Local News Articles

Chevy Blazer Plows into the Tannery Causing Major Damage

April 7, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page
View from inside the Tannery after the Crash
The Tannery Closed Monday after Sunday night Crash

The Tannery on West Broad Street reopened this morning (Tuesday).

The local tanning salon business had to be closed all day Monday after a Sunday night accident in which a man crashed through the front of the building in his Chevy Blazer, causing major damage.

According to Smithville Police, 27 year old Jason Alexander Sturdivant of 487 Page Drive was driving a 1998 Chevy S-10 Blazer when the vehicle entered the parking lot of the Tannery and crashed into the business, which was closed at the time.

Sturdivant was apparently not seriously injured . He has been cited for violation of the financial responsibility law (no insurance).

Officer Joey Myers said the accident remains under investigation to determine the cause.

Concrete Coatings Employee Charged with Stealing Items from DeKalb Middle School

April 7, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page
Jason Michael Stockton

An employee of a company doing work at DeKalb Middle School during spring break has been charged with theft for allegedly stealing items from classrooms including laptops, backpacks and other personal belongings of teachers and students.

30 year old Jason Michael Stockton of Cookeville is charged with one count of theft over $1,000 and four counts of theft under $500. His bond totals $48,000 and he will be in court on April 10.

Detective Brandon Donnell of the Smithville Police Department, who investigated the case, said Stockton is an employee of Concrete Coatings of Cookeville. "Over spring break, the school had this company come in and redo some of the floors. When the teachers came back the following Monday, they noticed some things were gone. After looking into it more, they discovered a lot more things were missing including personal things taken from teacher's desks such as cash, a watch, ring, money raised toward Relay for Life, a laser pointer and more. They looked on the (surveillance) cameras and saw workers from this company going into the classrooms, taking stuff and walking out with it," he said.

Other items taken from the school included cases of bottled water and soft drinks, bottles of body lotion, an Ipod, and several bags of food for the backpack program.

The total value of the stolen items was estimated to be $5,770.

Detective Donnell said some of the stolen items were recovered upon Stockton's arrest on Friday, April 4. " We went to Stockton's house in Cookeville and found some of the stuff in his house," he said.

At least one other arrest may be forthcoming as a result of the investigation.

Former McDonalds Employee Charged with Theft

April 7, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page
Jeri Beckham

A former employee of McDonalds in Smithville has been charged with theft for allegedly cashing paychecks she had already deposited.

34 year old Jeri Beckham is facing three counts of theft under $500. She is under a $4,500 bond and will be in court on April 24.

According to Smithville Police, Beckham allegedly took advantage of a service called Mobile Deposit to deposit three of her paychecks into her bank account, by simply taking a picture of the checks with a mobile phone. Once deposited, Beckham then allegedly took the actual paychecks and cashed them at Food Lion.

The amounts of the checks were for $438.68 on January 2; $388.78 on January 21; and $200.98 on February 15.

The case was investigated by Corporal Travis Bryant.

Drunk Driver Nearly Sideswipes Patrol Car

April 7, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page
Johnny Michael Howard

A drunk driver who nearly sideswiped a sheriff's department patrol car last week has been arrested.

51 year old Johnny Michael Howard of Billings Road, Sparta is charged with a third offense of driving under the influence. He was also issued a citation for failure to maintain his lane of travel. Howard's bond is $4,500 and he will be in court April 24.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Wednesday, April 2 at around 10:20 p.m. a deputy was traveling on Highway 70 just past Sligo bridge when a Dodge Caravan, driven by Howard, left its lane of travel and nearly sideswiped the patrol car in a curve. The officer stopped the vehicle and spoke with the driver, Howard, who had a strong odor of alcohol on him. Howard was unsteady on his feet. His speech was slurred and his eyes were bloodshot. Howard performed poorly on all field sobriety tasks. He was placed under arrest for the safety of himself and the public.

39 year old Autumn Danielle White of Page Drive, Smithville is charged with a second offense of driving on a suspended license. She was also issued a citation for simple possession (2 Hydrocodone pills), prohibited weapon (Billy Club), drug paraphernalia (set of scales), and violation of the open container law (2 open beers). Her bond is $3,000 and she will be in court April 17.

Sheriff Ray said that on Sunday, April 6 while on routine patrol, a deputy saw White driving an automobile. Having prior knowledge that she did not have a license, the officer conducted a traffic stop of her vehicle. A computer check revealed that White's license were suspended for failure to satisfy a citation. A search of her vehicle turned up a set of scales, two hydrocodone pills, and a Billy club. She also had two open beers in the front seat.

33 year old Mark Denver Young of Barnes Mill Road, Smithville is charged with driving on a revoked license. His bond is $1,500 and he will be in court on April 17.

Sheriff Ray said that on Sunday, April 6 a deputy saw Young operating a vehicle on Barnes Mill Road. Having prior knowledge that Young did not have a license, the officer conducted a traffic stop. A computer check revealed that Young's license were revoked for driving under the influence. He was arrested and brought to the jail for booking.

Morgan Faith Green Wins Teen Miss Pageant

April 6, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page
Morgan Faith Green
Abigail Hope Taylor,Destiny Danielle Franklin, Morgan Faith Green, Addison Grace Oakley, Sarah Anne Colwell
Abigail Hope Taylor, Kaitlyn Bain, Morgan Faith Green

Fourteen year old Morgan Faith Green is the first ever Teen Miss. She won the crown Saturday during the pageant held at DeKalb County High School.

Teen Miss is a new Spring Blossom Pageant started by the Smithville Women's Club. Ten girls ages thirteen to fifteen competed for the title.

Green, daughter of Suzanne and Jon Harrison of Smithville, was also named Miss Photogenic.

Addison Grace Oakley of Liberty was first runner-up in the pageant. She is the 13 year old daughter of Clark and Lisa Oakley.

Second runner-up went to Destiny Danielle Franklin, the 14 year old daughter of Charlie and Jennifer Ware of Smithville.

Thirteen year old Sarah Anne Colwell was third runner-up. She is the daughter of Trent and Christie Colwell of Smithville.

Abigail Hope Taylor was fourth runner-up. She is the 13 year old daughter of Ken and Cindy Taylor of Smithville. Taylor also received the title of Miss Personality.

Thirteen year old Kaitlyn Bain was named Runway Queen, an award presented by Runway Rentals. Bain is the daughter of Wendy Thomas and Larry Bain of Smithville.

Other participants were Abby Marie Evans, the 13 year old daughter of Amanda Mathis of Smithville; Allison Brooke Maynard, the 14 year old daughter of Stacey Smith Maynard of Smithville and Alan Maynard of Cookeville; Brooklyn Storm Estes, the 13 year old daughter of Chris and Shanna Bogle of Smithville; and Shelby Elizabeth Clayborn, the daughter of Brian and Holly Clayborn.

TOP PHOTO: Morgan Faith Green
CENTER PHOTO: Abigail Hope Taylor,Destiny Danielle Franklin, Morgan Faith Green, Addison Grace Oakley, Sarah Anne Colwell
BOTTOM PHOTO:Abigail Hope Taylor, Kaitlyn Bain, Morgan Faith Green

Shaunta Rose Koegler is the New Junior Miss

April 6, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page
Shaunta Rose Koegler
Megan Emilee Cantrell, Madison Rae Rackley, Shaunta Rose Koegler,Emma Brooke Jennings, Alexis Grace Atnip
Rebekah Haylee Adams,Megan Emilee Cantrell, Alexis Grace Atnip

Twelve year old Shaunta Rose Koegler of Smithville is the new Junior Miss of the Spring Blossom Pageant, which was held Saturday at the DCHS gym and sponsored by the Smithville Women's Club. The pageant featured eleven girls ages ten to twelve.

Koegler, daughter of Brian and Leticia Koegler, succeeds last year's queen, Sarah Anne Colwell, the 13 year old daughter of Trent and Christie Colwell of Smithville.

Emma Brooke Jennings was the first runner-up. She is the 10 year old daughter of Chad and Shelly Jennings of Smithville.

Second runner-up was Madison Rae Rackley, the 10 year old daughter of Gordon and Jessica Rackley of Smithville.

Alexis Grace Atnip was named third runner-up. She is the 11 year old daughter of Veronica Atnip of Smithville. Atnip also received the title of Miss Photogenic.

Fourth runner-up went to Megan Emilee Cantrell, the 10 year old daughter of Todd and Jenny Cantrell of Smithville. Cantrell is also the Runway Queen, an award presented by Runway Rentals.

Ten year old Rebekah Haylee Adams was selected as Miss Personality. She is the daughter of Brian and Carolyn Adams of Smithville.

Other participants were Malia Stanley, the 12 year old daughter of Larry and Phyllis Stanley of Smithville.; Kaitlyn George, the 12 year old daughter of Ashley and Frankie Bryant and Jeff and Kim Walls of Smithville; Katherine Grace Colwell, the 10 year old daughter of Trent and Christie Colwell of Smithville; Shelby Maylee Sprague, the 12 year old daughter of Jimmy and Johnna Sprague of Smithville; and Destinee Ritchey, the 11 year old daughter of Joe and Tammy Ritchey of Dowelltown.

TOP PHOTO: Shaunta Rose Koegler
CENTER PHOTO: Megan Emilee Cantrell, Madison Rae Rackley, Shaunta Rose Koegler,Emma Brooke Jennings, Alexis Grace Atnip
BOTTOM PHOTO:Rebekah Haylee Adams,Megan Emilee Cantrell, Alexis Grace Atnip

First Ever "Young Miss" Title Goes to Carlee Elizabeth West

April 6, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page
Young Miss Carlee Elizabeth West
Alexis Rigsby,Allyson Roxanne Fuller,Carlee Elizabeth West, Annabella Eleni Dakas, Kyleigh Breanne Hill
Kyleigh Breanne Hill, Alexis Rigsby, Katherine Dell Gassaway
Miss Sweetheart Jasmen Chapman

The first ever Young Miss is Carlee Elizabeth West, the eight year old daughter of D.J. and Megan Stewart of Smithville.

The Young Miss, a new Spring Blossom Pageant started by the Smithville Women's Club, was held Saturday at DCHS.

Fourteen girls, ages seven to nine, competed for the crown.

First Runner-up in the pageant was Annabella Eleni Dakas, the seven year old daughter of John and Mandy Dakas of Smithville.

Second Runner-up: Allyson Roxanne Fuller, the eight year old daughter of Anthony and Amanda Fuller of Smithville.

Third Runner-up: Kyleigh Breanne Hill, the nine year old daughter of Colleen Clary and Kyle Hill of Smithville. She was also named Miss Personality.

Fourth Runner-up: Alexis Rigsby, the eight year old daughter of April Hall and Caleb Rigsby of Smithville. She was also named Runway Queen, an award presented by Runway Rentals.

Miss Photogenic: Katherine Dell Gassaway, the nine year old daughter of Julianna Gassaway and Kelly Gassaway of Smithville.

Jasmen Chapman was named Miss Sweetheart. She is the seven year old daughter of Jamie and Debbie Chapman of Dowelltown.

Others in the top ten were Kenlee Renae Taylor, the eight year old daughter of Ken and Cindy Taylor of Smithville; Savanna Hope Murphy, the seven year old daughter of Brian and Stephanie Leist of Smithville; Ansley Faith Cantrell, the seven year old daughter of Tony and Amee Cantrell of Smithville; Katherine Dell Gassaway, the nine year old daughter of Julianna Gassaway and Kelly Gassaway of Smithville; and Elizabeth Gaines, the eight year old daughter of Beverly Anderson of Smithville.

The remaining contestants were Jazmine Wagner, the eight year old daughter of Tim and Wendy Wagner; Cienna Annise Cole, the seven year old daughter of Chaundra Jones and grandmother Cheryl Jones of Smithville; and Katherine Ann Vickers, the seven year old daughter of Jonathan and Crystal Vickers of Smithville.

TOP PHOTO: Carlee Elizabeth West
SECOND PHOTO FROM TOP:Alexis Rigsby,Allyson Roxanne Fuller,Carlee Elizabeth West, Annabella Eleni Dakas, Kyleigh Breanne Hill
THIRD PHOTO FROM TOP: Kyleigh Breanne Hill, Alexis Rigsby, Katherine Dell Gassaway
BOTTOM PHOTO: Miss Sweetheart Jasmen Chapman

McMinn Captures Little Miss Crown

April 6, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page
Little Miss Averie Nicole McMinn
Leah Beth Trapp,Lilliana  Grace Vickers,Averie Nicole McMinn,Kaylee Brooke Kent,Brooklyn Kate Fuson
Kaydence Shontae Johnson, Deanna Agee,Brooklyn Kate Fuson

The winner of the Little Miss Pageant Saturday was Averie Nicole McMinn, six year old daughter of Nathan and Amanda McMinn of Dowelltown.

Fifteen girls, ages four to six, were in the pageant held at DCHS sponsored by the Smithville Women's Club.

McMinn succeeds last year's Little Miss Annabella Eleni Dakas, the seven year old daughter of Amanda and John Dakas of Smithville.

Runners-up in the pageant are as follows:

First runner-up: Kaylee Brooke Kent, the five year old daughter of Kevin and Beth Kent of Dowelltown.

Second runner-up: Lilliana Grace Vickers, the six year old daughter of Brandi Norton of Smithville.

Third runner-up: Brooklyn Kate Fuson, the four year old daughter of Billy and Sarah Fuson of Smithville. She was also named Runway Queen, an award presented by Runway Rentals.

Fourth runner-up: Leah Beth Trapp, the five year old daughter of Jeremy and Jenny Trapp of Smithville.

Little Miss Personality: Deanna Agee, the five year old daughter of David and Dama Agee of Smithville

Little Miss Photogenic: Kaydence Shontae Johnson, the four year old daughter of Jeremy Ashburn and Trista Johnson of Smithville

Rounding out the top ten were Annali Garcia, the four year old daughter of Cardelly and Hector Garcia of Smithville; Kaydence Shontae Johnson, the four year old daughter of Jeremy Ashburn and Trista Johnson of Smithville; Lillie Grace Young, the four year old daughter of Michael and Crystal Young of Smithville ;Deanna Agee, the five year old daughter of David and Dama Agee of Smithville; and Brianna Nicole Carr, the five year old daughter of Sherry Hattaway of Smithville.

Other participants were Amalee McPherson, the six year old daughter of Johnna Maynard and Melinda and Dewayne Davis of Smithville; Zayleigh Washer, the five year old daughter of Rachel and Larry Bain of Smithville; Kaylyn Isabelle Prichard, the four year old daughter of Andy and Chrissy Prichard of Liberty; Lilly Grace Anderson, the four year old daughter of Caitlin Anderson of Smithville and the late PFC Billy Anderson; and Jakayta Odom, the six year old daughter of Rebecca Waggoner of Smithville.

TOP PHOTO: Little Miss Averie Nicole McMinn
CENTER PHOTO: Leah Beth Trapp, Lilliana Grace Vickers, Averie Nicole McMinn, Kaylee Brooke Kent, Brooklyn Kate Fuson
BOTTOM PHOTO: Kaydence Shontae Johnson, Deanna Agee, Brooklyn Kate Fuson

Sullivan Wins Little Mister Contest

April 6, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page
Devan Kage Dannels, Skyler Chase Sullivan, Jaxsen Theryn Speaks
Skyler Chase Sullivan

The winner of this year's Little Mister pageant is Skyler Chase Sullivan, the six year old son of Charity Sullivan of Smithville and the late Jamie Sullivan.

The contest, featuring three boys, was held Saturday at DCHS sponsored by the Smithville Women's Club.

Sullivan succeeds last year's Little Mister Jacob Marlin Stewart, the five year old son of Megan and D.J. Stewart of Smithville.

In addition to being named Little Mister, Sullivan also received the Mister Photogenic honor.

Jaxsen Theryn Speaks was first runner-up in the pageant. He is the four year old son of Justin and Donna Speaks of Smithville. Speaks was also named Mister Personality.

Second runner-up was Devan Kage Dannels, the six year old son of Brian and Christy Dannels of Smithville.

Judges Maddux and Burns Honored by Tennessee General Assembly

April 5, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page
Judge John Maddux
Judge Leon Burns, Jr.

The Tennessee General Assembly has paid tribute to two long time judges in the 13th Judicial District who will be retiring from the bench this year.

The terms of Criminal Court Judge Leon Burns, Jr and Circuit Court Judge John Maddux, both of Cookeville will expire August 31.

Resolutions honoring both Democratic judges, sponsored by State Senator Charlotte Burks, have been adopted by the State House and Senate and have been sent to the Governor for his signature.

Judge Maddux has served the district for thirty years. Judge Burns has been on the bench for thirty eight years.

Both resolutions were adopted by the Senate 31-0 and by the House 93-0 with one member present but not voting.

The resolution honoring Judge Maddux is as follows:

"A RESOLUTION to recognize the Honorable John Maddux on the occasion of his retirement as Circuit Court Judge for the Thirteenth Judicial District of Tennessee.

WHEREAS, it is appropriate that the members of this legislative body should honor those jurists who have evidenced devotion to the law and our judicial system throughout their years on the bench; and

WHEREAS, Judge John Maddux is one such noteworthy jurist who served the Thirteenth Judicial District and the good people of Clay, Cumberland, DeKalb, Overton, Pickett, Putnam, and White Counties with distinction since his election as circuit court judge in 1984; and

WHEREAS, throughout his exemplary thirty-year tenure on the bench, Judge Maddux distinguished himself as a public-spirited citizen of the highest order and as an exceptional asset to his community; and

WHEREAS, Judge John Maddux obtained his Juris Doctorate from the University of Tennessee College of Law and attended undergraduate school at Tennessee Technological University and the University of Tennessee in Knoxville; and

WHEREAS, prior to his illustrious career on the bench, Judge Maddux practiced both civil and criminal law in state and federal courts in Tennessee; and

WHEREAS, seeking to serve his community, John Maddux was elected Circuit Court Judge for the Thirteenth Judicial District in 1984 and won re-election without opposition in 1990, 1998, and 2006; and

WHEREAS, respected by his peers and colleagues for his keen insight and commitment to public service, Judge Maddux is a past president of the Tennessee Judicial Conference and the Tennessee Trial Judges Association; and

WHEREAS, a member of the Tennessee Pattern Jury Instruction-Civil Committee for twenty-eight years, Judge John Maddux served on a two-person subcommittee of the body to draft the initial comparative fault jury instructions, which were later modified and adopted by the full committee; and

WHEREAS, Judge Maddux also served as chairman of the Tennessee Pattern Jury Instruction Clarity Sub-Committee, which rewrote the entire pattern jury instruction book so that civil jury instructions would be more easily understood by jurors, attorneys, and judges; and

WHEREAS, respectfully declining a nomination for a Federal District Court Judgeship, Judge John Maddux sat, by special designation, on the Tennessee Court of Appeals, the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals, and the Supreme Court Special Workers Compensation Panel; and

WHEREAS, Tennessee’s delegate to the National Conference of the Judiciary on Bioethical Issues, Judge John Maddux currently serves as chairman of the Judicial Conference’s Long Range Planning Committee and served as a member of the Legislative Committee and the Judicial Education Committee; and

WHEREAS, in 2010, Judge Maddux was elected as the chairman of the Board of Directors of the Tennessee Judicial Conference Foundation, Inc., whose mission is the offering of need-based scholarships to students at each of the colleges of law in Tennessee; and

WHEREAS, a fellow of the American Bar Association, Judge John Maddux presided in approximately 600 judicial settlement conferences, taught a course on business law at Tennessee Technological University, made presentations on comparative fault to the Judiciary Committee of the Tennessee House of Representatives, and served as an instructor on jury trials at the Tennessee Judicial Conference’s Judicial Academy for new judges; and

WHEREAS, deeply involved in his community, Judge John Maddux contributes his time and energies to the Adopt-A-School Program in Putnam County with the Cookeville-Putnam County Chamber of Commerce, which provides speakers, programs, and monetary contributions to the schools; and

WHEREAS, since the first adoption of a school on October 19, 1989, Judge Maddux presided over all ninety-two of the adoption ceremonies by more than 200 participating groups, as every Putnam County school has been adopted by more than one business, church, or civic organization; and

WHEREAS, for thirty-five years, Judge John Maddux helped shape the youth of Tennessee as the State Chairman of Tennessee American Legion Boys State and shared his knowledge of government as the author of Tennessee Government, a copy of which is given to each Boys State delegate to study and be tested on during the week of Boys State; and

WHEREAS, during his tenure as State Chairman, Tennessee’s American Legion Boys State won national acclaim as the top ranked Boys State program in the nation, while approximately 20,000 young men have attended the annual week-long event in Cookeville; and

WHEREAS, no stranger to honors and accolades, Judge John Maddux was the 2011 recipient of the Justice Frank F. Drowota III Award for Outstanding Judicial Service from the Tennessee Bar Association, which recognized his extraordinary devotion and dedication to the improvement of the law, the legal system, and the administration of justice; and

WHEREAS, Judge Maddux exemplifies the allegiance to equality and justice under the law that is characteristic of a true Tennessean; and

WHEREAS, throughout his estimable career, he has demonstrated the utmost professionalism, ability, and integrity, winning the unbridled respect and admiration of his fellow members of the bench and bar, the parties appearing before his court, and the citizens of the State of Tennessee; now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED BY THE SENATE OF THE ONE HUNDRED EIGHTH GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF TENNESSEE, THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES CONCURRING, that we extend to Judge John Maddux our heartfelt wishes for a happy and fulfilling retirement from his voluminous duties as Circuit Court Judge for the Thirteenth Judicial District of Tennessee, applaud his years of dedicated public service and wise counsel, and wish him every continued success in all his future endeavors."

The resolution honoring Judge Burns is as follows:

"A RESOLUTION to honor and commend Judge Leon Burns on the occasion of his retirement.

WHEREAS, it is appropriate that the members of this legislative body should honor those jurists who have served justice with objectivity and acumen throughout their outstanding careers; and

WHEREAS, one such exemplary jurist is the Honorable Leon Burns, Criminal Court Judge for the Thirteenth Judicial District; Judge Burns announced his retirement effective September 1, 2014, as he will not seek re-election to the bench; and

WHEREAS, Judge Burns began serving as a judge in April 1975 when he was appointed on an interim basis to fill the position of a judge who was experiencing health problems; and

WHEREAS, in 1978, Judge Burns was elected to serve the remainder of that unexpired term and has since been re-elected several times, always unopposed; this speaks volumes about the high regard in which he is held in the Thirteenth Judicial District; and

WHEREAS, a leader among his peers, Judge Burns is past president of the Tennessee Judicial Conference, served as the trial judge representative on the Tennessee Sentencing Commission, and served on the Tennessee Commission for Criminal Justice and the Tennessee Supreme Court Advisory Commission of Rules and Criminal Procedure; and

WHEREAS, he shared his wisdom and legal expertise as an adjunct professor of criminal justice at Tennessee Technological University; and

WHEREAS, Judge Burns gives back to his community as a member of the Jaycees, Lions, and Rotary clubs of Cookeville; and

WHEREAS, throughout his estimable career, Judge Leon Burns demonstrated the utmost professionalism, ability, and integrity, winning the unbridled respect and admiration of members of the bench and the bar alike; now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED BY THE SENATE OF THE ONE HUNDRED EIGHTH GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF TENNESSEE, THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES CONCURRING, that we honor, commend and congratulate Judge Leon Burns on his exemplary 38-year tenure as Criminal Court Judge for the Thirteenth Judicial District, applaud his commitment to justice, and extend our best wishes for his every future success and happiness."

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