Local News Articles

Friday Radiothon Seeks Community Support, Donations for Construction of County's Second Habitat for Humanity Home

June 11, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

DeKalb County’s affiliate chapter of Habitat for Humanity will hold its Radiothon Fundraiser on WJLE Friday morning, June 15th.

“This radiothon will be a main source of funds to put one local family into an affordable and decent home of their own,” says Nolan Turner, president of the local affiliate chapter. “I ask everyone who shares our commitment to help the less fortunate to consider making a donation.”

The Adams St. home will be built for Felicia Gibbs, a divorced single mother, and her children Dasia, 4, and Trystan Seth, 9 months old. Felicia grew up in Alexandria, attended DeKalb West Elementary School, and graduated from DeKalb County High School in 2001. The family met criteria used by Habitat to identify the best candidates for successful home ownership: demonstration of need, ability to pay, and willingness to partner with Habitat.

The group hopes to exceed the $25,000 raised on WJLE in August 2005. “We were overwhelmed with the response to our first radiothon, and are depending on that kind of community support once again,” says Tecia Pryor, chair of Habitat’s development committee and past president.

Radio listeners can phone in a pledge and challenge other members of the community to make a donation by calling 597-4265, 215-5316 and 215-5317 during the three hour event, hosted live on the local radio station from 9 until 12.

All money raised will be applied toward lot purchase, materials and services, with labor donated. Recipients of Habitat-built homes must make a downpayment and put in hours of “sweat equity” before construction can begin. After the house is built, they assume a 20-year interest-free mortgage for the purchase price, based solely on the price of materials and related services.

If Habitat reaches its fundraising goals, construction should begin later this summer. Estimated total costs are expected to exceed $40,000. Monthly mortgage payments should range between $200 and $300.

For more information, please contact these officers of the Habitat Board of Directors: Nolan Turner, president; Tecia Pryor, vice president and chair of the development committee; Nancy Lewis, secretary; or Glenda Davis, treasurer. You may also leave a message on the Habitat voicemail at 215-8181 and a board member will return your call.

Smithville Police Investigate Burglary at Jewel's Market

June 11, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

Smithville Police are investigating a burglary early Monday morning at Jewel's Market on South Congress Boulevard.

The offense report states that \"On or about Monday, June 11st at approximately 1:19 a.m., Officer Leilani Defore was dispatched to an alarm at 1226 South Congress Boulevard. Upon arrival, Officer Defore observed that the front door glass had been shattered to gain entry into Jewel's Market. There were lottery tickets strewn in the parking lot between the store and the car wash, south of the store. There was no sign of anyone on the premises at that time. Store owner Jewel Redmon then arrived and stated that the only thing that he could tell was missing was a case of lottery tickets. There were also pry marks on the side door where someone had attempted to gain entry and failed due to a wooden brace being across the door. Pictures were taken of the scene and Mr. Redmon was asked to call the police department when he could determine a dollar amount of the loss.\"

No arrests have been made.

In other cases, Smithville Police arrested 32 year old Frank Smith of 194 Village Place in Smithville for DUI. Officers detected Smith speeding and driving erratically and confirmed their suspicions after field sobriety tests were administered. He was subsequently arrested and transported to the DeKalb County Jail on a $1,000 bond.

Meanwhile, 46 year old Sandra Cool of 528 Frazier Street was arrested for domestic assault. Officers responded to the 300 block of West Broad Street due to a reported domestic fight in progress. Upon arrival they met with the victim Brian Carter who stated that Cool pulled into the parking lot and jumped out and began striking him in the face. Officers spoke to several witnesses that confirmed the story. Carter, who declined medical treatment, had numerous marks and scrapes to his neck and face area.

Cool was arrested for Domestic Assault and transported to the DeKalb County Jail under a $2,500 bond.

Second Annual Education Celebration Set for August 6th

June 12, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

The Second Annual Education Celebration for DeKalb County has been set for August 6th from 6:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. downtown around the courthouse square.

The celebration is being organized by DeKalb County Board of Education Federal Programs Supervisor Michelle Burklow along with committee members Jennifer Mitchell, Angela Johnson, Pamela Poss, Suzette Barnes, Gina Denman, Melissa Pirtle, and Jamie Vickers.

This Education Celebration is nationally known as First Day of School America and is held annually in a lot of the bigger cities in the United States. Since 1997 the First Day Foundation organization has been assisting schools, families and communities to come together for a celebration on the First Day of each new school year to support education and begin a year-long partnership to promote student success. This is also a time that parents and students can become more familiar with the faculty, staff and PTO of the school that they are entering.

The community can support First Day in a number of ways. Community based organizations can provide materials and resources to parents to make them aware of services available to them in the community. Community leaders- mayors, city council members, clergy, businesses, corporate leaders and others can visit the schools and events and show their support. Local businesses partner with schools by donating products, services and volunteers to the First Day Celebration.

All five schools in DeKalb County will have a booth and be displaying a photo board with their staff and their individual credentials. Each school will also be represented by their school's PTO about what the PTO does and how parents can help. The Lion's Club Vision Screening van will be available that day for vision screenings, the DeKalb County Health Department will be represented with information, and the Tennessee Voices for Children and many other organizations will be there. School bus shuttle rides will be available. Parents are encouraged to park at Northside Elementary starting at 4:45 p.m.. There will be refreshments, inflatable jumping balloons and FREE school supplies.

This event is still in the planning stages and volunteers are needed. Business sponsors are also needed. If you would like to help with this event please call Michelle Burklow at 215-2107.

This celebration is totally free of charge to those who attend so make plans now to join the celebration, downtown Smithville on August 6th.

Ina Ruth Bess Named DeKalb County Teacher of the Year

June 14, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Teacher of the Year is Ina Ruth Bess.

Kathy Bryant, President of the DeKalb County Education Association, made the announcement during Thursday night's Board of Education meeting.

A Teacher of the Year is selected at each of the five schools and one of them is chosen DeKalb County Teacher of the Year.

Ms. Bess was named Teacher of the Year at DeKalb County High School. She is now retired.

Bryant also recognized the other Teachers of the Year including Tom Hill of DeKalb Middle School, Shelia McMillen at DeKalb West School, Christie Young at Smithville Elementary School, and Carrie Gottlied at Northside Elementary School. McMillen was not present during Thursday night's meeting.

Each teacher was awarded a cash prize and a gift from the DeKalb County Education Association.

Director of Schools Mark Willoughby presented his monthly report on personnel to the board.

Those who have resigned since last month include Rob Robinson, Special Education Assistant at DCHS; Michelle Fontanez, a teacher at DCHS, and Jonathan Fontanez, Assistant Principal at DCHS.

Those hired since the last meeting include Janet Green, part-time vision teacher; K. Wayne Taylor, substitute custodian; Helga Thompson, substitute teacher; and Viva Vickers, substitute bus assistant.

Those granted a leave of absence as requested are Kimberly Crook, teacher at DeKalb West School and Amy Fox, teacher at Smithville Elementary School.

The board was scheduled to adopt the tentative budget for 2007-08, but action was postponed until a special meeting set for June 26th at 7:00 p.m., because the final numbers from the state on funding are currently unavailable.

Judy Thomas of the DeKalb Youth Soccer League briefly addressed the board concering possible use of a field between Northside Elementary School and the Family Medical Center.

Chairman Johnny Lattimore said the board plans to meet in an informal workshop session in July to discuss the issue.

The board approved overnight trip requests for FFA students to attend a camp July 2-6 at Doyle and for the DCHS Golf Team to participate in a Golf Tournament at Myrtle Beach, South Carolina September 14-15.

Board member Charles Robinson recognized Willoughby for having done a good job during his first year as Director. Robinson and other board members applauded Willoughby on his performance. Willoughby became Director of Schools on July 1st, 2006

Sheriff Urges Senior Citizens to Beware of Recent Scam

June 15, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

Senior citizens are urged to beware of a recent scam which was perpetrated on a local elderly person.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says a white male, with a large frame build and a close cut beard, went to the home of a senior citizen in the Cherry Hill area of DeKalb County and asked if he could come into the home and check the house for properly insulated walls.

While the man was in the residence, he told the victim that measurements would have to be made of the interior walls. He then asked the victim to take the end of a tape measure and go into another room. With the victim out of sight, the man began prowling through the senior citizen's belongings.

After the victim realized what was going on, he asked the man to leave.

The man was last seen driving a newer model maroon or Burgundy colored 4 door mid-size car possibly a Toyota Camry.

According to the victim, the man said he represented a company that goes door to door to senior citizen's homes making inspections for proper insulation. However, the man would not reveal his company's name nor his own name.

Sheriff Ray asks anyone who has been a victim of this or any scams to contact the DeKalb County Sheriff's Office at 597-4935.

Over $21,000 Raised During WJLE Radiothon For Habitat

June 15, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

Many DeKalb County residents, elected officials, churches and business people helped make home ownership a reality for one local family Friday with pledges and donations totaling over $21,000 during a three hour Radiothon on WJLE for Habitat for Humanity of DeKalb County.

Nolan Turner, president of the local affiliate chapter of Habitat for Humanity says a special thanks goes to all those who supported the radiothon. \"We want to thank the people of DeKalb County who have always been so generous and for the $21,140 they have given today to this worthy cause.\"

Tecia Puckett Pryor, Vice President and Chair of the Development Committee says she is pleased with the response. \"We're so thankful for the support of our whole community. These funds will be used toward the building of our second house in Smithville for partner family Felicia Gibbs and her children. We've got more money to raise. It will probably cost around $40,000 to build this house, so if you would like to continue making donations to us either in memory or in honor of someone, you may write to us at Habitat for Humanity of DeKalb County, P.O. Box 750, Smithville, Tennessee 37166.\"

You may also drop off your donation with Turner or any other board member at DeKalb Community Bank, or with Pryor at the law office of Sue Puckett Jernigan in Smithville.

The Adams Street home will be built for Felicia Gibbs, a divorced single mother, and her children 4 year old Dasia and 9 month old Trystan Seth. Felicia grew up in Alexandria, attended DeKalb West Elementary School, and graduated from DeKalb County High School in 2001. The family met criteria used by Habitat to identify the best candidates for successful home ownership: demonstration of need, ability to pay, and willingness to partner with Habitat.

Recipients of Habitat-built homes are required to come up with a down payment, and put in many hours of \"sweat equity\" before construction can begin. After the house is built, they must pay off an interest- free mortgage, with that money going toward construction of additional Habitat-built houses.

City Election Set for Tuesday- 544 Vote Early

June 15, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

A total of 544 people voted early in the Smithville Municipal Election from May 30th through June 14th.

DeKalb County Election Commission officials report that 526 voted by personal appearance and 18 voted by mail.

Election Day is Tuesday, June 19th from 8:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m.

All voting will be in the basement courtroom of the DeKalb County Courthouse.

Three aldermen will be elected, each to serve a two year term, beginning July 1st.

Incumbents Aaron Meeks, W. J. \"Dub\" White, and Paul Young are being challenged by Jerry Hutchins' Sr., Shawn Jacobs, Tonya Sullivan, Willie Thomas, and Todd Van Dyne.

Man Arrested by Sheriff's Department for Illegal Sales of Beer and Liquor

June 16, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

A 49 year old man, believed to have been illegally selling beer and liquor from his home after hours and to underage customers was arrested after midnight Sunday morning following an undercover investigation by the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says Jose Santos Acuna of 3925 McMinnville Highway is charged with unlawful sale of alcoholic beverages, transportation of alcoholic beverages by a common carrier, and no drivers license.

His bond is set at $15,000 and he will be in General Sessions Court on the charges June 21st

Sheriff Ray says his department, after receiving complaints that Acuna was illegally selling beer from his home, conducted an investigation. He says an informant and an undercover officer were sent to the Acuna residence after midnight Sunday morning to make a beer buy. After the purchase, officers prepared and executed a search warrant and returned to the home. As they arrived, Acuna drove up and he was placed under arrest.

Officers confiscated $10,961 in cash, 123-six packs of beer, 219-twelve packs of beer, 78 bottles of liquor, and a 40 caliber semi-automatic handgun. Acuna's 2002 F-150 Ford Super Cab pickup truck, which had some beer in the back of it, was also seized.

Sheriff Ray says authorities believe Acuna had been conducting his operation for up to two years, selling beer and liquor at inflated prices primarily after hours and on Sundays to other Hispanics, under age customers, and to persons with no identification.

Sheriff Ray says further charges are pending. The Alcoholic Beverage Commission has also been contacted about Acuna's crimes.

If you know of any illegal activities, Sheriff Ray urges you to contact the Sheriff's Department at 597-4935.

Smithville Police Make Arrest In Last Week's Burglary at Jewel's Market

June 18, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

Smithville Police have made an arrest in last Monday morning's burglary of Jewel's Market on South Congress Boulevard in which a case of lottery tickets were stolen.

Chief Thomas J. Stufano says detectives, working a series of burglaries and thefts, have arrested 37 year old Anthony Colwell of 614 Hurricane Ridge Road, Smithville.

Stufano says police received numerous tips from media coverage last week of a burglary and theft at Jewel's Market on South Congress Boulevard. Detectives were also able to link the Jewel's Market theft with a crime that occurred at Walmart in Smithville.

Chief Stufano says \"Video surveillance captured Colwell's appearance at two different locations during the commission of his crimes. Contact was made with the Tennessee Lottery Commission who also helped in the investigation.\" The stolen lottery tickets have been invalidated.

Colwell was paroled in February for similar crimes.

Officers from the Smithville Police Department and the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department went to Colwell's address last week but he evaded arrest by running through some woods at the rear of his residence.

Smithville Police and DeKalb County deputies again responded to the residence on Sunday and found Colwell hiding under a couch that had been altered in the living room. Colwell was subsequently arrested and transported to the DeKalb County Jail under a $40,000 bond. He was charged with Burglary, Theft, Vandalism, Evading Arrest, and two counts of Theft over $1,000. The Tennessee Parole Board has also been notified and is following up with a violation.

The offense report in the Jewel's Market case states that \"On or about Monday, June 11th at approximately 1:19 a.m., Officer Leilani Defore was dispatched to an alarm at 1226 South Congress Boulevard. Upon arrival, Officer Defore observed that the front door glass had been shattered to gain entry into Jewel's Market. There were lottery tickets strewn in the parking lot between the store and the car wash, south of the store. There was no sign of anyone on the premises at that time. Store owner Jewel Redmon then arrived and stated that the only thing that he could tell was missing was a case of lottery tickets. There were also pry marks on the side door where someone had attempted to gain entry and failed due to a wooden brace being across the door.\"

Chief Stufano says \"The overwhelming support of the community and media during this investigation made a significant impact on the recovery and arrest of this individual.\"

In another incident Smithville Police arrested 24 year old David Teachout of 558 East main Street, Smithville for Domestic Assault. Officers responded to a reported fight in progress at the address and found a female victim crying from a reported hurt arm. The incident started when Teachout and the victim's 11 year old son began fighting. The female was pushed by Teachout and fell backwards over a washing machine. Teachout was arrested and charged with Domestic Assault and transported to the DeKalb County Jail under a $2,500 bond.

Buddy Certain of 907 West Main Street, Smithville was also arrested for Domestic Assault. Officers responding to a complaint arrived to see Certain on the floor holding down a female victim by her neck. Further investigation noted that the two had been arguing and Certain slammed the victim against a wall numerous times. He was arrested and transported to the DeKalb County Jail under a $2,500 bond.

Chief Stufano says \"Smithville Police thank the residents and community for their continued participation in the Neighborhood Crime Watch Program which in recent months has provided a wealth of investigative information. Citizens are more vigilant now with the introduction of the program in watching out for their neighbors. As always your confidentiality will be maintained.\"

Two Injured In Monday Afternoon Crash

June 19, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

Two women were treated and released at DeKalb Community Hospital after a two car crash Monday afternoon on East Broad Street in Smithville.

Trooper Allen England of the Tennessee Highway Patrol says 92 year old Ella May Delong Jones of Smithville was driving a 2005 Toyota Corolla attempting to cross Highway 70 from Third Street to Oak Street when her car struck the driver's side of a 2007 Ford Focus, driven by 56 year old Judy Faith Daniel of Smithville, who was traveling east on Highway 70.

Daniel's vehicle overturned on it's top and came to rest on the sidewalk at the corner of Highway 70 and Oak Street, while the Jones car came to rest in the parking lot of a car wash.

Both women were wearing their seatbelts at the time of the accident. Members of the Smithville Volunteer Fire Department's Extrication Team helped get Daniel out of her vehicle. She was not trapped but needed help getting out because she was restrained in her seat with the car upside down.

Both women were taken by DeKalb EMS to DeKalb Community Hospital where they were treated for minor injuries.

The accident was investigated by Trooper England and Trooper Dewaine Jennings of the Tennessee Highway Patrol. Others on the scene included DeKalb EMS, the Smithville Volunteer Fire Department, and the Smithville Police Department.

Trooper England says the eastbound lanes of Highway 70 were closed to traffic for a while during the investigation and cleanup

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