Tennessee Department of Transportation Commissioner John Schroer will join state and local officials to celebrate the official completion of the Sligo Bridge project in DeKalb County on Friday, March 11.
The event will take place in the paved parking lot near the west end of the bridge.
In addition to TDOT Commissioner Schroer, State Senator Mae Beavers, State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver, DeKalb County Mayor Tim Stribling, and Smithville Mayor Jimmy Poss will be present for the ribbon cutting at 2:30 p.m.
Nine members of the DeKalb County Fire Department graduated from the Tennessee Fire Service and Codes Enforcement Training Academy's Live Burn class Saturday and Sunday, March 5 & 6.
Assistant Chief/Training Officer David Agee says this 16-hour course requires students to demonstrate skills needed to extinguish a passenger vehicle fire attack, exterior Class A fire attack, interior structure fire attack, and ground cover fire attack. "We are extremely proud of these recent graduates. Today, our department stands better prepared to respond to emergencies because of the high standards for training we set for our firefighters," said Asst. Chief Agee.
Pictured from L to R: front: Justin Bass, Robert Sartin, Jonathon Morris, middle: Asst. Chief/Training Officer David Agee, Dallas Hulling, Andrew Cox, Friday Shinabery; back: Caleb Haggard, Gage Brown, Aaron Haggard.
Democrats and Republicans don't agree on much but when it comes to the theft of political signs they are on the same page. It must be stopped.
In a joint statement issued to the local media the chairpersons of both parties, Democrat Jordan Wilkins and Republican Mingy Bryant are asking that the thefts stop and for the prosecution of those caught taking the signs.
Wilkins told WJLE that the large "Hillary Clinton" and "Donald Trump" signs are being stolen along with others.
“We, Jordan Wilkins, Chairperson of the DeKalb County Democratic Party, and Mingy Bryant, Chairperson of the DeKalb County Republican Party, ask that people who are stealing candidates’ signs stop doing so. It is not only a great expense to the candidates and their campaigns, it is a violation of federal law. Anyone removing publicly displayed campaign materials will be prosecuted," the statement said.
Any information regarding the removal and destruction of candidates’ signs, should be reported to the Smithville Police Department, Alexandria Police Department, DeKalb County Sheriff's Department, or the Tennessee Highway Patrol office.
43 year old Christopher Nicholas Orlando has heard from members of the Tennessee Board of Parole and the news for him isn't good. He will have to spend at least two more years in prison.
Orlando is serving a 35 year prison sentence for facilitation of first degree murder in the death of 20 year old Joshua Murphy. He is incarcerated at the Northeast Correctional Complex in Mountain City, Tennessee. A previous conviction against Orlando for possession of cocaine ran consecutively with the murder case and expired in 2009. Orlando's sentence in the murder case is due to expire in 2040. He has served a total of 13 years and 3 months.
During a parole hearing Tuesday morning, March 8 three members of the board, Tim Gobble, Zane Duncan, and Roberta Nevil Kustoff voted by video conference to deny parole for Orlando due to the seriousness of the offense and to reconsider the case in March, 2018. Three affirmative votes of the seven member parole board were all that was required to make the decision final in this case.
Orlando appeared by video conference from the prison where he is incarcerated. The three parole board members were at other locations. And District Attorney General Bryant Dunaway and the victim's uncle and aunt Ricky and Melissa Murphy were at the Cookeville office of Probation and Parole where they spoke in opposition to Orlando's release.
Murphy was shot and killed in a secluded area in the Laurel Hill Community at the end of Old Eagle Creek Road on Sunday, September 15, 2002. His body was discovered three days later. Officials said Orlando and a co-defendant, Melvin Turnbill suspected Murphy of stealing methamphetamine. Orlando was tried and convicted of the crime by a DeKalb County Criminal Court Jury in April, 2004.
Turnbill entered a guilty plea to facilitation to first-degree murder in September, 2003 and was given a 25-year sentence. Turnbill was granted parole in March 2015 after serving more than twelve years but he has run afoul of the law again and may be headed back to prison. Turnbill is currently incarcerated in Putnam County on burglary and DUI charges.
Orlando said he was sorry for the death of Murphy during the parole hearing Tuesday and for the first time took responsibility for being the triggerman in the shooting. In the last parole hearing three years ago Orlando blamed Turnbill for actually committing the murder. "I take full responsibility for my actions sir. I was involved and it was a very tragic thing that happened and there's not a day that goes by that I don't regret what happened. I feel truly upset for the pain I've caused the family. I feel terribly about what I've done. If I had not been on the drugs I was on then no way would I have been involved in anything like that. I can't blame it solely on the drugs. I was a grown man. I made poor decisions and something tragic happened. I am sorry for what I did and the family that I hurt," said Orlando.
"I'm not the same man I was when I did this terrible thing," Orlando continued."I have been in prison a few years now. I believe I have grown. I've seen what I've done wrong. I know what it will take for me to be a productive and law abiding citizen. I would like the chance to be with my daughter. She was just a young girl when I got locked up. I would also like to be a part of my granddaughter's life and the rest of my family. If the parole board does give me this chance I can promise and guarantee that the lifestyle I had before, I will never repeat it again. It is something I'm ashamed and embarrassed of and I'm hurt for what I did. I have found church. I'm Catholic and I've been attending a lot of services. I will have strong family support and job opportunities," said Orlando.
Murphy's uncle and aunt, Ricky and Melissa Murphy gave an emotional plea for Orlando to be denied parole."I just feel like Mr. Orlando has not spent enough time for the crime he done," said Ricky Murphy. " I don't get to see my nephew at Christmas no more or on his birthdays. I just miss him so bad," he said.
"He was took from us. We don't get to be with him at Christmas or holidays. All I have left is a picture on the wall of a little boy that we don't have anymore," said Melissa Murphy. It was over drugs. All over drugs. And it wasn't worth killing a human over. Josh was deeply loved and cared about. It's not right. It's not fair to Josh's family. I know he (Orlando) says he is living right with God but when he gets out is he still going to live right for God or is it just jail talk? You don't kill an innocent person over drugs. I don't think Chris should get out because he could go back to his old ways just like Turnbill," she said.
District Attorney Dunaway told the parole board members that his office stands against Orlando's release from prison." My office stands in opposition because this is a very serious offense. It is a very violent offense. We have a large interest in keeping violent offenders such as Mr. Orlando off the street and in prison. Only fourteen years of a 35 year sentence has been served. He was sentenced as a range II multiple offender at the time of his conviction. So we're not dealing with a first offender here. We're dealing with a history of problems on Mr. Orlando's part. I would ask the board to consider the seriousness of this offense and the public safety considerations. I am personally concerned about the public safety considering his violent past and also the deterrent effect. I think fourteen years of a 35 year sentence is not sufficient to deter like conduct," said D.A. Dunaway.
"Mr. Orlando's history enhancement factors were considered at his sentence and those included his criminal history," D.A. Dunaway continued. "He was a felon already. Exceptional cruelty was involved in this case as Mr. Orlando stated. He took the firearm from his co-defendant (Turnbill) and discharged multiple rounds from a twelve gauge shotgun into the face, chest, and leg area of Mr. Murphy that took his life. The record also reflects that they left the body in this remote area for several days. The autopsy report reflects that the body was in a state of decomposition. So not only did they kill Mr. Murphy but they left him in this wooded area to be found several days later. During this murder they used a firearm and most telling, Mr. Orlando committed this heinous act while he was on probation on a felony charge for sale and delivery of methamphetamine. His history is extensive and one of violence as well as extensive drug activity. The record reflects that the motivation for this crime was the theft of their drugs (methamphetamine). They planned it (shooting) ahead of time. They bought shotgun shells. They went and retrieved a shotgun. All of this was well thought out and well planned and was intentional. They took him (Murphy) to a remote area, shot him and left him for dead literally. I'm glad that Mr. Orlando admits his full involvement today. I think he testified truthfully today. He was the shooter. But it's interesting as I review the file, he gave no less than four statements to TBI investigators (previously) that did not admit his guilt but those statements progressed to a state where he blamed Mr. Turnbill for their actions," said D.A. Dunaway.
At the conclusion of the hearing Parole Board member Gobble said while Orlando had made progress he could not vote to parole him now."There is no question that this is a terrible crime. I do believe you're making some progress. I believe in rehabilitation. I do believe people can change. I see that you had a good program participation and you have a good disciplinary record so I think those are indications and evidence that you are making effort. However I'm not ready to parole you today. I don't think you're quite there. I think with your violent past at this point there is a potential risk to public safety and I'm not exactly comfortable with voting to parole you due to the seriousness of the offense. My vote is to decline you and to review your case again in two years. But I am pleased with what I am seeing in your record. You are working to better yourself. Your behavior has improved and you are working to address drug addictions. But you are convicted of a very serious offense," said Gobble.
Parole Board members Duncan and Kustoff concurred with Gobble in voting to decline parole and to review the case again in March, 2018
Timothy Hill Children’s Ranch, a non-profit organization based in New York which operates a residential facility for youth will be taking control of Lakeside Resort next week.
The Upper Cumberland Human Resource Agency has sold the financially troubled resort, which is located off Cookeville Highway on Center Hill Lake.
According to Luke Collins, Executive Director of UCHRA, the transfer will become official with the signing of all documents on Tuesday, March 15 now that the UCHRA has received an assignment of lease from the Real Estate Committee of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for the finalization of the sale of Lakeside.
"Timothy Hill Ranch has purchased the assets of the property and the rights to lease the property. The Army Corps of Engineers has approved for them to take over our lease of the property and for them to be renters of the property. The contract has been signed. The money exchange will take place on March 15," Lakeside Manager Bob Sotis told WJLE.
Under terms of the sale, Timothy Hill Ranch will put forward a $600,000 purchase, $50,000 deposit and $100,000 in services over 10 years ($10,000 per year). Those services would include staff retreats, annual meetings, employee training and other events.
UCHRA will pay off its USDA Rural Development loan debt of $1,285,550 relating to Lakeside Resort by applying the $600,000 from Timothy Hill and borrowing from Bank of Putnam County $685,550.35 to be repaid in 4 years.
While UCHRA will still be in debt it will no longer lose as much money as it has in recent years because of Lakeside according Sotis."We have negotiated with USDA Rural Development. There will be a balance of $685,000 that UCHRA will still owe against what they had borrowed twenty years ago but when you're losing $200,000 a year for the last twenty years it really doesn't do us any good to hold on. It would be better to hand it to somebody else. And they (Timothy Hill) are a non-profit so it's really one non-profit helping another," said Sotis.
Based in Long Island New York, Timothy Hill Ranch serves children and men from ages 10-24 who have been abused, neglected and/or are in crisis. Referrals come from the court system and private agencies.
According to Sotis, Timothy Hill plans to continue operating the facility as a resort while serving youth. "Lakeside needs a vision and it's a great vision that Timothy Hill is going to have. Timothy Hill are good Christian people and it will be a real blessing to DeKalb County. They will operate the resort as it is. They will do almost no changes on plan of action business plans for the first year but I believe in the years to follow you will have more Christian retreats, parental retreats and that kind of thing. Their marketing department will push toward helping families and marriages and things like that. That's what they concentrate on. They're pretty big. They've been doing this for 40 years. They are also looking to put $3 million in the property in the next five years with a new dock, possibly a beach, and other renovations," he said.
Guest cottages and apartments are maintained on the property including thirteen cabins or houses, four condominiums, along with the lakeside lodge, featuring 26 units. The resort also has a dock and a swimming pool.
According to Sotis the ten current employees of Lakeside will be permitted to remain on staff.
Smithville employees who have worked for the city twenty years or more will get a total of four weeks of paid vacation.
The aldermen last month, at the suggestion of Alderman Josh Miller, voted to amend the city's personnel policy on first reading to provide for the extra vacation time. The aldermen approved the policy amendment on second and final reading Monday night.
Currently city employees with ten years get a total of three weeks of paid vacation.
City Administrator Hunter Hendrixson said five employees would benefit immediately from this action.
Under the ordinance, the employee handbook pertaining to annual leave (vacation) accrual for years of service is amended to read as follows:
Years of Service: 0-3 years
Vacation Days Per Year: 5 days per year (one week)
Years of Service: 4-9
Vacation Days Per Year: 10 days per year (two weeks)
Years of Service: 10-20
Vacation Days Per Year: 15 days per year (three weeks)
Years of Service: 20+
Vacation Days Per Year: 20 days per year (four weeks)
Smithville property rights voters would be required to vote by absentee ballot in all future Municipal Elections and city referendums under an ordinance adopted on first reading Monday night.
The aldermen have approved a similar measure before for specific referendums but this ordinance would apply to all future municipal elections and city ballot issues.
The proposed ordinance states that "By passing this ordinance it does hereby require that those non-resident property owners for City of Smithville elections or City of Smithville referendums which is on the ballot shall be required to vote absentee for said election or referendum".
"The ordinance shall be effective for any Smithville election or referendum placed on ballots for the City of Smithville".
"The DeKalb County Election Commission shall notify the non-resident property owners as set out in TCA 2-6-205 of the requirements of this ordinance.
Without such an ordinance, the city's property rights voters would likely have to go to two places to vote on election day. This process only applies to property rights voters, those who live outside the city in DeKalb County but who have property inside the city and are qualified to vote in a city election.
In 2014 the city adopted a new charter which extends voting rights to county residents that own commercial property in the city (two persons per deed) and allows property rights voting for county residents who own at least 3,500 square feet of property in the city.
The ordinance will be up for second and final reading passage at the next regular monthly meeting on April 4.
In other business Monday night, Mayor Jimmy Poss recognized DCHS 9th grader Friedrich Dodge of Boy Scout Troop #347 who is repairing a Smithville Rotary Club sign as an Eagle Scout project. He will also be planting some shrubs around the sign. The aldermen gave Dodge permission to proceed with the project on the city owned property. Dodge will be assisted in the project by members of the boy scout troop and the Rotary Club. It should be finished in April.
The aldermen awarded a bid to purchase a chassis for a new water and sewer utility truck for the public works department. The city will buy the chassis from Edd Rogers Valley Ford in Sparta for $39,500. It was the lowest of the two bids submitted.
Joe Johnson was hired by the aldermen as the city's new building & codes inspector. Johnson was the only applicant for the position.
Bert Driver was appointed as a citizen member to the Smithville Industrial Board to fill the unexpired term of Richard Judkins who has resigned.
In other action, at the request of Smithville Police Chief Mark Collins the aldermen adopted a policy to establish departmental guidelines for the acquisition and deployment of the patrol rifle/carbines. Another policy was adopted to provide police officers with instructions on when and how to use body-worn cameras so that officers may reliably record their contacts with the public in accordance with the law.
Alderman Shawn Jacobs asked that the city look into the possibly of making application for any available state parks and recreation grants. "The state has local Parks and Recreation Grants and the fund has been increased to $500,000 this year. Governor Bill Haslam and the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation have announced an increase in grant funding for local parks and recreation funds. The deadline to apply for this is April 22. The grants are a 50/50 match. I would like for us to at least look into it," said Alderman Jacobs.
City Administrator Hunter Hendrixson said the issue will be discussed at the next city planning commission meeting.
A 20 year old man has been arrested for having sex with an underage girl.
20 year old Dustin Michael Golden is charged with two counts of statutory rape and one count of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. His bond is $55,000 and he will make a court appearance March 24.
Sheriff Patrick Ray said on Tuesday, March 1 a Sheriff's Department Detective conducted an interview with Golden and discovered that he and a 15 year old girl had engaged in sexual acts and drug use. The girl said she and Golden had sex on Monday, February 29 and Tuesday, March 1. During questioning, Golden allegedly admitted to smoking marijuana with the girl.
44 year old Christopher Dale Cantrell of King Ridge Road, Dowelltown is charged with public intoxication. His bond is $1,500 and he will be in court on March 24. According to Sheriff Ray, a deputy was dispatched to King Ridge Road due to a disturbance on Saturday, March 5. Upon arrival the officer found Cantrell in front of his residence. Cantrell was unsteady on his feet and he had an odor of an alcoholic beverage on his person. Cantrell was placed under arrest.
55 year old Timothy Allen Presley of Bethel Road, Smithville is charged with theft of property over $1,000. His bond is $5,000 and he will make a court appearance on March 17. Sheriff Ray said that on Friday, January 29 Presley pawned a stolen utility trailer at Cash 4 U Pawn in Warren County. The utility trailer was valued at $1,800. The case was investigated by a Sheriff's Department Detective.
35 year old Timothy Harold Bates of Glen Drive, McMinnville is charged with aggravated assault. His bond is $5,000 and he will be in court March 10. Sheriff Ray said that on Saturday, March 5 Bates allegedly assaulted his child's mother grabbing her by the neck and throwing her against the wall while trying to choke her. Bates also allegedly hit the woman on the left side of her face causing redness to her cheek and nose.
49 year old Rhonda Fay Harmon of Nashville Highway, Woodbury is charged with DUI. She was also cited for roadways laned for traffic. Her bond is $1,500 and she will be in court March 17. According to Sheriff Ray, a deputy pulled over a tan Buick on Highway 70 near Potters Home Center for failure to maintain his lane of travel. The officer had observed the car cross over the center line of the highway several times. Harmon, the driver, submitted to field sobriety tasks but performed poorly. She was placed under arrest and transported to the hospital for a blood test.
21 year old Annieka Makay Norton of Blue Springs Road, Smithville is charged with DUI. She was also cited for no insurance and violation of the implied consent law for failing to submit to a blood test. Her bond is $1,500 and she will be in court March 24. Sheriff Ray said that on Sunday, March 6 a deputy was dispatched to Blue Springs Road in reference to a motor vehicle accident. Upon arrival the officer spoke with Norton who had a strong odor of alcohol on her person and slurred speech. She was also very unsteady on her feet. Norton performed poorly on field sobriety tasks and was placed under arrest.
19 year old Leon Tyler Carter of Hopewell Road, Silver Point is cited for simple possession of a schedule II drug (methamphetamine) and possession of drug paraphernalia. He will make a court appearance on March 24. Sheriff Ray said that on Friday, March 4 a deputy responded to a call in reference to a suspicious vehicle parked across from Edgar Evins State Park. Upon arrival the officer spoke with Carter. After receiving consent to search the vehicle, the deputy found .3 grams of methamphetamine in a plastic baggie. The substance field tested positive for meth. A spoon containing residue and a hypodermic needle were also found in the automobile.
A man pulled over in a recent traffic stop by Smithville Police was found to be wanted in Missouri.
28 year old Colby Dean Durst was arrested on Friday, February 19 for being a fugitive from justice and for violation of an order of protection. Police observed a vehicle at approximately 7:09 p.m. that night traveling on the roadway with no lights turned on. The officer initiated a traffic stop and spoke with Durst. Central Dispatch informed the officer that a check through the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) revealed that Durst has an active violation of probation offense against him in Missouri and that the state is seeking extradition of Durst back to Missouri to appear in court. The person who had sought the order of protection against Durst was a passenger of the vehicle with him at the time of his arrest. Bond for Durst is $51,500.
38 year old Amy Jeanette Lawson was cited for theft of property on Saturday, February 20. According to police a purse was taken from a vehicle parked at Curtis Supply that night while the victim was at the Smithville Auction House. Upon investigation police learned that Lawson had been at the auction and may have taken the purse. Police went to Lawson's home and spotted the purse lying in the living room floor as another resident there answered the door. The purse had been emptied. The contents were not found. Lawson's court date is April 14.
34 year old Shawn Keith Buck was arrested on Monday, February 22 for aggravated assault. Police said that on Friday, February 19 officers were called to a residence where Buck had allegedly tried to choke his victim leaving a mark on that person's neck. Buck had left the scene before the officers' arrival. Upon questioning the witnesses police determined that Buck was responsible for the assault and a warrant was issued for his arrest. Buck later turned himself in on the warrant. His bond is $100,000 and his court date is August 8.
31 year old Brandy Nicole Daniel was arrested for domestic assault on Tuesday, February 23. Officers responded to a residence in reference to a physical domestic in progress. After an investigation it was determined that Daniel and the victim had been in an argument and that Daniel became aggressive and began pushing the victim in a back bedroom in an attempt to trap her. The victim, in fear of her safety, used pepper spray on Daniel. Police determined that Daniel had been the primary aggressor and she was arrested for domestic assault. Daniel's bond is $5,000 and her court date is March 24.
Police cited 33 year old Corey Wade Thomas for simple possession of Schedule II & IV drugs on Tuesday, February 23. An officer picked up Thomas on warrants out of McMinnville and incident to arrest he found a blue round pill believed to a Diazepam and a small amount of a white substance that field tested positive for methamphetamine. Thomas's court date is March 17.
21 year old James Dylan Matthews was arrested on Thursday, February 25 for theft of property. On May 5, 2015 police took a report of a stolen gun from an automobile. An investigation revealed that Matthews had taken the gun. Warrants were issued for theft of property and burglary. On Thursday, February 25 police located Matthews at a residence on East Bryant Street and arrested him on the active warrants. His bond is $5,000.
28 year old Brandon Corey Herndon was arrested Sunday, February 28 for public intoxication. Police were called to a residence where Herndon was found talking out of his head. Upon investigation officers learned that Herndon had taken some methamphetamine the night before. Because of his condition, Herndon was determined to be a danger to himself and the public at large. His bond was set at $1,500 and he will make a court appearance on March 31.
30 year old Bradley Dewayne Taylor was cited for simple possession on Sunday, February 28. While investigating an intoxicated driver complaint, police spoke with Taylor who was the driver of the vehicle. When Taylor opened the door, officers saw a baggie containing what they believed to be marijuana. Found in the baggie was approximately two grams of marijuana. Taylor will be in court March 31.
42 year old Rikkie Ankerso Patterson was arrested on Sunday, February 28 for driving under the influence and cited for violation of the implied consent law. Police observed a vehicle traveling east on West Broad Street swerving in and out of lanes of traffic in an unsafe manner. Officers initiated a traffic stop and spoke with the driver, Patterson. As Patterson got out of the vehicle the officer could smell a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on her person and her speech was slurred. Patterson refused to perform field sobriety tasks and would not submit to a blood alcohol chemical test. Patterson was determined to be under the influence of intoxicants and she was placed under arrest for DUI. Her bond is $1,500 and she will be in court on March 10
64 year old Mary Carolyn Miller and 40 year old Jason Allen Bates were arrested on Monday, February 29 accused of assaulting another person. Miller was charged with aggravated assault. A domestic assault charge was filed against Bates. According to the warrant, officers responded to a domestic assault in progress at a residence and determined that the victim had been in an argument with Miller and Bates. According to police it appeared that Miller had grabbed a metal Febreze bottle and began hitting the victim in the face with it. Bates then started punching the victim in the face. The victim had several lacerations and blood all over her face and neck. Bond for Miller and Bates is $2,500 each and they will make a court appearance on March 10.
28 year old Randi R. Atnip was arrested for fraudulent use of a credit/debit card on Monday, February 29. According to Police the victim filed a report on Friday, February 12 stating she lost her credit card at Wal-Mart but since that time the card had been used to make unauthorized purchases from Wal-Mart. Police investigated and discovered that Atnip was seen on Wal-Mart surveillance video using the card to purchase a cell phone and minutes. Her bond is $5,000.
25 year old Kayla Nicole Adams was recently arrested for vandalism and driving on revoked license. Police responded to a report of a vehicle which had gone through the Green Brook Park area damaging the grass and wooden posts. While enroute, officers spotted the vehicle traveling north on College Street. The automobile was stopped and officers spoke with Adams who said she went through the park looking for someone. A computer check revealed that her driver license was revoked for violation of financial responsibility. Bond for Adams is $1,500 and she will be in court on March 24.
The DeKalb County Democratic Party held its county Delegate Selection Convention Saturday for the district convention to be held in Cookeville on March 19th.
DeKalb County had the opportunity to send up to 8 people including 4 men and 4 women for each Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders to the district convention.
Attending the district convention as Bernie Sanders delegates will be Jack Barton, Joyce Hendrixson, and Pamela Jordan.
Those to attend the district convention as Hillary Clinton delegates are Joyce Poss, Barbara Comfort, Pamela Anderson, Billie Ann Tubbs, Jordan Wilkins, Jimmy Poss, Jack Anderson, and Jerry Comfort. The Hillary delegates from each county at the district convention will elect 2 men, 1 Woman and 1 Woman alternate to attend the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia this summer. The Bernie delegates will elect 1 Woman delegate to attend the Democratic National Convention. These numbers are based on the Democratic Primary results.
DeKalb County Democratic Party Chairman Jordan Wilkins has filed and is running as a Hillary Clinton delegate to the Democratic National Convention and that election will be March 19th.