Thursday, March 31, 2011

Cookeville Council To Consider B & B Regs

The Cookeville city council is the next stop for a review of regulations that may increase the number of bed and breakfast businesses in town.  The city planning commission this week voted to allow bed and breakfast establishments in most residential neighborhoods. Under the proposed minimum requirements, B&Bs would be allowed in a majority of single-family zones where such private inns are now banned. Supporters of the idea say B & B's could add charm to Cookeville and attract tourists. The planning commission had studied the issue for several weeks, and the Cookeville Planning Department had reviewed similar regulations in several cities across the state.

TTU To Start Renovation On Henderson Hall

Tennessee Tech's Henderson Hall, home of the College of Arts and Sciences and many of its departments, including English and History, will undergo major renovations this summer and into the fall. Officials say the project will cause classes that normally meet in the building to be scheduled elsewhere on campus for the summer and fall semesters. The building was initially constructed in 1931, and the renovation project includes replacing the roof, replacing the heating/air conditioning fan coil units throughout the building, installing a sprinkler system throughout the building, and upgrading the electrical system in the building. There will be some periods during the summer when the entire building will have to be closed for the electrical work. Tech says the renovations will begin in early June and will be completed during the fall semester, hopefully by Thanksgiving. Classrooms will not be available in Henderson Hall during the summer or fall semesters. Classes that would normally meet in Henderson Hall are being scheduled elsewhere for these semesters.

Hearing On Election Contest Postponed

A committee of the State Senate had to postpone its plan to hear evidence on Thursday in a contest of election filed against Senator Charlotte Burks by her Republican opponent last November, Gary Steakley.  Committee chair Jamie Woodson says the committee received correspondence from a physician, stating that Steakley was unable to be there.  After a brief discussion, the committee re-scheduled the hearing for April 28th.  Steakley has made several allegations concerning the way the November election was conducted, but local election officials say most of the complaints are simply not true.

Talk On The End Of The World Slated In Cookeville

You may have heard the prediction that the world is coming to an end next year. The 2012 date is said to be in conjunction with the Mayan calendar, but next Tuesday, April 5, Edwin Barnhart, director of the Maya Exploration Center in Austin, Texas, will visit Tennessee Tech University to discuss why it is a misconception. Barnhart's lecture, entitled "2012 and the End of Time, Misunderstanding the Maya Calendar," will be held in Clement Hall 313 at 3 p.m.

He says the Mayan society viewed time as circular, and 2012 is when one of the Maya calendar eras ends and a new era begins. Organizers say the lecture will give the audience a good understanding of the Mayan culture, their calendars and mathematical notations. The lecture will be illustrated with pictures of pre-Columbian Mayan art and architecture. Barnhart's involvement in Mayan studies began in 1990 as an archaeological intern in the ruins of Copan, Honduras. In January 1996, he was invited to return to Copan and help the University of Pennsylvania excavate the early acropolis and the tomb of the city's lineage founder. The presentation is a Center Stage event that is free and open to the public.

Brass Quintet To Do Rock And Roll Show

The Brass Arts Quintet at Tennessee Tech University will present a free concert at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, April 4, in Wattenbarger Auditorium of the Bryan Fine Arts Building, located on the TTU campus at 1150 N. Dixie Ave. The program will feature members of the group in works from the '50s onward. The program explores the evolution of Rock and Roll music as an important influence on popular music, and features selections by important innovators including Elvis Presley, the Beatles, and Blood, Sweat, and Tears. Program selections range from early Doo-Wop hits including "Duke of Earl" and "I Wonder Why" to "I am the Walrus" by the Beatles and "Wipe Out" by The Surfaris. A special aspect of the multimedia concert will be projections of important record album covers and photographs of the artists featured on the program.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Nephrologist Joins CRMC Staff

Nephrologist Freedom Ikedionwu, MD has joined the staff at Cookeville Regional Medical Center and will be joining the Physician Associates of Cookeville Regional with fellow nephrologist Lee Ray Crowe, MD in his office at 128 North Whitney in Cookeville. Dr. Ikedionwu is Board certified and re-certified in both Internal Medicine and Nephrology. Dr. Ikedionwu received his medical degree in 1985 from the University of Ilorin in Nigeria. He did his Internship at Meharry Medical College and Internal Medicine Residency at SUNY Downstate/Kings County Hospital in Brooklyn, New York. He received his Nephrology Fellowship training at Harvard Medical School (Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Beth Israel/Deaconess Hospital) in Boston, Massachusetts. Dr. Ikedionwu as part of his fellowship program received special training in Diabetic Kidney Diseases at Joslin Diabetic Center, Boston.  Upon completing his fellowship training in 1994, Dr. Ikedionwu established an Internal Medicine and Nephrology private practice in Lawton, Oklahoma where he practiced for over 16 years prior to coming to Cookeville. Nephrology involves the diagnosis and treatment of diseases and conditions of the kidneys. Dr. Ikedionwu has special interest and training in managing Hypertension and Kidney Diseases related to Diabetes.  Dr. Ikedionwu and his wife have five children.

Three Charged In Home Invasion Case

Aggravated robbery charges have been filed against a Cookeville woman and two male accomplices from Jackson County, who allegedly forced their way into a mobile home on East 20th Street this week and robbed a man living there.  Police identified the suspects as 22-year-old Cammy Sunshine Allison of Old Qualls Road, 28-year-old Michael Gene Lynch of Seven Knobs Road, Gainesboro, and 31-year-old John Filmore Thomason of Mansell Hill Road, Gainesboro.  Police say it was during the day on Tuesday when Allison allegedly provided information about the victim to Lynch and Thomason, who then forced their way into the home.  The three were arrested later that same day after police conducted an investigation. They'll be in court on the charges April 25th.

County Receives Grant To Improve Archives

Putnam County is one of 17 communities across Tennessee that is receiving grant funding from Secretary of State Tre Hargett's office to improve its local archives for preservation of public records. The county will receive $4,500. The Office of the Secretary of State is distributing a total of $45,500 statewide. The grant funds may be used to purchase equipment, supplies or furnishings used to help salvage, restore, preserve or index the community's records. The grant program was established in 1998. Putnam County's archives are located in the lower level of the new County Clerk's office on South Dixie Avenue. But officials said this week that the archive section of that building will be closed for the next ten days or so to accommodate the construction of a canopy over the entrance.

"The records contained in these archives may be extremely important to historians long after we are gone," Rep. Ryan Williams said. "It is wise to spend money now to make sure these records are properly maintained and accessible to the public."

TBI Releases Crime On Campus Report

A new report shows that there was one rape, and two incidents of kidnapping on the campus of Tennessee Tech University in the year 2010. There was also one report of robbery and one of what's called "forcible fondling." The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation on Wednesday released the 2010 "Crime on Campus" Report which shows a statewide decrease of crime on Tennessee’s campuses after a slight spike in reported offenses for the previous year. Prior to 2009, the state saw a decrease of crime on campus every year between 2004 and 2008. At Tech, the most common crimes are still listed as either theft or vandalism, but there were also 25 burglaries reported, 24 drug violations, and 22 assaults. University officials say arrests were made in both the robbery and kidnapping cases.

TTU Habitat Sponsoring 'Shack-a-thon'

Tennessee Tech University's chapter of Habitat for Humanity is sponsoring a special campus event on Friday, April 1, called Shack-a-Thon. Groups and organizations are encouraged to participate in five-six person teams by building and decorating a "shack" on the Main Quad beginning at 6 p.m. on Friday. Games, food, door prizes, and teamwork will all be part of the festivities. TTU faculty members will serve as judges between 10-11 p.m. on Friday night; participants will stay overnight in their shacks and final prizes will be awarded at 9 a.m. Saturday morning. The $25 group fee goes directly toward the campus chapter goal to fully fund a TTU collegiate build for Habitat.

81-Year-Old Cookeville Woman Sent To Prison

A federal judge in Nashville has sentenced an 81-year-old Cookeville woman to three years in prison on her guilty plea to an online fraud scheme.  Court officials say Mary L. Hopson was sentenced after an appearance this month before federal District Court Judge William J. Haynes.  She was also ordered to pay more than $64,000 in restitution and given three years of supervised release following her prison term. U.S. Attorney Jerry E. Martin says Haynes rejected the argument by Hopson's lawyer that the propensity to commit crimes decreases with age, noting that Hopson wasn't accused of a crime before she was 64 years old. The government said Hopson and her son John Hopson offered cutlery through online auction sites and then used customers' credit card accounts for their own purchases and never sent the ordered merchandise. John Hopson is scheduled be sentenced April 22.

Putnam County Among 'Healthiest' In Tennessee

Putnam County is among the healthiest counties in Tennessee, according to a report released today by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. It's based on research conducted by the University of Wisconsin. Williamson County continues to have the healthiest residents in Tennessee and Benton County is the least healthy county in the state, according to the annual County Health Rankings. But Putnam County ranks as the seventh most healthy place to live in the state -- ahead of all of the major metropolitan areas and all other counties in the immediate area. In fact, according to the report, Fentress County, which is just northeast of Putnam, ranks as one of the least healthy in the state. Officials say people there are about three times more likely to die than those in Putnam County. Researchers used five measures to assess the level of overall health or “health outcomes” for Tennessee by county: the rate of people dying before age 75, the percent of people who report being in fair or poor health, the numbers of days people report being in poor physical and poor mental health, and the rate of low-birthweight infants. They also looked at: rates of adult smoking, adult obesity, excessive drinking among adults, and teenage births; the number of uninsured adults, availability of primary care providers, and preventable hospital stays; rates of high school graduation, adults who have attended college, children in poverty; and community safety; access to healthy foods and air pollution levels.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Charges Pending In Theft Of Antique

Two Putnam County men have been charged with theft of property for allegedly stealing an antique piece of machinery called a "mowing cycle."  The mower was intended to be horse-drawn, but had metal parts, which police say the thieves later sold as scrap.  They reportedly got about $120 for the scrap metal, although the value of the antique was estimated at ten times that amount. Police say even after the sale was completed, the owner was able to recover the item, and an investigation led them to charge 18-year-old Jordan Adcock of Cookeville and 19-year-old Joshua Hammons of Baxter. They'll be in court on April 25th. Meanwhile, in a separate case, 20-year-old Dylan Pace Riddle of Sparta was charged with theft of property after allegedly tryiing to leave the Sears store last week without paying for some video game accessories he had picked up.

Several Spring Events Planned In Cookeville

A number of events are coming up in the Cookeville area over the next few days, starting with ART à la carte at 121 West Broad Street hosting the Highland's Redbuds Celebration kickoff on Friday. The Celebration Review is from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. and a reception is scheduled from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Admission is free and light refreshments will be served. Organizers say you can learn about the cultural, educational, recreational, and environmental events taking place in the Highlands of the Upper Cumberland throughout the month of April. Meanwhile, on Saturday, the Putnam County Master Gardeners will continue their spring series with a talk about lawn care; the Appalachian Craft Center will be having their 13th Annual Celebration of Craft, and "Dogapalooza" will be held from 1 to 5 pm at Dogwood Park.  Admission is two dollars to that event, which is presented by the city's Leisure Services Department and features various animal demonstrations, an off-leash play area, vendors, a kid's dog show and a live music concert.

Tech Professor's Research Improves US Defense

Our nation's defensive tracking methods are improving thanks to the work of a Tennessee Tech University electrical and computer engineering professor. TTU's Ali T. Alouani — along with co-inventors John E. Gray of King George, Va., and Denis Hugh McCabe of Fredericksburg, Va. — have created a method recently patented by the U.S. Navy that distributes the processing of information and measurements gathered from multiple sources at varying times to make threat assessment more accurate.

"Essentially, it is an algorithm — a series of equations — that functions as a brain, fusing and processing information that further improves defensive tracking using multiple asynchronous sensors," Alouani said. "Anytime more information can be analyzed more quickly and more accurately, better threat assessment quality will result."

The Navy currently uses the Aegis Combat System to coordinate data acquisition, interpretation and decision-making. That system functions for the Navy much like the five senses function for a person, Alouani explained, but instead of eyes and ears, radar is one type of sensor the system uses to gather such information as position, velocity and elevation of possible targets. But not all of the different Aegis-equipped weapons platforms use the same types of sensors. That, combined with the limited bandwidth of current communications technology, has made centralized information processing difficult. While there is limited data sharing across some weapons platforms, primarily cruisers and destroyers, improvements in communication and processing were needed for the multiple types of asynchronous sensors to function more efficiently system-wide.

"Contrary to synchronous sensors, asynchronous sensors provide information signals at different times. This allows for better coverage with fewer resources," Alouani said.

In order for multiple sensors to perform sequential, real-time processing, however, all the sensor nodes would have to "receive the same data, at the same time, and without delays," according to the patent. Therefore, most of the existing track fusion algorithms currently in use by the military are most effective only for synchronized tracks.

"Because the U.S. Navy sensors are distributed across wide geographical areas, the existing assumption that all the data arrive at the same time without delay is not realistic," Alouani said. "The assumption of synchronicity can lead to inconsistent assessment, but the new invention accounts for real-world constraints in target tracking while providing an optimal solution to the problem."

In addition to the use of dissimilar sensors and the limited bandwidth of communications technology, another barrier to using multiple asynchronous sensors to create a real-time scenario is the large volume of data that must be processed by the system. Because of these barriers, the result is out-of-sequence or redundant tracks that can complicate or delay military decision-making, and when it comes to threat assessment, complications and delays can be deadly.

"This becomes a difficult problem to solve for real-time applications when there is a large amount of data being distributed across the network," according to the patent. But Alouani's asynchronous multi-sensor fusion approach overcomes these barriers to create a more accurate single integrated air picture. Alouani's information filtering technique incorporates a track fusion center that combines and processes data generated from all of the single sensor platforms to create a common and more complete picture of the entire operational environment. Ideally, this common tactical picture would be displayed across all levels of the sensor nodes, to military decision-makers and shooters.

"The obvious advantages of having a more accurate picture of the environment is that it will minimize miscorrelations of threats and the creation of false tracks to increase battle-space awareness and
improve reaction time," Alouani said. "This project is proof that teaching and research can be conducted successfully at the same time, and because we are capable of performing such research here, I think it says a lot about the quality of TTU," Alouani said.

Sex Offender Registry Violation Charged

A convicted sex offender, who was last registered as living in Gallatin, Tennessee on December 4, 2008, has now been found to have moved to Putnam County.  Authorities say 37-year-old Joey Edward Lynch turned up at a residence on Woodcliff Road, in Monterey, and was discovered as police were conducting an unrelated investigation. Monterey's Hilltop Express newspaper says Lynch had no ID on him, and says that by the time police discovered his identity, he had left the area and was allegedly hiding at a home in the Hilham community.  He may now be facing charges for failing to properly report his change of address. Lynch had been convicted on April 5, 1999 of attempted aggravated sexual battery.

Progress Continues On Local Rail Trail

A first-year operating budget for the Tennessee Central Heritage Rail Trail has been approved by the Rail Trail Authority.  The $29,000 in one-year expenses now goes to four governmental entities -- Putnam County and the cities of Algood, Cookeville and Monterey. According to the Cookeville Herald-Citizen, the four all make annual contributions to the trail under a 2005 agreement.  The Tennessee Central Heritage Rail Trail is a planned 19-mile hiking and biking path that will run alongside refurbished railroad tracks from Cookeville to Algood and Monterey. Supporters hope that it will ultimately develop into a tourist attraction similar to the trail between Abingdon and Damascus, Virginia.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Steakley Lawyer Withdraws From Case

The lawyer representing Republican Gary Steakley in his contest of election against Senator Charlotte Burks of Monterey has now withdrawn from the case. Gary Blackburn says the two had some disagreements that they could not overcome. Blackburn becomes the second attorney to withdraw from the case, but a Senate committee determining whether the election contest has any merit still plans to hold a final hearing on the matter this Thursday. On Monday, they discussed whether or not to issue subpoenas to force the appearance of several local election officials. Only one of more than half a dozen people that Steakley had wanted to call as witnesses will actually be subpeonaed. Based on Steakley's testimony on Monday, the committee agreed to issue a subpeona to Curtis Shinsky, the officer of election at the Algood School precinct. Committee members apparently felt that sworn statements and depositions given by several other potential witnesses negated the need to have them testify in person.

Craft Center Exhibit Examines Life Cycles

Susannah Zucker's exhibition, "Cycle," is on display at the Appalachian Center for Craft, a satellite campus of Tennessee Tech University.  Free and open to the public, the exhibit will be on display in the Craft Center's Gallery Two through Thursday, April 14. The Craft Center is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. A reception for the artist is scheduled at the gallery from 3 to 5 p.m. on Saturday, April 9. Inspired by the death of a loved one, Zucker's exhibit is a series of large-scale horse figures that represent an investigation of ideas about life cycles.

"They are reminders of our inevitable hunger for something just outside of ordinary human conditions, as we wander through life and cope with its complex challenges," she said.

Zucker uses the carousel form as a context for presenting imagery. With the form, she attempts to deliver a primary visual effect of movement and flight. The steel pole bases lift the horses above eye level and greatly enhance their presence, their fluidity and their airborne gestures. 

"The carousel houses cultural underpinnings that range from an association with the carnival's macabre story of the madness of life, spinning out of control, to an innocent childhood wonderland," Zucker said.

For more information call 372-3051 or visit the Craft Center web site at www.tntech.edu/craftcenter/.

Putnam Man Accused Of Stealing From Cousin

An April 11th court date has been set for a Monterey man, charged with stealing medication from a relative. Authorities say 26-year-old Brigham Whitehead is accused of breaking into the Andy Lane home of his cousin and stealing cash and prescription pills. According to reports, Cookeville police became involved after Whitehead and the victim got into an altercation in a local parking lot. Whitehead allegedly asked his cousin to sell him some pills and, when refused, was later seen running from the scene with a black box that may have contained the pills and more than $700 in cash.  You may recall that Whitehead was also one of four people charged in July of last year with breaking into the Lakeside Deli in Monterey.

Algood Police Warn Of Potential Scam

The Algood police department has issued an advisory about a possible scam. They say they have received reports that someone is telephoning local residents, claiming to be raising money for the department. But Algood police say no such fund-raiser is legitimate. Police chief Jim Eldridge tells the Cookeville Herald-Citizen that someone locally had received a phone call from a man claiming to be helping the police take up money for needy kids.  But he says the Department has not been conducting any such campaign, and says the only time they ever ask for donations is during the Christmas season.  He says the caller asked his would-be victim to leave money in an envelope outside her door, but says that she didn't fall for it.  And he says anyone else getting a similar phone call should also contact police.

Retiring Coach To Be Featured On Channel 4

Mike Sutton
Recently retired Tennessee Tech men's basketball coach Mike Sutton has now sat for an interview with WSMV Nashville sportscaster Terry Bulger. In that talk, Sutton recounts his collegiate coaching career, including the past nine seasons at the helm of the Golden Eagles. The interview is scheduled to air Tuesday evening on Channel 4, toward the end of the 6:30 p.m. newscast. Later in the week, Sutton will be in Houston at the NCAA Final Four to attend the presentation of the 2011 Skip Prosser Man of the Year Award. Sutton is one of 15 national finalists for that honor.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Lions Club Sponsors Eye Doctor Visit

Organizers say you've seen his name associated with state-of-the-art vision care in Tennessee for years, and on Thursday night, March 31, Dr. Ming Wang will give a presentation at Tennessee Tech University. Hosted by the TTU Lions Club, Wang's appearance will be at 7 p.m. in the Donald N. Ervin Auditorium of Johnson Hall. Wang will speak about a number of topics associated with eye health. Topics of his educational seminar may include recent advancements in ocular surgery, necessary characteristics for a successful career in medicine or science, and the effects of a government-controlled healthcare system on medical treatment. Wang earned his doctor of medicine degree from Harvard University and his doctor of philosophy degree from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is a clinical professor of ophthalmology at the University of Tennessee and the founding director of the Wang Vision Institute and the Vanderbilt Laser Sight Center. Wang is also the founding president of the Tennessee Chinese Chamber of Commerce. He is an attending surgeon at St. Thomas Hospital and is the author of numerous research articles in prestigious science journals. Wang holds several U.S. patents for biotechnology inventions regarding sight restoration. Although Wang's presentation is free and open to the public, the TTU Lions Club will be accepting donations for its Relay for Life team to benefit the American Cancer Society.

Burks Seeking Suggestions On Hypodermic Waste

State Senator Charlotte Burks of Monterey says that something needs to be done about the environmental impact of used hypodermic needles. Burks is sponsoring a bill this year that would require the state commissioner of health to report on or before January 31, 2012, with legislative recommendations concerning issues involved in the disposing of needles. The report would be put together for legislative committees after the health commissioner consulted with the commissioner of environment and conservation and others. As for the cost, officials say there should not be a significant increase in expenditures for the Department to collect the necessary information, consult with the necessary groups including the Department of Environment and Conservation, and formulate recommendations for the report. A committee vote on the House version of the bill is scheduled for tomorrow. It is still under study in the Senate.

Algood School Prepares For Governor's Visit

Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam will be in Putnam County Monday having a "friendly conversation" about what's going in the local schools.  Meanwhile, First Lady Crissy Haslam will continue her education roundtable discussions with parents at Algood Elementary School with members of a local committee which seeks to improve parental involvement in their child's education.  Mrs. Haslam will be joined by parents and guardians of school-age children all across Putnam County. The event is scheduled for 9:45 am.

Blood Drive To Honor Local Paramedic

Brandon Smith, the public affairs officer for the Putnam County EMS, says that an event is scheduled next week in honor of paramedic Carmen Burnette.  Smith says that on Tuesday, April 5, emergency responders from across the Upper Cumberland will join together to "give the gift of life" in honor of paramedic Burnette, who died suddenly during surgery to correct a job-related injury. Since that time, plans have been made for a tribute to her work in the community, and to benefit the Carmen Burnette CPR Education Foundation.

"Carmen was well-known in the Upper Cumberland for her work with EMS agencies and the CPR programs. We wanted to do something to honor her memory and continue the work she loved so much," said Rachel Smith, event coordinator.

The event will begin at 7 a.m. Tuesday April 5, and will go until 6 p.m. at the Cookeville Blood Assurance office. The event will host not only a blood drive, but will have emergency vehicles on display for children and families to learn more about careers like that of Burnette.  Financial contributions will also be accepted for the Carmen Burnette CPR Education Foundation that was created by her family to help teach more students how to save lives in their communities.  The event is open to the public, and Blood Assurance will be setup with extra staff to aid in the donations. For more information about this event, visit www.carmenburnette.com or visit the Putnam County EMS Facebook page.

Cookeville Man Killed In Florida Plane Crash

A Cookeville man has died while performing at an air show in Florida. Authorities say a single-engine stunt plane broke formation during the airshow in Flagler County, Florida and crashed, killing the pilot. Carl Laundrie, a spokesman for Flagler County, told The Florida Times-Union that the crash happened Saturday afternoon. The Florida Highway Patrol identified the pilot as 58-year-old William Walker of Cookeville. Walker was flying a Yak-52, which was originally designed as a Soviet warplane and now is popular at airshows. It wasn't immediately clear what caused the crash. Walker, who was also a local real estate developer, was flying with his Red Thunder Air Show Team. Witnesses said his aircraft failed to pull up from a maneuver and crashed in a ball of fire. The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board are investigating. The Wings Over Flagler Fly-In continued Sunday with fly-overs but no aerobatics.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Carpenter Named Tech's March Ambassador

Amy Jo Carpenter, the Student-to-Career Program manager with the College of Business Student Success Center, has been named the university’s Ambassador of the Month for March for her "selflessness and devotion" to the college's students.
"I have watched Ms. Carpenter give her all to every student that walks through her door," said student John Woodard in nominating Carpenter for the honor. "She takes time to sit down with students to get to know them and how TTU and the College of Business can help them reach their goals. Every student that comes in contact with Ms. Amy Jo finds her to be extremely helpful. It is employees like Ms. Carpenter that allow Tech to have a competitive edge in everything it does and allows students to fully unleash their awesomeness."

Carpenter has been with the university since July 2002. Ambassador nomination forms are available from TTU’s Human Resource Services or by visiting www.tntech.edu/hr.

Ollie The Otter To Be At Childseat Checkpoint

The Cookeville Police Department, Books-A-Million, Ollie the Otter and the Putnam County EMS will host a Child Seat Checkpoint at Books-A-Million on 401 W. Jackson St., on Thursday, March 31st, from 2 to 4:30 pm. Ollie Otter, Tennessee's booster seat and seat belt safety mascot, will be available along with child seat technicians to check child seats for correct installation and answer any questions that anyone may have about child seat safety and installation.  Books-A-Million will be donating 10 percent of their sales during the event towards the purchase of child safety seats for the Ollie Otter program.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA),. research on the effectiveness of child safety seats has found them to reduce fatal injury by 71 percent for infants younger than a year old,  and by 54 percent for toddlers one to four years old.  Officials say many parents and others who transport children do not understand the potential deadly results from not using a child seat or booster seat at all or using one that is not properly used or secured in a vehicle. Research also shows that high visibility enforcement, accompanied by education is most effective in raising occupant restraint use.

'Backstage' Production Wrapping Up

Frank Kunstler performing in QED at CPAC
Friday and Saturday night mark the final performances in the Backstage Series production of the play QED. Director Mike Birdwell says QED stands for Quantum Electrodynamics. It's a story about Richard Feynman, a Nobel award-winning American physicist played in this production by Frank Kunstler. The play presents scenes from a day in Feynman's life, less than two years before his death. It includes discussions of the Manhattan project, the Challenger disaster, and more personal topics such as the death of Feynman's wife, and his own fight with cancer. Performance times for the show are 7:30 each evening. You can reserve tickets or get more information by calling the Cookeville Performing Arts Center at 528-1313.

Cookeville Docs Developing Robotics Center

Physicians in Cookeville hope to develop what they call the state's first "robotics center of excellence."  It would bring together five specialties: cardio-thoracic, gynecology, urology, general surgery and E-N-T, or ear-nose and throat. Doctors in those fields are currently in training or plan on being trained on robotics surgery technology.  Cookeville Regional Medical Center invested more than $1.5 million in its first da Vinci robot in 2007. In the nearly four years since, according to the Cookeville Herald-Citizen, more than 300 surgeries have been performed.  Doctors hope the robotics center will be operational this year. With a planned multimillion-dollar expansion at the hospital, a room will be solely dedicated for a robot and robotic procedures.

Fincher To Republicans: 'Put Up Or Shut Up'

Rejecting the State Republican party's request that he resign from the state Registry of Election Finance, Cookeville attorney Henry D. Fincher instead challenged the state GOP to "put up or shut up" and present their claim to the state ethics commission or issue a retraction. A month ago, the House Democratic Caucus appointed Fincher as its representative to the state Registry of Election Finance, the state body that enforces campaign finance laws. Yesterday, the Tennessee Republican Party issued a press release alleging a conflict of interest because Fincher has a campaign account from his years as a legislator. The account shows an outstanding loan to Fincher where he put his own money in his 2006 election campaign.

"There is no conflict. The Republicans are doing anything they can to keep me from looking into their campaign finance records," said Fincher.

Fincher noted that no complaint has ever been filed against him or his campaign account, and he has never had any matter before the Registry's board.

"The Republicans know there's no violation here. They could have filed a complaint with the state ethics commission where I can respond to it and defeat it - but they didn't. They are just posturing, and should issue a retraction," said Fincher.

No Injuries Reported From White County Twisters

Authorities in White County say a couple's decision to go to church on Wednesday night may have saved their life.  It was while they were at church that Ben and Geraldine Ancar's mobile home on Will Thompson Road near Cassville Elementary School was apparently lifted into air by a tornado and destroyed.  That same twister did some damage to a home across the street and snapped several utility poles in the area near the intersection of Highway 70 and Highway 136 in White County.  Emergency officials say the tornado warning was issued at 6:55 pm and the warning sirens went off in Sparta.  Emergency personnel confirmed a touchdown a few minutes later, and while the storm was intense it was relatively brief, and officials say no one was injured.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Cookeville Man Indicted For Vehicular Assault

A Cookeville man is now facing criminal charges for seriously injuring a passenger in a vehicle, which authorities say he was driving while drunk.  23-year-old Brandon Scott Keylon of Buck Mountain Road was indicted on charges of DUI, vehicular assault and aggravated assault after evidence concerning the New Year's Day crash was presented to a grand jury. According to authorities, Keylon was driving a truck that landed on its top in the Walmart parking lot about 3:30 in the morning, after running off of Veterans Drive. The 2003 Ford F250 pick-up truck was traveling east bound on East Veterans Drive, when it veered off the right side of the pavement. Police say the vehicle overcorrected and then traveled back across the oncoming lane sliding sideways into a ditch, overturning, and coming to rest in the south side of the Walmart parking lot landing on its top. Keylon was one of two persons found inside the vehicle. The other was identified as Marissa Jones of Paw Paw, Michigan, who suffered injuries severe enough that she required treatment at Vanderbilt Hospital in Nashville. Keylon will be arraigned in Criminal Court on Monday.

Blazes Keeping Firefighters Busy

A series of apparently unrelated fires around Putnam County have kept local firefighters busy over the few days.  In one case, authorities say a one-story wood frame house on Sullins Hollow Road in the extreme western end of the county was destroyed by a blaze Tuesday night.  The homeowner had reportedly been away from the house for about 30 minutes when a passerby noticed flames coming from one of the windows.  Firefighters were unable to save the house, but did preserve an outbuilding.  Meanwhile, some $40,000 in damage was done to several vehicles when a fire broke out at West End Auto Repair Shop.  That fire apparently started in a Camaro that was parked inside the concrete block building.  And, in yet another incident, someone apparently set a boat on fire after it was abandoned at what was described as a "dump site" near Sharon Avenue and Huddleston Drive.  That case has been classifed as an arson.

Job Compensation Study Underway At TTU

Officials at Tennessee Tech University say a job compensation study underway at the school should help them to determine what kind of salaries they should be offering to their administrative and support staff -- while at the same time remaining competitive in the marketplace.  Officials say that with the completion of job analysis questionnaires behind most employees, the job compensation study is moving along on schedule.

A consultant firm has worked with campus administrators to analyze the documentation submitted by employees across campus. The first report generated by the study was presented to the Tennessee Board of Regents earlier this month and approval is anticipated at the June board meeting.  They say this is the first step in a multi-step process to retool the university's compensation and rewards system. Tech President Bob Bell says the incremental implementation of changes will be subject to budget availability, but as funds become available, the study will give the university a systematic approach to develop a foundation from which to operate.

Republicans Call For Local Democrat's Resignation

Some Republicans in Tennessee are calling on Cookeville attorney Henry Fincher to resign from the Registry of Election Finance. Fincher is the former state representative from this area, but lost his re-election bid to the state House last year. He was later named to the campaign finance panel's board by the House Democratic caucus. But Republican spokesman Adam Nickas said Wednesday that Fincher's open campaign account balance of some $34,000 presents a conflict of interest, and that he should either pay off the balance or step down. Fincher loaned the money to his campaign during his first run for office in 2006. He told the Associated Press that he would recuse himself if his account ever came up. He had previously served on the registry's board before his two terms in the House, including a stint as chairman.

Tech Names New Men's Basketball Coach

Steve Payne, the associate head coach of the Tennessee Tech men's basketball program who has served on the staff for the past nine years, was named Wednesday morning as Golden Eagle head coach. Payne, 42, will take over from Mike Sutton, who announced his retirement from the position. Both announcements came in a joint press conference in the Eblen Center.

"I'm obviously excited about this opportunity," Payne said. "I'm thankful to coach Sutton for bringing me here to Tennessee Tech, and to President Bell and Mark Wilson for this opportunity. I also want to thank all the people involved in Tennessee Tech athletics, from the players to the staff, for the support they've shown. I'm extremely excited for all of them to see the future of Tennessee Tech basketball."

Director of Athletics Mark Wilson introduced Payne as Tech's 12th men's basketball head coach.

"Steve Payne has been a tremendous part of the success of Golden Eagle basketball over the last nine years," Wilson said. "He has been extremely loyal to coach Sutton, the basketball program and the university. He has taken on whatever leadership role we've asked of him and had success in those roles. Steve Payne is the right coach to take the foundation that has been laid and build upon it to propel Golden Eagle basketball to greater heights. We believe Steve will be a very popular choice with our fan base and he has been recognized nationally as an up-and-coming young coach. This team has a strong nucleus returning and we don't think they will skip a beat in the transition between the leadership of coach Sutton and the leadership of coach Payne." 

Payne came to Tech in 2002 as assistant coach under Sutton, and has been the top assistant on the staff for nine years, rising to the post of associate head coach.

"I want to thank coach Sutton for taking the chances on a junior college coach from Texas," Payne said. "I have always been proud to represent Tennessee Tech and I am even more so today. When I came here, my goal was to be a Division I coach. After being here, that goal changed. I wanted to be the coach of Tennessee Tech University. Outside of the day I was saved, my marriage and the birth of my children, this is the biggest, most exciting day of my life. I am excited, honored and humbled to be Tennessee Tech's head coach. It is truly a dream come true."

Payne came to Tech as assistant coach, but found himself vaulted into a much more demanding role when Sutton was stricken in 2005 with Guillain-Barre Syndrome, sidelining Sutton for the early portion of that year. With Payne handling the day-to-day operations of the program, the Golden Eagles raced out to an 8-2 start with losses at Dayton and Cincinnati. Payne continued to handle a major portion of the coaching duties for the balance of the year, helping to lead Tech to an 18-11 record and the semifinals of the OVC Tournament. During the past year, Payne headed the Golden Eagles on two Ohio Valley Conference road trips in Sutton's absence, and guided the team to three wins in four games. In his nine years, Payne has helped Tech post 149 wins and two of the program's five 20-win seasons, hitting that mark in 2002-03 and again this past winter.

Following the 2005-06 season, Payne was recognized for the role he played in Tech's success while Sutton began his recovery. He was named OVC Coach of the Year by CollegeInsider.com, and was listed as one of 15 finalists for the Hugh Durham Award honoring the mid-major Coach of the Year. CBSsportsline.com also named him OVC Coach of the Year.

Payne began his career at Tech after serving as the head coach at Frank Phillips Junior College in Borger, Texas. Prior to taking the reins at Frank Phillips JC, Payne was associate head coach for four years at Georgetown (Ky.) College. During his time at Georgetown, the Tigers compiled a 128-22 record, won three conference titles in four years, and won the NAIA national title in 1997-98. The team finished second at the NAIA National Tournament in 1999-00, and advanced to the Sweet 16 two other years. Payne also served as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Northwestern State (La.) University where he helped NSU to its best conference finish in a decade. Before NSU, he was an assistant coach at Union University in Jackson, Tenn., where he was recruiting coordinator and helped lead the team to back-to-back 20-win seasons.

While his title changes, Payne sees the program going through a seamless transition.

"I've always taken ownership of this program. It's different suggesting to the head coach what you think is best for the program, and being the one with the final say, but I feel I'm prepared for this. I've done this before. We have great players, a great staff, and great administration, and I'm looking forward to continuing the upward trend of men's basketball at Tennessee Tech."

Payne said he was greatly influenced by Sutton during the past nine seasons

"Spending nine years around coach Sutton will be a huge benefit," Payne said. "He's a very knowledgeable coach. We've been through a lot and I'm ready to take the next challenge. I want to face what's ahead of us. I appreciate and will always owe a debt of gratitude to Mike Sutton for bringing me here. The lessons I've learned from him over the last nine years cannot be measured. He has taught me so many things, but the main thing is that a basketball program should be about relationships first.  The relationships we have with each other, and with our community, are what make a basketball program special. I couldn't be more proud to be representing a university community and a man in coach Sutton who has handled a very tough situation with such class and poise. I will do my very best to make him and our entire Tech family proud."

Among the challenges Payne faces is continuing to develop pride in the Golden Eagle program.

"We've had some great players in the last nine years," Payne said. "Not only the past nine years, but throughout the history of this program. I've seen firsthand that there's a lot of pride out there in Tennessee Tech basketball, and I'm looking forward to giving our fans and players even more reasons to be proud."

Recruiting and working with the current players is Payne's top priority in the coming weeks.

"We'll continue our recruiting, but the most important people are the guys who are in our program right now," Payne said. "They're the foundation of our team next year. We have to make sure that that they're getting stronger, getting better everyday."

Getting out into the community will be an important part of Payne's plans.

"I want to sell our program. I want our fans to be as passionate about our team and our school as I am. If we can do that, we'll be okay. I want people to invest in this program. We have everything in place to be successful and we're excited about moving forward."

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

TTU Sports To Make Major Announcement

Tennessee Tech Athletics will hold a Press Conference to make a major announcement tomorrow (Wednesday, March 23), beginning at 9 a.m. CT in the Eagles' Nest in Eblen Center. Although not confirmed, the announcement is expected to be about the basketball program. In addition to the media, the public is also welcome to attend.

Internet Crime Task Force Snares Another

The Internet Crimes Against Children task force, which operates within the Cookeville Police Department, has now played a part in the arrest of another suspect for allegedly soliciting sex from a minor.  Police say they worked with authorities in White and Coffee counties to gather evidence against 26-year-old Terry Lynn Edwards of Manchester.  Edwards had allegedly sent a sexually explicit text message to a nine-year-old in Sparta -- one of hundreds that he reportedly sent out to random numbers.  When the child's parents notified authorities, they set up an undercover operation in which an officer pretended to be a minor and they claim Edwards later sent a message soliciting sex from the person he thought was a minor.  He'll be in court on the charge Friday.

CRMC Accepting Roberson Award Nominees

Nominations are now being sought for the Fred H. Roberson Award to be presented to an individual who has made positive and lasting contributions to broaden the scope and quality of health care in Cookeville. The award was established in 1988 to honor long-term Cookeville Regional Medical Center Board member Fred Roberson who served as a trustee for 27 years. Nominations should include a detailed written summary of the individual’s contributions to CRMC and health care in the community. The nominations should be forwarded on or before Friday, April 8, 2011 to the Marketing & Public Relations Department at Cookeville Regional Medical Center. Their address is 1 Medical Center Boulevard. For more information, you can call 783-2629.

Monterey Man Faces Assault Charges

An April 18th court date has been set for a Monterey man charged with domestic assault and child abuse after an allegedly drunken tirade this week.  Police say it happened at the East Louis Avenue home of 42-year-old Eric Preston Foster. According to authorities, Foster was intoxicated when he arrived home and allegedly struck his wife and began breaking things around the house. He is also accused of picking up a crib with his one-year-old child in it and slamming the crib back down.  After being taken into custody, police learned that Foster was also wanted on a fugitive warrant out of Indiana. He was being held without bond pending extradition.

Election Commission To Advertise

The Putnam County Election Commission has decided that the public has too many misconceptions about what did or did not happen during the last election and has voted to purchase advertising in an attempt to explain things.  Election Commission members this week said allegations made as part of a Contest of Election currently being heard in the state Senate have created false impressions about how votes are counted and how well election workers do their jobs.  They say an ad addressing the issue could go a long way toward clearing up any rumors or misconceptions about the election process.  The commission this week also decided to save some money by conducting an Address Verification program as part of the re-districting process the county is about to undertake. Officials say they will save a significant amount of money on postage by not having to do more than one mass mailing.

Jazz and Trombones Featured Saturday at TTU

The 3rd TTU Trombone Day will be presented on Saturday, March 26th, with a series of masterclasses and concerts by the members of The Capitol Bones, a jazz group based in Washington, D.C.  The Capitol Bones have played throughout the country, including performances at jazz clubs, universities and an annual appearance at The Eastern Trombone Workshop in Washington, DC. The day will begin at 9 a.m. with a bass trombone session by Jeff Cortazzo and Jerry Amoury, followed at 10:30 by simultaneous jazz bass, drums, and arranging sessions. At 1:30, there will be a Jazz Improvisation clinic, lead by Jim McFalls, Jay Gibble and Steve Fidyk. This event and all others during the day are free and open to the public. The TTU Trombone Choir, Trombones at Tech, will open the evening's performance at 7:30 p.m. with a few jazz selections before turning the rest of the evening over to the Capitol Bones.

Obscenity Trial Film To Be Screened In Ckvl

A screening of "Howl," a 2010 American experimental film that explores the 1957 obscenity trial of 20th century American poet Allen Ginsberg's noted poem "Howl," is set for 7 p.m. on Thursday, March 24, at the Backdoor Playhouse. The film reconstructs the early life of Ginsberg, played by James Franco, during the 1940s and 1950s and is in black-and-white. It also reenacts Ginsberg's debut performance of "Howl" at the Six Gallery Reading in 1955. The reading was the first important public manifestation of the Beat Generation and helped to herald the West Coast Literary Revolution, which became known as the San Francisco Renaissance. The film also showcases color images of the 1957 obscenity trial of San Francisco poet and City Lights Bookstore co-founder Lawrence Ferlinghetti, who was the first person to publish "Howl." 
 
Poet and Ginsberg scholar Tony Trigilio will introduce the film screening with a reading and lecture. On March 25, Trigilio will lecture to a TTU American literature class about his new book of poems "Historic Diary" dealing with the John F. Kennedy assassination. The lecture will be in the STEM Center Ray Morris Hall Auditorium, and he will teach a creative writing workshop in Henderson Hall 318D at 2 p.m. This "Meditation and Poetics" workshop will fuse creative writing and meditation to generate new angles of vision in engagements with the everyday world. No prior experience with meditation is necessary. These events are sponsored by Center Stage and are free and open to the public. A reception will precede the Thursday screening at 6 pm.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Committee Allows Steakley To Amend Complaint

The ad hoc committee of the Tennessee Senate, which is hearing the contest of election filed by Republican Gary Steakley against Senator Charlotte Burks, met once again Monday to decide whether Steakley should be allowed to amend his complaint. Gary Blackburn is representing Steakley and said the most important duty of the committee is "to make sure that the public can trust their elections, regardless of the outcome."  Blackburn said his amended complaint speaks to that concern. But Craig Fickling, the lawyer for Burks, said the amended complaint should NOT be allowed, both as a matter of law and as a matter of fairness.  Fickling says the law in Tennessee prohibits "substantive amendments" to complaints after certain deadlines. And he says Steakley's amended complaint is completely different than the one he first filed, which had alleged a conspiracy to alter the vote count. Meanwhile, an attorney helping the committee said it was up to that committee to decide whether or not to hear the matter. The committee ultimately voted to accept the amended complaint and to meet again next Monday to talk about witnesses and exhibits. A final hearing on the issue is still scheduled for March 31st.

Sex Offender Registry Violation Charged

Putnam County authorities are reminding anyone on the state's Sex Offender Registry that they have to observe the rules -- even if they are just going about their daily business.  In Monterey this month, 37-year-old Jeffrey Scott Payton of  East Peter Avenue,  who is a registered sex offender, was charged with violating the rules concerning sex offenders after he was noticed walking on a sidewalk, in front of Uffelman Elementary School.  According to Monterey police, they were investigating a citizen's complaint  when they allegedly found Payton walking in front of the school on a sidewalk. An officer pulled up and asked him why he was walking in front of the school, and Payton reportedly replied that he had simply gone to pay his electric bill. Sgt. Chad York told him that he was not allowed around any school and arrested him for violating the terms of the sex offender laws. The Registry lists Payton as having been convicted on Oct. 15, 1993 of indecency with a child.

Monterey Extended School Day Winding Down

Barring any unforeseen events, the students going to school in Monterey are now in their final week of going to class longer every day than other students in the county.  School officials say Monterey schools will continue to extend the school day by 30 minutes, getting out at 3:30 each afternoon through next Monday, March 28th. The additional 30 minutes, which makes the school day in Monterey run from 8 am to 3:30pm is enabling the Monterey schools to make-up the three days they missed over the winter beyond the thirteen snow days which are built into the school calendar. That means they missed a total of sixteen days during this academic year. As of next Tuesday, Monterey students will return to the same schedule as all other schools in the county.  By going an extra thirty minutes, the students were able to take Spring Break last week and will be off on Good Friday, according to the school calendar, which has the last day of school set for May 24th.

Concrete Canoe Competition In Cookeville

Cookeville area residents will be able to see concrete canoes float and steel bridges rise when Tennessee Tech University's civil engineering department hosts the annual American Society of Civil Engineers Southeastern Student Conference this Thursday through Saturday.  The competitions will be held on the Main Quad and in Memorial Gym on Friday and at Cane Creek Park on Saturday. The event is free and open to the public, and anyone is invited to attend any part of the competition. The student-organized event is expected to have more than 835 students representing 26 schools from around the world and will include 70 judges and participation by at least 50 other TTU faculty and staff. More than 150 middle school students will also visit campus to see the concrete canoe and steel bridge displays and tour the STEM Center.
"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 race is set for 8:15 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday at Cane Creek Park, and it will feature more than 20 canoes that each measure about 20-feet long, broadcasts from local radio stations, and live music. 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. It challenges the students' knowledge, creativity and stamina, while showcasing the versatility and durability of concrete as a building material. The project takes all year to plan and work on and will be judged on four components: visual, written, presentation, and race at Cane Creek Park.
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. Most of the event's competitions on Friday will be held on the Main Quad, and canoe and steel bridge displays will be set up in the Memorial Gym.
Organizers warn, however, that campus traffic could be somewhat more congested than normal on Thursday afternoon because of the event's 6-9 p.m. registration time. Organizers say they hope to have all competitors on campus and unloaded from buses at the Memorial Gym by 7:45 p.m.  Last year Tech placed fifth in the ASCE competitions. To find out more about the event or to make a donation visit http://www.tntech.edu/asceconference/home/.

Public Invited To Facility Grand Opening

Tennessee Tech will hold the official "Grand Opening" Thursday afternoon of the university's new, state-of-the-art Athletic Performance Center, located on the western edge of campus. The event is scheduled for Thursday from 4 to 6 p.m., with the ribbon cutting ceremony at 4:15 p.m.

"We are absolutely thrilled with this new facility, and we're extremely anxious for the public to have the chance to see what we have available for our student-athletes," said Mark Wilson, Tech Director of Athletics. "It's a facility that we've been looking forward to for a long time, one that will benefit all of our current student-athletes and each of our intercollegiate teams."

The Open House will give everyone the opportunity to view and tour the 25,000 square-foot facility. It features a 10,000 square-foot strength room and a 10,000 square-foot indoor practice facility, plus dressing rooms and offices. In addition to invitations to the public, the university community and student body, former Golden Eagle student-athletes have also been invited to attend.

"This is an historic day for Tennessee Tech Athletics," Wilson said. "It became obvious in talking with our past student-athletes that this type of facility needed to be a top priority for athletics, and we are excited that we have been able to accomplish it."

All parking for the Athletic Performance Center Grand Opening and Open House will be at the Eblen Center, and continuous transportation will be provided to-and-from the facility throughout the event. Visitors are asked to park in the main parking lot located between Tucker Stadium and Eblen Center, with transportation picking up riders from the Eblen Center main lobby. Members of the athletics staff, including most head coaches, will be at the Open House to answer questions. In addition, several student-athletes incuding members of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) will attend. For additional information on the Grand Opening, please call the Athletics Ticket Office at (931) 372-3940.
 

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Full Agenda Facing Putnam Commission

A fairly full agenda faces the Putnam County Commission when they meet Monday night.  Among other things, the commission will be deciding whether or not to contribute to the cost of replacing the Elmore Town Bridge in Baxter.  Officials say they are confident that they can get a grant to pay for most of the cost of replacing that bridge, but need to come up with matching money for the grant. Putnam County's match would not exceed $17,000.  Meanwhile, the commission will consider accepting responsibility for three roads which are part of a newly developed subdivision near Algood.  Plantation View, Plantation Pointe and Plantation Circle would become official county roads once the developers make improvements to them mandated by Road Supervisor Randy Jones.  The roads are being recommended for acceptance even though they are steeper than the currently accepted standards for county roads.  And the commission will also consider a resolution asking the state legislature to repeal what's called the Tennessee Voter Confidence Act.  Local officials say they are concerned about how counties would pay for the requirements of the Act.

Court Date Set For Accused Thieves

An April 11th court date has been scheduled for several Cookeville men, charged with theft of property for allegedly stealing a set of tools and a weather radio from a vehicle parked at a local business last week.  Police say the alleged thieves had a bit of bad luck after the burglary when they were involved in a traffic crash a few miles away.  Witnesses to that crash told police that they had seen some of the men in the vehicle tossing things out of the car before running from the scene.  Two of the four men were injured in the wreck, and two others ran away, police say.  But all four were ultimately caught and arrested. They were identified as 29-year-old Danny Jerome Tollett, 26-year-old Jerry Dewayne Tollett, 18-year-old Michael Joshua Tollett, and 26-year-old Eric Lee Ferrell. Police say the tool set and the radio were worth about $200.

Sex Trafficking Topic of Tech Talk

In celebration of March as National Women's History Month, Tennessee Tech University's Women's Center has two special events planned. They include a presentation Tuesday, March 22, specifically about Tennessee women and their role in history.  It will be given by Beverly Bond, a professor of African-American history at the University of Memphis. Then on Tuesday, March 29, a discussion about human trafficking and the sex trade will be given by Norma Ramos, executive director of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women.  Diana Lalani of TTU's Women's Center said these speakers reflect the purpose of Women's History Month by looking back at women's past achievements and ahead to future accomplishments.

Stories of historic Tennessee women will be the topic of Bond's presentation, set for 7 p.m. on March 22 in the Multipurpose Room of the Roaden University Center. She is the editor and contributing author, along with Sarah Wilkerson Freeman, of a book titled Tennessee Women: Their Histories, Their Lives, Vol. 1.

Speaker Norma Ramos will focus on the current women's issues of human trafficking and the sex trade in a presentation at 7 p.m. on March 29 at Derryberry Hall Auditorium. Because of her work with that organization, Ramos is the recipient of the Women's Committee Award and the Flor De Maga Award, both from the Puerto Rican Bar Association. Ramos is described as an eco-feminist who links the worldwide inequality and destruction of women to the destruction of the environment. A Center Stage event, her presentation — like Bond's — is free and open to the public.

Spring Workouts To Begin For Tech Football

Spring football season is set to begin at Tennessee Tech Tuesday, and Golden Eagle coach Watson Brown says he and his staff are ready to get on the field at Tucker Stadium with a mission to accomplish three goals. With a large number of returning starters and key reserves coming back, Brown considers these next few weeks to be the most important time of the year for his squad.  Brown's three goals for Spring practice are to see every player and not miss somebody, to get all of the players in the right positions, and improve the systems and schemes.

"This is the most important on-field time of the year for a football team," said Brown, whose 2011 team will mark his fifth season with the Golden Eagles. "We're not working on systems or game plans, we're looking for football players. We've got a lot of veteran players back, but we're really excited about looking at everybody. We have between 20 and 30 guys who have a chance to emerge from Spring practice as key players. We don't have time to hunt for players in the fall. We need to find them in the spring."

The Golden Eagles have 15 practice dates planned. Practices will take place each Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday afternoon at 3:15 p.m., and Saturdays at 10 a.m. The spring game will take place on Saturday, April 16 at 10 a.m., the final day of practice. 

While the past two teams have featured about 10 seniors each year, the 2011 Golden Eagle roster will include 25 seniors. Add to that a junior class of 25 players and the Golden Eagles will be a veteran, experienced team.

"We should have really great senior leadership," Brown said. Because of that, the Golden Eagles will not select captains for the season, but will choose "permanent' team captains following the year.

"We have so many seniors, we want to give all 25 the chance to be leaders," Brown said.

Astronaut's Wife To Speak In Cookeville

Author June Scobee Rodgers will be in Cookeville next Sunday, March 27,  signing copies of her book, Silver Linings, described as an inspirational story of her life before and after the space shuttle Challenger explosion.  Her late husband, astronaut Dick Scobee, was commander on that shuttle. The event will take place in the Tech Pride Room at 2:30 p.m., where Rodgers will speak briefly, answer questions and autograph books. June is the founding chairman of the Challenger Center for Space Science Education. She holds a doctorate from Texas A&M and a master's degree from Chapman College in California. She has taught at every grade level from kindergarten through college and recently served on the president's National Advisory Council on Education. Internationally, she continues to serve on the Vatican Observatory Foundation Board of Directors. She currently resides in Chattanooga with her husband, Don, who is a Cookeville native and TTU electrical engineering graduate. They both serve on the TTU Foundation.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Re-Districting Committee To Be Discussed

Putnam County officials say there will probably be fifteen members of a re-districting committee whose job will be to come up with a recommendation for the drawing of new county commission districts over the next several months. The new districts are supposed to reflect new population figures from the U.S. Census Bureau, and the county has until the end of the year to complete a re-drawing of the lines so that each commission district represents approximately the same number of people.  The county commission on Monday will consider approval of a plan whereby the committee would be made up of fifteen members -- including three citizens from Cookeville, one each from Algood, Baxter and Monterey, seven county commission members, the chairman of the commission, and the county's Administrator of Elections. No decisions have apparently been made yet as to the specific names of all of those who would be appointed.

Cookeville Employers Up For 'Freedom Award'

Four Cookeville employers have been nominated by at least one of their workers for offering support during the National Guard's recent deployments.  The local employers include the City of Cookeville Gas Department, Cookeville Regional Medical Center, Institutional Wholesale, and Walmart. They are now in the running for the 2011 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award. The Freedom Award is the Department of Defense’s highest recognition for employers showing exceptional support to their Guard and Reserve employees. The winners will be announced this summer in Washington.  The award is intended to recognize employers who support serving in the National Guard through initiatives such as continued benefits, differential pay and family assistance.

Putnam Population Grows By 16 Percent

According to figures released by the U.S. Census Bureau this week, the population of Putnam County is now 72,321 people -- an increase of 16.1 percent over the last ten years.  Putnam County showed more growth than any other county in the Upper Cumberland region, with the exception of Cumberland County which saw its population increase by nearly 20 percent to 56,053 residents.  Meanwhile, the population of Cookeville grew by 27.2 percent, according to the Census Bureau, which says there are now 30,435 people in town -- or about 931 of us in every square mile.  Algood's population was up 18.8 percent to just under 3,500.  In Baxter, there are now 1,365 people, an increase of 6.7 percent from ten years ago.  And, in Monterey, the population grew about five percent to 2,850 overall. Meawnhile, the population growth in White County was nearly 12 percent, it was 9.8 percent in Overton County and six percent in Jackson County between the years 2000 and 2010.

US Army Brass Quintet To Perform In Cookeville

The U.S. Army Brass Quintet will present a free concert at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 22, in the Wattenbarger Auditorium of Tennessee Tech's Bryan Fine Arts Building, located on Dixie Avenue.

"This is a truly remarkable ensemble," said Dr. Joshua Hauser, TTU trombone professor. "The U. S. Army has one of the finest music programs in existence, and the opportunity to hear these musicians live in Cookeville is not one to be missed. I look forward to their performance and hope that you can join us."

Since its inception in 1972, the U.S. Army Brass Quintet has performed for a wide variety of audiences and dignitaries in 39 states and 12 foreign countries. An element of The U.S. Army Band "Pershing's Own" in Washington, D.C., the U.S. Army Brass Quintet performs at the White House and at such televised national events as presidential inaugurations and official state ceremonies in the nation's capital. The ensemble has been selected repeatedly as the first to honor new presidents with the traditional "Hail to the Chief" on live national broadcasts. The Army Brass Quintet frequently performs for special events hosted by the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of the Army, and the Army Chief of Staff, as well as ceremonies supporting the Military District of Washington.

It has also performed on a wide variety of local and regional broadcasts, such as WCBS in New York. Recently, the Army Brass Quintet found itself performing the National Anthem for televised Major League Baseball, NBA, and NHL games as well as NASCAR races. It has even been featured on the Food Network.

The repertoire for the ensemble includes more than 500 selections from all eras and genres of classical music, as well as a variety of popular music, interactive entertainment, video, and works for children's concerts. The Army Brass Quintet's library also includes historic music from the American Civil War, which the ensemble enjoys performing on authentic instruments.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Putnam Man Arrested On Drug Charges

The Putnam County sheriff's department says it was an odor of marijuana that led them to question a Wildwood Road man this week about whether he had any of the drugs at his home. Deputy Jamie Hunter had gone to the home of 28-year-old Thomas Ryan Crowe to serve some civil papers, but arrested Crowe after he allegedly admitted to having marijuana in the home.  Authorities recovered seven bags of the drug, as well as other drug paraphernalia. Crowe was charged with manufacturing a controlled substance, as well as possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia.  He'll be in court on the charges April 4th.

Council To Recognize Energy Efficiency

The Cookeville city council Thursday night will be hearing the results of an "energy efficiency partnership" they entered into with Cummins Filtration. The "Cookeville Unplugged Challenge" was part of an effort to get city employees and others to turn off items at night, during the weekends and over holiday breaks. The idea was that by turning off those items that are commonly left on, the city could save money in providing energy to nearly two dozen city buildings around town. As part of the report, a proclamation will be presented to Cummins employees Tim Brown, David Lowndes and Mitchell Kemp.  Also on Thursday, the council hopes to come to a resolution on some new taxi cab regulations.  The issue is whether to exempt one of the current cab owners from new regulations which he says will put him out of business.

Cookeville Concert To Feature Goo Goo Dolls

Tickets will be available to Tennessee Tech students as of Thursday for a concert featuring the artists known as Goo Goo Dolls. Their hit songs include "Slide" and "Iris," among others. The group Vertical Horizon will also be featured, as will Jeff LeBlanc.  The concert is scheduled for Tuesday, April 5th, at 7 pm at the Hooper Eblen Center, and is being presented by the Student Government Association's S.O.L.O fund.  On Thursday, March 17, each Tech student may pick up two tickets to the show from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the University Center 1st floor lobby. Then, on Tuesday, March 29, each TTU faculty member, staff, or administrator may pick up two tickets to the show from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the University Center 1st floor lobby. Floor seating will be available for the first 250 students that pick up two tickets. Ticket distribution will end on Tuesday, April 5 or when the maximum number of tickets is distributed. All those eligible for tickets MUST bring their Eagle Card to receive the tickets. And Tech officials say a strict limit of two tickets per eligible person will be enforced.

Honor Students Highlight Environmental Projects

Tennessee Tech University's Honors Program welcomes spring with two environmental events this week. On Thursday, March 17, the Beehive Design Collective will present an interactive visual display entitled "The True Cost of Coal" in the Millard Oakley STEM Center at 6 p.m. Their presentation will focus on mountaintop removal, a method of extracting coal practiced in the Appalachian region. The group describes their artwork for "The True Cost of Coal" as a way to use art to educate people about the connections between turning on a light and the stories of coal mining communities. The event, hosted by the Green Committee of the Associated Scholars Guild, the student organization of the TTU Honors Program, is free and open to the public.  Additionally, on Saturday, March 19, the Associated Scholars Guild's annual Charity Ball will be held at 7 p.m. in the Tech Pride Room. This year's ball will benefit Save Cummins Falls, an organization working to preserve one of the most popular recreational natural areas in the Upper Cumberland.

Black To Hold Grand Opening Of Cookeville Office

U.S. Representative Diane Black has announced that she will be attending the grand opening of her Cookeville field office on Saturday.  The event is scheduled from 10 am to noon on Saturday.  The office is located at 321 East Spring Street, on the southeast side of the courthouse square. The week also includes three town hall meetings around the region, as well as meetings with elected officials from five counties. At the end of the week, Congressman Black will have met with elected officials from all of the 15 counties that make up the 6th District.

Saturation Patrols Planned For St. Pat's Day

More than 50 sobriety and driver license checkpoints are planned across the state, as the Tennessee Highway Patrol steps up enforcement efforts for the 2011 St. Patrick’s Day holiday. 

“Our goal is simple – to find and remove impaired drivers from the roadways,” said THP Colonel Tracy Trott. “If you drink and drive, you are in jeopardy of placing your life or someone else’s at risk, not to mention how the trauma, financial burden and arrest will impact your life forever. Don’t gamble with your future; designate a sober driver before the party begins.”

In Putnam County, what are called "saturation patrols" will be conducted Thursday evening along Highway 70-North.  Troopers will also be looking for drunk drivers along Highway 111 and I-40, as well as Highway 56 into Jackson County. Officials say a driver convicted of DUI can face up to 48 hours in jail and the loss of driving privileges for up to a year for a first offense. The associated costs of driving impaired also include attorney fees, court costs, reinstatement fees and higher insurance premiums.

THP Makes Record Seizure Near Monterey

The Highway Patrol announced on Wednesday that Tennessee State Trooper Chris Adams discovered a record sum of U.S. currency after making a traffic stop on Interstate 40 near Monterey over the weekend.

At approximately 10:31 a.m. on Saturday, Adams, a Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP) Interdiction Plus Trooper, stopped a 2005 Freightliner tractor trailer with California tags for following too closely at mile marker 306 westbound on Interstate-40. A standard commercial vehicle inspection ensued, where Trooper Adams became suspicious after speaking to the driver and finding discrepancies in his log book. After requesting and subsequently obtaining consent to search the trailer and tractor’s cab, the Trooper sought assistance from the Monterey Police Department, an Interdiction Plus partner. THP Interdiction Plus Team Leader Michael Loftis also assisted.

Upon arriving at the scene, Monterey Officer Larry Bates deployed his K-9, receiving alerts on the load of the trailer. The vehicle was then moved to a local trucking company where it was off-loaded. Officers discovered that duct taped bundles within sealed cases of bottled water filled the trailer. Officers found more than $4 million of U.S. currency inside the duct taped bundles. (Authorities seized a total amount of $4,078,713.)

“I-40 is one of the top drug trafficking corridors in the nation. This seizure reflects the importance of interdiction efforts by law enforcement,” said Department of Safety and Homeland Security Commissioner Bill Gibbons. “Colonel Tracy Trott of the Tennessee Highway Patrol and I are proud of the troopers involved in this seizure. Their efforts are sending a message to drug traffickers that we will not tolerate their activities,” said Commissioner Gibbons.

Federal authorities charged Armando Guzman, 42, of Moreno Valley, Calif., and co-driver Francisco Javier Cruz, 44, of San Jacinto, Calif., with interstate travel with intent to promote a drug trafficking conspiracy, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1952(a)(3). The Tennessee Highway Patrol also seized the tractor trailer.

The Interdiction Plus program is a statewide law enforcement initiative led by the Tennessee Highway Patrol. Initiated in fall 2007, partners in the program include at least 300 officers from 115 local law enforcement agencies across Tennessee. These officers are dedicated to the interdiction of all crimes, threats, and hazards. Officers are specially trained to work closely in gathering and sharing criminal information.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Burks Sponsoring Bill To Eliminate Food Tax

It may have difficulty passing in a tight budget year, but State Senator Charlotte Burks of Monterey is sponsoring a bill that would call for Tennessee Code Annotated, Section 67-6-228, (to be) amended by deleting subsection (a) in its entirety. In other words, as introduced, it removes the sales tax on retail sales of food and food ingredients. In Putnam County, that combined state and local tax is nearly ten percent on every food item you purchase.  Five and a half percent of that is the state sales tax.  Representative John Mark Windle is sponsoring the companion bill in the House, which -- if passed -- would take effect on July 1st.  Right now, both versions of the bill are awaiting further discussion in subcommittees. No floor votes have yet been scheduled.

Special Ed Student Suspended For Bus Incident

Putnam County school official say a 15-year-old special education student has been suspended from riding the school bus after he allegedly attacked a seven-year-old boy.  The incident happened last week and officials say the bus driver was able to stop the bus and deal with the situation, which reportedly involved the teenager hitting the younger boy in the chest and stomach. A March 21st hearing has been set to determine whether the older child should be allowed back on the bus, and the family of the younger boy reported the incident to police, who advised them on how to go about obtaining a juvenile petition for assault if they choose.

Police Sex Sting Nets Crossville Man's Arrest

A special unit of the Cookeville police department, which concentrates on Internet Crimes Against Children, has now gathered enough evidence to bring indictments against a Crossville man for sexual exploitation of a minor. 30-year-old Luke Niles Houston is accused of sending sexually explicit material over the Internet three times in the past two months to someone who was posing as a teenager. The relevant state law makes it a crime to "display to a law enforcement officer posing as a minor ... any material containing sexual activity ... where the purpose of the display can reasonably be construed as being for ... sexual arousal or gratification." Violation of the law is a Class E felony.  Houston was arrested on the charges Monday and made a $25,000 bond. He'll be back in court on April 4th.

Cookeville Man Charged With 5th Offense DUI

A Cookeville man, who allegedly tried to flee a traffic stop, has been charged with 5th offense DUI.  Police say 52-year-old Russell Harris of Maple Avenue was allegedly observed speeding down Spring Street about 2 am, and authorities say when an officer tried to pull him over, Harris allegedly drove some distance before finally stopping his vehicle.  He then reportedly refused to exit the truck, causing officers to forcibly remove him.  In addition to the DUI, he was charged with evading arrest, driving on a revoked license, and refusing to take a blood alcohol test.  Police say his driving record shows previous DUI convictions in 2003, 2005, 2007 and 2010.

Tech To Host Women's NIT Game Thursday

For the first time since the 2005-06 season, the Tennessee Tech women's basketball team finds itself back in postseason play as it will host Auburn in the first round of the Women's National Invitation Tournament (WNIT) Thursday. Tipoff in Eblen Center is set for 7 p.m. Tickets for Thursday's game went on sale Tuesday at 8 a.m., and can be purchased through TTUsports.com or by calling or visiting the Athletics Ticket Office in Eblen Center (931-372-3940). Tickets are $11 for adults, with the price set by the WNIT. Season ticket holders have until noon Wednesday to renew their reserved seats. Tech students will be admitted free with a valid TTU ID, with Tennessee Tech student tickets being purchased by donors to the TTU Athletics Association. Students may pick up tickets in advance at the Eblen Center ticket office or at the game, and will enter through the student gate on the north side of Eblen Center next to the Fitness Center. All other student tickets are $6 each.  TTU was one of 31 schools to receive an automatic bid to the WNIT due to Tech winning the regular season Ohio Valley Conference championship.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Memphis Residents Charged With Cookeville Theft

Two people from Memphis are facing charges for stealing copper from Cookeville businesses. 25-year-old Corry Dwayne Rice and 21-year-old Kamesha Jante Standard were arrested after police found their car leaving a dead end road at one of the businesses about two o'clock in the morning. Police say it happened at the Uni First business on Humble Drive. Rice, who was driving a pick-up with the copper tubing in the bed, reportedly told authorities that he was lost, and that the he had gotten the tubing from his cousin.  But further investigation revealed that the business had been burglarized and that someone had cut off and stolen catalytic converters from several vehicles. Police say they found saw blades and a bag with the converters in Rice's vehicle.  They believe the tubing had been stolen from Petrie's Heating and Cooling the night before. The two were charged with burglary, theft and possession of burglary tools. They're scheduled to be in court on April 11th.

Arraignment Set For Accused Child Abuser

A Putnam County man will be arraigned in Criminal Court one week from Tuesday after being indicted on charges of aggravated child abuse. Authorities say 20-year-old Justin Kane Hankes of the Gainesboro Grade is accused of causing a skull fracture to his eight-month-old daughter last November. According to reports, he and other relatives took the child to the hospital with what they described as a head injury.  The baby was later transferred to a Nashville hospital for treatment, where it was determined that she had suffered a skull fracture.  Hankes reportedly denied causing the injury and told police that the baby was injured in a fall.

Suspected Burglar May Face More Charges

Further charges may be brought against a Cookeville man, already accused of two counts of burglary. Police say they caught 28-year-old Earnest Edward Bowman of Hill Street in the act of breaking into vehicles at the local movie theatre, and further investigation revealed items at his girlfriend's home, which were allegedly taken in other burglaries. Police say Bowman's arrest was the result of a decision to keep the parking lot of the Carmike Cinema under surveillance by an officer in an unmarked vehicle. That officer reportedly observed as Bowman broke into a vehicle in the parking lot and began rummaging around. When other officers were caleld to the scene, they reportedly found him sitting in a second vehicle. He'll be in court on the burglary charges on April 11th, and police say the additional charges will depend on what evidence they are able to gather about the items found in the girlfriend's home.

TTU Basketball Heads Into Post-Season Play

The Golden Eagles will hit the road Wednesday for their post-season endeavors; it has been announced that Tennessee Tech will take on the Broncos of Western Michigan in the first round of the College Insider's Tournament (CIT). Tech will take on Western Michigan in Kalamazoo on Wednesday at 6 p.m. in what will be the program's fifth post-season appearance in school history. A win will advance TTU into the second round, which will be played on March 18 and 19.

"This invitation is a wonderful opportunity for us to play in the post-season," said Tech Head Coach Mike Sutton. "Six teams that earned conference championships this year played in the CIT last year, so we're excited to make an appearance in the tournament. Our team definitely earned its way into this tournament with our 20-win season, and we're ready to continue with that dedication and carry it into the post-season."

Tech's last post-season appearance came in the 2001-02 season, when they played in four National Invitation Tournament (NIT) games after earning the Ohio Valley Conference title during their regular season. The program saw one other NIT bid in 1985, and twice participated in the NCAA tournament, in 1958 and 1963.  The CIT was founded in 2009 by CollegeInsider.com and is geared toward mid-major colleges and universities that did not receive bids to the NCAA or NIT tournaments.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Local Authorities Applaud 'Plant Food' Order

Cookeville police expect to begin checking local stores this week to be sure they are complying with a restraining order obtained by the state of Tennessee, which bars the sale of what's called Molly's Plant Food, a substance which several individuals have been abusing in recent months. But Major Nathan Honeycutt says it's not just a local problem.

"This is not something unique to Cookeville. This is a statewide and a nationwide problem," he said. "Actually, more of this is probably being bought on the Internet than it is in retails outlets."

Still, Honeycutt says local officials are concerned about the effects of the drug and are glad that the state is doing something about it.  Tennessee Attorney General Bob Cooper announced a statewide seizure of the product called Molly's Plant Food on Friday. Cooper said in a news release that the product is referred to on the Internet as "legal ecstasy" and contains mephedrone, a substance known to produce effects similar to ecstasy and cocaine when ingested. No criminal charges have been filed, but the state has cited civil law violations because the product has not been properly registered and labeled.

Man Accused Of Attacking Neighbors

A March 28 court date has been set for a man from Silver Point, accused of breaking into a home on Center Hill Dam Road and attacking the people there.  The sheriff's department accuses 43-year-old Jeffrey Mark Atnip, who also lives on Center Hill Dam Road, of entering the back door of one of his neighbor's homes and pointing a gun at the people there.  As the man in the house began struggling with Atnip, the woman got a rifle and pointed it toward Atnip. Authorities say Atnip then put the gun to the male victim's head and demanded the rifle from the woman, before allegedly attacking and then fleeing the scene.  He was arrested a few days later. No motive has been mentioned by authorities investigating the case.

New Claims In Senate Contest

The Tennessee State Senate will have to decide whether it will accept an amended complaint from Gary Steakley, who is contesting his loss to Senator Charlotte Burks last November. Steakley's new lawyer has taken depositions from local election officials and now wants to claim incompetence on their part in his effort to have the results thrown out. His initial claim involved a conspiracy to tamper with the machines. The Senate is expected to rule by the end of the month.

Mother Accused Of DUI With Child In Car

An April 11 court date has been set for a Putnam County woman, accused of driving under the influence -- while her baby was in the car with her.  Police say 23-year-old Emily Michelle Birdwell of Baxter failed several field sobriety tests when police found her car in the driveway of a home on Bill Smith Road last week.  Authorities claim her one-month-old child was in the back seat at the time.  Birdwell reportedly refused a test to determine the drug or alcohol content of her blood, but was charged with DUI, as well as child neglect and child endangerment.  She was also cited for bringing drugs into a penal institution when authorities allegedly found clonazepam and percocet pills on her as she was booked into the jail.

Cookeville Man In Japan During Quake

A Cookeville man is among thousands who are still recovering from the major earthquake in Japan last week. 25-year-old Seth Magdalena, a graduate of Cookeville High School and Tennessee Tech, tells Nashville's Channel 4 News that he was in the middle of teaching an English class in central Tokyo when the quake hit. Although many parts of the city were without power, Magdalena was able to talk with Channel 4 via the Internet telephone service known as Skype.

"When the lights above us started going back and forth, that's when I realized it was getting worse," he said. "Once we got under the tables, that's when it got really bad. There was a pole under the table, and it was shaking us against the poll, back and forth, several inches -- not just like a vibration; it was basically tossing us back and forth. And I couldn't say anything."

Magdalena said he was too scared to scream but that he feared those were his final moments. He said he thought the building would collapse because of how much it was shaking. Magdalena has recently been pursuing a career in modeling, but was a member of the award-winning Academic Team at Cookeville High School in 2004 and was graduated with honors from Tech in 2008.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Sheriff's Dept. Investigating 'Spoofing' Case

The Putnam County sheriff's department says they're not sure much can be done about it, but they are investigating a report in which someone used something called Caller ID spoofing to make several unwanted telephone calls to a local resident.  The victim says she got more than three dozen harassing phone calls over a 12-hour period.  But the sheriff's department says it appears that the number which was reported by her Caller ID was not accurate because it had been "spoofed."  Caller ID spoofing allows a caller to masquerade as someone else by falsifying the number that appears on the recipient's caller ID display.  Local officials say they're not sure if there's any tool for tracing where the actual call comes from.

Cookeville Boy 'Goodwill Ambassador' For MDA

The Nashville chapter of the Muscular Dystrophy Association has announced their 2011 Local Goodwill Ambassadors, including a five-year-old Cookeville boy. Jack McGrath is one of eight representatives of MDA Nashville from different parts of Middle Tennessee and Southern Kentucky. They will serve as the face of MDA and will represent the organization by visiting sponsors, participating in the local Muscle Walk and raising awareness throughout the year. Each Local Goodwill Ambassador was recognized at a ceremony hosted by the Nashville City Club last month. MDA provides a muscular dystrophy clinic at Vanderbilt Medical Center, as well as flu shots, summer camp, durable equipment repairs, and support groups to local families affected by muscle disease.  You can visit http://www.mda.org/ for more information.

Governor Requests FEMA Help In 3 Area Counties

Tennesseee Governor Bill Haslam has asked the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to provide a joint preliminary damage assessment for Jackson, Pickett and Fentress counties -- all of which were impacted by flooding that began on February 28th. Officials with the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA) and FEMA will begin joint preliminary damage assessments on Tuesday, March 15. The joint assessment will determine if the damage to individual households is sufficient to trigger federal assistance programs, It also determines whether state and local governments, and utilities in the affected counties can qualify for the federal Public Assistance program, which provides reimbursements for repairing and rebuilding public infrastructure, removing debris, and measures taken to protect lives and properties.