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Update–Grundy County Investigator Injured after Incident in Coffee County

Grundy County Sheriff’s Department Investigator Larry Sims was dragged by a vehicle while trying to detain a man Tuesday night in Coffee County.
Sheriff Clint Shrum said the suspect is still on the run.
The incident happened when Sims stopped to check on what appeared to be a minor crash or stranded motorists in Coffee County, Sheriff Shrum explained.
In a press release from the Coffee County Sheriff’s Department it stated:
On December 11, 2018 at approximately 5:40pm Coffee County Sheriff’s Department received a call that an out of county investigator had been involved in an incident at the intersection of Highway 55 and New Hope Road and shots had been fired. The Grundy County Sheriff’s Department investigator was on his way home when he came across two vehicles at the intersection that appeared to be involved in a minor traffic accident or stranded motorists.
Investigator Sims came in contact with one of the parties and an altercation began. This resulted in the investigator attempting to detain the male suspect. The suspect made his way back to his vehicle and fled resulting in the investigator being dragged down the road. Shots were fired by the officer and the suspect eluded arrest. The suspect has not been apprehended at this time.
Investigator Sims was treated at a local hospital and released. The investigation is ongoing, and the Coffee County Sheriff’s Department is attempting to locate the suspect.
As further information becomes available the Coffee County Sheriff’s Department says it will update their press release.

On a Mission for Osama Bin Laden, Murfresboro Man Arrested at AEDC

According to arrest warrants issued to Sgt. Harmon Campbell with the Coffee County Sheriff’s Department on Saturday, December 8, Katsana Maxkenzie Chanthoumphone age 26 of Murfreesboro was charged with aggravated assault and aggravated criminal trespass. The warrant states that Campbell responded to Arnold Air Force base at the guard shack for a person driving through the security check-point without stopping. The male driver went to the second check-point where he was detained by protective services. Director of Public Affairs for the base, Jason Austin describes what to place:
Since AEDC no longer has a regular police force the Coffee County Sheriff’s Department was called to the scene. When Chanthoumphone exited the vehicle, he began to make threats including that he was on a mission for Osama Bin Laden. The guards were unsure what the man’s intent was and were in fear of how Chanthoumphone would use his vehicle.
Apparently, he was under investigation for committing the same act on a previous date.
Bond for Chanthoumphone was set at $20,000 and he will appear in Coffee County General Sessions Court on Monday December 17, 2018. He is currently housed at the Coffee County Jail.

Earthquakes Hit Tennessee on Wednesday

The U.S. Geological Survey says an earthquake that struck eastern Tennessee could be felt as far away as Atlanta. The light earthquake occurred about 4:15 a.m. Wednesday and was centered about 7 miles northeast of Decatur.
According to the USGS, the Eastern Tennessee seismic zone is one of the most active earthquake areas in the Southeast. The zone extends across parts of Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama.
There were actually 2 quakes. The first earthquake was a 4.4 magnitude around 4:15 a.m. that had a depth of about 9 kilometers with an epicenter 6.8 miles outside of Decatur, Tennessee.
The second was about 15 minutes later, with an epicenter in nearly the same location. It was a 3.3 magnitude quake and had a depth of about 6.8 kilometers.
Initial reports were that the tremors were felt as far away as Atlanta GA, Asheville NC, and Knoxville TN.
No severe damage was reported in any location where the quakes could be felt.
You might remember that a small earthquake occurred in Grundy County on October 15, 2018.

Toy Time in Coffee County

Former Coffee County Sheriff Steve Graves and the Coffee County Rescue Squad have teamed up to make Christmas a whole lot merrier for families around the area.
The program began several years ago through Graves’ charity program at the sheriff’s department. This year, with the help of many volunteers, members of the rescue squad and churches, over 300 families have received toys and more during this special time of year.
Graves, volunteers and the Coffee County Rescue Squad will have one more distribution day on Saturday December 22, 2018 beginning at 9am in the Coffee County Rescue Squad building on Murfreesboro Hwy. This is the 20th year for Graves’ charity program.

BBB Warns of Scams, Scams and More Scams

For scammers, the season of holiday giving is the season of taking, and Tennesseans’ hard-earned money again tops scammers’ wish lists. Unfortunately, Tennessee consumers are falling for scammers’ ploys when it comes to gift card swindles in increasing numbers. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC)’s Consumer Sentinel Network reports Tennesseans lost nearly $1 million – over $943,000 – through prepaid gift card scams in 2018, which is a 44 % increase compared to 2017 when scammers stole $653,709 from consumers.
While family, friends, and co-workers may use gift (or ‘reload’) cards to express holiday appreciation, scammers want the cards’ PIN numbers for fast cash, and they’re willing to do and say anything to get those numbers from consumers.
The Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance’s Division of Consumer Affairs (TDCI) is warning consumers of a new and increasingly common scam where callers pretending to represent a federal or state agency contact consumers about a fictitious debt and demand payment in the form of a prepaid gift card or risk punishment. Consumers should remember that no government agency will ever demand payment in the form of a reloadable gift card.
To help consumers avoid prepaid gift card and other holiday scams, TDCI offers the following tips:
GIFT CARD SCAMS:
• Always remember that a government agency will never ask for payment in the form of a prepaid gift card. If you receive a call from someone portraying him or herself as a government official, but they ask for a gift card as payment, hang up the phone.
• Never read or text someone the PIN number on the back of a gift card. The number is as good as cash in the scammers’ pocket.
• Reputable businesses, like technology support companies and shop-at-home services, don’t ask for gift cards as payment. If you’re being asked by a caller to pay for a product or service with a gift card, proceed with caution because it is likely a scam.
• If you’re buying gift cards as gifts, make sure to buy them from a reputable and known source.
• Always treat gift cards like cash and protect them as you would your wallet.
HOLIDAY SCAMS:
• Be suspicious of apps, online advertisements, or websites offering prices that seem suspiciously lower than retail prices at trusted retailers.
• Consider paying with a credit card that offers fraud protection when possible.
• Only shop on secure websites. Look for https in the address (the extra “s” is for “secure”) and for a lock symbol.
• Some retailers and delivery services need extra help at the holidays but beware of solicitations that require you to share personal information online or pay for a job lead. Apply in person or go to retailers’ main websites to find out who is hiring.
• Several trusted companies offer charming and personalized letters from Santa, but scammers mimic them to get personal information from unsuspecting parents. Check with https://www.bbb.org/to find out which ones are legitimate.
• Be cautious if you get a call or email from a family member or friend claiming to be in an accident, arrested, or hospitalized while traveling in another country. Never send money unless you confirm with another family member that it’s true.
CHARITABLE GIVING SCAMS:
• Don’t assume that charity recommendations on social media platforms or blogs have already been vetted. Research the charity yourself.
• Find out what percentage of your donation will go to the charity and whether you will be charged any fees for making a donation through a fundraising platform website.
• Check to see if the charity is registered with the Tennessee Secretary of State.
• Websites posing as charities can sometimes look identical to the real organization. These fraudulent websites will often ask for personal or financial information over an unsecure connection or may download harmful malware into your computer. Look for a padlock symbol or “https” before the web address indicating that it is secure.
• Avoid being pressured to make an immediate donation. Don’t hesitate to ask questions to get more information.
• If you didn’t initiate contact, avoid giving personal or financial information over the phone.
• Never write out a check or give cash to an individual solicitor. Write out checks to the name of the organization or use a credit card.
If you’ve been the victim of a gift card or other holiday scam, report it to the FTC.
For more information on being a savvy consumer, visit tn.gov/consumer. You can also check what scams are being reported in your area, the state, and across the country by accessing the Better Business Bureau’s Scam Tracker.

For Some, the Holidays are Anything but Jolly

The Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network, at www.tspn.org, has information about warning signs and links to local resources. (blake_bab/Twenty20)

The holiday season is ramping up, and while most people look forward to festivities with friends and family, for others this time of year can worsen stress, sadness and depression.
Some people have increased anxiety due to travel obligations, or the expenses of gift-giving. Others neglect self-care trying to make the holidays special for family or loved ones.
There is no evidence that the suicide rate spikes at Christmas, but suicides have dramatically increased in the U.S. in recent years. And Dennis Gillan, who lost two brothers to suicide, said each person needs coping mechanisms to help maintain their holiday equilibrium.
“Let’s get comfortable talking about mental health so we don’t have this increase,” Gillan said. “And then, too, if you’ve been down this road, take care of yourself. Self-care is not selfish.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide is now the 10th-leading cause of death nationwide, and the second-leading cause for people ages 15-34. A report by Blue Cross Blue Shield showed Tennessee ranks among the highest states for depression rates among teens.
Temple University sociology professor Matt Wray has studied why suicide rates are higher in the American West than other parts of the United States. He said people thrive on strong friendships and family relationships, and too much solitude at any time of year can bring on feelings of despair.
“Social isolation; and I’m not talking here about loneliness, although loneliness can be a factor in suicide, but more about geographic and social disconnectedness,” Wray said.
Mental health experts say for people who struggle during the holidays, this is not the time to cancel therapy sessions. The Suicide Prevention Lifeline is at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

State Group says Tennessee should still keep Paper Trail of Voters

A state government group says Tennessee should still keep a paper trail of voters’ ballots roughly 10 years after coming out with a similar recommendation that resulted in little change.
According to the Tennessee Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations, just 14 of the state’s 95 counties produce some sort of a paper record for independent recounts and audits. The group first urged changes to the state’s election system in 2007, when it found only two counties had such requirements.
All the other counties use direct recording electronic voting machines with touch screens that do not produce a paper record that can be recounted and audited independent of the voting machine’s software.
Tennessee is one of 14 states with no statutory requirement of a paper record of all votes.

State Parks Host Free Hikes to Bring in the New Year

Tennessee State Parks will offer free, guided hikes at 55 state parks as part of the annual First Day Hike program across the state.
The hikes are designed for all ages and abilities. Some hikes are over rugged terrain while others are nice strolls. Each hike is led by an experienced park ranger. The hikes are part of America’s State Parks First Day Hikes in all 50 states.
Hikes feature spectacular views and informative guidance by the rangers.
Old Stone Fort is one of the most scenic hiking areas around. Join Park Rangers on a 3.5 mile strenuous/ difficult hike along the Backbone Trail. You’ll begin at the Museum and walk along both the Big and Little Duck Rivers to the Forks of the River before ascending to the top of Backbone Ridge. They suggest dressing appropriately for the weather and wearing sturdy hiking shoes. Bringing a reusable water bottle is also recommended. Dogs are welcome as long as they remain on leash.

Manchester Police Warning about IRS Scam

Manchester Police Chief Investigator Jackie Matheny has issued a warning about a scam making its way around Manchester and Coffee County. IRS imposters are threatening arrests, lawsuits, and property seizures unless the victim pays up. Law enforcement says they’re investigating alongside several other agencies across the United States. The scammers are spoofing phone numbers that seem to be local. Caller ID spoofing is the practice of causing the telephone network to indicate to the receiver of a call that the originator of the call is from someone or place other than the true originating person or place.
Investigator Matheny stated, “The scammers say they are attempting to collect money on a balance owed on an account.”
The Internal Revenue Service will never demand payment over the telephone. Typical IRS communication comes in the form of U.S. Mail. If you receive a phone call that you suspect is a tax scam, hang up and report it to the US Treasury, Office of Inspector General at 1-800-366-4484. To help avoid becoming the victim of a scam, area law enforcement recommends to never transfer funds through third-party wire or card services.
People in Manchester and Coffee County have fallen for this scam in the past, so please don’t become the next victim.

Armed Robbery in Winchester

On Sunday December 9, 2018 around 9:51 p.m. officers of the Winchester Police Department responded to a call of an armed robbery that had taken place at 1018 South College Street also known as Loui’s Bar and Grill. Upon arrival, officers spoke with an employee of Loui’s. The employee stated that an unknown individual came into the establishment wearing all black, wearing a ski mask, and did have a firearm. The individual then demanded money. The individual did obtain an undetermined amount of money and left in an unknown direction. The employee of Loui’s was unharmed in the incident.
The identity of the individual who committed the robbery is unknown at this time and the investigation into the matter is ongoing. Anyone who has any information about the incident or the individual that committed the robbery is encouraged to contact the Winchester Police Department at 931-967-3840 or Crimestoppers at 931-962-INFO (4636).

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