Local News Articles

Second Graders Make Cards to Cheer Up a Sick Child

December 18, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page
Second Graders Make Cards to Cheer Up a Sick Child

Second grade students at Smithville Elementary recently participated in a community project for Christmas.

Students worked to make cards to send to a sick little girl who may be celebrating her last Christmas. The students will be mailing the 6 year old girl over 120 homemade Christmas cards.

Pictured are a few students from each class that worked on the cards.

County Clerk Announces New Location for Drivers License Kiosk

December 17, 2014
County Clerk Announces New Location for Drivers License Kiosk

Customers needing the services of the Driver’s License Kiosk machine will now find it more conveniently located inside the County Clerk's Office.

“Prior to my involvement it (Kiosk machine) was initially situated at the far end of the hallway upon entering the county office building. That placement has shown to have been very difficult for customers to recognize, viewing from a distance a machine from the rear with no identifiable signage visible. Also the distance of walking for the disabled, people using walkers and wheelchairs was much farther before. In addition to its poor location and for other reasons many citizens remain unaware of the existence of the Kiosk machine. With all considered I felt moving this machine would offer better recognition, convenience and allow our office to better assist the customer. I coordinated this relocating process through The Department of Safety and Homeland Security and the Kiosk machine was officially moved Friday December 12," said County Clerk James L. "Jimmy" Poss.

Solid Waste Transfer Station Expected to be Operational by Spring

December 17, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page
Tim Stribling

Construction is underway on the new solid waste transfer station and it is expected to be operational by spring.

County Mayor Tim Stribling updated the county commission Monday night after seventh district commissioner Larry Summers asked about the progress of the project "The transfer station is coming along great. The building is going up. The steel frame has been erected. They are getting ready to put on the sheet metal. The foundation for the scales has been laid. They have the pad poured for the office that is next to the big building. Everything is running on schedule. Hopefully by March we'll be operational. Then we will be closing down the Class I cell after we're up and running good with the transfer station. The rest of the Class I cell will be turned into a Class III/IV landfill (for non-household solid waste). The permit has already been sent in to the state requesting the change from a Class I to the Class III/IV. The road is cut (to the facility). A new two lane road that extends on from Moog Boulevard. The electric poles are set. I don't know if the lines are run. Gas and sewer have been run. The city still has to run the water down to the new road but it (project) is taking shape. I'd recommend anybody drive out there and take a look at it," said County Mayor Stribling.

Household garbage from DeKalb County will be hauled to the Smith County landfill for disposal after the solid waste transfer station is up and running.

The county commission in August voted to enter into a five year contract with the neighboring county who will dispose of DeKalb County's solid waste at the rate of $29.00 a ton. The commission also awarded a bid to Elk Mountain Construction of Cookeville to build the transfer station in the Smithville Industrial Park on Highway 70 east behind Tenneco Automotive. Elk Mountain's base bid was $1,308,092 with a deductive alternate of $425,077 from the base bid for road work into the proposed facility.

The county still has to find some way it getting the garbage to Smith County. The county could either haul it or contract the service.

Sheriff Reports Increase in Auto Break-ins

December 17, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page
Patrick Ray

With the rise in automobile break-ins lately in portions of DeKalb County, Sheriff Patrick Ray is urging you to "take notice and be on alert" especially during the holiday season.

"Christmas time is when we have a lot of thefts and break-ins and over the last few weeks we have seen an increase in our vehicle burglary reports where thieves have made entry into locked and unlocked vehicles and stolen items from the inside. This has happened on Highway 56 north and on Highway 70 west," said Sheriff Ray.

Items stolen from these vehicles included GPS systems, money, wallets, Christmas presents, sunglasses, etc. "We're asking the public to call the dispatch number at 615-215-3000 if you see any suspicious vehicles in your neighborhood, maybe vehicles that drive by real slow and drive multiple times up and down the road or if you see somebody walking during the day or especially at night in your neighborhood who are strangers to you. If you call we can get a deputy out to take a look and make sure everything is okay. We can have extra patrols set up through the sheriff's department. If you would like to be placed on the list for extra patrols call 615-215-3000. We also have deputies stationed around the county in case we do get calls so we can get somebody there quickly and maybe find who the person is," said Sheriff Ray.

To keep from becoming a victim of these type crimes, Sheriff Ray urges you to keep your automobiles locked when you are away from them and don't leave valuables in plain sight. "We ask you to keep your cars locked. Take any valuables especially Christmas presents into the house or keep them locked in the trunk. Do not put things in the glove box. When a thief breaks into the car most of the time that's the first place he looks is in the glove box. If you have a GPS, take that off the windshield, remove the suction cup, and hide those somewhere or take them in the house with you. And call us if you see something suspicious. You never know when you might be saving another victim from a crime. Take notice and be on alert. Keep your eyes and ears open," said Sheriff Ray.

You may phone in tips to the sheriff's office at 615- 597-4935 or call the tip line at 464-6400 to report any type of crime whether it be burglaries, thefts, drugs, etc.

Mayor and Aldermen Begin Discussions on Liquor Ordinance

December 16, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page

The Smithville Mayor and Aldermen have begun discussions on developing an ordinance regulating the sale of liquor from retail package stores in Smithville. No ordinance has yet been prepared but after a workshop held Monday night, city officials have a better idea of what they would like to see in the ordinance in terms of regulations.

The workshop was held at city hall.

While liquor licenses can only be issued by the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission, the city has the authority to develop local guidelines for applicants. For example, the city may establish minimum distance requirements between liquor stores and churches, schools, etc. The aldermen may also regulate the size of stores in terms of square footage; impose residency requirements for applicants; and limit the number of licensed liquor stores that may operate within the city.

Local businessman Jewel Redman, who attended Monday night's workshop, asked the aldermen not to limit the number of stores. "You should give everybody a chance at it and the ones who have the best business will survive and the others won't. That's the only fair way of doing it," said Redman.

Alderman Shawn Jacobs said he preferred limiting the number of stores to no more than three. Jacobs said he would also like to pattern the local ordinance after Crossville's which establishes in-door advertising restrictions so that motorists can't see the signage from the streets. " I know I am in the minority but I'd like to go on record and say that I would like to see the advertising restrictions be similar to what Crossville has and I would like to see a limit of three stores," said Alderman Jacobs.

Alderman Jason Murphy questioned whether it would be necessary to limit the number of liquor stores. "I think even if we don't set a limit, I bet we wouldn't have three stores. I don't think we'd have the business to support it," said Murphy.

Alderman Gayla Hendrix added that she thought it would be discriminatory to establish limits on the number of stores. "I don't think it's right to set a limit. There's not going to be many people to qualify for this but just putting a limit on it is showing discrimination. It's going to fix itself," she said.

"I don't want to be one of them (persons) to decide who gets it and who don't," said Alderman Danny Washer, who is also opposed to limiting the number of stores.

Mayor Jimmy Poss said while he doesn't have a vote on this, he too is against the city limiting the number of stores that can operate. "It'll be up to you guys but I don't think we need to limit it. It'll play itself out," he said.

Regarding minimum distance requirements, Alderman Josh Miller said he preferred setting it for liquor stores the same as those called for in the city's beer ordinance, which is 400 feet between stores selling alcohol and churches, schools, etc.

As far as residency, the aldermen discussed patterning the local ordinance after Mount Juliet's which requires applicants to have lived in the city for at least two years or in Wilson County for at least five years in order to be able to obtain an application.

City attorney Vester Parsley and City Administrator Hunter Hendrixson suggested preparing a couple of "sample' ordinances for the aldermen to take a look at during the next meeting on Monday, January 5th.

Once an ordinance is adopted, persons may apply. Even if there is a limit on the number of stores that may operate, there would be no limit on applications. Applicants would be subject to criminal background checks by the city attorney and police chief, which could take up to 30 days. After background checks are completed, applications would be reviewed by the Board of Aldermen, who would then issue a certificate of compliance to those who qualify, a process which could take up to sixty days. The certificates of compliance would then be forwarded by the city to the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission, which has its own requirements for applicants to meet. Even if the city finds an applicant eligible, the state ABC Commission could still reject an applicant for a liquor license.

Student with Airsoft Guns Granted Probation

December 16, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page

A DCHS student who got into trouble after two airsoft guns were found in his automobile at school last month appeared in Juvenile Court Thursday.

Although Judge Bratten Cook, II apparently held a closed hearing in the case, WJLE has learned that the 17 year old boy was granted pre-trial diversion and placed on six months probation. He was charged in a juvenile petition with committing a delinquent act, to wit: carrying or possession of weapons on school property. As part of his probation, the boy must perform 50 hours of community service. If his court costs are paid and all rules of probation are followed, the case against the teen may later be dismissed. His case will be reviewed again during a hearing in juvenile court set for May 20.

After the incident on Friday, November 21, the boy was suspended from school for several days and then remanded to the alternative school for the remainder of the year. The boy's family has appealed the decision with school authorities.

According to Sheriff Patrick Ray, the boy bragged to another student at school that he had a gun in his pocket. When the student said she didn't believe him, the boy claimed he was serious and held his hand inside the pocket of a sweatshirt he wore in a manner that made it appear he had a gun. The teen never displayed a weapon and made no threats toward anyone.

After Assistant principal David Gash was made aware of the incident both he and Principal Patrick Cripps went to the boy's classroom, pulled him out of class and searched him. Finding no weapons on the boy, Gash and Cripps went to his vehicle and found two airsoft pistols, which resembled real guns. One of them was loaded.

When confronted about the airsoft guns, the boy admitted that they belonged to him. He was brought by the School Resource Officer to the Sheriff's Department . After consulting with the District Attorney General, officers filed a juvenile petition against the teen.

Agreement Approved between DeKalb County and Alexandria Fire Departments

December 15, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page
County Mayor Tim Stribling and Alexandria Mayor Tony Tarpley sign agreement. Standing are County Fire Chief Donny Green and Alexandria Fire Chief Brian Partridge and Assistant Chief John Partridge
Map shows areas in blue covered by automatic aid agreement

The DeKalb County and Alexandria Volunteer Fire Departments have formed a partnership to render specific firefighting services to each other as needed through an automatic aid agreement. The effort is meant to improve response times to fires, especially to residents in the county who are within five road miles of the Town of Alexandria's Fire Department.

(CLICK LINK BELOW TO VIEW MAP WHICH SHOWS AREAS IN BLUE COVERED BY THE AUTOMATIC AID AGREEMENT)

alexandria map 2.pdf (338.62 KB)

The Alexandria Mayor and Aldermen recently adopted the agreement and the DeKalb County Commission approved it Monday night during the regular monthly meeting. The agreement, effective for five years starting January 1, 2015 was signed following the county commission meeting by County Mayor Tim Stribling and Alexandria Mayor Tony Tarpley. Looking on during the signing were County Fire Chief Donny Green, Alexandria Fire Chief Brian Partridge, and Assistant Alexandria Chief John Partridge.

Chief Green told WJLE prior to the meeting on Monday that the agreement, which has been in the making for several months, will provide better fire protection and added benefits for residents in the Alexandria area. Under the agreement, both the Alexandria and DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Departments will automatically respond to fires in the county that are within five miles of the Alexandria Fire Department and dispatched by the DeKalb County 911 Emergency Communications District. "It basically provides a new area of coverage that will be within five miles of the City of Alexandria's Fire Station that will extend out into the area beyond the city limits of Alexandria including the areas of Lower Helton Road, New Hope Road, and up Nashville Highway back toward Liberty and on the south side of Highway 70 in the Upper Helton area," said Chief Green.

The county already has in place mutual aid agreements with fire departments here and outside DeKalb County which call for them to assist each other with resources and manpower when needed. But this is the county's first "automatic aid agreement" . "The significance of this is that in this five mile area, the City of Alexandria Fire Department will be dispatched out on the initial call of any fire that happens in that five mile area. The result of having this automatic aid agreement will allow us to have quicker response times to structure fires and to other types of fires that happen within that five mile area. Hopefully this will result in less risk for injury and death and minimize property losses by quicker response times. And to those homeowners who have properties in that five mile area beyond the city limits of Alexandria, they will be able to realize savings on their homeowners insurance when up until now they have been unable to because of their being outside the City of Alexandria's jurisdiction and not within five road miles of one of our fire stations out in the county," said Chief Green.

The agreement also calls for the county fire department to automatically respond to structure fires inside Alexandria along with the Alexandria Fire Department. " Alexandria is going to realize some benefits from this as it works both ways. We will be assisting them on structure fires in the city limits of Alexandria. Under this new automatic aid agreement we will be called in initially as they are to assist with structure fires in their jurisdiction," said Chief Green.

Each department will maintain its own jurisdictional authority and if at any time either party wants to opt out of the agreement they may do so by giving a 30 day written notice. The agreement also includes compliance provisions which each party must adhere to including maintaining the proper training. "It is a lengthy legal agreement and in it there are compliance requirements for both departments. We have to maintain training that meets state and ISO requirements as far as training and personnel and they have to maintain the same. These are not individual department policies. These are state laws that both sides have to comply with and failure to comply by either side will result in the agreement becoming void. We certainly don't want that to happen and we're going to work hard to make this agreement work because it is a benefit to our citizens but it does have a lot of legal aspects in it as far as compliance that will have to be closely monitored by both sides," said Chief Green.

Trio Arrested After Discovery of Pipe Bombs and Meth Lab

December 15, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page
James Lee Adcock
Don Diamond Groshon
April Lee Hollingsworth
Harry Charles Vedder
Jeremy James Dalton
Jeremy Austin Scruggs
Richard Allen Chapman
Lesley Ann Lawrence
Ramiro Moreno Anaya, Sr

DeKalb County Sheriff's deputies found a meth lab and two live pipe bombs after arriving on the premises of a residence on Jefferson Road last Monday to serve a violation of probation warrant.

46 year old James Lee Adcock of Jefferson Road, Smithville, 42 year old Don Diamond Groshon of Cookeville Highway, Smithville, and 36 year old April Lee Hollingsworth of West Main Street, Smithville are each charged with initiation of a process to manufacture methamphetamine. Adcock is also charged with having prohibited weapons (pipe bombs); resisting stop, frisk, halt, or arrest; and he has a violation of probation warrant against him. Groshon is further charged with resisting stop, frisk, halt, or arrest and he has a warrant against him for violation of probation. Hollingsworth also has an attachment for child support against her along with warrants for failure to appear and violation of probation. Bonds are $501,500 for Adcock, $201,500 for Groshon, and $200,000 for Hollingsworth. All three are being held without bond for their violation of probation warrants. They will appear in court on January 8.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Monday, December 8th deputies went to Adcock's home to serve a violation of probation warrant on him. Upon arrival, the officers saw two men running from a barn on the premises. During a search, deputies found Adcock and Groshon hiding in the woods. Hollingsworth remained in the barn. After receiving consent from the property owner to search the barn, officers found a live pipe bomb made of PVC pipe containing explosives, a one liter one pot, a Toastmaster burner, 18 ounces of crystal Drano, 16 ounces of Kingford charcoal lighter fluid, digital scales, a turkey baster, an empty ice compress box, an ice compress pack that had been cut open, 10 hypodermic needles, a funnel, a 16.4 ounce propane bottle, an empty lithium battery pack, four stripped lithium batteries, and three cut straws. A search of Adcock's home turned up another live pipe bomb made of galvanized steel and containing explosives. Due to the discovery of the pipe bombs, Sheriff Ray said members of the Tennessee Highway Patrol Special Operations Unit were called to the scene.

75 year old Harry Charles Vedder of Turkey Branch Road, Liberty is charged in a grand jury sealed indictment with possession for resale of a schedule VI drug (marijuana). His bond is $10,000 and he will be arraigned in criminal court on January 21. Vedder was arrested on Wednesday, December 10 .

35 year Jeremy James Dalton of A.B. Frazier Road, Smithville is charged with public intoxication. His bond is $1,500 and he will be in court December 18. Sheriff Ray said that on Monday, December 8 Dalton was found outside his home in a field near Blue Springs Road and A.B. Frazier Road. He appeared to be under the influence of an intoxicant. For his safety and that of the public, Dalton was placed under arrest.

36 year old Jeremy Austin Scruggs of Highland Avenue, Smithville is charged with driving on a revoked license. He was further issued a citation for driving on roadways laned for traffic. His bond is $1,500 and he will be in court on March 5. Sheriff Ray said that on Sunday, December 14 a deputy was patrolling on Midway Road when he saw a red Saturn cross over into the opposite lane of traffic. The officer conducted a traffic stop and spoke with the driver, Scruggs. A computer check revealed his license to be revoked as of January 14, 2009 for driving while intoxicated. He was placed under arrest.

52 year old Richard Allen Chapman of Oakley Hollow Road, Alexandria is charged with violation of bond conditions. His bond is $2,500 and he will be in court January 8. Sheriff Ray said that on Sunday, December 14 a deputy responded to a domestic dispute at a residence on Oakley Hollow Road. Upon arrival, the officer spoke with a woman who said that she and Chapman had gotten into an argument and that he locked her out of the house. Under his bond conditions, Chapman is to have no contact with this woman until they go back to court. He was placed under arrest.

27 year old Lesley Ann Lawrence of Foster Road, Smithville is charged with driving under the influence. Her bond is $2,500 and she will be in court January 8. According to Sheriff Ray, a deputy while on patrol on Short Mountain Highway Sunday, December 14 saw a gray Ford van with its flasher lights on traveling at a very low rate of speed. The woman driving the van, Lawrence, was sounding the horn and yelling out the window at a man who was walking down a sidewalk. The officer conducted a traffic stop and spoke with Lawrence who told him that she and her boyfriend had gotten into an argument at her home. When her boyfriend left the residence, Lawrence said she got in the van and followed trying to get him to return home. The deputy noticed that Lawrence had a strong odor of alcohol coming from her person. He asked if she had been drinking and she replied "yes, I've had a few shots". Lawrence submitted to and perform poorly on field sobriety tasks. Lawrence was placed under arrest and taken to the Smithville Police Department for a breath test. She blew a .142 during the test. Lawrence was then taken to the Sheriff's Department for booking.

49 year old Ramiro Moreno Anaya, Sr. of Winding Way, McMinnville is charged with driving under the influence. His bond is $2,500 and he will be in court March 5. Sheriff Ray said that on Sunday, December 14 a deputy was patrolling on Highway 56 south when he saw a white Chevy van cross the center line several times. He conducted a traffic stop and spoke with the driver, Anaya who had a strong odor of alcohol on his person. The deputy asked Anaya if he had been drinking and he replied "yes I have had a few". Anaya submitted to and performed poorly on field sobriety tasks. He also took a blood test. Anaya was then taken to the sheriff's department for booking.

THP to Conduct Seatbelt Checkpoint

December 14, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page

The Tennessee Highway Patrol will be conducting a seatbelt checkpoint on Friday, December 19 on State Route 56 north in DeKalb County.

Recognizing that an alarmingly high number of vehicle occupants killed in fatal crashes were unrestrained, the Tennessee Highway Patrol has elected to create an enforcement campaign aimed at drastically reducing the number of unrestrained drivers and occupants.

Officers will also be on active patrol observing for unrestrained drivers and occupants of motor vehicles.

The Tennessee Highway Patrol has found seatbelt checkpoints to be an effective means of enforcing seatbelt and child restraint laws of Tennessee while ensuring the protection of all motorists.

School Board Okays Location for Remote Area Medical Visit

December 12, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page

The Remote Area Medical Volunteer Corps is returning to DeKalb County on Saturday and Sunday, March 28 & 29 at DeKalb County High School providing free health care services to people of all ages regardless of income. A similar event took place in DeKalb County at the high school in August 2005 and November 2010.

The DeKalb County Board of Education Thursday night granted a request from County Mayor Tim Stribling for the high school to be the location for the visit, just as on the previous two occasions.

Remote Area Medical (RAM) is a non-profit, volunteer corps dedicated to serving mankind by providing free health care, dental care, eye care, and technical and educational assistance to people in remote areas of the United States and the world.

Founded in 1985, Remote Area Medical is a publicly supported all-volunteer charitable organization. Volunteer doctors, nurses, and support workers participate in expeditions (at their own expense). Medical supplies, medicines, facilities and vehicles are donated.

Meanwhile Director of Schools Mark Willoughby updated the school board on personnel moves since last month.

Those employed are:

Jessie Vanatta, Colton Rhody, and Todd Miller as substitute teachers
Melissa Peranteau, employed as a full time bus driver

Resignations/Retirements:
Vicki Jeffries, educational assistant at Smithville Elementary School, retired as of December 19
Kim Lawson, bus driver

Transfers:
Amy Lattimore, assistant manager at Northside Elementary School transferred to School Nutrition Supervisor
JoAnn Vanatta, transferred from part-time cafeteria position at Northside Elementary School to full time
Marie Martin, transferred from cafeteria worker to assistant manager at Northside Elementary School
Donna McManus, transferred from substitute cafeteria worker to a four hour part time position at Northside Elementary School.

The board postponed action on a proposal to implement a new pay date for personnel starting in the 2015-16 school year.

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