Local News Articles

Joe Black Seeks United Effort in Addressing Problem of Stray and Abused Animals

December 4, 2012
by: 
Dwayne Page
Renee Stufano Speaking with City Attorney Vester Parsley, Jr.

The Joe Black Effort, a not for profit group, is trying to establish a DeKalb County Coalition for the Humane Treatment of Animals.

Renee Stufano and Martha Conger, members of the Joe Black Effort, addressed the Smithville Mayor and Aldermen Monday night, offering to help address the issue of stray, neglected, and abused animals in DeKalb County.

M2U00917 from dwayne page on Vimeo.
Stufano said the Joe Black Effort is willing to volunteer at the dog pound to help take care of the animals and they want a waiver drawn up that seeks to hold harmless the city and county from liability. "The Joe Black Effort, a not for profit organization, formed to help the animals in DeKalb County," said Stufano. "We have a few different things we would like to see accomplished. The first thing we have seen is that there is an issue in the county about stray, neglected, and abused animals. All of us can agree that there is a problem. We wish to offer a temporary solution. We've already spoken with the county (commission). We are not asking for an answer today. But because it is a county wide issue and a lot of us are from the county, we would like to offer to volunteer at the pound to help take care of the animals. Clean up after them. The ones that need medical attention, take them out and get their medical attention. Get them fostered and adopted. The third thing we'd like to accomplish is to create a county wide coalition that has members of every city, not just Smithville, and members from the county commission to oversee the needs of the animals in DeKalb County. The Joe Black Effort is a non for profit rescue. We rehabilitate, take care of animals, and re- home them. We have one leaving for New York on December 12. We had one picked up today. There is a very good network for us to place animals. I think we can do a little bit better with the pound that we have now and I think our final destination will be a real rescue for the whole county. I'd like for you to think about perhaps letting some volunteers come and help. We're happy to sign waivers or disclosures so that we wouldn't hold the city or county responsible. We're offering to come in for free. It doesn't get any better than that," said Stufano.

Martha Conger also stressed the need for a waiver to allow the volunteers to begin helping. "What we need at this time is permission to volunteer," said Conger. "We need to get a waiver drawn up so that the city or county is not liable. I know there is a question about insurance and whether or not your (city) insurance will cover it. But we would like to see that happen. In addition to that we are forming a DeKalb County Coalition for the Humane Treatment of Animals. Basically that is a cooperative effort of both private and public sectors for the purpose of jointly implementing humane strategies for helping the abused and neglected animals of DeKalb County. What we hope to do is work with city officials and county officials. We may be talking to you individually about sitting on that coalition," added Conger.

City attorney Vester Parsley, Jr. told Conger that the city and county would have to work together in resolving the liability issue. "There's a double problem. The county owns the building and the city is running it," said Parsley. " I've talked to the county attorney (Hilton Conger) and we've got to work out a resolution as to if somebody falls in the building or somebody gets bit so we're working on that but we haven't been able to get our heads together to finalize it," he said.

EOC Testing Underway at DCHS

December 3, 2012
by: 
Dwayne Page
Lisa Cripps

End of Course testing began Monday at DeKalb County High School.

According to Lisa Cripps, Supervisor of Instruction for grades 7-12, this test will count 25% of each student's final grade in each course. "I would like to encourage each student to get a good night's rest and be on time each day for the testing. These tests are important for the students because it's a part of their grade but also it counts into our final school system's report card, which is averaged with the spring EOC assessment scores. Its really important for everyone," said Cripps .

Directly after our EOC testing, the high school will be reviewing for their final exams, which will be taken right before winter break," said Cripps. These exams also count 25% of the student's final grade for that particular course," she said.

In December we will have our two week break. This our second one (break). We'll have an abbreviated school day on December 19. Students will return to school on January 3. However, our teachers will return on January 2 for a stock pile day which will be a work day for them," said Cripps.

"We'd like to thank our teachers for the hard work they put in everyday to ensure the best quality education for DeKalb County students," said Cripps

Meanwhile, to support students and teachers' readiness for our new PARCC assessment and to reflect the shifts in the new common core state standards for English-Language Arts, Cripps said the Tennessee Department of Education has made significant format changes to the TCAP Writing for the 2012-13 school year. That is in February.

"The Writing Assessment, which will continue to be given to fifth grade, which would be a narrative; in eighth grade, an explanatory; and in eleventh grade, an argumentative. Those will now be tested not just on one particular day, but they will have a week window of opportunity to do that. The two key changes that we have for that is a format change, which means the assessment will be text based, which means the students will be required to read a passage and then cite evidence from that text in their response. That's a lot different from just brain storming on a topic and writing what they feel or their position on something or a story," she said.

"To build readiness for PARCC on-line we will be testing eighth grade and eleventh grade's assessment for writing on-line," said Cripps. "The test will be expanded to sixty minutes to allow them time to read the text and to write to that source. The teachers and students have been participating in practice prompts to prepare for these changes. These changes help us with our common core standards and the new assessment that we will have in 2014-15," she said.

"We are also gearing up for our second constructive response test in February. That is in a series of three for all students in grades 3-8 math. This test has four questions. You may think that's not a lot for math. But these questions are very rigorous and they require the students to think through the problem with multiple steps and to follow the directions to the t," said Cripps

"The common core state standards in math present an opportunity to engage the Tennessee students really deeply in the problem solving and the mathematical thinking that build the fundamental adaptive math skills necessary for life after high school. Of course, we're thinking college and career ready when they leave our high school," she said.

"Finally, in March at the high school, our eleventh graders will take the ACT which shows the students how prepared they are for college. We've been doing a series of tests for these students during their educational journey. In eighth grade we took the explore tests, which is through the ACT and in tenth grade they take the plan test. In eleventh grade, all eleventh graders must now take the ACT," said Cripps.

"I'd like to encourage every student in eleventh grade, not to wait until March to start preparing and reviewing. I'd like to encourage you to start doing that now. Think back on your specific subject areas and start a review. Of course the high school will do some reviewing before the ACT but there are some things on line that you can do and I would encourage you to do that. Each student should start reviewing now. That will help you a lot to do well on that test," she said.

"Tennessee has been a state on the cutting edge of rigorous changes in education for the last few years. It's a challenge for our staff and our students to adapt to all these changes. But together we have continued to achieve and meet the challenges that come our way every day. We feel very blessed to work in DeKalb County. I would like to take this opportunity to say that we hope everyone has a restful break during winter break. We hope that everyone has a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year," Cripps concluded.

Woman Allegedly Caught Trying to Smuggle Drugs Into the Jail

December 3, 2012
by: 
Dwayne Page
Lisa Lue Summers
Zackery Adam Shinabery
Daniel Ray Wilson
Ross Matthew Peterson
Lisa Michelle Porterfield
William A. Johnson
Jeffery Lynn Sanders

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department recently caught a woman allegedly trying to smuggle drugs into the jail.

39 year old Lisa Lue Summers of Cookeville Highway, Smithville is charged with introduction of drugs into a penal institution. She was also issued three citations for simple possession of a schedule IV controlled substance and one citation for simple possession of a schedule III drug. Her bond is $5,000 and she will be in court on December 13

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Saturday, December 1 during a visit to the jail, Summers allegedly taped a plastic bag under a seat in the visitation area containing seven and a half Valium pills, half of an oxycodone pill, and five hydrocodone pills. Summers then left the jail. Later when she was picked up to be brought to the jail for booking, an officer found in her possession unmarked pill bottles containing seven round yellow pills believed to be Valium, one and a half white bar pills believed to be Xanax, one and a half blue and white oval pills believed to be Phentermine, and four oval pills thought to be Hydrocodone.

27 year old Zackery Adam Shinabery of Morrison is charged with a second offense of driving under the influence. His bond is $3,000 and he will be in court January 31. Sheriff Ray said that on Tuesday, November 20, a deputy, while on routine patrol, spotted a silver Dodge Magnum on Highway 70 east. The driver left his lane of travel numerous times. Upon stopping the vehicle, the officer noticed a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on the driver, Shinabery. He had slurred speech. Shinabery submitted to a blood test. He also submitted to but performed poorly on field sobriety tasks.

28 year old Daniel Ray Wilson of Yolanda Hill Road, Smithville is charged with escape. His bond is $5,000. Sheriff Ray said that on Monday, November 5, Wilson, in jail for burglary, was taken to the DeKalb County Health Department for a drug court physical, after being given a furlough by Judge Bratten Cook, II for this purpose. Wilson was in the custody of John Quintero, an officer of the drug court. While at the health department, Wilson walked away, escaping the custody of the officer. The area was searched but Wilson could not be located. He was found and arrested on Thanksgiving Day.

23 year old Ross Matthew Peterson of Midway Road, Smithville is charged with theft of property over $1,000. His bond is $10,000 and he will be in court on December 13. Sheriff Ray said that on September 25, Peterson allegedly stole and forged fifty five checks belonging to a family member and cashed the checks, totaling $1,800. The case was investigated by a criminal detective of the sheriff's department.

35 year old Lisa Michelle Porterfield of Tami Kay Road, Dowelltown is charged with aggravated burglary and theft of property over $1,000. Her bond is $10,000. Sheriff Ray said that on October 9 Porterfield allegedly broke into a residence on Campbell Road by kicking in the front door. She allegedly stole from the home a Honda transmission, a battery, push mower, tire and rim, in-door heaters, 13 inch television, a microwave, and several other items with a total value of more than $1,000. The case was investigated by a criminal detective of the sheriff's department.

38 year old James Adam Fulton of Foster Road, Smithville was cited on Wednesday, November 28 for simple possession of a schedule III controlled substance (suboxone) and driving an unregistered vehicle. He will be in court on December 20. Sheriff Ray said that on Sunday, November 18 Fulton was stopped by an officer for driving a vehicle without tags. After giving the officer consent to search, a suboxone strip was found on Fulton.

50 year old William A. Johnson of Luna Road, Sparta is charged with theft of property over $10,000. His bond is $15,000 and he will be in court on December 13. Sheriff Ray said that on Thursday, November 29 at the Handlebar II Bar and Grill on Highway 70 east, Johnson allegedly took a sixteen foot Tandem trailer with a 2011 Polaris Ranger 800 and a 2008 Honda Recon 700 four wheeler with a total value of $23,800. All the stolen items have been recovered. The case was investigated by a criminal detective of the sheriff's department.

39 year Jeffery Lynn Sanders of Lincoln Street, Smithville is charged with Vandalism. His bond is $2,500 and he will be in court on December 13. He was arrested on Saturday, December 1. Sheriff Ray said that on November 13 Sanders was released from jail but was to return the bedding assigned to him by the sheriff's department upon his release or to pay for the bedding within fourteen days. Sanders returned everything except a $30 blanket. As a result, he was charged with vandalism.

Sheriff Ray said this is part of a new policy in which inmates are issued bedding and other items upon their incarceration including mats, towels, wash cloths, blankets, etc. Upon release from jail, the inmate is to return the items assigned to him. Other than normal wear, if any item is damaged, the prisoner can be assessed a cost to replace the item or be charged with vandalism. "We bought all new mats, blankets, wash cloths, and towels for every inmate up here. We issue it to them and they sign off on a piece of paper. When they make bond or once their sentence is up they turn in the items issued to them. We go through those things and other than average wear, if the items have holes in them, if they (inmates) have cut up the blankets to make curtains on their beds then we charge them for it. We charge them the price that it cost us. They have fourteen days to come in and pay for it. If they do not pay for it in fourteen days then we charge them with vandalism and take them to the courthouse and let a judge impose the sentence. We have served quite a few warrants in the last few days for this," said Sheriff Ray.

Holiday Excitement Shared at Liberty Christmas Parade

December 3, 2012
by: 
Dwayne Page
Huff N Puff Trucking Wins First Place Float at Liberty Parade
Eli Johnson and Lane Hale Win First Place in Miscellaneous Category
Staff of Liberty State Bank, Sponsor of the Liberty Christmas Parade

Liberty State Bank sponsored the annual Liberty Christmas Parade Sunday and all those there shared in the fun and excitement. Some won cash and other prizes.

State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver was the Grand Marshal. The parade also featured floats, the DCHS band, horseback riders, vintage automobiles, and Santa Claus among many other attractions.

(PLAY VIDEO BELOW TO VIEW THE LIBERTY CHRISTMAS PARADE)

M2U00916 from dwayne page on Vimeo.

Huff N' Puff Trucking won the float competition and DeKalb Community Bank took second place.

Ken Boring won the Vintage automobile category and Doyle and Gail Slager received second place.

Brandon Powell won first place and Greg Carson received second for tractors..

Among the miscellaneous entries, Eli Johnson and Lane Hale won first place and Bailey Redmon and Zane Griffith received second place.

Smithville Parade Spreads Christmas Cheer

December 1, 2012
by: 
Dwayne Page
New West Point Free Will Baptist Church Float Wins First Place
Girl Scout Troops 750 and #343 Float Wins Second Place
DeKalb Community Bank Floats Wins Third Place and Spirit Award

The Smithville Christmas Parade helped put folks in a festive mood Saturday.

(CLICK LINK BELOW TO VIEW WJLE PHOTO GALLERY OF SMITHVILLE CHRISTMAS PARADE)
http://www.wjle.com/image-gallery/smithville-christmas-parade-12-1-12

Hundreds gathered along the parade route, which extended from Smithville Elementary School, down South Congress Boulevard, and around the public square. The weather was sunny and pleasant.

(PLAY VIDEO BELOW TO VIEW PART 1 OF THE SMITHVILLE CHRISTMAS PARADE)

M2U00911 from dwayne page on Vimeo.

(PLAY VIDEO BELOW TO VIEW PART 2 OF THE SMITHVILLE CHRISTMAS PARADE)

M2U00912 from dwayne page on Vimeo.

The annual parade, sponsored by the Smithville Volunteer Fire Department, featured decorative floats, vintage automobiles, local kings and queens, boy and girl scouts, veterans, horseback riders, horsedrawn wagons, motorcycle riders, the DeKalb County High School Fighting Tiger Band, local law enforcement , firefighters, DeKalb EMS, Rescue Squad, among many other entries. Of course, the highlight of the parade was the appearance of Santa Claus who rode into town on the new Smithville Fire Department Ladder Truck tossing candy left and right to everyone along the parade route. County Mayor Mike Foster and Laura Stone, named Mr. and Mrs. DeKalb County served as the Grand Marshals. State Representatives Terri Lynn Weaver and Mark Pody were also riding in the parade along with Smithville Mayor Jimmy Poss and his wife Joyce.

The New West Point Free Will Baptist Church won first place in the float competition. Girl Scout Troops #750, #343, Daisy Troop 1107, and Cadette Troop #830 took home second place and DeKalb Community Bank won third place and the "Spirit Award", sponsored by the Smithville Business and Professional Women's Club.

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

DCHS Ninth Grade Jr. Beta Club Attends State Convention

November 30, 2012
DCHS Ninth Grade Jr. Beta Club Attends State Convention

The DeKalb County 9th grade Junior Beta Club attended the state convention at Opryland Hotel November 18-20.

Thirty nine out of 46 members participated this year. The students participated in many different area of competitions: Tower of Power, Poster, scrapbook, Banner, Science, Technology, Battle of the Books, Language Arts, Social Studies, Photography and Quiz Bowl.

This year’s Quiz Bowl team is the first team to make it to the second round at the convention by placing among the top nine statewide out of 52 teams. Members of the team were Anna Malone, Caitlin Turner, Keeley McKay, and Hailey Walker. The team made it through round one with a written test and was called back to compete in the semi-final round for an oral quiz in which the team had to ring in to answer questions. Other members of the club participating were: Jailyn Bolding, Jennifer Caplinger, Ashli Chew, Chase Bryant, Haden Cripps, Kaylene Ferguson, Rachel Gash, Tyra Graham, Caitlin Jacobs, Hannah James, Delaney Johnson, Harley Johnson, Makenzie Keaton, Hannah Lasser, Clara Knowles, Maggie Mahaffey, Joseph Moon, AJ Mooneyham, Eli Oliver, Katie Parker, Noah Parsley, Erin Perry, Austin Poss, Braxton Pugh, Alex Rhody, Kyra Slager, Kirkland Smallwood, Jorden Smoot, Hannah Walker, Carlee White, Chloe White, Samara Williams, Matt Wright and Seth Wright.

Local Man Indicted After Undercover Drug Investigation by Alexandria Police Department

November 29, 2012
by: 
Dwayne Page
Gary Ray Ashford
Rhonda Murphy
Eric Wayne Tramel
Jason Kyle Shepard

An Alexandria man has been indicted by the Grand Jury on drug charges as a result of an undercover investigation by the Alexandria Police Department.

Chief Mark Collins said that on Tuesday, November 27 Alexandria Police arrested 35 year old Gary Ray Ashford of Goodner Lane, Alexandria for Sale and Delivery of a Schedule IV controlled substance in a drug free zone .

According to Chief Collins, Alexandria Police made a controlled drug purchase of Alprazolam pills from Ashford after receiving complaints about illegal activities at Ashford's residence on Goodner Lane, which is near the city park and a church daycare in a drug free zone.

The case, investigated by Chief Collins and Sergeant Chris Russell, was presented to the DeKalb County Grand Jury on Monday, November 26. A sealed indictment was returned by the grand jury later that day. Ashford will be in court on December 10. His bond is $10,000.

Meanwhile, the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department has arrested two people named in Grand Jury sealed indictments in a September burglary and theft case. One other person has also been arrested on a state warrant as a result of the investigation.

30 year old Rhonda Murphy and 27 year old Eric Wayne Tramel, both of Smithville, are co-indicted on charges of aggravated burglary, theft over $1,000, and fraudulent use of a credit card. Bond for each is $30,000 and they will be arraigned in DeKalb County Criminal Court on Monday, December 10

Murphy's boyfriend, 23 year old Jason Kyle Shepard of Dowelltown is charged on a state warrant for fraudulent use of a credit card. He will be in General Sessions Court on December 13. His bond is $5,000.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that Murphy, Tramel, and Shepard are accused of using a credit card, taken from the home of a person on the Old Blue Springs Road that Murphy had been caring for. According to Sheriff Ray, while at the residence of the person she was caring for on September 28, Murphy left a window unlocked to allow Tramel to enter and steal some items from the residence. Tramel allegedly stole two laptop computers, valued at $2,000 along with assorted jewelry, valued at $3,000. Sheriff Ray said the three defendants participated in using the stolen credit card over a three month period to purchase an assortment of items.

Crash Victim Dies at Vanderbilt Hospital

November 29, 2012
by: 
Dwayne Page
Crash Victim Dies at Vanderbilt Hospital

An elderly woman involved in a one car crash Wednesday afternoon on Highway 146 (Short Mountain Highway has died.

The Tennessee Highway Patrol confirms that 72 year old Martha J. Thomason of Short Mountain Highway, Woodbury passed away at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

The body will be at Woodbury Funeral Home. Arrangements have not yet been set.

The accident occurred on Highway 146 between the Game Ridge and Whorton Springs Roads.

Central dispatch received the call Wednesday at 1:29 p.m.

Trooper Jeremy Wilhite of the Tennessee Highway Patrol told WJLE that Thomason was driving south on Highway 146 in a 2004 Honda CRV when she went off the right side of the road, struck an earthen embankment, and overturned in a field. The car came to rest upright on its wheels.

Members of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department's Rescue Team were summoned to perform extrication in order to get Thomason out of the car. She was treated on site by DeKalb EMS and then loaded onto an Air Evac helicopter ambulance which landed at the scene. Thomason was flown to Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville.

Others on site were members of the Short Mountain Highway Station of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department and the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department.

TBI Issues News Release On DeKalb County Double Murder Case

November 29, 2012
David Dixon
Ervin Raymon Beacham
Jose Sagahon Ticante

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has issued its own news release concerning the first degree murder indictments returned this week by the DeKalb County Grand Jury against David Dixon in the August double murder of Ervin Raymon Beacham and Jose Sagahon Ticante

The release states as follows:

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation presented a double homicide case to the DeKalb County grand jury earlier this week (Monday, November 26) which resulted in an indictment against a McMinnville man.

David Dixon, 44, of Hardaway Street, McMinnville was charged with two counts of first degree murder for the August 2012 shooting deaths of two Smithville men. On August 7, 2012, the Smithville Police Department responded to 311 Tommy Harrell Street and discovered the residence's owner 55-year-old Ervin Beacham shot to death on the couch in his home. A second victim, 43-year-old Jose Sagahon Ticante was also found murdered and his body hidden under a tarp and some lumber in the backyard of the residence. TBI investigated the murders with the Smithville Police Department, DeKalb County Sheriff's Office and the 13th Judicial District Attorney General's Office.

Dixon was picked up after the murders on August 7 and has been incarcerated at the DeKalb County Jail without bond since for violation of probation and for failure to appear. His bond on the murder charges is set at $200,000. He is scheduled to appear in DeKalb County Criminal Court on December 10, 2012.

Dixon has a lengthy criminal history here including charges for possesson of a handgun while under the influence, manufacture and delivery of a schedule IV controlled substance, assault, public intoxication, violation of an order of protection, aggravated assault, theft, domestic asault, and simple possession.

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