Local News Articles

Steve Trapp to be among Coaches in the Annual Toyota East/West Football All-Star Game

November 22, 2012
Dwayne Page
Coach Steve Trapp

DCHS Football Coach Steve Trapp will be among the coaches in the 6th Annual Toyota East/West High School Football All-Star Game on December 8 at Tennessee Tech University in Cookeville.

Coach Trapp said he will be coaching wide receivers for the East. Meanwhile Will Molander, outstanding wide receiver on the DCHS football team is on the roster to play in the game. Coach Trapp said its an honor for the DCHS football program to be represented in this annual All-Star Classic. "TACA, the Tennessee Athletic Coaches Association, organizes the All-Star Game and I had sent in an e-mail inquiring about how I could potentially help in the All-Star Event. They called me back the next day and said they had already discussed potentially asking me to be on the staff this year so it worked out pretty well. I'm really excited. It's an opportunity for me to go and represent DeKalb County and what we do as a program to expose myself to other coaches. I'm willing to learn and see some other ways to do it and maybe pick up some things but also to network and to get to know some more people. I'm also excited to be able to coach Will Molander as well. He will be in the event with me. I'll be coaching wide receivers. So I'm just really proud to go represent DeKalb County," said Coach Trapp.

Three other DeKalb County players are named as alternates for the All-Star Classic. "Lucas Phillips is an alternate at quarterback. Cody Puckett is a defensive end alternate and Sonni Fullilove is also a wide receiver alternate. If there are some people who cannot play in those positions, there's a small chance that we might have those DeKalb County football players represent us," said Coach Trapp.

Caine Ballard with Greeneville will be the East head coach and Kevin Creasy with Trousdale Co will be the West head coach.

This year's event will take place on the campus of Tennessee Tech in Cookeville. Kickoff is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, December 8, at Tucker Stadium. "We are extremely excited about both rosters," commented Bill Marbet, Executive Director of the Tennessee Athletic Coaches Association, the game's organizing body.

"These players have had exceptional high school careers and many will continue their play at the college level, many in very high profile programs in some of the major conferences across the country. We think it's a great group of young men who will represent their respective high schools very well," he added.

Players are nominated by high school coaches from all across the state, then selected by the coaching staffs for the game. They represent large and small high schools, both public and private.

The 88 players and 16 coaches involved in the game will arrive in Cookeville on Tuesday evening, December 4. Two-a-day practice sessions are scheduled for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday prior to Saturday's game.

County Complex Gymnasium Ready to Re-Open After Replacement of Light Fixtures

November 21, 2012
Dwayne Page
New Lights Installed at County Complex Gym
New guards to help keep lights from breaking at county complex gym

After the gym opened at the new county complex, it became apparent that the low hanging light fixtures from the ceiling might pose a problem. Sure enough, it wasn't long before broken light fixtures became a frequent occurrence from basketball play in the gym.

In order to address the problem, County Mayor Mike Foster said a decision was made to replace the original light fixtures with newer ones closer to the ceiling. For the last several weeks, the gym has been closed to the public until the renovation could be done. With the work now finished, Foster said the gym is expected to re-open by Friday or Monday. "The people who did the remodeling of the whole building, when they put the lights in they put them underneath the trusses," said Foster. "The ceiling is a little bit low and we all questioned (at the time of installation) the way they had the lights. But when people were in there playing, within one night they broke three lights. Part of it is because they tried to shoot from mid court and then they bounced some balls high enough and hard enough that they went up and broke the lens. We closed the gym because we were just afraid that some of the glass shards were going to fall down and cut somebody," he said.

"We contacted the same company (who did the original work) and they ordered some more lights with different guards on them," said Foster. "It took us a while to get them (new light fixtures) and it took them (company) a while to get time to come and do it. They moved the lights up against the ceiling, against the roof to the point that they will be harder to hit and then they have guards on them too so we feel a lot better about them now. They worked on them part of last week and this week, so they have them all in now and we're ready to let people back in there. Hopefully we're ready to go," he said.

Surveillance cameras will also be installed to guard against vandalism. "We're hopefully going to get cameras in there right away so we can watch to make sure that they are not deliberately trying to do it (break the lights). I don't think anybody was. It just happened. But unless they are deliberately trying to do it, I don't think it will be likely now," said Foster.

Northside Elementary Almost Makes List of "Reward Schools"

November 21, 2012
Dwayne Page
Commissioner Kevin Huffman
Northside Elementary School

Northside Elementary School has received special recognition by the state department of education for being on the verge of becoming a "Reward School" for progress in student achievement.

In accordance with Tennessee's new accountability system, designed through the state's waiver from No Child Left Behind, the Tennessee Department of Education names Reward, Priority and Focus schools.

Reward Schools are the top 5 percent of schools in the state for performance—as measured by overall student achievement levels—and the top 5 percent for year-over-year progress—as measured by schoolwide value-added data. These 10 percent of schools receive recognition for their success under the accountability system.

Director of Schools Mark Willoughby said he and Northside Principal Gayle Redmon received a letter of congratulations on November 4 from Kevin Huffman, the State Commissioner of Education. "The letter said Northside Elementary was on the cusp of being a reward school. That meant it didn't get any money but Northside Elementary was in the top 5 percent of schools in achievement growth from last year's report card. We are very happy with that. Everyone at Northside was tickled to get that news," said Willoughby

The letter from Commissioner Huffman states " As you know, under Tennessee's waiver from No Child Left Behind, the state's accountability system focuses on two main objectives for schools and districts: improving overall student achievement and closing achievement gaps by ensuring even faster progress for those groups of students who are furthest behind."

"Part of our new accountability system identifies the top five percent of schools in performance and the top five percent of schools in progress as Reward Schools. The identification of Reward Schools is intended to provide district and school leaders with the opportunity to learn from the successes of other high performing schools. Reward Schools also are eligible for grant funds and additional opportunities and recognition."

"Since the state does not publish a list of rankings of all schools, we believe it is important to let Directors and Principals know if schools are close to achieving a high level of recognition. Northside Elementary was on the cusp of being identified as a Reward school based on progress last school year. In fact, your school progress was within the threshold of those schools identified as Reward, but was excluded under our federal waiver rules because of achievement gaps larger than the state median in any sub-group area and achievement gaps that widened between 2010-11 and 2011-12 school years."

"The Reward list is a relative list, meaning that it is determined by your progress relative to other schools. Given the hard work across the state and the anticipated rate of growth in many schools, we know there will be significant competition to be identified on the Reward list next year. Your school is on the cusp of achieving this recognition and we wanted to let you know how close you are, and encourage you in your work this year."

"Thank you for the work that you and your staff members are taking on in partnership with students and families toward the goal of making Tennessee the fastest improving state in the nation," wrote Commissioner Huffman.

New Hours for Alexandria Post Office to Become Effective January 26

November 20, 2012
Dwayne Page
David Underwood, Manager of Post Office Operations

Its official.

The Alexandria Post Office will begin operating at reduced hours effective Saturday, January 26.

One week following a November 1 community meeting in Alexandria, David Underwood, Manager of Post Office Operations, wrote a letter to postal customers explaining the final decision. "It has been determined that effective January 26, 2013, the Alexandria Post Office will provide six hours of window service each weekday. The facility retail hours will be from 9:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. with lunch from noon until 1:00 p.m. on Monday through Friday, and from 8:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on Saturday. Current Saturday window service hours will not be reduced and access to delivery receptables will not change as a result of the POST Plan realignment of weekday window service hours," wrote Underwood.

"Customers will have access to their mail receptacles 24 hours a day and Post Office Box mail will be available daily for pick-up by 10:00 a.m. Monday-Friday, and at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday," he wrote.

According to Underwood, "The Postal Service concluded that the POST Plan review process for the Alexandria Post Office, customer survey responses, input from the community meeting, and the operational needs of the Postal Service were considered in reaching the implementation decision".

Alexandria carriers began working out of the Watertown Post Office Saturday, November 3.

The Alexandria Post Office is among 260 post offices in Tennessee which will have their hours changed or downsized within the next couple of years, according to Underwood.

Alderman Says Sewer Services Should be Made Available to All City Residents

November 20, 2012
Dwayne Page
Alderman Shawn Jacobs
Mayor Jimmy Poss

The City of Smithville apparently has no plans for annexation anytime soon, but Alderman Shawn Jacobs wants to make sure areas in the city that currently don't have access to city sewer, be given that opportunity first before any future annexation occurs.

Alderman Jacobs raised the issue during Monday night's city council meeting. "If I'm not mistaken, there are houses in the city limits that don't have sewer. And I know we also have some areas that have requested annexation. What is keeping us from running sewer to the houses that are currently in the city limits that don't have sewer?. I certainly think we should provide them sewer before we start thinking of annexing any other areas that might be requested or specified in our five year land use plan. There may be some grant money available," said Alderman Jacobs.

Mayor Jimmy Poss said he has explored grant possibilities for sewer projects. "I did put in for that very thing. If we get any (grant money) that's what I want to use it for. Somebody, and I've forgot who it was, wanted to know what we wanted and I told them then that we'd like to have some grant money to do a sewer rehab or sewer lines," he said

Mayor Poss said there has been interest in annexing some areas into the city on the west side of town but no plan has been presented. "I do know there was some that were talking about annexation on the west part of town but I haven't heard back on anything positive in that way," said Mayor Poss.

"I just think that before we even consider any kind of annexation, we should be providing sewer to everybody in the city limits," said Alderman Jacobs. "I just wondered by we weren't doing that already," he added.

"The only one I know of is one street (with no sewer) and part of it is in the city and part is in the county," said Mayor Poss.

"There's some houses on Riley Avenue that don't have sewer," said Alderman Tim Stribling.

"You're right. I know now where you're talking about," answered Mayor Poss. "We can look into it and see why (all areas aren't served)," he added.

"They (residents not served by sewer) are paying taxes just like everybody else and we ought to try to provide them (sewer service)," said Alderman Jacobs.

"Yeah, but they don't pay sewer rates," answered Mayor Poss

"But if possible I think we should extend to them the opportunity (for sewer service)," said Alderman Jacobs

"Let us look into that and we'll come back next time," concluded Mayor Poss.

In other business, the aldermen voted to hire James Gohs as a full time employee in the city's sanitation department, now that he has successfully completed his sixty day probationary period.

Meanwhile, Mayor Poss said letters have been mailed to members of the DeKalb Utility District Board of Directors asking for a face to face meeting on a new water contract. Mayor Poss said so far he has not heard back from any of them.

The city aldermen, two weeks ago at the suggestion of Secretary-Treasurer Hunter Hendrixson, voted to send DUD board members a letter asking for a meeting between the city and DUD to begin face to face discussions.

"DUD has sent us a written proposal/contract asking us what we would like for the contract to be for a long term purchase program of our water," said Hendrixson. "Rather than just go back and forth by letters, I think the board (mayor and aldermen) should have a sit down with their board to just get down to it and figure out what they (DUD) want and if they really want it. I would like permission from the board (aldermen) to send a letter to each of their (DUD) board members asking for a sit down (meeting) to hopefully negotiate a long term contract," he said.

The City of Smithville currently sells water to the DeKalb Utility District for $2.00 per thousand gallons and under terms of the contract, the rate increases by five cents per thousand in January of each year. The two parties entered into the contract in 2004 and it expires in 2014.

Mayor Poss mentioned that the city has erected the new Christmas lights around downtown."We've heard some good comments. We're proud of them. Maybe we can add to them next year. This is a start," he said.

Police Seek Tips in Solving Attempted Robbery and Assault

November 19, 2012
Dwayne Page

Smithville Police are asking for your help in solving an attempted robbery and assault.

Chief Randy Caplinger said that on Sunday, November 18 a man and his wife had just returned home from church when a man, wearing dark clothing and a ski mask emerged from behind their residence on Walker Drive and approached the couple. The man threatened to kill them both unless the victim turned over his wallet. The two men got into an altercation and the assailant assaulted the victim, cutting him with what was believed to be a pocket knife. The victim dropped to the ground for his safety and the assailant fled on foot toward the end of the street. He had already left the area by the time police arrived. Police reported that the victim was bleeding from his hands and ears. The assailant was described as a middle aged Caucasian, approximately 5' 7 " weighing about 140 pounds.

If you have information that could lead to an arrest in the case, call the crime tip line at 464-6046. It could mean a reward to you through the Smithville Police Department's Crime Stoppers Program.

Meanwhile, 37 year old Desiree Nichole Ferrell was cited for shoplifting on Monday, November 12.. Ferrell was observed by a Wal-Mart employee taking items and then leaving the store without paying for them. Her court date is December 13.

47 year old Riley Anthony Bullard was cited on Friday, November 16 for driving on a revoked license due to a DUI after an officer spotted Bullard operating a motor vehicle. His court date is December 13

31 year old Jared Scott Atnip was arrested on Sunday, November 18 for a third offense of driving under the influence. He was also cited for simple possession and possession of drug paraphernalia. According to the warrant; police were called to check out a vehicle setting in the roadway on Bryant Street. The man behind the wheel appeared to be passed out. His head was slumped onto his chest, his foot was on the brake pedal, the car was in gear and the engine was running. The driver, Atnip, woke up when the officer opened the door and turned off the engine. Atnip had very slow, slurred speech and he could not focus. Atnip was asked to step out of the car so it could be moved out of the roadway. He was very unsteady on his feet. Atnip was arrested for DUI and on his person, police found drug paraphernalia. Upon an inventory of his vehicle, the arresting officer also found a small clear bag containing two pills. Bond for Atnip is $4,500 and his court date is December 5.

52 year old Kelley Lee Hollingsworth was cited for shoplifting on Sunday, November 18. A Wal-Mart employee informed police that Hollingsworth took a clock radio out of the box, concealed it in her pocket and tried to leave the store without paying for it. Her court date is December 13.

29 year old Tina Marie Padin was cited for shoplifting on Sunday, November 18. Padin was observed attempting to leave the Dollar General Store with items in her purse that she had not bought. Her court date is December 13.

Anyone with information on any criminal activity is asked to contact the Smithville Police Department at 597-8210 or the Tip Line at 464-6046.

Any information received that would help Smithville Police solve any criminal offense would be greatly appreciated. All information is confidential.

Cantrell Charged with Burglaries of a Home, Outbuilding, Church, and Two Vehicles

November 19, 2012
Dwayne Page
William Andrew "Andy" Cantrell
Brett Allen Anderson
James Robert Whitaker, III
Cesario Gaspar Cortez
Cindy Armstrong Sherrell Lemons
Desiree Nichole Ferrell

A 44 year old man has been arrested by the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department after allegedly breaking into a home, an outbuilding, two vehicles, and a church on Sunday, Veterans Day.

William Andrew "Andy" Cantrell of Redman Road Smithville is charged with burglary (4 counts), theft of property under $500, aggravated burglary, theft of property over $1,000, vandalism (2 counts) and introduction or possession of drugs into a penal institution where prisoners are quartered. Cantrell is under a $70,000 bond and he will be in court on November 29.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Sunday, November 11, Cantrell allegedly broke into a residence on Big Woods Road by prying open a back door. He also broke a window. Cantrell allegedly stole from the home a 22 caliber H & R target pistol, valued at $400. Cantrell also allegedly broke into an outbuilding at the residence. Entry was made through a window. Once inside he took a four wheeler and burst through the doors of the outbuilding.

On the same day, Cantrell allegedly broke into two vehicles at another residence on Big Woods Road. Both vehicles were unlocked so entry was made by simply opening the doors. Cantrell allegedly tried to steal one of the vehicles. He damaged the steering wheel column around the ignition keyhole as well as the glove box. The total amount of the vandalism to that vehicle was estimated at $1,000. Cantrell allegedly tried to steal the radio in the other vehicle and caused damage to the dashboard around the radio.

Cantrell also allegedly broke into the Old Fashion Free Will Baptist Church on Blue Springs Road. Entry was made through a back door. He allegedly stole a laptop computer, two wireless keyboards, a projector, and a black bag with a total estimated value of $2,200.

After being arrested and taken to jail on Monday November 12, Cantrell was searched by correctional officers and they found on him a small red plastic container with a powdery substance believed to be methamphetamine.

44 year old Brett Allen Anderson of King Ridge Road, Dowelltown is charged with vandalism. His bond is $1,000 and he will be in court December 13.

Sheriff Ray said that on Tuesday, November 13, a deputy was called to investigate a vandalism at a residence. Upon arrival, the officer saw damage to a door. He spoke to Anderson who admitted to kicking in the door and entering the residence. The home apparently belongs to the landlord of someone Anderson had been seeing. Anderson was arrested on Wednesday, November 14.

20 year old Christopher Thomas Pack of Adams Street, Smithville is charged with underage driving while impaired. He was also issued citations for underage consumption, failure to exercise due care, and failure to maintain his lane of travel. His bond is $1,500 and he will be in court on December 13.

Sheriff Ray said that on Wednesday, November 14, a deputy responded to a one vehicle accident with property damage on Big Rock Road. Upon arrival, the officer made contact with the driver, Pack. According to Sheriff Ray, Pack had a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on his person. He was acting very nervous. The deputy asked him if he had consumed any alcohol prior to the accident. Pack allegedly admitted that he had been drinking beer. Pack performed poorly on field sobriety tasks and he submitted to a blood alcohol test.

22 year old James Robert Whitaker, III of Tammi Kay Road, Smithville is charged with domestic assault. His bond is $2,500.

Sheriff Ray said that on Friday, November 16 a deputy responded to a 911 call of a domestic dispute between a father and son at a residence on Tammi Kay Road. After speaking to everyone involved, the officer determined that the son, James Robert Whitaker, III was the primary aggressor. According to Sheriff Ray, Whitaker wanted the keys to the car but his father told him no. Whitaker replied that he would get the keys one way or another. He then grabbed his father's ankle and twisted his foot, knocking him off his feet.

26 year old Cesario Gaspar Cortez of East Main Street, Smithville is charged with domestic assault. His bond is $2,500 and he will be in court November 29. He was arrested on Sunday, November 18.

Sheriff Ray said that on October 7, Cortez came home drunk on Cecil Hale Road and allegedly assaulted his wife by hitting her in the eye with a chopping block and scratching her face with a key. He also pushed her down. Cortez then allegedly put her in a vehicle and carried her to the emergency room of Cookeville Regional hospital for medical treatment. Cortez is being held for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

32 year old Cindy Armstrong Sherrell Lemons of Potts Camp Road, Smithville is charged with simple possession of a schedule III controlled substance (hydrocodone) and unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia. Her bond is $4,000 and she will be in court on November 29.

Sheriff Ray said that on Sunday, November 18 Lemons was arrested on a state warrant for violation of probation. The arresting officer received consent to search her vehicle and found two hypodermic needles in the driver seat where Lemons had been sitting. The needles were wrapped in a plastic bag which was also covered in tissue paper. While being transported to the jail, Lemons pulled a plastic bag from her pants, with her hands cuffed behind her back. She then opened the bag containing pills, believed to be hydrocodone, dumped them out and started consuming the pills. Lemons was stopped before she could consume them all.

37 year old Desiree Nichole Ferrell of Fiddler's Lane, Smithville is charged with fraudulent use of a debit card and forgery. Her bond is $4,000 and she will be in court on November 29. She was arrested on Monday, November 19.

Sheriff Ray said that on October 15, Ferrell allegedly stole a debit card and went to an ATM machine and withdrew $319 for her own use. Four days later, on October 19 Ferrell allegedly passed a forged check in the amount of $70 at a local market.

The case was investigated by a criminal detective of the sheriff's department.

Fire Leaves Family Homeless

November 17, 2012
Dwayne Page
Donny Green

A fire Thursday night left a DeKalb County family homeless.

The Dan Street family, who lived at 5640 Dry Creek Road, lost their home and belongings in the fire. The local chapter of the American Red Cross is now working to meet the immediate needs of the Street family.

Central dispatch received the call at 7:13 p.m. from someone who spotted the flames from a distance and thought it to be a forest fire. But when firefighters arrived, they discovered it was a structure fire. County Fire Chief Donny Green said the home was already too far gone and could not be saved.

According to Chief Green, the Street family had left home around 6:30 p.m. to visit relatives so no one was home at the time of the fire. The cause of the blaze is undetermined.

The home, rented by the Street family, belongs to Jimmy Byford.

Members of the Main Station of the county volunteer fire department and the brush truck responded to the scene along with officers of the Sheriff's Department.

Meanwhile, a fire later that night at 11:57 p.m. destroyed a barn on Cecil Hale Road. Members of the Short Mountain Highway and Blue Springs stations of the County Volunteer Fire Department responded. No one was injured.

Church Receives Chamber Community Improvement Award

November 16, 2012
Church Receives Chamber Community Improvement Award

The Smithville-DeKalb County Chamber of Commerce has presented a Community Improvement Award to the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, 201 South College Street, Smithville for the exterior improvements to their church.

The entire front was redone including brick landing, steps, and planter as well as new railings. New wood chairs, gliders, and swings were also added for outdoor seating in the playground and other areas.

Pictured l-r:

Chamber Board Member Julia Cantrell, Smithville Mayor Jimmy Poss, Pastor Larry Green, Elder Jerry Draper, TN Downtowns Program Steering Committee Member Wade Smith, Chamber Director Suzanne Williams.

Local Emergency Services to Conduct Disaster Drill at Shiroki North America

November 16, 2012
Dwayne Page
Charlie Parker

If you see emergency vehicles at Shiroki North America today (Friday), don't be alarmed.

Local emergency services are staging a mock disaster there.

Charlie Parker, Smithville Fire Chief and DeKalb County Emergency Management Agency Director, said the drill will be how local officials respond in the event of a major fire at a large industrial building. "We're going to be conducting a disaster drill in Smithville today (Friday). It's a prepared drill training exercise for our local law enforcement, EMS, and fire and rescue personnel. It will also involve DeKalb Community Hospital. We'll conduct this exercise at SW Manufacturing. They have been nice to let us use their facility to conduct the drill. We will simulate a fire at that facility so there will be a lot of emergency vehicles around the SW manufacturing building and moving back and forth between the hospital. We just want to let everybody know that it is a drill. It will go on for a few hours. We'll be practicing emergency operations to get better prepared for emergencies in our county," said Chief Parker.


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