Local News Articles

Tigerettes Eliminated from State Softball Tournament

May 21, 2014
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Tigerettes were eliminated from the State Softball Tournament at Murfreesboro today (Wednesday) with a 1-0 loss to the Dyersburg Lady Trojans.

Dyersburg scored its only run in the seventh inning on a homerun by Madison Caldwell.

Kayley Caplinger was the losing pitcher. She gave up one run on three hits through seven innings. She struck out four and walked two.

Katie Hall singled for the Tigerettes.

DeKalb County concludes the season with an over-all record of 40-8

Community Urged to Support "Read 20" Initiative

May 21, 2014
Dwayne Page
Read with a Child
Read with a Child Each Day

Have you read with a child today?

It's the most important twenty minutes of your day.

Just 20 minutes a day reading aloud with young children strengthens relationships, encourages listening and language skills, promotes attention and curiosity, and establishes a strong reading foundation. These skills are essential for success in school and in life.

The DeKalb County School System seeks to heighten awareness of the importance of reading with a young child over the summer break so they will be better prepared for the start of school in the fall.

"Every year 40% of children walk into kindergarten one to three years behind. But there is something you can do about it," said Gina Arnold, Special Education Supervisor. "We do honor parents as a child's most influential and most loved teacher so for this reason we want to call your awareness to some statistics about early literacy. Students who are not prepared for school usually struggle for years to catch up and many never do. In fact, 50% eventually drop out. However, the single most important activity for building knowledge required for eventual success in reading is reading aloud to children. This is especially so during the pre-school years. How young boys and girls spend their time at home predicts success in school. Not your income or your family's background. Effective parents talk and read with their children. They spend time daily sharing learning activities and they limit television and computer games," said Arnold.

It's also a good idea to communicate with the child about what you're reading. "As you read with your child, talk about the characters and what they are doing," said Dr. Danielle Collins, Federal Programs Supervisor. "Nudge comprehension skills by asking simple who, what, when, where, why, and how questions. Emphasize the meaning of a story. This is a good age to use books about numbers, colors, geometric shapes, and classifications. Your child will comprehend these concepts more easily when encountering them again," said Collins.

Vocabulary matters too.

"Five year olds typically understand about five thousand words. Yet some children know only a thousand words when they start school," said Arnold. "Vocabulary is an essential pre-reading skill because it links directly with a child's comprehension. Reading many short stories and talking about them helps young children build strong vocabularies," she said.

"Make books a part of your daily routine. The more that books are woven into the children's everyday lives, the more likely they will be to see reading as a pleasure and a gift. This can be incorporated at meal times, in a car, at the child care drop off, at the doctor's office, at a grocery store, at nap time, at the day's end, at bath time, and at bed time," Collins said.

"Read with your child. It's the most important twenty minutes of your day," said Arnold. "Studies show that children must hear and share in hundreds of stories before they are ready to learn to read in school. It is also important for them to talk about what they see every day and to say the sounds of letters that they are learning. For read aloud tips, visit www.readingfoundation.org\parents. Also we will have a link on our www.deKalbschools.net website for summer activities that you can share with your child for reading improvement," Arnold continued.

"Parents you do make the difference. Imagine a kid who practices batting and pitching a ball for an hour every day all summer from the time the child is three until he is eight. Imagine a second child. No practice. No training. He or she has never slipped his or her hand in a baseball glove. Has never ran the bases. Has never swung a bat. Has almost never seen a full game played. Imagine that they turn out the same day for Little League tryouts. The skill level between these two young ball players is like the skill level in reading readiness for our incoming kindergarteners," said Dr. Collins.

Parents are asked to involve your children in summer reading programs at local libraries. Local businesses are also urged to help spread the Read 20 message on their signs and marquees. "As parents are caregivers, you want your children to be happy and successful in school," said Arnold. "Northside Elementary and Smithville Elementary will have open libraries this summer. During the weeks that school is first dismissed, May 29 through June 18, there will be morning and afternoon hours at both libraries. Also we encourage students and pre-schoolers to join the summer reading program at the local library. They have a science focus this year. It's called "Fizz, Boom, Read". They are signing up on May 30 and we encourage all kids to get involved in this fun activity. We ask the community to help us with this investment of Read 20. We ask the community to consider on your marquee for your business or your news letter, please encourage parents and remind volunteers to Read 20. When you see Read 20 throughout our community, that is going to remind you how important it is for young children to talk and to read books and to spend time with an adult. We ask that you would consider to read 20 minutes to your child on your business memo. Perhaps on the memo section of your billing. Anything that you can do to help us raise awareness. If you would like to have a yard sign for Read 20 or a chart to hang in your business, please contact the DeKalb Board of Education. Remember, Stop, Drop, and Read to a Child," Arnold concluded.

Former DCHS Students Still Making the Grade at TTU

May 21, 2014
Dwayne Page
Martha Webb and Britney Campbell

The Valedictorian and the Salutatorian from the DCHS class of 2011 are still making the grades at Tennessee Tech University. Britney Campbell, an Education Major, and Martha Webb, a nursing major were initiated into the Honors Society of PHI KAPPA PHI on May 7. The Honors Society of Phi Kappa Phi is the nation's oldest and most selective all-discipline honor society. Tennessee Tech University selects the top 7% of all juniors from all majors to be involved into this honor society.

In 1897 at the University of Maine, ten senior students, two faculty members, and the school president created an honor society that was different from the few others then in existence-one that recognized and honored excellence in all academic disciplines. Under the leadership of undergraduate student Marcus L. Urann, the group formed the Lamba Sigma Eta Society, which was later renamed Phi Kappa Phi from the initial letters of the Greek words forming its adopted motto: Philosophia Krateito Photon, "Let the love of learning rule humanity."

Phi Kappa Phi's mission is "To recognize and promote academic excellence in all fields of higher education and to engage the community of scholars in service to others."

Tigerettes Shutout in First Round of State Tournament

May 21, 2014
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Tigerettes lost to Greenbrier 8 to 0 in the first round of the State Softball Tournament Tuesday in Murfreesboro.

The Tigerettes are scheduled to play again in the loser's bracket today (Wednesday) at around noon at the Starplex in Murfreesboro

Greenbrier scored eight runs on five hits and made one error. The Tigerettes were held scoreless on three hits and made three errors.

Greenbrier scored one run in the first inning, five runs in the fifth, and two runs in the sixth inning.

Kayley Caplinger was the losing pitcher.

Katie Hall, Lauren Colwell, and Shauna Taylor each had a single in the game.

Tigerette Chelsey Brannon Signs with Tennessee Wesleyan

May 21, 2014
Dwayne Page
Tigerette Chelsey Brannon Signs with Tennessee Wesleyan
Chelsey Brannon with her Tigerette Teammates

DCHS Tigerette Softball standout Chelsey Brannon will play for the Tennessee Wesleyan Lady Bulldogs next season.

A signing ceremony was held Monday afternoon at the DCHS library. Her scholarship award is $58,000 from Tennessee Wesleyan

Brannon's mother, coaches, and fellow players joined her for the signing. "I'm really excited and really thankful and ready to play," said Brannon.

Although she initially didn't have a desire to play college softball, Brannon said she changed her mind after a visit to Tennessee Wesleyan and a little encouragement from one of her high school coaches. " (Assistant Tigerette )Coach Danny Fish recommended it (the school). At first I didn't want to play college softball but later I decided I didn't want to quit. He told me it is a great school and I think it would be a great fit for you so I said okay. We went down for a visit and I fell in love with it," said Brannon.

"We are very excited to be getting Chelsey," said Toby Brooks, Softball Coach at Tennessee Wesleyan. "I've got to come over and see her play quite a few times and we've had her over for a visit. She is a great kid and a great fit and we're really excited to be getting her as an addition to our team next season. We're going to be a very young team next year. We had a big graduating class. We'll have a lot of new kids playing. I really feel like Chelsey can come in and fit right in that mix and contribute early on. She'll be playing as an outfielder for us. We're probably looking at her in left field. I really think she is that prototypical left fielder," added Coach Brooks.

"She is very deserving of this opportunity. Not just because of her playing abilities but she is a good student. A good citizen. A good person," said DCHS Tigerette Coach Danny Bond. "She batted fourth for us and played left field for us this year. She came on last year as a player and started hitting the ball real well. She has an on-base percentage of. 585 and her batting average at this point is .377. She has 37 RBI's. She is leading the team in drawing walks at 22 so she has a good eye at the plate and sees the ball real well when it is thrown over in the strike zone. She does a good job of putting the ball in play and when it's not (in the strike zone) she sees it and ends up getting on base with a walk. That's the reason she has a high on-base percentage. She has had only two errors in the outfield, which is good and she has made some fantastic plays," added Coach Bond.

"I am ecstatic. This is more than we could have every imagined," said Chelsey's mother Amanda Brannon. We are just so very thankful that it's all kind of come together at the end and her hard work has paid off. I am just thankful to the coaches for the hard work they have put in and the dedication of the team. I think the girls have really come together this year and worked together when they needed to pull it out. It's been a wonderful season," she said.

Located in Athens, Tennessee, Wesleyan is an NAIA school and a member of the Appalachian Athletic Conference. Coach Brooks is in his eleventh season leading the Lady Bulldogs.

In addition to the $58,000 scholarship from Tennessee Wesleyan, Brannon also received a scholarship from Cookeville Regional Medical Center and Pepsi for $1,000 and the David Wayne Alexander Memorial Scholarship for $1,000 during Monday night's Senior Awards program at DCHS.

(Top photo: Seated: Amanda Brannon, Chelsey Brannon, and Tennessee Wesleyan Coach Toby Brooks. Standing: Assistant Tigerette Coach Melissa Ruch, Coach Danny Bond, and Assistant Coach Danny Fish).

Fifty Four Students Receive Scholarships on DCHS Senior Awards Night

May 20, 2014
Dwayne Page
Mallory Sullivan received the largest single scholarship award of $115,000 from Belmont University
Class of 2014 Scholarship Winners
Kelsi Glenn Receives Perfect Attendance Award

Almost $660,000 in scholarships were awarded to members of the Class of 2014 at DeKalb County High School during Monday night's annual Senior Awards program.

Representatives of colleges, universities, branches of the armed services, businesses, civic groups, and other organizations made the presentations.

Mallory Sullivan received the largest single scholarship award of $115,000 from Belmont University where she will play golf. Kelsi Glenn received a perfect attendance award for not missing a day of school during her four years of high school.

Sullivan was among fifty four students who received scholarships.

Those students and their award amounts listed in alphabetical order according to last names are as follows:

Peter Antoniak: Tennessee Tech University-$20,000

Hannah Ball: DeKalb PTO-$250; Tennessee Tech University-$4,000

Zachary Bandy: Elzie and Nell McBride Memorial-$500

Ashley Barnes: Brandon Elder Scholarship-$4,000; Clyde Thomas Family Trust-$500: Harding University-$38,000; Tennessee Tech University-$20,000

Hudson Beltz: US Army Enlistment-$40,000

Chelsey Brannon: Cookeville Regional Medical Center and Pepsi-$1,000; David Wayne Alexander Memorial-$1,000; Tennessee Wesleyan-$58,000

Erika Brown: DeKalb Funeral Chapel-$500; Smithville Business and Professional Women's Club-$500

Hannah Cantrell: Fraternal Order of Police-$500; US Marine Semper Fidelis Award

James Robert Cantrell: DeKalb Firefighters Association Scholarship-$500

Taylor Cantrell: DeKalb County Children Service Council Clata Redmon Memorial-$500; Smithville Rotary Club-$750

Kayna Caplinger: MTSU-$8,000

Morgan Clark: Nelda Barnes Memorial-$2,000

Lauren Colwell: Anthony Duane Trapp Memorial- $500; Smithville Rotary Club-$750; Trevecca Nazarene-$40,030

Alexis Cornelius: DeKalb Funeral Chapel-$500

Briana Cutliff: DeKalb County Children Service Council Clata Redmon Memorial-$500

Josh Davidson: Mentors Association Scholarship-$5,000

Gatlin Dougherty: Clyde Thomas Family Trust Scholarship-$500

Hunter Eckert: Embry Riddle Aeronautical University-$35,200

Sarah Edwards: Clay Edwards Memorial Tiger Pride Scholarship-$500; Eddie Crips Memorial Scholarship-$500

Alli Emme: Liberty State Bank-$1,000; Smithville Women's Club-$500

Kelsey Evins: DCHS Beta Scholarship-$500; DCHS Literature Club-$500; DeKalb Funeral Chapel-$500; Ned McWherter Scholarship-$24,000; Smithville Rotary Math Award-$100; Vanderbilt University-$40,380

Kalab Ferrell: Class of 1966-$500; Class of 2004-$650; DeKalb Funeral Chapel-$500; Jolly Angels-$2,000; Smithville Rotary Vocational Award-$100

Travis Ferrell: Kenny & Kyle Robinson Memorial-$1,000; Mentors Association Scholarship-$5,000

Conner Giddens: DeKalb Soil Conservation District-$500; MTSU-$12,000; Young Farmers Association-$500

Eli Gill: Leadership DeKalb Award

Kelsi Glenn: Love-Cantrell Funeral Home-$500

Kaylee Hale: Jolly Angels-$2,000

Magan Johnson: Fortis Institute-$9,000

Nicholas Johnson: Fraternal Order of Police-$500

Kaitlynn Jones: DeKalb Funeral Chapel-$500

Lauren Lewis: Jolly Angels-$1,000; Smithville Business and Professional Women's Club-$500; US Marines Scholar Award

Eli Lomas: CIC Foundation (Motlow State)- $2,200; DeKalb Community Hospital-$500; US Army Athlete Award

Kelsey MacDonald: Agee Oil- $1,500

Elizabeth Mason: DeKalb PTO-$250: DeKalb Retired Teachers Association-$750; Jolly Angels-$1,000; Tennessee Tech University-$15,000

Ashley Medlin: Love-Cantrell Funeral Home-$500

Brittany Merriman: Dailey & Vincent Scholarship-$1,000

McKenzie Poteete: Central High School Alumni-$5,000; Nell Haas Driver Scholarship-$1,000; US Marines Athlete Award

Laura Reed: First Bank-$500; Smithville Rotary Club-$750; Tennessee Tech University-$8,000; Woodman of the World $50 History Award

Cameron Rhea: US Marines Scholar Award

Courtney Rice: DCHS Literature Club-$500; Kenny & Kyle Robinson Memorial-$1,000; UT Knoxville- $30,280

Ethan Roller: David Wayne Alexander Memorial-$1,000

Samantha Sircy: Jolly Angels-$2,000; Smithville Rotary Club-$750

Emily Snow: Tennessee Tech University-$4,000

Mallory Sullivan: Belmont University-$115,000

Shauna Taylor: DeKalb Funeral Chapel-$500; DeKalb Physicians-$500

Kalynn Thompson: AmVets-$250; AmVets Auxiliary- $250; Brandon Elder Scholarship-$2,000

Jordan Alex Turner: MTSU-$500

Danielle Tyson: Jolly Angels-$4,000; Trevecca Nazarene-$23,500; US Army Athlete Award

Crystal Vickers: Comcast- $1,000; DCHS Beta Scholarship-$500; DCHS Student Council-$200; DTC McAllen Foutch Memorial-$8,000; FCCLA-$250; Jolly Angels-$1,000; Lucille Stewart Memorial-$2,000; DeKalb County Scottish Rite-$1,000; Young Farmers Association-$500

Taylor Youngblood: DeKalb Funeral Chapel-$500

Dylan Young: Arizona State-$28,000; Daily & Vincent Scholarship-$1,000

Jordan Wilkins: DCHS Student Council-$200; Allen D. Hooper Memorial-$500; Leadership DeKalb Award

Dillon Williams: US Marines Athlete Award

Justin Wiser: Tennessee Tech University-$800

DCHS Student Earns College Degree Before Graduating High School

May 19, 2014
Dwayne Page
Ashley Barnes
DCHS Principal Patrick Cripps and Director of Schools Mark Willougby with Ashley Barnes at WJLE Monday

Ashley Barnes, the Class of 2014 Salutatorian at DeKalb County High School, took part in her college graduation ceremony almost two weeks ago at Motlow State Community College and Friday she will be celebrating another educational milestone — high school graduation. While the numbers of students participating in dual enrollment has grown in recent years, a means for high school students to transition into college, Barnes is the only student in the history of the school at DCHS to ever have earned a college degree while completing high school credits.

"This has always been my dream. This has always been my goal," said Barnes in an interview with WJLE Monday.

Through dual enrollment, high school students may take one or more college courses for which they will receive both high school and college credits. On Saturday, May 10, Barnes graduated from Motlow with an Associate's Degree in General Studies. " I graduated from Motlow State Community College with an Associate's degree two weeks before my high school graduation (May 23). I am pretty excited about that. I began taking college credit courses when I was fourteen years old and that hard work has paid off. The summer after my freshman year, I just started taking a few classes here and there, doing that for four years. They have all added up. I have sixty three college credit hours. Most of the classes were on-line through Motlow but I did take a few classes through Tennessee Tech and commuted back and forth from Cookeville and the high school. It was dual enrollment, so it counted for high school credit as well," said Barnes.

DCHS Principal Patrick Cripps told WJLE Monday that he is very proud of Barnes and what she has accomplished through this program. "She exemplifies it. She is hard working. I tell my staff, effort. Give me everything you've got that day. Every day is not going to be 100% but Ashley brings it every day. She brings effort. She is a great student. She is what we want representing DeKalb County in these classes. You don't have to worry about her giving up. She is going to keep fighting through. She has taken courses at Tennessee Tech this past semester, chemistry and higher level chemistry that a lot of people would get to and shy away and maybe change their major or go home. But she hasn't done that. She has put her nose to the grindstone and has kept pushing forward," said Principal Cripps.

"What she has been able to achieve is amazing," added Director of Schools Mark Willougby in speaking with WJLE. "She is wonderful. She is intelligent. But she is also hard working. She is determined. She is a role model for all students as well as adults. To accomplish what she has, comes from inside and self determination and having a goal and seeing that through. She could have taken the easy way out but from hearing her speak, you can tell the maturity that she has. She chose to stick to it. A friend of mine, the late Edsel Floyd called it "stickability". Ashley has "stickability"," said Director Willoughby.

Since its beginnings more than a decade ago, DCHS has seen steady growth in the dual enrollment program.. "Ms Helen Lee (former guidance counselor) brought it in probably around 2001 or 2002. We started out with two English courses. That started out with twelve to fifteen students in those classes and we've seen our program grow. Students have the opportunity to gain college credit in over thirty different classes now here at the high school. Our numbers as far as students taking those classes have grown as each year has gone by. In 2011-12 we had 124 students. In 2012-13 we had 190 students and this year we had 196 students taking dual enrollment classes," said Principal Cripps.

Most of the students in the program at DCHS earn their dual credits through Motlow State Community College. "We generally go through Motlow", explained Principal Cripps. They have worked really well with us. To pat DeKalb County on the back, they (Motlow) call us their model school. We've also had some students to go through Chattanooga State and maybe Vol State Community College. We're proud of all the hard work that our students do, because they are the backbone of our school, but we're also proud of the work that Ms Lori Myrick, Ms.Shelly Painter, Ms Kenderly Cripps, Ms Jamie Wright, and Ms Rhonda and all those folks do to get our students in those classes to succeed," he said.

While Barnes has no regrets for pursuing the dual enrollment path, she did have to sacrifice her high school basketball play for most of this past season in order to accomplish her academic goals. " I played basketball until December of my senior year. It came down to the deciding point, do I want to continue to play basketball and theoretically miss this goal by two classes or do I want to give up a sport that I have played for seventeen years and go ahead and take a few more classes and actually achieve this goal, this dream of graduating college before high school?. I love basketball. I love the girls. They are all great. But I had to look at it from this standpoint. In twenty years, when I look back, what is going to help me the most?. Was it going to be academically or sports? From my prospective, that semester of school was more important than a few more weeks of basketball," said Barnes.

As a member of the Class of 2014, Barnes is among students in the "Top Academic Ranking" and she has earned the distinction of being the Class Salutatorian with a 4.0 grade point average. Beginning with the Class of 2014, students must have completed more challenging honors and advanced placement courses in order to be eligible for Valedictorian, Salutatorian, and the top academic ranking. Barnes said she favors the changes. " I like the weighted GPA now. They changed it with our class. It's a lot more beneficial. Granted, it is a lot more difficult but it is rewarding to take the higher level classes and be rewarded for that," Barnes said.

Now that her high school days are almost over, Barnes said she plans to further her education at Harding University in Searcy, Arkansas. "My Associate's (degree) is in general studies. I took the core classes. I didn't really focus on anything. But when I am technically living on campus, I will be double majoring in Biochemistry and Leadership in Bible at Harding University. I hope to get my Bachelor of Science and then I want to go to pharmacy school and become a clinical pharmacist," she said.

Having reached this important milestone in her life, Barnes encourages other students to do the same. "Anybody can do it. It just takes time and hard work. For anybody who is thinking about dual enrollment, do it. It's worth it. Push yourself. Take the hardest courses. Challenge yourself because it will be worth it in the end," Barnes concluded.

During Monday night's Senior Awards Program at DCHS, Barnes was awarded $62,500 in scholarships including $38,000 from Harding University; $20,000 from Tennessee Tech University; a $4,000 Brandon Elder Scholarship; and $500 from the Clyde Thomas Family Trust Scholarship.

Barnes is the daughter of David and Suzette Barnes of Smithville. Barnes' mother is a seventh grade science teacher at DeKalb Middle School. Ashley also has a ten year old brother who is a fifth grader at Northside Elementary School.

Man Who Fled from Officers in December Now Arrested in the Case

May 19, 2014
Dwayne Page
 Kevin Glenn Smith
Joseph Scott Parsley
Carlos Soledad Perez
Stephen Hunter Pugh
Jose Manuel Muzaurieta

A man who evaded arrest last December endangering the lives of two DeKalb County Sheriff's Department detectives in making his getaway has now been charged in the case.

36 year old Kevin Glenn Smith of Beech Grove, Tennessee was arrested on Wednesday, May 14 charged with two counts of reckless endangerment and evading arrest in a motor vehicle. His bond is $15,000. Smith has been incarcerated elsewhere in recent months.

Smith has a criminal history of drug offenses, burglaries, thefts, and an escape. At the time of the incident in DeKalb County in December, Smith also had warrants against him in Warren, Coffee, and Cannon County.

The story unfolded Monday evening, December 16, 2013 when detectives of the Sheriff's Department went to a residence on Pea Ridge Road, Liberty to attempt to serve a Failure to Appear warrant on Smith’s girlfriend, 26 year old Lydia Renee Judkins of Jefferson Road, Smithville.

When detectives made contact with Smith, who was in a Nissan Pathfinder, Smith started the engine and sped away, almost hitting the officers. Smith drove down a logging road where the officers could not follow in their patrol car and got away.

A couple of hours later, someone reported finding an overturned and abandoned Nissan Pathfinder on the Alexandria to Dismal Road. It was believed to be the same vehicle that Smith had been driving when he was last seen by Detectives on Pea Ridge Road. Sheriff Patrick Ray said that the Pathfinder was stolen from another county. The tag on the vehicle was also stolen from a different county.

Sheriff Ray said after the Pathfinder was found, other law enforcement agencies were summoned to join the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department in the search for Smith. "When we found the vehicle, we alerted Putnam County's K-9 unit and they came over with their track dog. We also called for a THP helicopter to fly over with their fleer system which is a heat sensing device," said Sheriff Ray.

As help arrived, the sheriff's department got a tip that Smith had already left the area. "We received information that Smith had already been picked up and taken to a residence in the city limits of Dowelltown. We left the scene on the Alexandria to Dismal Road where the Pathfinder was found and went to Dowelltown where we learned that somebody had taken Smith from there to meet someone around Statesville Road off Highway 96 in Wilson County. We got Wilson County officers to go with us over there to do some saturated patrols to see if we could find this vehicle but we never could locate it," said Sheriff Ray.

On the way back before daybreak Tuesday morning, December 17 sheriff's department detectives spotted a suspicious pickup truck in Dowelltown. But when they tried to stop it to investigate, the truck took off and a pursuit ensued. "On our way back when we were driving between Liberty and Dowelltown, detectives saw a white Toyota Tacoma that was suspicious. The truck was on Main Street in Dowelltown but turned onto Highway 70. When the detectives turned around on the vehicle, it began to flee. There were two people in the truck and by the direction of travel that the truck went, we believe Kevin Smith was one of the persons in that vehicle. The pursuit went from Highway 70 to Highway 53 in Liberty, then to Sycamore Road, Hawkins Hill Road, Highway 96, to Statesville Road and then to various roads off Statesville Road near where Smith had been dropped off earlier. During the pursuit, one of the persons in the truck fired a weapon numerous times at the lead patrol car. The detectives did not return fire. For safety of the officers and the public, the detectives backed off the pursuit. Wilson County Sheriff's Department and Watertown Police Department officers were trying to get in position to get the truck stopped, but the driver kept taking roads left and right and finally got away," said Sheriff Ray.

The Tacoma pickup was also believed to have been stolen because the tag on it was illegally taken in Wilson County three days before on Saturday, December 14.

Meanwhile, in other recent crime news, 44 year old Joseph Scott Parsley of Cookeville Highway, Smithville is charged with domestic assault. His bond is $2,500. Sheriff Ray said that on Monday, May 5 a deputy responded to a reported domestic in progress at a residence on Cookeville Highway. Upon arrival, the officer spoke with Parsley and his wife and son. The woman said that Parsley had a pot of soup on the stove that was on fire when she arrived home. Parsley was in another room asleep. The woman woke him and realized he was intoxicated. While trying to speak with him, Parsley allegedly chest bumped his wife and pressed her up against a kitchen counter. Their sixteen year old son tried to stop the argument and Parsley hit him in the face. Parsley's son had a swollen right cheek. His wife had a swollen lip from the altercation. Parsley was determined to have been the primary aggressor and he was placed under arrest for domestic assault.

23 year old Carlos Soledad Perez of Banks Pisgah Road, Smithville is charged with a second offense of driving under the influence and driving while his license were suspended or revoked. Perez was further issued a citation for failing to give immediate notice of an accident, violation of the open container law, no insurance, violation of the implied consent law, and failure to drive on the right lane of travel. His bond is $4,500. Sheriff Ray said that on Saturday, May 10 a deputy was dispatched to Jacobs Pillar Road to investigate a report of a one car accident involving a green Ford Mustang. While on Jacobs Pillar Road, the officer spotted the car without a front bumper traveling north. At one point, the car crossed into the deputy's lane of travel. The officer conducted a traffic stop of the vehicle and spoke with the driver, Perez. He had a strong odor of alcohol on his person and his eyes were glazed over. Perez submitted to but performed poorly on field sobriety tasks. He refused to submit to a blood test. Perez was arrested for DUI and a search warrant was executed to obtain a blood draw due to him having a prior DUI charge on his driving record. A computer check revealed that Perez's license had been suspended for driving while impaired aged 16-20. The date of the suspension was October 13, 2011.

32 year old Joshua Leslie Johnson of Hendrixson Road, Smithville is charged with driving on a suspended license. His bond is $1,500 and he will be in court June 5. Sheriff Ray said that on Friday, May 16 a sheriff's department drug detective observed Johnson driving a motor vehicle on West Broad Street in Smithville. The drug detective stopped Johnson's vehicle on East Broad Street, having prior knowledge that Johnson's driver license were suspended. He had stopped Johnson on other occasions, the most recent of which was within the last month. Johnson's license are currently suspended for failure to pay child support. He was arrested and brought to the jail for booking.

28 year old Stephen Hunter Pugh of Liberty, a prisoner at the jail, is charged with assault for allegedly fighting with another inmate . His bond is $3,000 and he will be in court on June 5. Sheriff Ray said that on Thursday, May 15 correctional officers of the Sheriff's Department observed on video surveillance a fight taking place in a jail cell. After breaking up the fight and reviewing the video recording, officers determined that Pugh had been the primary aggressor.

36 year old Jose Manuel Muzaurieta of Asheville, North Carolina is charged with being a fugitive from justice. His bond is $50,000 and he will be in court June 5. Sheriff Ray said that on Sunday, May 18 Muzaurieta was arrested locally on two unrelated charges. A computer check revealed that he is wanted in Alabama for two counts of fraudulent use of a credit card. Alabama authorities have said they will extradite him.

Local Family Involved in One Auto Accident

May 19, 2014
Dwayne Page
Whitson family involved in one auto accident
2004 Chevy Tracker Hits Utility Pole

A local family was involved in a one auto traffic accident Sunday night on the Old Nashville Highway (Snow Hill Road) near the intersection with Possum Hollow Road.

Trooper Gerald Carter of the Tennessee Highway Patrol said 28 year old Tosha L. Whitson of Winter Drive, Smithville was traveling east in a 2004 Chevy Tracker when the SUV went out of control, skidded sideways, and left the road, striking a utility pole. Whitson's husband, 27 year old Michael Whitson and their two children, eight year old Candace Whitson and three year old Michael Whitson, Jr. were also in the vehicle. None were seriously hurt but all went by private vehicle to DeKalb Community Hospital for treatment.

According to Trooper Carter, Ms. Whitson claims she was about out of gas so she put the vehicle in neutral as she was traveling down the road. As the SUV was coasting to a stop, she tried to put it back in drive, but instead accidentally shifted to reverse, causing the vehicle to lose control.

Ms. Whitson was cited for failure to exercise due care and for not having her eight year old child in a booster seat.

Members of the Sheriff's Department and DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department were also on the scene.

Groundbreaking Held for Fifth Habitat Home (VIEW VIDEO HERE)

May 18, 2014
Dwayne Page
Tia Adcock, daughter Caitlin Adcock, and son Caven Ponder
Groundbreaking Held for Fifth Habitat Home

A ground breaking celebration was held Sunday afternoon for the fifth Habitat for Humanity home in DeKalb County.

Committee and Board members of Habitat for Humanity of DeKalb County and the new partner family, Tia Adcock , her son Caven Ponder, and daughter Caitlin Adcock gathered for the brief ceremony at the future site of the home at 202 Hayes Street in Smithville.

Larry Green, President of Habitat for Humanity of DeKalb County, said construction will soon begin and may be completed by late summer. The home will be a 1,050 square foot house plus the porch. It will have three bedrooms and a bath and a half.

During Sunday's ground breaking ceremony, Green made opening remarks and led the attendees in the Responsive Reading following prayer by local minister Larry Steffee. After the groundbreaking, Green, who is also a local minister closed the ceremony with prayer.

This is the fifth Habitat home in DeKalb County. Two of them are on Adams Street. The other two are on Hayes Street.

To qualify, applicants must: (1) have lived in DeKalb County for at least one year; (2) be willing to partner with Habitat to realize dreams of home ownership; (3) currently occupy inadequate or substandard housing; (4) demonstrate the ability to pay a mortgage; and (5) fall within Habitat's income guidelines.

All applications will be reviewed and considered by Habitat's Family Selection Committee before a partner family is selected. The partner family will work with Habitat on construction of their home and to develop the skills necessary for successful home ownership. Construction labor is provided by Habitat volunteers, and some materials are donated by Habitat supporters, as well.


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