Local News Articles

Two Hurt in Rollover Wreck on Highway 70 East

March 12, 2018
Dwayne Page
Two Hurt in Rollover Wreck on Highway 70 East
Timothy and Carlee Landis were Injured in Monday Crash on Highway 70 East

Two people were injured in a rollover crash today (Monday) on U.S. 70 east of Billings Road.

Sergeant Eric McCormick of the Tennessee Highway Patrol reports that 47 year old Timothy Landis of Johnson’s Chapel was driving a 2003 Chevrolet Silverado east when the truck ran off the right side of the roadway, striking a culvert. The pickup flipped at least once end over end, coming to rest in a lawn at a private residence.

Landis was transported by DeKalb EMS to St. Thomas DeKalb Hospital. A passenger, 24 year old Carlee Landis of Johnson’s Chapel was hurt but not transported by EMS.

Timothy was cited for failing to exercise due care. Both driver and passenger were cited for not wearing their seatbelts.

Members of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department and Rescue Team provided extrication services. Sheriff’s Deputies were also on the scene.

Lebanon Man Airlifted After Crash on Antioch Road

March 12, 2018
Dwayne Page
46 year old Lebanon man was injured in a one car crash Monday on Antioch Road
First Responders, EMS, and Firefighters at Scene of One Car Crash on Antioch Road Monday

A 46 year old Lebanon man was injured in a one car crash today (Monday) on State Route 288/Antioch Road.

According to Trooper Danielle Neal of the Tennessee Highway Patrol, Matthew Wright was traveling north in a 2004 Buick Century when he ran off the roadway while trying to negotiate a curve. The car traveled off into a ditch, struck a tree and came to rest. Wright had to be extricated from the car by members of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department and Rescue Team. He was flown by helicopter to Vanderbilt Hospital.

DeKalb EMS and the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department were also on the scene.

DeKalb West School 7th Grader Kaden Murphy Wins Perfect Attendance Award

March 12, 2018
DeKalb West School 7th Grader Kaden Murphy won the Perfect Attendance Award for the 3rd nine weeks
DeKalb West Students of the Month

DeKalb West School 7th Grader Kaden Murphy won the Perfect Attendance Award for the 3rd nine weeks. He didn't miss a single day during that period of time, didn't arrive tardy or leave school early. Sixty-four students at DeKalb West were eligible for the drawing for the Perfect Attendance Award.

DeKalb West School announces the Students of the Month for March. Making the grade as one of the best at DeKalb West are Josiah Morgan, Kindergarten, Dayton Heflin, 1st grade, Zach Cooprider, 2nd grade, Eli Johnson, 3rd grade, Autumn Dies 4th grade, Evan Prichard, 5th grade, Ella Hendrixson, 6th grade, Kaden Murphy, 7th grade, and Lydia Willoughby, 8th grade. Students are chosen for the honor based on their academics, character, and other traits that make them an outstanding student.

Pictured front row from left to right are Autumn Dies, Josiah Morgan, Dayton Heflin, Zach Cooprider, and Eli Johnson. Back row left to right are Principal Sabrina Farler, Ella Hendrixson, Lydia Willoughby, Evan Prichard, Kaden Murphy, and Assistant Principal Joey Agee.

DCHS Tennis Season Begins Friday

March 11, 2018
Dwayne Page
DCHS Tennis team with their Coach Seth Willoughby
The Seniors are: Jhoany Gaspar, Kayla Belk, and Catherine Caplinger, then Seth and Ethan Cantrell.

The DCHS Tennis Season begins Friday, March 16 at Cumberland County at 3:30 p.m.

The team is pictured with their Coach Seth Willoughby

Here's the list of the group picture.

Front:Daisy Hernandez
Jhoany Gaspar
Marlene Coronilla
Shelby Clayborn
Kayla Belk
Hannah McBride
Faith Judkins
Sophie Hackett not pictured

Back Coach Seth Willoughby
Garrett Hayes
Ben Snipes
Lance Davis
Dosson Medlin
Ethan Cantrell
Justin Washer
Christian Trail
Eli Cantrell

The Seniors are: Jhoany Gaspar, Kayla Belk, and Catherine Caplinger, then Seth and Ethan Cantrell.

Below is the schedule for the year.

DCHS Tennis Schedule

Date Opponent Home/Away Time
Mar 16 Cumberland Co. A 3:30
Mar 20 White Co. H 3:30
Mar 22 Livingston Acad. H 3:30
Mar 24 Watertown Tournament A 10:00
Apr 3 Cookeville H 3:30
Apr 5 Cannon Co. H 3:30
Apr 6 Watertown H 3:30
Apr 10 Warren Co. A 3:30
Apr 12-14 Mid Season Dist Tourn. TBA
Apr 17 Cannon Co. A 3:30
Apr 23 Girls Team Semi-Finals TBA
Apr 24 Boys Team Semi-Finals TBA
Apr 26 Team Finals Cookeville
May 2-4 Individual District Cookeville

State Lawmakers Expected to Adopt Resolution Honoring the Late Officer Joseph Bowen

March 11, 2018
Dwayne Page
Joseph Bowen

State Senator Mark Pody introduced a resolution in the State Senate Thursday to honor the memory of the late Lebanon Police Officer Joseph Bowen of DeKalb County.

Officer Bowen lost his life in a traffic accident at Dowelltown on March 1.

The resolution, supported by State Representatives Terri Lynn Weaver and Clark Boyd, will be scheduled for passage in the State Senate and State House.

The resolution reads as follows:

WHEREAS, the members of this General Assembly were greatly saddened to learn of the passing of Officer Joseph Bowen; and

WHEREAS, Officer Bowen was a brave and dedicated law enforcement officer who worked assiduously to improve the quality of life for his fellow citizens in numerous capacities; and

WHEREAS, a respected veteran with five years of service, Officer Joseph Bowen was a third-generation member of the Lebanon Police Department; he began his career in law enforcement with the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department as a correctional officer and was later promoted to a deputy position; and

WHEREAS, Officer Bowen performed his appointed duties in an admirable manner that distinguished him as a credit to both his community and his profession; Lebanon and DeKalb County were undoubtedly made better and safer places as a result of his service; and

WHEREAS, Officer Joseph Bowen was an active and devout member of Old Fashioned Freewill Baptist Church in Smithville, which he served faithfully for many years; and

WHEREAS, he was also deeply devoted to his family, and he always endeavored to remain true to family values of the highest order; and

WHEREAS, Officer Bowen enjoyed the loving companionship of his wife, Kim Bowen, and he was the proud father of Katy Jo and Wesley Brock Bowen; he was the loving son of Dwayne and Lisa Bogle Bowen and the treasured brother of Jacob Bowen; and

WHEREAS, Officer Joseph Bowen is lovingly remembered by his uncle, Mike Bowen; his parents-in-law, Steven and Kathy Deffendoll; his nieces and nephews, Knox Bowen, Lacey
McMillen, and Cole McMillen; and his brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law, Kayla Bowen, Brandon Deffendoll, Chris McMillen, and Kristina McMillen; and

WHEREAS, he was preceded in death by his grandparents, Frank and Helen Bowen and Lemuel and Betty Bogle; and

WHEREAS, Officer Joseph Bowen leaves behind an indelible legacy of integrity, probity, and valor in his public life as a law enforcement officer, compassion and loyalty in private life, and dedication in all his chosen endeavors; and

WHEREAS, this General Assembly wishes to honor the memory of this exceptional police officer and human being; now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED BY THE SENATE OF THE ONE HUNDRED TENTH GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF TENNESSEE, THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES CONCURRING, that on behalf of a grateful public, we honor the memory and celebrate the life of Officer Joseph Bowen of the Lebanon Police Department. We express our sympathy and offer our condolences to the family, colleagues, and friends of Officer Bowen.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that an appropriate copy of this resolution be prepared for presentation.

City to Hire Manager of Golf Course and Swimming Pool

March 11, 2018
Dwayne Page

The Smithville Mayor and Aldermen will meet in special session Tuesday night, March 13 at 7 p.m. at city hall to consider hiring a manager of the Smithville Municipal Golf Course, Swimming Pool, and Tennis Courts.

The city previously had a 10 year lease with Tony Poss to operate the golf course and swimming pool, but Poss opted to terminate the lease in August. The facility has been closed since then.

Last September the aldermen voted to enter into a one year agreement with RiverWatch Golf & Resort to upgrade and maintain the golf course for a year.

The cost to the city is $74,115 but city officials said since it is not being leased to anyone the city is to get all revenues generated from the golf course, once it re-opens this spring.

The city had allocated $7,000 in this year’s budget for the golf course but most of that money is now going toward paying RiverWatch . The remaining $67,000 plus to pay RiverWatch is being taken from the city’s general fund surplus. The city also has other expenses associated with the golf course as per the agreement with RiverWatch.

A member of the RiverWatch team is reportedly being considered for the job of manager. The person hired would be a new city employee.

Spencer Man Involved in Rollover Crash

March 10, 2018
Dwayne Page
Spencer Man Involved in Rollover Crash
One Man Involved in Rollover Crash Friday on Highway 70 East in Midway Area

A 29 year old Spencer man escaped serious injury in a one vehicle rollover crash Friday morning on Highway 70 east in the Midway area.

Trooper Bobby Johnson of the Tennessee Highway Patrol said Rayford Keen was traveling west in a 2014 Honda CRV when he went off the right side of the highway and overturned down an embankment. The vehicle came to rest on its side against a tree. Keen said he lost control after a car in front of him stopped to make a left turn into a private driveway. Keen refused transport to the hospital by EMS but planned to seek medical treatment on his own. He was cited for failure to exercise due care.

Members of the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department were also on the scene.

Man Arrested After Taking High School Girls Off School Campus

March 10, 2018
Dwayne Page
Mark Douglas Baugus
Jerome Alexander Bethel
Toby Keith Jeffreys
Randy Mitchell Hobbs, Jr.
John Michael Owens
Fermin Gopar
Raymond Howard Rollins

An 18 year old man has been arrested after taking three underage high school girls off campus without permission.


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Mark Douglas Baugus of Locust Street, Alexandria is charged with three counts of contributing to the delinquency or behavior of a minor. His bond is $6,000 and his court date is March 15.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Tuesday, February 27 a detective was notified of three juvenile girls, ages 14, 15, & 17 who went missing from DCHS. He went to the high school and met with the school resource officer. During the investigation, the detective discovered that Baugus had taken the three girls off campus without the consent of their parents or school administrators.

37 year old Jerome Alexander Bethel of Smyrna, Georgia is charged with theft of property over $10,000. His bond is $20,000.

Sheriff Ray said that on January 22 Bethel took a ladies platinum custom designed diamond engagement ring valued at $38,000.

21 year old Toby Keith Jeffreys of Aldophus, Kentucky is charged with vandalism. His bond is $3,000 and his court date is March 15.

Sheriff Ray said that on Monday, February 26 a deputy was called to Preston Vickers Road in Liberty where a vehicle was cutting donuts in a field. Upon arrival the officer spoke with the victim who reported that her daughter witnessed the incident. The deputy learned that Jeffreys was the driver of the vehicle cutting the donuts. The estimated cost of the damage to the field was $1,500.

25 year old Randy Mitchell Hobbs, Jr. of Clear Creek Road, Liberty is charged with a second offense of driving on a revoked license. His bond is $3,000 and his court date is March 15.

Sheriff Ray said that on Wednesday, February 28 a deputy was patrolling Highway 70 when he spotted a blue Ford Mustang, driven by Hobbs. Knowing that Hobbs had no valid driver license, the officer pulled him over. A computer check confirmed that his license were revoked for violation of the truancy law in 2010. He was later charged with driving on a revoked license in 2013 in Coffee County.

49 year old John Michael Owens of Brooklyn, New York is charged with driving on a suspended license. He was also cited for failure to yield. His bond is $1,500.

Sheriff Ray said that on Wednesday, February 28 while approaching the traffic light at South Congress Boulevard, a deputy spotted a red Ford car which failed to yield the right of way of oncoming traffic. The officer pulled over the vehicle and spoke with the driver, Owens. A computer check revealed that his license were suspended in New York.

Fermin Gopar of New Bildad Road, Smithville is charged with a second offense of driving on a suspended license and a first offense of driving under the influence. He was also cited for violation of implied consent, driving on roadways laned for travel, and no insurance. His bond is $4,000 and his court date is March 15.

Sheriff Ray said that on Thursday, March 1 while patrolling on McMinnville Highway, a deputy observed a vehicle failing to maintain its lane of travel. He pulled it over and spoke with the driver, Gopar. The officer detected a strong odor of alcohol on Gopar, whose speech was also slurred and his eyes were red and watery. Gopar submitted to but performed poorly on field sobriety tasks. A search warrant was obtained for a blood sample after Gopar refused implied consent. The deputy also learned that Gopar’s license were suspended in 2013 in Warren County.

29 year old Raymond Howard Rollins of Baxter is charged with a third offense of driving on a suspended license. His bond is $1,500 and his court date is March 29.

Sheriff Ray said that on Wednesday, March 7 a deputy observed Rollins driving on East Broad Street in Smithville. Knowing that his license were suspended, the officer pulled him over. A computer check confirmed that Rollins' license are suspended.

Mary Alice Carfi announces run for state Senate District 17

March 9, 2018
Mary Alice Carfi

Today, Wilson County attorney and Democrat Mary Alice Carfi, announces she will run for the state Senate seat she narrowly lost during the Special Election in 2017.

In the two-and-a-half month-Special Election, Carfi came within 307 votes, or 2.6 percent, of defeating her Republican opponent in a solidly red district that consists of Cannon, Clay, DeKalb, Macon, Smith and Wilson counties.

“We came incredibly close to winning the District 17 seat in the special election last year,” Carfi noted. “Because many volunteers put in a lot of hard work, we won three of the six counties in the district and lost Wilson by only 79 votes.

"Since the special election on Dec. 19, people throughout District 17 have encouraged me to run again,” Carfi said. “People who weren't able to volunteer in the special election are already stepping forward to do so in 2018. I can feel how excited and hopeful my fellow Tennesseans are for a chance to make their voices heard.”

“I am running because it is time to take our state back,” Carfi said. “It's time to focus on the issues that matter. It's time to show our children that by giving others an opportunity to improve their education, their jobs and their healthcare, we make our state a better place to live.

As an attorney in a solo-practice in Mt. Juliet, Carfi can relate to the issues that affect the small business owners throughout District 17.

“People are ready for our government to do something different. Our current senator is continuing down the same path he took in the House of Representatives. It is time for a change,” she said.

“We need representation that will make the lives of our citizens better by working to expand Medicaid, advocating for a wage that allows workers to provide for their families, and demanding equal pay for equal work for women."

Carfi believes in creating real jobs for Tennessee workers with wages that can sustain their families. She believes in letting teachers teach and students learn. “And I believe that NO ONE should have to decide between feeding their family and paying for their prescriptions,” she added.

“I am running because I care about the people of our state. It is our state legislators' job to pass laws that improve our state. My representatives haven’t been focusing on the things that matter. When hospitals are closing, and people can't afford medical care, it doesn't matter which bathroom a person uses,” Carfi said.

As a general practice attorney, Carfi often works with people who have differing opinions. “It’s my job to bring these people together; to help them compromise when and where it’s necessary, so that a positive result can be agreed upon by all parties.

“It’s time for some common sense in Tennessee’s Senate, and I ask for your support and your vote so I can bring this to our legislative body.”

Carfi grew up in Smith County, the daughter of Don and Phyllis Eckel of Gordonsville. She is the granddaughter of the late Pete and Evelyn Watts, who owned Watts Angus Farm. Pete Watts was a well-known building contractor in Middle Tennessee and owner of Watts Construction Company.

She has one daughter, Alexia, 9, and is a member of the Carthage United Methodist Church, where she sings in the choir. She and her husband, Jamie, are both members of the Bert Coble Singers in Lebanon. She also serves on the Bert Coble Singers Leadership Team.

Carfi is a member of the Tennessee Bar Association and the 15th Judicial District Bar Association. She is a graduate of Smith County High School and earned her Bachelor of Science degree in criminal justice administration from Middle Tennessee State University. She received her Doctor of Jurisprudence degree from Nashville School of Law. She was chosen as the Best Attorney in Mt. Juliet in 2018 and 2016 by the readers of The Chronicle of Mt. Juliet newspaper.

For more information about Carfi and her campaign, visit her website at www.electmaryalice.com and follow her on social media accounts on Facebook, ElectMaryAlice; Twitter @ElectMaryAlice; and Instagram, @ElectMaryAlice. Emails may be sent to info@maryalicecarfi.com or call 615-547-8046.

School Calendar for 2019-20 Includes Shorter Fall Break, Longer Thanksgiving Holiday

March 9, 2018
Dwayne Page

DeKalb County students and teachers will have a two week fall break in October, 2018 but the following year the school calendar will return to a one week fall break in October, 2019 with a full week off for Thanksgiving in November, 2019.

The Board of Education Thursday night adopted the school calendar for the 2019-20 school year. The 2018-19 school calendar with the two week fall break was approved last year.


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Up until this school year, students and teachers enjoyed a two week fall break with three days off for the Thanksgiving holiday. This past fall, the calendar was changed to provide for only one week for fall break and a full week off for Thanksgiving.

During Thursday night’s meeting, the school board voted 5-2 for the shorter fall break and longer Thanksgiving holiday for the 2019-20 year.

Members Jerry Wayne Johnson and Jim Beshearse voted no. Beshearse said his decision was based on a survey which showed a majority of teachers and school staff wanted a two week fall break . The total vote in that survey was 130 to 112. A recent WJLE on-line poll survey showed 615 respondents (62%) favored a one week fall break and a full week for Thanksgiving while 382 respondents (38%) wanted a two week fall break.

Meanwhile in his monthly report on personnel, Director Patrick Cripps informed the board that Margaret Curtis has been hired as cook at DeKalb West School and Josh Isaac Melton has resigned as educational assistant at DeKalb Middle School.

The Smithville Women’s Club will have to look elsewhere to have their Spring Blossom Pageant in April.

The board of education rejected a request for the club to have the pageant in the Northside Elementary School gym beginning this year and every year hereafter
The board did not want to give approval for this year and all future pageants and is asking the club to revise and re-submit its request.

Board Chairman W.J. (Dub) Evins, III also read a letter from Cheryl Whitfield, a cousin of the late Rosa Stokes, thanking DCHS on behalf of Rosa’s family for honoring her in a basketball number retirement ceremony in January. “We are so happy to know that Rosa’s name and number will forever hang in the gym where she got the start to have a great basketball career. She loved DeKalb County and so do we. God bless you and continue to honor past players. This truly makes families feel special”.


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