Freedom Avenue address. According to reports, Fuchsberger and the victim, who are related, had been living in the same house, and Fuchsberger had borrowed the man's truck earlier in the day and had not returned it. She later phoned the man and told him his truck had broken down on Holladay Road and asked him to come get her. The man told police that he went to Holladay Road and searched, but did not find Fuchsberger or his truck so he returned home. And that's when he found that his Coachman motor home had been stolen while he was gone. Sheriff's deputy Jeremy Nash came upon while he was investigating reports of a possibly intoxicated woman knocking on doors in the area of Quinland Lake Road.

Local Fire Department Receives Federal Grant

Congressman Bart Gordon has announced that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Assistance to Firefighters Grant program will award $30,000 to the Dodson Branch Volunteer Fire Department for new safety equipment. The department will put the funds toward the purchase of two new defibrillators to allow first responders to resuscitate individuals in critical conditions. Fire Chief Keith Bean says the department will also purchase a new accountability system, which helps track firefighters in a building that might be down or trapped through a system of beacons and sensors. Gordon says he has been a strong supporter of the Assistance to Firefighters Grant program, which has awarded more than 1,300 grants to Tennessee first responders since 2000, totaling more than $108 million.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Tech Students Among Those Helping Flood Victims

Tennessee Tech University web design senior Mack Lunn of Mt. Juliet certainly isn’t the only student among the army of volunteers now helping flood victims haul molding dry wall out of flooded homes, but he is bringing something more to the effort: the ability to bring people together quickly and connect them to resources. Lunn is using his skills as a web designer to maintain a site called Nashville Ark for Cookeville-area residents interested in the latest flood news and volunteer information. In addition, he’s operating a Facebook page under the Nashville Ark name to provide a steady stream of information as he finds it in real time. The site has organized more than 30 volunteers so far to canvas Nashville neighborhoods, repair homes and generally help with the cleanup where ever needed. Another TTU student, freshman Katie Reasonover, launched her own Operation Teddy Bear to deliver stuffed animals to children in shelters. So far, she says she has delivered seven large trash bags filled with toys for children.

Fake Name Fails To Foil Felon's Arrest

A Cookeville man who caught the attention of a city police officer when he drove by the officer's patrol car without headlights is now facing criminal charges. Officer Marc DeClaire says he was parked at the Knight's Inn motel early Thursday morning when observed a green Ford Tempo drive behind him without its headlights on. He initiated a traffic stop on the vehicle and says the driver identified himself as "Marquis Apple." But DeClaire says when he ran a records check on "Apple," the description that was returned did not match that of the driver. According to the Nationa Crime Information Computer, Apple's was six feet tall and weighed 158 pounds. The driver, DeClaire says, was much taller and heavier. A search of the driver also turned up a handgun that he was carrying in the waistband of his pants. Further investigation led police to confirm that the driver was actually 37-year-old Rodney Cornelius Stevenson of Fisk Road. Stevenson told police he had lied about his identity to conceal his driving record. But police say he had no carry permit for the gun and records check on Stevenson revealed that he had been convicted of a felony in Minnesota and, therefore, was a felon illegally in possession of that firearm.

Tip Leads To Arrest Of Fugitive In Cookeville

A tip from a confidential informant led to the arrest of a Carthage man in Cookeville this week by agents with the U.S. Marshal's Task Force. Putnam County sheriff's deputies and Cookeville city police officers also assisted in the arrest of 25-year-old William Joseph Givens of North Main Street in Carthage, who was wanted for failing to appear for his sentencing after pleading guilty in a drug case. Givens was to begin serving a 15-year prison term in February, after accepting a plea agreement in Putnam County Criminal Court. Officials say he had pleaded guilty to possessing more than half a pound of cocaine for re-sale. Givens was already on probation on a drug-related offense when he was arrested by the highway patrol after a traffic stop on Willow Avenue, and police say their tip indicated that he was again dealing drugs out of an apartment on Walnut Avenue, but they say he gave them no trouble when they found him in a bedroom of the home.

Ky. Official Criticized For Bid To Cookeville Firm

A Cookeville company has been mentioned in an audit, which is critical of the way officials in Monroe County, Kentucky, awarded a bid for the construction of a wellness center. But the audit focuses on the elected officials who made the decisions, not on the company that got the bid -- J & S Construction in Cookeville. According to a story in the Lexington Herald-Leader newspaper, officials in Monroe County used an improper process in hiring J and S to build a wellness center in Tompkinsville and then, within days, the county judge-executive approved an extra $415,000 payment to the company. According to an audit released Thursday, the extra money was for items not specified in the original request for bids. And that meant other companies that competed for the contract didn't know to include those items in their bids. The auditors claim the county failed to follow proper procedures in choosing a contractor, but
Johnny Stites, the chief executive officer of J&S Construction, told the paper that he was not aware of any problems or improprieties in how the contract was awarded. He said his company has experience in energy-efficient buildings and was well qualified to construct the wellness center.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Improper Use Of A Mailbox Reported

It may be difficult to prove who has done it, but in at least two cases, Putnam County residents report finding a piece of paper in their mailboxes which makes disparaging comments about one of the candidates who ran for office earlier this month. One such incident occurred on Paran Road where a woman told the sheriff's office that she did not want things left in her mailbox that did not arrive through what was described as "the proper mail service." Indeed, the post office says it is illegal to place anything in a mailbox that has not been properly stamped and sent through the U.S. mail. The victim also told authorities that she did not understand why such a letter would show up in her box after the election was already over.

Sparta Man Charged With Fraud In Putnam County

A charge of burglary and fraudulent use of a credit card is pending against a White County man, accused of taking a wallet from a vehicle on Walton Hills Road in Monterey. The victim says that she was visiting a friend next door and had gotten permission to park her vehicle at 906 Walton Hills Road. According to a report by Deputy John Osteen, a man identified as Robert "Bo" Schills of 154 Old Highway Road, Sparta, removed a wallet from the vehicle and later tried to use a credit card from the wallet at the Food Mart in Monterey. The card was refused, and after Osteen and Monterey police officer Jackie McQuiston reviewed the security tapes at the store, they took out warrants charging Schills. They also charged a woman identified as Samantha Horton with theft because she was allegedly seen throwing items from the victim's wallet into the garbage at the store.

Several Burglary Cases Under Investigation

Cookeville police are investigating the theft of more than two thousand dollars worth of merchandise from a home on Blake Circle, just north of 12th Street. The victims say they had gone out of town on Saturday and returned this week to find that someone had cut the weather stripping from a back door and apparently pried it open. Once inside, the burglar ransacked several rooms, taking a computer jump drive, an external hard drive, some cash, a .45 caliber semi-automatic pistol ... and a bottle of whiskey. Police say no one in the neighborhood had reported seeing any suspicious activity. Meanwhile, police say two flat panel televisions, two IPods, two DVD players and three video game systems were taken in a burglary at an apartment on Byrne Avenue, a few blocks northeast of Blake Circle. And -- in a separate case -- police say three ladders were stolen from service trucks at Custom Fireplace on East Spring Street. A 21-foot piece of black metal pipe was also taken.

Alleged Prostitutes Given Probation

Pre-trial diversion has been granted to two women arrested last year at a Cookeville massage parlor on charges of prostitution. Diversion is a form of probation in which a suspect's record is cleared if they stay out of trouble. Authorities say 49-year-old Mee Chung Sung and 44-year-old Miae Lim were put on six months diversion. The two women have reportedly moved away from the area -- one to Georgia, the other to Virginia. If they violate the terms of the diversion, the case could be brought back up, but General Sessions Judge John Hudson also reportedly banned them from coming back to Putnam County as part of the plea agreement.

Some Candidates Considering Write-In Races

Some of the candidates who lost in last week's Putnam County primary may be considering another run for their offices ... as a write-in candidate. More than half a dozen candidates, both winners and losers, showed up Wednesday as the Putnam County Election Commission met to certify the results of last week's elections. Many of those in attendance had questions about who had received write-in votes, but election officials say state law prohibits the counting of such votes unless the person receiving them has filed papers to run as a certified write-in candidate. In the May election, no one did that, so any votes for Donald Duck or Homer Simpson did not count, but neither did other write-ins for real people who were on the ballot elsewhere. For example, people voting in the Republican primary could not write in a vote for someone who was running for nomination as a Democrat and have it count toward the Democratic nomination. Officials say the state legislature passed the regulations on write-in votes some years ago, in part to keep people from being elected to an office they didn't want. Those wishing to mount a write-in campaign for the August election must file papers with the election office at least 50 days before that election. That deadline would be at noon on June 16th.

Police Warn Of Middle Of The Night Phone Scam

Cookeville police are warning local residents about a phone scam that appears to be making the rounds, sometimes involving late night calls. In several cases reported to police in recent days, the victims say they get a call in the middle of the night from someone who claims that the person's bank ATM card has been somehow de-activated. They are asked to press 1 on their phone if they want to "re-activate" the card and then are asked for more information, such as their account number and the PIN number of their card. One victim reported that the initial call came from what sounded like an automated device and appeared to originate in Sacramento, California. But police Lt. Carl Sells warns against ever giving out your personal information, especially over the phone in the middle of the night. He says the phone calls are simply an attempt by thieves to trick people into revealing information that should be kept private. Police say anyone with questions about their ATM card should contact their bank directly, and should do what one potential victim did -- hang up on any unsolicited caller.

Public Urination Leads To Exposure Charge

A Sparta man is facing charges of indecent exposure after a Putnam County sheriff's deputy allegedly saw him urinating in the parking lot of the On The Run market on West Broad Street Tuesday night. Deputy Jason Phy says it happened about 9:30 as he was patrolling in the area and saw 44-year-old Jeffrey Allen Puckett standing next to a truck in front of the gas pumps "with his penis in his hand and urinating on the parking lot while traffic was passing by." Phy says the suspect put things back in his pants when he saw the police car, but was later asked if there was any legal reason that he would be "peeing in the parking lot." Puckett also allegedly admitted to drinking and was cited for public intoxication.

Good Samaritan Steals Wallet

The Putnam County sheriff's department says a good Samaritan, who helped a local woman get her car started, may have find temptation too hard to resist. The victim says that she had driven to the Bangham dump site on Tuesday and, after dropping off her trash, could not get her car to start. She says two young men, one slender white male and one stocky black male, gave her assistance and were able to get the vehicle going. But when she got back home, she noticed that her wallet was missing -- perhaps taken by one of the helpers. In it was $200 in cash and a debit card, which has since been cancelled.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Commission To Appoint Interim Road Supervisor

The Putnam County commission is expected to go into recess next Monday so that all of the legal notifications can be met concerning their appointment of a temporary road supervisor to fill out the unexpired term of Billy Joe "Red" Lamb, who passed away earlier this year. In discussing the issue this week, members of the county nominating committee said that they did not want to appear to be endorsing any particular candidate for the job. Randy Jones won the Democratic nomination for the post last week and Harvey Summers is running as an independent candidate against Jones in August. Some committee members suggested appointing Jones, while others said that assistant superintendent and former candidate Terry Lamb would be the better choice. They also pointed out that nominations can by made from the floor and that anyone nominated would then have to be voted on by the full commission -- in much the same way that members of the Fair Board are voted on. Whoever is appointed would serve until a new road supervisor takes office on September 1st.

Court Date Set For Dispatcher Charged With DUI

A June 4th court date has been set for a highway patrol dispatcher, who is facing charges of DUI. Police say 33-year-old Brian Keith Brock of E. 10th St. was arrested after authorities responded to a disturbance call at his apartment. He allegedly told the officer that he was going to get a sober ride, but later got into his vehicle and drove away. He was then stopped and reportedly failed three field sobriety tests. Brock, who has been a dispatcher at the Cookeville district of the THP for seven years, has been re-assigned to duties in the driver license testing center until the case is resolved.

Two Facing Charges Of Possessing Crack Cocaine

Cookeville police say two men have been charged with drug possession in two separate cases -- and both times the suspects tried to toss away the drugs before being arrested. In one case, Officer Brandon Tayes alleges that he was in plain clothes when 30-year-old Kelvin Quintell Bell of Rock Island recognized him as a police officer and tossed a baggie into a car. Tayes recovered that bag and claims that it contained crack cocaine. That incident happened on West 3rd Street. The other case was also reported on West 3rd Street -- on the same day. Detective Chase Mathis arrested 22-year-old Joe Allen Willingham of Carthage after he observed Willingham discarding a bag as the detective approached a group of men. Allegedly, the bag contained about three grams of a "white rock-type substance believed to be crack cocaine."

Some Federal Disaster Aid Coming To Putnam

Congressman Bart Gordon has announced that the U.S. Small Business Administration is making loans available to help Putnam County small businesses recover from any losses caused by recent flooding. The Small Business Administration offers Economic Injury Disaster Loans to small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives and most private non-profit organizations to help alleviate financial hardship caused by the flooding. Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance is available regardless of whether the business suffered any physical property damage. Loans can be used to help businesses meet necessary financial obligations that they could have met had the disaster not occurred. Businesses have until February 4, 2011, to file for economic injury assistance. To apply, business owners must register with FEMA by calling 1-800-621-FEMA or by visiting Putnam County is currently eligible for the SBA assistance because it is adjacent to a county that has already been declared a disaster area by the President.

Third Suspect Arrested In Robbery Kidnapping Case

The Putnam County sheriff's office says a third suspect has now been taken into custody on two counts of aggravated robbery and two counts of especially aggravated kidnapping. 25-year-old Carlos Darnell Dixon of Lascassas Road in Murfreesboro is accused of being the man who held a gun on two victims who were lured into an apartment at Tech Village early Sunday and robbed. Authorities say Dixon turned himself in at the sheriff's office after learning that Tennessee Tech police had taken warrants out on him. He has an initial court appearance on Wednesday. Two other suspects in the case, Jimmie Blair and Christian Dawn Pryor, were arrested early Monday for allegedly assisting Dixon in the robberies.

Monday, May 10, 2010

County Considers Ban On Political Signs

Putnam County's Land and Facilities committee will be reviewing whether or not political campaign signs should be allowed on county property and, if so, under what circumstances. The committee is expected to report back with a recommendation next month. 911 Director Randy Porter addressed county commissioners Monday night, saying that the signs had become something of a safety issue along County Services Drive, where -- at one point -- more than one hundred of them dotted the side of that private drive which leads to the ambulance service, health department, and election commission. But Porter says he didn't think he had the authority to tell candidates that they could not put up their signs. He says that decision should come from the county commission because the driveway is, effectively, county property. County attorney Jeff Jones says it's a classic case of trying to balance governmental interests with free speech rights, but says the safety issue would probably be an overriding factor.

Spending Freeze Suggested For Putnam County

Putnam County executive Kim Blaylock told members of the county commission Monday night that she is a bit concerned about the revenues that have come in so far this fiscal year. She says that the county is now more than three quarters of the way through the year and, ideally, should have collected about 75 percent of projected revenues at this point. But, she says, in many cases, the revenues are at 50 percent or less of projections. And she says the situation is complicated somewhat by the fact that while a ten percent increase in the cost of county employee health insurance was budgeted for, the actual increase ended up being fifteen percent. Blaylock suggested, and the county's fiscal review committee recommended, that all non-essential expenditures be frozen through June 30th. According to Blaylock, if a county department has been able to do without something for the past ten months, they should be able to go another seven weeks without it. The full county commission will vote on the issue next week.

Felony Fugitive Caught At Cookeville Bus Station

A felony fugive warrant has been taken out against a Mississippi man, who was arrested at the bus station in Cookeville last week after authorities received a tip that he was wanted in Mississippi. Police say they confirmed that information and arrested 38-year-old Robert Lee Jarvis Jr. on charges of rape and what Mississippi calls assault with intent to ravish. The crime reportedly took place in Pearl River County, Mississippi, which is near the Gulf and on the border with Louisiana. Police say Jarvis is from Lumberton, Mississippi, just north of there. There is no word on why he was in Cookeville when arrested.

Felony Theft Charge Brought In Shoplifting Case

Shoplifting is usually a misdemeanor crime, but a Sparta man is facing felony theft charges after allegedly stealing two GPS devices from the Kohl's department store. Police say the felony charge was brought because the merchandise was worth more than $500. Authorities say they arrested 33-year-old Emerson Lee Luna after questioning the driver of a vehicle that had dropped him off at the store. Luna was captured a few minutes later in the parking lot of Jackson Plaza. Police claim that he had the two GPS units in his pockets, with the mounts for the devices hidden in the waistband of his clothes. They also say Luna had three outstanding warrants pending in Putnam County and one in Williamson County. The recovered merchandise was returned to the store. Meanwhile, in a separate incident, police say 34-year-old Michael Jack Carlson of Monterey was charged with theft after he allegedly shoplifted several video games and tools from the Sears department store last week.

Cookevillians Charged With Kidnapping, Robbery

A June 14th court date has been set for two Cookeville residents charged with two counts apiece of aggravated robbery and aggravated kidnapping. The sheriff's department on Monday reported the arrest of 22-year-old Christian Dawn Pryor of Winston Drive (on the left, above) and 21-year-old Jimmie Blair of the Tech Village apartments (on the right.) According to warrants on file in the case, Pryor and Blair allegedly assisted in the robbery of two men at a Tech Village apartment early Sunday morning. The victims say they were initially contacted by Blair, who asked them for a ride to Tech Village. When they arrived, the men were lured into the apartment, one at a time. It was there that a third suspect pulled a gun on them, demanded money and threatened to kill them if they reported the crime to police. Tennessee Tech officers investigated the initial report, and the sheriff's department served warrants on the two once they were brought to the jail Monday morning.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Placement Of Political Signs To Be Addressed

The primary election is over, but at least one member of the Putnam County commission now wants to talk about how and where signs for political candidates are allowed. The city of Cookeville has an ordinance relating to sign placement, but the county has no zoning, and officials say they got several questions and some complaints about the placement of signs for various candidates -- including those that were placed on the private driveway leading to the Election Commission office. Although that road is technically inside the city limits, it is not a public road and may, therefore, be exempt from the city's regulation. On Monday night, the planning committee of the Putnam County commission is scheduled to hear a presentation about political signs on county property. The apparent issue will be whether a law that allow political signs along the right of way of a road would still apply if that road is private -- not public.

Tech Players Named To Academic All-District Team

Golden Eagle senior pitcher Lee Henry and junior outfielder Chad Oberacker have been recognized for their success in the classroom as well as on the baseball diamond. The two Tennessee Tech standouts have been named to the 2010 CoSIDA Academic All-District IV team. Henry, an education major from Knoxville who sports a 3.31 GPA, currently leads the Ohio Valley Conference with a 2.76 ERA, and is also first in the conference with the lowest opponent batting average. He is second in the OVC in strikeouts per game and is first in hits allowed and runs allowed per game. Henry is 3-3 with one complete game and has struck out 53 batters in 49 innings on the mound, walking just 25. Oberacker also boasts a 3.31 GPA while majoring in pre-physical therapy. He is a junior from Erie, Pa., and currently ranks second in the OVC in batting with a .437 average. He is first in the league in doubles and tied for first in hits.
Perfect in the field this year in 78 fielding chances, Oberacker leads Tech a with a gaudy .437 batting average. He also tops Tech in at bats (47), runs scored (47), hits (80), doubles (21) and triples (3). He is second on the team in RBI (48), on-base percentage (.498) and slugging (.634). He leads Tech on the base paths with 11 steals and also ranks as the team's toughest to strike out.

Fincher Votes In Favor Of Health Reform Bill

State Representative Henry Fincher of Cookeville says a bill he co-sponsored with Republican Representative Jon Lundberg of Kingsport, concerning health care insurance, has now passed in the state House on a unanimous vote. It mandates that anyone who is denied a health insurance claim has the right to have that claim reviewed by a unbiased panel, which would be independent of the health insurance company. Fincher says there are also specific deadlines contained within the law to get that process expedited. The State Senate is expected to vote on the bill Monday night. Meanwhile, Fincher was quoted in several publications around the state earlier this month when he spoke in favor of the so-called "Guns In Bars" bill. This quote was taken from Nashville Public Radio:

“When we draw imaginary lines on the ground and say, we trust you here, Handgun Carry Permit Carrier, but we don’t trust you there, Handgun Carry Permit Holder, we are doing nothing but creating a pleasing fiction. Gun-free zones are a fiction, Mr. Speaker. Columbine High School was a gun-free zone.”

You can see the full report here.

Final Prep Underway For CityScape Fund-Raiser

This year's annual Taste of the Town fund-raiser for the downtown CityScape organization will be held this Saturday, May 15th, from 7 to 9:30 at the home of Greg and Charlotte Suggs Nabors. Tickets are $60 dollars apiece. Toni Evans is the director of CityScape, and says Taste of the Town is "a great, great, great fun social event." She says it is essentially an outdoor garden party where 23 beverage and restaurant providers who bring out a "sampling of their best stuff." Evans says the theme this year is "fiesta," and says that she expects "a rockin' good time." For more information, call 528-4612.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

County Executive To Discuss Budget Issues

The Putnam County Board of Education is not the only group that's dealing with something of a budget crunch this year. Putnam County Executive Kim Blaylock will be speaking to the county's fiscal review committee Monday night about the budget situation. The main two sources of revenue for what's called the county general portion of the budget are sales taxes and property taxes. All across Tennessee, sales tax revenue has been below what was projected for this fiscal year, and officials have been working to deal with either program cuts or proposed new ways to raise revenue. Schools director Kathleen Airhart has been holding a series of public hearings about the school system budget and the potential shortfall there, if a tax increase is not approved, but many local officials say a tax hike is not likely in an election year.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Council Gives Final Approval To Rezoning

The Cookeville city council Thursday night gave final approval to the rezoning of property near McCulley Road and Springboro Road, but -- once again -- the vote was split 3-to-2. Council member Alma Anderson said she was against the idea two weeks ago and has not changed her position. Council member Ricky Shelton also voted against it. But Ryan Williams, who is the council's representative on the Cookeville planning commission, says that he has tried to reach some sort of consensus over the past couple of weeks between the residents in the area and the developer who asked for the rezoning. Williams says he was unable to get that consensus, but says -- from a planning standpoint -- he still thinks the rezoning is a good idea.

Putnam Habitat Offering New Program

The Putnam County chapter of Habitat for Humanity is promoting an effort that they hope will encourage local residents to donate to their ReStore Warehouse. Officials say "deconstruction" is a new program where licensed and insured Habitat deconstruction professionals and a team of volunteers travel to your home and remove reusable items. These items are taken to the ReStore Warehouse and sold. Money from sales in the ReStore Warehouse is used towards building homes. Habitat officials say this program is free and your donation is tax-deductible. For more details go to

Cookevillian Involved In Boy Scout Bible Project

Bobby Ross Jr., who writes a blog for the Christian Chronicle says Cookeville resident Steve Leddy is leading an effort to supply bibles to thousands of Boy Scouts who will be attending the organization's National Jamboree. As Boy Scouts of America celebrates its 100th anniversary, Members of Churches of Christ for Scouting plans what executive director Kent Barnett describes as a “dominant presence” at the jamboree, expected to draw 50,000 Scouts, leaders and staff. Leddy says the organization intends to distribute 10,000 Bibles to Scouts, mainly during worship services on Sunday, Aug. 1. Five Church of Christ worship services will be conducted simultaneously at strategic locations where the scouts, leaders and staff are camping.

CRMC Cancer Program Wins Award

The Cancer Program at Cookeville Regional Medical Center has been awarded the prestigious Outstanding Achievement Award by the Commission on Cancer of the American College of Surgeons. Officials say just 18% of hospitals surveyed in 2009 had received this award. The medical center’s Cancer Program was also recently awarded a three-year accreditation with commendation following the on-site evaluation by a physician surveyor who evaluates how well the overall cancer care program meets 36 standards. The Commission on Cancer is a consortium of professional organizations dedicated to improving survival rates and quality of life for cancer patients through standard-setting, prevention, research, education and monitoring of comprehensive, quality care. The Outstanding Achievement Award is granted to facilities like Cookeville Regional that demonstrate a commendation level of compliance with the standards. The Cancer Center at Cookeville Regional, located in the newly completed North Patient Tower, is now one of only two cancer treatment centers in Tennessee to offer Tomotherapy – one of the world’s most advanced cancer treatment systems that allows unparalleled precision in delivering radiation therapy, resulting in minimal damage to surrounding tissue. The Cancer Center is an affiliate of the Southwest Oncology Group, or S.W.O.G., via the University of Tennessee Health Care Systems. S.W.O.G. is one of the largest cancer clinical trials cooperative groups in the United States. Becoming an active member of this group allows the Center to offer many more clinical trials to patients in the Upper Cumberland region. For more information about the Cancer Center, visit the hospital website at

Former TTU Coach To Be In OVC Hall Of Fame

Former Tennessee Tech baseball coach David Mays is one of two people selected for induction this year into the Ohio Valley Conference Hall of Fame. The 2010 OVC Hall of Fame class will be recognized at the annual OVC Honors Luncheon on Friday, June 4, at the Renaissance Hotel in Nashville. The Ohio Valley Conference Hall of Fame was organized in 1977 with the intent of honoring the coaches, administrators, faculty and staff who have been associated with the OVC for at least five years and provided extensive and outstanding service to the Conference. With the induction of this year’s class the membership will reach 67, including 15 from Tennessee Tech.

“Coach Mays led the TTU baseball program in a first class manner through a quarter of a century, coming through some difficult and demanding times, and his team enjoyed many highlights,” said Mark Wilson, TTU Director of Athletics.“The team’s amazing work ethic was a reflection of his passion for success, on the field, in the classroom and in life,” Wilson added. “We are thrilled that he is being inducted into the OVC Hall of Fame. He is truly deserving of the honor.” In addition to all the victories, honors and awards that came from success on the field, there was one other ingredient that set David’s teams apart -- his student-athletes earned their degrees. In his 25 seasons as head coach, he saw nearly every single player accept his diploma and take his experiences as a student-athlete into a successful and rewarding life after baseball.

The support for the baseball program that Mays cultivated during his career as head coach included numerous major renovations, construction and improvement to the baseball facilities at Tech. Those included a new team clubhouse, stadium lights, new outfield fences, a new field irrigation system, and the installation of a press box.

After a successful high school coaching career Mays took over the Tech baseball program in 1974, guiding the Golden Eagles through the 1998 season. In those 25 seasons Mays compiled 554 victories, which ranks as the fourth most in OVC history. He owns more coaching wins in head-to-head competition than any other coach in Golden Eagle history.

Mays coached three All-Americans, six all-region selections, three OVC Players of the Year, one OVC Pitcher of the Year and 59 student-athletes who earned All-OVC distinction. His players also performed well in the classroom, as Mays coached three Academic All-Americans and three OVC Scholar-Athletes. Five of his players went on to earn induction into the Tennessee Tech Hall of Fame.Mays himself was inducted into the TTU Sports Hall of Fame in 2005.

Mays was named OVC Coach of the Year in 1986, 1988, 1993, 1996 and 1997 and led the Golden Eagles to a 39-23 record and OVC regular season and tournament championship in 1997, along with a victory over Ohio State in the NCAA Regional. In 1997 he was inducted into the East Tennessee baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame.

A native of Knoxville, Tenn., Mays was a four-year letterman at Carson-Newman College where he was a starter on the 1965 NAIA national championship team and captained the squad a year later. Mays is the 15th inductee from Tennessee Tech. Previous TTU coaches and administrators in the OVC Hall of Fame include Dr. Thurston Banks, Raymond “Bull” Brown, Dr. Everett Derryberry, Hooper Eblen, David Larimore, Marynell Meadors, Johnny Oldham, P.V. “Putty” Overall, Malcolm “Mutt” Quillen, Dr. Arliss Roaden, Wilburn Tucker, Angelo Volpe, Don Wade and Bill Worrell.

Career Fair Planned Later This Month

The Highlands Career Fair Committee is gearing up for the May 11 career fair for eighth grade students in Jackson, Overton, Putnam, and White county schools. The Highlands Career Fair will be held at Hooper Eblen Center on Tennessee Tech University campus from 9 a.m. until 2:30 p.m.. Seated from left is Sharon Kidd, White County Middle School; Lynda Breeden, Putnam County Adult Education; and Denette Kolbe, Burks Middle School. Standing from left is Angie Risley, Avery Trace Middle School; Julie Sliger, Cornerstone Middle School; Cindy Taylor, Avery Trace Middle School; Carolyn Fox, TTU Extended Programs and Regional Development; Marcy Milligan, Burks Middle School; Tracy Hughes, SunTrust Bank, Inc.; and Tim Martin, Algood Middle School.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

School Board To Consider Request For Playground

As the Putnam County Board of Education continues to discuss a proposed budget for the next fiscal year, they are being asked to also consider a request from Avery Trace Middle School for $25,000. The money would be used to purchase playground equipment. This fall, Avery Trace is converting from a 7th and 8th grade school to one that serves grades five through eight, and school officials say the playground equipment is necessary for the younger children who will be attending. Meanwhile, the board will consider approval of a revised budget that includes that most recent estimate from the state of Tennessee on how much state funding, known as BEP money, will be available to the schools next year. The board Thursday is also reviewing their discussion of zoning and talking about the input they got from a series of public meetings on the issue.

Sheriff's Department Arrests Mother and Daughter

The Putnam County sheriff's office has charged a 38-year-old woman with evading arrest after she allegedly hid in the upstairs portion of a house on Buck Mountain Road in an attempt to avoid being taken into custody on a felony drug selling charge out of Overton County. Corporal Jamie Greenwood says Donnita Mishell Pearson of Rickman was arrested after he found her hiding in the attic of her grandmother's home. Pearson's daughter, 18-year-old Holley Read was also in the home at the time and allegedly told officers that she was alone and that her mother wasn't there. She repeated the story even after being warned that she could be charged for lying to authorities. After Pearson was taken into custody, Read was also arrested for making a false report.

Light Agenda For Cookeville Council

It's a relatively light agenda for the Cookeville city council Thursday night as they meet to give final approval to a proposed re-zoning of property near McCulley Road and Springboro Road. After an extensive public hearing last month, the council passed that measure on a 3-to-2 in spite of vocal opposition from the neighborhood. Also tonight, the council will hold a public hearing on the six month progress report for the plan of services adopted when they annexed several properties in the Freehill Road area last year. And they'll set a date for a public hearing on the closure and abandonment of a portion of Mill Drive located adjacent to 1498 West Broad Street.

TTU Releases Fall Football Schedule

The Tennessee Tech football team returns to prime time this fall with a couple of Thursday night home games, will host five games in Tucker Stadium, and opens on the road against two major college opponents. Golden Eagle head coach Watson Brown says that while the end of the regular season features two major hurdles toward winning an OVC championship, the early portion of the slate could be the key to success.

"We’re going to have to be good early in the season to have a shot at playing for the championship late in the season," Brown said. "We have four goals at the start of the season," he said. "One is to have a winning record, two is to win all our home games, three is to win the state championship for the York Trophy, and four is to win the OVC. If we do those four things, we reach the playoffs. Last year we reached three of the four goals, so our window for improvement is very small," he said. "The only way this team can improve this year is to repeat those three and win the OVC championship."

Tech will host five games in Tucker Stadium, including two Thursday night contests early in the year. Four of the five home games are against OVC opponents, all of which have been among the league’s powers this decade. After kicking off the campaign with road games at Arkansas and TCU, the Golden Eagles open in Tucker Stadium on Thursday night, Sept. 16, by hosting Lane College from Jackson, Tenn., in a non-conference game.

"It’s our first home game and our kids always get excited about that," Brown said. "It’s a non-conference game, and we’ve been successful opening with non-conference opponents. We need to be ready to do that again, but it won’t be easy. It’s just four days after playing at TCU, so it will be a tough week for us. A tough week, but it will be exciting."

In week four, Tech opens OVC play with a road game at Southeast Missouri (Sept. 25).

"We’ve got to get through those early non-conference games and have our team ready to go when we get on the bus to SEMO," Brown said.

The Golden Eagles are back on Overall Field for their second Thursday night battle on Sept. 30, this time with UT Martin in an OVC clash. After two home games in September, Tech plays one at home in October before wrapping up with a pair of tough home games in November. Eastern Illinois visits for a game on Saturday, Oct. 16. Come November, the Golden Eagles could be lining up for an OVC title run when they host Eastern Kentucky and Jacksonville State for the final two regular season games. Defending league champ EKU visits on Saturday, Nov. 13, while Jacksonville State invades on Saturday, Nov. 20.

"If we’re not good early in the season, it will be real hard for us to be competing for the championship late," Brown said. "We hope we have a lot at stake when those two teams come to town."

Homecoming will be Saturday, Nov. 13, against Eastern Kentucky. Brown’s fourth season at the helm gets underway with a couple of tough tests as the Golden Eagles play at Arkansas (Sept. 4) and TCU (Sept. 11). The balance of the 2010 schedule finds Tech playing OVC road games at Austin Peay (Oct. 9), Tennessee State (Oct. 23) and Murray State (Nov. 6). The Golden Eagles have an open date on Oct. 30. Tech will also bid to defend its hold on the Sgt. York Trophy in 2010, after sweeping to victories against all three Tennessee OVC schools last season. In this year’s chase for the Sgt. York Trophy, Tech plays one game at home (UT Martin) and two on the road (Austin Peay and Tennessee State). The Golden Eagles closed the 2009 season with a 6-5 overall record and claimed second place in the Ohio Valley Conference with a 5-3 league record.
Season tickets are on sale for the five-game 2010 home schedule. Tickets can be ordered at the Athletic Ticket Office in Eblen Center or by calling (931) 372-3940.