Thursday, October 29, 2009

Halloween revelers can get free rides home

AAA Auto Club South and Budweiser will offer free rides and tows to Halloween revelers who have had too much alcohol to drive. Anyone in need of the service should dial 1-800-AAA-HELP. "Tow to Go" will be available Oct. 29-31. The program has kept more than 10,000 drunk drivers off roadways since its inception in 1998, said a statement from AAA. — JANELL ROSSTHE TENNESSEAN

Metro Nashville Parks Department may cut staff, services

Director submits plan to balance budget, takes blame for overruns By Nate Rau • THE TENNESSEAN • October 29, 2009 Operating hours for some Nashville parks services would be trimmed and workers would be laid off under a plan submitted by embattled Parks Director Roy Wilson to balance his agency's budget, which has a $1 million shortfall. Wilson submitted a plan to trim $463,000 from the Metro Parks & Recreation Department's budget at a special board meeting Wednesday. The proposal will be reviewed by Mayor Karl Dean's administration, and a vote on the plan by the Parks board could come as soon as next week. Under Wilson's proposal, operating hours at Davidson County's neighborhood community centers and nature centers would be trimmed, and seven recreation staff employees would be laid off as a result of the cuts. Wilson's plan comes in addition to steps the board already took earlier this month to trim $386,000 from its budget. Those cuts led to an unspecified decrease in the number of athletic programs operated by the department, in addition to closing Shelby and Warner golf courses during the winter. Wilson acknowledged last week that the $1 million in overruns were his responsibility, and echoed that sentiment before the Parks board on Wednesday. "I'm not here to give excuses," Wilson told the board, accepting blame for the overages. "That's not what you want and it's not what I want to do." Wilson gave a presentation outlining how the Parks Department ran over a total of $704,000 for the budget year that ended in June. The presentation also explained that the department needed to trim about $500,000 in operating expenses for this year to stay under budget. Wilson attributed the overages to unexpected expenses, including surprise repairs. But the most expensive overage Wilson mentioned was staffing two new nature centers at a cost of $304,000. The fifth-year director also approved opening the two popular golf courses last winter, which cost Metro $184,000. Wilson's proposal Wednesday seemed to catch the Dean administration by surprise at the meeting. "It seemed to me it was a little quick on the trigger and more thought needs to be given to it," Metro Finance Director Rich Riebeling said. "They may be the right (cuts) and I don't know. When they're just being thrown upon you, it's hard for us to react to it." Oversight concerns Riebeling said his primary concern was that Wilson did not alert the administration that his department had run over budget, especially at a time when most other agencies stuck to budget reductions of at least 10 percent for the year. "I don't think they've answered those questions," Riebeling said. "I think there's not enough attention devoted to the why's? I think it's important that we solve the issue this year, but I think we need to know the systematic cause to it, and I don't think we have those adequate answers yet." Metro Council member Jerry Maynard, who attended Wednesday's meeting, pointed out that other departments ran over budget last year, including the Community Education program. Councilman Ronnie Steine has asked Parks to make a report at the Nov. 16 Council Budget and Finance Committee meeting. The next regularly scheduled board meeting is Tuesday.

Nashville banks report skimming thefts at ATMs

By Nicole Young • THE TENNESSEAN • October 29, 2009 Metro Police believe Nashville bank ATMs have been targeted by an organized skimming operation. So far, 39 people have reported that their ATM cards have been compromised, but investigators said Wednesday that they believe there may be hundreds of victims across the city and most of them may not even realize their information has been stolen. "Go online and check your accounts," warned Metro Police Lt. Mickey Garner, supervisor of the department's fraud unit. "See if there are any charges on there. Don't wait until your paper statements come in. Most banks only give customers a 60-day window to dispute charges." Police say the suspects, described as three white men with European accents, may have left town. They are believed to be traveling from city to city in groups, staying for two or three days before moving on. Metro Police have contacted agencies in Florida, Georgia and North Carolina that reported similar fraud operations, Garner said. In Nashville, the suspects were able to steal nearly $30,000 by installing skimmer devices on bank ATM machines. When a customer places his or her card into the machine, the skimmer records the card number and the personal identification number. The suspects take the data and clone duplicate cards with it. They then take the cloned cards and go to another bank to withdraw funds or to stores to make purchases, police said. Investigators are obtaining surveillance video from the compromised ATM machines from a U.S. Bank, Fifth Third Bank and Bank of America. Police said they did not recover skimmers from the machines, which were located in the Church Street, Belle Meade and Antioch areas of town. "We don't know how many other banks they hit," he said. "The important thing is for people to check their bank accounts and look closely at ATM machines before using them. If the machine doesn't look right, don't put your card in it." Anyone with information may contact fraud detectives at 862-7594 or Crime Stoppers at 74-CRIME.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Briefs: Need help at holidays? Deadline nears

United Way is looking for individuals who need help purchasing toys for the holidays. Call 2-1-1, a community referral help line, for assistance, but you must apply by Oct. 30. The association and other area nonprofits expect to see a spike in requests due to the economy and unemployment in the area. Links chapter reaches out to cancer patients The Parthenon Chapter of The Links, Inc. is sponsoring a wig drive for African-American cancer patients. The wigs can be donated Saturday, Oct. 24, at 1915 Charlotte Ave., Suite 205. The group recently learned there is a national shortage of wigs for African-American women cancer patients. Wigs can also be donated at any of the following locations: 4243 Lebanon Road Suite B, 740 Cool Springs Blvd. Suite #100, 1747 Medical Center Parkway in Murfreesboro and 100 Springhouse Court Suite 230 in Hendersonville. For more information, call 615-320-0099. Church celebrates new hymnals Bellevue Baptist Church, 7400 Highway 70 S., will hold a special evening worship service at 6 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 25, to celebrate the new hymnals donated to the church. NCS hosts fall festival and crafts fair Nashville Christian School, 7555 Sawyer Brown Road, will hosts its fifth annual Fall Funival and Craft Fair 11 a.m.–5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 31. The event will feature several activities including inflatables, a treasure dig, a hayride, karaoke and the sack race and pumpkin seed-spitting contests. A cakewalk and silent auction will feature theme baskets full of prizes. There will also be a free trunk or treat 3–5 p.m. Concessions will be available throughout the day. A haunted house will kick off the festivities Friday, Oct. 30. The entry fee is $5 per person. The haunted house admission is included in the Saturday armband rate of $10. Single activity tickets will also be sold. Craft vendors interested in participating in the craft fair should contact Ashley Page at 356-5600, ext. 114, or The school will also hold open houses from 8 to 10 a.m. Nov. 4 and from 2 to 4 p.m. Nov. 8. Faculty and staff members will host tours of the school and answer questions regarding the admissions process and academic and extracurricular offerings for students in Pre-K through 12th grade. Fest celebrates Beaman, Bells Bend parks The Beaman-to-Bells Bend Park2Park Celebration, an event to raise awareness about the two Davidson County parks and the rural corridor that connects them, is Saturday, Oct. 24. The daylong event includes a variety of events, including workshops on art and photography, bake sale, arts and crafts sale, hayrides, hikes, a bloat float and a free Buffalo Rome concert and camp fire. All events are free and open to the public.Concert goers should bring a blanket, flashlight and picnic dinner. Alcoholic beverages are not permitted at Bells Bend Park. For more information, visit The Tennessean

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Nashville International Airport makes traffic, parking changes

DAVIDSON COUNTY Driving patterns are about to change at Nashville International Airport, the Metro Airport Authority said Wednesday. Changes include: • The Long Term parking lot is now Long Term A, and the former seasonal overflow lot east of Donelson Pike will soon open permanently as Long Term B. • The entrance to Long Term A and Short Term Parking has moved. They have a common parking ticket dispenser station that will open Wednesday, Oct. 28, weather permitting. • Short-term parkers will stop at a second parking ticket dispenser at the entrance to the Short Term garage, where they will validate their tickets to enter the garage. • The cell phone/waiting area will reopen today in a new location with more than twice as much space, giving drivers a free place to wait to pick up arriving passengers. Changes will be marked with directional signs to help drivers reach their destinations. "The traffic flow will be very different, and it will be imperative that airport visitors allow a few extra minutes, watch their speed and pay close attention to signage until they are familiar with the improved layout," Raul Regalado, president and CEO of the airport authority, said in a release. — MICHAEL CASS THE TENNESSEAN

Nashville parks spend $1M over budget

Mayor, agency board want answers By Nate Rau • THE TENNESSEAN • October 22, 2009 In a year when nearly every department in Metro faced budget cuts of 10 percent or more, Parks & Recreation was the only one to come in over budget, and it has continued to run a deficit for the first two months of this budget year. triggerAd(1,PaginationPage,8); Those overruns, caused by unexpected expenses and a decision to keep open two popular golf courses during the winter, only became apparent recently and have left Mayor Karl Dean's administration and the Parks board searching for answers about what happened. The Metro Finance Department awaits final figures for just how far over budget Parks was at the end of last fiscal year, but Deputy Director Talia Lomax-O'Dneal estimated the overrun would be in the neighborhood of $800,000. For the first two months of the current budget year, Parks is over budget by about $200,000, as of September. "I think it is a significant issue that needs to be dealt with," Metro Finance Director Rich Riebeling said. "Frankly, it's just not fair to the rest of the government when other departments are playing by the rules and living within their means." Virtually every Metro department had its budget cut by about 10 percent this year, and Parks was no different. Its current $28 million budget reflects a 12.5 percent cut compared to last year. The department said in May, when the Metro Council passed the current budget, that it planned to lay-off about 50 workers, although that number has been reduced largely by leaving positions vacant. Parks Director Roy Wilson said the department suffered a series of "unexpected expenses" in May and July, including repairs at Two Rivers golf course stemming from a lightning strike to its irrigation system. But the fifth-year director also acknowledged that some of the budget overruns stemmed from decisions he made to open golf courses at Shelby and Percy Warner parks during the winter months, though they were scheduled to be closed. Wilson also opened the Cleveland Park swimming pool this summer. "Some things I added back into operation that had been reduced … due to pressure from the community," Wilson said, referring to his decision to open the golf courses and pool. The Metro Parks Board became aware of the situation after the Finance Department gave the seven-member body the budget numbers earlier this month. It plans to hold a special meeting next week to discuss the issue. Councilman concerned Board Chairman Stanley Fossick indicated it was too soon to point fingers, but said the board wanted to see the budget balance out soon. Fossick pointed out that typically the Parks Department sees its budget rise in the summer months with additional seasonal workers. "When we meet again, hopefully we'll have the audited September (monthly) budget," Fossick said. "If we're not seeing the trend starting to correct itself, the board is going to have to make recommendations to get this back in order." Riebeling said his greatest concern stemmed from the fact that the Parks board was not alerted to the budget over-run and learned about the problem from his department. Wilson said he made the board aware of his decision to open the seasonal facilities and of the extra repair expenses. The situation also concerned District 4 Metro Councilman Michael Craddock. "I'm extremely disappointed. I think Director Wilson needs to do a much better job," said Craddock, who tends to be outspoken on budget issues. "The buck stops at his desk. He's in charge. There is absolutely no excuse for operating over the budget, none whatsoever."

Friday, October 16, 2009

Nashville Zoo puts on special Halloween event

Nashville Zoo puts on special Halloween event October 16, 2009 Goblins, mummies and monsters will join the animals at Nashville Zoo for the 12th annual Ghouls at Grassmere. The Halloween event kicks off Friday and continues each weekend through Oct. 30. There will be themed treat stations, animal shows, costume parades and more. Guests can take a haunted hayride through the zoo's back roads, go for a spin on the scary-go-round or play games at Carn-Evil. The Grassmere Historic Home will offer a special tour showcasing the dying traditions and superstitions of the 1800s. New this year, the zoo is offering advanced tickets at that can be purchased at the ticket booth. Advanced tickets are $4 for Nashville Zoo members and $8 for nonmembers. Day of tickets at the gate are $5 for members and $9 for nonmembers. Children under 2 are free. Extra fees apply to the haunted hayride, Scary-Go-Round, pumpkin painting and face painting. For more information, visit

Congress OK's spending on Center Hill, Old Hickory and Percy Priest dams

Cheatham Dam and Mill Creek watershed to get help, too Millions of dollars of funding for J. Percy Priest, Center Hill, Old Hickory and several other dams are included in a bill that has passed both houses of Congress, U.S. Senators Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) announced today. Funding to “aggressively” continue making safety repairs at dams at both Center Hill in Tennessee and Wolf Creek in Kentucky are included. They were labeled high risk because of leaks and other weaknesses in their infrastructure. The work overall will improve public safety, drinking water and quality of life, the lawmakers said in an emailed announcement. Projects included for funding in what is called the Conference Report of the FY10 Energy and Water Development Appropriations Act include: --$116.2 million for repairs to Wolf Creek Dam on the Cumberland River. Seepage has caused high water pressure in the embankment next to the dam, posing a significant risk of dam failure and threatening the surrounding communities with flooding.Funding would be used to continue to build a cutoff wall to prevent seepage. The bill also includes $8.5 million for operations and maintenance of the dam. --$52.9 million for repairs to Center Hill Dam. Since its construction in 1951, seepage problems have cost millions of dollars for constant upkeep.The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' Dam Safety Portfolio Risk Assessment ranked Center Hill Dam as a Class I dam safety project -- the highest priority of all Corps dams. The bill also includes $5.84 million for operations and maintenance of the dam. --$45,000 for the Mill Creek Watershed to complete a feasibility study to address flooding problems. Mill Creek is a major tributary of the Cumberland River in southeastern Davidson County and northwestern Williamson County. --$6.1 million for Cheatham Lock and Dam for continued operations and maintenance. --$6.5 million for Cordell Hull Dam and Reservoir for continued operations and maintenance. --$4.6 million for J. Percy Priest Dam and Reservoir for continued operations and maintenance. --$11.7 million for Old Hickory Lock and Dam for continued operations and maintenance. --$6.1 million for Dale Hollow Lake Dam for continued operations and maintenance. The bill awaits signature by President Obama for it to become law. - ANNE PAINE

Jury in 1994 rape case continues deliberations

Defense insists attack mislabeled By Kate Howard • THE TENNESSEAN • October 16, 2009 The case against Robert Jason Burdick, 39, went to a Davidson County Criminal Court jury Thursday afternoon, and they had not reached a verdict after about four hours. In his closing argument, defense attorney Fletcher Long emphasized that there was no discussion of rape occurring throughout the investigation and even when the state indicted a "John Doe" for the offense based on the DNA profile. It was only when Burdick was indicted that the charge became aggravated rape instead of an attempt, Long said. "This is attempted aggravated rape, and I would be a fool and a liar to maintain otherwise," Long said. "You cannot return a verdict for aggravated rape." Prosecutor Roger Moore said that Green Hills resident Patricia Young had explained herself on the stand, saying she was not raped by penile penetration and she didn't know the legal definition of the crime. Young was asleep in her home March 1, 1994, when she was attacked by an intruder wearing only socks. He had pantyhose over his face. She fought him viciously and was seriously injured during the incident, and after the struggle he left the house. But Young testified that his hand pressed against her genital area during the fight, and prosecutors said it constituted an invasion, however slight, under the definition of rape. DNA evidence from skin that Young bit off during the attack matched Burdick, and Burdick's attorneys conceded throughout the trial that Burdick was the assailant. They argued that the touch Young described didn't constitute a rape. They disagreed that any part of Burdick's body entered Young's body. The Tennessean does not typically name victims of sexual assault but Young has agreed to be identified

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Nashville hospitals get injectable H1N1 vaccine

By Christina E. Sanchez • THE TENNESSEAN • October 15, 2009 Nashville hospitals have started to receive shipments of the injectable version of the H1N1 vaccine, which can be taken by people who aren't eligible for the nasal spray. But the H1N1 flu shots aren't for the public just yet. Baptist Hospital received 600 of the 3,000 shot doses it ordered. Vanderbilt University Medical Center also got about 2,500 doses. Like the H1N1 FluMist nasal spray, the shot will be given to health care workers first. Any remaining doses probably will go to hospitalized patients. "We will begin giving (the shots) to our health care workers who provide direct patient care," said Kristi Gooden, spokeswoman for Baptist. "It is optional for our workers, but strongly encouraged." The Metro Nashville Health Department said it has not gotten injectable vaccine yet. The city health agency ordered about 130,000 doses. "That's encouraging news," said agency spokesman Brian Todd about the arrival of the shots at hospitals. "It seems like hospitals got the FluMist first and we got ours a few days later." Once enough doses are on hand, the agency plans to have clinics across the city at the department's headquarters, Hickory Hollow Mall, Hartman Park and the Nashville Fairgrounds. For now, the health department can give the FluMist nasal spray, which is restricted to healthy people, ages 2 to 49, who are not pregnant. The injectable version is approved for a wider range of ages and conditions. Few have gotten spray Uptake of the FluMist has been slow. At Baptist, only about 50 health care workers have taken advantage of the 200 nasal spray doses. At the health department, about 1,400 of its 4,900 doses had been given by the end of Wednesday. Theories about people's reluctance to get the mist include the notion that people want what they are used to, and for most that is the shot. Also, people could be concerned that the mist contains a live, weakened version of the H1N1 virus, though it has been shown to be safe. The Food and Drug Administration first ap-proved use of FluMist for seasonal influenza vaccines in 2003. Vaccines for the seasonal flu and the H1N1 virus are made the same way and are grown in eggs.

TN math scores among worst in U.S.

State raises standards, assures scores will rise By Jaime Sarrio • THE TENNESSEAN • October 15, 2009 Math scores for Tennessee students rank among the worst in the nation and have not made significant gains over the last two years, results from an important nationwide test showed Wednesday. Tennessee eighth-graders scored lower than their peers in 36 states, while fourth-graders scored lower than students in 43 states. The state followed the national trend, failing to make any considerable improvements since the 2007 test. Department of Education officials said they were not surprised by the results, which continue a long history of low academic performance by the Volunteer State. But they are pointing to new curriculum standards enacted this year as proof that the state is trying to do better. Rachel Woods, spokeswoman for the Department of Education, said making Tennessee's schools harder and redefining what it means for a student to be "proficient" will lead to increases on future exams. "You will see it in two years," she said. "Our standards are too easy, so we're going to plateau at some point if we don't raise the bar, which is what we're doing." After nearly a decade of gradual growth in math on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, Tennessee's students in 2009 showed a one-point growth in eighth grade, scoring 275, and a one-point decline in fourth grade, scoring 232. Neither result is considered a significant change. Known as the Nation's Report Card, the assessment is given by the U.S. Department of Education to a sample of students from every state. It's one of the few tests that offer a snapshot of how the nation's students are performing academically. This year, the test was given to 330,500 fourth- and eighth-grade students. Results in reading and science will be released early next year. Nationally, fourth-grade students showed no increase, while scores for students in eighth grade jumped two points from 280 to 282. Tennessee made some gains with Hispanic and black students, though on the whole minority students still scored lower on the test than their white classmates. Remaining competitive The results come as national leaders grapple with how to keep U.S. students competitive in a global economy, where math and science skills will play prominent roles. "Overall, you have to conclude that mathematics achievement is not close to where it should be, particularly compared to other countries," said David Driscoll, chairman of the National Assessment Governing Board, which sets the policy for the exam. "A major reason continues to be the lack of content knowledge and mathematics preparation of our teachers." Driscoll, the former Massachusetts commissioner of education, said preparation and requirements to teach elementary school are parts of the problem. He pointed to Massachusetts, where at one time a teacher could fail the math portion of the teacher-licensing exam and still get certified. Nashville parent David Kern said the quality of math teachers in Metro is inconsistent. One of his children received exceptional math instruction in Metro, while another was behind when he started college. "Part of the problem is not specific to Metro," he said. "To be able to teach math, you need to really know math." The right teachers Data from the nation's report card showed that in 2009, eighth-graders with a teacher who majored in math as an undergraduate scored nine points higher on the exam. James Guthrie, director of the Peabody Center for Education Policy at Vanderbilt University, said preparing teachers is just one part of the equation. States need to be more aggressive at reforming failing schools and increasing accountability, Guthrie said. "This is a hard thing to do," he said. "Reforming our schools and achieving these goals will not happen easily."

'Wooded Rapist' trial testimony: Victim's bite took piece of attacker

Defense questions whether a rape occurred in 1994 case By Kate Howard • THE TENNESSEAN • October 15, 2009 Patricia Young bit down on her attacker, knowing a piece of him could be the only shred of evidence he would leave behind. She was biting his hands, because it was all she could reach. But when she ripped off a piece of his fingertip, she knew it could help police identify the man who broke into her home in the middle of the night. Fighting on the floor, she pulled the bit of flesh from her mouth and put it under her bed. Nearing exhaustion, she knew she was about to be raped. But suddenly, he gave up and left. "I never did know why he quit when he finally had me where he wanted me," she said. Fingerprint experts would later match the ridges on the skin to the right ring finger of Robert Jason Burdick, 39, who is now already convicted in one rape and charged with a dozen more in Middle Tennessee. His attorneys are not arguing whether it was Burdick, the man police call the "Wooded Rapist," who broke in and attacked Young, but whether the charge of aggravated rape fits the crime. The Tennessean does not typically identify sexual assault victims, but Young has allowed her name to be used since Burdick's arrest in 2008. Young testified that during a lapse in the fight, when both were breathing heavy and trying to recover, Burdick put his hands up between her legs and his hand entered her body. Defense attorneys say that was a detail she never told police, and that she said repeatedly that she was not raped. "I didn't feel raped at that time," Young said. "(A penile rape) was my only fear that night." Tennessee law says that any forcible penetration, however slight, constitutes rape. Young said that though she is an attorney, she never tried rape cases and she didn't know the legal definition. Police officers initially reported it as an attempted rape case, also unsure whether what happened to Young constituted penetration. Defense: It wasn't rape Fletcher Long, Burdick's attorney, said he doesn't plan to question the DNA, or whether Young was victimized. He just doesn't believe a rape occurred. "Don't get lost in the deluge," he told a Davidson County Criminal Court jury. "This case is about the extent of what happened, not who was there." Young had been asleep in her Franklin Road home in the early hours of March 1, 1994, after a long day of work. She felt something on her back and thought it was her cat. But when she turned, she saw a face that DNA would tell investigators 14 years later belonged to Burdick. Pantyhose made him unrecognizable. He told her to put her hands on her head. "It was an instant, horrifying moment because you know exactly what's about to happen," Young said. Feeling herself trapped, she began to scream. She felt another burst of terror when she realized the man already had no pants on. She looked around the bedroom and evaluated her options: There was a phone on the floor, and a handgun in the top drawer. She knew he could wrestle the gun from her, and that she'd never get time to make a call. So she bit, hard, at anything she could, and she continued to bite through a frenzy of blows that saw them both tumble to the floor. She dabbed at her eyes as the 911 tape played, and she heard herself telling the dispatcher about what happened. Burdick leaned forward on his hands, watching her intently. Young firmly met his gaze. Young's case is the oldest of Burdick's charges, and the case that led to the DNA profile of a John Doe that was indicted for the crime so the statute of limitations couldn't run out before they found the suspect. She was asked if now, after watching him so many times in court, did she recognize Burdick from that night. "I recognize him from his DNA," she said.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Antioch teen arrested in school bus theft

Police say four teens stole parked bus and took turns driving By Nicole Young • THE TENNESSEAN • October 13, 2009 A 14-year-old Antioch Middle School student is being charged with auto theft in Juvenile Court after the boy stole a school bus from a South Nashville elementary school Sunday afternoon, Metro Police said. The Tennessean does not identify juvenile crime suspects unless they are transferred to adult court. The boy was arrested Monday. Police said the incident was captured on surveillance cameras on the bus. A school resource officer at Antioch Middle School watched the video Monday and identified the teenager. Police said three other students, identified as a 15-year-old girl and two 13-year-old girls, also took part in the theft. They were arrested Monday night and charged with auto theft in Juvenile Court. Metro Nashville Public Schools spokeswoman Noelle Mashburn said the bus was taken from Cole Elementary School and was not damaged during the incident. "It runs a special education route for Cole and Haywood elementary schools," she said. Mashburn declined to release any further information about the incident. Teens found key inside Police said the students were able to gain entry to the bus and take it after finding a key inside a satchel stored on board. The four teenagers stole the bus at 3:45 p.m. Sunday and took turns driving, police said. Metro Police spokesman Don Aaron said a citizen spotted the bus on Colemont Drive, noted the teens onboard, and followed it. Less than a mile from the school, at the intersection of Bart Drive and Keeley Drive, the teens got off the bus and left the area on foot. "The citizen reported its location and the fact that the teens had abandoned it," Aaron said. "The police searched the area for the teens but did not find them Sunday."

Monday, October 12, 2009

Crime log for Davidson County Oct. 5-7

Submitted by Metro Police • October 9, 2009 These are the most serious calls handled by the Metro police, listed by time, crime reported and address. Some reports may be unfounded. Police calls are listed by police precinct or town. When police cannot immediately determine the location of a crime, the address given is that of the police station or hospital where the crime was reported. To See The List Hit the Title Link...

Diabetes fair to be held at Opry Mills

By Andy Humbles The Tennessean • October 9, 2009 A free Diabetes Extravaganza health fair is scheduled for 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 17, at Opry Mills mall in the entertainment court between Barnes & Noble. The Diabetes Centers at Baptist Hospital and Middle Tennessee Medical Center are the hosts of the health fair. Programs include: Cooking for the Patient with Diabetes will be held at 10:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. Exercise Demonstration at 11 a.m., noon, 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. For information call 284-7060.

Second 'Wooded Rapist' trial to begin

Tennessean - Kate Howard October 12, 2009 DAVIDSON COUNTY The man already convicted in one case attributed to the "Wooded Rapist" is scheduled to go to trial again today. Robert Jason Burdick, 39, has been charged with more than a dozen rapes in three counties. Investigators say the rapes are linked by a common scheme — women attacked near wooded areas on rainy nights by a man with a covered face — and DNA evidence left at many of the scenes. Burdick was convicted in April of raping a Donelson woman in her home and sentenced to 32 years. This week, he will face trial in the rape of Nashville attorney Pat Young in Green Hills in 1994. It's the oldest case in which Burdick has been indicted, and Young has said that DNA evidence will prove Burdick was her rapist. She attended Burdick's first trial to show support for the victim. The Tennessean does not normally identify victims of sexual assault, but Young has agreed to be identified and has allowed her name to be used in interviews. "I hope there are several more (convictions) to follow," Young said in April. Burdick will be represented by attorneys Fletcher Long and John Herbison in the trial, which is expected to last a few days.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Southern Festival of Books expects big turnout

By Angela Patterson • THE TENNESSEAN • October 9, 2009 Organizers expect more than 20,000 people to descend on Nashville's War Memorial Plaza for the Southern Festival of Books: A Celebration of the Written Word on Friday-Sunday, Oct. 9-11. The 21st annual event will feature more than 200 authors from Tennessee and around the nation for presentations, readings, panel discussions and book signings. Some of this year's writers and works include: Buzz Aldrin, Magnificent Desolation: The Long Journey Home from the Moon; Rick Bragg, The Prince of Frogtown; Alice Randall, Rebel Yell and Omar Tyree, The Equation / 12 Brown Boys. "We're honored to have Buzz Aldrin, one of the very few men who has walked on the moon," said Serenity Gerbman, director of literature and language programs for Humanities Tennessee. Kathryn Stockett is an author whose debut book, The Help, has become a national bestselling phenomenon. Dave Cullen spent 10 years covering Columbine after the school killings and has the critically acclaimed bestseller Columbine. Mystery authors Jan Burke and Charlie Huston are two of the most popular today. "The author readings and book signings are the heart of the program, but we also have a lot of terrific music, food and children's programming throughout the weekend for families who wish to come and enjoy the outdoor portion." This year's Festival includes a screening of the film That Evening Sun, which is directed by Scott Teems and stars Hal Holbrook, at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 10 in the auditorium of the Nashville Public Library. Following the screening, there will be a question-and-answer session with Teems and with author William Gay. The film is based on Gay's short story "I Hate to See that Evening Sun Go Down." This year's live cooking stage will be hosted by Nashville's own Saucy Sisters, Barbara Nowak and Beverly Wichman, and will feature regional and local cookbook authors and chefs. Janis Owen, author of The Cracker Kitchen: A Cookbook in Celebration of Cornbread-Fed, Down Home Family Stories and Cuisine; Tennessean restaurant critic Nancy Vienneau, contributor to Alimentum – The Literature of Food; and Colonel William Paul, author of Cajun and Creole Cooking with Miss Edie and The Colonel, are foodies who are participating. A number of children's book authors also will be in attendance, including John Carter Cash, who has a debut children's book, Momma Loves Her Little Son. "We are delighted to welcome back Kate DiCamillo, an author whom I consider to be this generation's E.B. White," Gerbman said. "Her books will be read and loved just as we are still reading Charlotte's Web and Stuart Little. The children's stage this year also has a wonderful lineup of authors, performers and characters, with a special emphasis on peace and some arts and crafts projects that children will enjoy." For details on this year's festival, visit

Nashville health-care workers start to arm against H1N1

By Christina E. Sanchez • THE TENNESSEAN • October 8, 2009 The H1N1 nasal spray vaccine has arrived at several Nashville-area hospitals and health departments, but at this point the vaccine is only for health-care workers. An infectious disease doctor at Baptist Hospital was among the first health-care workers Wednesday to step up, take a deep breath and offer up his nostrils for the swine flu vaccine. He wanted to get the vaccine to lead by example and to encourage people — health-care workers and eventually the general population — to do the same. The vaccine, which is free, may not be available to the public until November. "Somebody had to be the first," said Dr. Mark Carr, medical director of the infectious disease prevention program at Baptist. "There is an exaggerated concern of the potential risks associated with the vaccine. There seems to be more concern (with the H1N1 vaccine), even though data so far has not borne that out." In Tennessee, the state health department confirmed that 23 people have died from the H1N1 virus — 16 adults and seven children. The state did not have information on exact locations or dates. One was a 5-year-old Nashville boy, Max Gomez, who died in early September. Health-care workers are the first in the country to get vaccinated because they are on the front lines of dealing with the virus daily. Children, pregnant women and people with chronic health conditions will be next to get the vaccine. "This is so we can be sure we're here," Carr said. "We will make sure the vaccine goes to critical groups who take care of patients." Baptist Hospital received 200 doses of the FluMist this week, along with Vanderbilt University Medical Center, which got 1,000 doses, and the Metro Nashville Health Department, which expects to have about 4,900 doses by Friday. They are waiting for the injectable version of the vaccine to arrive, though a specific date is unknown. Carr had to sign his consent and give his age to show he was younger than 50. The FluMist is approved only for healthy people ages 2 to 49. Pregnant women and people with other health conditions cannot take the nasal spray. The common side effect of the mist is having a stuffy nose similar to a cold. That could limit how many employees get the spray vaccine. How much of their stocks of the mist each hospital will use is unknown. Hospitals have been trying to gauge how many of their employees will take the vaccine. Vanderbilt and Baptist will not require employees to get it, but those who opt out must sign a form and state their reason for declining the vaccine. All of that information will be reported to the state. Dr. Philip Fleming, a plastic surgeon at Baptist, asked Carr a bevy of questions Wednesday in the hospital lunchroom. Rumors are circulating in the hospital, just as they are in the public, about the safety of the vaccine. Fleming said he will get the H1N1 vaccine, and he already got his seasonal flu shot. "I am more apprehensive about getting H1N1 than the vaccine," Fleming said. "There are a lot of rumors, and they are just that — rumors." All workers at Vanderbilt and Baptist go through mandatory training about the flu and vaccine. Baptist employees can begin getting the vaccine on Monday. It also will be offered from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. that day for health-care workers at the Metro Health Department's Lentz health building on 23rd Avenue. Vanderbilt will begin vaccinating its employees today, said spokesman John Howser. Brian Todd, of the Metro Health Department, said planning has been difficult, and everyone wants to know when the vaccine will be available to the public. "We'll be giving the FluMist Monday through Friday of next week, and then we'll see how much is left," Todd said. Once the health agency gets enough vaccine, it will go into the schools to give it to students. Consent forms will be sent home with students this week for parents to sign if they want their children to get the vaccine. The department does not know when the next shipments will arrive or how much it will get. "There isn't a notification system," Todd said. "We're glad to get it, but we don't know when it's arriving. We order it, and it just shows up."

Youths urge more discussion about suicide

By Martha Irvine • ASSOCIATED PRESS • October 9, 2009 CHICAGO — The topic of suicide makes many people squirm. It's something we've been told we're not supposed to talk about. If you speak it, someone might do it. But there's a growing conversation about suicide that's happening on college campuses, in high school auditoriums and online — even among youth some might think are too young to consider suicide. The hope is that a public discussion between young people and the teachers and counselors who work with them could inspire peers in distress to get help. "It's kind of like the sex talk with your children. I think that we should have that talk," says Brittany Langstaff, a 14-year-old ninth-grader in Georgetown, Ontario. She's on the girls editorial board of New Moon Girl Media, a magazine with an online site aimed at teen and "tween" girls that recently took on the topic of suicide. Nancy Gruver, New Moon's Minnesota-based founder and CEO, knew that addressing suicide with this age group might raise a few eyebrows. "This should not be taboo. It should be talked about because it is something that affects kids in this age range," Gruver says. In a Centers for Disease Control survey of high school students from 2007, the most recent federal data of its kind, researchers found that 16 percent had seriously considered suicide in the months preceding the survey. Similarly, a University of Minnesota study released this year found that nearly 15 percent of teens think they're going to die young, leading many to attempt suicide, use drugs and engage in other unsafe behaviors. Bryce Mackie, a 21-year-old student at Columbia College in Chicago, knows all about that. In high school, he made a film about his own experience with bipolar disorder and suicidal thoughts. He first showed the film to his parents and teachers and ended up getting help, and now speaks to other young people across the country about his experience. "I'll have seven or eight kids after a speech come up to me and, for most of them, this is the first time they've talked about it," says Mackie, whose film Eternal High has won awards for helping destigmatize mental illness. "They had no clue that anyone else felt that way," he adds. "And even if they did, their teachers weren't talking about it. Their friends weren't talking about it." Some in the mental health field credit Dr. David Satcher, a former U.S. surgeon general, for setting the stage for more openness in his 2001 National Strategy for Suicide Prevention. Now some states, among them California, New Jersey and Tennessee, require a strategy for suicide prevention in schools.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

21-year-old shot, killed on golf course

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Metro police are investigating a fatal shooting Wednesday afternoon at the Nashboro Golf Club, located on Nashboro Boulevard between Murfreesboro and Bell roads in southeast Nashville. Police spokesperson Kristin Mumford said a 21-year-old man was walking near the ninth hole at about 3:20 p.m. when he was shot. Golfers in the area reported hearing four shots. They turned around and saw the man, who then collapsed. The victim, indentified as Dontrell Nathaniel McFadden, was transported to Southern Hills Medical Center where he was pronounced dead. It is not known who fired the shots. A road runs alongside the golf course where the shooting occurred. Police have not said whether they believe the shooting was a drive-by. The investigation is ongoing.

Nashville's gas heating bills could drop 20 percent this winter

Many still ask for help in recession By Naomi Snyder • THE TENNESSEAN • October 7, 2009 The likelihood of a warmer winter and lower natural gas prices could drive down home heating bills by as much as 20 percent in the Nashville area this winter after years of painful rate hikes. Even so, local nonprofits say the recession has caused a surge in people seeking help with energy bills as the recession continues to take a toll on household finances. Piedmont Natural Gas, the former Nashville Gas, estimates that its average residential customers will pay about $100 a month to heat their homes between November and March, or $25 per month less than a year ago, if the warmer forecast holds true. The company's Nashville-area rates haven't been that low in five years, mostly driven down by wholesale natural gas prices, which are about half of what they were a year ago. People who rely on electricity to heat their homes should see the average bill fall about 12 percent to 15 percent in October compared with a year ago because the Tennessee Valley Authority has been scaling back large spikes the agency instituted last year as fuel costs rose. It's unclear whether those savings will last the entire winter because TVA adjusts rates every month. Nashville beats average Nashville residents may see a bigger dip in energy bills than the national average. On Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Energy forecast that winter electric bills nationwide will be about 2 percent less and natural gas bills will decline by about 12 percent this year. Other providers also expect customers to see a break on costs. "We expect real savings for Atmos Energy's customers at a time when the economy is putting pressure on everyone's household budget,'' said Denise Manning, a spokeswoman for Atmos, which supplies natural gas to customers in Williamson and Rutherford counties, among others. But agencies such as the Metro Action Commission, which hands out federal dollars to help low-income residents pay utility bills, have seen an increase in people wanting help because of the recession. "We have more and more families who are out of work or their hours have been reduced, different scenarios so they don't have enough to meet their basic needs,'' said Lisa Gallon, a spokeswoman for the commission. "Usually we have been able to pace ourselves, meaning our funds will last a longer period of time,'' she said. "However, we've seen a steady increase in the number of families needing our assistance." Over the summer, the commission saw a 25 percent increase in people seeking aid with their energy bills. This fall, the Metro Action Commission got a $1.8 million boost from the federal stimulus bill, which will help people with higher incomes get help with utility bills (people making 200 percent of the poverty level will qualify, or about $44,000 for a family of four, versus 125 percent of the poverty level previously). Making ends meetOne person seeking help for the first time on Tuesday was Tracy Pendergrass, a 32-year-old real estate agent, who said slower home sales have made it tougher to make ends meet. "Things are moving, but we are selling more foreclosures and homes under $200,000 rather than homes about $1 million, which affects my commission,'' she said. Pendergrass said she recently sold her $206,000 home in Clarksville and moved into a 650-square-foot apartment in Nashville for $575 per month to reduce her expenses. But she was shocked to see her electricity bill was higher in the apartment than in her former 2,700-square-foot home. She said the apartment has an aging heating and cooling system, which may add to costs. "I could be in a little better place if I had a lower electric bill,'' said Pendergrass, who said she paid about $200 to $250 per month this summer for electricity. Lost income and a high electric bill also drove Angela Johnson to the doors of the Metro Action Commission this week. The 44-year-old said she lost her hotel room-cleaning job in March and has been out of work since, picking up the occasional temporary agency job and getting help from her mother to support herself and three children. "I'm putting in (job) applications and they say they'll call you and they don't,'' she said. "The hotel business is real slow." She applied to get help from the Metro Action Commission for two months of energy bills totaling $426. The commission pays out an average of close to $400 per recipient, but the aid is available to each household only once per year.

Nashville Metro Council applauds Sgt. Mark Chesnut's bravery

Tennnessean Sgt. Mark Chesnut was critically wounded during a traffic stop on Interstate 40 near Bellevue on June 25. A prison escapee on the run from Mississippi is accused of shooting the 22-year police veteran multiple times as he sat in his patrol car. "This has been a trying time for me and my family," Chesnut said. "I want to thank the nurses and doctors at Vanderbilt who saved my life. I also want to thank the citizens of Nashville for their generosity. The hundreds of cards and well wishes we've received have been unbelievable."

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Complete crime log Oct. 1-4

Serious calls in Davidson County Davidson A.M. posts the crime log by large precinct area, but not all crimes happen in the large areas, some occur in towns or are otherwise recorded by Metro Police. Readers have also requested that we post the complete list of most serious calls handled by Metro police. Here is the complete list of the most serious calls for Oct. 1-4. These are the most serious calls handled by the Metro police, listed by time, crime reported and address. Some reports may be unfounded.

Nashville airport I-40 east exit to close Tuesday night; detour required

DAVIDSON COUNTY The main exit from Interstate 40 East to Nashville International Airport will be closed for eight hours tonight for work on the airport's Ring Road, requiring drivers to use the next exit to get to the terminal. Exit 216A will be closed from 8 p.m. to 4 a.m., weather permitting. Drivers should use Exit 216B, Donelson Pike South (Air Freight), the airport authority said in a news release. All exits from the terminal to the interstate will remain open, the authority said

Baby sale allegations surface in kidnapping case

DCS told of possible family link By Chris Echegaray and Kate Howard • THE TENNESSEAN • October 6, 2009 Baby Yair Antonio Carrillo and his three siblings remain in foster care as the family fights allegations that someone was trying to sell the baby for $25,000 before he was kidnapped. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for today in Davidson County Juvenile Court, where the family will attempt to get the children back after a week that saw the baby kidnapped, mother Maria Gurrola stabbed nine times, and the child found — only to go straight to foster care. The state has filed an emergency petition in support of temporarily removing the children from the home. Police say Tammy Renee Silas, 39, posed as an immigration agent Sept. 29 to get into Gurrola's South Nashville home and stabbed the mother before leaving with then-4-day-old Yair. Silas is facing federal kidnapping charges after she was arrested Friday night at her home in Ardmore, Ala., with the baby. Juvenile Court documents obtained by The Tennessean show that the Tennessee Department of Children's Services received information about possible family involvement just an hour after Silas was arrested. The documents don't say who made the accusation, but that person told authorities that both Gurrola and the child's father, Jose Antonio Carrillo, knew about the money exchange. The children were not safe with the parents or family members "based on the age of the other three children (3, 9, and 11), the severity of the crime involved, and statements by law enforcement that the parents and family members could not be ruled out as being involved with the exchange of money for the infant," according to the petition for emergency removal filed by Children's Services. Carrillo's cousin, Norma Rodriguez, said the mother and father denied any wrongdoing when family members asked them about the allegations. 'We believe them' "We believe them," Rodriguez said. "I asked them straight out. They don't have $25,000. They barely have anything in the bank right now. If they sold the baby, why did she (Silas) do that, stab her like that? It could be that woman or an accomplice of hers who is saying these things." Rodriguez said authorities never gave any indication to the family that they were investigating the mother and father. triggerAd(2,PaginationPage,12); Baby Yair and his family were briefly reunited Saturday, but the Department of Children's Services took him and his three siblings into custody that day. All four were placed together with a foster family. "We had no idea that the kids were going to be taken on Saturday," Rodriguez said. "They knew they were going to take them without telling us. We are thankful for them rescuing the baby but this is a lot." 'Unanswered questions' Metro police spokesman Don Aaron said that nobody in the family has charges pending, and that authorities are just continuing to gather information.' "There remain serious unanswered questions in this investigation, perhaps the most significant of which is, why was this particular child and this particular mother chosen among all other newborns and new mothers?" Aaron said. The baby and his siblings were taken for safety reasons "based on credible and serious information" that the Department of Children's Services is receiving, the state said in a statement Monday. "Our goal in this case, as in every case, is straightforward: We are working to make sure that this child and his three siblings have the best possible outcomes,'' said DCS Commissioner Viola P. Miller in the statement. The case is still under investigation, said Tennessee Bureau of Investigation spokeswoman Kristin Helm. The TBI would not say whether police are searching for more suspects. It's unknown why Gurrola was targeted and how her attacker knew when to strike. After attacking the mother, records show, the attacker made a call on the attacker's cell phone stating "the job was done." Police have yet to say who might have been on the other end. Gurrola is depressed that all of her children were taken from her, Rodriguez said. "Maria is so sad that she went through this and now all the children are gone," she said. "She doesn't want to have anything to do with that house anymore." The couple has been staying with relatives. Gurrola and the baby's father have no criminal records, only driving offenses in Nashville, according to authorities. Contact Chris Echegaray at 615-664-2144 or

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Abducted Newborn Baby Found Safe In Alabama

News Channel 5 NASHVILLE, Tenn. - A newborn baby who was abducted from a home in Antioch has been found safe in Ardmore, Alabama - about 85 miles away. Maria Gurrolla said she was stabbed multiple times Tuesday by a woman pretending to be an immigration worker who showed up at her home. When Gurrolla ran next door for help, she said the woman abducted her now 7-day-old son, Yair Anthony Carillo. A Kia Spectra was photographed at a nearby Walmart following Gurrolla before the attack. Police said 39-year-old Tammy Renee Silas rented the vehicle from the Nashville Airport the same day. Silas is from Ardmore. Police found the newborn boy uninjured around 10 p.m. Friday at a home in Ardmore. Silas was being held in the Morgan County Jail pending kidnapping and assault charges.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Police Release Sketch In Abducted Newborn Case

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Police released a sketch of the suspect wanted in connection with the abduction of a South Nashville newborn, who was stolen from his mother just days ago. Maria Gurrolla said she was stabbed multiple times Tuesday by a woman pretending to be an immigration worker who showed up at her home. When Gurrolla ran next door for help, she said the woman abducted her now 7-day-old son, Yair Anthony Carillo.
Metro police officers went door to door Thursday with the sketch of the suspected woman, who according to police, could be involved in the stabbing of Gurrolla and the kidnapping of her baby. Police didn't release that sketch to the public until Friday.
Gurrolla described the woman who attacked her as a heavyset woman with blond hair. Increasing their efforts, a crime scene analyst went back to the home Thursday on East Ridge Drive looking for evidence that could lead to the suspect. Then on Friday authorities pulled together multiple units to form a task force dedicated to finding baby Yair.
Metro police said the search still continued for the driver of a dark-colored Kia Spectra. Officials believe that driver could have witnessed the abduction of the newborn.
Police also said they have new leads coming in every hour and each piece of information is being checked out and thoroughly investigated. Authorities said they know someone in the community knows were baby Yair is, and they need that person to come forward.
Cathy Nahirny, an infant abduction case expert at the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, said there have been at least two other recent cases where the abductor used the same ploy of immigration agent because of the assumption that Latina families will be reluctant to tell police.

Attorneys to offer free help during October

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee attorneys will offer free legal services to those unable to pay at several events this month as a part of Celebrate Pro Bono Month. The more than 30 events across the state will include legal clinics, training for attorneys and events celebrating milestones in Tennessee's legal aid history. Gov. Phil Bredesen, in announcing the special month of activities, pointed out that more than one million Tennesseans are unable to afford needed legal services. During a one-day legal aid service day that the Tennessee Bar Association held last spring, volunteers provided nearly $600,000 worth of free legal services to 1,300 people. (Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

New bus schedules announced

Nashville police hold sketch of suspect in stabbing-kidnapping case

By Chris Echegaray • THE TENNESSEAN • October 2, 2009 Investigators have a sketch of a suspect in the stabbing of Maria Gurrolla in her South Nashville home Tuesday and abduction of her newborn baby. But police are not ready to release the sketch to the public, Metro police spokesman Don Aaron said at a Thursday press conference. There are numerous leads, police say, but investigators are still puzzled over the motive for the abduction. Yair Anthony Carillo, who is a week old today, has been missing since Tuesday, when his mother was attacked. Gurrolla, described her attacker as a heavy-set, blonde white woman. The 30-year-old mother was stabbed nine times during the abduction, suffering deep wounds and a collapsed lung. The stranger identified herself as an immigration agent, Gurrolla said, and said she was there to arrest Gurrolla. The woman then attacked Gurrolla with a butcher knife. Aaron refused to say whether anything else was taken from the home. However, after the attacker took the baby, she also grabbed a cell phone from the house, Gurrolla's cousin said. The abductor has not called, the family said. "We're still upset," said Norma Rodriguez, a relative, "but we're holding in there." Crime scene analysts, TBI agents and local police were at the East Ridge Drive home again on Thursday afternoon, looking for evidence. A task force of local police, TBI and FBI agents is working the case. Investigators recanvassed the neighborhood. Initially, the search was focused on a driver of a dark-colored Kia Spectra that appeared to follow Gurrolla as she left a Walmart on Nolensville Road on Tuesday. Police describe the driver of that car as a possible witness.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

TN's uninsured could soar without reform

Report says 1 in 5 could be without health insurance By Bill Theobald • TENNESSEAN WASHINGTON BUREAU • October 1, 2009 WASHINGTON — The number of Tennesseans without health insurance would reach 1.3 million and health-care spending would continue to skyrocket in the state over the next decade if nothing is done to change the system, according to a report released Wednesday. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's report estimates that, under the worst-case scenario, the number of uninsured in the state would increase from 953,000, or 17.7 percent of the population, to 1,115,000, or 20.1 percent of the population, by 2014, and to 1,263,000, or 22.1 percent of the population, by 2019. Tennesseans would face a 67 percent increase in health-care spending over the decade, while employers would face an increase of 109 percent increase in health-care premiums, and state spending on Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program would rise by 107 percent. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which focuses on health care, attempted to estimate what would happen in each state if no comprehensive reform is adopted. It provided best-case, intermediate-case and worst-case estimates for a number of factors. To read the complete report go to: Progress on health bill Congress has been locked lately in a battle to revise health care, which could bring more uninsured people access to insurance. One promising version of health-care legislation survived a long day of Republican challenges over abortion, illegal immigration and other issues Wednesday, and the bill's architect claimed enough votes for passage by the Senate Finance Committee, possibly by the end of the week. Emotions in Congress are running high as both houses edge nearer to floor votes on the legislation that is President Barack Obama's top domestic priority. Republicans expressed outrage that one House Democrat summed up their alternative as an invitation to sick Americans to "die quickly." "We're coming to closure," said Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., the Finance Committee chairman who has presided over daily sessions that began last week and occasionally stretched deep into the evening. "It's clear to me we're going to get it passed." Passage would clear the way for debate on the Senate floor on the bill, designed to accomplish Obama's aims of expanding access to insurance as well as slowing the rate of growth in overall health-care spending. The bill includes numerous consumer protections, such as limits on co-pays and deductibles, and relies on federal subsidies to help lower-income families purchase coverage. Its cost is estimated at $900 billion over a decade. Senate debate set The committee met as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada announced the full Senate would begin debate on health-care legislation the week of the Columbus Day holiday (Oct. 12). Initial action is expected to be slow, consumed largely with parliamentary maneuvers in which Democrats try to set the stage for passage and Republicans erect a 60-vote hurdle as a test vote. In the House, a Democratic lawmaker angered Republicans when he summed up their health-care alternative as the GOP wanting Americans to "die quickly" if they get sick. Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Fla., has refused to apologize for his remarks on the House floor Tuesday night. Republicans are likening the remarks to Rep. Joe Wilson's widely criticized shout of "You lie!" during Obama's address to Congress earlier this month. They say Democrats should insist that Grayson apologize just as they insisted Wilson, R-S.C., should. Inside the Senate Finance Committee, Democrats rejected attempts by Republicans to insert stronger anti-abortion provisions into the measure, as well as proposals to require photo identification to prove eligibility for benefits under federal health programs for the poor. Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, argued that provisions already in the bill to restrict federal funding for abortions needed to be tightened to guarantee they would be ironclad. He said his goal was to incorporate the restrictions into law, "so we don't have to go through it every year." Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

Nashville stabbing victim wants her kidnapped baby back

With no suspects, police seek witness By Kate Howard • THE TENNESSEAN • October 1, 2009 Hours before Maria Gurrolla was stabbed and her newborn baby stolen, the young mother was followed by a dark, four-door Kia Spectra. Police now know the driver of that sedan was not Lisa Sampson, who was identified as a person of interest just hours after the abduction and tracked down in upstate New York. Sampson, of Lebanon, did not have the baby and may not have even been in Tennessee when now 6-day-old Yair Carillo was taken from his South Nashville home. That discovery came nearly 18 hours after the abduction. Police were back to their first clue: the dark sedan resembling a police car that Gurrolla saw outside her East Ridge Drive house, and the woman who posed as an immigration agent threatening to arrest her. "It is vitally important that the community be on the lookout for a woman who has a child inexplicably — who has not been pregnant and suddenly has a child," Metro police spokesman Don Aaron said. Gurrolla met with the media on Wednesday at Vanderbilt University Medical Center to tell reporters about the woman who attacked her. The 30-year-old mother had swollen eyes and a long cut on her cheek. Bandages covered stab wounds on her neck, and she was wrapped in a blanket that obscured the rest of the stab wounds she suffered Tuesday. "I was attacked by a white woman,'' Gurrolla said in Spanish. Her cousin, Norma Rodriguez, interpreted. "I don't know the person that did that. I've never seen her before.'' The search is focused on the driver of the dark colored Kia Spectra that appeared to follow Gurrolla as she left a Walmart on Nolensville Road on Tuesday. Police describe the driver of that car as a possible witness. Gurrolla left the hospital with Yair on Monday night, and Tuesday morning she went to the Walmart at Nolensville Road and Harding Place. When she pulled into the parking lot at about 11 a.m., the Spectra, possibly blue or purple, parked nearby. Gurrolla took the baby inside, but the driver of the Kia never got out. When Gurrolla left, the car pulled out behind her. "We have no evidence this Kia was involved in the abduction," Aaron said. "We need to find out more information about this Kia and its driver." The car appeared to have an out-of-state license plate, Aaron said, though the number was not clear on the surveillance video. Police are asking anyone who might know the driver of this car to call police. Gurrolla has been arrested once in Nashville about 10 years ago for driving with a suspended license. Her immigration status isn't clear. A spokesman with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said he couldn't release any information because of federal privacy laws. The child's father, Antonio Carillo, lives with the family and was on the scene Tuesday night speaking to investigators. "We don't have any indication at this point that this is anything but a stranger child abduction," Metro police spokeswoman Kristin Mumford said. Amber alert for Tenn. As of Wednesday night, an Amber alert had been issued only for Tennessee. If information is developed that the woman may have taken the baby elsewhere, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation will ask other states to issue the alert, TBI spokeswoman Kristin Helm said. Gurrolla remained hospitalized late Wednesday, recovering from her injuries. She suffered nine stab wounds, many of them very deep, and a collapsed lung, said William Dutton, Gurrolla's doctor. Gurrolla also had a complicated birth and signs of that are still visible, Dutton said. "She is in stable condition and doing well now,'' Dutton said. Gurrolla said the baby had been lying on the sofa when the woman arrived at her doorstep. The stranger told Gurrolla she was an immigration agent and she was there to arrest her. Gurrolla asked the woman for identification. The blonde, heavyset woman struck her, then attacked her with a butcher knife and began to stab her. She never said anything about Yair. Gurrolla managed to get to a neighbor's house to ask for help. When she and the neighbor returned, the woman and the baby were gone. Gurrolla's 3-year-old daughter was still in the home and was unharmed. Gurrolla's mouth tightened when she spoke about her baby: he has a full head of hair. He's chubby, with big cheeks and big eyes. Tears rose in her eyes. She was asked what she would say to the woman who attacked her and took her son. "She says for her to reflect,'' Rodriguez said. "She needs her baby back.'' Youth Services detectives retraced her steps looking for clues, and Gurrolla is working with a sketch artist to develop a composite of the suspect. Contact Kate Howard at 615-726-8968 or writer Nicole Young contributed to this report.