Local News Articles

Two Arrests Made in Recent Thefts

June 27, 2011
Dwayne Page
Richard Spencer Raby
Justin Dale Estes
Sean William Cavanaugh

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department has made two arrests in recent thefts.

Sheriff Patrick Ray reports that 23 year old Richard Spencer Raby of Brush Creek is charged with two counts of burglary and one count of theft of property over $1,000. His bond totals $11,000 and he will be in court on August 4.

Sheriff Ray said that on Saturday, June 11, Raby allegedly entered a building on Oakley Road without the owner's consent. Two Suzuki motorcycles were taken, valued at over $1,000. The motorcycles were recovered at Raby's residence in Smith County.

Raby returned to the same property two days later on Monday, June 13 and allegedly entered a building, belonging to the same victim. This time the victim saw Raby coming out of the building and later identified him in a photo lineup. Raby was arrested on Thursday, June 16.

Meanwhile, 20 year old Justin Dale Estes of Judkins Lane, Smithville is charged with theft of property over $500. His bond is $3,500 and he will be in court on June 30.

Sheriff Ray said that on Thursday, June 16 Estes allegedly took two hot water heaters from a residence on Judkins Lane valued at $700 without the owner's consent. He then sold them for cash at a recycling business in DeKalb County. Estes allegedly admitted to committing the theft. He was arrested on Friday, June 24.

28 year old Ashley J. Ferrell of Shady Drive, Smithville was issued a citation on Thursday, June 16 for no headlights and driving on a suspended license. His court date is August 10

Sheriff Ray reports that on Thursday, June 16 at around 11:30 p.m., a deputy was patrolling on Highway 56 north when he spotted a vehicle driving without any headlights on. The officer stopped the vehicle and made contact with the driver, Ferrell and a computer check revealed his license to be suspended for failure to satisfy a citation.

30 year old Jason Wayne Connell of Nashville was issued a citation on Monday, June 20 for driving on a suspended license. His court date is July 28. Sheriff Ray reports that on Monday, June 20, an officer stopped Connell for questioning on a trespassing complaint. A computer check of his drivers license revealed that they were suspended in Florida.

45 year old Sean William Cavanaugh of Oak Drive, Smithville is charged with a second offense of driving under the influence. Cavanaugh's bond is $3,000 and his court date is August 4.

Sheriff Ray reports that on Saturday, June 25 a deputy was called by another officer working a wreck on Sparta Highway to check on a possible intoxicated driver in the area. The officer made contact with the driver, Cavanaugh and detected an odor of an alcoholic beverage on his person. Cavanaugh submitted to several field sobriety tasks and performed poorly on them. He refused to submit to a blood alcohol test.

25 year old Caleb Rigsby of Dale Ridge Road, Dowelltown was issued a citation on Sunday, June 26 for driving on a suspended license and failure to yield. His court date is August 10

Sheriff Ray reports that on Sunday, June 26 at 9:55 p.m. an officer was patrolling on Highway 70 west when he spotted a vehicle pulling out of the intersection of Old Snow Hill Road and Highway 70. The vehicle failed to yield to on-coming traffic. The deputy pulled over the automobile and made contact with the driver, Rigsby. A computer check revealed that his license were suspended in Warren County.

Pre-Registration Deadlines Nearing for 13th Annual Fiddler 5K

June 27, 2011
Dwayne Page
Tecia Puckett Pryor

Pre-registration deadlines are looming for the 13th Annual Fiddler 5K and One-Mile Fun Run which will be held on Saturday, July 2 at 7 a.m. in downtown Smithville. All proceeds from the race will be used in building the 4th Habitat for Humanity home in DeKalb County, which will be constructed this fall.

Tecia Pryor, Race Director, said if you would like to register for the race, you can print out a registration form at www.fiddler5k.com. "Also you can pick it up my office which is 312 West Broad Street next to Griffin's Fruit Market. The deadline for registering by paper is Monday, June 27. If you want to pre-register on-line you can do that at www.active.com. Search for our race on there. The on-line pre-registration is available until Wednesday, June 29 at midnight. By pre-registering, it'll save you a few bucks and some headaches on race morning. If you would like to get involved with the race but don't necessarily want to run the course or walk in the one mile fun run, please let me know. We can always use volunteers to help stuff goody bags, get the t-shirts ready, or help with race day registration and working the food table. Call 597-7370".

For more information and a registration form, log onto www.fiddler5K.com or call Tecia Pryor at 597-7370. You may also register online at http://www.active.com/event_detail.cfm?event_id=1957397. Come run and have fun for a great cause!

Kitchen Fire Causes Damage to Mathis Home

June 27, 2011
Dwayne Page

A Dowelltown couple, after being away from home for several hours, discovered a fire there when they returned Saturday afternoon.

Central dispatch received the call at 5:33 p.m.

County Fire Chief Donny Green told WJLE that Steve Mathis and his wife, who reside at 7528 Nashville Highway, Dowelltown had left home around noon to go to Murfreesboro. As they returned around 5:30 p.m. and opened the garage door to park their vehicle, they saw that the garage was filled with smoke. As the Mathis' entered the home, they found fire and smoke coming from the kitchen and called 911.

Chief Green said firefighters made entry into the home and found the fire in the kitchen near where a dishwasher and coffee maker were located. Fire damage was contained to that portion of the kitchen although heat and smoke spread throughout the house. No one was injured.

Members of the Main Station, Liberty Station, and Tanker #1 responded along with the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department.

Another Crash at Dangerous Intersection Results in Serious Injuries

June 25, 2011
Dwayne Page
Three Franklin Teens Injured In Crash (WJLE Photo)
Smithville man and his mother injured in wreck (WJLE Photo)
Nissan Pathfinder comes to rest on its side(WJLE Photo)
Scene of Crash near Kilgore's Restaurant (WJLE Photo)

Five people were injured in a Saturday afternoon crash at the intersection of U.S. 70 and State Highway 83 near Kilgore's Restaurant.

Central dispatch received the call at 5:41 p.m.

Lieutenant Randy Maynard of the Tennessee Highway Patrol told WJLE that 48 year old Conrad Walker of Smithville, driving east on Highway 70 in a 1996 GMC pickup truck, was making a left turn onto Highway 83 when he crossed into the path of a westbound 2003 Nissan Pathfinder, driven by 19 year old Erica Hall Haselton of Franklin. Both vehicles were badly damaged in the wreck. The Pathfinder came to rest on its side off the highway near a fireworks tent.

Walker was taken by DeKalb EMS to DeKalb Community Hospital. His mother, 66 year old Nelda Frances Walker of Smithville, who was a passenger in the pickup, was airlifted from near the scene by a helicopter ambulance and flown to Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Haselton and passengers of her Pathfinder, 18 year old Erin Ashley Ford and Haselton's 15 year old brother, all of Franklin, were also injured. The boy was transported to DeKalb Community Hospital by DeKalb EMS while Haselton and Ford were taken there by a private vehicle.

Lieutenant Maynard said Walker was issued a citation for failure to yield and Haselton received a citation for having expired tags on her vehicle. He said all five persons were wearing their seatbelts at the time of the crash and the air bags in both vehicles deployed upon impact.

DeKalb EMS Moving Nelda Frances Walker to Helicopter from dwayne page on Vimeo.

Members of the Cookeville Highway Station of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department, First Responder Charlie Parker, and the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department were also on the scene.

Sparta Man Airlifted After Friday Night Wreck

June 25, 2011
Dwayne Page

A 45 year old Sparta man was airlifted after his truck went off the road and struck a tree late Friday night near 2512 Sparta Highway (Highway 70 east).

Central dispatch received the call at 11:14 p.m.

Trooper Mark Jones of the Tennessee Highway Patrol told WJLE that Johnny Lynn Etheridge was driving east in a 1997 Ford F250 when he went off the left side of the highway, down an embankment, and struck a small tree. After impact, a portion of the tree broke and fell onto the truck. Etheridge was removed from the vehicle and taken by DeKalb EMS to a landing zone near the scene where he was airlifted by a Life Force helicopter ambulance and flown to Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Members of the Midway and Short Mountain Highway Stations of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department also responded along with the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department.

County Firefighters Called to Indian Creek Youth Camp

June 25, 2011
Dwayne Page

Members of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department were called to the Indian Creek Youth Camp Thursday night to a building on Cabin Circle Drive that houses an art room studio.

County Fire Chief Donny Green said that campers returning from the lake spotted smoke coming from the building and reported it. Camp staff on site snuffed out the small blaze using fire extinguishers.

According the Chief Green, someone using the room to make ceramic crafts had placed their project in a kiln before leaving for the night, which is apparently customary for this type of work. But later the 220 electrical outlet, where the kiln was plugged in, shorted out sparking the small blaze. The building received mostly smoke although there was some minor damage to one wall. No one was injured.

The Liberty Station of the county fire department arrived on the scene. Two other stations, Temperance Hall and the Main Station were enroute but were sent back when it became clear the small blaze was under control. Firefighters set up fans to clear the smoke from the building.

Warren County Man Killed In Motorcycle Crash at Dibrell

June 24, 2011
Dwayne Page

A 61 year old Warren County man was killed Friday morning when his motorcycle crashed into a backhoe on Highway 56 in the Dibrell Community.

Dead is J.D.Wilson of the Greenhill Community.

The accident occurred around 8:34 a.m. at the intersection of Highway 56 and Sullivan Road.

According to Sergeant Billy Prater of the Tennessee Highway Patrol, Wilson was traveling south on Highway 56 on a 2004 Honda motorcycle when he ran into the right side of a 1992 John Deere backhoe belonging to the Warren County Utility District, driven by 37 year old Marshall Green of the Irving College Community. Green was crossing Highway 56 from the east side to get to the west side of Sullivan Road.

Green was not injured in the crash but Wilson, who was wearing a helmet, reportedly died at the scene.

The accident remains under investigation by Sergeant Prater and Trooper Al Seitner of the Tennessee Highway Patrol.

WCTE-TV Seeks Support from County and City to Broadcast Fiddlers Jamboree and Promote Tourism

June 24, 2011

WCTE TV in Cookeville is seeking funding from the DeKalb County Commission and the City of Smithville to promote tourism to this area and to continue broadcasting the Smithville Fiddlers Jamboree.

During an all-committees meeting of the county commission Thursday night, Mark Dudney and Becky Magura addressed the group with two specific funding requests, each in the amount of $5,000. Both requests were also presented in writing

Dudney is the Government Relations Officer for the television station and Magura is the President and CEO of WCTE.

According to Dudney and Magura, WCTE-TV needs this support to help defray the costs of broadcasting the Fiddlers Jamboree, which they say runs around $40,000 each year.

Dudney's letter states that " WCTE respectfully requests $5,000 from DeKalb County for the fiscal year 2011-2012. This funding will be used specifically to defray WCTE's production costs for the 2011 Smithville Fiddler's Jamboree."

"WCTE has been a proud partner of the Jamboree for nearly thirty years. The station has broadcast the event that long and has produced a two-hour highlight show for national distribution for nearly twenty years."

"It costs WCTE roughly $40,000 every year to shoot, broadcast and produce the Jamboree. A private production company would likely charge $100,000 for the same service. Again, our $5,000 request for funding would go specifically to assist us in post-production of the Jamboree for the nationally televised two-hour highlight show."

Magura said while WCTE is committed to broadcasting the Fiddlers Jamboree this year, they would like to know a local commitment of funding for the broadcast can be counted on next year.

Meanwhile, in the second request, Dudney and Magura propose producing seasonal 30 second tourism ads related to DeKalb County to be aired throughout the year.

Dudney's letter states that "WCTE respectfully requests $5,000 from DeKalb County for fiscal year 2011-2012. In consideration for this sum:

"WCTE will produce and broadcast four 30-second tourism spots related to DeKalb County. These seasonal spots can include highlighting DeKalb County's natural beauty, music, culture, history, art, industry, etc. These spots will run twice a week on WCTE's main channel for a year, approximately one hundred spots annually."

"WCTE just finished its first year doing these spots (for other cities and counties) and we have enjoyed significant positive feedback about our initial round of tourism promotions. After our digital transition and our presence in the Nashville market via Dish and Direct TV, WCTE has a possible viewing audience of 1.4 million households. As the only television station in a 75 mile radius, WCTE is uniquely positioned to offer its strategic partners quality promotions at reasonable rates."

Dudney and Magura also brought along a DVD of tourism spots which have been produced for other cities and counties in the Upper Cumberland, and showed it to the commissioners.

County Mayor Mike Foster and members of the commission have not yet voted on whether to grant the requests. Some members seem to support making a contribution, but perhaps not meeting the entire amount. Others said they would favor joint funding, in some amount, with the City of Smithville, if the city mayor and aldermen would agree.

Dudney and Magura said while they have made contact with city hall, they have not formally made their requests to the Mayor and Aldermen as yet, but plan to do so.

Graduation Ceremony Held for Leadership DeKalb Class of 2011

June 24, 2011
Leadership DeKalb Class of 2011

Leadership DeKalb Class of 2011 graduation was held on Thursday, June 23rd at the 303 North Public Square Building, Smithville. After a welcome from Leadership Director Jen Sherwood and Chamber President Kathie McGlamery, the invocation was given by John Quintero.

The night's guest speakers were Leadership DeKalb Alumni Association’s 2010 Leadership Legacy Award recipients, John and Kay Quintero and the Community Leader of 2010 recipient, Casey Midgett. John Quintero talked about “Leaving a Legacy” and caring for each individual in our community. Casey Midgett spoke on the topic "Leading and Serving Our Community;” reminding class members to do more and talk less and strive to be #3, after God and others.

The class provided an overview of the year's sessions through a PowerPoint slide show depicted each month’s speakers and activities. Class President Beth Gill announced the class project of assisting the Little League in the development of their new ballfield.

Leadership Director Jen Sherwood and Chamber Director Suzanne Williams presented the graduating class with plaques. Leadership Alumni President Richard Kinsey closed with final words of encouragement to continue giving back to the community as graduates of Leadership DeKalb.

Leadership DeKalb is a 10-month program designed to bring together individuals who desire increased leadership responsibility in improving the quality of life in DeKalb County, and train these citizens with knowledge, skills and an increased awareness of opportunities so that they are involved, effective and active leaders. Each summer, applications are accepted for the next year's class. Participation is open to any who lives or works in DeKalb County and who has a desire to contribute to positive change in DeKalb County. For more information, contact Jen Sherwood at 597-4851 or the chamber office at 597-4163.

Pictured L to R
Leadership Director Jen Sherwood, Dalton Fish, Susan Young, Charlene Adcock, Class Secretary Misty Poss, Class President Beth Gill, Jana Crook, Patricia Hoover, Tim Price

DeKalb Jobless Rate Jumps to 10.7% in May

June 23, 2011
Dwayne Page

DeKalb County's unemployment rate for May was at 10.7%, up from the revised rate for April of 9.6% and higher than the rate of 9.3% in May, 2010

The local labor force for May was 10,340. A total of 9,240 were employed and 1,100 were unemployed.

Among the fourteen counties of the Upper Cumberland, DeKalb County recorded the seventh lowest jobless rate for the month of May. Here's how the counties rank from highest to lowest in the Upper Cumberland:

Pickett County- 14%
Van Buren- 12.1%
Clay- 11.2%
Fentress- 11%
DeKalb- 10.7%
Cannon- 9.8%
Putnam- 8.9%

County non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rates for May show that the rate decreased in 56 counties, increased in 24 counties, and stayed the same in 15 counties.

Tennessee's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for May was 9.7 percent, up slightly from the April rate of 9.6. The national unemployment rate for May 2011 was 9.1 percent, up from April's 9.0 percent.

Lincoln County registered the state's lowest county unemployment rate at 6.1 percent, down from the April rate of 6.6 percent, followed by Williamson County at 6.6 percent, down from 7.0 percent. Scott County had the state's highest unemployment rate at 20.8 percent, down from 22.1 percent in the previous month, followed by Lauderdale County at 14.8 percent, unchanged from the April rate.

Knox County had the state's lowest major metropolitan rate of 7.4 percent, down from 7.7 percent in April. Hamilton County was 8.2 percent, unchanged from the previous month. Davidson County was 8.6 percent, down from 8.8 percent in April, and Shelby County was 10.0 percent, unchanged from their April unemployment rate


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