Local News Articles

Morgan Gets Probation for TennCare Fraud

November 13, 2015
Dwayne Page
Ashley Morgan

A DeKalb County woman charged with TennCare fraud involving prescription drugs was sentenced in DeKalb County Criminal Court on Tuesday.

28 year old Ashley Morgan entered a plea to TennCare Fraud and received a two year sentence all suspended to supervised probation. The term is to run concurrently with a Cannon County sentence against her. She must forfeit her TennCare benefits and make restitution of $1,187.71.

Morgan was first charged with doctor shopping in DeKalb County this past April. She was indicted by the DeKalb County Grand Jury on April 6, 2015 for TennCare Fraud. At that time she lived on Gassaway Road, Liberty. According to the DeKalb County indictment, Morgan unlawfully obtained or attempted to obtain on or about June 14, 2014 a prescription from a healthcare provider and failed to disclose to that healthcare provider that she had received a prescription for a controlled substance of similar therapeutic use from another healthcare provider within the previous 30 days, and she did use TennCare to obtain the benefit, constituting the offense TennCare Fraud.

Morgan was indicted for the same crime in Cannon County in October. In that case, the Cannon County Grand Jury indicted her on three counts of fraudulently obtaining controlled substances by doctor shopping for the painkillers Oxycodone and Hydrocodone, using TennCare to pay for the clinical visits.

“When individuals go from doctor to doctor to obtain prescription drugs through TennCare benefits, state dollars are involved in illegal drug sales,” Inspector General Manny Tyndall said. “We appreciate and value the hard work of the healthcare providers and the local law enforcement across the state and their efforts in helping us develop these cases.”

TennCare fraud is a Class E felony carrying a sentence of up to two years in prison per charge. The OIG, which is separate from TennCare, began full operation in February 2005 and has investigated cases leading to more than $3 million being repaid to TennCare, with a total estimated cost avoidance of more than $163.6 million for TennCare, according to latest figures. To date, 2,455 people have been charged with TennCare fraud.

Through the OIG Cash for Tips Program established by the Legislature, Tennesseans can get cash rewards for TennCare fraud tips that lead to convictions. Anyone can report suspected TennCare fraud by calling 1-800-433-3982 toll-free from anywhere in Tennessee, or go to http://www.tn.gov/finance/topic/fa-oig.

Tribute Program Honors Veterans

November 12, 2015
Dwayne Page

Veterans were honored during a special program held on Veterans Day at the county complex.

A good crowd turned out for the tribute.

Speeches from guest speakers paid tribute to our nation's heroes and members of the DCHS Chorus and Band entertained with songs of patriotism.

Veterans boarded a school bus for a ride downtown to the veterans memorial monument at the courthouse where the program concluded in taps and the placement of a wreath to honor veterans

Two Involved in Crash Near Alexandria

November 12, 2015
Dwayne Page

Two people were involved in a crash Wednesday afternoon on Highway 70 near the Wilson County line in DeKalb County.

Trooper Bobby Johnson of the Tennessee Highway Patrol told WJLE that a west bound 1999 Ford Ranger, driven by 61 year old Edwin Beard, Jr. of Dowelltown, crossed the center line and sideswiped an eastbound 2008 Dodge Ram 1500 pickup, driven by 66 year old Roy Myatt of Liberty. Beard's truck then went off the highway, overturned, and struck a rock embankment. The Dodge Ram also ran off the road and hit a rock embankment. Beard was transported to St. Thomas DeKalb Hospital by DeKalb EMS. Myatt was not hurt.

Beard was cited for failure to exercise due care, expired registration, and financial responsibility for no proof of insurance.

Beer Board Schedules Revocation Hearing for Nicole's Market

November 11, 2015
Dwayne Page
Areceli Soto Godinez and her brother appeared before the beer board on a separate matter in October 2009

The owner of Nicole's Market will have to make an appearance before the DeKalb County Beer Board next month for a revocation hearing.

The meeting will be Thursday, December 3 at 6:00 p.m. in the U.T. Extension room of the county complex.

The beer board met in special session Tuesday night on the case after discussing it during a regular monthly meeting last Thursday.

The issue is whether the store's beer license should be suspended for a period of time or revoked due to the illegal sale of alcohol to a person under the age of 21. During an undercover operation in September, a 20 year old operative working for the Sheriff's Department entered the store and allegedly bought beer from the owner of Nicole's Market, 42 year old Areceli Soto Godinez of Smithville.

Godinez appeared in DeKalb County General Sessions Court on Thursday October 29. While she pled not guilty, the case against Godinez was continued for six months after which time the citation will be dismissed provided she pays the court costs of $212 and has no further incidents of this kind. But even though the criminal citation may be dismissed, county attorney Hilton Conger told members of the beer board Tuesday night that they could still impose a civil penalty if they were to have a hearing and find that beer was illegally sold from the business. Such a hearing would require an appearance by Godinez and officers who conducted the undercover operation.

"You could give her notice of a due process hearing because this is a civil proceeding. If the board has the individual who allegedly made a buy to come and testify as to what had happened you could still take action on a revocation. Because a revocation doesn't depend upon being found guilty (in court). That's a criminal charge which requires guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. This would be a civil matter. But you still have to give the permit holder a notice of revocation and conduct a hearing here as to whether the license should be suspended, revoked, or you have the option of a civil penalty of up to $2,500 when it's a sale to a minor," said Conger.

The beer board voted Tuesday night to schedule a revocation hearing for Thursday, December 3 at 6:00 p.m. to give Godinez a chance to be heard. " What we're trying to figure out is if she (Godinez) broke the law. And if she broke the law then we want to respond as a board. In fairness to her and in fairness to the board we need to have her in here. I want to hear her story. Let's hear her side of it," said Beer Board member Jim Stagi.

Members of the board also complained that they were not officially made aware of the case until they heard it in news reports on WJLE. "When somebody does get into this situation we as a board need to know. I don't think that the board liked it that we all got notified by the radio station. That's not the way things should run around here. Somebody has got to notify the board when something like this happens," said Stagi.

Godinez was among four persons cited for the illegal sale of alcohol to a minor as part of an undercover investigation conducted jointly by the Sheriff's Department, Smithville Police Department, and the Alexandria Police Department.

Godinez along with 25 year old Langed Bassem Nabil Samir of the Alexandria Discount Beer and Tobacco store on Nashville Highway and 56 year old Allison Ferguson of Smithville, an employee of Mapco Express on East Broad Street, Smithville appeared in General Sessions Court Thursday, October 29.

Under negotiated settlements with the District Attorney General's Office, each case is to be dismissed provided the defendants pay their court costs and have no further incidents of this kind within a certain period of time. Ferguson's case was dismissed that day. Citations are to be dismissed after 60 days for Samir and after six months in the Godinez case.

The case against 32 year old Jennifer Sims of McMinnville, an employee of the Discount Tobacco Store on West Broad Street, Smithville across from the Dairy Queen was postponed until December 10 to give her time to hire an attorney.

The Alexandria Beer Board Tuesday night, October 27 imposed a $500 fine against the owner of the Alexandria Discount Beer and Tobacco store for the violation of the town's beer ordinance. Samir, the clerk who actually made the sale, was cited by the Alexandria Police Department after he illegally sold beer to an underage operative during an undercover investigation on September 22. Samir admitted to making the illegal sale of beer but claims he made a mistake in reading the birth date on the identification presented to him by the customer (undercover operative) who is 20 years old.

Members of the DeKalb County Beer Board are Chairman Edward Frazier, Robert Rowe, Jim Stagi, Johnny King, Frank Thomas, Leonard Dickens, and Rhonda Caplinger. All were present Tuesday night except for Frazier.

Hoyte Hale Recommended to Become EMS Director

November 10, 2015
Dwayne Page
Hoyte Hale
Jeremy Young
Charles Nokes
Allen O. Mason, II
Jeff Cole

Hoyte Hale may become the next director of the DeKalb County Ambulance Service.

Members of the County's Emergency Services Committee met Tuesday night at the courthouse to interview the five applicants and voted to recommend Hale for the job to the entire county commission who has the final say.

Hale has been serving as interim director for two and a half years since the departure of Chip Cook, the former director. Prior to being named interim, Hale served as assistant EMS director for seven years.

In addition to Hale, those wanting the job are Jeremy Young of Dearman Street, Smithville; Charles Nokes of Short Mountain Road, Smithville; Allen Mason of Lancaster; and Jeff Cole of Spencer.

The committee brought in each applicant one at a time for the interviews. The same set of questions was put to each applicant and they were scored numerically from zero through five based on their responses to each question. Hale scored highest among the five applicants.

Members of the committee are Chairman Joe Johnson, Wayne Cantrell, Jeff Barnes, Anita Puckett, Bradley Hendrix, Elmer Ellis, Jr., and Kevin Robinson.

A paramedic, Hale listed on his resume the following employment history:

DeKalb EMS:
Interim EMS Service Director from April, 2013 to present
Deputy EMS Service Director, A-Shift Supervisor from June 2007 to April 2013

Smith County EMS, Carthage:
Paramedic, CQI Coordinator, First Responder Instructor from March 2004 to June 2007

River View Speedway, Carthage:
Paramedic from June 2004 to June 2007

Trousdale County EMS, Hartsville:
Paramedic from June 2004 to June 2007

Murfreesboro City Fire Department, Murfreesboro:
Firefighter, Paramedic, Rescue/Hazmat, First Responder Instructor from June 2003 to March 2004

Bedford County EMS, Shelbyville:
Paramedic from August 2002 to June 2003

DeKalb County Community Hospital, Smithville:
Paramedic E.R., ICU, Med-Surg from December 2001 to December 2011

DeKalb EMS, Smithville:
EMT, EMT-IV, Paramedic from June 1989 to May 1997
EMS Service Director from May 1997 to March 2002

Smithville Fire Department:
Deputy Fire Chief, Engineer, Rescue/Hazmat, Assistant Training/Safety Officer, Paramedic, First Responder Instructor, AHA Instructor, Vaness K/EVOC Instructor, Fire Prevention Officer from December 1985 to Present

Nashville Super Speedway:
Firefighter, Paramedic, Rescue from March 2001 to March 2011

Wilson County Emergency Management, Lebanon:
Firefighter, Paramedic, Rescue, Hazmat, Acting Captain from January 1990 to May 1997

Jeremy Young currently serves as a supervisor at Star Manufacturing of Smithville. He has worked there since February, 2015. He also serves part time as a Paramedic for the Cannon County EMS in Woodbury, a position he has held since 2001. Young worked for the DeKalb County EMS from 2002 to 2003 as a Shift Supervisor.

Charles Nokes is a licensed Paramedic with 23 years of service in emergency medicine services. He currently serves as the Cannon County Medical Death Investigator, a position he has held since April 1998. Nokes is also a licensed full time Paramedic at the Cannon County EMS, where he has worked since February, 1998. He works part-time at the DeKalb County EMS and has since February, 1998. Prior to that, Nokes was a full time licensed Paramedic at the DeKalb County EMS from March 1992 to February 1998.

Allen Mason has been employed at the DeKalb County EMS since 2012. From 2004 to 2012, Mason worked in Educational Resources at Lewisburg where he oversaw operations and logistics of advanced medical courses and directed course programs to ensure compliance with governing regulations. From 1992 to 2009, Mason was a Resource Manager for the Sumner County EMS in Gallatin. He has 14 years of experience as a professional manager in procurement and personnel management.

Jeff Cole has more than 35 years in the emergency medical field including 15 years in administration. He served as Manager of Life Care EMS in Lebanon from August 2013 to November 2014. Cole was also Manager of Pro Med EMS in Lebanon from September 2006 to August 2014. From November 2002 to August 2006, Cole was Director/Paramedic of the Van Buren County EMS in Spencer.

Atnip Arrested for Aggravated Burglary and Theft

November 10, 2015
Dwayne Page
Donald Richard Atnip, Jr
Michael Patrick Layton
Gary C. Boatwright

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department has made an arrest in a recent burglary and theft.

30 year old Donald Richard Atnip, Jr. of Page Drive, Smithville is charged with aggravated burglary and theft of property under $500. His bond is $25,000 and he will make a court appearance December 17. Sheriff Patrick Ray said that Atnip allegedly broke into a residence on Page Drive on Sunday, November 1 and took a flat screen Visio television valued at $300.. He allegedly admitted to entering the home and taking the TV. The case was investigated by a sheriff's department detective.

51 year old Michael Patrick Layton of Smithville is charged with being a fugitive from justice. His bond is $50,000. Sheriff Ray said Layton has a warrant against him from Lee County, Florida for two counts of possession of a controlled substance for resale (Heroin) and two counts of possession of a controlled substance (Heroin). He is now awaiting extradition back to Florida.

44 year old Gary C. Boatwright of Elmwood, Tennessee is charged with evading arrest and a fourth offense of driving on a revoked license. His bond totals $13,500 and he will be in court on November 12. Sheriff Ray said that on Saturday, November 7 a sheriff's department deputy attempted to stop a vehicle on Highway 70 west for failing to maintain his lane of travel. The driver pulled to the shoulder of the road but did not come to a complete stop. He then took off again. The officer began a pursuit on Highway 70 which continued onto Highway 96. The pursuit was terminated at Cannon County. After an investigation, officers learned that Boatwright was the driver and a computer check of Boatwright's license showed they were revoked for a DUI

National Collection Week Upcoming for Operation Christmas Child (VIEW VIDEO HERE)

November 9, 2015
Dwayne Page

Operation Christmas Child, a ministry of Samaritan's Purse is the world’s largest Christmas project that collects and distributes gift-filled shoeboxes for needy children around the world.

Since 1993, more than 113 million boxes have been distributed in more than 130 countries. Each year, the project mobilizes more than 100,000 volunteers in the United States.

The week of November 16th through Monday, November 23rd, 2015, is National Collection Week for Operation Christmas Child. The drop-off/relay center for this area is located at the Indian Creek Baptist Church, 967 Hurricane Ridge Road, Smithville, Tennessee, and is a convenient place for churches, clubs, schools, businesses, and individuals to bring their filled shoe boxes.

The center will be open, as follows:
Monday, November 16 through Friday, November 20 – 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Saturday, November 21 – 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Sunday, November 22 – 3:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Monday, November 23 - 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

You may select from the above dates and hours to deliver your filled shoe boxes to the center.

This holiday season you can experience the true meaning of Christmas with a child in need by simply packing your shoeboxes with toys, hygiene items, school supplies, and other small gifts.

For further information please contact:
Sue Puckett:615/597-7370 (office)
615/597-7325 (home)
615/464-7700 (cell)
suepuckett@dtccom.net (e-mail)

Samaritan’s Purse is a nondenominational Christian organization providing spiritual and physical aid with excellence to victims of war, natural disasters, disease, famine, poverty, and persecution in over 100 countries. The President and CEO is William “Franklin” Graham III, son of Billy Graham

Muzzleloader/Archery Season for Deer Opens

November 9, 2015
Dwayne Page
Muzzleloader/Archery Season for Deer Opens

The 2015 muzzleloader/archery season for deer opened Saturday, Nov. 7 and continues through Friday, Nov. 20 in all three of Tennessee’s deer hunting units, according to the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency.

The opening of muzzleloader season in the state has a permanent opening date of the third Saturday before Thanksgiving.

Muzzleloading firearms are defined as those firearms which are incapable of being loaded from the breech. Muzzleloading firearms of .36 caliber minimum plus long bows, compound bows and crossbows are legal hunting equipment for this season. Hunters are also reminded that they must meet the blaze orange requirements while hunting.

The statewide bag limit for antlered bucks is two. No more than one antlered deer may be taken per day. Hunters are allowed the following antlerless bag limits: Unit A -4 antlerless deer (DeKalb County); Unit L-3 antlerless deer per day and Unit B-1 antlerless deer.

For the exact boundaries of the different deer units, hunters can refer to the 2015-16 Tennessee Hunting and Trapping Guide, available where hunting and fishing licenses are sold and at all TWRA offices. A list of the state’s permanent annual opening hunting dates is on page 14 of the guide. The guide can also be viewed at TWRA’s website at www.tnwildlife.org.

Resident hunters, ages 16 through 64 must possess in addition to other appropriate licenses, an annual big game license for the equipment used. Lifetime Sportsman license, Junior Hunt/Trap/Fish, Adult Sportsman license and Permanent Senior Citizens license holders are not required to purchase supplemental big game licenses.

In addition to private lands, including public hunting areas, several wildlife management areas (WMAs) will be open to hunters during this muzzleloader season. Hunters need to refer to the 2015-16 Hunting and Trapping Guide for a listing of these WMAs or go to TWRA’s website.
Tennessee’s gun season for deer opens on the Saturday before Thanksgiving. This year’s date is Nov. 21. The season for gun/muzzleloader/archery will then continue through Jan. 3, 2016. Archery equipment is legal during muzzleloader and gun seasons.

Muzzleloaders are legal during gun season.

Wilkey Arrested for Exposing Himself to Female Mail Carrier

November 8, 2015
Dwayne Page
Roy Junior Wilkey

Smithville Police have arrested a man for exposing himself to a female mail carrier.

Roy Junior Wilkey is charged with indecent exposure and he will make a court appearance on Thursday, November 12. His bond is $2,500.

Detective Brandon Donnell was contacted by the postmaster who informed him that one of his mail carriers reported that as she stopped to deliver the mail Wilkey exposed his genitals to her.

On Thursday, October 29 Detective Donnell accompanied the mail carrier on her route and he observed Wilkey expose himself to the mail carrier.

In other cases, 33 year old James Glenn Barrett was arrested for driving under the influence and cited for violation of the implied consent law on Sunday, October 25.

Officer Tyler Patterson and Sergeant Brad Tatrow were on patrol when they came across someone slouched over in his vehicle at the McDonald's parking lot. Upon doing a welfare check, Officer Patterson noticed that the man, Barrett had an odor of an alcoholic beverage on his person. His eyes were blood shot and he was unsteady on his feet. Barrett performed poorly on sobriety tasks. He was arrested for the safety of himself and that of the public. His bond is $1,500 and he will make a court appearance on December 17.

46 year old Claudia Childress was cited for simple possession on Sunday, October 25. Officer Tyler Patterson and Sergeant Brad Tatrow responded to a call of a suspicious person in front of the Emergency Room of St. Thomas DeKalb Hospital. The woman, Childress was found to have two pills in a bag for which she had no prescription. Childress will be in court on December 17.

49 year old Marty Brent Tallent was arrested twice within a week. In the first case, he was charged with criminal trespassing. On Tuesday. October 27. Officer Matt Farmer responded to Patty's Restaurant in reference to an unwanted guest. Upon arrival, Officer Farmer spoke with Tallent. After being asked several times to leave, Tallent was taken into custody. His bond is $2,500.

In the second case, Officer Tyler Patterson arrested Tallent for public intoxication. On Tuesday, November 3 Officer Patterson responded to a public disturbance and spoke with Tallent who had an odor of alcohol on his person. Tallent was also irate. For the safety of himself and the pubic Tallent was taken into custody. His bond is $1,500 and he will make a court appearance on December 17.

54 year old Robert John Sablich was arrested for aggravated assault on Tuesday, October 27. Officer Matt Farmer responded to a 911 disturbance call where someone was reportedly being assaulted. Upon arrival Officer Farmer spoke with the victim who stated that Sablich assaulted her in the office of the Department of Children's Services by striking her about the head and grabbing her by the throat as if he was going to choke her. After the assault, Sablich then left the area. Upon investigation and with the assistance of Detective Brandon Donnell and K-9 Officer James Cornelius, Officer Farmer located Sablich next door and placed him in custody. His bond is $8,000.

DeKalb Prevention Coalition to Host Community Meeting on Addressing Addiction

November 7, 2015
Dwayne Page
Monty Burks

People are hurting

Drug and alcohol addiction is breaking up marriages, destroying homes, crippling children's futures, laying waste to communities

The DeKalb Prevention Coalition and Community Advisory Board are pleased to announce an upcoming special night for our community, Tuesday November 10 at 6:00 p.m.

Monty Burks, Director of Faith Based Initiatives for the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services will be at the DeKalb County Complex (UT Extension Room) to help rally local churches and the community in an effort to reach out to those struggling with addictions and connect them to vital substance abuse services.

The Tennessee Department of Mental Health & Substance Abuse Services has launched this exciting, new mission partnering with faith-based communities across the state. The goal is to build a recovery network comprised of compassionate and concerned citizens.

Your congregation is invited to join this effort and become a certified recovery church/faith-based organization in the State of Tennessee.

Dinner will be provided at the meeting Tuesday evening. Attendees are asked to RSVP (by phone or email) although it is not necessary or mandatory in order to attend. Phone 615-597-4673 or email norene.drugcourt@gmail.com.

It is vital that preachers, pastors, church and community members attend this special event.


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