Monday, February 28, 2011

Swansey Earns Newcomer of the Week Honor

Tennessee Tech junior point guard Zac Swansey has been selected as the Ohio Valley Conference adidas Newcomer of the Week in recognition of his performances in the two Golden Eagle victories last week against SIU Edwardsville and Jacksonville State. For the week, Swansey shot 9-for-12 from the field for 75 percent, and averaged 13 points and eight assists per contest. At SIUE, he posted a double-double with 13 points and 10 assists, and also made six steals in the contest. He was 4-for-5 from the field and 4-for-4 at the free throw line. In the regular season finale against the Gamecocks, Swansey scored 13 points and had six assists, shooting 5-for-7 from the field. He netted a 3-pointer in the final minute that proved to be the game-winner. Swansey currently leads the OVC in assists, steals and assists-to-turnover ration. He is also 15th in the OVC in 3-point percentage and seventh in minutes played per game. It was the second time this season that he has earned the honor from the league. B.J. Jenkins of Murray State was named the Player of the Week and UT Martin's Mike Liabo was chosen as the Freshman of the Week.

TTU Outfielder Named Player of the Week

Tennessee Tech outfielder Kaleigh Gates has been voted the Ohio Valley Conference adidas Softball Player of the Week for her efforts this past week at the Frost Classic. The honor was announced by the OVC office Monday. A senior out of Tucson, Ariz., this is Gates' first OVC Player of the Week award and first for the Golden Eagle softball team this season. The last Golden Eagle to be voted Player of the Week was Callie Schmidt in the 2010 season. During her five games at the Frost Classic, Gates recorded six hits in 12 at bats for a .500 batting average. She drove in a team-leading seven runs, including six against East Tennessee State in Tech's 14-5 victory. She also scored three runs and coaxed four walks. Tech, which claimed four wins in its five games in Chattanooga, visits Belmont for a non-conference doubleheader Wednesday afternoon. Game times are set for 3:30 and 5:30 p.m. The Golden Eagles are back home this weekend to open their home schedule by hosting 13 games in the first Tech Combat Classic.

Putnam Man Injured In Meth Lab Explosion

Putnam County sheriff's detectives say they found the components of a meth lab operation when they went to investigate a fire on Sunday in which a Baxter man was seriously burned. Officials say 29-year-old Brian Chad Argo of Thomas Twin Oak Road was airlifted to a hospital in Nashville. Two other residents of the home -- identified as 31-year-old Jennifer Rose Plummer and 41-year-old Spencer Walker Amonette -- were charged with initiation of the manufacture of meth. Authorities say the fire occurred in a bedroom of the one-story brick home and that some neighbors reported hearing an explosion. They say they found several of the ingredients commonly used in manufacturing meth, including lithium batteries, Pyrex cooking dishes, and plastic tubing.  Plummer and Amonette were jailed under $10,000 bond and will be in court on the charge March 21st.

"Plant Food" Education Efforts Continue

Cookeville area health and safety officials continue to encourage you to take a few minutes to educate yourself about the dangers of so-called "plant food" and "bath salts," -- substances making headlines because they cause severe, life-threatening symptoms when taken as drugs. Dr. Sullivan Smith with the Emergency Department at Cookeville Regional Medical Center says a recent uptick in overdose cases is what caused him concern.

"I think part of it is the marketing," Smith said. "It's being sold across the counter, like Tylenol or energy drinks, but I think that the thing we have to make clear is that it's not plant food or bath salts, it's a drug. It's dope."
Smith and officials with the Cookeville police department and other law enforcement agencies have been trying to educate the public for several weeks now about the dangers of such substances, which -- while dangerous -- are not yet illegal in Tennessee.

Craft Center Says To "Save The Date"

Officials with the Appalachian Center for Craft are telling Cookeville area residents to "save the date" of April 2nd for their annual Celebration of Craft.  The 13th annual event will be held on Saturday, April 2, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Craft Center overlooking Center Hill Lake. Admission is free, and organizers say this popular event includes a wide variety of activities for all ages.  Visitors can explore the studios and experience narrated craft demonstrations by the students, faculty, and volunteers. You can also watch as the artists display their skills in glass blowing, woodturning, furniture making, blacksmithing, and working with clay. A new addition to this year's celebration will be mini workshops. For a small fee, adults and kids 12 and older can sign up to spend time wheel throwing clay, making a copper bracelet, creating a glass bead, or tie-dying fabric. Participants can take their piece home that day. The Appalachian Center for Craft is  located approximately six miles from Interstate 40 at Exit 273. Go south on Hwy. 56 and turn left immediately after crossing Hurricane Bridge. This drive leads to the Craft Center. For more information, contact Beth Smith at 372-3051

Sunday, February 27, 2011

TTU Names Research Award Winner

Ben Mohr, Tennessee Tech University professor of civil and environmental engineering, is the recipient of the 2011 Kinslow Award for his extensive research in concrete durability. Concrete is the most widely used engineering material in the world with about 10 percent of all residential siding in the United States made from portland cement-based materials. According to Mohr, concrete is the most consumed material other than water in the world. He has been working on durability issues, namely cracking, that may have an effect on the world-wide use of some building materials. The Kinslow Award is given annually for the best research paper written by a TTU engineering faculty member and published in a refereed professional journal. Mohr's award-winning paper, published in Cement and Concrete Research, was entitled "Influence of Bleed Water Reabsorption on Cement Paste Autogenous Deformation."

"The paper presents a single experimental lab technique that is vital to producing results that replicate real-world conditions," explained Mohr. "It is anticipated that this research will be applicable to all researchers in the extensive area of concrete shrinkage testing, specifically for the shrinkage evaluation of high performance concrete."

With the advent of high performance concrete containing low water-to-cement ratios and typically silica fume, early age shrinkage cracking of concrete has occurred with greater frequency. Early age cracking (primarily due to autogenous shrinkage) significantly compromises the durability of concrete. Autogenous shrinkage occurs once final set has taken place when the paste becomes rigid but the cement continues to hydrate, which causes the internal relative humidity to decrease and the porosity to increase. As various materials are being considering for autogenous shrinkage mitigation, it is vital to accurately evaluate these materials prior to field use.

Mohr's research interests are primarily focused on the broad area of concrete durability, with an emphasis on nano/microstructure, cement chemistry, early-age behavior, and novel material characterization/analytical techniques. Mohr is an active member of the American Concrete Institute and secretary of the American Ceramic Society-Cements Division. He has also served as faculty adviser for TTU's American Society of Civil Engineers for the past five years. In 2007, Mohr was honored with the Oak Ridge Associate Universities Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Award, TTU Sigma Xi Research Award, and the American Society of Engineering Education Southeastern Section New Faculty Research Award. Mohr has received more than $520,000 as a sole principal investigator with the National Science Foundation. In addition, he has been a co-principal investigator on projects totaling more than $450,000 for the Tennessee Department of Transportation and Federal Highway Administration.Mohr earned his bachelor's degree in civil engineering from the University of Delaware and his master's degree and doctorate from the Georgia Institute of Technology. He joined the TTU faculty in August 2005.

Police Issue Citations For Illegal Beer Sales

Clerks at more than a dozen Cookeville businesses are facing a March 14th court date for illegally selling alcohol to someone under the age of 21.  And police say the business owners, who hold the permit for beer sales, will have to appear before the city's Alcoholic Beverage Control Board, to explain themselves.  Major Nathan Honeycutt says that 59 stores in Cookeville have permits to sell beer, and all of them were checked this month, as part of the department's efforts to be sure that the law is being followed. He says in thirteen instances, someone under the legal drinking age -- who was working with the police department -- was able to improperly purchase alcohol.  The businesses who did not properly ID their customers included at least two grocery stores, several conveniences markets and a truck stop.  Meanwhile, Honeycutt says that police were also checking for stores which were selling so-called "bath salts" that have been abused in recent weeks. He says they found the items for sale in at least nine locations, and spoke to the owners about the sales, but says not all of them agreed to remove the items because they are -- at this point -- NOT illegal.

Porter Touts Added 911 Training

Putnam County Ambulance Service Director Randy Porter, in his role as chairman of the state' Emergency Communications Board, is touting the requirement of additional training for 911 dispatchers across Tennessee. The Board this month voted to add new training requirements for calls related to missing and exploited children for 911 dispatchers. They voted to add five hours of training for all new dispatchers and two hours of continuing education every two years – both specifically focused on handling calls about missing or exploited children.

“A call about a missing child is one of the most critical calls that come into a 911 center,” said Porter. “When these calls are taken, the call-taker should have every available resource to handle it correctly. These new training requirements will ensure that dispatchers in Tennessee are properly trained and prepared to handle these calls.”

Tennessee is one of only four states with specific training requirements for its 911 dispatchers. In addition to requiring training, the TECB provides funding to local districts to pay for the training. Current requirements call for 40 hours of initial training and 8 hours of continuing education every two years. The addition of the training related to missing/exploited children would take that to 45 hours of initial training and 10 hours of continuing education.

Drug Suspects Continue To Be Rounded Up

Putnam County law enforcement officials have picked up several more individuals indicted as a result of an undercover investigation which concluded earlier this year.  The suspects will all be arraigned in Criminal Court on March 22nd.  Authorities say they have now picked up four additional suspects from Cookeville -- identified as 21-year-old Richard Lynn Short, 46-year-old Charles Frederick Darty, 44-year-old Timothy Jay Allen, and 53-year-old David Earl Allen.  They are charged with selling either hydropmorphone or dihydrocodiene to undercover officers.

Planning Commission To Consider Rezoning

The Cookeville Planning Commission Monday night will consider whether or not a piece of residentially zoned property near the intersection of South Jefferson Avenue and West Cemetery Road should be re-zoned for general commercial usage.   The request is being made by Cookeville public works director Greg Brown on behalf of Hix Brothers Tractor Service.  That business had, essentially, traded some of their property for the piece currently zoned for residential.  That trade was made necessary because the city used a portion of the Hix Brothers property to extend West Cemetery Road.   The nearly two acre tract being considered for re-zoning is currently undeveloped. Meanwhile, the planners willl also talk about regulations for establishing Bed and Breakfast businesses in Cookeville. Local resident Bobby Williams is asking for the review.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Tuition Event Scheduled For Tennessee Tech

TTU receives one-third of its funding from Tennessee state taxes and one-fifth from student tuition and fees. If the school had to run solely on state appropriations and student tuition and fees, it would have to close its doors on March 4, according to Kristie Phillips, director of Annual and Special Programs. Rather than leaving for spring break, students would be going home for the semester.

"It's so important that our alumni and friends continue to donate," said Phillips. "A donation as small as $25 goes a long way."

So, on Tuesday, the university will host its first ever "Tuition Runs Out" day event. The event is setup to educate students, faculty, staff, and community members about the cost of running TTU and why their money is so important. The event is free and open to everyone. Students will be encouraged to "give a second" by donating $5 but are not required to. Credit card processing will be available for donations. The event will carry a carnival theme with booths from participating colleges, schools and organizations. Volunteers will be stationed at each booth to answer questions about the challenges of funding a public university and to participate in giveaways.

"More than anything, it's an awareness event," said Phillips. "We want students to realize that their tuition and fees are crucial to operations here at Tech but that it takes so much more to keep the doors open."

The event will be held rain or shine.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Imam To Speak At Tennessee Tech On Monday

Political unrest in Egypt and the closer controversy that has surrounded the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro are topics of importance to Sheik Ossama Mohamed Bahloul. Bahloul is the imam, or spiritual leader, of the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro, and he will give a talk in the Tech Pride Room of Tennessee Tech University's Roaden University Center at 2:30 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 28.

"Sheikh Ossama will be discussing Arabic and Islamic culture as well as his experiences studying theology in Cairo," said Matthew Zagumny, a counseling and psychology professor who teaches cross-cultural psychology at TTU. "Given the attention received by the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro as well as the recent political events in Northern Africa, specifically Egypt, our class would like to invite the university community and general public to his talk," Zagumny continued.

Bahloul is a graduate of Al-Azhar University in Cairo, where he earned a bachelor's degree in Islamic studies, and he is currently working toward a doctorate in comparative religious studies. He has served as the imam of the Islamic Society of Southern Texas in Corpus Christi and visiting imam for the Islamic Centers of Irving, Texas, and Darmishtat in Frankfurt, Germany. Bahloul encourages community involvement and interaction by conducting Islam 101 presentations at colleges and churches, as well as organizing town hall meetings, open houses and community breakfasts with civic and religious leaders. He has served as the imam of the Murfreesboro center since April 2008. For more information about Monday's event, call Zagumny at 931-372-6255

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Federal Charges Considered In Overton Bomb Case

Authorities in Overton County say the discovery of a massive quantity of explosives at a man's house off of Jamestown Highway could lead to criminal charges. Authorities say they believe Douglas Wright was using the explosives to make pipe bombs. They report finding a freezer full of dynamite that may have been stolen from a construction company. Police also found a pipe bomb outside of Wright's home. He reportedly told authorities that he had the pipe bomb so people wouldn't steal from him. And officials say the Overton County case is apparently related to a pipe bomb that was found earlier this month in White County, where a woman took it to work with her at a branch of US Bank off Highway 111. Wright was initially taken into custody, but later released. Sheriff W.B. Melton told a Nashville television station that they do not view him as a threat to the community since the dynamite has been taken away. But the sheriff's office said Wright could be facing federal charges.

Putnam Woman Indicted For Bomb Threat

A Cookeville woman will be arraigned next month in Putnam County Criminal Court after being indicted for calling in a bomb threat so she wouldn't have to go to work.  The allegations are being made against 45-year-old Angelia Rena Dillon of Linden Street. Police say Dillon called 911 last July to say that a pipe bomb had been put at a restaurant on South Willow Avenue. Authorities evacuated the business and the shopping center it was located in while they waited for the state's Bomb and Arson Squad to bring in a trained bomb-sniffing dog. Authorities ultimately determined that the bomb threat was a hoax and have been investigating the case ever since.  Although police say Dillon allegedly used a so-called TracFone which could not be traced, Detective Yvette Demming was reportedly able to track down the store in town where the phone was purchased and used video surveillance from the store to identify Dillon, who allegedly confessed to the crime. She's now been indicted on a charge of filing a false report.

Tech Students Top National Average By 37 Percent

Surpassing the national pass rate average by more than 37 percent, Tennessee Tech University manufacturing and industrial technology students have once again earned accolades on the latest national certification exam in their field.  Tech students achieved more than a 95 percent pass rate on the fall certified technology manager exam. The average national pass rate was just under 58 percent. The chairman of the department says a high pass rate on the exam is not new to TTU students. He says it's "the norm for our students to achieve a 95 to 100 percent pass rate. " In all content areas of the exam, TTU students scored above the national average. Content areas include chemistry, English, management and quality control. The report compared TTU's students to a composite group of more than 1,000 individuals from more than 20 other organizations.

TTU Softball Team Heads South

After a rough outing at the Sleep Inn Classic in Denton, Texas, the Tennessee Tech softball team will look to get back on track as it heads to Chattanooga, Tenn. for the Frost Classic. The three-day tournament begins Friday. Tech will square off against five teams at the Frost Classic including Northern Iowa, Toledo, Northwestern State and East Tennessee State. Tech is 1-and-6 on the season so far, while Northern Iowa has yet to lose going 5-0 on the season. Their games on Friday are scheduled for 1 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.  Day two of the Sleep Inn Classic will see Tech face a pair of opponents in Toledo and Northwestern State with game times set at 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.  And they wrap up the Frost Classic Sunday taking on the East Tennessee State Buccaneers at 10 a.m.  In five of its six losses on the season, Tech has lost by only one run.

Weather Delays Habitat Groundbreaking

Due to inclement weather today, Putnam County Habitat for Humanity is postponing the groundbreaking of their first two homes of 2011. The two groundbreaking ceremonies for the families of Sandy Durbin and Nicole Cooper have been moved to this coming Tuesday, March 1st at 5:30 pm.   The groundbreakings will take place at New Hope Subdivision, on McCaskey Court in Cookeville. The public is encouraged to come out in support of the event. Habitat officials say construction on the homes will begin in March. If you would like to know more about Putnam County Habitat for Humanity or would like to get involved, call Amy Jennings at 528-1711 or visit Habitat on the web at

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Police Say Meth Labs Still A Problem

Putnam County law enforcement officers say, in spite of the recent focus on plant food abuse and illegal prescription drugs, there is still one drug that continues to be an issue in this area. Major Nathan Honeycutt of the Cookeville police department says, "There seems to be a public perception, generally, that the meth problem has gone away. It has not." He says, "It's a different type of meth lab with a different kind of ingredients, but it's still the same old bad meth."

Meanwhile, earlier this week, local law enforcement agencies got some bad news from the Drug Enforcement Agency. The federal grant that for years has funded meth lab clean-up and disposal is no more. White County Sheriff Oddie Shoupe said that's what his department was told when they called the DEA Tuesday afternoon after finding a meth lab on Frank Anderson Road. In previous years, the DEA has cleaned up and removed as many as 700 meth labs in the state of Tennessee. But now, apparently, local agencies will have to hire a private contractor to respond to the scene, and then pay that contractor when the work is done.

Grand Jury To Consider Child Abuse Case

A Putnam County grand jury will be deciding whether or not child abuse charges should be brought in the case of a two-year-old Cookeville boy who had bruises on his back side. The boy's mother and her boyfriend were investigated by police and the Department of Children's Services after his grandparents noticed the bruises. The child was reportedly examined at the local emergency room, where doctors said the brusing appeared to be the result of excessive punishment.  The boyfriend told police that the child had been injured in a fall, while the boy told them he had been paddled. The grandparents now have custody of the child and his one-month-old baby brother.

Definition Of Assault Could Be Expanded

State Representative Ryan Williams has introduced a bill in the House of Representatives which would expand the definition of assault under Tennessee law. As introduced, under certain circumstances, the bill makes it a Class A misdemeanor to capture visual images of persons, except elected officials. It also increases penalties for assault, false imprisonment, criminal trespass, trespass by motor vehicle, what is called "unlawful observation," and reckless driving when done with intent to capture such images. It would be considered a crime, under the bill, to photograph someone who should have a reasonable expectation of privacy. The companion bill in the Senate is being sponsored by Mark Norris.

Winner Of TTU Research Award Announced

Ismail Fidan, Tenneseee Tech University professor of manufacturing and industrial technology, has been named the recipient of the 2011 Brown-Henderson Award. Fidan has brought in five National Science Foundation grants totaling more than $500,000 and Society of Manufacturing Engineers scholarship funds of more than $50,000 in the past seven years. In his latest NSF project, "Art2STEM," Fidan works with the Pencil Foundation, Alignment Nashville and Adventure Science Center, where he creates and delivers a professional development series in advanced design and additive manufacturing technologies. Additionally, Fidan has established a remote laboratory for rapid prototyping, which is availiable to other Tennessee Board of Regents institutions and more than 50 out-of-state institutions. The Brown-Henderson Award honors outstanding performance in teaching and research or service and carries the names of TTU College of Engineering Dean Emeritus James Seay Brown and James Henderson, the college's first dean.

Youth Baseball Camp Set For This Weekend

The Tennessee Tech baseball program is offering a pre-season youth league camp series that will run this weekend and next weekend. The dates of the camp are February 25-27 and March 4-5. The series will be broken down by position and is intended to help prepare young ball players for the spring season. Organizers say the camp will take place after each home game of the first two Golden Eagle weekend series, which offer free admissoin for all fans. Among those participating are Golden Eagle Pitching Coach Donnie Suttles, a former pitcher in the Cleveland Indian's organization, and veteran TTU Assistant Coach Justin Hogan. Coach Suttles will be covering correct pitching mechanics that will add arm strength and teach safe pitching techniques. He will also work with catchers and assist with hitting. Coach Hogan will cover hitting and fielding techniques for all infield and outfield players.The cost of the camp is $25 per day for children from ages 7 to 12.For more information and or to reserve space, call 372-6546.

Putnam Woman Charged For Doctor Shopping

A Putnam County woman is charged for the second time with TennCare "doctor shopping," or going to multiple doctors in a short period to obtain the same or similar controlled substances. The Office of Inspector General (OIG) today announced the arrest of 53-year old Anna R. Ledford, of Monterey. An indictment out of Smith County accuses her of fraudulently using TennCare to obtain a controlled substance by "doctor shopping," for seeing more than one physician in a 30-day period to get prescriptions for the painkillers Morphine and Endocet, with the physician's visit and prescriptions being paid for with TennCare benefits. Ledford was charged an additional count of TennCare fraud for using her benefits to obtain a prescription for Morphine Sulfate and concealing the fact that she planned to sale a portion of the drugs. Ledford was arrested last month after a Rutherford County grand jury indicted her for three counts of "doctor shopping." In that case, she was accused of receiving prescriptions for the strong painkillers Morphine, Oxycodone and Endocet. TennCare paid for both the physician office visits and the prescriptions.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Police Say Motel Rooms Being Used To Deal Drugs

Cookeville police say they are investigating at least two instances in recent days in which motel rooms were being used by people who were looking to sell drugs. One of those cases involved the Days Inn Motel, where officers claim they received a tip about potential drug activity. They allege that they found marijuana and crack cocaine in a room occupied by 28-year-old Gerod Donett Wright of Knoxville. But they say Wright had not rented the room, and claimed that the drugs did not belong to him. He was issued a citation for possessing marijuana. Meanwhile, at the Park Place Inn, police say they found 30-year-old Nicholas Brandon Childress in a room which contained cocaine and crack cocaine. They also allege that Childress had more than $300 in cash and a cell phone containing "text messages from people looking to purchase drugs."

STEM Safari Set For Saturday

The Oakley STEM Center at Tennessee Tech University invites children in grades PreK-3 and their families to attend a STEM Safari Saturday scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 26, from 9 a.m. to noon. Young learners will experience hands-on, minds-on, engaging activities in basic science and mathematics. This Saturday’s theme is “Feather Frenzy.” Questions to be answered include: what does a bird use its feathers for? Do feathers absorb water? And what does a feather look like close up?  Organizers say STEM Safaris are flexible experiences; families may come and go as their schedule allows. However, an adult family member must remain with children throughout the event. These workshops are free. For more information visit

Hearing On Lawsuit Postponed Again

A hearing to determine whether Putnam County or the state of Tennessee is ultimately responsible for paying the legal bills of the county's Election Commission has been postponed once again. Election Commission chairman Terry Herrin said a hearing on the Chancery Court lawsuit that seeks to resolve that question was supposed to be held this month, but has now been put off until April 14th to accommodate the schedule of the special judge who was called in to hear the matter after the local judges recused themselves. Putnam County is arguing that because Election Commission members are considered state employees, then the state of Tennessee should pay the bill. The state says the law requires counties to pay. Herrin told members of the county election commission on Tuesday that the bill so far has reached $113,000.

Farmers & The Internet: Topic Of Workshop

Agriculture officials will be hodling a workshop in Putnam County next month -- intended to help farmers use the Internet to grow their business. The workshops are designed to show how farmers can connect with potential customers through social media, customer surveys and other means. The workshop will be held on Thursday, March 10th, in Cookeville. It's being sponsored by the University of Tennessee Center for Profitable Agriculture in cooperation with the Tennessee Farm Fresh program. The sessions are called Direct Farm Marketing for Success IV: Tools for Marketing on the Web. And you can go on the web to for more information.

Sheriff Investigation Mailbox Vandalism Cases

Mailbox vandals are once again striking in a Putnam County neighborhood. Vandals destroyed dozens of mailboxes along several roads in Cookeville, according to a report in the Herald Citizen newspaper. Victims along Whittaker Road have reported the vandalism to the sheriff's department and the U.S. Postal Service. So far no arrests have been made. Destroying mailboxes is a federal crime punishable by penalties of up to $250,000 and up to three years in prison.

Sleep Support Group To Discuss Medications

The AWAKE Support Group will meet Thursday, March 10 from 6 to 8 pm at Cookeville Regional Medical Center in Education Rooms 2, 3 and 4. Dr. Erica Rawdon, Pharmacist and Clinical Pharmacy Specialist at Cookeville Regional, will be this month’s speaker. She will address how various medications affect your sleep. Sponsored by the Sleep Center at Cookeville Regional, the A.W.A.K.E. support group is for people in the Upper Cumberland area with sleep disorders, and anyone with a sleep disorder is encouraged to attend. Family members are also welcome to attend. People who have CPAP/BIPAP equipment are also urged to bring it in for a free service check-up at the meeting. The A.W.A.K.E. Support Group meets periodically throughout the year. For further information, contact Christopher Clinton at The Sleep Center (931) 783-2753.

Baseball opens up Bush Stadium hosting MTSU

Baseball season is underway in Cookeville as the Golden Eagles open up their 2011 season at home with a visit from the Blue Raiders of Middle Tennessee on Wednesday at 3 p.m. Having notched their first three games of the season on the road at Coastal Carolina's Caravelle Resort Tournament, Tech will be concentrating on defending their home field against MTSU, which leads the lifetime series with a 103-63-1 edge on the Golden Eagles. This includes two match-ups from last season, in which the Blue Raiders dealt out 11-5 and 13-9 losses to TTU. Both teams are coming into Wednesdsay's match-up looking for their first win of the season. The Blue Raiders fell in their season opening three-game series to Portland, while Tech shouldered three losses in CCU's tournament.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Cookeville ABC Board Schedules Work Session

The next step toward the establishment of package liquor stores in Cookeville will take place next month as the city's Alcoholic Beverage Control Board meets. The board will hold a work session on Monday, March 7th, at 6 pm, to study procedures for the issuance of package store permits.  City officials say that interested parties can pick up applications at city hall, and that it will be up to the applicants to make sure they meet all of the requirements of the city's ordinances.  The certificates of compliance cannot be issued until March 17th, and the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board will be the body that ratifies them. City attorney Dan Rader says that once the local board OKs the certificate of compliance, applicants must then receive approval at the state level.

Tech Alumni To Be Honored This Week

Two Tennessee Tech University College of Engineering alumni — James (Jim) Peterman and Clayton Clem — have been chosen as the college's 2011 Engineers of Distinction. A banquet, a featured event of TTU's 2011 Engineers' Week, will be held 7 p.m. on Thursday to acknowledge their achievements. Clem has worked in various capacities at TVA since his degree from TTU in 1979. Peterman got his degrees in 1983 and 1985 and has worked in the defense telecommunications industry. Meanwhile,  the Tennessee Tech University School of Agriculture has named Kevin Brown its Distinguished Alumnus for 2010-2011.  Brown currently serves as State Conservationist for the state of Tennessee with National Resource Conservation Service. NRSC is a federal agency that advises land owners on methods of reduced soil erosion, wildlife conservation, and optimizing farm profitability while enhancing and improving natural resources.

Court Date Set For Burglary Suspect

A March 14th court date has been set for a Cookeville man, arrested on charges of aggravated burglary.  Police say 19-year-old Mitchell Payne of West Oak Street is the suspect in the break-in of a home on East 10th Street late last month.  The resident told authorities that someone had stolen a 42-inch flat screen television from the home, and police say that television was later pawned for $150 dollars. The investigation led them to Payne, who claimed that someone else had given him the TV that he had ultimately taken to the pawn shop.  Meanwhile, in a separate case, a March 7th arraignment has been set for another 19-year-old Cookeville man, charged with theft of property.  Justin Eugene Rogers of Carolina Avenue is accused of stealing a Fender Stratocaster guitar out of a dorm room at Tennessee Tech last November.

Tech Teams To Wrap Up Regular Season

In the final road game of the regular season, the Tennessee Tech men's basketball team heads to SIU-Edwardsville to face against their future OVC rivals. Tip time is set for 7:30 p.m. The Cougars, who will officially join the Ohio Valley Conference next season, are coming off a 90-67 loss on the road to South Dakota, which stretched their record to 7-20. Tech, meanwhile, will look for its fourth straight win to notch their longest streak of the season. On the women's side,  the Golden Eagle team is looking to rebound off of a tough loss to Austin Peay. This will be the second meeting between the Golden Eagle women and the Cougars, with TTU winning their first encounter last season, 68-60, in Cookeville.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Ambulance Serves As Hearse For Paramedic

Photo courtest of Shandrea Womack
Funeral services for Carmen Burnette, the Putnam County paramedic who died unexpectedly during routine back surgery last week, were held on Sunday. Her burial took place at Overton County Memorial Gardens. Burnette's ambulance, number 701, acted as the hearse carrying her body to its finaly resting place.  The emergency services community in Putnam and surrounding counties continues to mourn the loss of Burnette, who they say was well-known throughout the community for her work as a paramedic, an educator, and a friend.

"She was a wonderful person, and excellent worker," said Putnam County EMS Director Randy Porter. "She is going to be missed. We are all so sad about this."

Burnette died suddenly in Nashville on Tuesday evening following a corrective surgery to repair a work-related injury. She was already scheduled to have the surgery later this month, when there was a cancellation in the schedule allowing her to have the procedure done Tuesday.

"She had been having quite a bit of pain from her back problem, so she took the early appointment" states Porter.

Burnette's work began in Putnam County in 1998 as an emergency medical technician, then becoming a paramedic in 2000. In 2002 she became one of the first field training officers at Putnam County EMS. Her talent in teaching those new to the profession has proven invaluable over her many years of doing so. Through many hours of in-service teaching and quality assurance work, Burnette helped shape the way emergency care will be provided in the Upper Cumberland for decades to come. She also worked diligently in overseeing the public education of citizen's learning Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation, or CPR, for several

"There are literally thousands of people who have learned CPR from her efforts in the classroom, or behind the scenes. There will be lives saved for years to come through her efforts with this program," said Porter.

A state official was quoted as saying "She exemplifies the highest standards of a first responder, always going above and beyond expectations to deliver excellent patient care ," as she was awarded the 2009 District IV Homeland Security Award. She leaves behind her husband and two sons.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

North Carolina Man Arrested After I-40 Stop

A Tennessee State Trooper making a traffic stop in Putnam County Thursday uncovered marijuana, LSD, cocaine and other illegal drugs. Officials say it occurred on Thursday, February 17, 2011, at approximately 11:12 a.m., when Trooper Michael Robertson stopped a green 1998 Saturn SL2 for following to close to another vehicle at mile marker 283 eastbound on I-40.  When Trooper Robertson approached the vehicle, he smelled a strong odor of marijuana emitting from within the vehicle. The driver and sole occupant, identified as 20-year-old Ryan L. Robinette of Charlotte, N. C., indicated he was traveling from Colorado to his home in Charlotte. Trooper Robertson requested consent to search the vehicle. After consent to search was refused, Trooper Robertson requested the assistance of Trooper Michael Loftis, whose K9 received a positive response on the vehicle.  A subsequent search of the vehicle, with assistance from Lieutenant Burch Avera and Trooper Bobby Barker, revealed a back pack containing several jars of marijuana and drug paraphernalia. Robinette stated that was all the contraband he possessed. However, a further search of the
vehicle uncovered four pounds of marijuana and eleven hash oil chewables in the trunk. On the right front floor board, Troopers discovered 15 blotters of LSD, four grams of powder ecstasy, two grams of cocaine, and two containers of hash oil. Robinette is charged with possession of schedule 1, 2 and 6 drugs for resale. He was booked in the Putnam County Justice Center on $15,000 bond. The vehicle and drugs were seized in accordance with state law.

International Friendship Banquet Set

Food, dance, and entertainment highlight this year's Friendship International Banquet. The banquet is set for 6 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 26, Tennessee Tech University's Roaden University Center's Multipurpose Room. The banquet is sponsored by International Friends, a non-profit organization focused on matching international students with host families. The potluck dinner is an annual event that celebrates the ethnic diversity on campus and in the community.

"Ideally, I'd like for everyone to have a good time and hopefully host family matches will be made" said Heidemarie Weidner, president of International Friends. "It's important to know people from other countries, they have faces. They're not just an ideology."

The organization is made up of TTU faculty members and community volunteers who are interested in the welfare of international students and represent professions such as university faculty, lawyers, doctors, biologists, engineers, bankers, businesspersons and homemakers.

At this year's banquet, Leslie Burks, Colleen Hays and Lucia Andronescu will present "Flamenco Dances," a style of dance native to several regions in southern Spain. Face paintings, games and prizes, henna paintings, and card and bookmark making will be available at the banquet as well. Each guest is asked to bring a sweet or savory dish and/or a one-liter drink that represents his or her country. International Friends was founded in 1968 and has been focused on providing host families for international students ever since.

"It's never a room and board situation," Weidner said. "It's a long lasting friendship situation. Families will have the student over for dinner, take them to a concert or simply take them out for an outdoor activity."

The organization's activities began in late August with an ice cream social for international students. They also participate in the annual Fall Fun Fest, where international students write names of guests in different scripts. In late October, they host a cookout and roast for the students and their host families. For more information, call Weidner at 520-7434.

Friday, February 18, 2011

STEM Center Hosts 57th Annual Science Fair

Tennessee Tech University's Millard Oakley STEM Center will be bursting with competitive exhibitions by nearly 200 students from 16 counties during the 57th Annual Cumberland Plateau Regional Science & Engineering Fair on Friday, March 25 and Saturday, March 26.  The long-standing regional fair, an affiliate member of the International Science & Engineering Fair organization, offers a variety of competition categories for students in the fourth through 12th grades. Awards include scholarships and monetary prizes, certificates, ribbons, and other forms of individual recognition. The scholarship awards are the Grand and Reserve Awards. Grand award winners receive $3,000 and Reserve winners receive $1,500 in scholarship funds applicable for any course of study at Tennessee Tech University.

"I am so looking forward to this year's science and engineering fair," said Bethany Stevens, fair director and associate professor in TTU's College of Education. "We were very pleased to see a 20 percent increase in participation from 2009 to 2010. There were terrific and interesting projects exhibited last year. Our students are extremely talented – it is wonderful to be able to offer them an opportunity to showcase their work and research. In 2010, exhibitions and research ranged from the water quality of local rivers to germ studies in regional department stores."

On Friday, March 25, the 2011 fair welcomes featured speaker Richard Turner, an accomplished TTU alumnus, to the 57th opening ceremony at 7 p.m. in the STEM Center's auditorium. Turner holds bachelor's and master's degrees in chemistry ('64 & '66, respectively), and a doctorate in chemistry from the University of Florida, and postdoctoral work in polymer chemistry in Darmstadt, Germany. He has been named a "Top 10" scientist identified by Business Tennessee magazine.

On the morning of Saturday, March 26, the panel of judges will begin their review of the entries. The panel consists of TTU faculty members, individuals from the community (holding appropriate science degrees), and TTU graduate students. Exhibitions are open for public viewing from noon until 3 p.m.; awards will be presented in the late afternoon.

For more information about the 57th Annual Cumberland Plateau Regional Science & Engineering Fair, contact Christina Hatley at the STEM Center, 931-372-6573 or visit

Center To Host Seminar About Starting A Business

If you are thinking of starting your own business, there is a lot you need to know. A free seminar that will be presented this month by the TTU Tennessee Small Business Development Center can help start you in the right direction.  “How to Start a Business” is the title of the seminar being presented from 2 to 4 p.m. on Thursday, March 10, at Vocational Rehab Building located at 955 E. 20th Street in Cookeville. Led by Vicki Henley, director of the TTU Small Business Development Center, the seminar will address topics of interest to potential entrepreneurs and new small business owners.  Those topics include business startup basics, business structures, challenges for startups, business planning, cash needs, financing options, and more.  Although admission is free, registration is required and can be done by visiting the web site at or calling the TSBDC’s office at TTU at (931) 372-3292. The TSBDC is a community outreach initiative of TTU’s College of Business, and it is among a network that operates statewide to assist the small business sector by providing free counseling to potential entrepreneurs and small business owners.

Local Troopers, Dispatcher Honored By State

Trooper Willie Allison has been named Trooper of the Year for the Cookeville District of the Tennessee Highway Patrol. A Strike Team member, officials say Trooper Allison tops the Cookeville District in several areas of enforcement. They say he continually makes an impact in roadway safety and leads by example with his attitude, appearance and work ethic. Described as a consummate team-player, Allison can always be counted on to assist other Troopers, change shifts or volunteer for special assignments. He also serves his community as an alderman in Baxter, Tennessee. Meanwhile, Trooper Michael Loftis nabbed the Interdiction-East Trooper of the Year honor. Loftis leads the Cookeville Interdiction Plus Team. He has seized 46 pounds of marijuana and more than $19,000 in cash. Loftis has also garnered a high number of traffic stops, including DUI’s, Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) Inspections, revoked and suspended driver licenses and weapons and narcotics charges. And Johnathan Isleman has been posthumously awarded the Dispatcher of the Year honor for the Cookeville District. After serving the Department of Safety and Homeland Security for 12 years, Isleman lost his battle with cancer in August of 2010. State Troopers described him as the type of dispatcher they wanted on the other end of the radio. He was friendly, professional and had a passion for the job. They say he had a desire to exceed all expectations and set a positive example for his co-workers. He even dispatched from his hospital bed.

Former Congressional Aide Opens New Business

After several years of serving in the office of former Congressman Bart Gordon, Putnam County resident Billy G. Smith is putting his expertise to work to help those who are struggling to navigate the Social Security Disability application process.  Smith says helping people is a theme that has run throughout his career, which began in 1965 at the Cookeville Police Department. In 1968, he left his role as police lieutenant to begin the first of what would be three consecutive terms as Putnam County sheriff. After his tenure as sheriff, he served as Putnam County trustee for eight years, followed by a 26-year stint as congressional field representative in Congressman Gordon's Cookeville office.

"Social Security Disability was one of the main things that we worked with in that office, so after Congressman Gordon retired, I decided to just continue doing that type of work out of this same office," said Smith, whose business, Billy G. Smith & Associates, is located in Gordon's former Cookeville headquarters at 15 S. Jefferson Ave.

Applying for Social Security Disability Insurance can be an arduous and lengthy process for those seeking benefits because there simply aren't enough workers to handle the large volume of cases that Social Security offices typically receive.

"It usually takes at least a year to get approved, if you're lucky," said Smith. "Many times people will get turned down the first time and have to go back and get new evidence. Sometimes, after the decision is made, even if it's favorable, it goes into a holding pattern, and sometimes they will randomly send cases for further review."

Smith says that his years of experience in expediting the process make him the ideal candidate to help people in this situation.

"Because it's not their area of expertise, many people simply do not understand the route nor the evidence that would be helpful to them in filling out a lot of these somewhat complicated forms and applications," said Smith. "We can tell them what they need to do to give them the best chance of getting the benefits that they deserve the first time around."

He adds that because disabled applicants are usually unable to work, many of them become destitute before they are able to start drawing benefits. For that reason, he does not charge for his services until the client's benefits come through. The public is invited to attend a ribbon cutting and open house for Billy G. Smith & Associates, set for Wednesday, March 2, from 11 am to1 pm Light refreshments and cookies will be served. For more information, stop by Smith's office or call 526-4445.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Council Gives Final OK To Package Store Rules

The Cookeville city council has given final passage to ordinances establishing the allowable locations of retail package liquor stores in town. City voters agreed to the establishment of such stores in a referendum last year. Under the revised ordinances approved last night, the council set the north side of I-40 as the boundary for stores along South Jefferson or South Willow Avenue.  That moves them further away from places like the Cookeville Rescue Mission, which is located south of the Interstate.  An attempt by Councilman Larry Epps to also prohibit the stores along North Washington Avenue failed for lack of a second.  Meanwhile, the council also has decided not to permit the sale of alcoholic beverages at the city's Fall Funfest, but they ARE still looking to provide that option to vendors at Dogwood Park and at the Cookeville Performing Arts Center. The council passed motions last night requesting that the Tennessee General Assembly amend a portion of state law defining where it's allowable to sell such beverages. City manager Jim Shipley says beer sales are allowed under current law, but a change in state law would be needed to allow the sale of wine.

Identity Theft Charge Filed Against Monterey Man

A Monterey man is facing charges of identity theft after allegedly stealing someone else's social security number and selling it.  That, at least, is the allegation contained in the warrant against 45-year-old Francisco Baltazar.  The Criminal Investigation Division of the Highway Patrol looked into the case, in which it is alleged that Baltazar committed the crime in June of last year with the knowledge that the social security number would be provided to someone who would use it in an attempt to get a driver's license.  Baltazar was jailed under $20,000 bond and will have a hearing on the case March 23rd.

Yet More Arrests Made In Drug Round-Up

Putnam County authorities say they are continuing their efforts to pick up individuals indicted earlier this year as the result of an undercover drug investigation. Agents with the U.S. Marshal's Task Force are assisting in the effort. Three of the more recent people picked up were identified as 42-year-old Mitchell Timothy Horn of Cookeville, charged with two counts of selling hydromorphone; 23-year-old Terry Daniel Dunn of Baxter, charged with three counts of selling hydropmorphone; and 24-year-old Tracey Blake Thomas of Gainesboro, charged with one count of selling hydromorphone. All of the suspects will be arraigned in Criminal Court on March 22nd. Police say hydromorphone is a version of the prescription drug Dilaudid.

TTU Backdoor Playhouse Production Opens

The Winter 2011 production of the Backdoor Playhouse at Tennessee Tech opens Thursday night.  And, once again this year, it is a production of The Vagina Monologues by Eve Ensler.  The show is being directed this year by Steven W. Gwilt and Evan Montgomery. Additional performance dates are Friday night and Saturday night at 8 pm at the Backdoor Playhouse. Tickets are $12 for everybody, and officials say no discounts will be offered for this production. All proceeds from ticket sales will go to the Tennessee Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence. For further information contact the Backdoor Playhouse box office at 372-6595.

Tech Women Hope To Break Record Saturday

One of the Sears' BracketBuster match-ups this year features the Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles going head to head with the Runnin' Bulldogs of Gardner-Webb in Cookeville on Saturday at 7:30 p.m - the second game of a double-header event with the women. Saturday's contest will mark the first time that Gardner-Webb and Tech have met on the court, and will also mark Tech's "Think Pink" and Pack the House events. To support Breast Cancer Awareness, all fans are encouraged to wear pink on Saturday; everyone wearing pink can purchase tickets for one dollar. Additionally, it's Pack The House Night as the Golden Eagle women hope to break the school attendance record. The largest crowd to watch a Tech women's game is 6,113 (vs. Middle Tennessee in 1990), so officials say it will take a massive effort from the student body, the Tech community, and the Cookeville area fans to top that mark.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Drug Store Purchases Lead To Drug Arrest

A March 14th court date has been set for a Cookeville man, charged with the promotion of methamphetamine. Authorities say 27-year-old William Brian Clinton of Free Hill Road was arrested after purchasing several items related to the manufacture of methamphetamine at the Walgreens store on North Washington Avenue.  Police say they found him in possession of cold tablets, lithium batteries and latex gloves. And they allege that he admitted he was buying items "for someone who was going to use them to make methamphetamine."

Fans Told To Arrive Early For Tech "Blizzard"

Fans are encouraged to arrive early for Thursday's women's basketball game against Tennessee State to help fuel the next in a long tradition of blizzards at Golden Eagle games. Tech squares will be distributed, and fans will make the blizzard happen when the Golden Eagle women score their first basket. The tradition began in them mid 80s, and flourished for years including at the OVC Women's Championship game against Middle Tennessee one year -- won by Tech. That instance is believed to be the only time a blizzard occurred in Eblen Center for a women's game, so Thursday's event will be an historic one.Tennessee Tech Athletics officials remind fans to adhere to OVC Sportsmanship guidelines, throwing the blizzard in the stands and not on the playing floor. The blizzard returned to Eblen Center Monday night during the TTU men's game against Tennessee State, won by the Golden Eagles in the final seconds. This game is crucial for coach Sytia Messer's team as it creeps closer to winning the 2011 OVC regular season championship. Tech's "magic number" is two, and the Golden Eagles (19-5/13-2 OVC) host their final three conference games at home in Eblen Center. Following Thursday's game against the TSU Lady Tigers, the Golden Eagle women will host Austin Peay on Saturday and wrap up the season with a visit from Jacksonville State next Saturday, February 26th. For tickets or more information, please call the Athletics Ticket Office in Eblen Center (931) 372-3940.

Suspects Developed In Hispanic Store Robberies

Police agencies across the area are comparing notes after the Monterey police department detained three Hispanic males, who were reportedly wanted for robbing a Hispanic business in Crossville. Monterey's Hilltop Express newspaper is reporting today that Monterey officers also discovered half of a kilogram of cocaine after stopping a vehicle that had the suspects in it. They had received a "be-on-the-lookout" or BOLO notice from police in Crossville, who were investigating the armed robbery of a Hispanic restaurant there. After the traffic stop, police allegedly received a consent to search a home in Monterey, and it was during that search that police allegedly turned up approximately 500 grams of what was described as "a white powder substance that field tested as a cocaine base." They also recovered automatic handgun ammunition. Police say the value of the cocaine was estimated at between $25,000 and $35,000. They would not speculate on whether the Crossville robbery was related to robberies of other Hispanic stores in Cookeville and in other areas. Evidence in the drug case will be presented to the Putnam County Grand Jury.

Concrete Canoe Competition Comes To Cookeville

Concrete canoes and steel bridges will float and rise when Tennessee Tech University's civil engineering department hosts the annual American Society of Civil Engineers Southeastern Student Conference next month.  The student-organized event is scheduled for March 24th through the 26th and will have more than 1,000 students representing 27 schools from around the world. The competitions will be held throughout campus on that Friday and Cane Creek Park on the Saturday of the event -- which is free and open to the public.

"We want people to know who we are and what civil engineers do," said Lindsay Bryant, concrete canoe team member. "We also want people to see what a wonderful town Cookeville is."

The concrete canoe competition provides students with a practical application of the engineering principles they learn in the classroom, along with important team and project management skills they will need in their careers. The event challenges the students' knowledge, creativity and stamina, while showcasing the versatility and durability of concrete as a building material. The project is worked on during two semesters and will be judged on four components: visual, written, presentation and the race at Cane Creek Park.

"We want to show people that engineering isn't just math and science," said Tim Harrell, steel bridge team member.

The steel bridge competition is a real world project where team members create a bridge with materials given to them. The teams this year will be challenged to build their bridge with the capability to go over a flood plain. They will be judged on the time it takes them to build and create the bridge, how much weight can be deflected, and aesthetics. Students will also have a chance to gain extra points by making the bridge lighter in weight. Last year Tech placed fifth in the ASSC competitions.

Cookeville Connection To Tullahoma Murder

There's now been a Cookeville connection reported to a suspect in a murder in Tullahoma, Tennessee.  A Nashville television station says a person of interest in the Tullahoma murder case has a criminal history. Police are saying that Stephen Stewart is connected to the murder of Junior Clay Taylor, who was found stabbed to death in his Tullahoma home Sunday. His body was also badly burnt. Detectives said Stewart was found in Cookeville with Taylor's wallet, ID, and cash. And they say Stewart was convicted of a similar crime in 2006, when he was found guilty of beating a man and setting his home on fire. Stewart is currently in a Tennessee hospital, after falling off a bridge in Cookeville shortly after Taylor's body was found. Investigators expect to take the case to the Grand Jury in March.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

FBI Takes Over Sparta Bank Bomb Investigation

Authorities in White County say the Federal Bureau of Investigation is now looking into an incident in which a woman unwittingly took a bomb into a bank without realizing what it was. Police in Sparta said the woman found a pipe bomb at her home -- but, apparently, didn't know what it was. So she took it with her to work Monday at the U.S. Bank building on Highway 111 to show to a police officer. Officers evacuated the building when they saw the device. The bomb squad later set off the device, and no one was hurt, but investigation is continuing.

Trustee May Move Into Old Election Office

The fiscal review committee of the Putnam County commission has recommended that the Trustee's office move into the old Election Commission office, located on the bottom floor of the county courthouse.  Officials have been informally talking about what to do with the space ever since the Election Commission office was relocated to a new building on County Services Drive about a year and a half ago. The recommendation now is that the space be renovated to include a new security system and the purchase of some office furniture. The project would also include providing some storage space for the county executive's office, located across the hall.  The total cost should not exceed $12,000.  The committee has also recommended that $2,500 be spent to enclose the Farmer's Market at the Ag Extension office. The full commission will vote on those recommendations next week.

ER Visit Prompts Robbery Investigation

Cookeville police say they first became aware of a robbery this week when the victim showed up at the hospital seeking treatment.  Police say the 26-year-old man told officers that he was robbed in the parking lot of an apartment complex on North Chestnut Avenue by two men who approached him and demanded all of his money.  The victim says one of the men had a gun and says that he was hit in the back of the head with that gun, once the robbers had taken his cash. They left the area in a white van, and authorities say they later spotted and gave chase to a van fitting that description, but the occupants abandoned the vehicle and ran into the woods. Investigation of the case is continuing.

Small Business Loan Workshop Offered

Advice on how to get a business loan through the Small Business Administration will be offered during a workshop in Cookeville Thursday.  Entrepreneurs wishing to learn about government-guaranteed loans to small businesses are invited to attend the free workshop called, "Financing Your Business the SBA Way." It's being presented from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Thursday at the Vocational Rehabilitation Building in Cookeville located at 955 E. 20th St. David Tiller from the Tennessee District Office of the U.S. Small Business Administration in Nashville will present the two-hour workshop and will cover SBA loans from $5,000 to $5 million, including loans to veterans under SBA's Patriot Express Loan Program. Although admission is free, registration is required and can be accomplished by visiting the website at or calling 372-3706.

Guest Performer Highlights TTU Flute Day

Flutist Conor Nelson
Award-winning flutist Conor Nelson visits Tennessee Tech University this weekend for Flute Day activities -- scheduled Friday and Saturday, February 18th and 19th. The free Center Stage event includes a performance by Nelson and Paul Thurmond at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.

"He was recommended to me by a colleague who had him as a guest artist," said Roger Martin, TTU flute professor. "Subsequently, every time I mentioned he was my guest artist this year, they say 'He is marvelous! He has boundless energy and enthusiasm.'"

Nelson received degrees from the Manhattan School of Music, Yale University and Stony Brook University where he was the winner of the schoolwide concerto competitions at all three institutions. Nelson is currently assistant professor of flute at Oklahoma State University. The program will assert the value of quality chamber music while exposing the audience to important compositions.

Golden Eagles Looking To Sweep Tigers

Looking to rebound after its recent loss to UT Martin, the Tennessee Tech women's basketball team hosts the Tennessee State Tigers Thursday night. Tech officials say the game will feature the infamous blizzard, and will mark the first time such an event is to occur at a Tech women's basketball game. This will be the 56th meeting between the Golden Eagles and Tennessee State, with TTU owning the series edge at 45-10. In their previous meeting this season the Golden Eagles took a 69-55 decision from the Tigers in Nashville. Five Golden Eagles posted 10 points or more in their last meeting with TSU, including junior guard Tacarra Hayes who recorded a game-high 14 points. Tech (19-5, 13-2 OVC) currently owns a 1.5 game lead over second-place UT Martin in the Ohio Valley Conference standings and is looking for its 26th 20-win season. The last time the Golden Eagles reached the 20-win plateau was in the 2005-06 season when Tech finished with a 23-9 record. Tennessee State is 7-18 on the season and is tied with Murray State for eighth place in the OVC standings with a 3-11 conference record. The Tigers have split their last four games with a pair of wins coming against Murray State and SIU Edwardsville, and a pair of losses to Austin Peay and UT Martin. Opening tip between the Golden Eagles and the Tigers is set for 7:00 p.m., at the Eblen Center.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Arrest Made In Armed Robbery Of Local Couple

Cookeville police have arrested one person they believe is responsible for the reported armed robbery of a Putnam County couple last week. The couple told the sheriff's department that they had gone to a home on Glenn Road, northwest of Cookeville, Thursday night, so that the woman could pay off a debt when the residents of the home allegedly knocked down the victim, pulled out a gun and took her money, cell phone and purse. 22-year-old Courtney Michael Barrett of East 6th Street was later arrested on two counts of aggravated robbery, and police are looking for a second suspect in the case. Barrett's bond was set at $20,000 and he goes to court March 14th.

District Attorney Using Facebook To Reach Teens

District Attorney Randy York says he and other DAs across the state are taking an unconventional approach in reaching teens with an aggressive social media campaign, incorporating Facebook to raise awareness of the legal, financial and social consequences of teen parenthood. The statewide initiative is part of the DAs’  What’s the Rush? campaign.

York says, “It’s important to use a platform that teens are familiar with to help them understand the consequences of becoming a teen parent. Facebook is very popular and is a great way for the DAs to communicate the campaign’s message.”

Since its launch in January 2010, the What’s the Rush? Facebook page has generated more than 20,000 page views and gathered more than 2,600 fans. Of these fans, 59 percent are between the ages of 13 and 24. The page features relevant news articles, videos featuring district attorneys and other general information pertaining to the campaign. The rapid increase of interest in the What’s the Rush? Facebook page was in part a result of the DAs’ introducing Facebook Days. High schools across the state were contacted and asked to participate in Facebook Days by selecting a specific day to encourage students at that school to become fans of the page. In the local area, Monterey High School, Pickett County High School and Livingston Academy participated in Facebook Days. In addition to providing teenagers with access to educational materials via social media, all public high schools in Tennessee received brochures, posters and DVDs to educate teenagers about teen parenting. For more information about the campaign you can call York at 528-5015. And to access the campaign materials, visit the website,

Monterey Students Facing Longer School Day

It began Monday and will continue for just under three weeks.  Putnam County school officials say students in the Monterey schools -- that's Uffelman Elementary, Burks Middle School, and Monterey High School -- are now going to class on what they call an extended school schedule -- from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.  School officials say the additional 30 minutes each day will run for 13 school days. They say each 13 days of an additional 30 minutes will make-up one full instructional day missed because of winter weather. The school system also plans to have students in class next Monday, on what would normally have been the Presidents Day holiday. But, unless more winter weather strikes, they are no current plans to extend the day for Cookeville or Baxter area students.

Darling Earns Seventh OVC Newcomer Award

Tennessee Tech junior center Brittany Darling has been voted the Ohio Valley Conference Newcomer of the Week, for her efforts last week against Murray State and UT Martin. The honor was announced Monday by the OVC office. A transfer student out of Owens (Ohio) Community College, this is the seventh time Darling has been named the OVC Newcomer of the Week. Back in December, Darling was named the Newcomer of the Week four consecutive weeks. Darling started the week with 11 points and six rebounds against Murray State. She followed up with 12 points and 11 rebounds against UT Martin, en route to her fifth career double-double. Tech (19-5, 13-2 OVC) hosts Tennessee State Thursday. Opening tip is set for 5:30 p.m.

Hospital Warns Parents of New Drug In Area

Local agencies in Putnam County are now teaming together in an effort to get word out to parents in the community about a dangerous drug that is sold as “plant food” and “bath salts” and can be purchased at convenience stores, smoke shops and novelty stores. Officials at Cookeville Regional Medical Center say that because it is easily purchased and, for the moment, remains legal in the state of Tennessee, many people may think that it is not dangerous. However, officials say it has caused some local teens and adults to be hospitalized in critical condition and some have experienced long-lasting effects still present after discharge from the hospital. They say that while many of the effects of this new drug are unknown, it is known that there is potential for long-term neurological effects including brain damage or even death.

The drug in these products is new and is called mephedrone, or 4-methyl methcathinone. Tagged as “designer drugs,” these products are sold as a household product and have “not for human consumption” listed on their packaging. But officials say the chemical make-up of these products makes them useless for the advertised purpose. They say persons taking these drugs may seem very happy and have a greater willingness to talk than usual. Users may appear calm and under control and then may suddenly change without warning and be easily agitated and aggressive.

Users will typically have a very fast heart rate, large pupils in their eyes and may experience insomnia, going for prolonged periods without sleep. They may even experience “worm-like” body movements and high body temperatures. If you find yourself dealing with someone using this drug, you should call 911 immediately. Parents are encouraged to speak with their children about the dangers of the drug. And local residents are encouraged to contact their senators and representatives to show support in favor of banning these substances in the state of Tennessee.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Cookeville Church Added To National Register

After being nominated last year, a historic church in Cookeville has now been added to the National Register of Historic Places. Cookeville’s First Presbyterian Church was built  between 1909 and 1910 by prominent local brick mason Joseph Francis Scott and remodeled in 1955 by Dero Darwin and his son. The Neo-classical style of the church is characterized by its pedimented gables and strong cornice lines. Its interior is Colonial Revival in style and reflects the 1955 remodeling. Officials say the church, located at 20 North Dixie Avenue, was born out of a schism, resulting from the union of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church with the Presbyterian Church of the United States of America that took place during the early years of the 20th century. Historian Michael Birdwell says the First Presbyterian Church in Cookeville  reflects the policies that resulted from this merger of two churches.

Beethoven's Fifth To Be Performed In Cookeville

You've probably heard the first four notes of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony at some point in your life. During WWII, it was used in Great Britain to inspire victory (the "dot-dot-dot-dash" rhythm was V for victory in Morse code). In the 1970s, Walter Murphy and the Big Apple Band made a disco arrangement of it called "A fifth of Beethoven." Looney Toons has used it, and the list goes on. In what Dan Allcott calls a "major performance milestone" for the University Orchestra at Tennessee Tech University, the all-student group will perform Beethoven's notorious work in concert on Thursday, Feb. 17, 7:30 p.m.

"A major work like this shows how far the string area in the music department has come in the past few years," said Allcott. "It is considered a major piece of the orchestral literature, and requires precision, flexibility and stamina. We've grown this orchestra to the point where we are ready for this," he added. "The University Orchestra is akin to a baseball team. To make a run at a championship, the recruiting and retention of players has to be just right. This is the time for us to do this. It's a great group of students."

In addition to the many music majors in the orchestra there are many non-majors in the orchestra who play for the love of music. The concert is free and open to the public.

TTU Researcher Comments On Dam Study

Researchers investigating how large dams can affect local climates say those dams have the clear potential to drastically alter local rainfall in some regions.  A study by researchers at Tennessee Tech University, Purdue University, the University of Colorado and the University of Georgia concluded that artificial reservoirs can modify precipitation patterns. The study was published in Geophysical Research Letters, and marks the first time researchers have documented large dams having a clear, strong influence on the climate around artificial reservoirs. Tech researcher Faisal Hossain says it's an influence markedly different from the climate around natural lakes and wetlands. He says the results should spur consideration of more robust management of dams and set the stage for further research on the regions and climates to focus on.

Light Agenda Facing Commission Committees

The standing committees of the Putnam County commission face a relatively light agenda as they meet on Valentine's Day.  The planning committee will consider a request from the sheriff's department to transfer two vehicles that are being taken out of service from the county to the Baxter Police Department.  They'll also be talking about what to do with the few furnishings left behind when the Election Commission moved to a new office a couple of years ago.  At least one county commissioner wants to give the portable office partitions and other items to the school system transportation department.  But some say other county department heads should also have the opportunity to claim the items.  Meanwhile, the county's fiscal review committee will be going over budget amendments and quarterly reports.

Arrests Continue In Drug Round-Up

Putnam County law enforcement officials continue rounding up more than fifty individuals indicted on drug charges earlier this year.  March 22nd is the arraignment date for those people facing charges after a year-long undercover investigation.  Police say 30-year-old David A. Burk of Carthage, 30-year-old Joseph Paul Schibik of Cookeville, and 35-year-old Jack Dewayne Toler of Cookeville were picked up last week.  Burk and Schibik are charged with selling cocaine; Toler was indicted for selling hydropmorphone.

Cookeville-Based Company To Add Workers

Cookeville-based Averitt Express says the expansion of its flatbed truck business has now grown to the point where they are looking to hire more drivers.  What began at Averitt Express as a 12-flatbed trailer operation in early 2009 has multiplied into a current fleet of more than 50 drivers and 70 flatbeds. The expansion will require more drivers, according to Randy Hammontree, director of flatbed services. Before the launch, Averitt’s flatbed presence existed only in eight key markets, including Nashville. But, during past couple of years it has expanded to Knoxville, Chattanooga and other markets. The drivers will be added during the second quarter this year, Hammontree said.  He said the company is currently hiring experienced regional and dedicated flatbed drivers in several locations throughout its network. Persons interested in learning more or applying may do so by visiting

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Putnam Business Owner Charged With Tax Evasion

A Putnam County business owner has been charged with tax evasion after an investigation by the Tennessee Department of Revenue. That investigation that led to the indictment of 53-year-old Deborah Daniels for sales tax evasion. Authorities say Daniels, owner of the Dipsy Doodle Drive-In, turned herself in to the Putnam County Sheriff’s Department this week. Bond was set at $1,000. On Feb. 8, 2011, the Putnam County Grand Jury returned a 12 count indictment for Evasion of Sales Tax in violation of Tennessee law. It's a Class E felony. The indictments charged that Daniels intentionally failed to report sales tax that she had collected from customers totaling $10,373.14 to the state from June 2007 through May 2008.

“When sales tax is collected from the public and not remitted, it is a breach of the public trust and a crime,” said Revenue Commissioner Richard H. Roberts. “The Department of Revenue aggressively pursues criminal sanctions and demands accountability for such actions.”

If convicted, Daniels could be sentenced up to a maximum of two years in the state penitentiary and fined $3,000 for each count.  Prosecution of this criminal case was pursued by the department in cooperation with District Attorney General Randy York’s office. Commissioner Roberts expressed his appreciation for the excellent cooperation the department has enjoyed with General York. Citizens who suspect violations of Tennessee’s revenue laws should call the toll-free tax fraud hot line at (800) FRAUDTX (372-8389).

The Department of Revenue is responsible for the administration of state tax laws and motor vehicle title and registration laws established by the legislature and the collection of taxes and fees associated with those laws. The Department of Revenue collects approximately 91 percent of total state tax revenue. During the 2009-2010 fiscal year, the department collected $10.1 billion in state taxes and fees. In addition to collecting state taxes, the Department of Revenue collects taxes for local, county and municipal governments. During the 2009-2010 fiscal year, local government collections by the Department of Revenue exceeded $1.9 billion. In collecting taxes, the department enforces the revenue laws fairly and impartially in an effort to encourage voluntary taxpayer compliance. The department also apportions revenue collections for distribution to the various state funds and local units of government. To learn more about the department, log on to

Burks Election Contest To Be Decided By March 31

The ad hoc committee which will be deciding whether there is any merit to the contest of the election of State Senator Charlotte Burks has now agreed on a schedule for resolving the issue. Republican Gary Steakley, who lost the election, filed the contest, saying that he believes some of the voting machines in Putnam County were tampered with. The committee on Thursday set March 24th as the date that they will hear the matter in full, with plans to issue a full report by the end of March. They also set deadlines for the lawyers representing Steakley and Burks to file briefs and gather evidence. Michael Giamo attended the hearing to represent Steakley. Craig Fickling is the lawyer for Burks. And while Giamo said that local election officials had not provided Steakley with some documents he had requested, election commission attorney John Harris said all public records requests had been honored. He said the only items not provided were those considered exempt under attorney-client work product. Burks has been provisionally seated as a senator until the contest is decided.

Monterey Police Report Scam Phone Calls

Monterey's Hilltop Express newspaper is reporting that someone has been trying to scam local residents by claiming that the Monterey police department needs their help with a fundraiser. According to the paper, several residents have reported getting calls from someone who says they are raising funds for the Department and asking for donations. Monterey Police Chief Kevin Phillips said that there is no such fundraiser going on and that the calls are "a scam." He said one such caller even called his mother asking for donations.

Valentines Day Special Offered For Tech Games

Tennessee Tech is offering a Sweetheart Special for Monday's Valentine's Day men's basketball game when Tennessee State visits. Fans can purchase two tickets for the price of one for the 7 p.m. game against the Tigers. Tech and TSU are both locked in a tight race for the OVC championship. The Tigers took the measure of the Golden Eagles in Nashville last month and coach Mike Sutton's team will look to avenge that loss in front of a home crowd in the Eblen Center. Gates will open at 6 p.m. with tipoff at 7. Tech officials say rumors have also been swirling of a possible blizzard for the game against Tennessee State -- the non-slippery kind that won't keep any fans from getting to the arena. For tickets or more information on the Sweetheart Special, call the Athletics Ticket Office in Eblen Center (931) 372-3940.

Hospital Officials Report Drug OD Cases

Hospital officials in Cookeville report treating at least 16 young people who tried to get high on bath salts or plant food. They say the substances are being injected, ingested, snorted or smoked. Dr. Sullivan Smith, emergency medicine specialist, told the Herald-Citizen that users become paranoid and agitated, and may suffer high blood pressure and a fast heart rate, among other ailments. Two of the 16 patients were treated in an intensive care unit. Smith said he has alerted law enforcement officials and state legislators about the issue. Representative Ryan Williams of Cookeville and State Senator Charlotte Burks of Monterey are now sponsoring a bill to outlaw six ingredients used to make the bath salts.

Crash On I-40 Claims Two Lives

The Cookeville district of the Tennessee Highway Patrol reports that two men were killed in a wreck on I-40 in Cumberland County Wednesday afternoon. The THP says the two were involved a tractor trailer accident near mile marker 327. According to reports, 41-year-old Walter L Burkins Junior of Memphis was driving the truck, which had been contracted to carry mail for the US Postal Service, when it swerved several times before leaving the roadway. The truck then struck a tree, finally coming to rest in the woods. Both Burkins and his co-driver, 27-year-old Anthony Terrance Anderson of Holly Springs, Mississippi, were killed in the accident. Officers noted that the roadway was clear and dry at the time of the accident. The cause of the wreck is still under investigation.

Winter Weather Hits Region Again

The standard advice applies for Cookeville area motorists who are travelling the roads today. Road crews say they have been concentrating on trying to keep the major roads clear of the snowfall that began Wednesday afternoon and continued for several hours into the evening. The unusually active winter season caused shortages in the salt supply late last month, but a spokesman for the Tennessee Department of Transportation says they have since receieved more than 500 tons of salt at the Nashville salt bin. TDOT had been prepared to conserve salt by using a salt-brine mixture, and some towns in Putnam County are using a calcium chloride product that also helps to melt ice and snow. But officials say several roads in the area will be hazardous today and advise you to stay home if you can. The good news, according to the weather service, is that the temperatures will warm up starting tomorrow, with no expected precipitation for the next few days.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Man Charged With Trespassing At Church

Trespassing and vandalism charges have been brought against a Cookeville man, who reportedly fell through the ceiling tiles of a local church this month. According to police, it happened on a Wednesday night when 23-year-old Phillip Edward Coggins of Ditty Road entered the United Pentecostal Church on South Walnut Avenue and went into a men's restroom there. A church member did not recognize him as a member of the congregation and went to question him. That's when, according to reports, Coggins climbed up into the ceiling, apparently trying to get away, before crashing through. He did about four hundred dollars in damage in the process.

Hearing Scheduled For Election Contest

State Senator Charlotte Burks of Monterey will be seeking to recover attorney's fees when a committee of the Tennessee General Assembly rules on a contest of her election, filed by her opponent, Gary Steakley. A committee hearing the contest is meeting on Thursday for an organizational session and to decide what course to take on the matter. Steakley says in the complaint that he should be declared the winner or that the election should be voided because of what he terms "tampering" involved with some of the voting machines. But local election officials have said that while procedures weren't strictly followed in setting up the machines, nothing was done that affected the count or the eventual outcome of the race -- which Burks won. Burks' lawyer is asking the committee to dismiss the complaint and to rule it "frivolous" in nature. If they do so, the committee is allowed, under the law, to tax Steakley with the cost of Burks legal bill in defending the challenge.

Chamber Plans Annual Membership Meeting

The Cookeville-Putnam County Chamber of Commerce is holding its Seventh Annual Chamber Membership meeting in a couple of weeks, and organizers are now planning the program.  The meeting will be held on Tuesday, February 22nd at 5:30 in the afternoon. NASA astronaut Barry Wilmore has been scheduled as the keynote speaker. The event will be held at the Leslie Town Centre, and tickets are $75 per person or $600 for a table. Chamber officials say seating is limited, so you should reserve your ticket as soon as possible. You can do so by calling Dianne Callahan at the chamber at 526-2211.

Tech Showcasing Engineering Week Activities

Tennessee Tech University will be showcasing engineering education later this month during its annual Engineers' Week celebration. This year, organizers are encouraging area students, alumni and community members to watch some of the fun activities associated with engineering education and the annual competition for "Best Darn Major."The Engineering Joint Council plans and facilitates Engineers' Week on campus every February, and they are inviting students from Cookeville high School, Avery Trace Middle School, and Prescott Middle School to watch the activities. "This year's events, scheduled for February 21st through the 24th, include competitions, like the Cardboard Canoe Contest and the 26th annual Egg Launch. The week will also feature something called "Engineering A Future," a program to encourage young girls to foster an interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

New Doctor Joins Staff At CRMC

Internist Dr. Tatiana O. Guta-Chesnut has joined the staff at Cookeville Regional Medical Center. Dr. Chesnut is joining the Hospitalist program and will be specializing in and focusing solely on taking care of patients who have been admitted to the hospital. Dr. Chesnut received her medical degree in 1993 from the University of Medicine and Pharmacy of Cluj Napoca in Romania. She completed her residency in Internal Medicine at St. Barnabas Hospital in Bronx, NY. Dr. Chesnut is Board Certified in Internal Medicine.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Williams Co-Sponsors Constitutional Amendment

State Representative Ryan Williams of Cookeville has been assigned to seats on the House Education Committee and the Health and Human Resources Committee. According to the legislature's website, Williams has now sponsored a bill that creates a Class A misdemeanor for producing, manufacturing, selling or offering to sell any product containing any of six listed synthetic derivatives or analogues of the Schedule I controlled substance methcathinone. He has also signed on as a co-sponsor to House Joint Resolution 32. That's a proposed Constitutional Amendment that "prohibits public officials in Tennessee from taking any action that would violate the public policy that every person is free to choose or decline to choose any mode of securing health care services." The resolution's prime sponsor is Representative Glen Casada of Franklin, but Williams and 29 other representatives are signed on as co-sponsors.

Court Date Set For Alleged Cattle Thief

A March 7th court date has been set for a Sparta man, accused of what is essentially an attempt to do some modern day cattle rustling. The Putnam County sheriff's department says 26-year-old Shaun Craig Sherrill of Glade Creek Road was at a farm on Martin Creek Road last week. He had reportedly backed his pick-up to the barn when the farmer found him and held him at gunpoint until authorities arrived. Sherrill claimed that he had been hired to haul cattle from that location, but had no paperwork to confirm that story. He was charged with criminal trespassing and criminal attempt, which authorities say is the attempt to commit what would have been a crime if he had not been caught. The ten cows that were being raised on the farm were valued at nearly ten thousand dollars.

Property Tax Bills Due At The End Of The Month

Putnam County trustee Freddie Nelson says that local property owners now have less than three weeks remaining to pay their 2010 property taxes without a penalty.  The deadline for payment is February 28th, which falls on a Monday this year.  After the deadline, penalties and interest begin to be applied to the amount of tax due at the rate of one and a half percent per month. Nelson says, right now, about half of us have paid our current property tax bill, although more people have been coming to the Trustee's office in recent days to take care of it. Notices were first mailed out to property owners back in October. Anyone with questions about their tax bill can call the Trustee's office at 526-8845.

Local Prof Updates Book On Kurds

A Tennessee Tech professor says the Iraqi Kurds are once again in the news as Iraq starts exporting crude oil from a Kurdish region oilfield. Dr. Michael Gunter has just released updated information in a book about the Kurds, who he says are the largest nation in the world without its own independent state. Gunter's second edition of "Historical Dictionary of the Kurds" from Scarecrow Publishing expands on the first edition through an updated chronology, an introductory essay, an expanded bibliography, maps, photos, and more than 300 cross-referenced dictionary entries on significant persons, places, events, institutions, and aspects of culture, society, economy, and politics. Gunter says about 30 million Kurds live in the area straddling the mountainous borders where Turkey, Iran, Iraq, and Syria converge in the Middle East.

TTU Softball Season Starts This Weekend

The Golden Eagle softball team begins its 2011 season Saturday as it takes part in the Georgia State Tournament. Tech begins with Syracuse and finishes the day against the host Georgia State. Coach Tory Acheson brings back an experienced group of players -- including six seniors and five juniors in a 24-player roster. During the previous two seasons the Golden Eagles have featured only one senior. Acheson is returning for his 13th season at the helm.

Auditions Set For New Backstage Show

Auditions are scheduled Wednesday evening for the next production in the Backstage series at the Cookeville Performing Arts Center. Officials say it's a play called QED by Peter Parnel. It's being directed by Michael Birdwell. The auditions are scheduled to start at 4 pm and will consist of readings from the script. Meanwhile, the final shows of the current Backstage production, "Doubt," will be held Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights at 7:30. You can call 528-1313 for more information.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Police Report 3rd Hispanic Store Robbery

Cookeville police have reported the third armed robbery in just over two weeks at a Hispanic business. The latest victim was the La Tienda Hispana grocery on the corner of 4th Street and Washington Avenue, which was robbed between 8:30 and nine o'clock Saturday night. This time, three men were involved, although only one of them pulled a gun on the clerk. They got away in what was described as a small, silver-colored four door vehicle.

A Pikeville woman is reportedly recovering at a Chattanooga hospital after falling from a bluff in Monterey. Officials with the Putnam County Rescue Squad say the 24-year-old woman apparently got too close to the edge of a drop-off behind a home on Poplar Street early Sunday morning.

Putnam County officials say they don't know what caused a fire that destroyed a mobile home on Elmore Town Road outside of Baxter early Monday. Passersby saw smoke and flames coming from the home about 4 am. Authorities say the homeowner was out of town at the time and no one was injured, but the home itself was severely damaged.

Hayes, Darling Gain OVC Honors ... Again

Behind a pair of solid performances in Tennessee Tech's two wins against Eastern Kentucky and Morehead State, junior guard Tacarra Hayes and junior center Brittany Darling have once again earned Ohio Valley Conference weekly awards. Hayes was named the OVC Player of the Week and Darling the OVC Newcomer of the Week. The honors were announced Monday by the OVC office. This is the fifth time Hayes has been named the OVC Player of the Week and the third time this season. It's the sixth time Darling has been named the OVC Newcomer of the Week.

Putnam Schools Begin Snow Day Make-up

With continuing winter storms, the plan to start making up snow days in Putnam County will begin next week.  School officials say it will start with a longer school day. Starting Monday, February 14th, schools in Monterey are extending the day by 30 minutes. Monterey has missed 15 days of school so far this year. Meanwhile, all students in Putnam County will attend class on Feb. 21, originally scheduled as Presidents Day holiday. Once the snow days built into the calendar are used up, all students in the county will be going longer every day -- and they may have to extend the end of the school year to get in all of the required 180 days of instruction. But officials say, at this point, they still have no plans to cancel Spring Break.

Winter Weather To Hang Around Thru Midweek

It's not over yet. That's the message from the National Weather Service when it comes to winter weather. Meteorologist Trevor Boucher tells the Tennessean newspaper that Tuesday's high will be, maybe, just above freezing, with partly sunny skies giving way to cloudy conditions late Tuesday evening into Wednesday morning as another winter storm moves into the area. And, according to Boucher, this "might be one of the strongest'' that the area has seen this winter. He says we could see anywhere from two to four inches of accumulating snow, with road conditions that could be hazardous on Wednesday and remain that on Thursday when the temperature WON'T get above freezing.

TTU Students Outperform Wall Street Brokers

A group of Tennessee Tech University business students has outperformed Wall Street and other university groups to win TVA's Investment Challenge in 2010. By posting a 34.67 percent return, the TTU students beat the S&P 500 return by more than 19 percentage points, and they topped the average return for competitors by almost 17 percentage points. Since the challenge's inception in 1998, Tennessee Tech students have won the challenge four times-1998, 1999, 2007 and 2010-and have come in second twice. The best performing stocks for TTU students included Netflix, Apple, Amazon and Cree. TTU's performance netted its College of Business a cash prize of about $12,200.

In TTU's program, students recommend and discuss potential purchases. After individual research by each member, the class votes whether to purchase the stock.Undergraduate and graduate on-campus students made up the investment team. In 1998, TVA allocated $1.9 million from its Nuclear Decommissioning Fund to initiate the Investment Challenge. Originally, 19 universities received investment funds of $100,000 apiece. The program has expanded to include 24 universities, and the funds total approximately $10 million. Participating universities include Middle Tennessee State University, Austin Peay State University and Tennessee State University as well as the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, University of Mississippi and University of Kentucky.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Cookeville Man Indicted In Wilson County

A Wilson County grand jury has indicted a Cookeville man on two misdemeanor counts of assault in connection with a confrontation between the man and an off-duty Mt. Juliet police officer. 61-year-old Ernest W. Paulus Jr. was arrested Jan. 27 and booked into the Wilson County Jail; he was released later that day on a $2,500 bond. He will be arraigned next month. Paulus is charged with assaulting Mt. Juliet Police Cpl. Paul Foutch after the two men exchanged hand gestures and words about 7:30 a.m. Jan. 3 after they exited Interstate 40.

TTU Schedules Black History Month Events

February will be a busy month for Tennessee Tech University's Minority Affairs Office as it showcases events for Black History Month.  Black History Month is jumpstarted by the six-part film series "Roots," which tells the story of African-American life based on Alex Haley's family history, featuring notable events in U.S. history such as the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, slave uprisings and emancipation. The series continues at 6:30-8 p.m., Feb. 10, 17, and 24, in Room 110, Volpe Library Media Center. The installments to be shown at TTU are from the 1977 TV series.

"My hope for this year's Black History Month is that the TTU family and Cookeville community would take advantage of all of the great activities that we've planned in an effort to come together to reflect on and celebrate the lives of black people and their positive contribution to this country," said Robert Owens, director of Minority Affairs.

TTU welcomes independent theater stage actor Cedric Liqueur of London, England, on Feb. 7 and Feb. 8 for an event titled "Two Nights One Man." Liqueur will present a one-man theatrical production depicting the lives of Buffalo Soldier George Jordan of the 9th Calvary on Monday night and Major League Baseball player Leroy "Satchel" Paige on Tuesday night. Both productions will be held at 6 p.m. in the Backdoor Playhouse. Light refreshments will be served.

Black women will be honored Friday, Feb. 25, at the "Black Girls Rock" event, which will be held at 6 p.m. in the Roaden University Center's Leona Lusk Officer Black Cultural Center. The event is open to women only.

The annual Malcolm Moya Gospel Extravaganza hosted by TTU's Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity and Trinity Baptist Church will be held at 2 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 20, in the RUC's Multipurpose Room.

The annual soul food dinner is set for 6 p.m. Monday, Feb. 28, in RUC's Multipurpose Room. The menu features foods commonly referred to as "soul food," such as: turnip greens, green beans, mashed potatoes, fried chicken, pork chops, and sweet potato pie.

For more information about any of these events, contact TTU's Minority Affairs Office, 931-372-3392.