Local News Articles

Harlem Wizards to Play Local Educators in Fundraising Basketball Game

September 26, 2012
Dwayne Page
Harlem Wizards to Play Local Educators in Fundraising Basketball Game
Suzette Barnes

Trick-hoops and alley-oops are coming to DeKalb County High School Thursday night, October 11 at 7:00 p.m.

The Harlem Wizards, a show basketball team, will play local educators and business people to raise funds for the DeKalb County High School basketball programs. "This is an exhibition basketball team, similar to the Harlem Globetrotters," said Suzette Barnes. "This event is hosted by DeKalb County High School basketball boosters and all proceeds will go to the DeKalb County High School basketball programs," she said.

Advance tickets are $8.00 for students and $10.00 for adults and may be purchased at Kilgore's Restaurant, Liberty State Bank, or at the DeKalb County Complex. Tickets may be purchased at the door the night of the event at $10.00 for students and $12.00 for adults.

"We're going to put on a show like basketball on Broadway, baby. You get to see a little bit of everything," said Arthur Lewis Jr., who is known as King Arthur on the court.

The team's mix of comedy and athleticism inspires as well as entertains, according to Lewis.

"We inspire a lot of people," Lewis said. Not just to play basketball, but to pursue bigger and better lives."Dream. A lot of kids don't dream anymore," Lewis said. "It's about more than the sport. It's about using the sport to get an education."

Lewis has played basketball all his life, falling in love with the sport at a young age. He played through high school and then at Bowie State University in Maryland where he was named an Academic All-American. Lewis has also played with the American Basketball Association and was a two-time all-star in the International Basketball League.

The local team taking on the Wizards will be made up of educators from all five schools according to Barnes. "From DeKalb West is Audrey Russell and Sabrina Farler. From DeKalb Middle School we'll have Randy Jennings, Amanda Dakas, Josh Agee, Justin Nokes, and Karen Pelham. From DCHS, is Coach K, Kathy Bryant, Jenny Norris, and Patrick Cripps will be the coach. From Northside Elementary, we'll have Jerry Foster and Gayle Redman will be our water girl. From Smithville Elementary, we have Karen Knowles and Julie Vincent. From the Central Office we will have Director Mark Willoughby and Danielle Collins," she said.

Local business people will also be participating. "We'll have Jason Murphy from Optimus Pest Solutions, Jonathon Norris from Southern Landscape Supply, Matt Lawrence from DeKalb Tire and Service, Tim Tobbit from Good Health Family Clinic and many others. Its going to be a good night for educators and community business people to come together for a good night of basketball," said Barnes.

"We will play four quarters of basketball and have a half time show. At the end of the game we'll have an autograph session. Souvenirs will be on sale and anyone who purchases souvenirs can stay after the game and get those signed by the Harlem Wizard players. We will also have a full concession stand operating that night," she added.

"Its serving as a fundraiser for our high school basketball programs. This year, we are going to play in a Christmas tournament December 26-29 in Florida. It is our hope that we can raise enough money from this to help offset some of the costs for that trip," said Barnes.

"Everyone should (come out). It's for your own school, it's for your own kids," said Lewis. "You'll really enjoy yourself," Lewis said. "For one night, everyone in the community can come together," he added.

Referendum Supporters/Opponents May be Subject to Election Laws

September 26, 2012
Dennis Stanley

Those who are supporting or opposing the upcoming retail package store referendum are being reminded today that certain election laws may apply to their activities.

Dennis Stanley, Administrator of Elections, said in general terms that communications such as signs, broadcast and print advertisements must include a disclaimer of who paid for the communication. In addition, he said if two or more persons join forces to support or oppose or an entity such as a church takes a position on a referendum they are subject to the state's campaign finance laws.

"The election commission obviously is not taking a position on the referendum, but just informing those who are that certain state laws may apply to their activities," Stanley said.

"In general terms, the state law which applies to political communications for candidates, also impacts those supporting or opposing a local referendum," Stanley added.

For example, whenever any person "makes an expenditure for the purpose of financing a communication that expressly advocates the election or defeat of" a candidate or referendum question "or that solicits any contributions
through any broadcasting station, newspaper, magazine outdoor advertising facility, poster, yard sign, direct mailing or any other form of general public political advertising, a disclaimer..shall appear and be presented in a clear and conspicuous manner to give the reader, observer or listener adequate notice of the identity of persons who paid for" the

Those who fail to follow the law are subject to a complaint being filed with the District Attorney General's office.

As for filing campaign expense forms, Stanley said "reports of appointment of treasurers and disclosure of contributions and expenditures are required of : (1) a group of two or more individuals making expenditures
to support or oppose any state or local measure in a referendum, (2) a corporation or any other organization making expenditures to support or oppose any state or local referendum, (3) any committee, club, association
or group of persons receiving contributions or making expenditures totaling more than $250 in a calendar year to support or oppose any state or local measure in a referendum."

Those who fail to follow this law could be subject to civil penalties.

Questions regarding either the advertising disclosure law or campaign finance disclosure law can be directed to the local election office at 597-4146.

DUD and City May Negotiate New Water Contract

September 25, 2012
Dwayne Page
DeKalb Utility District
Smithville City Hall

Are the DeKalb Utility District and the City of Smithville ready to make a deal on a new water contract?

With plans for a new DUD water treatment plant still in the making, officials of the DUD are asking city fathers to make them a proposal for a new thirty year contract.

Meanwhile, the State Utility Management Review Board will meet next Thursday, October 4 in Nashville to discuss a possible review of "rates charged and plan of services provided" by DUD related to the proposed water treatment plant construction project.

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.

On August 28, DUD manager Jon Foutch sent to City Recorder/Treasurer Hunter Hendrixson, a rough draft of a proposed contract for water purchase by the DUD from the City of Smithville. The proposed contract was accompanied by a request for DUD officials to inspect and copy certain "public records". Foutch wrote, "In order to aid in the determination and discussion of a reasonable rate, we need certain information to review."

"We asked for these documents from the city so DUD can be prepared for any circumstances," Foutch told WJLE Tuesday. "We just want as much information as possible available to us in order to make the best decision for our customers," he said.

Foutch's request included "any and all audited financial records, audit reports, and year end balance sheets pertaining in any way to the City of Smithville water distribution system, including the water treatment plant, for the past five years."

"Any and all records that document the expenses and cost incurred by the City of Smithville in the past five years, including engineering costs, related in any way to the procurement, treatment, and sale of water."

"Any and all Cost of Service Study (COSS) performed within the past five years regarding rates, and methodology of rates, charged to customers of your water supply."

"All consultant fees, paid or incurred, including public relation consultants, incurred by the City of Smithville pertaining in any way to the water treatment plant of the City of Smithville or the proposed water treatment plant of the DeKalb Utility District, for the past five years."

"Any and all correspondence or written communication of any type, including email transmittals, from the City of Smithville, or on their behalf, to any government or regulatory entity that pertains in any way to the proposed construction of the water treatment plant by the DeKalb Utility District."

On September 6, Hendrixson responded to Foutch's letter "The City of Smithville is more than willing to meet with the DeKalb Utility District about a long term water purchasing agreement. Please feel free to contact me in setting up a meeting between both interested parties in hopes to discuss the current proposal by the DUD. If you would prefer to have representatives from both parties meet informally to discuss it, that will work as well. We are up for any suggestions," wrote Hendrixson.

Foutch replied in a letter on September 19, "I would ask that you please advise as to the city's position on the proposed contract and or provide me with a proposed contract that the city would like to submit for DUD's consideration. I ask that you please address this issue as soon as possible and I appreciate your kind attention to this request," wrote Foutch.

The DUD has already secured an ARC grant as well as loan and grant funding from USDA Rural Development for the proposed water plant, along with a bond resolution which has been approved for the authorization and issuance of waterworks revenue refunding and improvement bonds. But to date the bond sale has apparently not been finalized.

Even if the DUD proceeds with its plan to build a water plant, it will most likely need a new water contract with the City of Smithville, at least in the short term, since its current agreement with the city is due to expire by the first of 2014, before a water plant could be completed

DUD and City officials are also awaiting the outcome of a possible review by the Tennessee Comptroller and the Utility Management Review Board of DUD "rates charged and plan of services provided". The issue is on the UMRB's meeting agenda for October 4. A petition, signed by more than 1,000 persons was submitted to state officials in July trying to force a review. The petition drive was spearheaded by the Calvert Street Group, a Nashville public relations company, hired by the City of Smithville in April to better educate the public, from the city's perspective, on the impact of a plan by the DeKalb Utility District to build its own water treatment plant.

"The mission of the Tennessee Comptroller and the Utility Management Review Board is to look for duplicity, for taxpayer waste to protect ratepayers, and rate increases that are out of line with what their plans and their debt management policy calls for," said Darden Copeland of the Calvert Street Group.

The City of Smithville, according to Copeland, also retained the services of Nashville attorney and former Metro Nashville Mayor Bill Purcell to help "walk the petition through the process" and get answers from the state.

The petition filed with the UMRB states "DUD ratepayers ask the UMRB to find that the DUD acted wrongly in approving the financing of the construction of a redundant water treatment facility in DeKalb County and in its service expansion and resulting rate increases and take all necessary action to provide DUD ratepayers with all appropriate relief afforded to them under the laws of the state of Tennessee."

While DUD officials believe the UMRB does not have jurisdiction on this issue and that the petition will ultimately be dismissed, they want a quick resolution and are concerned that the UMRB may entertain a possible continuance or delay at the October 4 meeting. Keith Blair, attorney for the DUD, asked for no further delays in a letter dated September 18 to the UMRB Board Coordinator Joyce Welborn and Greg Cothron, Assistant General Counsel for the state comptroller's office. "As counsel, it has come to my attention that the entity that filed the petition is seeking a rescheduling of the jurisdiction issue. I understand that the jurisdiction issue will be on the agenda at the October 4 UMRB meeting," wrote Blair.

"I write this letter to convey DUD's position on a possible continuance. While they understand that scheduling conflicts occur, they strongly disagree that a continuance is warranted and will do nothing but further delay the ultimate resolution of this issue and cause additional financial loss to DUD," wrote Blair.

Blair's letter goes on state, "As you are aware, DUD has taken significant steps to initiate the construction of a water treatment plant as well as making plans to restructure certain long term debt for additional cost savings to their customers. Once the petition in question was filed, at a time when the closing of the bonds to finance this project was imminent, DUD cautiously delayed the closing and finalization of the financing of this project in order to obtain proper verification from UMRB that the petition had no merit and, most importantly, that the UMRB did not have jurisdiction to consider the issues presented."

"We believe that Mr. Cothron's letter clearly and correctly sets out that the petition in question fails to provide a basis for review by the UMRB and that the UMRB does not have the jurisdiction to hear the same. With the recommendation that Mr. Cothron will make to the UMRB at the October meeting, any continuance and rescheduling of this issue to a future meeting will do nothing but prolong the dismissal of this petition and create even further delay of DUD being able to move forward on this long awaited project."

"With this pending petition, DUD continues to suffer monetary losses each day due to their inability to proceed forward with the planned refinancing and water treatment plant. It is clearly evident that interest rates and construction costs are at an all time low. The interest rates and construction rates will no doubt increase in the coming months which will damage DUD financially causing them to spend more on this project than anticipated which potentially could result in additional rate increases. Further, the longer that this issue is in limbo, the longer that DUD will have to purchase water from the City of Smithville, the proponent behind the petition in question."

DUD respectively requests that there be no delays granted of this issue being on the agenda for the October 4 meeting. A delay will do nothing but prolong the final resolution of this matter and cause DUD continued delay and financial loss that will do nothing but hurt the customers of DUD. A delay only benefits the petitioner, with no due cause being shown and severely hurts DUD each day that passes without resolution." wrote Blair.

DeKalb Boys District Golf Champions, Sullivan and Roller Claim Individual Titles

September 25, 2012
Dwayne Page
Mallory Sullivan Wins Individual District Title

DeKalb County's Mallory Sullivan fired a 74 at Ironwood Golf Course on Monday and Ethan Roller shot a 74 on Tuesday at the White Plains Course to win individual titles in the District 8-A/AA golf tournaments in Cookeville. It was Sullivan's second-straight title. Zach Martin shot a 77 to win the silver medal with the second lowest score

Meanwhile, the DeKalb County boys, for the ninth consecutive year, claimed the district championship on Tuesday. They won with a team score of 320. "This was the ninth year in a row they won that district championship and that's a pretty astounding level of golf talent we've had come through DeKalb County," said Coach Joe Pat Cope.

Sullivan will advance to the Region 4-A/AA Tournament as an individual next week in Chattanooga. "Mallory got the lowest score among females," said Coach Cope. "She shot a 74 to win the gold medal in that. She goes on to the region next week," he added.

"Our guys went undefeated during the regular season but we knew coming into the district tournament that teams such as Central Magnet and Friendship Christian would be there. I just really stressed all week about the guys taking it hole by hole and doing the best they could. They won with a team score of 320 today (Tuesday). "Ethan Roller shot a 74 and had the lowest score out of 75 golfers there. Zach Martin shot a 77, which was silver medalist, the second lowest score there today. That puts us in the region tournament in Chattanooga next Monday for our guys," said Coach Cope.

The DeKalb boys team competing next week is made up of Ethan Roller, Zach Martin, Hayden Ervin, Corey Kijanski, and Dylan Young.

Clay County won the girls district title on Monday. Central Magnet (183) claimed second place in the team standings, while Upperman (205) earned the final team spot by edging DeKalb County (207). Pickett County (213) and Livingston Academy (238) rounded out the team scores. The DeKalb girls team was made up of Mallory Sullivan and Brooke Roller. "Brooke came up just a little bit short. She came up two strokes short of moving on," said Coach Cope.

The region tournament is slated for next Monday at The Bear Trace at Harrison Bay in Chattanooga.

State Audit Finds UCHRA Squanders Taxpayer Funds

September 25, 2012
Comptroller Justin P. Wilson
Luke M. Collins, UCHRA Executive Director

Taxpayer money has been used to cover $2 million for travel expenses, meals and entertainment, mobile communications devices and subsidies for a training complex and resort property used by the Upper Cumberland Human Resource Agency, an investigation by the Comptroller’s Division of Investigations has revealed.

Among other issues, investigators found that agency officials spent nearly $60,000 on an annual trip to Washington, D.C., more than $1.6 million to subsidize its training complex and resort property, $123,000 for gift certificates for training events, more than $100,000 annually on 160 mobile communication devices for employees, and thousands of dollars for extravagant meals and entertainment.

The Upper Cumberland Human Resource Agency serves 14 counties in the Cumberland Plateau region with a 63-member board comprised of various county and city mayors and derives the vast majority of its funding from state and federal governments.

The Comptroller’s investigative report, which was released today, details how agency officials made tens of thousands of dollars in disbursements for non-public purposes in 2011 alone.

Investigators found numerous receipts from a March 2011 trip to Washington, D.C., apparently for 30 agency officials, employees and guests to meet with their members of Congress. On several occasions during the trip, officials charged more than $3,000 per meal for lavish dinners including alcohol. On a single meal at Washington’s Oceanaire Seafood Room, 34 agency guests consumed nearly $5,000 in food, including over 30 alcoholic beverages. The costs of such extravagant meals were typically split between two agency credit cards, ostensibly to conceal the high costs.

During the same Washington trip, the agency spent $1,255 for officials, employees and guests to attend a performance at Ford’s Theatre, $289 for a visit to Madame Tussauds wax museum and $284 for a trip to Mount Vernon.

In addition to expensive annual trips to Washington, agency officials made frequent trips to Nashville each year, charging expensive meals and alcoholic beverages on agency credit cards for purposes of entertaining agency board members and legislators. In February 2010, for example, the agency spent $2,361 for 25 guests at Morton’s Steakhouse, dividing the dinner check among three agency credit cards. In August 2010, seven guests were treated to $85 in pre-dinner cocktails before an $807 dinner at Morton’s at the agency’s expense. In October 2010, the agency spent nearly $10,000 to have its annual meeting in October 2010 catered and more than $8,500 for a staff holiday party in December 2010.

The human resource agency provided its training and resort property, Lakeside Resort and Educational Training Complex, at least $1,696,928 in subsidies since 1995, according to the Comptroller’s report. Even though there appeared to be no effort to recover this financial support, the agency recorded this receivable as an asset on the financial records, yet wrote off the entire debt in 2010 as uncollectable.

“Whether money comes from federal, state or local government, it is all public money that should be spent for proper public purposes,” Comptroller Justin P. Wilson said. “When taxpayers see their money being spent for the purposes outlined in this audit, it erodes their faith in government. I encourage leaders of the Upper Cumberland Human Resource Agency to take steps to ensure these types of expenses don’t occur in the future.”

The Comptroller’s office continues its review of the Upper Cumberland Development District and a separate report will be issued on that matter at a later date.

Meanwhile, Luke M. Collins, UCHRA Executive Director, in response to the audit report issued the following statement: "Today the Comptroller’s office released the results of their recent audit of the Upper Cumberland Human Resource Agency (UCHRA)’s past policies and procedures. The UCHRA Board, Directors and Staff acknowledge there have been some unnecessary and, in some cases, unreasonable expenditures of public funds in the past. Thankfully, our Board of Directors showed great leadership and began taking necessary steps over a year and a half ago to resolve these issues. As a result of their efforts, and those of the Directors and Staff of UCHRA, all findings in the report have been corrected."

"The fleet of Agency vehicles has been dramatically reduced. Only those persons whose job requires them to travel out of office the majority of their work day still have daily access to Agency vehicles. All Agency vehicles are now identified as such with a UCHRA decal."

"By making changes to our cell phone policy, we have reduced our monthly cell phone bill approximately 45%. No staff member is allowed to have more than one phone provided by the Agency. The issuance of “Smart” phones is limited to those persons who require continuous access to email and data service. No staff member will be issued a smart phone without approval by the Executive Director or Deputy Director."

"A new policy regarding the use of agency credit cards has been established which more closely scrutinizes credit card purchases. The policy strictly prohibits the use of the cards to be utilized in purchasing unauthorized items, including alcoholic beverages. Any employee who violates this policy will be subject to disciplinary action and will be required to reimburse the agency for any prohibited expenses."

"Travel will be restricted to allow only those off-site meetings and training sessions deemed necessary by the Executive Director. Travel expense reimbursement will follow State travel regulations and rates."

"It is the desire of UCHRA to transfer the lease on Lakeside Resort and Educational Complex to another non-profit agency. Prospects toward that end are favorable, and we hope to have this process completed by the end of this year."

"Finally, since assuming the position of Executive Director in May of this year, I have made a point of regularly communicating with our Board members and local media about issues affecting UCHRA. We are committed to being transparent in our operations and welcome questions or suggestions anytime."

"In the past year and a half, UCHRA has experienced changes in management, staff, structure and methods of operation. Through all these transitions, we have maintained a high level of commitment to the service of the residents of the Upper Cumberland region. We have addressed the issues of the past, and are ready to move forward. We pledge to never lose sight of our purpose: Delivering Hope to those in need.",wrote Collins.

To view the report online, go to: http://www.comptroller.tn.gov/ia/

Fly Fishermen Seek to Restrict Canoeing on Caney Fork River

September 25, 2012
Dwayne Page
Photo of Fly Fisherman
Photo of Canoer

The county commission has taken a stand on a proposal by a group of Nashville fly fishermen who are apparently seeking to restrict canoeing on the Caney Fork River.

The commission Monday night adopted a non-binding resolution asking the appropriate governing authority to keep the Caney Fork open to all.

"We apparently have some fly fishermen out of Nashville that are wanting to ban kayakers and canoers from going down a public stream so that they can fly fish," said County Mayor Mike Foster. " We're not opposed to fly fishermen. We're not opposed to canoers. But we feel there is room there for everything and simply because it impacts our tourism dollars, we have a resolution which is non binding but issues our opinion on this," said Foster.

The resolution, adopted by the county commission, states that "Whereas, the Caney Fork River is a major tourism attraction for DeKalb County and surrounding areas and

Whereas, DeKalb County benefits form fishermen, boaters, wildlife viewers, and sightseers on the Caney Fork River and

Whereas, DeKalb County desires to cater to and attract people from all tourism functions and

Whereas, we do not wish to see the River compartmentalized, bound or set aside for any one group at the expense of the other and

Whereas, we feel with a little cooperation, courtesy and less selfishness, we feel the problem could be averted.

Now, therefore, be it resolved that the DeKalb County Commission, in regular session on September 24, 2012 recommends that no special zoning, compartmentalization or no special access-restricting activity be approved on the Caney Fork River"

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency has scheduled a Caney Fork River stakeholder meeting immediately following the Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission (TFWC) meeting on Friday, Sept. 28 in TWRA's Region II Building. The TFWC meeting typically concludes around 10 a.m. The stakeholder meeting is likely to start around 10:15 and be over by 1 p.m.

The objectives for the stakeholder meeting are to give a brief overview of TWRA's management of the river, identify the latest issues, and present some ideas. Input from stakeholders concerning the issues and ideas on how to ensure that everyone can enjoy the river will be sought.

Five Students Graduate from Adult High School

September 25, 2012
Dwayne Page
Five Students Graduate from Adult High School

Five students received their diplomas through the adult high school program in a special graduation ceremony Monday evening at the DCHS cafeteria.

Cody Chastain, Paul Gilliam, Justin Cantrell, Jerica Wilkins, and Alisha Davis were recognized for completing the program.

Coordinator and Instructor Susan Hinton said the accomplishments of these individuals is certainly something worth celebrating. "This evening was to honor and to celebrate the five students who previously had no high school diploma and now have a high school diploma to go out into the world", she said.

Director of Schools Mark Willoughby also commended the adult high school graduates on their achievements. " I think people need to remember that a DeKalb County Adult High School diploma is a high school diploma. So many of the doors that were locked before a high school diploma are now open for these five people and they have opportunities out there in front of them that they didn't have before. Regardless of what some people think, when you get an adult high school diploma, you have worked for it. It doesn't come easy. It's very difficult. There's no quick way to get a high school diploma. It comes with a lot of hard work and I congratulate all the students for the work they've done and to Mrs. Hinton for the superb job she does," said Willoughby

If you didn't complete your high school education, you can go back to school through the adult high school program. Students graduate as they finish their course work.

Hinton said "I get many calls from people wanting to get into the program, but I refer them to DCHS School counselor. Call 615- 597-2243 or set up an appointment. The school counselor will go through your record and determine how many credits that you have. There are different qualifications depending upon what years you were enrolled in high school," said Hinton

Hinton said students who attend the adult high school are not taking a short cut to obtaining their diploma. "Each student is independent in their subjects, so they're pretty much self guided. Each course has it's own set of criteria, depending upon what subject the student is working in. I also do career counseling with them and we have guests in from time to time to talk to them about various careers. There's not a short cut. They have to do the work to match the clock hours. They have to pass that subject. In other words, if they sit in there and they do the time and don't do the work or pass then they will fail. I also have had some high school students who have already had a course and did not complete it for credit. So for them there is what is called Credit Recovery and sometimes they can go back and pick up a class by doing computer work that matches that class. But even that is quite a bit of work. That is not a short cut either. There is no short cut to getting a high school diploma," she added.

Long time educator W.C. Braswell is also an instructor in the adult high school.

For more information call the high school guidance department at 615- 597-2243 or the adult high school at 615-597-2254.

(Pictured: Teacher W.C. Braswell, Cody Chastain, Paul Gilliam, Justin Cantrell, Jerica Wilkins, Alisha Davis, and Coordinator/Instructor Susan Hinton)

Two Arrested After Meth Lab Found During Traffic Stop

September 24, 2012
Dwayne Page
James Dillion Mitchell
Amy Elizabeth Mullican
Gregory Allen Mayo
Johnny Ray Farless
Barbara Ann Covington
Jack C. Adams
Joey Phillip Phelps
Tommy Lynn Parsley

A DeKalb County Sheriff's Department drug detective made a traffic stop last Thursday and arrested two people after finding a one pot meth lab in the vehicle.

19 year old James Dillion Mitchell of Morrison and 19 year old Amy Elizabeth Mullican of Woodbury are charged with initiation of a process intended to result in the manufacture of methamphetamine. Mullican was also charged with simple possession of a schedule II drug (methamphetamine).Bond for Mitchell is $25,000. Mullican's bond is $27,000. They will be in court October 4

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Thursday, September 20 the drug detective stopped a vehicle on Highway 70 east for having a headlight out. Mitchell, the driver, had very slurred speech and he kept dropping things in the car. The detective noticed a strong chemical odor coming from the automobile. Mitchell was asked to get out of the vehicle. He submitted to a search and the detective found in Mitchell's coat pocket, rubber tubing taped to the lid of a bottle. In Mitchell's pants pocket, the detective found a sock which contained a scale, glass pipe, and aluminum foil. Mullican, the owner of the vehicle and a passenger, gave consent to search the automobile and the detective found a plastic bottle, a one pot lab, in the front floor board along with two small plastic containers that held lye, three cut hoses, and empty blister packs. Mitchell said that the one pot lab belonged to him. Mullican admitted to knowing the one pot lab was in the car. A female correctional officer was called to the scene to search Mullican. Found in Mullican's bra was a small plastic baggie with a white powdery substance believed to be methamphetamine.

Meanwhile, 44 year Gregory Allen Mayo of 521 Dry Creek Road, Smithville is charged with simple possession of a schedule VI controlled substance (marijuana), simple possession of a schedule III controlled substance (suboxone), unlawful possession of a schedule II drug for resale (methamphetamine), violation of the drug free school zone, and unlawful possession of a weapon by a felon. His bond is $50,000 and he will be in court on October 4.

Sheriff Ray said that on Tuesday, September 18, a drug detective and deputies from the sheriff's department went to Mayo's residence to serve a warrant on him. Mayo's home is across the street from the Smithville Church of Christ Day School. Upon approaching the residence, the detective saw Mayo inside hunkered down by the window. Officers later found a handgun on the floor by that window. The gun was loaded and ready to fire. According to Sheriff Ray, Mayo is not permitted to have a weapon because he has a felony conviction in Rutherford County for manufacturing methamphetamine. When the detective knocked and announced that officers from the sheriff's department were at the door, Mayo crawled to a bedroom and hid under the covers. The detective entered the residence, went to the bedroom and ordered Mayo to get up and to show his hands. When Mayo got out of bed, officers found underneath him a plastic bag that contained several baggies, including one which held a green leafy substance believed to be marijuana and another which held a white rock like substance weighing 2.8 grams that field tested positive for methamphetamine. Also inside the bag were five baggies which held smaller rocks of the same white substance believed to be meth. Each weighed .3 grams. A plastic bag was also found in Mayo's wallet which held some marijuana along with two packages of suboxone strips, one opened and the other unopened.

19 year old Johnny Ray Farless of Cooper Avenue, Smithville is charged with unlawful possession of a schedule II drug for resale (methamphetamine). He will be in court on October 4. His bond is $5,000.

Sheriff Ray said that on Wednesday, September 19 a drug detective of the sheriff's department got behind a vehicle on Foster Road that was traveling in the center of the roadway. The automobile turned left onto Miller Road and then left onto Cooper Avenue. The detective activated his blue lights and the vehicle stopped. Farless, the driver, gave the detective consent to search and found in Farless' back left pocket was a flashlight that contained eleven small baggies. Seven of the baggies held a white rock like substance that field tested positive to be methamphetamine. The other four baggies were empty. Farless said he was only trying to make some money.

Another person has been charged in the burglary of four vehicles parked at Four Seasons Marina in July, a case WJLE reported on last week. In the latest development, 43 year old Barbara Ann Covington of Murfreesboro was arrested on Wednesday, September 19 and charged with four counts of burglary, one count of theft under $500, two counts of theft over $500, one count of theft over $10,000, and fraudulent use of a credit card. Her bond totals $200,000 and she will be in court October 4.

According to Sheriff Ray, Covington and Timothy Ray Featherstone of Murfreesboro, who was arrested on September 12 in Georgia, allegedly broke into four vehicles parked at Four Seasons Marina at 327 Marina Drive. Items were taken from each vehicle. Featherstone, who is charged with the same offenses as Covington, is under a $200,000 bond.

52 year old Jack C. Adams of Old Bildad Road is charged with a third offense of driving under the influence. He was also issued citations for simple possession of a schedule VI controlled substance (marijuana) and possession of drug paraphernalia. His bond is $4,500 and he will be in court on October 11.

Sheriff Ray said that on Tuesday, September 18, a deputy responded to a call of a man riding a lawn mower on Seven Springs Road. He appeared to be intoxicated. The officer found him on Webb Lane and stopped to do a welfare check of Adams. The deputy smelled an odor of an alcoholic beverage on Adams' person and his speech was slurred. Adams admitted to drinking five beers. He submitted to but performed poorly on several field sobriety tasks. He was unsteady on his feet. Adams submitted to a blood alcohol test. Adams had on his person in a zip lock bag a green leafy substance believed to be marijuana. The bag also contained rolling papers.

32 year old Joey Phillip Phelps of Dowelltown was arrested on Saturday, September 22 for domestic assault, a charge which was filed against him on June 1st. His bond is $3,500 and he will be in court October 4.

Sherifff Ray said that on June 1, an officer of the sheriff's department was called to the Phelps' home in response to a domestic disturbance between Phelps and a relative. Upon arrival, the deputy spoke to the victim, whose nose was cut and swollen. The left side of his head was also bloodied. The victim said that he and Phelps had gotten into an argument over the phone and it became physical. Phelps hit the victim and they both went to the ground fighting. Another relative pulled them apart. Phelps grabbed a concrete ashtray and hit the victim in the head with it. Phelps then left the scene. The victim was transported by DeKalb EMS to the hospital emergency room. It was determined that Phelps was the primary aggressor.

29 year old Tommy Lynn Parsley of Mount Juliet is charged with two counts of evading arrest, a sixth offense of driving on a suspended license, simple possession of a schedule III drug (suboxone), and simple possession of a schedule IV drug (xanax). He was arrested on Saturday, September 22. His bond totals $39,000 and he will be in court on October 11.

Sheriff Ray said that on Tuesday, September 18, a drug detective of the sheriff's department spotted Parsley operating a motor vehicle on the Old Blue Springs Road, entering Highway 56 south. The detective knew that Parsley's drivers license were suspended. A computer check confirmed that Parlsey's license were suspended for failure to satisfy prior citations in Wilson County. The detective got behind Parsley's vehicle and activated his blue lights on Highway 56 between Keltonburg Road and Magness Road. Parsley sped up to about 80 miles per hour while approaching sharp curves and three other vehicles in front of him. The detective decided to terminate the pursuit due to Parsley's record of evading and reckless driving.

Four days later, on Saturday September 22, Sheriff Ray said a deputy went to Circle Drive in Dowelltown to serve an arrest warrant on Parsley. Upon arrival, the officer saw Parsley sitting in a vehicle. The deputy activated his blue lights and pulled up to the vehicle. Parsley jumped out of his automobile and tried to flee on foot. The officer called for Parsley to stop, but he kept running. The deputy chased after Parsley and placed him under arrest. During a search, the officer found in Parsley's left front pocket a metal blue container that held nineteen peach colored pills believed to be xanax and half of an orange pill thought to be suboxone. He also had a cut straw in his right pocket.

MTSU Student from Smithville Becomes U.S. Citizen

September 22, 2012
Magistrate Judge Joe B. Brown and Tammy Li
Tammy Li's DCHS Class of 2012 Senior Photo

After five years or more of life in America, MTSU student Tammy Li of Smithville needs no more time to make up her mind. She became a U.S. citizen at a naturalization ceremony on the campus of her university last Monday, September 17.

MTSU celebrated Constitution Day by hosting a rare naturalization ceremony held outside Nashville for new Middle Tennessee citizens, according to a report in MTSU news.com. Li was among almost 300 people taking the oath of citizenship at the event.

Tammy Li, a bubbly 19-year-old freshman majoring in nutrition and food science, came to America from Fujian Province near Hong Kong in the People's Republic of China.

She lived with her parents in New York for a year but has lived in Smithville since her freshman year of high school. Li, who speaks Mandarin, Cantonese and other Chinese dialects, in addition to English, graduated high school in May with a 3.5 GPA. Her transcript includes membership in the Beta Club, the Science Club, 4-H and the Student Council.

"In the summertime, I worked six days a week, 12 hours a day, to save money," Li said. "I am very independent."

With that kind of track record, it comes as no surprise that Li received a HOPE scholarship and passed her citizenship test in the same week.

"I just feel that this is my home," Li said. "You have free speech, free religion."

She has come to feel that MTSU is also her home.

"MTSU gives me a chance to do my best," said Li. "The teachers are so nice. I feel like if I need help I can just ask people."

Back home in Smithville, Li raises her voice in song in the Smithville Cumberland Presbyterian Church choir.

"I always put Jesus first, others second and self third," said Li.

(PICTURED ABOVE:Magistrate Judge Joe B. Brown of the U.S. District Court, Middle District of Tennessee poses for a photo with MTSU student Tammy Li (MTSU photo by Darby Campbell)

Two Men Arrested After Close Encounter with Police Chief

September 22, 2012
Dwayne Page
James Frederick Summers
Joshua Cripps

A Smithville man was arrested on drug charges Thursday after his apparent reckless driving drew the attention of Police Chief Randy Caplinger.

34 year old James Frederick Summers is charged with possession of a schedule VI controlled substance for resale (marijuana) and a fourth offense of driving on a revoked license. He will be in court on October 11. His bond is $16,000. Summers was also cited for unlawful possession of a weapon (brass knuckles), which were found on his person; and for unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia.

Chief Caplinger told WJLE Friday that as he was driving north in his patrol car on Tramel Street going toward West Main Street, a 2000 model Hyundai, driven by Summers, was approaching him, coming south on Tramel Street. He said the car almost hit him head-on. Summers pulled into the parking lot of DeKalb Community Bank. Chief Caplinger stopped the vehicle and detained Summers. A passenger of the car, 28 year old Joshua Cripps, got out and fled on foot. He was picked up later at another location in the county and was charged with evading arrest.

Officer Chip Avera and Corporal Travis Bryant arrived to assist Chief Caplinger at the scene.
Found in Summers' car were 40 grams of a green leafy substance believed to be marijuana wrapped in paper along with some drug paraphernalia. A check of Summers' driving record revealed that he was driving on a revoked license. His license had previously been revoked for driving under the influence in Warren County and for two DUI's in DeKalb County. Summers was taken into custody and his car was seized by police.


Follow Us


News Feed

WJLE Radio

2606 McMinnville Hwy
Smithville, TN 37166
Phone: 615 597-4265
FAX: 615 597-6025
Email: wjle@dtccom.net
WJLE AM FCC Public File
WJLE FM FCC Public File

Local News

6:30 A.M.
7:30 A.M.
8:55 A.M.
12:00 NOON
4:00 P.M.
9:45 P.M.

DTC Communications

Fiddlers Jamboree