Local News Articles

D.A. Says No TBI Investigation Needed In Stufano/Ray Case

July 31, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

The District Attorney General's Office will not be requesting a TBI investigation into allegations of wrongdoing against Smithville Police Chief Thomas J. Stufano by Roy Ray.

The Smithville Aldermen voted 3 to 1 on Monday, July 16th to place Chief Stufano on administrative leave with pay, pending the outcome of an independent investigation into the Stufano/Ray case. Lieutenant Richard Jennings, the senior ranking officer within the department at the time, was named acting police chief.

Two days after that meeting on Wednesday, July 18th, Mayor Taft Hendrixson sent a written notice to city attorney John Pryor that he was casting a veto of the council's action. The aldermen were also notified. As a reault of the mayor's veto, Stufano was reinstated as Police Chief.

The city board is scheduled to meet in regular session again on Monday night, August 6th, at which time the aldermen may consider trying to override the mayor's veto, which would require a two thirds majority vote, or at least four members of the five member board.

Ray has filed a federal court lawsuit against Stufano and the city claiming his constitutional rights were violated and that he was injured as the result of excessive police force during a misdemeanor traffic stop in February. He is represented by Lebanon attorney Adam Parrish.

In a letter to city attorney Pryor, District Attorney General Pro Tempore Anthony (Tony) Craighead wrote this week that "The District Attorney's Office will not be requesting a TBI investigation. There are several reasons for this decision."

Craighead's letter states that " First, the TBI's mission is to investigate criminal activities. That is those cases where a crime has been committed with an eye toward prosecution. I do not see what crime they are being called on to investigate. The incident between Chief Stufano and Mr. Ray has been fully investigated by the City of Smithville Police, and I fail to see what additional information is needed or what crime needs to be investigated. The purpose of the TBI is not to make an investigation into whether a law enforcement officer used proper procedures in making an arrest. That is not it's job. It appears that is what the City Council needs done, but that does not fall, as I understand, under the parameters of that agency."

"Second, the City Council or the Police Department did not request or believe there was a need for an investigation until a civil lawsuit was filed some five months after the incident. It appears from our discussion it was only requested when a private attorney, who has filed the lawsuit, appeared before the City Council to suggest some form of investigation. If all these facts were known at the time of the incident and no new facts have emerged, except for the lawsuit, then I am not going to have this office or the TBI drawn into a lawsuit that we have no standing in which to be involved."

"Finally, after a review of Chief Stufano's meticulous, detailed report (which I might add, I would enjoy seeing on all law enforcement cases across the district), I do not see what additional information could be gained from a formal TBI inquiry. All the facts are there, all the statements from officers are there, and I am of the opinion there are no new facts that would emerge."

"If all the facts are as Chief Stufano and his officers state, I do not see any charges that the TBI would need to substantiate."

"This is a very unfortunate situation; however because someone chooses to sue a police officer does not automatically require a TBI investigation. As in the criminal court, making allegations against someone does not make those allegations true. If the TBI was not requested or needed when the event occurred, I fail to see why they are needed now."

Annual Sales Tax Holiday Returns August 3-5

July 1, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

Governor Phil Bredesen and Department of Revenue officials remind you that the second annual Sales Tax Holiday begins this Friday, August 3, at 12:01 a.m. and ends Sunday, August 5, at 11:59 p.m.

This holiday provides statewide sales tax exemption for school and art
supplies and clothing priced $100 or less per item and computers priced
$1,500 or less. This is the first holiday that art supplies will be
exempt, which includes clay and glazes; tempera and oil paints;
paintbrushes for artwork; sketch and drawing pads; and watercolors.
Please visit the dedicated Sales Tax Holiday Web site at
www.tntaxholiday.com ( http://www.tntaxholiday.com/ ) to learn more
about what items are exempt from sales taxes.

“This holiday is another way we can show our commitment to Tennessee
families and their children’s education,” said Governor Bredesen.
“Our Sales Tax Holiday not only helps families save on their
back-to-school shopping but is a benefit for all Tennesseans, who are
encouraged to take advantage of the savings.”

Tennesseans can enjoy tax exempt purchases in local stores, but the
exemptions also apply to purchases by mail, telephone or Internet.

“Back-to-school shopping costs can add up, and we are happy to
provide this special tax savings opportunity to Tennesseans,” said
Revenue Commissioner Reagan Farr. “I encourage everyone to visit our
Web site and make a list of the items your family needs so they can be
ready to take advantage of the Sales Tax Holiday.”

Consumers and retailers can call a designated toll free hotline at
(800) 342-1003, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., for more
information. The hotline will also be available for extended hours on
Saturday, August 4, from 8 a.m.to 5 p.m. CDT and Sunday, August 5, from
10 a.m.to 4 p.m. CDT. Questions can also be asked via e-mail at
salestax.holiday@state.tn.us.

The Sales Tax Holiday is an ideal way to prepare your children for a
successful school year, but school supplies are not all that is needed.
Ensure a healthy school year for your children by enrolling them in
CoverKids, Tennessee’s free health insurance program for children 18
and under. Please visit www.covertn.gov ( http://www.covertn.gov/ ) to
learn more or enroll.
Examples of exempt items include:

Clothing
Shirts, dresses, pants, coats, gloves and mittens, hats and caps,
hosiery, neckties, belts, sneakers, shoes, uniforms whether athletic or
non-athletic and scarves

School Supplies
Binders, book bags, calculators, tape, chalk, crayons, erasers,
folders, glue, pens, pencils, lunch boxes, notebooks, paper, rulers and
scissors.

Art Supplies
Clay and glazes; acrylic, tempera and oil paints; paintbrushes for
artwork; sketch and drawing pads; and watercolors

Computer
Central processing unit (CPU), along with various other components
including monitor, keyboard, mouse, cables to connect components and
preloaded software
(Note: While the CPU may be purchased separately, other items must be
part of a bundled computer package in order to be eligible.)

Second Annual Education Celebration Set for Monday

July 30, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

The Second Annual Education Celebration for DeKalb County has been set for August 6th from 6:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. downtown around the courthouse square.

The celebration is being organized by DeKalb County Board of Education Federal Programs Supervisor Michelle Burklow along with committee members Jennifer Mitchell, Angela Johnson, Pamela Poss, Suzette Barnes, Gina Denman, Melissa Pirtle, and Jamie Vickers.

This Education Celebration is nationally known as First Day of School America and is held annually in a lot of the bigger cities in the United States. Since 1997 the First Day Foundation organization has been assisting schools, families and communities to come together for a celebration on the First Day of each new school year to support education and begin a year-long partnership to promote student success. This is also a time that parents and students can become more familiar with the faculty, staff and PTO of the school that they are entering.

The community can support First Day in a number of ways. Community based organizations can provide materials and resources to parents to make them aware of services available to them in the community. Community leaders- mayors, city council members, clergy, businesses, corporate leaders and others can visit the schools and events and show their support. Local businesses partner with schools by donating products, services and volunteers to the First Day Celebration.

All five schools in DeKalb County will have a booth and be displaying a photo board with their staff and their individual credentials. Each school will also be represented by their school's PTO about what the PTO does and how parents can help. The Lion's Club Vision Screening van will be available that day for vision screenings, the DeKalb County Health Department will be represented with information, and the Tennessee Voices for Children and many other organizations will be there. There will be refreshments, inflatable jumping balloons and FREE school supplies.

If you would like to help with this event please call Michelle Burklow at 215-2107.

This celebration is totally free of charge to those who attend so make plans now to join the celebration, downtown Smithville on August 6th.

Dr. Cliff Duke
Love Cantrell Funeral Home
Dekalb Telephone Cooperative
DTC Wireless
Middle Tennessee Natural Gas
Federal Mogual Corp
Cumberland Nursery
Dr. David Foutch
Denny Lamp
Janney and Associates
TKEON Orthodontics
DeKalb Community Bank/Wilson Bank and Trust
Vickers Grave Service
Liberty State Bank
Smithville OES—Eastern Star
Danny and Melissa Pirtle
Cohutta water distributed by ABC Ice
Griffin's Fruit Market

First Assembly of God
First United Methodist Women
Alexandria Church of Christ
Jacobs Pillar
New Home Baptist Church
People's Missionary Baptist Church
Snow Hill Methodist Church
Smithville Church of Christ
Tabernacle The Baptist Church
Grace Bible Church
New Union Baptist Church
Light House In-Home Ministry
Salem Baptist Church
Keltonburg Methodist Church
Bright Hill Methodist Church
Indian Creek Baptist Church
Real Life Community
St. Gregory's Catholic Church
Church of the Nazarene
Real Life Community
St. Gregory’s Catholic Church
Covenant Baptist
Smithville Cumberland Presbyterian
Cooper’s Chapel
Johnson’s Chapel
Keltonburg Church of Christ
Elizabeth Chapel
Dowelltown Methodist
Calvary Baptist
Mt. Zion Baptist Church
Dowelltown Baptist Church
Smithville Free Will Baptist
Liberty Hill Presbyterian
First United Methodist
Banks Pisgah Church
Smithville First Baptist Church

Traffic Stop Results in Three Drug Arrests

July 30, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department made a traffic stop last Wednesday which led to the arrest of three people on drug charges.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says 28 year old Donald Bart of Old Eagle Creek Road Smithville was pulled over on Highway 70 East for a traffic violation and when the deputy asked who he was, Bart gave a fictitious name. Upon further investigation, the deputy learned the man's real identity. Bart said he gave the deputy a fictitious name because he was wanted in Texas. Bart was also charged with possession of drug paraphernalia after the deputy found a syringe in Bart's belt line.

Meanwhile, 52 year old Thomas Pavone of Old Eagle Creek Road, Smithville was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia and 32 year old Tracy Schunke of Foster Road Smithville was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia and simple possession of a schedule II drug (Dilaudid).

Both Pavone and Schunke were in the vehicle with Bart.

Sheriff Ray says when Pavone was asked to exit his vehicle, he voluntarily gave a syringe to the deputy and Schunke had in her possession a syringe and a half of a Dilaudid pill.

Bond was set at $3,500 for Bart; $1,000 for Pavone; and $2,500 for Schunke. Pavone and Schunke will be in court on August 2nd.

Bart pleaded guilty to his charges on July 26th and received a six month sentence to serve.

Meanwhile, in other another case, 18 year old Anthony Tramel of Oakley Road Liberty was charged with burglary on Thursday.

Sheriff Ray says Tramel went to a residence that had burned in Liberty and broke into a detached garage, but he was unable to steal anything because a witness had caught him in the act.

Bond for Tramel was set at $5,000 and his court date is August 2nd.

43 year old Mateo Perez of Bluff Springs Road, McMinnville was arrested on Wednesday for No Drivers License. Perez was driving a 1998 Jeep Cherokee on Banks Pisgah Road when he lost control of his vehicle while negotiating a curve and hit a ditch. Perez was unable to produce a Valid Drivers License. Bond was set at $1,500 and his court date is August 23rd..

23 year old Nichole Gilley of White Street Smithville was charged with DUI, Driving on a Suspended Drivers License, and No Insurance. While on routine patrol, a deputy noticed Gilley's vehicle weaving on Highway 56 South. Gilley admitted to the Deputy that she had been drinking and smoking Marijuana. Her bond was set at $3,500.

DeKalb County Fair Draws to Close Saturday Night

July 28, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

If you haven't been to the DeKalb County Fair this week, today (Saturday) is your last chance.

The week long fair will draw to a close late tonight.

Today's events are as follows:

A performance of the DCHS Band at 5:00 p.m.; DeKalb Idol Final Competition at 6:00 p.m. followed by a performance by Joanie Compretta at the Lions Club Pavilion; a Horse Shoe Tournament at 3:00 p.m. at the barn; and a Super Tractor and Truck Pull at 7:00 p.m. at the Hilltop Arena. On the Memory Lane Stage, Southern Dream will be performing at 8:00 p.m. The Sympathetic Scarecrow Band, which was scheduled to perform, will be unable to attend.

There will be no cash drawing tonight. All the prize money has been given away.

Rides on the Midway will be provided by the Family Attractions Amusement Company. Unlimited rides will be available for $14.00.

The fair will feature lots of delicious foods and many commercial, agricultural, and women's exhibits.

Admission to the fair is $3.00 per person. Children under age four will be admitted free! Gates open at 4:00 p.m. Parking is Free!

For more information, call 529-FAIR or visit on-line at www.dekalbcountyfair.us or dekalbtn.com.

Toddler Show Winners Awarded at DeKalb County Fair

July 28, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

Winners of the annual Toddler Show were awarded Friday evening at the DeKalb County Fair.

The winners are as follows:

Girls (13 to 18 months)
First Place- Bella Nicole Moser, daughter of Tyson Moser and Melissa Higgins of Smithville
Second Place- Grace Boyd, daughter of Leslie and James Boyd of Smithville

Boys (13 to 18 months)
First Place- Tony Bryson Trapp, son of Amanda and Tony Trapp of Smithville
Second Place- Kaden Trapp, son of Melissa Hart and Nathan Trapp of Smithville

Girls (19 to 24 months)
First Place- Lydia Grace Johnson, daughter of Jason and Crystal Johnson of Smithville
Second Place- Tacoma Nicole Maples, daughter of Bruce and Shondrell Maples of Rock Island

Boys (19 to 24 months)
First Place- Briz Trapp, II, son of Brad and Kim Trapp of Smithville..
Second place- Coen Edward Pipes, son of Jimmy and Brandy Pipes of Brush Creek.

Girls (25 to 30 months)
First Place- Harlee Rae Stanley, daughter of Chris and Dana Stanley of Liberty
Second Place- Carlee Elizabeth West, daughter of Megan West of Smithville

Boys (25 to 30 months)
First Place- Holden Craig Trapp, son of Amanda and Tony Trapp of Smithville.
Second Place- Adan Ramirez, son of Carelis Haynes and Roel Ramirez of Smithville

Girls (31 to 36 months)
First Place- Sophia Angeletti, daughter of Stacy Angeletti of Smithville
Second Place- Jana Faith Tripp, daughter of Jonathan and Beth Tripp of Liberty

Boys (31 to 36 months)
First Place- Ethan Cole Winchester, son of Renee Winchester of Smithville

Girls (37 to 47 months)
First Place- Jaycee Rochelle Johnson, daughter of Shelley and Tim Hearn and Jonathan Johnson of Alexandria.
Second Place- Alley Beth Cook, daughter of Troy and Julie Cook of Alexandria.

Boys (37 to 47 months)
First Place- Dakota Patrick, son of Jessica Patrick and Josh Gunter of Smithville
Second Place- Kasen Johnson, son of Jason and Crystal Johnson of Smithville.

Twins (12 to 47 months)
First Place- Lydia Caroline and Jathon Roth Willoughby. Their parents are Jonathon and Renee Willoughby of Smithville.

Meanwhile, Jo Ann Tramel was the $1,000 cash winner Friday night.

Smithville Police Deal with Despondent Man on Green Acre Drive

July 27, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

Smithville Police this week were summoned to a residence on Green Acre Drive where a man was reportedly despondent and suicidal.

Chief Tom Stufano says "Officers were advised that a despondent man was held up in his residence located at 224 Green Acre Drive in Smithville. 911 dispatchers had received a call from another address on the street that a man was claiming that he was suicidal and would hurt anyone responding. Numerous calls were made back to the original phone number but the resident there stated that the man had left and gone back to his residence."

According to Chief Stufano, "At approximately 12:30 p.m., Smithville Officers closed down the neighboring streets setting up a perimeter around the man's residence and negotiations began with the man now known as 55 year old Fred Claspell. Officers used a megaphone from a police car as Claspell did not have a phone in the residence. After almost 20 minutes Claspell came running out of the front of the residence yelling, "Shoot me I want to die, I'll kill you all". In his haste Claspell slipped on the front steps falling to the ground. Officers were able to quickly move in to secure him. EMS who had been standing by during the incident was also present. Claspell did not have any weapons on him at the time. Claspell was taken to DeKalb Community Hospital for a cut on his nose and a mental health evaluation. While Officers were closing up the residence they saw numerous types of ammunition, large saber swords and various gun parts near the doorway. Claspell's daughter was notified and responded to the police station."

Chief Stufano says " The Smithville Police Department commends the actions of the neighborhood residents who helped in this incident, so that a successful resolution was found."

DeKalb County Fair Features Baby Show

July 27, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

Babies from one day to twelve months old were showcased during the annual Baby Show held Thursday evening at the DeKalb County Fair.

The winners are as follows:

Girls (1 day to 3 months)
First Place- Kaitlyn Brooke Summers, daughter of Alisha Root and Matt Summers of Smithville.
Second Place- Madison Gale Byars, daughter of Amy Walker and Cody Byars of Smithville

Boys (1 day to 3 months)
First Place- Jacob Ryan Lawson, son of Tim and Christy Lawson of Smithville
Second Place- Savory Ike Brown, son of Elizabeth Hutson and Matthew Brown of Smithville

Girls (4-6 months)
First Place- Katherine Irene Knowles, daughter of Jared and Karen Knowles of Smithville
Second Place- Addison Grace Miller, daughter of Josh and Amy Miller of Smithville.

Boys (4-6 months)
First Place- Robert Zaxton Grandstaff, son of Marcus and Dianna Grandstaff of Alexandria
Second Place- Alex Lane Lemons, son of Ed and Ashley Lemons of Smithville

Girls (7-9 months)
First Place- Sway Roberts, daughter of Mickie Ritchie and Ralph Roberts of Liberty
Second Place- Katlynn Miranda, daughter of Phillip and Rachel Miranda of Smithville

Boys (7-9 months)
First Place- Jordon Dallas Parker, son of Kendall and Dallas Parker of Smithville
Second Place- Spencer Lee Pipes, son of Jimmy and Brandy Pipes of Brush Creek

Girls (10-12 months)
First Place- Ila Renee Adcock, daughter of David and Shannon Adcock of Smithville
Second Place- Emily Louise Robinson, daughter of David and Linda Robinson of Smithville

Boys (10-12 months)
First Place- Braydon Murphy, son of Michaela and Cody Murphy of Smithville
Second Place- Noah Seth Culwell, son of Jonathon and Hayley Culwell of Smithville

Twins (1 day to 12 months)- Andrew Jackson Dakas and Annabella Eleni Dakas. Their parents are John and Amanda Dakas of Smithville

Meanwhile, Lisa Oakley won the $1,000 cash giveaway Thursday night.

Murray Named Little Miss Princess

July 26, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

Eight year old Mary Elizabeth Murray was crowned Little Miss Princess at the DeKalb County Fair Wednesday night.

Murray is the daughter of Angel Brown and Dwight Murray of Smithville.

She succeeds the retiring 2006 Little Miss Princess, 10 year old Kelsey Sueanna Hedge, daughter of David and Trina Hedge of Smithville.

First runner-up in the pageant was Mallory Dickerson, the eight year old daughter of Terry and Tracy Dickerson of Carthage.

Eight year old Rosa Maria Payne of Alexandria was second runner-up and also named Miss Photogenic.. She is the daughter of Tammy and Randy Payne.

Third runner-up was seven year old Caitlin Tyree, daughter of Josh and Carrie Tyree of Liberty.

Meanwhile, Rick Martin was the winner of the $1,000 cash giveaway Wednesday night.

Lewis Claims Title of Miss Sweetheart

July 26, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

The 2007 DeKalb County Fair Miss Sweetheart is 12 year old Chelsea Lewis of Smithville.

Lewis, the daughter of Jimmy and Gina Lewis, was crowned Wednesday night during the annual pageant at the fair.

She succeeds the 2006 DeKalb County Fair Miss Sweetheart, 12 year old Kelley Beth Walker, daughter of Shane and Michelle Walker of Smithville.

The first runner-up in the pageant was 12 year old Arielle Corinne Davis, daughter of Eddie and Beth Davis of Brush Creek.

Brittany Wilkerson was the second runner-up. She is the 11 year old daughter of Michelle Cantrell of Smithville and Sean Wilkerson of Lebanon.

11 year old Sarah Elizabeth Edwards of Liberty was the third runner-up. She is the daughter of Clay and Tena Edwards.

Meanwhile, 11 year old Shauna Faith Taylor, daughter of Ken and Cindy Taylor of Smithville, was named Miss Congeniality.

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