Ashley Arrington "Saved by the Belt" award from Sheriff Mike Fitzhugh

Ashley Arrington receives a “Saved by the Belt” award from Sheriff Mike Fitzhugh and Cpl. Michael Rodgers. Arrington wore her seat belt when a vehicle crashed into her car and forced her into a semi-truck. She was not injured.

Dispatcher Ashley Arrington watched in her rear-view mirror as an alleged speeding driver crashed into her car, then “very clearly” saw his car strike three people standing in the median.

The impact forced her car into a semi-truck, but wearing a seat belt prevented her from being hurt.

“It was chaos for sure,” Arrington said, remembering as she hopped out of her car to check on the three injured people. “It was definitely not a good day.”

The three injured people survived the crash June 16 on Interstate 24 near La Vergne. They were standing in the median because the church van they were riding in had a flat tire.

The Tennessee Highway Patrol’s crash report showed speeding by the driver who struck Arrington and the three people was a factor in the crash.

Sheriff’s Cpl. Michael Rodgers responded to the crash with THP and learned Arrington wore her seat belt.

“If she wasn’t wearing her seat belt, she may not have survived,” Rodgers said.

Rodgers nominated Arrington for the Tennessee Highway Safety Office’s “Saved by the Belt” Award.

Sheriff Mike Fitzhugh and Rodgers presented the award to Arrington Tuesday. The award commended Arrington for a “lifesaving choice and for the strong example you provide to others on the importance of wearing safety belts. You are living proof that safety belts save lives.”

Arrington always wears her seat belt.

“My car dings if I don’t,” Arrington said. “I do it for safety.”

Arrington works as a dispatcher for Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office. She was returning to work after visiting with her boyfriend, Murfreesboro Police Officer Devin Sorensen.

New Poll: Unique Costumes, Thrift Store Shopping Hot for Halloween

Americans prefer to wear unique, one-of-a-kind Halloween costumes, and thrift stores are the number one place where shoppers plan to find materials for their do-it-yourself ensembles, according to the 2018 Goodwill Halloween Poll.

Participants in this year’s survey responded to a series of online questions about Halloween costumes and decorating habits. More than half (56 percent) of respondents said at least one person or pet in their family/household will be wearing a costume this Halloween, while 53 percent said they will decorate their home this Halloween.

Among other survey results:

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  • The most popular costume style among respondents who plan to dress up this Halloween is a unique, one-of-a-kind costume (25 percent), followed by costumes that are funny (19 percent), scary or gory (17 percent), cute (15 percent) and sexy (14 percent).

  • Costumes based on pop culture trends and characters from movies, TV shows and books (40 percent) are more popular among those who will dress up than classic costumes such as witches and werewolves (29 percent), animals (14 percent) and professions (8 percent). Political or historical costumes are the least popular type, at just 5 percent.

  • Couples and group costumes are in this year. More than half of respondents who plan to dress up (57 percent) say they’ll coordinate their costume with one or more people.

  • Ten percent of respondents say they will dress up their pet for Halloween, a trend that’s particularly popular among millennials, with 15 percent in that demographic group saying their pet will wear a costume.

  • Online networks are driving how people dress up, with a majority of people (69 percent) who prefer DIY costumes naming social media or other websites as the place they look for ideas and inspiration. Pinterest (40 percent) is the most popular platform for DIY costume inspiration, followed by YouTube (27 percent) and Facebook (23 percent).

  • Among those who prefer DIY costumes, the most popular places to shop for materials are thrift stores, at 52 percent.

“Every year we love seeing shoppers stream into Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee stores to find creative ways to put together their own Halloween costumes,” said Leisa Wamsley, Goodwill’s Vice President of Donated Goods. “Whether you’re shopping for a superhero costume or assembling your own innovative outfit from scratch, Goodwill is the place to come for all of your Halloween costumes and decorating needs.”

Goodwill’s 30 stores and three outlets are stocked with items that can be easily transformed into unique costumes or props, such as ballgowns, overalls, medical scrubs, wigs, scarves, toys and more. With a little imagination, shoppers can easily assemble costumes for the whole family at a fraction of the cost they would pay at a Halloween specialty store.

Veteran DIY costume-shoppers offer these tips for successful costume-hunting at Goodwill:

  • Shop Goodwill’s sales, such as the first Saturday of the month when all merchandise is 50 percent off, to save even more money.

  • Have some costume ideas in mind before you go shopping.

  • Set aside time to shop, so you can find the pieces that work best for your costume.

  • Use your imagination and keep an open mind — everyday clothing items and accessories can often be altered, resized or repurposed to create something entirely new.

Halloween enthusiasts can visit www.giveit2goodwill.org/halloween to explore creative costume ideas, DIY decorations, and makeup tutorials and to learn about an opportunity to win gift cards by posting photos of their Halloween costumes to Instagram. Goodwill store locations, hours and other information can be found at www.giveit2goodwill.org.

End of fiscal year hospital Star rating shows large improvement in overall quality of services at Local VA Hospital
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Today, as part of the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) efforts to remain transparent and hold VA facilities accountable, VA released its end of fiscal year 2018 (FY2018) hospital Star ratings, which evaluate and benchmark quality of care delivery at VA medical centers (VAMCs) across the nation.

Tennessee Valley Healthcare System’s (TVHS) Nashville facility and Alvin C. York facility in Murfreesboro were both among the facilities that made positive strides in the benchmarks and is striving to continue progress. Both Nashville and York facilities improved from a 1 Star rating to a 2 Star rating.

“We are thrilled to see our hard work paying off for our Veterans,” said TVHS Director, Jennifer Vedral-Baron. “We are working to improve the whole health of our Veterans and boost employee satisfaction. We can feel our culture changing for the better, so it’s exciting to see the data reflect positive change as well,” she said.

Vedral-Baron said focus and accountability played big roles in the improvements. Weekly SAIL meetings help service chiefs and other leaders better zero-in on their goals and allow them to share their progress with others.

“It feels good to know our efforts are moving us in the right direction, and we’re going to keep that momentum going. I am happy with the improved ratings; however, the work is far from done. Our Veterans deserve the absolute best care we can offer,” Vedral-Baron said.

The Star rating designation is designed to help VA identify best practices of its top performing hospitals and share them across VA’s health care system to achieve system-wide improvements.

Compared with data from the same period a year ago, the release of VA’s Strategic Analytics for Improvement and Learning (SAIL) report shows 66 percent of VA Medical Centers (VAMCs) have improved in overall quality in the third quarter — with the largest gains seen in areas where there were VA-wide improvement initiatives, such as mortality, length of stay and avoidable adverse events. Six VAMCs had a decrease in quality, and improvement activities are underway at each of these facilities.

Additionally, of the medical centers placed under the Strategic Action for Transformation program (StAT), an initiative that monitors high-risk medical centers and mobilizes resources to assist them, eight are no longer considered high risk and 80 percent (12 medical centers) show measurable improvements since being placed under StAT in January 2018.

“There’s no doubt that there’s still plenty of work to do, but I’m proud of our employees, who work tirelessly to move VA in the right direction for Veterans and taxpayers,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie.

Oct. 14-20 Earth Science Week in Tennessee

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam has proclaimed Oct. 14-20 Earth Science Week in Tennessee, to promote awareness of the importance of geoscience. As part of Earth Science Week, TDEC, in partnership with the American Geosciences Institute, will distribute a limited number of Earth Science Week toolkits to science teachers across the state.

“Making educational tools available to teachers and students on the importance of the Earth Sciences is a vital way to increase environmental literacy among Tennessee students,” said Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation Commissioner Dr. Shari Meghreblian. “We are happy to provide these resources and support educators as they teach these important topics.”

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The 2018 Earth Science Week theme is “Earth as Inspiration,” which will promote public understanding and stewardship of the planet, especially in terms of the ways art relates to geoscience principles and issues as diverse as energy, climate change, natural disasters, technology, industry, agriculture, recreation and the economy.

Special items in the toolkit include NASA materials on school resources and planetary exploration; National Park Service posters on caves, plants, and geology; Switch Energy Project information on energy science; and various learning activities.

Governors across the United States will join Gov. Haslam in issuing proclamations that support Earth Science Week, reaching more than 50 million people across the country and around the world. Individuals and groups will celebrate Earth Science Week by participating in events in all 50 states and several other countries.

Educators interested in receiving an Earth Science Week toolkit may contact TDEC Geologist Ron Zurawski at Ronald.Zurawski@tn.gov or (615) 532-1502. The toolkits are free of charge while supplies last. For more information about Earth Science Week, visit www.earthsciweek.org.

TDK breaks ground on Vintage Gateway in Murfreesboro

MURFREESBORO – Tim Keach, CEO of TDK, announced t Wednesday they have broken ground on Vintage Gateway, a $49.5 million upscale apartment community in Murfreesboro’s Gateway area.

With its unique centralized location on Medical Center Parkway, between Thompson Lane and Robert Rose Drive, Vintage Gateway will be a pedestrian-friendly community within walking distance to numerous restaurants and shopping options and a connecting path to the Stones River Greenway.

“Vintage Gateway continues our theme of elevated living. It offers a different look and different feel from anything else in the marketplace, and it meets the desire of millennials and baby boomers for a modern, convenient, and comfortable lifestyle. Murfreesboro has a diverse economy with a large number of people who want this ease of living, and Vintage Gateway outdoes the rest of the market with the amenities we provide,” Keach said.

When completed in the fall of 2019, Vintage Gateway will include 255 units, featuring one-, two- and three-bedroom options with a variety of floor plans. Units will offer larger square-footage apartments and first-class amenities, including a full-size washer and dryer, ceiling fans in living rooms and bedrooms, hardwood inspired flooring, ceramic tile bath floors, quartz countertops accenting the kitchen, island, and baths, stainless steel appliances, and maple cabinetry.

A walkable, but safe community with fully secured buildings requiring their own key fob and security cameras throughout the property, Vintage Gateway provides ample greenspace with its unique location. To compliment the abundant outdoor opportunities, Vintage Gateway offers a bike-share program.

Vintage Gateway provides residents with an abundance of on-site amenities, including direct access and free-standing garages; a pet park and spa; a resort-style pool area unique to Tennessee, including private cabanas, fire pits, in-pool tanning ledges, and a covered trellis with outdoor televisions; a rooftop deck with an indoor/ outdoor bar and fire pit; secure 24-hour package and cold food storage receiving rooms; and an indoor fitness center, showcasing the latest in Precor equipment.

Vintage Gateway follows the successful launch of Vintage at the Avenue and is the sixth development TDK has completed in Murfreesboro. Pre-leasing will begin in early spring of 2019.

TDK has a build-and-hold philosophy that benefits their customers. They are one of the few companies in the industry to bring a fully-integrated approach to development by serving as the developer, general contractor, and long-term owner of the asset. By retaining ownership of the investment, as opposed to selling their asset to a property management company like most competitors, TDK is vested in the continued success and longevity of their apartment community.

TDK is a privately-held construction and development company with headquarters in Murfreesboro. Founded in Kentucky in 1959 by Dorris Keach, TDK is a three-generation company that builds and develops projects throughout the Southeast, Midwest, and Southwest. Having completed more than 6,800 units valued at more than $700 million and with more units under construction across the country than any other Tennessee-based company, TDK properties are setting a new standard in the multi-family housing industry.

Latest statewide snapshot shows Midstate consumers remain most optimistic

MTSU’s most recent statewide survey of consumers indicates a fading economic outlook amid uncertainty about tariffs and economic pace, but one that remains positive overall, especially in the Midstate.

The Tennessee Consumer Outlook Index dropped to 199 from 238 in June, according to the Office of Consumer Research in the Jennings A. Jones College of Business. The survey measures consumer opinions on a variety of economic topics, from job security to savings and investments to future purchasing plans.

While noting the overall drop continues a much smaller decline from March to June of this year, “the general trend for the past two years remains positive,” said Tim Graeff, marketing professor and director of the Office of Consumer Research. “The overall index is still higher now than it was at the end of last year.”

This chart compares the overall Tennessee Consumer Outlook Index by geographic region in October 2018. The index is measured quarterly. (Courtesy of the MTSU Office of Consumer Research)

The declines reflect varying trends across the state: Consumers in West Tennessee saw the largest drop in outlook, followed by those in East Tennessee. Meanwhile, consumers in Middle Tennessee saw improvements in outlook. 

Graeff emphasized that the recent drops in outlook shouldn’t be interpreted “as a warning of significant reductions in consumer activity.” Tennessee consumers remain positive about the economy, albeit less positive than six months ago, he added. 

“For the most part, Tennessee consumers feel President Donald Trump’s economic policies have had a positive effect on the overall U.S. economy, with perceptions of those policies on the economy are relatively consistent across the three regions of the state. However, such perceptions vary widely based on consumers’ political affiliation,” Graeff noted.

The current online survey of 630 random Tennessee consumers was conducted between Sept. 4-17 and has a 4 percent margin of error. View the full results from the latest survey at http://bit.ly/MT-COS-f18.

Other survey highlights:

•  Graeff notes that the outlook declines come at a time when gross domestic product, or GDP, is growing, the stock market is reaching record highs, confidence among small business owners is at its highest level ever, and significant gains are being made in the job market. 

“It is possible these declines in outlook are merely a correction, as consumers find it hard to believe the economy can continue to grow and expand at its current pace. It is also possible that Tennessee consumers are increasingly anxious about possible negative effects of tariffs and trade wars on the economy.”

• Graeff said the upcoming midterm elections in November might also be weighing on consumers’ minds “as they contemplate the possibility that recent economic policies that have led to such economic gains might be threatened. Further, such fears and concerns might not be sufficiently alleviated due to the lack of positive media coverage of recent economic gains.”

 

Search 'Boro International Planned for Oct 20

The 2018 'Boro International Festival is set for October 20 a celebration at Cannonsburgh Village. The community is invited to discover traditional food, music, and art from countries around the world from 11 a.m. through 4 p.m.

This free family friendly event offers activities for all ages and celebrates the growth, diversity and culture of our city. Visitors will enjoy food, music, cultural displays, games, vendor booths and art that display the rich diversity of Murfreesboro and our surrounding community.

Attendees will be entertained throughout the festival by an array of musicians from around the world. A fashion show will feature models dressed in their traditional garb.

Cultural booths will offer an array of interactive exhibits and historical items unique to the cultures represented at the festival. Craft merchants and food vendors will provide an assortment of multicultural items for sale. Children will be able to play international games and a create crafts in the children's game area.

'Boro International Festival is sponsored by Reeves-Rogers Elementary, Murfreesboro City Schools in partnership with MTSU, The Confucius Institute and Murfreesboro Parks and Recreation.

Murfreesboro City Schools is a district of twelve schools committed to the academic and personal success of each child.

Stolen Car in Murfreesboro
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A brand new Chevrolet Impala worth a little under $40,000 was stolen in Murfreesboro. The car was believed to have been stolen from the parking lot of Woodgate Farms apartments on St. Andrews Drive.

According to a police incident report filed during the early morning hours of October 2, 2018, The car was taken when the owner was out of town. When he returned, the Impala was missing.

The owner told officers that when he left the car was securely locked.

Reports indicate the car was recently purchased at a dealer in Shelbyville, Tennessee. 

No suspects have been named at this point.

Source:

MPD Incident 18-21685
VIN: 2G1125S33J9126078

DUI #2, Allegedly with Kids in the Car
Gary Ray Humphreys, 60

Gary Ray Humphreys, 60

A 60 year old man from Georgia was arrested during a stop in Murfreesboro. When Police spotted the maroon in color GMC minivan on Shannon Crossing, they found a white make laid across the drivers seat and into the passenger side. They also noticed two young children in the van.

Officers say they had to physically awake the man who was identified as Gary Ray Humphreys.

The arrest report stated, "Mr. Humphreys had an odor of an intoxicant emitting from his person." The report also showed that he failed a field sobriety test.

The Department of Children Services were called due to the two minor children being in the van with Humphreys, who was charged with his second DUI. He was also charged with two counts of felony reckless endangerment because the children were in the van with him when he was charged with the DUI. The children were taken into custody by DCS.

The Peachree City resident will head to court in Rutherford County on January 17, 2019. 

Source:

MPD Arrest 18-21671

Search Murfreesboro Man Facing Numerous Drug Charges after Arrest Outside of Walmart
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A 41-year-old Murfreesboro man is facing a number of felony drug charges after police were called to Walmart on Joe B Jackson Parkway in reference to suspected drug activity.

Once police arrived at the vehicle this past Friday (9/28/18), they made contact with passenger Phongmany Phetoudone. Shortly after, they received permission to search the car where they found 48 grams of methamphetamine, 4 hydrocodone pills, 2 oxycodone pills, 2 Xanax bars, a set of scales with white powdery residue on them and three cut straws with white residue - all inside a headphone case.

Phetoudone was arrested and now faces charges of "Felony Possession of a Schedule IV" drug and two counts of "Felony Possession of a Schedule II" drug along with possession of drug paraphernalia.

As for the other occupant of the vehicle, he was in possession of over $1200 cash, according to a police report. He also possessed over 50 store gift cards. However, his name and arrest information was not released.

Source:

MPD Arrest 18-21512

Detectives Working to Identify Three Suspects who Robbed Child at Gunpoint

Nashville Detectives are working to identify three young men who on Sunday robbed a 10-year-old boy at gunpoint in an apartment complex parking lot in the 5500 block of Scruggs Lane.

The suspects drove by in a silver 2016 Honda Civic, which had been reported stolen earlier in the day, and saw the child entering his mother's SUV. The boy had gone to retrieve his jacket. Two of the suspects got out of the car and ordered him to give them the SUV keys at gunpoint. They fled in his mother's SUV and the Honda. 

Anyone recognizing the suspects from the video surveillance clips linked below is asked to contact Crime Stoppers at 615-742-7463. Callers to Crime Stoppers can remain anonymous and qualify for a cash reward.

MTSU science students explore career options at fair

MTSU students take in the annual Chemistry Career Fair held Sept. 27 in the Science Building atrium. Chemistry, biology, preprofessional and other majors met with recruiters to discuss job and internship opportunities. (MTSU photo by Andy Heidt)

Dozens of MTSU chemistry, biochemistry, preprofessional, science and nonscience-related majors recently networked with 22 organizations seeking future employees and summer internships.

The annual Chemistry Career Fair occurred Thursday (Sept. 27) in the Science Building's Liz and Creighton Rhea Atrium.

Six companies joined 18 colleges and universities in sending representatives to the event, which was a partnership between the Department of Chemistry and the Career Development Center to bring students together with the schools and businesses trying to recruit future prospects.

More than 60 students took the opportunity to establish contact with the organizations. This included 18 biochemistry majors, 17 chemistry majors, 17 biology, seven in preprofessional and three other majors.

Oscar Valenzuela, 20, an MTSU junior from Smyrna, Tennessee, who is president of the MTSU Chemistry Society, described the fair as "fantastic" and one where he was excited to learn about bridge programs in pharmacy with Vanderbilt University and elsewhere. 

"I met a lot of good programs," Valenzuela said. "If you are an MTSU senior, you can finish your bachelor's degree while doing a year of pharmacy school."

Valenzuela also met with the representatives from the department lab services with Kingsport, Tennessee-based Eastman Chemical. There he met Gabrielle Ashley, an Eastman lab tech and 2015 MTSU chemistry graduate, who performed research with adviser and chemistry professor Andrienne Friedli while an MTSU student.

Deayrea Martin, 20, a junior psychology major and biology and chemistry minor from Memphis, Tenn., spent about an hour at the fair and said many of the organizations "sparked my interest and I am going to set up appointments and visit these schools. Everything has been insightful and helpful."

Meharry Medical College, Vanderbilt Health, the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis, Tennessee, and MTSU's Master of Science in Professional Science program were among other participants.

Technical clerk Melissa Houghton, who helped coordinate the fair, said it was "a very successful event. We had lots of positive feedback from companies."

A week before the fair, the chemistry department held a resume preparation workshop. Also, nationally recognized chemist and Cameron University professor Ann Nalley spoke to students about careers Sept. 26. She is a past president of the American Chemical Society.

Tennessee Fire Service and Codes Enforcement Academy Conference Center Groundbreaking
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“The new $5.7 million conference center will be the first addition since the Academy's opening.”

The official Groundbreaking for the Tennessee Fire Service and Codes Enforcement Academy (TFACA) Conference Center will be this Wednesday (10/03/18) in Bell Buckle. Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam, Department of Commerce and Insurance Commissioner Julie Mix McPeak, and members of the Tennessee fire service will be in attendance at the event.

The new $5.7 million conference center will be the first addition since the Academy's opening. When completed, the conference center will provide an additional 19,000 square feet to host large classes, conferences, and graduations. 

Since its opening in 2002, the Tennessee Fire Service and Codes Enforcement Academy (TFACA) has been a nationally recognized leader in fire service and codes enforcement education. The facility will give the academy the state-of-the-art facilities and technology needed to help train and educate the more than 15,000 students the academy instructs each year.

LOCATION: 2161 Unionville-Deason Rd., Bell Buckle, Tenn. 37020.
TIME/DATE: 2 p.m. CDT Wednesday Oct. 3, 2018.

Discovery School in Murfreesboro Named National Blue Ribbon School
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U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos today recognized 349 schools as National Blue Ribbon Schools for 2018. The recognition is based on a school's overall academic performance or progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups.

"I'm pleased to celebrate with you as your school is named a National Blue Ribbon School," said U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos in a video message to the honorees. "We recognize and honor your important work in preparing students for successful careers and meaningful lives. Congratulations on your students' accomplishments and for your extraordinary commitment to meeting their unique needs."

The coveted National Blue Ribbon Schools award affirms the hard work of educators, families and communities in creating safe and welcoming schools where students master challenging and engaging content. 

Now in its 36th year, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program has bestowed recognition on more than 8,800 schools. On November 7-8, the Secretary and the Department of Education will celebrate with 300 public and 49 private school honorees at an awards ceremony in Washington, D.C.

All schools are honored in one of two performance categories, based on all student scores, subgroup student scores and graduation rates:

•Exemplary High Performing Schools are among their state's highest performing schools as measured by state assessments or nationally normed tests.
•Exemplary Achievement Gap Closing Schools are among their state's highest performing schools in closing achievement gaps between a school's student groups and all students over the past five years.

Up to 420 schools may be nominated each year. The Department invites National Blue Ribbon School nominations from the top education official in all states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, the Department of Defense Education Activity and the Bureau of Indian Education. Private schools are nominated by The Council for American Private Education (CAPE).