Local News Articles

Alexandria Man Charged in Home Burglary

September 11, 2017
Dwayne Page
Byron Ray “Bud” Gibbs
Allen Odell Mason, III
Jared Reshun Howard

An Alexandria man has been arrested in a recent home burglary on Pea Ridge Road.


Seagate Crystal Reports - REPOR_38.pdf (2.62 MB)

32 year old Byron Ray “Bud” Gibbs of Shady Lane, Alexandria is charged with aggravated burglary, theft of property under $500, vandalism, and evading arrest. His bond totals $20,000 and his court date is September 28.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Thursday, August 31 Gibbs assisted in forcibly entering a residence on Pea Ridge Road and taking a black digital camera in a case and miscellaneous jewelry valued at $250. Entry was made by breaking out a glass window. The estimated damage was $200.

The evading offense was on Friday, August 25 as Gibbs tried to outrun a county deputy in a separate incident.

According to Sheriff Ray, a deputy attempted stop a white Nissan Altima for failing to maintain its lane of travel on West Main Street, Alexandria. As the officer activated his emergency lights and siren, the driver began to flee. The car crossed Highway 70 without stopping, ran several stop signs, and drove into the opposite lane of travel, causing possible harm to innocent bystanders and law enforcement officers. The deputy apparently lost sight of the car but found it abandoned in a field. After a further investigation, Gibbs was identified as the driver and later placed under arrest. The case was investigated by a sheriff’s department detective. More charges are expected to be filed against Gibbs.

Meanwhile, a Lancaster man has been charged with tampering with a mailbox. 21 year old Allen Odell Mason, III of Lancaster is under a $1,500 bond and his court date is September 28. Sheriff Ray said that on January 1 Mason tampered with a residential mailbox on Old Temperance Hall Road causing $100 in damage. The case was investigated by a detective.

Another arrest has been made in a recent theft of a utility trailer.

28 year old Jared Reshun Howard of Linville Road Sparta is charged with theft of property over $1,000 and for failure to appear. His bond is $12,500 and his court date is September 28.

Sheriff Ray said that on August 10 the sheriff’s department received a report that someone had stolen a 6 x 12 foot utility trailer from a residence on Big Hurricane Road, Smithville valued at $1,200. A detective was assigned to the case and developed Howard and 52 year old Bruce Randall Bumbalough of North Butler Street, Sparta as suspects. Bumbalough was arrested last week in the case.

The failure to appear offense against Howard was filed on September 2 after he failed to report to jail for booking within the required ten days on an August 23 criminal summons for a worthless check.

Trial Date Set for Accused Courthouse Arsonist

September 11, 2017
Dwayne Page
Gary Wayne Ponder

After almost fifteen months, the case against a man believed responsible for starting a fire inside the courthouse remains pending in court. A trial date has been set for April 4, 2018

53 year old Gary Wayne Ponder was indicted by the Grand Jury in April on a charge of arson. He is currently on house arrest meaning he can’t leave home except for his own court appearances or to see a doctor. He is not allowed to be in the courthouse or anywhere else at any other time.

Ponder made a brief appearance in DeKalb County Criminal Court Monday, September 11. His case has been set for trial April 4, 2018. He is being represented by the District Public Defender's Office.

Smithville Police charged Ponder on Wednesday, June 15, 2016 after he was observed on the courthouse surveillance video system intentionally lighting fire in a newspaper recycling bin on the first floor vestibule. The video showed that on Tuesday, June 14 Ponder grabbed newspapers from the recycling bin and started the fire by lighting them with a cigarette lighter. The fire damaged the wall behind the recycling bin and cracked a window in the vestibule near the first floor entrance of the courthouse.

County Mayor Tim Stribling told WJLE that the total damages to the courthouse caused by the fire came to $120,706.52, which is the amount of the claim paid by the county’s insurance provider.

After the fire smoke had to be cleared from the courthouse, new ceiling tiles and dry wall work were required and a broken glass in the vestibule doorway had to be replaced.

The county also installed a new fire alarm system in the courthouse provided by FireTeam of Tracy City at a cost of $35,363.81. The system meets the latest International Fire Codes.

Assistance Available to DeKalb County Landowners with Wind Damage to Private Forestland

September 11, 2017
Donny Green

High winds caused severe damage in path of DeKalb County from the northwest to southeast portions. Nonindustrial private forest (NIPF) landowners suffering severe damage may be eligible for assistance under the Emergency Forest Restoration Program (EFRP) that is administered by the DeKalb/Cannon County Farm Service Agency (FSA).

According to Donny Green, County Executive Director for the DeKalb/Cannon County Farm Service Agency, in order to qualify, the damage must have been caused by this natural disaster and must have adversely impacted natural resources on NIPF land and, if untreated, would:

•Impair or endanger the natural resources on the land, and
•Materially affect the use of the land.

A producer qualifying for EFRP assistance may receive financial assistance not to exceed 75 percent of the eligible cost of restoration measures. The emergency measures must restore forest health and forest-related resources. The following types of measures may be eligible:

•Debris removal from NIPF;
•Site preparation on NIPF;
•Seedling establishment on NIPF, and
•Restoring conservation structures and other similar installations.

Producers who have suffered a loss from this disaster event may contact the DeKalb/Cannon County Farm Service Agency and submit an application for assistance under the EFRP during the signup period, September 11, 2017 through October 11, 2017.

To be eligible for assistance, practices must not be started until all of the following are met (waivers may be granted on a case-by-case basis when justified):

•An application for financial assistance (FSA-848) has been filed;
•The local FSA County Committee, or its representative, has conducted an onsite inspection of the damaged area;
•The Agency responsible for technical assistance, such as the state forestry agency, has made a needs determination which may include specific corrective measure to restore forest health and forest-releated resources.

For more information, contact the DeKalb/Cannon County Farm Service Agency at 615-597-8225, Ext. 2, or come by the office at 647 Bright Hill Rd., Smithville.

Local Minister Arrested in Smith County For Statutory Rape and Incest

September 11, 2017
Dwayne Page
Richard A. Petty (Photo Courtesy of Smith County Insider Press)

A local minister has reportedly been arrested in Smith County for statutory rape by an authority figure and incest.

According the Smith County Insider Press, Richard A. Petty was interviewed by Smith County Sheriff’s Office Detectives. During the interview, Petty admitted that he did have oral sex with a minor on several occasions. He was charged on September 6.

As of Monday morning, September 11, Petty remained incarcerated at the Smith County Jail Facility. Petty’s bond is $180,000.

Petty was minister of the Dowelltown Baptist Church.

Caney Folk Music & Arts Festival to Host Fundraiser for DeKalb Prevention Coalition

September 11, 2017
Caney FoCaney Folk Music & Arts Festival lk Music & Arts Festival to Host Fundraiser for DeKalb Prevention Coalition

On Saturday, October 7th, organizers will host the Caney Folk Music & Arts Festival and fundraiser, scheduled to take place on Cherry Hill Farm at 16639 Smithville Highway in Silver Point, Tennessee. Gates open from 11 a.m.until 8 p.m.

The family-friendly event will include a full day of live folk and bluegrass music, free music workshops, a "Kid Zone," outdoor/recreational vendors, art, food, games, and a celebrity auction of country music memorabilia, including autographed guitars from George Strait, Thomas Rhett, and newcomer, Kelsea Ballerini. 100% of donations will benefit the DeKalb Prevention Coalition's Health Adventure. The program currently provides free healthy activities that promote physical and emotional well being for the local community, along with teens and adults with disabilities.

Admission is $10 for Adults, $5 for Seniors/Military and Kids 12 and under are free. $7 (Adult) tickets are available through September 30th here https://www.caneyfest.com/tickets/

Free Medicare Help is Available

September 11, 2017

Medicare Open Enrollment for 2018 begins October 15. For those who are eligible to sign up for Medicare or have questions about making changes to their Medicare health plans and/or Medicare Part D prescription drug plans, free, un-biased Medicare information and counseling is available through the Upper Cumberland Area Agency on Aging and Disability.

Open enrollment for the coming year runs from October 15 to December 7. During this time, currently enrolled Medicare beneficiaries can make changes to their plans. The staff at UCAAAD, a division of Upper Cumberland Development District, and volunteers are trained to provide free, un-biased counseling and advice for those seeking assistance with making changes to their Medicare plans.

It is important for Medicare beneficiaries to compare their current plans to the 2018 coverage options, which will be released on October 1, 2017. UCAAAD staff helps those seeking assistance with plan comparisons without selling anything and can be reached at the toll free SHIP line at 1-877-801-0044.

Throughout open enrollment, UCAAAD staff and volunteers will also be offering Medicare counseling at locations throughout the Upper Cumberland. A full list of appointment times and locations can be found at www.ucdd.org or at www.facebook/ucddconnect or by calling the toll free SHIP line at 1-877-801-0044.

Annual DTC Meeting Set for Saturday, September 16

September 10, 2017
Dwayne Page
Annual DTC Meeting Set for Saturday, September 16

DeKalb Telephone Cooperative, Inc. (d/b/a DTC Communications) will host its annual meeting on Sept. 16, 2017, at the DeKalb County Fairgrounds in Alexandria.

Directors will be elected in the Milton, Norene, and Woodbury exchanges. The Nominating Committee has qualified the following candidates by nomination: Jim Vinson - Milton, Terry McPeak – Norene, and Jean Chumbley Ferrell – Woodbury. One candidate, Michael Alexander, qualified by petition in the Woodbury exchange.

Voting for directors will take place at the cooperative’s annual meeting on Saturday, Sept. 16 and during early voting Monday-Wednesday, Sept. 11-13.

Hours and locations for early voting include:
Early Voting Hours
*Mon., Sept. 11 ............... 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
* Tues., Sept. 12 .............. 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
* Wed., Sept. 13 ............. 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Early Voting Held at DTC Store Locations
* 111 High Street – ALEXANDRIA
* 200 Walmart Drive – SMITHVILLE
* 106 West High Street - WOODBURY

On Saturday, Sept. 16, gates to the DeKalb County Fairgrounds in Alexandria will open at 11:45 a.m., with voting from noon until 3 p.m. The business meeting will begin at 3 p.m. or once the last person in line at that time has voted.

Only DTC members may vote, and each member must present proper photo identification. For a single membership, only that individual may vote. Either member of a joint membership may vote, but not both. In the case of a business membership, a business affidavit is required.

For additional information about membership and voting, call DTC at 615-529-2955.

Purple Tigers Crush DeKalb 59-21

September 9, 2017
Dwayne Page
Purple Tigers Crush DeKalb 59-21

The DeKalb County Tigers lost 59 to 21 to the Purple Tigers at Watertown Friday night. Their first meeting on the gridiron in a regular season game since 2008.

The black and gold Tigers fall to 0-4 on the season while the Purple Tigers improve to 2-2.

The first score of the game came on a 71 yard touchdown pass play from DeKalb County quarterback Tyler Cantrell to Paxton Butler. Andrew Fuson added the extra point and the black and gold Tigers led 7-0 with 9:41 left in the 1st period.

Watertown answered on a 4 yard touchdown run by Gene Wynne with 6:34 left in the 1st period. Nathaniel Gutierrez tacked on the extra point and the game was tied at 7.

The Purple Tigers took their first lead of the game with 21 seconds left in the 1st period on a 10 yard touchdown pass from Quarterback Heath Price to Elijah MaKlary. Gutierrez added the extra point and Watertown led 14-7.

Watertown extended its lead to 17-7 with 6:22 left in the 2nd period on a 35 yard field goal by Gutierrez

DeKalb County cut the gap with 1:16 left in the 2nd period on a 4 yard touchdown pass from Quarterback Tyler Cantrell to Braxton Linder. Andrew Fuson added the PAT and the Black and Gold Tigers trailed Watertown 17-14.

Watertown’s Zack Hill scored on a 20 yard touchdown run after recovering a bad snap. Gutierrez added the PAT and Watertown’s lead was 24 to 14 with 9:39 left in the 3rd period.

DeKalb County scored on a Bradley Miller 1 yard touchdown run with 7:18 left in the 3rd period. Andrew Fuson booted the extra point and the Black and Gold Tigers trailed 24 to 21.

Quarterback Heath Price scored on an 8 yard touchdown run for Watertown with 2:35 left in the 3rd period. Gutierrez tacked on the PAT to give the Purple Tigers a 31-21 advantage.

Price scored on a 15 yard touchdown run with 1:04 left in the 3rd period. The extra point by Gutierrez was good and Watertown led 38-21.

Deramus Carey rambled 60 yards for a Watertown touchdown and with the Gutierrez' extra point the Purple Tigers led 45-21 with 10:36 left in the 4th period.

Heath Price scored his third running touchdown of the game with 9:25 left on a 17 yard keeper and with the extra point by Gutierrez, Watertown held a 52-21 lead.

Deramus Carey added a 13 yard touchdown run with seven seconds left in the game. The PAT by Gutierrez was good and Watertown won 59-21.

DeKalb County will host Grundy County next Friday night, September 15 at 7 p.m. in Smithville. WJLE will have LIVE coverage. Grundy County is 1-3.

Motorists Should Expect Lane Closures with Bridge Repairs

September 8, 2017
Dwayne Page
Motorists Should Expect Lane Closures with Bridge Repairs

Work has begun on the repairs to the South College Street (Veterans Memorial) Bridge over West Broad Street (Highway 70)

During the project, there will be lane closures on U.S. 70 in each direction below the bridge to allow the contractor to safely work. One lane in each direction will be maintained. Motorists should be alert for construction personnel and equipment. Estimated project completion date is October 2017.

Mid-State Construction Co. Inc.of Livingston is the contractor for the project

Face of the Race for the Down Syndrome 5K

September 8, 2017
Bill Conger
Left to right: Zac (dad), Sadler (little brother), Saydee (little sister), Kristin (mom), Sawyer
5-year-old Sawyer Cole is the Face of the Race for the 3rd Annual 3.21 Run for Down Syndrome Awareness on Saturday, October 7 at DeKalb West School

5-year-old Sawyer Cole stood walked up to the plate at the T-Ball field more than ready to take his first swing. The little boy with Down syndrome had been diagnosed with B Lymphoblastic Leukemia at the end of March a few days after the team’s first practice and had not been able to attend any practices or games as he underwent chemo treatment at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital.

“Finally, he felt like going and batting one time,” recalls Sawyer’s mom Kristin Cole. “There wasn’t a dry eye at the field, I don’t think.”

Sawyer will continue with chemo until next May of 2019. This is just the latest challenge the Smith County family is facing since their son was born unexpectedly with Down syndrome.

“It was a shock,” says Cole. “We were numb at first, and then obviously, it didn’t matter after that, and that’s why we didn’t do the genetic test before because it wouldn’t have mattered either way.”

Sawyer remained in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital for 18 days, having several surgeries. After that, their precious bundle of boy underwent physical therapy and occupational therapy for several years until he was recently released.

“For now, he’s where he needs to be,” says his mom. “He was receiving speech and feeding therapy once a week, and we’ve taken a break from that for a few months trying to adjust to his new diagnosis and all the appointments that go along with it.”

Despite the struggles, his mom says the family has a positive attitude.

“I look at it as you can either make it hard, or you can just try to figure it out,” Kristin said. “You have to do it either way. So, there’s no reason in making it harder and stressing about it. You kind of figure it out and go on.”

Take away the physical challenge and Sawyer is like any other little boy.

“He loves any kind of water—pools, waterslides, any kind of slides or swings like going to fairs or amusement parks,” his mom says. “He loves Mickey Mouse and loves to watch Mickey Mouse Club House. His favorite toys are balls, stacking cups, drinking cups, any kind of cups. He can keep himself amused for a long time with those.”

“He’s kind of quiet, but then, he has his little moments when it’s just us. He can get kind of rowdy, and he’s really silly, incredibly loving. He’s so sweet. He’s just a little love bug with certain people.”

Sawyer is the Face of the Race for the 3rd Annual 3.21 Run for Down Syndrome Awareness on Saturday, October 7 at DeKalb West School. You can register for the race at www.321RUN4DS.org.

The event was started in the spring of 2015 by then DWS 8th grade student Addison Oakley. Addison and her family have strong ties to Down syndrome children who are close friends and family. They wanted to raise awareness and provide resources to children with Down syndrome and special needs in rural areas that don’t usually have the resources of people in metropolitan areas. Thanks to the support of folks in DeKalb and Smith Counties, the organization has given back over $10,000 to assist individuals, communities and school systems’ special needs’ programs with games, tools, and other educational supplies to benefit children with Down syndrome and special needs.

“We want to do what we can to help spread word about this race and Down syndrome specifically, and help people realize these kids are different, but they’re extra special too,” adds Cole.

Down syndrome occurs when an individual has a full or partial extra copy of chromosome 21. Typically, the nucleus of each cell contains 23 pairs of chromosomes.

If you are interested in helping this cause, or would like to donate or become a sponsor, please contact 321Run4DS@gmail.com or at 615-548-4624.


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