Local News Articles

TDOT Alters Plans for Proposed Highway 56 Project

December 10, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page
TDOT unveils new proposal for Highway 56 (blue lines show where passing lanes would be constructed)
Map shows existing road (above) and same location (below) built with two lanes and passing lanes

Several years after first announcing plans to widen and improve Highway 56, the Tennessee Department of Transportation has a new proposal that is expected to save the state money.

Instead of building a four lane divided and five lane road from south of the Warren County line (in Warren County) to near Magness Road in DeKalb County, TDOT now proposes to build a new two lane road (typical section) with twelve foot lanes and ten foot paved shoulders and passing lanes along the 3.30 mile existing alignment. The plans also include adding extra safety features on the new road, such as guardrails, better road signage, pavement markings, and center line rumble stripes. The total projected cost is $7,611,000. That would be a savings to the state of $12,800,000 from TDOT's original plans for this portion of Highway 56, which would have cost $20,411,000.

The highway from near Magness Road to just south of the Warren County line is currently a two lane road with eleven to twelve foot lanes and two to eleven foot shoulder widths.

According to TDOT officials, the rate of severe crashes on this portion of Highway 56 is (0.250) double the state average (0.128) for rural two lane routes but that the decision to scale back the project was out of financial necessity.

"Because of our tenuous and unpredictable financial situation relating to the federally funded Highway Trust Fund, the department took a look at our projects in development that would not have received funding any time soon to see if there was something we could do instead that would address some of the transportation issues in a less expensive, but more easily and quickly funded manner," Jennifer Flynn, TDOT Regional Community Relations Officer recently told the Southern Standard.

The process to make some improvements rather than risk nothing being done is called expedited project delivery and focuses on safety measures. "In the case of this project, our planners came up with recommendations that would include safety improvements to the corridor at an estimated $857,000 and reconstruction of the roadway with two lanes and a total of 1.5 miles of passing lanes at a cost estimate of $6.754 million for a total estimate cost of $7.611 million," said Flynn.

The smaller project has not yet received funding approval for construction but could be let for bids by the fall of 2015.

TDOT has not yet announced a timetable for construction of the proposed project to four lane Highway 56 from Magness Road to the city limits of Smithville.

Convicted Felon Found with Drugs and Weapons

December 8, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page
Convicted Felon Found with Drugs and Weapons
Joshua Lynne Batey
Ralph Edward McIntyre, Jr

A convicted felon has been busted again after he was found with drugs and weapons at his Smithville home last week.

27 year old Joshua Lynne Batey of Juniper Lane, Smithville is charged with possession of schedule IV & VI drugs for resale and possession of a weapon by a felon. His bond is $25,000 and he will be in court December 18.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Friday, December 5 a drug detective and deputy of the sheriff's department went to 415 Juniper Lane to do a probation search (visit) on Batey, who is on probation for previous offenses. Batey was convicted in 2010 for sale and delivery of a schedule II drug, a class C felony and for the sale and delivery of a schedule II drug, a class D felony. Upon arrival, the officers announced the intention of their visit and searched Batey. Found in Batey's pocket were three plastic baggies. One of the baggies held 25 yellow diazepam pills. The other two baggies contained marijuana, totaling .51 ounces. Batey also had $859 in cash on his person, including 31 -twenty dollar bills, 2- one hundred dollar bills, a ten dollar bill, a five dollar bill, and 4-one dollar bills. After making this discovery, the detective left the premises to obtain a search warrant of Batey's home. The other officer remained at the residence until the detective's return. During a search of the dwelling a Weatherby 12 gauge shotgun was found upstairs under a piece of insulation. Batey also had a muzzleloader. He was taken into custody.

Later in the day, another person was arrested at the same residence after the drug detective drove by and found the man acting suspiciously around a vehicle parked there. 25 year old Ralph Edward McIntyre, Jr. of Adams Street, Smithville is charged with resisting stop, frisk, halt, or arrest. His bond is $1,500 and he will be in court on December 18. According to Sheriff Ray, the drug detective saw the man behind a vehicle at Batey's residence, 415 Juniper Lane. When he pulled into the driveway, the man started to run. The detective called for him to stop but he kept running. After a foot pursuit, the man (McIntyre) was stopped and placed under arrest.

Arrest Made in Rash of Auto Break-ins

December 8, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page
Nathaniel Dylan Tippens
Jimmy Brown Martin
Brandon Lynn Tallent
Marshann Hensley
Garth Cantrell
Brian Eugene Farmer
Roxie Elaine Martin
Timothy Wade Cantrell

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department has apparently solved a rash of recent automobile break-ins on Midway and Redman Roads with the arrest of a man who lives in that community.

22 year old Nathaniel Dylan Tippens of Redman Road, Smithville is charged with six counts of burglary, six counts of theft under $500, and one count of vandalism. His bond is $47,500 and he will be in court on January 15.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that Tippens allegedly broke into and stole items from two vehicles on Midway Road and four automobiles on Redman Road on Monday, November 24. The vandalism charge is for Tippens' allegedly trying to break into another vehicle on Redman Road the same day by prying open the back sliding window, causing damage to the weather stripping.

Items taken in all the thefts combined include a JVC stereo, two TomTom GPS units, a Cobra radar detector, a bone handled knife and a brown sheath, a black air compressor, prescription eyeglasses, a class ring, a multi-colored handbag, an mp3 player, and a total of twenty dollars in change. The total value of the stolen goods amounts to $790.

The cases were investigated by criminal detectives of the Sheriff's Department.

Meanwhile, two more persons have been picked up on grand jury sealed indictments in recent undercover drug operations.

40 year old Jimmy Brown Martin of Bethel Road Smithville is indicted for the manufacture of a schedule VI drug. His bond is $20,000.

30 year old Brandon Lynn Tallent of West Broad Street, Smithville is indicted for the sale and delivery of a schedule III drug. His bond is $20,000.

51 year old Marshann Hensley of Jefferson Road, Smithville is charged with criminal impersonation and being a fugitive from justice. She was further issued citations for driving on a suspended license and roadways laned for travel. Her bond is $55,000 and she will be in court on January 15. Sheriff Ray said that on Tuesday, December 2 a deputy stopped a vehicle for a traffic violation. The driver, Hensley, identified herself to the officer as Sherry Lynn Young and said her birthday was March 6, 1962. After an investigation, officers learned her true identity and that her birthday is actually June 6, 1963. Hensley was arrested and brought to the jail for booking. It was also discovered that Hensley had a warrant for her arrest in Michigan for retail fraud, a first degree felony.

33 year old Garth Cantrell of Pine Grove Road, Smithville is charged with theft of property over $1,000. His bond is $5,000 and he will be in court December 18. Sheriff Ray said that on November 11 Cantrell allegedly took several items from a residence on Bethel Road including a 105 gallon fuel tank, Kawasaki 4-wheeler frame, a go-cart frame, a Briggs and Stratton motor, three bottle jacks, and several other tools. The total value of the items amounts to $4,951. Cantrell allegedly sold the fuel tank and other items to a local recycling business. The case was investigated by a criminal detective of the sheriff's department.

49 year old Brian Eugene Farmer of Jefferson Road, Smithville is charged with driving on a suspended license and leaving the scene of an accident. He was further issued a citation for violation of the financial responsibility law for no insurance. Farmer's bond is $3,000 and he will be in court January 15. Sheriff Ray said that on Wednesday, December 3 a deputy was dispatched to Jefferson Road due to a wreck in which the driver had left the scene. During an investigation, the officer located Farmer who admitted to driving the vehicle. Farmer told the deputy that he had left the scene because he did not have a drivers license. A computer check confirmed that Farmers' license were suspended on August 8, 2011 for failure to provide evidence of financial responsibility in Roane County.

38 year old Roxie Elaine Martin of Academy Avenue, Alexandria is charged with driving under the influence. Her bond is $1,500 and she will be in court December 18. Sheriff Ray said that while on patrol, a deputy noticed a silver Dodge swerving in and out of its lane heading west on Highway 70. Upon stopping the vehicle, the officer found that the driver, Martin had a strong odor of alcohol on her person. She was unsteady on her feet and her speech was slurred. Martin performed poorly on field sobriety tasks.

55 year old Timothy Wade Cantrell of Old Snow Hill Road, Dowelltown is charged with driving under the influence. He was further issued a citation for roadways laned for traffic. His bond is $1,500 and he will be in court on January 15. Sheriff Ray said that on Sunday, December 7 a deputy spotted a red vehicle leave its lane of travel and go into the grass. The officer made a traffic stop and spoke with the driver, Cantrell. His eyes were bloodshot and he had a strong odor of alcohol coming from his person. Cantrell's speech was also slurred. He told the officer that he had taken prescription medicine and then began drinking during the day. Cantrell submitted to and performed poorly on all field sobriety tasks. Cantrell also took a blood test. He was placed under arrest for the safety of himself and the public.

Annual Social Studies Fair Held at DWS

December 8, 2014
by: 
Bill Conger
Pictured are Emily Roehner (front right), Shelby Clayborn (middle left) and Addison Oakley (Back)

Over 250 projects were on display at the annual DeKalb West School Social Studies Fair on Dec. 4 and 5. 7th grade teacher Vicki Wilson coordinated the event.

Students explored topics from the history of DeKalb to the history of the Civil War. Sixth graders recreated part of Egyptian history with mummies, a sarcophagus, and other pieces of the past in Egypt. While there were many well-done projects, judges selected the following students for prizes.

First Grader Caitlin Shoemake won first place with her project, “A Village from Long Ago. 2nd Grader Grant Buterbaugh received a first place ribbon for his “Civil War Flags of Tennessee.” In the third grade: Zoi Hale was tops with “Georgia,” Marshall Farler was second with “Pennsylvania,” and Kolten Slager finished third with “Louisiana.” Jackson Vantrease received an Honorable Mention.

From the fourth grade: Bralin Moss was first with “Southwestern Indians,” Noah Evans made second place with “Titantic,” and Bonnie Hale placed third with “The Boston Tea Party. Ellis Vaughn, Luke Driver, Aniston Farler, and Jake Christian received an Honorable Mention. From the fifth grade: Lucas Hale won first with “Alcatraz the Rock,” Kenzie Hayes placed second with “History of Music,” and William Buterbaugh’s “Trail of Tears” earned a third place ribbon. The sixth grade class devoted its projects to the history of Egypt. Trevonte’ Alexander and Garrett Hayes tied for first, Jaya Tramel was second and Jason Richards placed third. Katie Bain, Emma Damron, and Michael Martin were Honorable Mention. In the 7th grade, Christine Bowman had the top award for “The Quran,” Braedon Jett placed second with “Joan of Arc,” and Trenton Shores earned a third place finish with “English Knight Helmet.” Receiving Honorable Mention were Mariah Mofield, Taylor Foutch, Christian Trail, and Holly Evans. From the 8th grade: Addison Oakley’s “The Rights of Women” tied for first with Shelby Clayborn’s “Amelia Earhart, Callie Mulloy won second place for “The Life of Abraham Lincoln,” and Emily Roehner was third with “The Boston Massacre.” Receiving Honorable Mention were Grayson Redmon, Tesa Hall, and Alanna Woodham.

Congratulations to all of our students for the fine job they did for the Social Studies Fair.

DeKalb County Fire Department Offers Holiday Season Safety Tips

December 8, 2014
Brian Williams

‘Tis the season to be jolly, as the holiday standard goes. In many homes, this means a log on the fire, a trimmed tree or a menorah glowing brightly. All these signs of the season bring feelings of comfort and joy to families. But what you may not realize is that they also bring an increased risk of fire in the home. That’s why Lt. Brian Williams, DeKalb County Fire Department’s Fire Prevention and Safety Officer, wants everyone to be aware of some simple things we can all do around our homes to prevent fires.

The winter months are the peak times for home heating, candle, decoration and Christmas tree fires, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). Statistics show that two of every five home decoration fires are started by candles. Fireplaces or chimneys are involved in almost two out of five home heating fires. Portable or fixed space heaters are involved in four out of five home heating fire deaths. Over the years, DeKalb County has had its share of all these unfortunate and unnecessary fires.

DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department’s holiday wish is for all DeKalb County residents to have a merry, bright and SAFE holiday season. By recognizing holiday fire hazards and using a little extra caution, you can help keep your home full of comfort and joy while celebrating Christmas and New Year’s Day.

When decking the halls, choose decorations that are flame resistant or flame retardant and keep them away from candles or any other heat source. Not all holiday lights are made equal so be sure that you know whether yours are for indoor or outdoor use and be sure to replace any string of lights with worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections. Use clips, not nails, to hang lights so the cords do not get damaged.

Lighting candles, whether for decorating or religious rituals, should always be done with caution. Candles should be in a sturdy holder and placed on an uncluttered surface. Lit candles should not be placed in windows where a blind or curtain could catch fire. Never leave a lit candle unattended. Blow out candles when you leave the room or go to bed. Additionally, candles placed on or near tables, altars, or shrines must be monitored by an adult.

Lastly, roasting anything on an open fire in the fireplace is not a good idea! Make sure that your fireplace has a sturdy screen and keep kids and pets three feet away. Have your chimney inspected, cleaned regularly and dispose of ashes in a metal container far away from the home.

We know that the holidays are a hectic time of year for all DeKalb County residents. Please help DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department prevent unnecessary fires in our community by slowing down a little and taking time to pay attention to these few suggestions that we have recommended.

Smithville Fire Department Seeks FEMA Grant for Rescue Equipment

December 8, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page
Charlie Parker

The Smithville Fire Department is making application for a FEMA grant to help pay for the purchase of new hydraulic rescue equipment and accessories.

If approved, the department could get a $25,000 grant. The city's local matching portion is 5%.

Chief Charlie Parker asked for permission to make the application during last week's meeting of the Mayor and Board of Aldermen. "I would like to request permission to apply for the FEMA Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG). What we are actually shooting for is one of their micro grants which is a $25,000 grant that has a 5% match which would be a $1,250 match that we would have to pay if we get that. At the present time we've got that in our capital outlay budget so we do have the money to do the match if we were to get the grant. But I do need permission from the governing body to apply for it," said Chief Parker.

The alderman granted approval.

Liberty Parade Captures the Spirit of Christmas (VIEW VIDEO HERE)

December 7, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page
Memorial Baptist Church Float Wins First Place at Liberty Parade
Memorial Baptist Church Float (Rear VIEW)
Liberty Mayor Dwight Mathis and wife Shirley serve as Grand Marshals of Liberty Parade

Main Street in Liberty was lined with Christmas lovers of all ages on Sunday for the town's annual Parade.

Liberty Mayor Dwight Mathis and wife Shirley served as the Grand Marshals.

Memorial Baptist Church received first place in the float competition. Second place went to Jeff Odle of Middle Tennessee Mule Skinners

First place in the category for kids, four wheelers, and small animals went to Faith Womack. The Pursell family received second place.

Nathan Miller and family were awarded for antique vehicles and tractors. Will Daniel received second place for his 1946 Mac fire truck.

The parade also featured other floats and vintage automobiles, tractors, State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver, horseback riders, the DCHS band, local law enforcement, fire departments, DeKalb EMS, DeKalb Rescue Squad and Santa Claus.

After the parade, drawings were held for cash giveaways.

Smithville Christmas Parade Adds to Holiday Excitement (VIEW VIDEO HERE)

December 6, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page
Memorial Baptist Church Takes First Place in Smithville Christmas Parade
Smithville Volunteer Fire Department Organizes Another Successful Christmas Parade

Enthusiastic kids and grownups alike enjoyed the sights and sounds of the Smithville Christmas Parade Saturday, sponsored by the Smithville Volunteer Fire Department.

Winning first place among the float entries was the Memorial Baptist Church. Second Place went to J&B Thrift Store and the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department Float received third place.

The Spirit Award, presented by the Smithville Business and Professional Women's Club, went to the Tiger Pride Christmas entry.

This year's parade featured other floats, horseback riders, horse and mule drawn wagons, boy and girl scouts, veterans, vintage automobiles, emergency vehicles, the DCHS band, and of course, Santa Claus.

The Liberty Christmas Parade will be Sunday, December 7 starting at 2:00 p.m.

City Employees to Give Needy Kids a Bike for Christmas

December 6, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page
City Employees to Give Needy Kids a Bike for Christmas

City of Smithville employees are requesting your help to make a child's Christmas a little merrier this year.

Donations of new or used bicycles and toddler riding toys are being accepted by city employees to be given to needy children during the "Cops for Kids" Christmas party this month. Cash donations are also being collected which will go toward the purchase of bicycles.

City employees stress that this effort is completely being done with donations only and is not funded by the City of Smithville. The employees themselves are coming together, with your help, to make this possible.

If you would like to make a donation to ensure that every child at the party gets a bicycle stop by the Smithville City Hall during business hours or call 615-597-4745.

Two Wounded in Shooting (UPDATED)

December 5, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page

A man and woman were wounded in a shooting Thursday night at a residence on Earl Avenue.

42 year old Darrell Brown and 34 year old Jennifer Arrington were both airlifted to Vanderbilt Hospital.

WJLE has learned that Brown and Arrington had been arguing during the day and that Arrington became concerned that Brown, who had a handgun, might try to harm himself. As she tried to intervene, Brown allegedly fired one shot which wounded him in the facial area and passed through to strike Arrington in the hand.

The case remains under investigation by the Smithville Police Department

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