Local News Articles

Liberty Election to be Uncontested

May 21, 2009
by: 
Dwayne Page

The Liberty Municipal Election will be uncontested this year.

A mayor and two aldermen will be elected in Liberty on Thursday, August 6th.

The qualifying deadline was noon on Thursday, May 21st

The positions are currently held by Mayor J. Edward Hale, Jr. and Aldermen Jarrett Pistol and Howard Reynolds, Jr.

All three men qualified to seek re-election and all three will be unopposed

Cope Named New DCHS Lady Tiger Basketball Coach

May 21, 2009
by: 
Dwayne Page
Coach Joe Pat Cope

A new coach has been named to head the DeKalb County High School Lady Tiger Basketball program.

Director of Schools Mark Willoughby has signed a contract with Joe Pat Cope of Lebanon.

Cope, originally from White County, is currently a Wellness and Physical Education Teacher at Lebanon High School, a position he has held since 2007. He is also a Varsity Boys Basketball Assistant, Head Coach of the Boys Freshman Basketball Program, and Head Coach of Boys and Girls Tennis at Lebanon High School.

From 2006-07, Cope was a Physical Education Teacher at Unity Middle School at Lincoln County where he served as head coach of boys and girls basketball, assistant football coach, and head golf coach.

He earned a B.A., MDS in 2004 and a Master of Arts, Health, and Physical Education in 2006 from Tennessee Tech University.

Cope says he is looking forward to coaching in DeKalb County. "I live in Lebanon but actually I grew up in White County. I'm from Sparta. I went to high school in Sparta and lived there my entire life until I took the job at Lebanon."

"I went to Tennessee Tech and got my undergraduate degree. My parents opened a grocery store in Sparta so when I got out of school I ran that (store) for a few years. When my mom got sick, we ended up selling the store so I went back to school and got my teaching certificate and my Masters from Tennessee Tech. I started coaching about five years ago."

"When I first got my degree I went to Chattanooga and worked at Chattanooga Notre Dame for two seasons. I coached boys and girls basketball there. I was the boys assistant and girls assistant there and I was the head coach of track."

"I then went to Unity Middle School in Fayetteville at Lincoln County. I was there for one season."

"I really missed the high school game so when the opportunity came up at Lebanon I decided to go there and that was two seasons ago. I enjoy being at Lebanon. I love the people and the community but my heart has always been to be a head coach so I applied for the DeKalb County job and I'm very excited about getting the position."

Coach Cope says he believes the DCHS girls basketball program can be winner. "We've got to change the attitudes and let these girls know that they can win. I know it's a tough district but school wise, DeKalb County is the second biggest high school in the district. If the girls come in and give me 110% and will work, then we will turn this program around. These girls have to realize that they can win. The mentality just has to change. I always try to keep things very positive. We had tryouts today (Wednesday) and I saw enough in the first two hours to know that we have some very talented young ladies here and their attitudes were great. They were upbeat. I just really think we can turn this around. We're going to start practice on Tuesday, then we've got to get ready for camp at Tennessee Tech June 13th-17th"

Coach Cope says he will be living with his father in White County until he finds a home in Smithville. Cope is divorced and has one daughter, four year old Reagan.

TWRA Emphasizes Safety as Summer Boating Season Begins

May 20, 2009
Tony Cross

Memorial Day weekend is regarded as the unofficial start to the summer boating season and the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency wants to emphasize the use of life jackets while boating in a safe and responsible manner.

Memorial Day is one of the year's busiest boating weekends. The 2008 Memorial holiday period had 13 reported accidents with one fatality and four injuries across the state. Officers arrested 26 for boating under the influence (BUI).

This year, as the Memorial Day holiday weekend approaches, there has been 16 reported accidents and five fatalities on state waters in 2009.

Along with the use of life jackets, TWRA wants to stress the responsible use of alcohol while boating. It is important to consider the effects of drinking and driving whether on water or land. In a boat on the water, consuming one beer is equivalent to drinking three beers on land because of external stressors such as engine vibration, wave motion and glare from the sun. Operating a boat with a Blood Alcohol Content of .08 or higher is illegal in Tennessee, the same as operating a motor vehicle.

TWRA Officer Tony Cross says for many Tennesseans, this weekend will be the first time to have the boat on the water this year.

TWRA officials say taking a few minutes to check some of the boat components may be the key to having a nice, safe day. Merely performing a simple maintenance check before getting on the water may save heartache and trouble. Check hoses to make sure they are in good shape. Check spark plugs and be sure to use UL marine grade plugs. Make sure the lights work and carry extra fuses and bulbs.

In addition, TWRA urges all boaters to remember the basics:
*have a wearable life jacket for every person onboard
*if your boat is 16 feet or longer, there must be a Type IV throwable device onboard
*have onboard a fire extinguisher if you have enclosed fuel compartments or cabins
*anyone under the age of 13 must wear a life jacket at all times while the boat is underway – drifting is considered underway
*any boat operator born after January 1, 1989 must have onboard the TWRA-issued wallet Boating Safety Education Certificate
*keep alcohol to a minimum–choose a designated boat operator
*make sure there is a current boat registration
Boat Operation Basics:
*keep a proper lookout at all times
*maintain a safe speed
*practice good seasmanship
*cut the engine while boarding from the water or entering the water from the boat
*be aware of the carbon monoxide hazards that exist and keep fresh air flowing
*no wake means idle speed
*take a boating safety course – log onto www.tnwildlife.org for information.

Bibble Charged with Assault and Attempted Arson

May 20, 2009
by: 
Dwayne Page

Smithville Police have charged a 23 year old man with holding a woman against her will, trying to set fire to a garage, and assaulting two officers while they were trying to arrest him.

Anthony R. Bibble is charged with two counts of assault, domestic assault, attempted arson, and resisting arrest. His bond totals $35,000 and he will be in court on the charges May 28th.

Police say that on Sunday, May 17th Officers Travis Bryant and Matt Holmes were called to 223 Hayes Court on a domestic complaint. Bibble was at the residence where he allegedly assaulted his sister by holding her in the house against her will and threatening to kill her. Police also discovered that he allegedly tried to burn the residence by pouring gasoline on the walls of the garage with his sister and himself still inside. Police say as Bibble was being arrested, he refused to do what the officers told him and he had to be taken to the floor by Officers Bryant and Holmes where he was cuffed.

Bibble allegedly hit both Officers Bryant and Holmes several times while they were trying to make the arrest. No one was injured.

Meanwhile, 18 year old Michaela Lynn Bilbrey, an employee of Save-A-Lot, was charged with theft of property under $500 after stealing from other employees there.

Officer Scott Davis reports that Bilbrey took money from two pocketbooks at Save-A-Lot without consent and with the intent to deprive the owners of their property. Bilbrey allegedly took twenty dollars from one purse and sixty dollars from the other purse.

Bilbrey is also charged with theft of property under $500 in a shoplifting case at Walmart. Lieutenant Steven Leffew reports that Bilbrey allegedly took several items, put them in her purse, and left the store without paying for them. All items were valued at less than $500.

21 year old Molly S. Lawrence is also charged with theft of property under $500 in another shoplifting incident there. Lieutenant Leffew reports that Lawrence took several items, put them in her purse, and left the store without paying for them. The items were valued at under $500.

39 year old Donna S. Blankenship is charged with simple possession of a schedule II and III controlled substance. Her bond is $5,000 and she will be in court July 9th.

Officer Scott Davis reports that on Friday, May 15th, at Morgan Drive and Gentry Avenue, Blankenship was pulled over for violation of the light law and seat belt law. She was arrested on an outstanding warrant from Rutherford County for violation of probation. Upon a search incident to arrest, a green pill bottle was found inside a Kleenex box containing a pill, believed to be Dilaudid and another pill, believed to be Suboxone.

City Swimming Pool Set to Open Friday

May 19, 2009
by: 
Dwayne Page
City Swimming Pool to Open Friday-

The Smithville Municipal Swimming Pool is scheduled to open for the season on Friday, May 22nd

Hours are Mondays through Saturdays from 11:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. and Sundays from 1:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m. Admission is $3.00

Monday, June 1st will be Report Card Day. All students presenting their report cards will get to swim free that day.

Jimmy Lewis says a lot of work has been done on the pool and it looks brand new. The pool area has been freshly repainted, a new fence has been added, sidewalk work has been done, and there's a new entrance to the pool.

County Offers Financial Assistance to EMS Employees Training to Become Paramedics

May 19, 2009
by: 
Dwayne Page

EMT's working for DeKalb EMS wanting to become paramedics will get some financial assistance from the county, if they agree to continue working for the county operated ambulance service for at least three years.

Anyone who accepts the funding and doesn't work for at least three years will have to reimburse the county.

EMS director Chip Cook made the request of the county commission Monday night and it was approved.

Cook says paramedics are needed in order for the ambulance service to maintain it's "A" rating."DeKalb EMS is a Class-A service. The state classifies us through the Department of Health as a Class A service. In other words, we provide ALS care, advanced life support, to our patients. In order for us to maintain that Class A rating, we have got to have paramedics on staff. Basically, what the state rules say is that every ambulance that goes on an emergency call needs to have a paramedic on it. Out of all the calls that we run every year, the state only allows us 5% (calls) to not have a paramedic on."

" One of our goals with the ambulance service is to get our EMT's trained up to the paramedic level. In order for us to do that, we need to, if we can, finance their training at Tennessee Tech. This cost is about $4,000. That's what it's estimated to be this year. That includes the tuition, books, and the other testing fees that they have to go through. In exchange for us paying for their training over the next year, the employee signs a three year contract to stay employed at DeKalb EMS and there are certain stipulations in that contract. If they resign then they pay back the county all the money that was spent, pro-rated based on the amount of time they worked."

"We have an employee that is very well qualified and I would like to send him to paramedic school. Part of doing that is paying him while he's in school on the days that he is scheduled to work. He'll go to class two days a week. This works out to three days a month, which is a total of 24 hours per month that we'll be paying him his regular pay rate to go to school."

"It won't affect our full time pay status in the budget. It's already in the budget. We've also budgeted in-service training to pay for the school. We did that in this current budget that we're operating on now."

"During that 24 hour shift that they are scheduled to work and have to be in class, they will come straight to work to finish out their shift, after the class is over. While they're gone, I'll be covering their shifts for them so there won't be any additional costs as far as having any extra people coming in and covering for them. There may be a case where I have to be at a meeting or something like that I can't change. In that case, we would use part time people like we do now."

I ran some figures on it to give you an idea. It'll be 24 hours a month and over a year when you calculate the amount of time, we're looking at 9% of their salary is what we're paying them. Out of their total salary, it's only 9% and it's not increased from what's already in the budget. In other words, It's just like they would be at work."

Meanwhile, the county commission also granted Cook's request to write-off more than $4,000 in uncollectible debts. "On these write-offs, all these patients are deceased, and all their insurance benefits have paid all they're going to pay. We also have copies of their death certificates or obituaries on file for the auditor. We have checked with the probate court as to whether they have filed an estate and whether they own any property in DeKalb or surrounding areas."

City Employees with 10 Years of Service to Get Three Weeks of Paid Vacation

May 18, 2009
by: 
Dwayne Page

Smithville employees who have worked for the city ten years or more will get a total of three weeks of paid vacation starting with the new budget year, July 1st.

Mayor Taft Hendrixson offered the proposal Monday night which was unanimously adopted by the aldermen.

Mayor Hendrixson says currently, city employees, after one full year of service, get one week of vacation and those with four years or more qualify for two weeks of paid vacation.

In other business, Fire Chief Charlie Parker requested permission to apply for an Assistance to Firefighters Grant. Parker says if approved, the money could be used to purchase new turnout coats, pants, and the full ensemble head to toe, which would meet new NFPA standards. Grant funds would also be used to replace the department's SCBA breathing air compressor, which is 22 years old, and to replace the fill station that the bottles are in. The total cost is projected to be $96,500 but the city's matching portion would only be 5% or $4,825. The aldermen voted unanimously to make the grant application.

Alderman Jerry Hutchins, Sr. requested that the Smithville Municipal Airport be re-named in honor of our veterans. Action on the request was postponed until the next meeting.

Mayor Hendrixson says a budget workshop will be needed soon, perhaps within a few days after the next regular meeting on June 1st.

He says if the budget can be prepared in time, first reading could be scheduled at the June 15th meeting with second and final reading passage during a special meeting near the end of the month. A new budget has to be enacted by July 1st.

Class of 2009 to Graduate Friday Night

May 18, 2009
by: 
Dwayne Page
Kesha Staley- 2009 DCHS Valedictorian-
Whitney Moss-Senior Class President-
Kelly Merriman- 2009 DCHS Salutatorian-
David Bennett- Graduation Guest Speaker

A total of 166 students at DeKalb County High School will receive their diplomas during graduation exercises Friday, May 22 at 7:00 p.m. on the high school football field.

The program will feature remarks by the Valedictorian Kesha Staley, Class President Whitney Moss and Guest Speaker Dave Bennett.

Bennett, a 1986 graduate of DeKalb County High School, is also a 1990 graduate of Tennessee Tech University, where he majored in Finance. He began his career with the State Comptroller of the Treasury in the Division of County Audit in Knoxville. He earned his CPA and in 1996 became a certified government financial manager. In 1999, Bennett became the financial director for Blount County and in 2000, he was appointed assistant county mayor for Blount County.

The prestigious White Rose and Citizenship Awards will be presented to three outstanding members of the class during the commencement program. The DCHS Chorus is expected to perform and the honor students will be recognized including the Valedictorian, Kesha Staley and Salutatorian, Kelly Merriman.

Diplomas will be presented to each graduate by Director of Schools Mark Willoughby.

Students earning "Highest Distinction" with a grade point average of 3.8 to 4.0 include Rosemary Apple, Victoria Bennett, Nicole Burger, Allison Curtis, Justin Dunaway, Josh Emberton, Macy Felts, Krysta Ferrell, Caleb Gash, Carrie Herrin, Jordan Howe, Matthew Lawrence, Rebecca Lawrence, Ryan Leiser, Avarie Maynard, Kelly Merriman, Megan Merriman, Jeff Miller, Megan Osborne, Brooke Pack, Megan Pack, Amanda Price, Amanda Reed, Kesha Staley, Jessica Strickland, Shay Sullivan, Anderson Webb, Thomas West, Tiffany Winchester, and Kara Young.

Students earning "High Distinction" with a grade point average of 3.6 to 3.79 include Russell Ambrose, Adam Arnold, Corey Dodd, Cody Hawkins, Dustin Lattimore, Josh Lester, Anna Little, Malinda Mofield, Nathan Neal, Brandon Owen, Corey Poss, and Nikita Young.

Those earning "Distinction" with a grade point average of 3.2 to 3.59 include Preston Adcock, Emilee Anderson, Kirt Bandy, Carolyn Bass, Brian Bates, Chynna Cade, Courtney DeHoet, Kayla Hale, John Herriott, Shane Hickman, Turner Hobby, Amber Judkins, Lauren Kemp, Alisha Majors, Kimberly Majors, Whitney Moss, Justin Poteete, Jessica Richards, Francisco Rodriguez, Stephen Rogers, Logan Roller, Sonny Sults, Allyson Trapp, and Luke Willoughby.

Members of the DCHS Class of 2009 are as follows:

Preston Thomas Adcock, Russell Whitley Ambrose, Emilee Beth Anderson, Rosemary Neal Apple, Adam B. Arnold, Joshua Caleb Arnold, Emmanuel Arroyo, Cody Ross Atnip, Trista Chantel Atnip

Jessica Bailey, Chelsea Nicole Bain, Linda Sue Bain, James Denton Ball, Kirt Wayne Bandy, Nikki Barrett, Carolyn Annette Bass, Charles O'Brian (Brian) Bates, Zachary Joe Batey, Victoria Lee Bennett, Christopher Scott Bolin, Brittany Lenae Bone, Alli Kristina Bradford, Daniel Jay Brandt, Koby Stanton Bullard, Tiffany Nichole Burchfield, Nicole Clara Burger

Chynna Nicole Cade, Clint Richard Cantrell, Rachael Danielle Cantrell, James Deallen Caplinger, Rebecca Jean Cates, Brittany Nicole Cleveland, Michael Gordon Cockrum, Annie Elizabeth Cook-McSparren, Jessica Lee Cook, Anthony Joshua Cunningham, Elizabeth Elaine Cunningham, Alison Christine Curtis, Benjamin Chad Curtis, John Wesley Curtis,

Jessica Hope Davenport, Dillon Cole Davis, Cory Thomas Dawson, Courtney Nicole DeHoet, Nereyda Garza Delafuente, Corey Tyler Dodd, Justin Alan Dunaway,

Ashmika Shirley Earl, Joshua Lynn Emberton

Macy Celeste Felts, David Thomas Ferrell, Krysta Lynn Ferrell, Shaun Matthew Ferrell, Tayler Marie Foutch, Kiara Nykia Fullilove, Alan Codi Funk

Caleb Bruce Gash, Carla Margaret Gilbert, Justin Lee Goodwin

Jenny Fay Hale, Kayla Brooke Hale, Anthony Wayne Hall, Rickey Dewayne Hall, Travis Glenn Hall, Cody Phillips Hawkins, Hannah Olivia Herman, Samual Louis Herman, Liliana Hernandez, Carrie Elaine Herrin, John Nelson Herriott, Alexander Von Hess, Michael Shane Hickman, Turner Smith Hobby, Jordon Scott Howe, Joshua Johnson, Lisa Darnail Johnson, Stephen Tyler Jones, Amber Lynn Judkins

Lauren Ashleigh Kemp, Mica Brooke Knight, Jackie Renea Knowles, Jonathon Allen Knowles

Dustin Carl Lattimore, Jacob Randall Lawrence, Matthew Lane Lawrence, Rebecca Lynn Lawrence, Ryan Scott Leiser, Joshua Shane Lester, Nicholas Jordan Lester, Megan Lachelle Linder, Anna Katharine Little, Christian Nicole Loftis

Alisha Mae Majors, Kimberly Mae Majors, Jenna Lynn Manning, Shea Matthews, Avarie Elizabeth Maynard, Christopher Paul McCoy, Travis Lane Menix, Kelly Nicole Merriman, Megan Brooke Merriman, Jeffrey W. Miller, Olivia Carol Miller, Susan Jewell Miller, Caleb Lee Minnear, Malinda Sue Mofield, Whitney LaRay Moss

Nathan Neal, Nathan Dallas Nixon, Shanea Marie Nixon, Stephen Dakota Nokes, Stuart Aaron Nunley

Christopher Scott Odom, Megan Alyse Osborne, Brandon Tommis Owen, Holly Rena Owen,

Brooke Elise Pack, Megan Nicole Pack, Stephanie Kaye Page, Justin Aaron Patton, Macrina Perez, Cody Dale Pitt, Corey Brent Poss, Justin Blake Poteete, Shelby Lee Powell, Royce Anthony (Tony) Prater, Amanda Nicole Price, Martha Elizabeth Puckett, Tyler Lee Pyles,

Desiree Nicole Radny, Kirstin Nichole Ramsey, Amanda Michelle Reed, Jessica Gale Richards, Nicole Angela Richards, Crystal Dawn Roden, Francisco Rodriguez, Stephen Michael Rogers, Jordan Shawn Roller, Logan Ray Roller,

Thomas Dalton Silcox, Christopher Joseph Sliger, Kristoffer Alan Smith, Anthony Charles South, Kesha Michelle Staley, Hunter T. Stanfield, Jordan Hunter Stewart, Leslie Nicole Stibil, Jessie Young Strickland, Sonny A. Stults, Shay Nicole Sullivan, Zachary Scott Sumner

John Austin Taylor, Matthew Thomas Tramel, Allyson Faye Trapp, Jalissa Marshay Tubbs

Ashley Leanne Turner

Brittany B. Vickers

Anderson Hudgens Webb, Thomas H. West, Johnny Dakota White, Reba Kaiye Wilkey, Luke Brady Willoughby, Tiffany Shena Winchester

Kara Elizabeth Young, Nikita Carroll Young, and Rebecca Faye Young

Three Men Charged with Theft of Potted Trees from Nursery

May 18, 2009
by: 
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department has arrested three men for allegedly stealing potted trees from a local nursery.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says 25 year old Bradley Wayne Ferrell of Tubbs Street, Liberty; 23 year old Michael Andrew Snyders of West Main Street, Smithville; and 34 year old Kevin Donald Bogle of Barnes Mill Road, Smithville are each charged with theft of property under $500. Bond for them was set at $1,500 each and they will appear in court on May 28th.

Sheriff Ray says Thursday, May 14th, a deputy was on patrol on South Tittsworth Road, Smithville when he spotted a truck weaving in the roadway. Upon stopping the vehicle, the officer talked with Ferrell, who was the driver, and noticed a smell of an alcoholic beverage on Ferrell's person. Ferrell submitted to field sobriety tasks which he passed.

The deputy then noticed several potted trees in the bed of the truck and also discovered that the trees had a label on them from one of the local nurseries on Short Mountain Highway. Ferrell told the officer that he had purchased the trees from a man and provided the man's name. The deputy called the man but he denied selling any trees to Ferrell. Sheriff Ray says Ferrell provided several other names but every time the deputy checked, there was no name or listed phone number for any of those persons.

The officer then talked with Snyders and Bogle, two men who were passengers with Ferrell, but they also told several conflicting stories about the trees. After checking with the local nursery, it was determined that these three men had scaled a fence on Herman Road and took the potted trees.

Meanwhile, in another case, Sheriff Ray says deputies were dispatched to the area of Jacobs Pillar Road on Wednesday, May 13th to answer a possible drunk driver call. Officers saw the vehicle running a stop sign at the intersection of Jacobs Pillar and Turner Road and upon stopping the automobile, found 37 year old Christopher Dale Cantrell of King Ridge Road, Dowelltown in an intoxicated state. Cantrell had slurred speech, was unsteady, and had a smell of alcohol on his person. When Deputies asked Cantrell to perform field sobriety tasks, he refused. Cantrell also refused to take a blood alcohol test. Cantrell was charged with driving under the influence and issued citations for running a stop sign and violation of the implied consent law. Cantrell's bond was set at $1,500 and he will appear in court on May 28th.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says this last week's Grand Jury sealed indictment round up where drug defendants and other criminal violators were arrested was a big success. He asks that if you know of someone who is dealing drugs or involved in any illegal activity, to take advantage of the crime tip line or call him directly at the Jail. Sheriff Ray says "We want people to report illegal activity in the county. What some people might think of as insignificant information might be an important clue in solving a crime." The crime tip line is 464-6400. All calls are kept confidential."

DeKalb West School Conducts DARE Graduation

May 18, 2009
by: 
Dwayne Page
Sheriff Patrick Ray, DARE Essay Winner Sam McMillen, DARE Instructor Don Adamson
Sheriff Patrick Ray, DARE Essay Runner-Up Tavia Cantrell, DARE Instructor Don Adamson

Fifth graders at DeKalb West School received certificates during the annual DARE graduation ceremony held Friday

The Drug Abuse Resistance Education program was conducted by DARE Instructor and Chief Deputy Don Adamson of the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department.

Each student prepares an essay during the course and those with the best essays from each class are recognized and awarded. This year's essay winners at DeKalb West School are Sam McMillen and Tavia Cantrell.

McMillan was the over-all winner and he read his essay during Friday's program. In addition to the award, prizes, and recognition, McMillen gets to keep "Daren the Lion" the DARE Mascot. Judge Bratten Cook II also presented him a check for $50.

Sheriff Patrick Ray, who spoke during the DARE graduation, told the students that "D.A.R.E. is a cooperative effort by the DeKalb Sheriff's Department, DeKalb County School System, parents, and the community. I ask you today students, to take this valuable information and apply it to your lives, now and forever."

Others on hand for the ceremony were DeKalb West School Principal Danny Parkerson, Judge Cook, Director of Schools Mark Willoughby, Circuit Court Clerk Katherine Pack, Register of Deeds Jeff McMillen, Trustee Sean Driver, Assessor of Property Timothy "Fud" Banks, and County Clerk Mike Clayborn and employees of the Sheriff's Department

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