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Local Soldier Wanted by U.S. Marine Corps for Military Desertion

November 1, 2016
Dwayne Page
Daniel Lynn Johnson
Joshua Lee Underwood
Matthew Dewayne Griffith

A local soldier, wanted by the U.S. Marine Corps for military desertion, has been arrested by the Sheriff’s Department.

20 year old Daniel Lynn Johnson of Meridian Drive, Smithville is charged with military desertion from the U.S. Marine Corps. Johnson was arrested Tuesday, October 25 after officers were called to his residence due to an unrelated incident. After conducting a background check, they learned Johnson is wanted by the U.S. Marine Corps. He is to be picked up at the Sheriff’s Department by the Marines. He is being held without bond with no court date scheduled.

25 year old Joshua Lee Underwood of Murfreesboro is charged with criminal impersonation. His bond is $1,500 and his court date is November 17. Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Monday, October 24 a deputy was called to a residence on Big Hurricane Road where a brother and sister were arguing. Upon arrival the officer spoke with the woman who said that her brother had Cannon County warrants against him. The man identified himself to the deputy as Joshua Spurlock, born in 1994. An ID found in his wallet confirmed his identity as Underwood and his sister and a friend verified it. Underwood was placed under arrest.

31 year old Matthew Dewayne Griffith of Short Mountain Road Smithville is charged with theft of property over $1,000. His bond is $5,000 and he will make a court appearance November 10. Sheriff Ray said that on Tuesday, October 25 a deputy responded to a residence on Adcock Cemetery Road in reference to a tip about a stolen vehicle. The officer spoke with Griffith, who admitted to having possession of a 1993 Ford Ranger, which had been entered into the National Crime Information Center database as stolen out of Cannon County. Griffith was placed under arrest.

DeKalb Fire Dept Reminds You to Change Your Clock and Change Your Battery

October 31, 2016
Lieutenant Brian Williams

Daylight Saving Time ends Sunday, Nov. 6, and while you are changing your clocks, the DeKalb County Fire Department wants to remind you to change your batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms also. Our message is simple and it’s easy to do! Please take a few minutes to make sure life-saving alarms have fresh batteries so you, your family, and your home are protected.

Lieutenant Brian Williams, DeKalb County Fire Department’s Fire Prevention and Safety Officer, reminds DeKalb County residents that after batteries are changed in alarms, take a few extra minutes to test your alarms and remind family, friends, and neighbors to do the same. Not all smoke alarms have batteries that have to be replaced each year. Some newer model alarms have batteries that last up to 10 years. However, it is still very important to test and clean your alarms. You can clean and maintain them simply by using compressed air to remove dust residue that accumulates on alarms that can cause the alarm’s sensor to not operate properly.

If your home is not furnished with smoke alarms, or if your alarms are older than 10 years old, DeKalb County Fire Department will install new smoke alarms in your home free of charge. There’s simply no reason anyone should lay down to sleep at night without having a working smoke alarm in their home! All you have to do is contact Lt. Brian Williams at (615) 330-4066 and provide your name, address, and phone number to get your free alarms installed.

Eighty percent of child fire fatalities occur in homes without working smoke alarms. It’s a tragic statistic that can be prevented. Changing smoke alarm batteries at least once a year, testing those alarms, and reminding others to do the same are some of the simplest, most effective ways to reduce these tragic deaths and injuries. “The vast majority of our house fires happen between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. when most families are sleeping,” said Lt. Williams. “Smoke alarm installation and maintenance is a simple, effective way to reduce home fire deaths. Children and senior citizens are most at risk, and a working smoke alarm can give them the extra seconds they need to get out safely.”

A working smoke detector doubles your chance of surviving a home fire. So, why would you not want you and your family to have this protection? For more information about fire safety, visit the DeKalb County Fire Department’s FaceBook Group page or the department’s website at www.dekalbfire.com.

Two Runaways from Boys Home Admit to Burglaries

October 31, 2016
Dwayne Page

Two runaway teens from the New Frontier Boys Home at Dowelltown were taken into custody recently after allegedly committing break-ins and attempted thefts.

The boys, ages 15 and 17, are now in state custody. Their names were not released because they are minors.

According to Sheriff Patrick Ray, the boys ran away from the home on Sunday, October 16. The following day, the Sheriff’s Department received a report that someone had broken into and tried to steal a vehicle on Hannah Branch Road in Liberty. A package of chewing tobacco had also been taken from the automobile.

Later that day, Monday October 17, the Sheriff’s Department received a report of two boys trying to steal a four wheeler on Wolf Creek Road. After being spotted, the boys ran away but a deputy found them later. The officer conducted a search of the boys and found a pack of chewing tobacco in one of their back packs. During questioning, the teens admitted to the vehicle break-in on Hannah Branch Road and another burglary at the Mount Zion Baptist Church on Lower Helton Road, where they entered the church building and took food and water. The boys caused some damage to both the vehicle and church during the burglaries.

The case was investigated by Sheriff's Department Detectives.

County Clerk Office to Offer New Service

October 30, 2016
Dwayne Page
James L. (Jimmy) Poss

Anyone wishing to renew boat registrations or to purchase hunting and fishing license through the county clerk’s office will soon have that opportunity.

Thanks to the TWRA’s Tennessee R.E.A.L. system, persons may make transactions electronically over the internet. The county clerk’s office plans to make the service available in DeKalb County in November.

“Since beginning as County Clerk, our office has received numerous requests for watercraft vessel renewals and to purchase Hunting & Fishing license. Beginning this Monday October 31, 2016, the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency is launching a new system called Tennessee R. E A. L. This system will operate directly through the internet; from the same computer we currently perform all other transactions,” said County Clerk James L. (Jimmy) Poss.

“In recent conversations with TWRA and fellow clerks this new method is expected to be more efficient and user friendly from the previous method. Although this service isn’t mandated it does provide a convenient service for many while generating income to the county. However, Due to DeKalb County closing its previous account in June 2011 we will not be eligible to provide this service until mid-November,” Poss continued.

“I am currently working with TWRA in order to reestablish a new entity ID number. Also, our software provider is completing adjustments for receipting and transferring funds electronically. When adding any new service to an already concern of staffing it’s not as appealing or without concern. However; in attempt to offer this convenience I’m willing to make the effort with optimism and a desire to provide this service. Once we’ve met requirements in full, have received our entity ID and are ready to begin processing I will make it public,” Poss concluded.

Early Voting Ends Thursday, November 3

October 30, 2016
Dwayne Page

If you are registered and haven’t voted early, you have four more days to do so.

“Through Saturday, 2,943 votes had been cast (that number includes absentee ballots) and that’s 274 less than the entire early voting period in 2012,” said Dennis Stanley, Administrator of Elections.

On Saturday, 243 voted including 237 in person and 11 by absentee.

Early voting ends Thursday, November 3. Hours are: Monday 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.; Tuesday 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.; Wednesday 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.; and Thursday 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. on the first floor of the courthouse at the election commission office.

Election day is Tuesday, November 8 from 8 a.m. until 7 p.m. at all precincts in the county.

Tigers' State Play-Off Run Begins Next Friday

October 28, 2016
Dwayne Page
Tigers' State Play-Off Run Begins Next Friday

The DeKalb County Tigers shutout the Cannon County Lions 42-0 at Woodbury Friday night to close out the regular season 7-3 overall with a 5-1 record and a 2nd place finish in region play.

The Tigers will host a first round TSSAA Class 3A Play-Off game next Friday night, November 4 against East Ridge at 7:00 p.m. in Smithville.

After a Bradley Miller interception, DeKalb County got its first score of the night on a 4 yard touchdown run by Matthew Poss with 1:39 left in the 1st period. Poss added the extra point and the Tigers led 7-0.

The Tigers’ next score came as time ran out in the 1st period. A bad snap on a Cannon County punt sailed over the kicker’s head and into the endzone. DeKalb County’s Devin Bain recovered the ball for a Tiger touchdown. Matthew Poss booted the extra point and DeKalb County led 14-0.

DeKalb County extended its lead with 2:23 left in the 2nd period on a 14 yard touchdown run by Colton Seifert. Matthew Poss added the extra point and the Tigers led 21-0.

With 5:14 left in the 3rd period, Tiger Quarterback Tyler Cantrell found Isaiah Jones on a 24 yard touchdown pass play. The P.A.T by Matthew Poss was good and DeKalb County led 28-0.

The Tigers added another score with 11:09 left in the 4th period on an 18 yard touchdown pass from Quarterback Tyler Cantrell to Matthew Poss and with the extra point by Poss, DeKalb County took a 35-0 lead.

DeKalb County’s last touchdown of the night came on an 18 yard run by Colton Seifert with 39 seconds left in the game. Andrew Fuson kicked the extra point and the Tigers won 42-0.

The Tigers' next opponent, East Ridge finished the regular season 5-5 and 3-2 in region play.

East Ridge defeated Brainerd 34-6, Signal Mountain 35-28, Chattanooga Central 13-6, Howard 13-7, and Chattanooga Christian 39-28. Their losses have been to Polk County 35-28, Red Bank 22-10, Hixson 7-0, Notre Dame 50-26, and Loudon 16-13.

WJLE will have LIVE coverage of the game between the Tigers and East Ridge with the Voice of the Tigers John Pryor and Luke Willoughby on WJLE AM 1480/ FM 101.7 and LIVE streaming at www.wjle.com at 7:00 p.m. Friday, November 4 in Smithville. Our pre-game shows begin with Coach to Coach at 5:00 p.m. and Tiger Talk at 6:30 p.m.

DCHS Cross Country Runner Qualifies for TSSAA State Meet

October 28, 2016
Mya Ruch of DCHS to Compete in TSSAA State Cross Country Meet
DCHS Cross Country Teams

The DCHS Cross Country Team traveled to Cookeville Tuesday, October 25 to compete in the TSSAA Region 4 A-AA meet. In the girls race, Mya Ruch finished 3rd with her best time of the season coming in at 20:46. This 3rd place finish qualified her to attend and compete in the TSSAA state meet which will be held on Nov. 5th. This is the first time DCHS has had anyone to go to state for XC. Mya is a freshman this year and also earned a spot on the All Mid-State team. She qualified for this honor over fall break.

In the boys race, several boys achieved their PR for the year and Jose Rodriguez finished first for DeKalb County with a time of 20:03. This was the first time the senior had finished first for the team. The DeKalb boys finished as a team in 9th place out of 13 teams. Congratulations to all the runners on a great season

Former "Living The Dream" Executive Director Sentenced In Fraud Scheme

October 28, 2016
Wendy Askins Sentenced to 18 Months in Prison

Wendy Askins, 55, of Red Boiling Springs, former Executive Director for the Upper Cumberland Development District (UCDD), was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Aleta A. Trauger to 18 months in prison, followed by two years of supervised release, for misusing the organization’s funds, announced David Rivera, U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee. Judge Trauger also ordered Askins to pay $233,000 in restitution.

Askins was previously charged in a 12-count superseding indictment charging conspiracy, bank fraud, embezzlement, and making false statements. Askins pleaded guilty on August 30, 2016, to theft of Federal program funds.

The fraudulent scheme was carried out from March 2010 through February 2012. During that period, Askins purchased a property outside of Cookeville, Tennessee which she named Living the Dream. Askins used funds belonging to UCDD and its sister agencies, including the Cumberland Regional Development Corporation (CRDC) and the Cumberland Area Investment Corporation (CAIC), to renovate the home. Living the Dream was to serve as an assisted living facility for senior citizens, however, Askins and her daughter moved into the property and made luxurious upgrades to their residential wings.

Askins also set up a company called L.A. Management to operate the senior living facility. In order to hide her wrongdoing, Askins directed employees to falsify the minutes of the board of director’s meetings. At other times, Askins lied about the circumstances of the fake board minutes.

According to court documents, Askins carried out the scheme with co-defendant Larry Webb, who previously pleaded guilty on August 17, 2015. Webb is scheduled to be sentenced on November 14, 2016.

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division; the U.S. Department of Commerce, Office of Inspector General; the U.S. Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General; and the U.S. Housing and Urban Development, Office of Inspector General. The United States was represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Stephanie N. Toussaint and William F. Abely.

Board of Education Big Winner in Habitat Chili Cook-Off

October 28, 2016
Tecia Puckett Pryor
 Cowabunga Chili” from the DeKalb County Board of Education took Top Chili Honors and Best Decorated Booth Award at 13th Annual Habitat Chili Cook-Off and Bake Sale
 Cheese Wagon Chili” from the DeKalb County Department of Transportation awarded second place for Best Chili and tied second place for Best Decorated Booth
Third place chili honors went to “Hot Checks Chili” from Wilson Bank and Trust.
“Spooky Bean Chili” from Middle Tennessee Natural Gas tied second place for Best Decorated Booth
The Golden Spoon Award went to “The Courthouse Gang” from the DeKalb County Officials

The 13th Annual Habitat for Humanity Chili Cook-off and Bake Sale, held Friday, October 28, 2016, on the Town Square was a great success! According to the Chili Cook-off Committee, there was a record turnout and more than $5,400 was raised for Habitat for Humanity of DeKalb County.

“Cowabunga Chili” from the DeKalb County Board of Education took Top Chili Honors, with “Cheese Wagon Chili” from the DeKalb County Department of Transportation coming in second place. Third place chili honors went to “Hot Checks Chili” from Wilson Bank and Trust.

The Best Decorated Booth Award also went to “Cowabunga Chili” from the DeKalb County Board of Education, with “Spooky Bean Chili” from Middle Tennessee Natural Gas and “Cheese Wagon Chili” from the DeKalb County Department of Transportation tying for second place.

The Golden Spoon Award went to “The Courthouse Gang” from the DeKalb County Officials, who raised $197.00 for Habitat in cash donations at their booth.

Rounding out the nine participating teams were “Around the Block” from H&R Block; “The Bean Counters” from Janney and Associates, CPA’s; “Savvy Chili” from Savvy Scrubs/Professional Testing Services; and “No Liability Chili” from the DeKalb County Bar Association.

Habitat for Humanity of DeKalb County thanks each of these teams for their dedication and support of the event; all those who donated the delicious baked goods; city and county officials for facilitating the event space; and all the fine folks of the community who came out to support Habitat and this great community event.

Habitat for Humanity of DeKalb County is a locally run affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International, a nonprofit, ecumenical Christian housing organization. Habitat for Humanity builds and renovates houses in partnership with volunteers and families in need, regardless of their ethnic or religious background. The houses then are sold to those in need at no profit and with no interest charged. To contact Habitat for Humanity of DeKalb County, please call 215-8181.

DCHS Hosts College and Career Fair

October 28, 2016
Dwayne Page
Smithville Police Chief Mark Collins and other members of the department with students during DCHS College and Career Fair

Students at DeKalb County High School participated in a College and Career Fair Friday.

Representatives of local businesses, universities, healthcare facilities, law enforcement, EMS, fire departments, and members of the armed services set up booths in the gym to share information and in some cases demonstrations.

In the video below, a student is shown wearing a pair of Fatal Vision goggles from the Smithville Police Department. An alcohol impairment simulation which provides a sobering view of what impairment can do.

Participants in the College and Career Fair were as follows:

Atnip Chiropractic Clinic
Caney Fork Electric Cooperative
Cumberland University
DeKalb County Bar Association
DeKalb County Board of Education
DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department
DeKalb EMS
DeKalb County Sheriff's Department
DTC Communications
Federal Mogul
Georgia Career Institute
Huff & Puff Trucking
Motlow State Community College
NHC Healthcare Center
Nossi College Arts
Smithville Volunteer Fire Department
Smithville Police Department
St. Thomas DeKalb Hospital
Suncrest Home Health
Tennessee College of Applied Technology of Livingston
Tennessee College of Applied Technology of McMinnville
Tennessee College of Applied Technology of Hartsville
Tennessee College of Applied Technology of Murfreesboro
Tennessee Tech University
Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency
U.S. Marine Corps
UT Knoxville
Vol State Community College
Wilson Bank and Trust
University of Northwestern Ohio


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