Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Court Date Set For Alleged Robber

Cookeville police say a letter was apparently all it took for a robbery suspect to turn himself in this week.  Authorities had written the letter to 24-year-old Jeremy Juan Richardson of Birmingham, Alabama, advising him that they had a warrant for his arrest on file.  The letter suggested that it would be easier for Richardson to turn himself in than it would be for him to be chased down. Richardson apparently agreed and came to the Cookeville police department on Monday to answer the charges. He was booked at the county jail and later released on bond.  Authorities say he is the suspect in the robbery of the First Cash loan business on South Jefferson Avenue last year.  He was developed as a suspect because he reportedly left behind a receipt with his name on it.He'll be in court on the charges next month.

Grocery Clerk Accused Of Stealing From Customer

A January 3rd court date has been set for a Cookeville grocery store employee, accused of stealing a wallet from one of the store's customers.  Police say 27-year-old Brian Paul Sherman of South Walnut Avenue was charged after the incident on Monday night at the Food Lion store on West Jackson Street. According to police reports, a shopper accidentally left her wallet in a shopping cart after purchasing some groceries. She later returned to the store, but was unable to locate the wallet.  Police say it was video from the store's surveillance cameras that revealed Sherman apparently taking it, and they say he later allegedly admitted to the theft.  Police recovered the stolen wallet in a dumpster where he had discarded it.

Cookeville Police Invite Public Comment

Cookeville police chief Robert E. Terry announced today that a team of assessors from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc., (CALEA), will arrive December 4, 2010 to examine all aspects of the Cookeville Police Department's policy and procedures, management, operations, and support services. Verification by the team that the Cookeville Police Department meets the Commission's state-of-the-art standards is part of a voluntary process to gain accreditation-a highly prized recognition of law enforcement professional excellence, he said. As part of the on-site assessment, agency employees and members of the community are invited to offer comments at a public information session on December 6, 2010 at 7:00 p.m. within Cookeville City Hall, located at 45 E. Broad Street in Cookeville, Tennessee. If for some reason an individual cannot speak at the public information session but would still like to provide comments to the assessment team, he/she may do so by telephone. The public may call (931) 520-7863 on December 5, 2010 between the hours of 1:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.

Hospital To Implement New Safety Measure

In an effort to enhance hospital security, Cookeville Regional Medical Center will begin locking the main hospital entrance as of Tuesday, December 7, every evening from 9:00 p.m. until 5:00 a.m. Anyone needing to enter the facility between those hours may do so through the Emergency Room entrance.  Officials say it is common practice in hospitals to lock entrances and limit access to only one entrance during the night-time hours-and it is one that Cookeville Regional has considered for some time now.

“We are taking this step to provide a safer hospital for our patients as well as a safer work environment for our employees,” said Bernie Mattingly, CEO of Cookeville Regional. “We realize that the closed entrance at night may be an inconvenience for family members, especially at first until everyone becomes familiar with the change. However, we feel certain that everyone will appreciate the added safety and security for our patients, family members and staff.”

Visitors entering the hospital after 9:00 p.m. and before 5:00 a.m. will be asked to sign at the Emergency Room information desk.

“Security and life safety issues are among the most important considerations we have in operating a hospital,” added Mattingly. “And we are continually evaluating ways we can improve our operations to be the safest anywhere.”

Fan Appreciation Nights Set For Tech Basketball

Basketball fans in White County, are invited to take advantage of a special opportunity to watch Tennessee Tech basketball Wednesday night at a discounted price as part of White County fan appreciation night. And officials say that similar nights are planned for fans from Jackson, Overton and Putnam counties as well. Tech hosts White County Night for a set of games Wednesday night in which the men take on SIU Edwardsville and the women host Middle Tennessee State University.  Tickets for the games will be available for just one dollar each for residents of White County. Tip off for the men's game is 6 pm. This season marks the seventh consecutive year that the Tech Athletics Department is offering special discount nights to residents of those four counties.

Cookeville Prepares For FB Championship Games

No Putnam County teams are involved, but Cookeville will be the focus of the entire state, beginning Thursday afternoon as the state high school football championships are held at Tucker Stadium on the campus of Tennessee Tech.  Organizers say they expect an even higher attendance at the games this year than they got last year -- the first year that Cookeville had hosted the championships. Local residents can purchase tickets to the games for $12 apiece by calling Laura Canada at the Chamber of Commerce. Her number is 526-2211. There will also be a eight dollar parking fee for each day of the games. The first championship game will take place Thursday at 3:30, when Knoxville Webb will take on St. George's in the TSSAA's Division II Class A title game. The Division II Class AA game between Baylor and Ensworth will follow on Thursday at 7 p.m.  Then on Friday, Jo Byrns will play South Pittsburg in the Division 1 Class A championship game at noon followed by the Class 3A finale between Alcoa and Goodpasture at 3:30 p.m. and the Class 5A game between Hendersonville and Columbia at 7 p.m. On Saturday, the Class 2A championship game between Signal Mountain and Trinity Christian will kick off at noon with the Class 4A game between Trezevant High School in Memphis and Greeneville High School from upper East Tennessee taking place at 3:30 Saturday afternoon. The Class 6A championship game between Smyrna and Maryville will be the final game of the weekend. Officials say the games bring thousands of people and hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Cookeville area.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Drug Citations Issued After Traffic Stop

Cookeville police say two people were issued drug citations after a car drove around both a police car and a fire truck before stopping just before it would have come into contact with a downed power line.  It happened Saturday night on South Maple Avenue, where Officer Michael Herrick says he was blocking southbound traffic with his patrol car while crews worked on the power line.  He says he had his emergency lights activated and says that lights were also flashing from a Cookeville fire department truck on the scene. But he says 20-year-old Justin Eugene Pruitt of Cassville, Tennessee, drove around those emergency vehicles anyway.  That led to an investigation and a search of the vehicle Pruitt was driving.  Herrick claims he found a small bag of marijuana on the driver's side floorboard near the brake pedal. And says Pruitt did not have a license to drive.  Meanwhile, 22-year-old Katherine Marie Goude of Cookeville was issued citations for simple possesion of drugs and drug paraphernalia after Herrick allegedly found a marijuana pipe and a small amount of the drug in her purse.

TTU To Take On OVC Newcomer Wednesday

Wednesday evening will mark the first ever meeting between the Tennessee Tech men’s basketball team and the Cougars of SIU Edwardsville. The Cougars will travel to Cookeville for the second game of a double-header event with the Golden Eagle women’s team, at 6 p.m. Moving up from Division II, the Cougars became the newest member of the OVC effective this year, but will only compete as a conference participant in softball this year. They will be considered a conference opponent in all sports beginning in the fall of 2011. The Cougars come to Cookeville with three straight losses, two on the road to the University of Missouri-Kansas City and Iowa, and one against Morehead State. Their current record is 1-and-6. Tennessee Tech has only played three games thus far this season, due to a cancellation of their match-up against Appalachian State last Tuesday. They have losses to East Tennessee State, Michigan State, and North Carolina State.

Putnam County Jobless Rate Goes Up Again

Putnam County's unemployment rate was up slightly in October, according to the latest figures from the Tennessee Department of Labor.  The jobless rate here was 8.4 percent, up a tenth of a point from the 8.3 percent rate the month before. But officials say while there was no great improvement from month to month, the long term picture from 2009 to 2010 looks better.  Unemployment was standing at 9.5 percent in October of 2009, so it has decreased more than a full percentage point since then.  Around the region, the jobless rate in Overton County was 9.3 percent; it was 10.4 percent in Jackson County, and 11.4 percent in White County.  Tennessee’s unemployment rate for October was 9.4 percent, unchanged from the September rate. The national unemployment rate for October 2010 was 9.6 percent, also unchanged from the September rate.

Local Residents Fill More Than 15,000 Gift Boxes

More than 15,800 colorful shoe boxes filled with toys, school supplies, and other items were dropped off at churches and other facilities around Cookeville last week. It was National Collection Week for Operation Christmas Child, and the gift-filled shoe boxes are now in the process of being shipped to needy children around the world. But officials say that even though National Collection Week is over, it’s not too late to pack a shoe box. Operation Christmas Child has launched “Build A Box,” an online tool offering a personalized and convenient way to send Christmas gifts to even more children.

“One more shoe box means one more child—one more life that can have hope and joy this Christmas,” said Allison Mobley, the Mid-South regional manager for Operation Christmas Child. “The power of a simple shoe box gift is incredible.”

The “Build A Box” process is simple: At www.samaritanspurse.org/occ, donors select a child’s age and gender; shop through an online selection of toys, necessity items, and school supplies; and finish it off with a personalized note of encouragement. The gift boxes will be assembled by volunteers at Operation Christmas Child’s processing center in Charlotte, N.C. Through tracking technology, donors can "follow the box" to find out where it will be delivered.

Beat Generation Poet To Do Reading At TTU

American Beat poet Anne Waldman will offer a reading and lead a workshop at Tennessee Tech University as part of English instructor Andy Smith’s Living Writers Project. Waldman is the latest in a series of writers who have visited campus this year to speak to American literature students and the public. Waldman’s reading is set for 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 2, at the Backdoor Playhouse on campus. A reception for Waldman precedes the reading at 6 p.m. Local writer Rebecca Neel will open the show. On Friday, Dec. 3, Waldman leads a workshop in Henderson Hall, Room 318. You should contact Smith at 372-6371 to reserve a spot in the workshop. Smith said he met Waldman in 1991 when he studied at the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics housed at the Naropa University in Boulder, Colo. Waldman is artistic director of its celebrated summer writing program. The reading at Backdoor Playhouse is a Center Stage event that is free and open to the public. Center Stage program events use General Education funding to bring programs to campus that enhance student understanding of the arts. Waldman’s visit to campus also is made possible via funding from the Quality Enhancement Plan, a five-year university initiative to improve the quality of student learning.  At the end of the semester, Smith and the students will co-publish a book of original work alongside analysis and reflection about their experiences in the course.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Water Conservation In Cookeville To Be Discussed

Green Infrastructure and the Road to Resiliency is the topic of a meeting Monday night in Cookeville. Laura Ganus of the Cumberland River Compact is one of the organizers, and says the purpose of the meeting is to discuss water conservation, including what rain gardens and rain barrels can do for the community. The agenda also includes a look at Cookeville's effort to deal with stormwater drainage, and a discussion of new ideas for partnerships in the future.  The meeting will take place from 6 to 7:30 pm at the Leslie Town Center, located at 1 W. First Street.  For more information, you can call John Harwood at 372-3473.

Free Holiday Concert Set For Tuesday Night

The Brass Arts Quintet will present a free concert at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 30, at Tennessee Tech University, and organizers say the program features works celebrating the holiday season. The concert will be held in Wattenbarger Auditorium of the Bryan Fine Arts Building, at 1150 N. Dixie Ave. Works on tap include "Bugler's Holiday," "March of the Toys," "Overture to the Nutcracker," and for those who aren't fans of the holidays in general, "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch."

Several Local Criminal Court Cases Settled

The most recent session of Putnam County criminal court has seen several cases settled, including a case in which pre-trial diversion was granted to a man who sent sexually explicit text messages to someone he believed to be a juvenile girl. 35-year-old Sammy Ray Stout of Pippin Road must also perform 100 hours of community service. Meanwhile, in a separate case, 45-year-old Rodney Lynn Kirby was given a four-year prison sentence on a conviction of conspiracy to commit robbery. His accomplice, 26-year-old Michelle Nichole Stewart, was given four years probation, and could have her record cleared if she stays out of trouble.  In another case, 46-year-old Sherry Bryant was given two years probation after pleading guilty to one count of illegal voting.  Officials agreed to drop four other counts against her in return for the guilty plea. And a ten-year prison sentence was given to 31-year-old Derrick Helms of Baxter, who pleaded guilty to initiation of the manufacture of meth.

Court Date Set For Alleged Burglars

A December 13th court date has been set for three local residents accused of breaking into a home on Essex Road. Police say the owner of the home was a witness to the incident and had the three on the ground at gunpoint when police arrived on the scene. According to police reports, the owner of the home currently lives nearby and says it had been broken into on two previous occasions when he noticed a vehicle driving slowly by the residence last week.  He claims that the vehicle parked about a hundred yards from the house and he saw three people get out and run up to the residence.  The victim says he hid behind a tree and watched as one of them broke into the house.  That's when he stepped out and ordered them to the ground.  The suspects were identified as 19-year-old Dustin Michael Hembree of Cookeville, 33-year-old Tony Richard Winnett of Sparta, and 41-year-old Virginia Dayle Triplett of Cookeville.  Police say they gave conflicting statements, but claim to have had permission to be in the house.

TTU Basketball Team Loses At Michigan State

Zach Bailey and Kevin Murphy scored 11 points each for Tennessee Tech in a losing effort Sunday afternoon as the Golden Eagles dropped a 73 to 55 decision at number-two ranked Michigan State. Tech is now 0-and-3 on the season, but they have yet to play a home game.  Their home opener last week was canceled when visiting Appalachian State failed to supply officials for the game. Tech will try again to play a home game Wednesday night against SIU-Edwardsville. Tech coach Mike Sutton said, "(The) game was a little sloppy. I don't think you saw either team play its best basketball, but I am certainly proud of our kids for how hard they fought. For us it tells us what you have to do to be playing in March."

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Sparta Man Says Drugs Belong To His Parents

Drug charges are pending against a Sparta man, who allegedly created a disturbance at a Cookeville convenience store this week. Police say they responded to the call at the Kangaroo Mart on East Spring Street Monday afternoon to find 21-year-old Bradley Howard Roberts of HIckory Valley Road sitting in a vehicle outside the store.  Roberts allegedly created a disturbance with store clerks because a pre-paid credit card that he had purchased at the store would not activate.  Police asked permission to search his vehicle, but Roberts refused, so officers called in a K-9, which they say "indicated" on the vehicle and gave them probable cause to search it without Roberts' consent.  They say that search turned up a cloth bag underneath the driver's side seat that contained cocaine and other drugs.  When asked about the drugs, Roberts allegedly told officers that they belonged to his parents. But he was taken into custody on drug charges and the nearly $500 in cash he had on him was seized as well.

Stolen Car Reovered By Private Citizen

Cookeville police say a car stolen when the owner left her key underneath the driver's seat and the doors unlocked has now been recovered after one of her acquaintances saw the vehicle travelling down Willow Avenue early one morning.  The man told police that when he saw the stolen 2000 model Dodge Neon, he jumped into his girlfriend's car and started following. But he says the people in the car apparently realized that they were being followed and abandoned the vehicle at the intersection of 18th Street and Missouri Avenue, fleeing the scene on foot.  According to the police report, the suspects were able to make off with a purse from the vehicle, and the victim says the purse contained more than $200 in cash, several prescription medications, and various ID cards. Police say the car was returned to its owner, but say they were unable to gather any physical evidence from it because the man who chased down the vehicle then got into it and pulled it out of the road -- thereby contaminating the scene.

News From Cookeville Regional Medical Center

Mitchell Stonecipher, RN has recently been announced as the new director of the Cardiac Catheterization and Electrophysiology Labs at Cookeville Regional.  Stonecipher is a Registered Nurse who has been with Cookeville Regional for 21 years with 16 of those years being in the cardiac catheterization labs. For the past two years has Stonecipher has served as Clinical Coordinator and most recently as Interim Director of the Cardiac Catheterization and Electrophysiology Labs. Stonecipher obtained his nursing degree from Western Kentucky University. The Cardiac Catheterization and Electrophysiology Labs are departments within the The Heart and Vascular Center at Cookeville Regional.

Meanwhile,  the Cookeville Crazy Quilter’s group recently made a donation of baby quilts to The Birthing Center at Cookeville Regional. The group donated 16 quilts in a variety of colors to be distributed to new mothers in need.

“This is a wonderful donation that we greatly appreciate,” says Lynn Walker, RN and Clinical Coordinator of The Birthing Center. “When new mothers come in to deliver, it is really nice to be able to offer them assistance with items they can take home to care for the new baby if they need it.”

Delivering close to 1,600 babies per year, The Birthing Center focuses on patient needs by providing private rooms with home-like atmospheres. Recently, the Center underwent an expansion and now offers 12 private, labor-delivery-recovery rooms and a 32 –bed well baby nursery along with a six- bed intermediate nursery for infants needing more specialized care.  Natural childbirth options are also available and a lactation consultant is available for new mothers who wish to breastfeed.  Classes are available including prenatal, childbirth and infant care.  For information about these classes, call the Education Center at Cookeville Regional at 931-783-2039. For more information about The Birthing Center, call (931) 783-2296.

Rescue Mission Plans Thanksgiving Meal

The Cookeville Rescue Mission will hold their annual Thanksgiving day dinner on Thursday, Nov. 25, from 11 am  to 1 pm. The meal will be provided and served by volunteers at the mission's Lighthouse Family Lodge on South Jefferson Avenue. Mission director Larry Self says the food is available to anyone who wants to come by, whether they are homeless or not. Carryout or transportation for shut-ins will also be available if the request is received in time. For more information, call 528-5819.

Local Kidnap Suspect Arrested In Mississippi

The Putnam County sheriff's department has now arrested a woman wanted in connection with a case in October in which an Algood man is accused of kidnapping his mother.  Police say that Jeffrey Bryant had beaten his mother in her home and that "when she attempted to leave, he grabbed her by the hair of the head, dragged her back into the house, and tied her up with an electric cord."  They say he and his girlfriend, Brandi Leigh Bryant, later drove the woman against her will to a hospital in Madison, Tennessee, where they dropped her off.  Bryant was later arrested in Union County, Tennessee, on unrelated charges, but authorities had been looking for Brandi Bryant until she, too, was arrested -- in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.  Deputy Patrick Storie with the U.S. Marshal's Task Force went to Mississippi and returned her to Cookeville, where she appeared in court on Monday.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Couple Accused Of Stealing Cart Full Of Groceries

Charges of shoplifting and public intoxication are pending against two Cookeville residents who allegedly ran out the front of the Kroger store with a shopping cart full of groceries that they hadn't paid for.  It happened just after midnight when store security officers told police that a white male and white female subject had loaded up a cart with more than $200 worth of assorted groceries and then ran out the front door while pushing the cart.  They reportedly fled the area on foot, but were later captured and returned to the store, where they were identified by employees.  Police identified them as 31-year-old Christina Lynn Ethridge of Washington Avenue and 30-year-old Ronnie Dale Whitener of Lowe Avenue. They say both had red, watery eyes and an odor of alcohol on them.

Sheriff's Department Investigating Suspicious Fire

Investigators with the Putnam County sheriff's department are investigating a suspicious fire that destroyed a trailer home on Dyer Creek Road over the weekend.  Authorities say they noticed that someone had broken into the plastic placed over the electric meter at the home, but they're not sure whether the fire was electrical in nature.  They say it could have been a chemical fire because they have reason to believe that someone may have been involved in the manufacture of methamphetamine at the location.  Investigator Silas Golden also took a sample of a liquid from a gasoline container found in the front yard of the mobile home and interviewed several people at the scene.  No charges have yet been brought in the case. Meanwhile, authorities say charges may also be brought in a separate case in which a fire was caused over the weekend. This time, the suspects are several juveniles who were seen shooting a bottle rocket into a field on Cumby Road, causing it to catch on fire.  Deputy Jeremy Nash says he drove around the area looking for the suspects' vehicle, but did not find it.

Court Date Set For Alleged Meth Cooks

Two people will be in court on December 13th after being charged with the manufacture of methamphetamine.  Cookeville police arrested 22-year-old Dustin Shane Wright of Cookeville and 19-year-old Donald Gene Strunk of Jamestown after allegedly finding the ingredients commonly used to make meth in two vehicles that were parked outside of a home on Big Springs Circle.  Authorities say they had been called to the residence to investigate a vandalism complaint. Among the items they discovered were pyrex dishes, plastic tubing, Drano, batteries, and some finished clear liquid product. 

THP Investigating Fatal Putnam County Crash

The Tennessee Highway Patrol says they are continuing to investigate a fatal crash over the weekend that claimed the life of a Gainesboro man.  Authorities say 43-year-old Kelly R. Spurlock was killed in a wreck at the intersection of Ditty Road and Mine Lick Creek Road Sunday afternoon. Spurlock was a passeanger in a car that allegedly ran a stop sign at that intersection. The THP says neither he, nor anyone else in the car were wearing seat belts -- and says all of the passengers were ejected from the vehicle after it was broadsided and crashed into a utility pole. A total of nine people in both vehicles were injured, according to authorities. Meanwhile, in a separate incident, authorities in Kentucky say a Cookeville woman was seriously injured in a wreck on Highway 31-W.  Darlya Goad was a passenger in a vehicle that caught fire after being involved in a head-on crash.

TN Senate May Decide Steakley Election Challenge

Republican State senate candidate Gary Steakley has now filed an official "contest of election" in the race that he lost to incumbent Charlotte Burks earlier this month. The contest was filed with the clerk of the Tennessee State Senate under a section of state law which states that "contests for the office of senator in the general assembly are decided by the senate, and contests for the office of representative in the general assembly are decided by the house of representatives." In paperwork filed in connection with the case, Steakley contends that voting machines were tampered with and that the tampering would have affected the outcome of the race, which he lost by less than 200 votes.  Election officials have already certified the results and say the numbers are accurate.  Steakley is asking that the state Senate declare him the winner of the race, or -- in the alternative -- order another election to be held. The new General Assembly will not be sworn in until January, and it's unclear if Steakley wants the current membership or the new membership to take up the issue.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Sheriff Offers Familiar Holiday Advice

As Cookeville-area residents begin what for many will be a short holiday week, Putnam County sheriff David Andrews is offering some holiday advice.

"I know they hear this every year, but if you're going to drink, don't drive," said Andrews. "It just takes a second to hurt somebody and it stays with you forever, so we suggest that you just don't drive and don't have that problem."

The sheriff also says that the department has seen an increase in the number of vehicle burglaries lately -- a trend he says is unlikely to go down during the holidays. He suggests that shoppers lock any valuables in the trunk of the vehicle and also says to be vigilant in your home as well when it comes to the placement of Christmas presents in plain view of someone who may be tempted to steal them.

Planners To Discuss Liquor Store Locations

The Cookeville Planning Commission faces a lengthy agenda as they meet Monday night. Among other items, the planners will discuss how to amend the city's zoning code  as it relates to package liquor store locations. Voters in Cookeville approved the establishment of package liquor stores earlier this month, but the city does not currently have anything in its zoning code to address the issue. City planner James Mills says that the planning commission probably needs to determine which commercial zones in the city would be appropriate for such stores. One proposal would allow the stores in all commercial zones except for the central business district, as long as they were on a major street. 

Auditions Scheduled For New "Backstage" Play

Open auditions for DOUBT, A Parable by John Patrick Shanley will be held Monday and Tuesday, November 22 & 23 at 6:30 p.m. at the Cookeville Performing Arts Center located at 10 East Broad Street Cookeville. The production will be directed by Kathleen Gilpatrick. Production dates are: February 4, 5, 8, 10.11 & 12, 2011 at 7:30 p.m. Gilpatrick says rehearsals will begin January 3rd. Parts are available for three women and one man.  Auditions will consist of cold readings from the script. Backstage at CPAC formerly known as Drama Center Backstage is celebrating its 18th year and Doubt will serve as the next to the last production of the season. For more information or if you are interested in auditioning and unavailable on the scheduled dates contact: Kathleen Gilpatrick at 858-1611

Local Hospital First In State With "Vein Viewer"

Cookeville Regional Medical Center is the first hospital in the state of Tennessee to use a new state-of-the-art technology that helps healthcare providers to see the veins and vessels below the surface of the skin, making the need to access a blood vein a less stressful event, especially for patients who have small veins and limited access points. Officials say the equipment allows Cookeville Regional to join the ranks of other prestigious health care facilities investing in this technology, including M.D. Anderson, Cleveland Clinic, Johns Hopkins Hospital and the Mayo Foundation.  This new piece of equipment, called VeinViewer, provides medical professionals with a way to be able to see the patient’s veins, making it easier on both the clinician and the patient when performing IV insertion, routine blood sampling and PICC line insertion. Traditionally health care providers rely on their ability to see and feel when they locate veins for such procedures.  Using near-infrared light projected onto the patient’s skin, the device uses a digital video camera and an image processing unit to build a real time image that is painlessly projected onto the patient’s skin, showing a visual roadmap to the patient’s vessels. Using this image, clinicians are then able to easily locate the vein. The process is safe and uses no radiation in creating the image. Although this device can be used on any patient, it will typically be used at Cookeville Regional in the Surgery and Same Day Care Units as well as in special situations when a patient’s vein access is difficult.

Research Award Given At Tennessee Tech

Excellence and longevity on an international stage earned Tennessee Tech University physics professor Sakir Ayik the university's 2010 Caplenor Faculty Research Award. The award, first presented in 1984, is the university's premier research award and is named in honor of Donald Caplenor, former associate vice president for research and dean of instructional development who died in 1979. Since joining Tennessee Tech's physics department 25 years ago, Ayik's research program in theoretical nuclear physics has contributed greatly to the understanding of the processes that occur when atomic nuclei collide with each other in particle accelerators. He has focused on developing models that help in understanding how the small fluctuations inherent in such a situation can lead to a broader distribution of outcomes.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Orthopedic Surgeon Joins Cookeville Regional

Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. Philip Elizondo has joined the staff at Cookeville Regional Medical Center. Dr. Elizondo joins Drs. Carl Hollmann, James McKinney, Greg Roberts, and John Turnbull at Upper Cumberland Orthopedics.  Dr. Elizondo received his medical degree from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. He completed his orthopedic surgery residency at Wilford Hall USAF Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas and John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth, Texas He is Board Certified in Orthopedic Surgery and is a Diplomate of the American Board of Orthopedic Surgery.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

New COO Named At Cookeville Regional

Cookeville Regional is pleased to welcome new Chief Operating Officer Menachem Langer, M.D., MBA to the senior management team. Dr. Langer was most recently employed at St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital in New York City as Executive Director of Hospital Operations. Dr. Langer completed his medical degree from the Poznan University of Medical Sciences American Program, which included clinical rotations at the University of Minnesota, University of Tennessee and University Hospitals of Columbia University. After completing his medical degree he attended the University of Tennessee in Knoxville where he earned his MBA degree.

Attempted Murder Suspect Caught In Cookeville

Cookeville was once again the location Wednesday of the arrest of a fugitive wanted in another county. According to the Gallatin News-Examiner, 18-year-old Steven Searcy, was located in Cookeville Wednesday and was being held on a $10,000 bond at the Putnam County Jail on unrelated charges. He and another man have been charged with attempted murder in connection with what police determined was a gang-related shooting in Gallatin last week. In addition to attempted murder, both men have been charged with especially aggravated kidnapping and reckless endangerment.

Cookeville Police To Step Up Enforcement

Cookeville police chief Bob Terry says drunk driving, speeding, and failure to wear seatbelts have become a deadly combination in Cookeville this year, and also says fatalities are up statewide. He says that while not all of those have been alcohol or speed related, many of them could have been prevented by simply buckling a seatbelt. That's why the Cookeville Police Department announced today they will be joining with the Governor’s Highway Safety Office, Tennessee Highway Patrol, and other agencies across the county this holiday season to ensure motorists reach their destinations safely.

“Our message is simple. Always wear your seatbelt, drive the speed limit and don’t drink and drive” said  Terry. “If motorists will take just a moment and think about these things before they get behind the wheel of a car, there would be less injuries and fatalities should a crash occur.”

Driving without a seatbelt is illegal in Tennessee. Driving with a BAC of .08 or higher is illegal in every state. And although fatalities were at a record low last year across the state, this year has proved to be different. Statewide fatalities are up by 53.

“Drunk driving is simply not worth the risk. Not only do you risk killing yourself or someone else, but the trauma and financial costs of a crash or an arrest for impaired driving can be significant,” said Chief Terry. “Violators often face jail time, the loss of their driver’s license, higher insurance rates, attorney fees, time away from work, and dozens of other expenses."

The Cookeville Police Department in conjunction with the Tennessee Highway Patrol, Governor’s Highway Safety Office, and other law enforcement agencies is planning some high visibility patrols in problem areas throughout the city over the holiday period. And Terry says the Department is urging everyone to buckle up and drive smart and enjoy the holidays.

Two Forgers Indicted In Separate Cases

Two Putnam County residents have been indicted on forgery charges -- in separate cases. Authorities say 50-year-old Hollis Dwayne Ramsey of Mountain View Drive will be in court next month on charges of forgery, burglary and theft.  He is accused of breaking into a car back in April, stealing a purse, and then forging the victim's name to steal nearly three hundred dollars from her.  Meanwhile, 33-year-old Diane Christine Cronk of Henley Road was indicted on 14 counts of forgery. Authorities claim she forged that many checks on a relative's bank account.  Cronk had also been arrested in September of this year for allegedly stealing a check from a co-worker.

Internet Crime Unit Nets Another Arrest

The Internet Crimes Against Children task force of the Cookeville Police Department continues to use undercover investigations to catch would-be sexual predators. Police says the latest case involves a Dickson County man who allegedly sent sexually explicit images over the Internet to a person he thought was a minor.  51-year-old Darren Thomas Maddy of White Bluff, Tennessee, was indicted on charges of electronic exploitation of a minor and solicitation of a minor. Police claim he solicited sexual contact from a law enforcement officer who was posing online as a minor. He'll be in court on the charges November 29th.

New Sales Tax Numbers Show Improvement

Cookeville mayor Matt Swallows says that sales tax collection numbers, released Thursday, show an improvement over last year and says he's hopeful that the numbers will continue to reflect positive growth rather than shrinking as they were during the worst of the economic downturn.  He says the numbers are up 5.2 percent this past month, compared to the same month in 2009, and says "that's always a good thing to see."  Council member Alma Anderson added that local residents can do their part to make sure the sales tax numbers stay on the positive side by shopping locally, especially she says on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving when many local retailers will be having special sales.

Council OKs Hiring Firm For Bond Issue

The Cookeville city council Thursday night approved a resolution that would allow the city to explore the option of issuing what are called Build America Bonds. City finance director Mike Davidson says the federal government came out with the program in 2009, one year after a previous council OK'd the issuance of $7.2 million dollars in debt to pay for the infrastructure for the HIghlands Business Park.  He says the resolution will allow the city and its  financial advisor-- Stevens, Incorporated -- to get the best deal on an interest rate when the bonds are put on the open market.  The council also OK'd a contract with Stevens, Incorporated, Thursday night. Davidson says the company will be advising both the city and the county on the bond issue because the county will also be issuing $7.2 million in debt.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Scam Doesn't Fool Putnam County Woman

Authorities say a Putnam County woman did the right thing when she was called by someone claiming to be from Publishers Clearinghouse. The caller said he would give the woman a million dollar check -- if she would write him a check for a thousand dollars. She said no thanks. Authorities say it was, indeed, a scam because you don't have to pay money to win a legitimate prize.

Michigan Man Accused Of Vandalizing Motel

A man, who reportedly became agitated about being denied a room at a Cookeville motel, has now been charged with vandalism -- after he allegedly swung a piece of wood at the motel's glass door, shattering it.  It happened Monday night at the Knight's Inn motel on Salem Road.  According to a report by Officer Adrienne Lintz, 39-year-old Alan Dale McBride of Plainwell, Michigan, had showed up, attempting to rent a room.  But, because he had no ID, a motel clerk refused to rent to him.  The clerk says McBride became agitated and remained in the parking lot. He then grabbed a piece of wood and began walking back toward the front lobby.  That's when the employee locked the front door.  The report says McBride was upset about being locked out and swung the piece of wood at the door, causing the entire door to shatter from the ceiling to the floor. He then reportedly sat down on the curb to wait for the police. He had asked for the police to be called because he thought he was having a heart attack or a stroke. The report says McBride was transported to the ER for an evaluation as the vandalism warrant was obtained on him.

Electricity Theft Reported By Local Utility

Employees of the Upper Cumberland Electric Membership Cooperative called the sheriff's department this week when they found a situation in which a Putnam County man was apparently stealing electricity.  It happened at a trailer on Bob Gentry Road.  Authorities say there was a utility pole behind the trailer, but no meter was attached, and they say someone had used a red wire to bypass the system and supply power to the trailer without paying for it.  Further investigation led authorities to develop a suspect in the case, who told deputies that he was laying pipe on Hilham Road.  But when authorities went to question him, he was nowhere to be found. They say the 26-year-old man also has two active warrants pending for failing to appear in criminal court on other charges.

Man Accuses Girlfriend Of Stealing

The Putnam County sheriff's department is looking into a report in which a man says his girlfriend stole more than two thousand dollars from him over a period of about two years. He told investigators that she had admitted to the stealing, but says "he thought she would change."  He told authorities that he first noticed two jars of quarters missing from his home.  Then, some old bills went missing -- including a one dollar bill, a two dollar bill, a five, a ten, a twenty and a one hundred dollar bill. Then, the victim says, his girlfriend took a roll of new dollar coins, worth $25, and also stole about $800 worth of silver dollars from him.  Authorities say they are not sure why he gave her access to his debit card this week, allowing her to make several withdrawals -- totalling $1,680 -- before he finally called police. Investigation of the case is continuing.

Brief Agenda For City Council Meeting

The Cookeville city council has a brief agenda as they meet in regular session Thursday night.  The council will mostly be discussing the Highlands Business Park, a more than 300-acre development south of I-40, whose cost is being shared by the city of Cookeville and Putnam County. The city is scheduled to open bids today from companies who have expressed interest in extending roads, utilities and other pieces of infrastructure into the park.  Council members will be talking about whether they want to pay for the cost of development through a new kind of bond issue -- one that city officials say could save them nearly $200,000 in interest over about twenty years.

Santa's Workshop Set For This Weekend

The 33rd Annual Santa's Workshop, presented by the GFWC Cookeville Junior Woman's Club will begin on Friday.  The event this year is being held from November 19th through the 21st at the Hyder Burks Ag Pavilion on Gainesboro Grade. The hours on Friday are 9 am to 8 pm. On Saturday, the doors will be open from 9 am to 7 pm. And the Sunday hours are 1 to 5 pm. Admission is two dollars per person, with children ages 12 and under admitted free. Organizers say all proceeds from the event are donated back to the community. They expect to have more than 100 booths from vendors selling gifts, crafts, and decorations. There will also be a silent auction, music and an appearance by Santa Claus.

Meanwhile, Tennessee Tech's University's Visual Art Society, a student art organization, will be presenting its annual Holiday Art and Fine Craft Sale in the Joan Derryberry Art Gallery in TTU's Roaden University Center on Thursday and Friday, December 2nd and 3rd, from 9 am to 5 pm. You can show your support for emerging artists at TTU as you shop a wide variety of one-of-a-kind handmade works crafted by the students.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Republican Party Chair Coming To Cookeville

Tennessee Republican Party Chairman Chris Devaney will continue a two-week tour on Wednesday, with plans to be in Cookeville as part of his effort to meet with newly-elected Republican members of the General Assembly. Devaney has scheduled a meet and greet with Representative-Elect Ryan Williams at 5 pm at the offices of J & S Construction on Foreman Drive, off South Willow Avenue. Williams works for J & S. In addition, Devaney says he will be meeting with grassroots leaders about ways in which to enhance party outreach in Tennessee and to receive feedback about the best ways to move the Republican party forward in the coming months and years.

Cookeville Makes Bid For Basketball Playoffs

They already have the state football championship. Now, the city of Cookeville -- in cooperation with the Chamber of Commerce -- is going after the state high school basketball championships. The Board of Control for the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association, or TSSAA, is meeting on Thursday to consider the Division I State Basketball Championships Bid Process and to receive an update on what's happened so far. The TSSAA says that the cities of Chattanooga, Knoxville, Memphis, Murfreesboro, and Cookeville have all expressed interest in hosting the Championships in 2012 and 2013. Bid packages were sent to each of the interested cities, and staff members will update the Board on the information contained in the package, the selection process, site visits, and the Board Selection Committee meeting.

Three Local Residents Charged With Theft

Three Putnam County residents have been charged with theft and trespassing after the owner of a local tow truck operation caught one of them scaling the fence at his business. The sheriff's department says 27-year-old Ryan Heath Flatt of Old Baxter Road was apprehended by Donnie Burgess, owner of Donnie's Towing in Baxter, after Burgess went to check on his business and allegedly saw Flatt.  Flatt initially told deputies that he had run out of gas, but later allegedly admitted to stealing an aluminum wheel.  A search of his truck also turned up several vehicle parts, including two brake hubs, two power steering hubs, and the front end for a John Deere skidder.  Further investigation led police to also charge two brothers -- Shone and Daniel Frazier of Byers Road -- with theft and trespassing.

Another "First" For Tennessee Tech

Nigerian grad student Chi Chi Mbachu
The first female graduate student from Africa to receive a master's of science degree in chemical engineering at TTU plans to graduate this December. Chinyere Mbachu has been studying biotechnology and energy, as well as environmental and engineering education. She says that she chose to pursue chemical engineering "with an environmental option focused on using pulsed corona discharges to degrade contaminants from drinking water." In other words, taking pollutants out of the drinking water in areas where the lack of potable water threatens health and lives, including her native land of Nigeria or in areas such as the Gulf of Mexico. She has received several awards, but says the awards pale in comparison to the rewards she anticipates experiencing by returning to Nigeria to teach at a university and bringing awareness to women.

"Because women are most often directed to study education, law or business, they don't understand the implication of environmental pollution," she said.  "In this highly populated rural area, we need to create awareness about sustainable solutions to these issues. My main goal is to use my education and position to teach and motivate young women. I want to develop leadership seminars and make women aware of the ways they can empower themselves through engineering education."

New Therapy Offered At Cookeville Regional

Dr. Mark Wathen
The Heart and Vascular Center at Cookeville Regional now offers something called cryoablation therapy to help patients suffering from irregular heart rhythms. Unlike traditional ablation treatments that use radiofrequency, or heat, to destroy faulty electrical circuits in the heart, cryoablation freezes or removes heat from the cells, giving physicians the flexibility to freeze the tissue that is interrupting the heart’s normal rhythm or very accurately pinpoint and ablate problematic tissue.

“The value of the new cryoablation technology over existing ablation methods is that by adhering to heart tissue in very targeted areas, it allows physicians to accurately pinpoint the dysfunctional cells while preserving nearby tissue,” said Dr. Mark Wathen, CRMC cardiologist and specialist in electrophysiology/heart arrhythmias. “With this minimally invasive procedure, patients benefit from the assurance that their heart will be restored to a normal rhythm and they will be able to resume normal activity within a week.”

Thousands of Americans suffer from right atrial heart arrhythmias, which can impair quality of life and cause other life-threatening conditions, including heart attack and stroke. Initial symptoms of arrhythmia can include racing heart, palpitations, dizziness and weakness. Patients who experience such symptoms should see their physician. After a full evaluation and diagnosis, Dr. Wathen can perform cryoablation on an outpatient basis. Patients are lightly sedated while the physician threads a thin catheter through a vein in the groin, and up to the heart. The physician then uses the catheter to create focal lesions, identify and ablate problematic tissue with precision and accuracy. After the procedure, patients are usually able to return home the same day and resume normal activities within one week.

Since 1994 The Heart and Vascular Center at Cookeville Regional has provided much needed cardiac and vascular services in the Upper Cumberland. Since its opening, the Center has grown and expanded to include not only comprehensive diagnostic tests and treatments but also interventional procedures such as angioplasty, stent placement, pacemakers, electrophysiology and arrhythmia procedures, implantable cardioverter defibrillator implantation and cardiothoracic surgery (including beating heart, minimally invasive heart surgeries as well as heart valve repair and replacement). Some of the most common vascular conditions treated are aortic aneurysm, carotid artery disease and peripheral artery disease.

Monday, November 15, 2010

MADD Candlelight Vigil Planned For Sunday

The Upper Cumberland chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving is once again teaming up with the District Attorney's office to hold the 18th annual Candlelight Vigil of Remembrance and Hope this weekend.  The program will be held at the Wesley Arena Theatre, located at 271 E. 9th St. in Cookeville. It is scheduled to begin at three o'clock on Sunday afternoon. Organizers say the victims or families of people affected by drunk drivers are invited to take part, as are the family members of homicide victims.  MADD president Norris Skelley says the event is intended to "pay tribute to lives changed or lost in sudden tragic occurrences."  Participants are urged to bring a framed photo of their loved one to share during the program.  The speakers this year will include Phyllis Rector, who lost her son, Jody, in an alcohol-related crash in Putnam County.  Randy Wilder, who had a sister murdered, will also speak at the event. For more information, you can call Skelley at 261-4168.

Monterey Woman Facing Child Neglect Charge

A Monterey woman will be in court next Monday on charges of child abuse and neglect after her two year old son was reportedly found wandering in the street several times, and was also found to be in possession of a hunting knife.  Police say they brought the charges against 23-year-old Jessica Louise Binkley after investigating reports at her home on Lewis Avenue.  They say one witness told them that he had picked up the child on four occasions after finding it walking down the street.  Officer Larry Bates alleges that when he went to the Binkley home to conduct a further investigation, he found the child with the knife and says that Binkley was "passed out on the bed."  Three children were reportedly removed from the home and the Department of Childrens Services is investigating.

Abandoned Vehicle Report Leads To Arrests

Cookeville police say a report of an abandoned vehicle led them to the arrest of two men, wanted on outstanding warrants in Putnam County. But they say the men denied any knowledge of the car that they may have abandoned.  It happened on Neal Street near Old Walton Road when someone called the police department to say that three people wearing hoodie-type sweatshirts had left the 2000 model Chevy Cavalier in the middle of the road and took off running.  Officer Mitch Harrington says he saw the subjects in the area of the Herald-Citizen, but says they apparently hid as he approached the scene.  A few moments later, he spotted 29-year-old Jerrah McKinzie Vincent and 29-year-old Wilmoth Earl Denson, both of Cookeville, walking in the area -- and wearing hoodies. Harrington says both subjects had warrants on them out of Putnam County, so he took them to the jail. At the time of the report, he was still trying to contact the owner of the vehicle, which was towed from the scene.

Election Commission Certifies Results

The Putnam County Election Commission voted Monday to certify the results of the November 2nd election, after canvassing every machine that was used in that election and verifying that the numbers on the machines matched those on the tally tapes from election night. They found no discrepancies. Officials reminded any candidates who wished to challenge the election that they have five days from the date of certification to file such a challenge. And, because of some controversy over seals that were improperly cut from some of the machines, the certification process and the handling of the machines was recorded on video. Election Commission chairman Terry Herrin also said that the commission next month may consider adding a video camera in the vault where the machines are locked up to keep a record of who does or does not have access to them. Herrin also said the commission will look at the cost of adding video surveillance cameras to the outside of the building for security purposes.

STEM Center Hosts Cookeville Film Premier

The Cookeville premiere of "TREE SAFARI: The Koa Connection," a documentary co-produced by Todd Jarrell and WCTE-TV, will debut at the Millard Oakley STEM Center on the Tennessee Tech University campus on Tuesday, Nov. 23, at 5:30 p.m.  Combining art and eco-travel, TREE SAFARI: The Koa Connection, focuses on Cookeville's own world-class wood artist Brad Sells and the search for exotic woods for his unique sculptures. The film will be distributed nationally by American Public Television. Filmed on location in Tennessee, Hawaii and New York City, the half-hour program follows Sells from his studio in Cookeville to the forested volcanic slopes of Hawaii in a quest for koa wood, revered for its density, tone and color. This is the second Tree Safari film by local, award-winning producer Todd Jarrell. The first documentary in the series, TREE SAFARI: A Sculptural Journey, followed Sells as he traveled to South Africa in search of pink ivory trees. The film was distributed nationally on PBS and won both the "Telly" and "Aurora" awards. Both Jarrell and Sells will be on hand to answer questions at the STEM Center premiere. The STEM Center is located at 155 West 7th St., on the corner of 7th and Stadium Drive. While the event is free, reservations are required. For reservations and information, contact WCTE at 528-2222, extension 229.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Man Accused of Stealing Donations

A December 6th court date has been set for a California man accused of theft and vandalism in Cookeville. Police say 26-year-old Alex Pokorny of San Diego allegedly stole a donation box at the Great Harvest Bread Company, making off with about $25 dollars in coins and dollar bills that were intended to benefit the Alzheimer's Assocation. He reportedly admitted to stealing the money because he was "down on his luck." Store employees say Pokorny took the cardboard donation box, flushed it down a toilet, and then left with the money in his pockets.  The cardboard damaged the plumbing at the business, and Pokorny was located a short time later walking down South Jefferson Avenue with more than fifteen dollars in change in his pockets.

Putnam County Commission To Meet

The Putnam County commission Monday night will discuss whether or not to spend some $50,000 to make improvements to the waste collection centers at Bangham, Monterey and Bloomington Springs.  Officials say the expenditures are needed to bring those centers up to par with other heavily used sites, such as the one on Dacco Quarry Road.  If that money is approved, they say the sites will be roughly equivalent in how they handle the collection of both household waste and larger items, like old appliances.  Meanwhile, the commission will also discuss a policy that would bar the county's recycling center from accepting unshredded documents from any non-governmental sources -- when those documents may contain sensitive information which could lead to identity theft.  And they'll consider approval of a contract with the Upper Cumberland Human Resources Agency which would have that group be the administering agency for the county's drug court program.

Steakley Reportedly Plans Election Lawsuit

The man who lost the state Senate race by less than 200 votes reportedly plans to file a contest of the election results.  Republican Gary Steakley says reports of allegedly illegal activity calls into question the results of the race.  Putnam County election officials said Friday that seals on some of the voting machines were improperly broken, but said they were confident that the numbers reported on election night were accurate.  Steakley told the commission that he is not so sure and says he wants an independent, third-party investigation of the matter.  Meanwhile, the state Republican Party is also calling on the State Election Commission to investigate what they call "several reports of voting irregularities."  State law outlines the process by which candidates can contest election results. 

Tech Begins 2010-11 Season Against Alabama A&M

The start of the 2010-11 women’s basketball season will see a few new faces on the Golden Eagle roster, as well as some new teams on Tennessee Tech’s schedule including its home opener against the Alabama A&M Bulldogs. Monday’s 7 p.m. tipoff at Eblen Center will mark the first time the Golden Eagles and the Bulldogs have crossed paths.

“Alabama A&M is a very athletic and well-coached team,” head coach Sytia Messer said. “They play a tough non-conference schedule to get them ready for their conference season and they run the floor very well.

Last season, Alabama A&M finished its season with a 16-12 record and an 11-7 Southwestern Athletic Conference record. Picked to finish third in the SWAC, the Bulldogs welcome back a pair of preseason all-SWAC second-team players in Whiquitta Tobar and Gabrielle Williams. Tobar finished the 2009-10 season averaging 11.7 points and 5.2 rebounds per game as a guard, while Williams added 2.4 points and 2.6 rebounds per game at center.

The Golden Eagles enter the season ranked fourth in the OVC preseason poll after recording 14 wins last season, including eight in OVC play. Of the seven returning players from last season’s squad, junior Tacarra Hayes and sophomore Kellie Cook garnered OVC accolades. Hayes finished the 2009-10 season as Tech’s leading scorer with 506 points and was named all-OVC first-team. Kellie Cook posted a solid rookie campaign as she finished second on the team in scoring with 377 points en route to being named to the OVC all-newcomer team. Joining the seven returnees are seven newcomers including Diamond Henderson, Briana Jordan and Brittany Darling. Henderson posted a game-high 22 points, on 10-of-12 from the field in TTU’s exhibition contest against Bryan College. Darling added 15 points and five rebounds, while Jordan contributed with nine points and seven helpers against the Lady Lions. To purchase single-game or season tickets contact the Athletic Ticket Office in Eblen Center at (931) 372-3940 or log on to TTUsports.com.

Study Says Preferential Treatment Is Detrimental

Minority students majoring in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines perform better if they aren't singled out for preferential treatment in the classroom. That's one conclusion from research findings developed by investigators at Tennessee Tech University and Tennessee State University under a Tennessee Board of Regents diversity research grant. The collaborative study sought to understand the experiences of racial minority undergraduates studying STEM subjects. The research was completed by Matthew Zagumny, professor of counseling and psychology at TTU, and David Shen-Miller, assistant professor of counseling psychology at TSU in Nashville. Further, the researchers found that minority STEM students performed better if they perceived that their university has a commitment to racial diversity in the classroom, among faculty and administrative staffers as well.

"Preferential treatment based on race is detrimental," Zagumny said. "It's almost the embarrassment of riches concept and, I think, a very human experience. But if you're in a near-solo status and given preferential treatment, you feel you have to prove that you're getting it for some other reason than being a racial minority. That creates stress, which affects performance."

TTU Hosts Tennessee Academy of Science Meeting

Tennessee Tech University will welcomes scientists from around the state to campus this week for this year's Tennessee Academy of Science annual meeting. This year's main speaker is Martin Keller, associate director of both the environmental and biological divisions at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.  Keller's discussion will be held at 9 a.m. on Friday, and is entitled "Next Generation Climate and Biomass Research. " The meeting, being held at the Millard Oakley STEM Center on campus, brings together academics from around the state for a series of presentations by university faculty as well as undergraduate and graduate students. The Tennessee Academy of Science, founded in 1912, seeks to promote scientific research and the diffusion of knowledge concerning science. TTU has had a close working relationship with the academy and is one of the academy's original Sustaining Members.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Series Of Vehicle Burglaries Under Investigation

Cookeville police detectives are looking into a series of vehicle burglaries reported to the department this week, including an incident in which thieves broke into several vehicles at Bob's Body Shop on West Broad Street, stole car stereos and damaged several vehicles, breaking the passenger side window out of one of them.  Meanwhile, a resident of Rebecca Place told police that someone stole an IPOD touch, a calculator, a back pack and some college textbooks out of his truck this week.  The loss was placed at more than $700. In a separate incident, a laptop computer was stolen out of a vehicle parked at a business on South Willow Avenue, after the thief broke out a window.  And the owner of a truck service reported to police that three copper radiators had been stolen out of some non-running vehicles on his property -- possible to be sold for scrap.

Benefit Planned For Local Artisan

Friends of two long-time members of the local performing and visual arts community are turning to music and art to help the family through a particularly rough patch. Her friends say Pamela Patton, who owned and operated a pottery studio in downtown Cookeville from 1999 to 2007, is gravely ill, and since she’s too sick to work, she can’t afford private health insurance. When friends realized how bad the situation was, they got together to organize a benefit to raise money for the Pattons to help them pay medical expenses. It’ll be an evening of music, art and food beginning at 5 pm, Friday, Nov. 19, at the Willow Place Conference Center in Cookeville. Tickets are $5 and available at the door. Admission pays for an Italian-style dinner and several hours of live music headlined by the Chillbillies, a roots-country, blues and rock band fronted by Larry Patton. Other entertainers include local favorite Larry Newgent and Jamey and Tamara Whiting.

The core of the evening, however, will be a silent auction of art. Unsurprisingly, the offerings are dominated by pottery, much of it made by the students from Pamela Patton’s studio, The Potter’s Wheel. Located in the Cream City Building on the West Side, The Potter’s Wheel blended community service with art instruction. Barely six months after opening, Pamela and her students began what became a seven-year commitment to contribute bowls to Cooking on the Square, Putnam County Habitat for Humanity’s signature fund-raising event.

“In those early days, it was impossible to find enough bowls to make Cooking on the Square a success,” says the event’s co-founder, John Clemons. “If it hadn’t been for The Potter’s Wheel and the Appalachian Center for Craft, the way we envisioned Cooking on the Square would never have been happened.”

Over the life of the studio, Patton and her students threw an estimated 7,000 bowls for Putnam County Habitat -- and they did it in exchange for a lot of self-satisfaction.

“That studio was all about cultivating creativity – to call people to do what they had in them, and that includes doing the right thing,” says Patton. “I always felt like that was one of the reasons we were there – to create more potters to support Habitat.

“I’ve had time to reflect, being in this position,” she says. “I’ve never believed in my heart that anyone on this planet wants something for nothing. It was easy for us to help turn bowls into bricks for people’s houses, to help people, to understand that it’s not their fault that they can’t afford a house. I’ve always had plenty to offer. But being sick like this, it shows me that we’re all actually so fragile. It’s a great blessing for your friends to help you. It’s a different experience to be on the other side of giving, on the other side of this kindness and selflessness.”

Donations for the Pattons are also being collected by the staff of Community Bank; contributions can be delivered to the branch located at 744 S. Willow Ave.  No reservations are required for the Nov. 19 benefit, but advance tickets can be purchased by calling 252-0828 or visiting Jon Beasley Salon / Antiques and Interior Design at 52 W. Broad St. The Willow Avenue Conference Center is located at 255 N. Willow Ave., across from Wendy’s.

Runners Invited To Standing Stone Park Event

Cookeville-area runners are encouraged to join Standing Stone State Park on Saturday, November 20, for the Big Foot Scramble. Sponsored by the Frostbite Running Club, the scenic five-mile run is part of the Tennessee State Parks Running Tour – a fall and winter series of foot races with distances varying from 5 to 13 miles. The Big Foot Scramble is the seventh race out of 20 this year and is considered a “fast and scenic” course. For registration and more information, you can visit http://www.imathlete.com/ or call Lynn Burnett at (931) 823-6124. Standing Stone State Park covers nearly 11,000 acres in Overton County within a triangle formed by highways connecting Livingston, Gainesboro and Celina.

Hospital Improves Patient Lift Equipment

Patients at Cookeville Regional Medical Center will now benefit from a new patient lift system that is being used to provide safer handling of patients throughout the facility.  Hospital officils say that many times during a hospital stay, patients who are immobile and not able to move by themselves are lifted by hospital staff for various reasons. Linda Crawford, the Chief Clinical Officer at Cookeville Regional, says. “This equipment provides a safer environment for patients, giving our staff an extra body, so to speak, when transferring and moving patients who can’t move on their own or who need assistance with moving. She says, "the equipment will help staff in moving patients around in the bed, moving them to a chair or helping them get up out of the bed to walk." Crawford said, “Patient safety is an indicator of the quality of care a hospital provides, and at Cookeville Regional, we are definitely ahead of the curve with the addition of this extra safety measure.” She says the new patient lift system will reduce the possibility of injury for not only patients but staff as well.

Sex Offender Charged With Indecent Exposure

A Cookeville man, who is on the state's sex offender registry for a rape conviction out of New York, has been arrested after allegedly masturbating while watching a young girl who lives across the street from him on Franklin Avenue.  Cookeville police say they were notified by two witnesses who reported that they saw 45-year-old Alfred Author Bailey standing outside his home in sweatpants, apparently fondling himself underneath the jogging pants he was wearing.  Because they knew he was on the sex offender list, the witnesses notified police who began an investigation.  Officer Cary Matheney says he took statements from the witnesses, and then consulted with Assistant District Attorney Beth Willis before it was decided to take out warrants charging Bailey with indecent exposure.  Police say those jogging pants were taken as evidence in the case.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Election Commission To Hold Special Called Mtg

The Putnam County Election Commission will meet in a special called session at 8:30 tomorrow morning at the Election Commission office at 705 County Services Drive. Officials say the purpose of the meeting is "to discuss incidents concerning Election Day procedures, which have been brought to the Commission's attention." Those incidents include allegations of inappropriate activity by some candidates at polling places this year.  The commission will also reportedly discuss the inadvertent removal of some seals on voting machines in Monterey.  Election officials say they have been assured by the company that makes the machines that removing the seals could, in no way, affect the number of votes tallied on those machines, but they say the meeting is intended to inform all candidates, political parties and the public of the incidents and the actions which have been taken in response to them.

UCHRA To Begin Running Putnam Drug Court

The Putnam County Drug Court could soon be administered by the Upper Cumberland Human Resources Agency -- if a recommendation of the county's fiscal review committee is approved by the full commission next week.  Court spokesman Greg Bowman told commissioners this week that the original contract with the Upper Cumberland Community Services Agency was dissolved when that group was essentially dismantled by the state.  He says using the UCHRA will enable the drug courts in Putnam and surrounding counties to more effectively compete for federal grant money.  He says the money that is used to run the drug court is collected through the local court system and would be sent to Nashville if Putnam County did not maintain a local program.

Meanwhile, the UCHRA is in the process of developing a proposal to fund a program to provide in-home services to enable veterans to remain in their homes and maintain independence. The project is a state-wide initiative, but officials say they need local veterans to fill out a survey on the UCHRA's website to officially determine whether there is a need for the program. For more information, contact Kelly Dishman at 528-1127

Court Date Set For Man Arrested At Hospital

A December 10th court date has been set for a Cookeville man, arrested while allegedly roaming the halls of Cookeville Regional Medical Center. Police say hospital security officials called them after finding 28-year-old Shannon Dale Kelly of Walnut Avenue on the fifth floor of the hospital. They allege that Kelly had a roll of duct tape and two dry erase markers on him that were hospital property. He was also allegedly seen shoving a bag of pills into his pocket.  He's been charged with theft, illegal possession of drugs, and public intoxication. Kelly had also been arrested last month on theft charges after police say he admitted stealing four cartons of cigarettes from the Rite-Aid pharmacy on South Willow Avenue. He later sold those cartons to a man at Waffle House.

Candlelight Christmas Concert Planned

Choirs from Tennessee Tech University and several area high schools will be performing on Friday and Saturday, Dec. 3 and 4, at the annual Candlelight Christmas Concert in Cookeville.  Tickets, which are $5, can be reserved now by calling 372-6175. Both performances are at 7:30 p.m. in the Wattenbarger Auditorium located in the Bryan Fine Arts Building. Parking for the concert will be provided in the gravel lot directly across from the building as well as the parking lot to the immediate south. Because TTU also is hosting the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association's football championships on those dates, officials say those attending the concert should make sure they arrive early, and tell the parking attendant that you are attending the Candlelight Christmas Concert -- and not the football championship games.

Speaker To Discuss Whether 9/11 Was Predictable

Environmental educator David W. Orr will present this year's Stonecipher Lecture on Science and Society at 7 p.m. next Tuesday, in Cookeville. The talk will be held in the Millard Oakley STEM Center auditorium.

Orr's presentation, entitled "Black Swans and Local Resilience," is described as a wide-ranging and provocative talk on economics, climate change, culture, politics and the future of humanity. The Black Swan Theory proposes that nearly all major events in history -- from the invention of the Internet to the terrorist attacks of 9/11-- were undirected and unpredictable. Organizers of the Cookeville event say Orr has a gift for distilling current environmental issues and offering tangible solutions.  He has proposed the goal of carbon neutrality for colleges and universities, and is also active in efforts to stop what's called "mountaintop removal" mining. Orr says he wants to develop a new economy based on ecological restoration and wind energy. The Stonecipher Lecture, which is free and open to the public, was created to fund the appearance of leading scholars and thinkers to address the interrelationships between science and contemporary society.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Arraignment Set For Monterey Murder Suspect

A November 16th arraignment in Putnam County Criminal Court has been set for a Monterey man, arrested Tuesday after being indicted on charges of second degree murder.  Authorities say 35-year-old Christopher Rodger Lewis of Jim Garrett Road is accused of being responsible for the death of his wife,  Amy Mayberry Lewis, in August of this year.  She had reportedly been found dead by Christopher Lewis, who then went to his mother's home, and authorities say it was his mother who called 911. An autopsy was performed, and while authorities have not released the details of what that autopsy showed, they did present evidence to the grand jury, which issued an indictment.  Lewis reportedly turned himself in upon learning of the indictment.

Father Facing Child Neglect Charges

Local law enforcement officials are reminding those who don't know that it is against the law in Tennessee to leave a minor in a vehicle that's unattended.  Algood police say they arrested a Cookeville man on a charge of child abuse and neglect after receiving a call to the Walmart store parking lot over the weekend. They allege that 47-year-old Jerry Wayne Shaw Jr. had left his 14-month-old child in the vehicle, while he went shopping inside. He reportedly told officers that he didn't know that was illegal.  Authorities say the baby was not injured, but they brought charges against the father.

Alleged Sex Offender Arrested After Internet Sting

Cookeville police continue to use undercover officers to find adults who use the Internet to find underage sex partners.  A Cookeville man was charged this month with solicitation of a minor after one such investigation.  Authorities say 24-year-old Jason Rayburn Shepherd of Byrne Avenue was arrested after he allegedly arranged a meeting with someone he believed to be a 15-year-old girl. That "girl" was, in fact, an undercover police officer and Shepherd was taken into custody after he showed up at a parking lot on Willow Avenue to allegedly follow through on plans to have sex with the girl. He is also accused of sending sexually explicit photographs to that individual that he believed to be a minor. He'll be in court on the charges November 29th.

Three Area Teenagers Charged With Burglary

Three 19-year-olds will be in court on December 6th to face charges of auto burglary. Police say the suspects -- Frank Pursell of Smithville, David Atchley of Crossville, and Ethan Spitler of Cookeville -- were arrested on Tuesday for allegedly smashing out the window of a vehicle on the Gainesboro Grade. Officials say they had tried to break the windows on three other vehicles as well.  In addition to the burglary charge, the trio were cited for underage drinking and public intoxication. Meanwhile, the Putnam County sheriff's department is investigating the theft of more than $17,000 worth of furniture, appliances and other items from a home on Medley-Amonette Road. The victim told authorities that her brother-in-law had been living there, but moved out on Monday.  She says that when she arrived at the home, everything she owned was missing from it.

New Opportunities For Area Fishermen

Cookeville-area anglers now have new access to the Caney Fork River, thanks to a partnership between the Tennessee Department of Transportation, Tennessee Department of Tourist Development and the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency. A new parking area and access trail to the river is now open at the I-40 Welcome Center, located on the Smith-Putnam County line at mile marker 267. The Welcome Center can be reached by both eastbound and westbound traffic on I-40. Officials say the new access area was developed to provide safe, legal access to the popular river for fishing. The Caney Fork River is routinely stocked with rainbow, brown and brook trout. Special trout regulations apply and a fishing license with trout privileges is required. The angler parking area is connected to a road within the existing Welcome Center and provides parking for 12 vehicles. Signs are posted designating the area as "Angler Parking." Information on parking area rules are also posted, and the site provides walk-in access to the Caney Fork.

CRMC Only LiveStrong Grant Recipient In TN

Cookeville Regional Medical Center has been announced as a LIVESTRONG® Community Impact Project award recipient -- the only hospital in Tennessee to receive that award. The project, created by the organization that cancer survivor and champion cyclist Lance Armstrong founded, will bring proven cancer support programs to 55 communities across the United States. One hundred seventy-nine qualified hospitals, cancer centers and community organizations in eight regions across the United States were selected to participate in an online voting campaign. Over a two-week period, more than 260,000 votes were cast and Cookeville Regional Medical Center was among the finalists. Cookeville Regional will use the $4,000 award to implement a survivorship program for patients who have completed cancer treatment at the hospital.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Committee Refuses To Agree To Lighting Proposal

It's the city's problem. That seemed to be the consensus of Putnam County's fiscal review committee Monday night when they were asked to pay for part of the cost of replacing lights at the Leslie Towne Center, which houses the Cookeville-Putnam County Chamber of Commerce. The ownership of the building is split, with the city of Cookeville having a 65 percent ownership interest, while the county owns 35 percent.  Officials say the company which manufactured the lighting fixtures in the building has now gone bankrupt, and the lights are becoming more difficult to replace.  The public building authority which oversees the Towne Center had recommended spending some $47,000 to replace all of those lights, and 35 percent of that cost would have been borne by the county. But one commissioner says the agreement on ownership of the building includes a phrase that says the city or the chamber are totally responsible for upkeep. No motions were offered last night, so the issue will go to the full commission without a recommendation.

Document Shredding Discussed By Committee

The planning committee of the Putnam County commission has recommended that the recycling center refuse to accept any documents which they know to contain personal or sensitive information. Officials say they don't want the county to be held liable if that information is somehow used to steal someone's identity. The committee had initially discussed adopting a policy, whereby the department director would have the discretion to accept or refuse documents which he knew to contain social security numbers or bank account information. Director Keith Street said, in one case recently, a local business had asked him to accept 150 boxes of such material.  But rather than leaving the decision up to the department, the planning committee recommendation is that NO such documents be accepted.  The recycling center will still accept documents with that kind of information from departments of county government, but officials say private companies are available to take care of such items for private business.

Sheriff's Department Investigates Identity Theft

The Putnam County sheriff's department is investigating a case of identity theft. The owner of a local roofing business reports that when he got his mail last Friday, he noticed a bill for more than 25-hundred dollars that he supposedly owed for a job in Memphis. But he told authorities that he isn't doing any work in Memphis and didn't authorize any charges. The victim believes a former employee may be responsible. He says other suppliers that he works with contacted him before agreeing to any charges, and he told them that only he or his son has that authorization. 

Meth Cases Continue To Crop Up

Meth cases continue to crop up in the Cookeville area. A December 6th court date has been set for two Putnam County residents arrested by the sheriff's department for promoting the manufacture of meth. The suspects are identified as 35-year-old Jason Alan Hall of Silver Point and 21-year-old Kristina Rasor of Cookeville. They were charged after authorities say they saw the ingredients used to make meth "in plain view" as the couple were parked in a vehicle on East Spring Street. Among those items were pseudoephedrine pills, lighter fluid, and lithium batteries.  Some state lawmakers are considering a law that would require people to have a prescription to purchase Sudafed-type cold medicine.  Current law requires that it be kept behind a counter and that the person buying it show ID and sign a register.

CRMC Technologist Receives Certification

Melissa West, a radiologic technologist at Cookeville Regional Medical Center, recently earned national credentials in Computed Tomography (CT). Melissa earned the credentials from the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT).  This certification is strongly recommended by CRMC to be completed within one year of beginning in CT. West had extensive training to prepare for this certification.  By obtaining this credential, patients as well as physicians are assured that a technologist who has met the established standards of training and education is performing CT exams The CT department at Cookeville Regional Medical Center offers a full range of Imaging services, including Cardiac CTA, CT-guided Biopsies, and many other procedures. The ARRT is a nationally recognized organization that promotes high standards of patient care by recognizing qualified individuals in medical imaging, interventional procedures and radiation therapy. ARRT provides a mechanism to recognize individuals who continue to demonstrate their qualifications through adherence to the standards of professional behavior and compliance with the continuing education requirements.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Several Veterans Day Programs Planned In Putnam

More than 370 soldiers from units in Cookeville and the surrounding area were honored on Sunday in a ceremony at Avery Trace Middle School.  The soldiers of the National Guard's 278th Armored Cavalry Regiment recently returned from Iraq, and officials say the ceremony was intended to not only honor them, but their families and members of their communities who assisted the units and families during deployment.  Each soldier was given an American flag, a ceremonial coin, medallion and lapel pin to commemorate their service to this country.  The ceremony comes just a few days before a Veterans Day Open House and celebration planned for this Thursday at the Veterans Memorial Building at 90 E. Spring Street, in Cookeville. It will take place from 10 am to 1 pm and is intended to honor all soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces. Special Veterans Day events are also planned at several Putnam County schools, including a program at the Cookeville High School Auditorium at seven o'clock Thursday night; one at Cornerstone Middle School just after nine o'clock Thursday morning, and one at Algood School, also at 9 am Thursday.

Tech Toons Theme Of TTU Homecoming

The theme is Tech Toons, but organizers say Tennessee Tech University's Homecoming 2010 schedule is a serious chance to spend a few days reconnecting with classmates and faculty or just enjoying activities. The staples of every Homecoming weekend—the parade, lunch and football game—are set for next Saturday. The Homecoming Parade begins at 10:30 a.m. on South Dixie Avenue, and ends on 12th Street, behind Tucker Stadium. The Alumni and Friends Tailgate Lunch will be from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., in the Magic 98.5 Tailgate Park behind Tucker Stadium. In addition to the TTU Alumni tent, various other groups will have tents or tables set up for alumni and friends — some with displays, giveaways and faculty present. And the football game against Eastern Kentucky kicks off at 1:30 p.m. in Tucker Stadium.

Festivities begin on Thursday with a Black Alumni Reunion and stretch through Sunday. Here's a list of planned activities:

Thursday, Nov. 11

» Black Alumni Reunion Professional Panel 11 a.m.-noon, in the Black Cultural Center, second floor, Roaden University Center.

» Black Alumni Reunion Professional Day Social 6:30-7:30 p.m., Noble Cody Suite, second floor, Roaden University Center.

» Black Alumni Reunion Social 9-11 p.m., Baymont Inn & Suites, Cookeville.

Friday, Nov. 12

» Pep Rally 5 p.m., Memorial Gym on the Quad.

» Athletics Hall of Fame Dinner 6:30 p.m., in the Multipurpose Room on the second floor of the Roaden University Center. Cost is $25 per person. Reservations are required: Please call (931) 372-3940 by Monday, Nov. 8, and ask for Sandy Zimmerman to make a reservation.

» NPHC Step Show 7 p.m., located in Derryberry Auditorium. Contact the Office of Minority Affairs at (931) 372-3392 for information or to purchase tickets.

» Alumni Mixer hosted by Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., and Omicron Phi Alumni 11 p.m.-2:30 a.m., Ruby Tuesday's located on Interstate Drive, Cookeville. Tickets are $30. $5 cover charge for general entry. A portion of the proceeds will go to the Diversity Scholarship Endowment. Ages 21 and over. Business casual dress.

Saturday, Nov. 13

TTU Speech Team Alumni Reunion Breakfast 8 a.m., Faculty Dining Room, Roaden University Center

TTU Alumni Breakfast 9 a.m., in the second floor lobby of the Roaden University Center.

College of Business Parade Watching Party 9:45 a.m., at the home of Lee and Kim Jones, 67 N. Dixie Ave. Breakfast pastries, coffee and hot chocolate will be available. Please RSVP online at www.tntech.edu/cob by Tuesday, Nov. 9.

Homecoming Parade 10:30 a.m. Parade route begins on South Dixie Avenue, and ends on 12th Street, behind Tucker Stadium.

Sorority Chapter Suites Open House 11 a.m.-1 p.m. New Hall North

Faculty and Alumni book signing 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m., University Bookstore, 1st floor of the University Center. Faculty and alumni authors will be signing their books in the bookstore. Stop by and check out these great books and meet the authors.

Alumni & Friends Tailgate Lunch 11 a.m.-1 p.m., in Magic 98.5 Tailgate Park behind Tucker Stadium. In addition to the TTU Alumni tent, various other groups will have tents or tables set up for alumni and friends — some with displays, giveaways and faculty present.

College of Business Lunch for Alumni, Professors and Staff 11:30 a.m., Johnson Hall. Please RSVP online at www.tntech.edu/cob by Tuesday, Nov. 9.

Homecoming Football Game 1:30 p.m., at Tucker Stadium. Cheer for the Golden Eagles as they take on Eastern Kentucky University

Volleyball 4:30 p.m. Tech hosts Southeast Missouri in Eblen Center (Senior Day) and final match of the regular season. Free admission.

Chemistry Alumni Homecoming Reception Following the football game, join faculty and alumni for a post-game reception (chili, desserts and hot coffee/chocolate), rolling slide presentations and personal tours of Foster Hall. We'll also have tables set up at the pre-game Tailgate with lots of fun activities and balloon sculpting for kids, students and alumni.

Civil & Environmental Engineering Alumni Cookout The CEE Advisory Board and the ASCE Student Chapter will host a free Civil & Environmental Engineering Alumni Cookout following the game under the tents in the tailgate park. They'll also be featuring a Cornhole Tournament.

Wesley Foundation After-the-Game Reception Following the game, upstairs at the Wesley Foundation.

» Scholarship Banquet to celebrate the 20th year of the Black Cultural Center 6-7:30 p.m., Tech Pride Room, first floor, Roaden University Center. Business attire is suggested. No charge to attend. Please RSVP by Wednesday, Nov. 10. Call (931) 372-3392 or e-mail rowens@tntech.eduThis e-mail address is being protected from spambots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Wesley Foundation Reunion Coffee House Event 7:30 -10 p.m., in the Wesley Foundation basement. Lots of music from "back then," comedy, drama and some "favorite" readings.

Ag Foundation Banquet 6 p.m., at the Hyder-Burks Pavilion. Please call (931) 372-3149 for more information or to make reservations.

Alumni Mixer hosted by Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. & Omicron Phi Alumni 9-11:30 p.m., Baymont Inn & Suites, Cookeville. $2 cover.

Sunday, Nov. 14

Black Alumni Reunion Worship Service 10 a.m., at Trinity Baptist Church, 613 W. Broad St., Cookeville.

Wesley Foundation Sunday Morning Service 8:30-9:45 a.m. Coffee and light breakfast, 9:45 a.m. Group photo, Service led by Rev. Bob Lewis begins at 10 a.m., Wesley Arena Chapel. Call Jim Brock at 1-800-466-1909 for more information.

For updates or additional activities, visit the Tech Toons Homecoming 2010 schedule at www.ttualumni.org/homecoming2010.

Putnam School Children Attend, Perform In Play

Children from several schools in Putnam County will be transported to the Cookeville Performing Arts Center this month to either watch or participate in a production of the play "Into The Woods."   Officials with the Cookeville Children's Theatre say 65 young actors in grades 4 through 12 are taking part in the production, in which a baker and his wife come upon fairy tale characters as they are searching through the woods.  Production dates for the show are November 12th, 13th, 14th, 19th and 20th. Curtain time is 7:30 for most shows, but 2 pm matinees are also being offered.  Tickets can be purchased by calling the box office at 528-1313.  Classes from several Putnam County schools will be attending as a group throughout the run.

Stabbing Incident Leads To Guilty Plea

An Overton County man will have about five more years to serve in jail after pleading guilty to charges of aggravated assault.  Court officials say 36-year-old Timothy Daryl Richardson of Livingston had been charged with attempted murder for stabbing another man in an altercation outside the tavern known as Forbidden last year.  Police say the victim had been stabbed in the throat and arms with a shard of glass as he and Richardson sat inside a vehicle in the bar's parking lot.  Richardson has been in jail since his arrest

Operation Christmas Child In Cookeville

Christmas is arriving early in Cookeville, as First Baptist Church prepares to serve as a collection point for Operation Christmas Child. Organizers say that with the help of local volunteers, the site will be brimming with festively wrapped shoe boxes full of gifts.  Last year, First Baptist Church contributed 13,513 boxes to the effort. This year, organizers hope to collect more than 14,500 gift-filled shoe boxes from families, kids, churches, schools and civic organizations in the area. They will be collecting those boxes from November 15th through the 22nd from 8 am to 5 pm daily, 8 am to 1 pm on Saturday and 1 to 5 pm on Sunday.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Arraignment Set For Man Charged With Assault

A November 22nd court date has been set for a Cookeville man, charged with assault -- for allegedly touching the private parts of a 19-month-old boy.  21-year-old Jay Tylor Iceman of West 17th Street was reportedly bathing with the child, who is the son of a friend of his.  According to a warrant taken out by Detective Bobby Anderson, the child's mother claims that Iceman touched the boy inappropriately while the two were in the bath together.  The assault charge stems from a part of the definition of assault, which includes touching that "a reasonable person would regard ... as extremely offensive or provocative."

Man Charged With DUI For The Fifth Time

Cookeville police say a man from Monroe, Tennessee, has been charged with drunk driving -- for the fifth time.  The most recent arrest for 44-year-old James Keith Daniels of Willow Grove Highway came this week when Officer Marc DeClaire was flagged down by a motorist at the intersection of North Washington Avenue and 10th Street, who told him that a pick-up truck was driving in a manner consistent with DUI. DeClaire followed the truck for a short distance before pulling it over. He says it was immediately evident that Daniels was impaired, even though Daniels denied having anything to drink.  After being asked to do some field sobriety tests, Daniels allegedly admitted to having "two beers."  He failed the sobriety tests, and refused to submit to a blood test to determine the level of alcohol or drug content in his system.  DeClaire says Daniels' license was revoked for DUI in May of 2007, and that a records check revealed four prior DUIs -- the one in 2007, one in 2003, one in 1999, and one in 1988.  Daniels' vehicle was taken to the Cookeville police department's impound lot and may be forfeited.

Counterfeiting Cases Investigated

The Cookeville police department today is investigating an incident in which a local resident found several counterfeit bills in the parking lot of the local Walmart.  Police say a shopper at the store found more than ten five-dollar bills and eight single dollar bills.  According to the report, one thing that made them obviously fake was that they shared a common serial number.  Police say the woman retrieved the bills from the parking lot and took them to the police station the next day.  Meanwhile, Cookeville police say a man is in trouble after passing counterfeit money at a local business. One arrest has been made, and others are being investigated. According to authorities, the phony money was used at a motel, a restaurant, an auto supply store and a pharmacy. Twenty-three-year-old Jonathan Demetrus Smith of McMinnville faces a November 22nd court date in the case on charges of criminal simulation. Officers quoted him as saying he had printed 400 twenty dollar bills.

Plea Deal Accepted In Death Of Cookeville Man

The District Attorney's office has negotiated another plea deal involving the death of a Cookeville man, in which the original charge of second degree murder was downgraded to reckless homicide. According to the Crossville Chronicle newspaper, a Cumberland County man charged with second-degree murder in the killing of his nephew in 2008, accepted a sentencing agreement Monday afternoon and pleaded guilty to reckless homicide. 76-year-old James LeRoy Poston was accused of the shooting death of 40-year-old Jimmy D. Conatser of Ridgedale Drive, Cookeville, on April 24, 2008. The shooting took place in the front yard of the Poston residence.  Poston agreed to accept a two-year prison sentence with a sentencing hearing set for Dec. 20 at which time a judge will determine how that sentence will be served. The paper says options include two years on probation, some jail time followed by probation or two years in prison. Assistant D.A. Gary McKenzie says the victim's family had been informed of the plea offer and did not oppose it. He said that -- just like a similar case in Cookeville -- it would have proven difficult to prove the elements of second degree murder.

Prescription Drug Disposal Event Scheduled

The Power of Putnam Anti-Drug Coalition, along with several local law enforcement agencies, and the Middle Tennessee Methamphetamine Prevention Task Force, will be cooperating tomorrow in an event that's intended to help Cookeville area residents get rid of old or unwanted prescription medications. Organizers of the event say flushing those old pills down the toilet is not safe because it adversely affects the environment and -- in some cases -- can cause the pharmaceuticals to turn up in drinking water.  So they're urging the public to bring their unused, unwanted or expired medications to Avery Trace Middle School tomorrow between 10 am and 2 pm for what they call "safe disposal."  Both prescription and over the counter medicines will be accepted, as well as veterinary medications.  You're asked to keep the items in their original containers and block out any personal information that container.  You can also call the police department if you'd like to schedule a time for the unwanted medications to be picked up by an officer.  What will NOT be accepted at the event tomorrow are any liquids or any needles or sharps. For more information, call Nadine Shera at 520-5266.