Local News Articles

Carter Appeals Statutory Rape Sentence

October 24, 2006
by: 
Dwayne Page

53 year old Gary Marshall Carter, sentenced last month on a charge of statutory rape, has filed a notice of appeal of the judgment to the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals.

Criminal Court Judge Leon Burns Jr., on September 25th, denied Carter's request for judicial diversion and ordered Carter to serve nine months of a two year sentence and then be on probation for a total of four years.

The charge stems from an alleged incident dating back to the Spring of 2005 and involves a girl who was under the age of 18 at the time.

Carter had entered a plea at an August hearing but filed the request for judicial diversion hoping to avoid any jail time.

As part of the sentence, Carter was required to submit to the Sexual Offender Registration and Monitoring Act and he is now listed on the TBI Sexual Offender Registry.

On Tuesday, October 24th , Carter filed a $50,000 appearance/surety bond and will apparently be free pending the disposition of the appeal.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says he was approached Monday night by Carter's attorney Hilton Conger asking if the Sheriff would agree to a work release program for Carter, subject to the court's approval, so that Carter could keep his job at the county landfill.

Sheriff Ray told Conger he would not agree to such a request due to the seriousness of the offense and due to the fact that the Sheriff's Department has no work release program.

Sheriff Ray said he also turned down Conger's request to make Carter a trusty at the jail. Sheriff Ray says he told Conger that he doesn't permit convicted sex offenders to be trusty's .

TDOT Officials Review Highway 56 Plans With Property Owners

October 27, 2006
by: 
Dwayne Page

Officials of the Tennessee Department of Transportation met Thursday night with property owners who will be affected by the proposed widening and improvement of Highway 56 south between East Bryant Street and Magness Road in DeKalb County.

The meeting was held at Northside Elementary School.

Bryant Williams, TDOT Transportation Specialist from the Right of Way Office in Chattanooga, said property owners got a chance to see the plans and to ask questions. "We're here to show the property owners the plans and explain how the plans will affect their properties. We're also here to see if there's any mistakes as far as property lines or names of the owners, on the plans."

"This project starts at Magness Road and extends about five miles to East Bryant Street. Part of the project will be curbs and gutters and part of it down to the south will be a divided highway with four lanes. The part toward town will be four lanes with curbs, gutters, sidewalks, and a turning lane."

"Right now we're showing six relocation tracks. We have a total of 70 tracks we'll have to buy. We should be out buying in the spring of 2007. The appraisal work is going to be starting soon. The project letting date is the spring of 2008, that's when the project will go to letting for construction. The construction work will start sometime after that."

In addition to the six relocations, the county's garbage collection convenience site on Highway 56 will have to be removed.

Officials say a portion of Highway 56 will be redesigned taking a new path, east of the existing route, from near the Smithville City Limits to near Smithville Nursery.

Intersections at Old Blue Springs Road and Keltonburg Road are also expected to be redesigned.

Many property owners affected by the new road are unhappy with the proposed project and some expressed their opposition during Thursday night's meeting.

Habitat for Humanity Chili Cook-off A Success

October 27, 2006
by: 
Dwayne Page

Approximately 300 people enjoyed chili Friday at Habitat for Humanity?s Third Annual Chili Cook-off, which was held at the First Methodist Church CFC. The Inn at Evins Mill took the top honors for Best Chili, with ?The Chuckwagon Chili Crew? from the DeKalb County Board of Education following in second place and Middle Tennessee Natural Gas in third. In the decorating contest, ?Great Bowls of Fire? from Bradley Printing placed first, followed by Middle Tennessee Natural Gas in second place and the ?Edgar Evins Chili Peppers? from Edgar Evins State Park in third.

According to Tecia Puckett Pryor, Habitat board president, the event raised $3,300.00, which will be used toward the building of the second Habitat house in DeKalb County. ?We were really pleased with the turnout, especially in light of the weather,? said Pryor. ?We appreciate all the teams for their participation and for their flexibility and good sportsmanship. We also appreciate everyone who came out to eat chili and those who donated baked goods to sell. I think everybody had a great time, and we look forward to another successful cook-off next year.?

Nine teams participated in the event, including ?Great Bowls of Fire? from Bradley Printing, ?Curves Divas? from Curves of Smithville, ?Chuckwagon Chili Crew? from the DeKalb County Board of Education, ?The Hot Checks Chili? from DeKalb Community Bank, ?The Courthouse Crew? from the DeKalb County Courthouse, ?Edgar Evins Chili Peppers? from Edgar Evins State Park, ?The Bean Counters? from Tom Janney, CPA and Associates, Middle Tennessee Natural Gas, and The Inn at Evins Mill. The Middle Tennessee Times had a ?Times Tummy Table,? and sold items for post-chili relief.

Habitat for Humanity of DeKalb County is a locally run affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International, a nonprofit, ecumenical Christian housing organization. Habitat for Humanity builds and renovates houses in partnership with volunteers and families in need, regardless of their ethnic or religious background. The houses then are sold to those in need at no profit and with no interest charged. To contact Habitat for Humanity of DeKalb County, please call 215-8181.

Five Injured In Saturday Evening Wreck

October 29, 2006
by: 
Dwayne Page

Five people were injured in a two vehicle accident around 5:05 p.m. Saturday evening on Highway 70 East in front of the Gentleman's Club.

Trooper Jimmy Tisdale of the Tennessee Highway Patrol says 22 year old Joseph Wayne Jenkins of Smithville, driving a 1996 Buick Century, was in the eastbound lane, turning left into the Gentleman's Club parking lot, when he crossed the path of a westbound 2002 Chrysler Sebring, driven by 61 year old Ruth L. Ladd of Sparta.

Jenkins was not transported but a passenger of his vehicle, 31 year old Robert H. Mattox of Smithville was taken to the hospital.

Ladd was also transported along with passengers of her vehicle,, 37 year old Melissa Shay of McMinnville; 7 year old Braxton Worthington of McMinnville, and 10 year old Austin Shay of McMinnville.

Trooper Tisdale says all six persons were buckled in during the crash and were not believed to have been seriously injured.

DCHS Band Wins Big At Knoxville

October 30, 2006
by: 
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County High School Band traveled to South Doyle High School in Knoxville for the Smoky Mountain Invitational Marching Band Festival on Saturday and outscored 9 other bands in 2 separate classes. The band brought home 8 trophies in all, three of which were larger than some of the students.

The DC Color Guard placed 2nd in class A just behind the Alcoa Color Guard. The guard scored enough to beat two of the four bands in the class by upwards of 4 points.

A score of 88.38 placed the band 1st in class A and 1st in Division which was a combination of Class A and AA, beating out bands that were larger. The next closest score was 86.13 by Jefferson County in the larger class.

The percussion section outscored the others in class and division as well. 89.50 was the score that beat out the Gibbs County percussion section who scored a 88.00.

The Field Commander Dustin Estes, assisted by Michelle Scott placed 1st in class and 1st in Division with a score of 94. That score was 4 points higher than any other field commander in the whole competition. (Class A, AA, AAA, AAAA).

Band Director Chuck Gilbert said \"it's really good to get the wins that these students deserve but we can't stew on it. We have to use it for fuel and look ahead to our Division II State Championship next weekend\" When asked about the performance Mr. Gilbert said \"I hadn't seen any of our competition when we came off the field but I knew they had just put on a performance that was worthy of a 1st place trophy. It was good to actually bring home the hardware. I want everyone to know how hard these students work. I am very proud of them and I hope they are proud of themselves. They deserve this win\".

As the Band buses made their way back to DeKalb County they were greeted at the county line by two county sheriff cars with lights flashing. One escorted from the front and one in behind. As they got to the City Limits of Smithville, a City Police Car stepped up in front of the whole caravan. Band Booster President Kennie Barnes, who is one of the drivers of the Equipment Bus, said \"It's really good to get to make some racket for these kids. I'd like to thank the sheriff's department and police department for being so supportive of our kids.\"

Next weekend the High School Band travels to Goodpasture High School for the Division II State Championship. They are scheduled to take the field for their performance at 1:45pm. Mr. Gilbert said \"We should know the full schedule by mid-week\". For those that are interested in driving up with the \"Tiger Band Caravan\" can call the band room at 597-7213 or log onto www.DekalbBand.com for the schedule.

Judge Hands Down Sentences In Criminal Court

October 31, 2006
by: 
Dwayne Page

Several defendants charged in various crimes appeared for sentencing Friday in DeKalb County Criminal Court before Judge Leon Burns, Jr.

36 year old Royce Avoin Foster pleaded guilty to burglary and received a four year sentence to serve in the Tennessee Department of Corrections. He was given credit for 153 days of jail time served.

46 year old Sammy Gene Taylor pleaded guilty to burglary and evading arrest. He received a three year sentence to serve 60 days in the DeKalb County jail with the balance on probation supervised by DOC. He must perform 100 hours of community service work and undergo an alcohol and drug assessment and follow the prescribed treatments. He received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days on the evading arrest charge but that will run concurrently with the burglary conviction. The case will run consecutive to any other sentence against him. He was given credit for 52 days of jail time served.

29 year old Christopher Hall pleaded guilty to theft over $1,000, eight counts of burglary, and one count of evading arrest. All the cases will run concurrently. He received a four year sentence all suspended except one year to serve either in jail or at Teen Challenge. He must pay restitution in the case.

40 year old Martin Riley pleaded guilty to theft over $1,000 and received a three year sentence reduced to time served with the remainder on DOC probation. He must make restitution of $3,600 and perform 100 hours of community service work and agree to testify against another person in the case. The sentence will run consecutive to any other case against him in Wilson County. Riley must undergo an alcohol and drug assessment and follow the prescribed treatments.

23 year old Johnny Devault pleaded guilty to conspiracy/introduction of contraband into a penal facility. He received a three year sentence, all suspended to DOC probation, supervised by community corrections. He will be on community corrections probation during the first year of his probation. He must complete 100 hours of community service work and undergo an alcohol and drug assessment and follow the prescribed treatments. He was given 36 days of jail credit.

26 year old Kim (Kym) Curtis, charged with criminal conspiracy, was granted pre-trial diversion under a memorandum of understanding for a period of two years. During this time, she must perform 100 hours of community service work.

Aubrey Beene III pleaded guilty to a second offense of driving under the influence and driving while revoked.. He received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days, suspended to 60 days to serve and he has lost his drivers license for two years. He was fined a total of $660 and was given five days of jail credit.

21 year old Steve F, Mabe, Sr. pleaded guilty to forgery and received a two year sentence, all suspended to probation.

47 year old Anna Adams pleaded guilty to possession of a schedule II controlled substance for resale. She received a four year sentence, suspended to probation. The case is to run concurrent with another case against her. She must pay a fine of $2,000.

27 year old Natasha Helms pleaded guilty to possession of drug paraphernalia. She received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days all suspended to probation. She may be released from probation if all fines and court costs are paid after six months. She was fined $150

35 year old Audrey Ledbetter pleaded guilty to simple possession of a schedule II controlled substance and received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days suspended to 10 days to serve with the balance on PSI supervised probation. She must pay a fine of $750. The ten days will be suspended upon her being admitted into the Putnam County drug court. Ledbetter must complete 25 hours of community service work and complete an alcohol and drug assessment and follow the prescribed treatments. The sentence is to run consecutive to a Putnam County sentence against her.

36 year old Clinton Maples pleaded guilty to three counts of worthless check and received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days with 30 days to serve in each case with all counts running concurrently but consecutive to any other case against him including one in Warren County. He will then be on PSI probation and he must make restitution of $180.34.

30 year old Brian Roberts pleaded guilty to assault and evading arrest and received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days in each case with both to run concurrently. He will be on PSI supervised probation. Roberts must complete 25 hours of community service work, undergo an alcohol and drug assessment and follow the prescribed treatments, and complete behavioral management classes.

33 year old Ruthie Shoemake pleaded guilty to prescription fraud and received a three year sentence, suspended to 30 days to serve with the balance on BOPP supervised probation. The 30 days may be served on weekends. She must complete 100 hours of community service work and undergo an alcohol and drug assessment and follow the prescribed treatments.

39 year old Marilyn Strayn pleaded guilty to possession of unlawful drug paraphernalia and received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days suspended to 30 days to serve with the balance on BOPP supervised probation. She must pay a fine of $150 and stay out of the Fred's Department Store. Strayn must also complete 25 hours of community service work and undergo an alcohol and drug assessment and follow the prescribed treatments. The case is to run consecutive to another sentence against her.

Stufano Named Smithville Police Chief

November 1, 2006
by: 
Dwayne Page

The City of Smithville has named Thomas J. Stufano as the new Police Chief, effective November 1st.

Chief Stufano, who has been working in recent months as the city police department's executive officer, brings with him 26 years of law enforcement and executive management experience in local, state, and U.S. government venues.

He will be leaving the U.S. government where he worked as a Division Supervisor with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security-Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Chief Stufano was also a Senior Manager with the U.S. Transportation Security Administration working as a primary Executive/Instructor in airport security explicity dealing with terrorist and clandestine intervention of destructive devices into U.S. Airports.

He was instrumental in helping resolve a number of international hijackings from Cuba to the Key West International Airport. Most recently, he was commended by both the FBI and US Department of Homeland Security for his discovery and investigative follow-up regarding an extensive fraud case against the U.S. government during the Katrina disaster.

In addition to his vast experience, Chief Stufano holds a Master in Business Administration degree in Military Management from Touro University in New York and is also a graduate of the U.S. Air Command and Staff College and the U.S. government's Emergency Management Institute.

FirstBank Acquires Seven AmSouth Branches

November 2, 2006
by: 
Dwayne Page

FirstBank announced today (Wednesday) an agreement to acquire seven branch offices in Middle Tennessee from AmSouth Bank.

Included in the deal will be customer deposits of about $400 million. The 58 AmSouth employees at the branches will become FirstBank associates, officials said.

When given final approval by state and federal banking regulators, the acquisition will bring Lexington-based FirstBank?s total assets to more than $1.9 billion. Closing is expected in early 2007.

?We are very pleased to increase our statewide franchise by joining these markets, and we want to welcome the AmSouth employees as associates and members of the FirstBank family,? said FirstBank Chairman Jim Ayers. ?This acquisition allows us to offer the products and services we provide to more people in more communities in Tennessee.?

The new FirstBank branches will be in Crossville, Dayton, Fayetteville, Paris, Shelbyville, Smithville and Woodbury. FirstBank will acquire all seven AmSouth branches being divested in Tennessee.

FirstBank President and CEO Doug Cruickshanks said they will move quickly to make the former AmSouth associates and customers feel at home, and that customers will be contacted regarding any changes.

?We feel very confident that our new FirstBank customers will be very happy with the services and products we offer,? Cruickshanks said. ?With more than 40 locations now across the state and nearly $2 billion in assets, FirstBank can service almost any customer need in these markets, including large loans, but still deliver in our unique community-banking style.?

FirstBank is the largest independently owned bank in Tennessee and upon completion of this acquisition will have 43 locations and approximately $1.9 billion in assets.

As the leader among Tennessee?s community banks, FirstBank offers its customers a broad line of financial products and services, and actively promotes initiatives that improve the quality of life for Tennesseans, with an emphasis on education in the communities it serves. Jim Ayers is owner and chairman of FirstBank and founder of the Ayers Foundation.

To read more about FirstBank, a wholly owned subsidiary of First South Bancorp, Inc., visit its Web site at www.firstbankonline.com.

Morgan Avenue Woman Arrested In Drug Bust

November 3, 2006
by: 
Dwayne Page

Smithville Police arrested a Morgan Avenue woman Thursday night in a drug bust at her residence.

Chief Thomas J. Stufano says Glenda Diane Stanley of 440 Morgan Avenue is charged with possession of drugs for resale. Her bond is set at $50,000.

In a prepared news release, Chief Stufano says over 114 unregistered prescription pills, cash, and a gun were recovered as a result of an investigation by Sergeant Steve Deffendoll and Officer Marcus Caldwell using the department's newly certified Drug Enforcement K-9. The pills, hidden throughout the residence, were allegedly being sold as illegal controlled substances.

Stufano says confidential sources stated that the drug activity was excessive with people coming and going at all hours of the night and usually staying for 2 to 3 minutes and then leaving.

Officers also recovered a large cache of jewelry believed to have been exchanged for drugs, in lieu of cash.

Chief Stufano says the jewelry will be crossed referenced with other police agencies to determine if it has been reported stolen elsewhere.

The case remains under investigation.

Chief Stufano says the Smithville Police Department is committed to aggressively investigating all drug activity within the city limits and urges all citizens to report anything suspicious occurring in their neighborhoods.

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