Local News Articles

State Lawmakers Honor DCHS Valedictorian and Salutatorian

April 14, 2015
by: 
Dwayne Page
Julia Little
MaKalee Ruch

The State House of Representatives and State Senate have adopted resolutions paying tribute to the DCHS Class of 2015 Valedictorian Julia Little and Salutatorian MaKalee Ruch.

The resolutions, signed by Governor Bill Haslam on Monday, April 13, were sponsored in the State House by Representative Mark Pody and co sponsored by Representative Terri Lynn Weaver and were adopted by a vote of 97 to 0 and 31 to 0 in the State Senate.

Little and Ruch will be formally presented copies of the resolutions by Representatives Weaver and Pody and Senator Mae Beavers at a soon to be announced breakfast or luncheon.

The resolution honoring Little is as follows:

"A RESOLUTION to honor and recognize Julia Little, 2015 Valedictorian of DeKalb County High School.

WHEREAS, it is fitting that the members of this General Assembly should pause to pay tribute to those students who, through their natural talents and unflagging commitment to academic excellence, have distinguished themselves in the classroom; and

WHEREAS, Julia Little is one such exceptional student, who was recently named Valedictorian of the 2015 graduating class at DeKalb County High School; and

WHEREAS, through diligent study, steady composure during examinations, and steadfast commitment of time and talent, Julia achieved outstanding academic success and joined the ranks of the best and brightest students in Tennessee and our country; and

WHEREAS, in her remarkable high school career, Julia earned an exemplary grade point average while participating in a number of clubs, including Beta Club, Future Business Leaders of America, Science Club, and Spanish Club; and

WHEREAS, Julia’s display of intellectual aptitude and ambition surely bodes well for her future success as a student at Tennessee Technological University; and

WHEREAS, Julia’s noteworthy achievement is a tremendous source of pride for her parents, Scott Little and Kristin Raymond, her school, and her community; and

WHEREAS, Julia Little’s dedication to excellence is clearly deserving of the respect, admiration, and commendation of the members of this legislative body; now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE ONE HUNDRED NINTH GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF TENNESSEE, THE SENATE CONCURRING, that we hereby commend and honor the 2015 DeKalb County High School Valedictorian, Julia Little, on her impressive academic achievement and extend to her our best wishes for a happy, successful future.

The resolution honoring Ruch is as follows:

"A RESOLUTION to honor and recognize Makalee Ruch, 2015 Salutatorian of DeKalb County High School.

WHEREAS, it is fitting that the members of this General Assembly should pause to pay tribute to those students who, through their natural talents and unflagging commitment to academic excellence, have distinguished themselves in the classroom; and

WHEREAS, Makalee Ruch is one such exceptional student, who was recently named Salutatorian of the 2015 graduating class at DeKalb County High School; and
WHEREAS, through diligent study, steady composure during examinations, and steadfast commitment of time and talent, Makalee achieved outstanding academic success and joined the ranks of the best and brightest students in Tennessee and our country; and

WHEREAS, in her remarkable high school career, Makalee earned an exemplary grade point average while participating in a number of activities, including being a member of the student council, Beta Club, Future Business Leaders of America, and Science Club; and

WHEREAS, Makalee’s display of intellectual aptitude and ambition surely bodes well for her future success as a student at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville; and

WHEREAS, Makalee’s noteworthy achievement is a tremendous source of pride for her parents, Joe and Melissa Ruch, her school, and her community; and

WHEREAS, Makalee Ruch’s dedication to excellence is clearly deserving of the respect, admiration, and commendation of the members of this legislative body; now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE ONE HUNDRED NINTH GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF TENNESSEE, THE SENATE CONCURRING, that we hereby commend and honor the 2015 DeKalb County High School Salutatorian, Makalee Ruch, on her impressive academic achievement and extend to her our best wishes for a happy, successful future.

School Board to Name Interim Director Thursday Night

April 14, 2015
by: 
Dwayne Page
Four members of the school board

The DeKalb County Board of Education is expected to name an Interim Director of Schools Thursday night.

The action will come during a special called meeting set for 6:30 p.m. at the Board of Education building.

The person selected as interim will succeed Mark Willoughby, who will be stepping aside as of the close of business Thursday afternoon under an agreement with the Board of Education.

The school board will be conducting a work session prior to the special meeting Thursday at 6:00 p.m. Meanwhile, the regular monthly school board meeting will follow the special called session at 7:00 p.m.

The agenda is as follows:

Consider and act on approval of 2014-15 Motlow College Dual Credit Agreement

Consider and act on 2015-16 Textbook Adoption (Mathematics)

Building Program Update, School Updates, and Committee Reports. Sean Driver will give an update on the Bulldog Baseball Project

Personnel Report from the Director of Schools

Any other business that may properly come before the Board.

*Request date change for the regular June Board Meeting Date

The consent agenda is as follows:
Consider and act on a request for the DCHS Boys Basketball Team to attend camp at UT Chattanooga June 5-7 or June 8-10
Consider and act on 2014-15 budget amendment for IDEA Preschool Allocation
Consider and act on 2014-15 budget amendment for Federal Programs Allocation
Consider and act on a request for an overnight trip for the DCHS Girls Basketball Team to attend a basketball camp at Ole Miss University June 8-10

18th Annual Relay for Life Coming May 8

April 14, 2015
by: 
Dwayne Page
18th Annual Relay for Life Coming May 8

From its remarkable yet humble beginnings, the American Cancer Society's Relay For Life has grown into a national, even international, phenomenon. Starting in 1985 with only one event, today more than 4 million people in over 20 countries raise much needed funds and awareness to save lives from cancer through the Relay For Life movement.

At Relay for Life, you can find healing, comfort, and support from others who have faced cancer or who have lost a loved one to the disease. You have a chance to meet people in the community who are equally as passionate about finding an end to cancer in our lifetime.

This year's theme is taken from Dr. Seuss "Cancer: Not Here, Not There, Not Anywhere"

Come share the Relay experience at Green Brook Park on Friday, May 8 and take pride in knowing that you are working to create a world where this disease will no longer threaten the lives of our loved ones or claim another year of anyone's life.

The 18th annual Relay for Life begins with musical entertainment at 5:00 p.m. followed by the opening ceremony at 6:00 p.m. featuring personal testimonies from cancer survivors and then a Survivors' Lap, during which those who have survived the struggle circle the track together to help everyone celebrate what has been achieved against cancer.

As the sun sets, Luminaria bags lining the track illuminate the night and then a hush falls over the event as Relay participants, survivors and caregivers gather together for a Luminaria Ceremony at 9:00 p.m. to remember loved ones lost to cancer and to honor those who have battled the disease.

As participants walk the track lined with Luminaria bags in reflection, a caregiver who has lost a loved one may find comfort from a fellow caregiver who has faced a similar loss.

Meanwhile, a survivor gains hope and strength from others who have followed the same journey and survived. All resolve to keep fighting to save more lives so no more Luminaria bear the names of those lost to the disease.

Teams take turns doing laps, but there must be one member from each team on the track at any given time during the relay event. There is a lot of fundraising as well, through concessions, games, and other activities.

As volunteers and donors, your efforts support research, education, advocacy, and services that allow the American Cancer Society to offer help and hope to people across the country when they need it most. By joining together at Relay, we celebrate life, friendship, and an opportunity to work to defeat cancer for future generations.

For more information, please contact Marlene at 931-235-6286 or visit www.relayforlife.org/dekalbtn.

Four Served with Grand Jury Sealed Indictments

April 14, 2015
by: 
Dwayne Page
Sheriff Patrick Ray

Four people have been served with sealed indictments returned by the DeKalb County Grand Jury last Monday, April 6. They were arraigned Monday, April 13 in Criminal Court.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said the persons named in those indictments and their charges are as follows:

27 year old Molly Sue Lawrence of Highland Street, Smithville: theft under $500 and six counts of forgery; and four counts of forgery. Her bond totals $25,000.

53 year old Max Arnold Teeples of Vickers Ridge Road, Baxter: manufacturing marijuana. His bond is $20,000.

29 year old Melinda Beth Murphy of Short Mountain Highway, Smithville: theft under $500 and six counts of forgery. Her bond is $15,000.

33 year old Garth Layne Cantrell of Pine Grove Road Smithville: theft under $500. His bond is $5,000.

Seven other people named in sealed indictments by the grand jury last week have not yet been served.

Meanwhile, 45 year old Kathy Jo Massengail of Keltonburg Road, Smithville is charged with a third offense of driving under the influence and driving on a revoked license. She was further issued a citation for violation of the financial responsibility law and immediate notice of an accident (not reporting a wreck). Her bond totals $6,000 and she will be in court June 25. Sheriff Ray said that on Tuesday, April 7 Massengail, operating a motor vehicle, was involved in a crash. Massengail then left the scene of the accident but was later located on Jefferson Road. The arresting officer spoke with Massengail who had a strong odor of alcohol on her person and her eyes were bloodshot. Massengail admitted that she had been drinking at the time of the wreck. She performed poorly on field sobriety tasks. She also submitted to a blood test. A computer check confirmed that her driver's license were revoked due to prior DUI offenses.

47 year old Joel Acuna, Sr. of Old West Point Road, Smithville is charged with domestic assault. His bond is $2,500 and he will be in court April 16. Sheriff Ray said that on Tuesday, April 7 Acuna attacked his wife due to her not wanting to talk about their marriage. As she tried to get away from him, Acuna grabbed the victim by the head, pulling her hair and arms. The woman bit Acuna's right index finger trying to break free of him. Acuna was placed under arrest.

46 year old William (Billy) Stephen Zaderiko is charged with filing a false report. His bond is $5,000 and he will be in court April 23. Sheriff Ray said that on Wednesday, April 8 Zaderiko knowingly lied to law enforcement officers concerning facts surrounding a theft investigation about a Hustler zero turn lawn mower. When asked where he had purchased the lawnmower, Zaderiko said he bought it at an auction in Cookeville. After being questioned further, Zaderiko admitted getting the mower from a relative but did not want to get him in trouble. The case was investigated by a sheriff's department detective. The lawn mower has been recovered.

40 year old Cecil McKinley Ketchum of Dedmon Hollow Road, Liberty is charged with violation of bond conditions. His bond is $5,000. Sheriff Ray said that on Saturday, April 11 Ketchum intentionally and knowingly violated an order of bond conditions by being inside the same residence as the person who had those bond conditions brought against him. Ketchum said he knew he was not supposed to be around this person. The bond conditions were filed on March 28, 2014.

31 year old David Lee Bean of Peeled Chestnut Lane, Sparta is charged with a second offense of driving under the influence. He was further issued citations for violation of the financial responsibility law and failure to maintain his lane of travel. Bean's bond is $3,000 and he will be in court May 14. Sheriff Ray said that on Sunday, April 12 a deputy received a call about a wreck on Highway 70 east at Sligo bridge. The officer observed a 1999 Saturn in a ditch and spoke to the driver, Bean who said he had been on his way to get his wife. Bean's speech was slurred and he was unsteady on his feet. Bean performed poorly on field sobriety tasks. He also submitted to a blood alcohol test. Bean was placed under arrest.

Drunk Man Held at Gunpoint Until Police Arrive

April 13, 2015
by: 
Dwayne Page
Captain Steven Leffew

Smithville Police have charged a man with public intoxication after a homeowner caught him trying to enter his house and held the intruder at gunpoint until officers arrived.

46 year old Brett Alan Parron is under a $1,500 bond and will be in court April 16. The incident occurred on Tuesday, March 31.

According to Captain Steven Leffew, Officer in Charge of the Smithville Police Department, Sergeant Travis Bryant was dispatched to a residence where the owner had caught a man trying to break into his house and was holding him at gun point. Upon arrival, Sgt Bryant spoke with Parron and found him to be unsteady on his feet and he had a strong odor of alcohol on his person. The homeowner told Sgt Bryant that he had heard Parron at his back door telling his dogs to "Shut up" and he was also causing a disturbance by moving things around behind the house. According to Sgt Bryant, Parron didn't seem to know where he was or what he was doing. He was placed under arrest.

Meanwhile, Officer Joey Myers responded to a residence on West Broad Street in reference to a domestic assault on Tuesday, March 31. Upon speaking with the parties involved, it was determined that 30 year old Christopher Lee Lewis was the primary aggressor. He allegedly pushed the victim and held her arms behind her back. Lewis was placed under arrest. His bond is $2,500.

48 year old Frank Ervin Morris was arrested Friday, April 3 for driving under the influence and violation of the implied consent law. Officer Matt Farmer found Morris in control of an SUV in a driveway on Jennings Lane. Morris was passed out at the wheel of the vehicle while it was still running and he had his foot on the brake. When Officer Farmer awakened him, Morris removed his foot from the brake and the SUV started moving down the driveway. Officer Farmer quickly responded and put the vehicle in park to keep it from crashing. Morris had red watery eyes, slurred speech, and an odor of an alcoholic beverage on his person. He performed poorly on field sobriety tasks. Morris signed implied consent forms to give blood for alcohol and drug testing but upon arrival at the hospital he changed his mind and refused to submit to the test. His bond is $3,000 and he will make a court appearance on April 23.

Officer Lance Dillard responded to Wal-Mart in reference to a shoplifter on Saturday, April 4. Upon arrival he spoke with a Loss Prevention Associate who reported that he had witnessed 42 year old Patsy McCoy Estes take several Wal-Mart bags from the front of the store and get a shopping cart. He then saw her pick up several items and remove the price tags before placing them in the bags. The total value of the merchandise was $535.98. Estes was arrested for Theft of Merchandise. Her bond is $5,000 and she will be in court May 7.

36 year old Gregory Wayne Roberts was arrested on Tuesday, April 7 for a second offense of driving under the influence and a third offense of driving on a revoked license. At approximately 11:30 pm that night, Roberts drove to Kwik N Ezy to purchase beer. After leaving the store, Roberts got behind the wheel of his vehicle and tried to drive away but he was stopped by an off duty deputy. Sgt Travis Bryant arrived on the scene and asked Roberts to submit to field sobriety tests but he was unable to perform the tasks due to an old leg injury. For his safety and that of the public, Roberts was arrested and transported to the Emergency room of the hospital where he submitted to a blood alcohol test. A computer check revealed Roberts' license to be revoked for a DUI on September 26, 2013. His bond on this charge is $7,500 and he will be in court on April 16.

33 year old William Travis Malone was arrested on Wednesday, April 8 for driving under the influence. K-9 Officer James Cornelius received a call from Central Dispatch of a man who appeared to be sleeping in a vehicle with the engine running. Upon arrival Officer Cornelius located a vehicle matching the description given and found a man, who he knew to be William Malone slumped over in the driver's seat. The vehicle's engine was running and it was in "drive". Officer Cornelius opened the door to the automobile and turned off the engine. He then awoke Malone. Upon speaking with him, Officer Cornelius noticed Malone's speech to be slurred. He was asked to step out of the vehicle at which time the officer noticed Malone to be unsteady on his feet. After giving him several minutes, the officer asked Malone if he would be willing to submit to a series of sobriety tasks. Malone was then arrested for DUI. His bond is $1,500 and he will be in court on April 23.

43 year old Richard Brandon Turner was arrested on Thursday, April 9 for domestic assault and resisting arrest. Officer Joey Myers was dispatched to an address in reference to a domestic assault. He and Sgt Travis Bryant spoke with Turner who had been asked several times to leave the home . Turner refused to leave and had to be physically restrained as he became violent and actively resisted the officers. Police learned that Turner refused allow the victim to leave the home and placed that person in fear of bodily injury. Turner's bond is $3,000 and he will be in court April 16.

Election Officials Train in Smithville

April 11, 2015
by: 
Dwayne Page
Election Officials Train in Smithville

County Election Officials from across Middle Tennessee met in Smithville Friday for a training and networking session at the county complex auditorium.

DeKalb County Administrator of Elections Dennis Stanley, who serves as Vice President for the Middle Tennessee Division of Tennessee Association of County Election Officials, said the organization convenes occasionally for training. "Every so often we get together and have a training and networking session. I decided this time we would have one in DeKalb County. We had over 70 election officials from about 20 counties who attended our program Friday. We also had here from the state office, Wayne Pruett, Coordinator of the Help America Vote Act," said Stanley.

FROM LEFT---WAYNE PRUETT, HELP AMERICA VOTE ACT (HAVA) COORDINATOR FOR STATE OF TENNESSEE; DENNIS STANLEY, DEKALB ADMINISTRATOR OF ELECTIONS AND MIDDLE TENNESSEE VICE PRESIDENT OF THE TENNESSEE ASSOCIATION OF COUNTY ELECTION OFFICIALS (TACEO); PHYLLIS STREIFF, ELECTION COMMISSION MEMBER WILLIAMSON COUNTY AND ALSO MIDDLE TENNESSEE TACEO VP; AND STATE REPRESENTATIVE MARK PODY.

Drive Thru Mobile Food Pantry a Huge Success

April 11, 2015
by: 
Dwayne Page
Drive thru mobile food pantry Saturday morning
Volunteers deliver food to the needy
Food delivery directly to the car door

The drive thru mobile food pantry Saturday morning was a huge success.

Almost three hundred food boxes were given away and everyone in line got at least one box regardless of their income status. The event, held in partnership with Second Harvest Food Bank, was sponsored by the Smithville Cumberland Presbyterian Church as part of its community outreach ministry, but other churches and community volunteers also participated.

Unlike most food distributions, those served by Saturday's mobile pantry did not have to get out of their automobiles. They simply drove thru in a pickup line as volunteers delivered the food directly to their vehicles, placing the food boxes either in the back seat or trunk.

The food boxes contained such items as bread, canned goods, peanut butter, bags of potatoes, fruits, cakes, pies, and more.

The church expresses its appreciation to the volunteers for their help Saturday and is hoping to have more mobile food pantries in the future.

Two Airlifted After One Car Crash on Smith Road

April 11, 2015
by: 
Dwayne Page
Crash Occurs Near City Park on Smith Road (Photo by SPD Corporal Chip Avera)
Two Cookeville Men Injured in Wreck (Photo by SPD Corporal Chip Avera)
Two Airlifted After One Car Crash on Smith Road (Photo by SPD Corporal Chip Avera)

Two Cookeville men were seriously injured in a one car crash this morning (Saturday) on Smith Road near the city park

Smithville Police got the call at 1:20 a.m.

22 year old Austin Neyman and 21 year old Christopher Epperson were both airlifted to Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga.

According to Corporal Chip Avera of the Smithville Police Department, both men were traveling west at a high rate of speed on Smith Road in a 2015 Nissan Versa when the car went off the right side of the road and traveled approximately 150 feet before impact. The car struck two mailboxes and a concrete culvert and then came to rest on its side in a ditch. Both men, who were wearing their seatbelts, got out of the car under their own power before officers arrived. They were taken by DeKalb EMS to a helicopter landing zone which was set up at Northside Elementary School. One of the men was airlifted by Erlanger Life Force 2 while the other was flown out by Air Evac Life Force 2.

While the Nissan is registered to Neyman, police have not yet determined which of the two men was actually driving the car.

The accident remains under investigation by Corporal Avera and Patrolman Will Judkins of the Smithville Police Department. The Smithville Volunteer Fire Department was also on the scene of the crash along with first responders who provided assistance.

No Injuries in Car, Rig Crash

April 10, 2015
by: 
Dwayne Page
Car (right) plunges off embankment after being hit by rig (shown to left)
Mercury Grand Marquis driven by Geraldine Cook

A Smithville woman escaped injury in a Thursday afternoon traffic accident.

According to Trooper Gerald Carter of the Tennessee Highway Patrol, 87 year old Geraldine Cook of Smithville pulled onto West Broad Street in a 2003 Mercury Grand Marquis GS to go east and crossed the path of an eastbound 2014 International Tractor Trailer Rig, driven by 52 year old James Baker of Lexington, Tennessee.

After impact Cook's car went off the highway and down an embankment near a creek. Although she was taken to the hospital, Trooper Carter said Cook was not injured in the accident. Baker was also uninjured.

There were no charges.

Members of the Smithville Police and Fire Departments were on the scene to provide assistance.

Mid TN Hay & Forage Day April 21

April 10, 2015

The 2nd annual Middle Tennessee Hay and Forage Day set for Tuesday, April 21 at Jimmy Herndon’s farm in Smithville offers farmers insight to a number of pasture, hay, and beef cattle production concerns.

The field day is scheduled to get underway with registration beginning at 8:30 a.m. and the program starting at 9:00 a.m. There is no registration fee for the event, and a sponsored lunch will be provided. The Herndon farm is located at 371 Herndon Lane in Smithville.

Bruce Steelman, UT Extension Cannon County Agent, is a member of the planning committee for the field day. “The purpose of field days is to provide a hands-on learning experience for producers to learn the latest research based information from UT Extension. The hay and forage day has a wide variety of topics that should be a benefit to most every beef and forage producer in the area,” stated Steelman.

The list of programs include a pasture weed control demonstration showing use of common pasture herbicides with speaker Dr. Neil Rhodes. Dr. Rhodes is a Weed Management Specialist with UT Extension. Several herbicides were sprayed in March to show effects on common pasture weeds, such as buttercup, dock, and thistle. Participants at the field day will get to view the effects of the demonstration plots.

Mr. Larry Moorehead, the UT Extension Agent in Moore County, will be discussing hay storage and feeding. Mr. Moorehead is known throughout the region for his hay storage programs.

“Bull Selection, Critical to Optimizing Performance” will be the topic presented by Mr. Kevin Thompson. To help producers in decision making when purchasing a bull, Mr. Thompson will have multiple bulls on site and will go over EPD’s in selecting the correct bull for your situation. Mr. Thompson is the Director of the Middle Tennessee Research and Education Center in Spring Hill, where the University of Tennessee houses its bull test station.

Other speakers on the program include Mr. Mark Powell from the Tennessee Department of Agriculture to discuss the Tennessee Agriculture Enhancement Program. Mr. Powell is the state wide director of the TAEP. A hands-on boomless sprayer calibration demonstration will be led by UT Extension Agent Chris Hicks. Mr. Hicks is located in Smith County and has conducted numerous sprayer calibration workshops in the area.
“Mr. Herndon and his family have been gracious to let us conduct the weed management demonstration plots at his farm and host this event. He has been a great cooperator to help make this a successful event for all the attendees,” stated Michael Barry, UT Extension DeKalb County Agent.
The inaugural Hay and Forage day was held last year at David and Patricia Hutton’s farm in Morrison. UT Extension Warren County Agent Heath Nokes, recalled “Over 100 producers attended the event with more than seventy percent reporting an increase in knowledge of forage quality techniques, rotational grazing, herbicide application, and sprayer calibration.”

The field day is a multi-county program of Cannon, DeKalb, and Warren County UT Extension offices. For more information, contact Bruce Steelman (615)563-2554, Michael Barry, (615)597-4945, or Heath Nokes (931)473-8484. This program, like all UT Extension programs, is open to all eligible persons regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, age, religion, disability or veteran status.

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