Martha Tolbert, spokeswoman for Middle Tennessee Medical Center, told Associated Press Radio that 13 people were being treated for injuries. She did not have details about the severity of their injuries. Murfreesboro SkyNet Camera
Dispatchers at the county Emergency Management Agency said the area had been “heavily impacted.” The agency was in “response phase” after several eyewitness reports of a tornado on the ground around midday.
Power was out in parts of the city and several homes were heavily damaged.
The United Way is extending their call center’s hours of operation to help facilitate the people who need to get help or who would like to offer help.
The call center will be open this Saturday and Sunday from 7:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. Anyone affected by the storms can call 211 for information.
The National Weather Service said it couldn’t confirm a tornado struck until later Friday.
The Tennessee Emergency Management Agency reported property damage in Benton, Dickson and Houston counties but no injuries
MTSU student charged with arson and threats against school www.privateofficer.com
MURFREESBORO(metro Nashville ) TN OCT 11 2008 — First came the fires, then the threatening e-mails that warned of “large-scale devastation” at Middle Tennessee State University.
In a post-Virginia Tech world, officials were taking no chances. They shut down classes Thursday as state, local and federal authorities descended on campus to search for and arrest a 19-year-old freshman they believe is responsible.
Justin Davis, of Antioch, will face terrorism and arson charges. He was arrested at 5 p.m. Thursday and is reportedly cooperating with authorities.
Davis’ arrest followed a day of intensified police presence on campus and the cancellation of classes for the rest of the week.
Students packed their cars to get an early start on a fall break that would have started at the end of the day today. Worried parents phoned students on campus to find out what was happening.
Other students remained on campus, unfazed by threats they say are not uncommon around exam time.
“We had one last year, but nothing was canceled quite like this,” said Kelsey Dupre, a sophomore who planned to stick around on campus during the break. “When I heard about the fires (Wednesday) night, I figured they would probably cancel classes.”
MTSU Police Chief Buddy Peaster said authorities believe Davis acted alone, but the investigation is ongoing.
“We are not going to stop looking into other possible suspects, and we’re not going to stop combing through information that we have received,” Peaster said.
University officials expressed relief that no students, faculty or staff were injured. They also thanked local, state and federal law enforcement agencies for their teamwork.
Classes remain canceled today; students will be expected to return to class on Wednesday after the scheduled fall break. University offices will maintain normal business hours.
The school, 30 miles southeast of Nashville, has a fall enrollment of about 23,900. It’s primarily a commuter university, with 3,500 living on campus in 21 residence halls and apartments. School housing was not evacuated Thursday.
Peaster said Davis was first interviewed as a possible witness in the case after police received information that his roommate might have been involved.
“After we began talking to him he became very cooperative,” Peaster said. He would not say whether Davis admitted or denied involvement.
Davis was a resident of Miss Mary Hall, where police confirmed one of the fires was set.
The Antioch home where Davis’ family reportedly lives was dark Thursday night. The blinds were closed, the lights out and no one answered the door.
A woman who answered the phone about 7 p.m. said, “We have no comment.”
Peaster said the threatening e-mails were sent between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Wednesday to him and two other police officers.
Sydney McPhee, president of the university, said one of the e-mails sent from a Yahoo account was received Wednesday by an administrator on the business faculty, threatening the entire student community with bodily harm.
Peaster said the decision to cancel classes was made by an emergency council, which included McPhee.
“We (were) erring on the side of safety because of incidents like Virginia Tech,” he said, referring to the nation’s most deadly university shooting in which more than 30 people were killed on April 16, 2007.
Officials decided not to evacuate campus Thursday before Davis’ arrest, though police presence was intensified and signs were posted at residence halls notifying students not to admit anyone they did not know.
Students had to show an ID before being allowed to enter dorm lobbies.
The FBI issued a no-fly zone over the campus while law enforcement tactical teams swept the area for a suspect or witnesses.
TBI and FBI agents confiscated some computers where the e-mails had been received.
The FBI, Department of Homeland Security, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, Murfreesboro Police Department, Rutherford County Sheriff’s Department, Rutherford County Emergency Management and MTSU Campus Police were involved in the investigation.
MTSU spokeswoman Lisa Rollins described campus Thursday afternoon as pretty quiet. Students had been taking midterm exams until classes were canceled.
Text message alerts and a mass e-mail alerted students of “a credible threat” and that classes were canceled.
Freshman Jessica Caughlins said that she was sitting in biology class when the text message came announcing classes were canceled.
“I’m really scared,” she said. “It’s creepy. I’m going home.”
Freshman Kenny Ball said he was walking into Peck Hall on Thursday unaware of what was happening. When he reached the entrance, he saw the notice that classes were canceled and the door was locked.
“I don’t even know what’s going on,” said Ball, who isn’t signed up to receive the optional text alerts, available to all MTSU students and faculty.
McPhee said there were several threats.
“There was a general threat to inflict bodily harm to some of our employees,” he said. “Two academic deans received threats. I am not aware of any staff member receiving threats.”
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Students tricked by scam artist in vacation scheme http://www.privateofficer.com
Authorities say that three Riverdale High School students said they made payments to Cynthia Anderson for a trip that was supposed to be scheduled for the end of May.
Anderson is also accused of taking money from some LaVergne students using the same method the Riverdale students said she used. And police investigators believe that there may still be other victims in the metro Nashville area or beyond.
The Riverdale students say that they have given Anderson $700 a piece as payments on a trip to Jamaica.
Anderson said she worked as an independent marketing agent for Yourtravelbiz.com.
She said her job was to serve as a booking agent and the more trips she booked, the more money she would get from the company, but the company has no records of Anderson scheduling any trip or any money.
Police said they are looking for Anderson in connection with the accusations.
The alleged scam may have affected more than just LaVergne and Riverdale high schools. Anderson had reportedly approached every high school in Rutherford County with the same offer.
Police want to know how the teens were picked as her targets and they are investigating if she has any accomplises in her scheme.
This is the second case this week involving students being promised great trips and then being scammed out of their money. In the first incident, a subsitute teacher in Douglas Georgia collected nearly $7500.00 from high school students with intentions of stealing their money police say.
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