Local News Articles

DWS Junior Beta Club Earns First Trophy

November 24, 2011
DWS Junior Beta Club Earns First Trophy for Straw Tower

The DeKalb West School Junior Beta Club won its first-ever club award at the annual Tennessee Junior Beta state convention on Tuesday (Nov. 22) at the Gaylord Opryland Convention Center . A team of five 8th grade boys took second place in the Tower of Power event. Under the direction of parent John Cain, Will Cain, Ted Tippin, James Sherwood, Kirkland Smallwood, and Lane Davenport constructed a straw tower more than 10 feet tall within 15 minutes.

Each participating team was given 150 plastic drinking straws and a roll of masking tape. They were charged with the task of building the highest free-standing tower they could in a 15-minute time frame. The team with the highest tower that could support a tennis ball at its pinnacle for a minimum of one minute was the winner.

The club also made a specially designed T-shirt geared towards the convention's theme, "Betas, Start Your Engines." Participating in the Living Literature event were Chasity Garrett, Katie Roehner, Casey Vickers, Caitlin Tyree, Kyleigh White, Cody Hale, Nate Sherwood, and Jacob Frazier. Participating in the Banner event were Alexis Nokes, Madison Hayes, Nick Staley, and Mackenzie Knowles. Also in the Arts and Crafts category were Anna Malone, black and white photography; Katie Hall, color photography; Breanna Gibson and Noelle Driver, painting; and Hanna Evans, sketching. In the poster contest were Ethan Martin, Jasmine Parker, Samantha Street. In Battle of the Books were Bailey Redmon, Caitlyn Lawrence, and Maegan Harris; and in Spelling, Mary Mofield; in the Quiz Bowl: Keely McKay, Hailey Walker, Alex Foutch, and Morgan Vickers. Thirty-three students from the 6th-8th grades and 16 parental chaperones attended the convention Sunday-Tuesday (Nov. 20-22).

DeKalb Jobless Rate Drops to 8.7% in October

November 23, 2011
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County October unemployment rate was at 8.7%, down from 9.6% in September but up slightly from 8.6% in October 2010.

The local labor force in October was at 10,070. A total of 9,190 were employed and 880 were without work.

DeKalb County's unemployment rate for October was the fifth lowest among the fourteen counties of the Upper Cumberland region as follows:

Pickett County- 13.7%
Jackson- 10.8%
White- 10.7%
Van Buren- 10.6%
Warren- 10.5%
Clay- 10.3%
Fentress- 10%
Cumberland- 9.3%
Overton- 8.8%
Smith- 8.6%
Macon- 8.2%
Cannon- 8%

County non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rates for October show that the rate increased in one county, decreased in 92 counties, and two counties remained the same.
Tennessee's unemployment rate for October fell to 9.6 percent, down from the September revised rate of 9.8. The national unemployment rate for October 2011 was 9.0 percent, a decrease of 0.1 percentage point from the September rate.

Lincoln County registered the state's lowest county unemployment rate at 5.8 percent, down from the September rate of 6.6 percent, followed by Williamson County at 6.3 percent, down from 7.0 percent. Scott County had the state's highest unemployment rate at 18.1 percent, down from 19.5 percent in the previous month, followed by Obion County at 15.6, down from 16.9 percent in September.
Knox County had the state's lowest major metropolitan rate of 6.7 percent, down from 7.7 percent the previous month. Hamilton County was 7.8 percent, down from 8.6 percent in September. Davidson County was 7.8 percent, down from 8.7 percent in September, and Shelby County was 10.1 percent, down from the September unemployment rate of 10.8 percent

Cookeville Man Charged with Kidnapping and Aggravated Assault of Two People in Alexandria

November 22, 2011
Dwayne Page
Courtney D. Barrett

A Cookeville man has been charged with kidnapping and assaulting his uncle and a woman at a residence on Avant Circle in Alexandria.

23 year old Courtney D. Barrett has been arrested on two counts of aggravated kidnapping and two counts of aggravated assault. The case was investigated by Sergeant Chris Russell of the Alexandria Police Department.

Alexandria Police Chief Mark Collins told WJLE that on Tuesday, November 1 Barrett allegedly kidnapped Glenda Hutchinson at 127 Avant Circle by forcing his way into the residence, holding her at gunpoint and threatening to kill her. He allegedly forced her into the bathroom and told her not to move until he left.

While in the home, Barrett is also accused of kidnapping his uncle Roger Barrett at gunpoint, hitting him with his fist and the gun, causing serious bodily injuries. He was forced into the bathroom where he stayed until Courtney Barrett left. Roger Barrett was later taken to the emergency room of DeKalb Community Hospital for treatment.

A county deputy backed up Sergeant Russell at the scene

Bond for Barrett was set at $150,000. He appeared in DeKalb County General Sessions Court last Thursday, November 17 and had his case bound to the April term of the Grand Jury.

Smithville Police Help Nab Suspect in Silver Point Burglary

November 22, 2011
Dwayne Page
Candice Deshay Daniels
Officers Find Pills, Checks, Tools, and More in Daniels' Car
Jimmy Ray Culwell

Smithville Police helped Putnam County authorities nab a suspect in a Silver Point burglary with the recent arrest of a Lancaster woman.

25 year old Candice Deshay Daniels of Hayes Ridge Road, Lancaster is charged by Smithville Police with public intoxication. She is under a $1,000 bond and will be in court on December 7. In Putnam County, Daniels has been charged with aggravated burglary and theft of property. Her bond is $15,000 in that case and she has a December 5 court date in Putnam County.

According to Chief Randy Caplinger, Corporal Travis Bryant and Officer David Phillips responded to a call at the Discount Tobacco Outlet on West Broad Street on Friday, November 11. They went there to investigate a complaint of disorderly conduct. Upon arrival, they made contact with Daniels who was unsteady on her feet and had slurred speech. She allegedly told the officers that she had taken four pills.

Inside her car, officers found a clothes hamper and pillow cases containing numerous bottles of pills, checks, tools and other items. Arousing their suspicion, the officers checked and found that a burglary had been reported in Putnam County earlier that day in the Silver Point Community at a residence on Buffalo Valley Road. The items found apparently came from that home.

A Putnam County officer was still at the scene of the burglary taking a report when Smithville Police notified Putnam County authorities that a woman had been arrested here and that she was in possession of stolen items.

No one was with Daniels at the time of her arrest in Smithville, but authorities believe she had a companion in the Silver Point burglary who may also be charged in the case.

Meanwhile, 28 year old Jimmy Ray Culwell of King Ridge Road, Dowelltown is charged with one count of a schedule II, III, IV, and VI controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia. He will appear in court on December 8.

Police report that on Friday, November 18, Detective Brandon Donnell was dispatched to a business at 309 West Broad Street. As he was sitting in his patrol car, Detective Donnell saw Culwell get out of his vehicle and walk over to the passenger side of another vehicle and do an exchange. Detective Donnell approached Culwell and asked what he had in his pocket. Culwell said he had some hydrocodone pills and some marijuana in his pocket. He took the bottle out and Detective Donnell saw two different kinds of pills in the prescription bottle. Detective Donnell then searched Culwell and found two bags of a green leafy substance believed to be marijuana, a white round pill believed to be Soma, a green crushed up pill believed to be Valium, 14 blue oval pills believed to be hydrocodone that was in the prescription bottle, and there was a small bong in his jacket pocket with marijuana residue still inside.

Three Planning to Run for Assessor of Property

November 22, 2011
Dwayne Page
Timothy Fud Banks
Scott Cantrell
Johnathan Bryan Keith
Incumbent Constables

At least three people may be in the race for Assessor of Property in the DeKalb County Democratic Primary on March 6.

With two weeks left until the qualifying deadline Incumbent Timothy (Fud) Banks, Scott Cantrell, and Jonathan Bryan Keith have submitted their petitions to the DeKalb County Election Commission.

Candidates for Assessor of Property and all seven constable positions have to be qualified to run by noon on Thursday, December 8.

The term of each office is four years.

Incumbent constables Wayne Vanderpool in the third district, Paul Cantrell in the fourth district, Mark Milam in the fifth district, and Johnny King in the seventh district have turned in their qualifying petitions to seek re-election. Richard Bullard in the sixth district has picked up a petition.

While the local Democratic Party will be selecting its nominees through the primary process, the DeKalb County Republican Party will choose any nominees it has by convention.

"Petitions can be picked up for all of the local offices on the March ballot," said Dennis Stanley, Administrator of Elections. The qualifying deadline is NOON, December 8, 2011. The same
qualifying deadline will apply to the Republican Party nominees (chosen by caucus) and Independent candidates.

Any Republican and Democratic nominees for the offices of Assessor of Property and Constable will face off in the August 2012 DeKalb County General Election.

(Pictured Above: Constables Cantrell Jones in the sixth district, Johnny King in the seventh district, Reed Edge in the second district, Wayne Vanderpool in the third district, Mark Milam in the fifth district, and Paul Cantrell in the fourth district)

Paid Holiday Ordinance Amendment Adopted on First Reading

November 22, 2011
Dwayne Page

The Smithville Aldermen Monday night adopted on first reading an ordinance amendment to the city code to give full time employees three new paid holidays including one for the day after Thanksgiving. But since the ordinance will not take effect until after Thanksgiving this year, the aldermen voted to reimburse any employee who wants to use a sick day or vacation day to take off this Friday.

The NEW paid holidays in this ordinance amendment are Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, the day after Thanksgiving, and the Friday of the Fiddlers Jamboree.

The following ordinance would amend Title 4 of the City of Smithville Municipal Code to read as follows:

Holidays: Full time employees are allowed a day off with pay on the following days:

New Year's Day(January 1st)
Martin Luther King Day (Third Monday in January)
Good Friday( Friday before Easter)
Memorial Day (Last Monday in May)
Independence Day (July 4th)
Jamboree (First Friday in July)
Labor Day (First Monday in September)
Thanksgiving (Fourth Thursday and Friday in November)
Christmas (December 24 & 25)

Second and final reading passage will follow a public hearing on Monday, December 5 at 7:00 p.m

Meanwhile, in other business the aldermen voted to allow Golf course tenant Tony Poss to install, at his own expense, sand traps on the 6 and 9 hole at the golf course.

Poss was not at the meeting. Aldermen Steve White brought up the issue on Poss' behalf.

Sand trap drainage plans are to "dig a hole at the lowest point of the trap near the edge where the sand meets the sod for the drainage tile"

"Wrap the tile to keep it protected'

"Cover the tile with gravel"

"Place a layer of dirt on top of the gravel"

"Fill the sand trap with sand"

Two Arrested in Order of Protection Violation Case

November 21, 2011
Dwayne Page
Don Groshon
Tisha Elaine Burns

A 39 year old man has been charged with two counts of violation of an order of protection and one count of filing a false report while his 40 year old girlfriend is facing two counts of filing a false report.

Don Diamond Groshon is under a $7,500 bond and bond for Tisha Elaine Burns is $5,000. They will be in court on the charges December 1.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Monday, November 14 a deputy from his department went to Groshon's home on Sparta Highway to serve a warrant on him for violation of an order of protection, taken out against Groshon by Burns, his girlfriend. Under the order of protection, Groshon is to keep away from both Burns and her eight year old daughter. But when the officer arrived to serve the warrant, he found Burns in the residence with Groshon along with her young child.

The violation warrant, sought by Burns, stems from incidents which occurred on Wednesday, October 12, Tuesday October 18, and Wednesday October 19. According to Sheriff Ray, Groshon went onto property where Burns was living on October 12 and took several items from the property without her consent. Groshon was also seen kissing Burns' young daughter, a violation of the order of protection. Six days later on October 18, Groshon allegedly sent a friend to the property to pick up items, also in violation of the order of protection. While there, the friend allegedly threatened Burns that if she did not cooperate with him, he would call Groshon. The next day, October 19, Groshon allegedly sent his son and a friend to pick up a dog cage at the property, a further violation.

Sheriff Ray said that Groson failed to answer the door when the deputy arrived at his home to serve the warrant on November 14. The officer knew Groshon was there because he could see him walking through the house. As the deputy was making forcible entry into the home, Groshon made his way to a bedroom and jumped into bed, pretending to be asleep. Burns was also in the bedroom. Her daughter was in the living room, covered by a quilt.

After being found with Burns and her daughter, the sheriff's department charged Groshon with another count of violation of an order of protection. Groshon was also charged with filing a false report for not answering the door knowing that he was in violation of the order of protection.

Burns was charged with one count of filing a false report for not answering the door when the officer arrived to serve the warrant on Groshon. According to Sheriff Ray, Burns was trying to hide Groshon in the bedroom, knowing that he was going to be arrested.

As she was being arrested, Burns told the officer that Groshon was holding her and the daughter hostage, not allowing them to leave or use the telephone. She later told a detective that she had been lying about the alleged kidnapping. She was charged with a second offense of filing a false report.

Commissioners Considering Solid Waste Transfer Station for DeKalb County

November 20, 2011
Dwayne Page
Mike Foster

Facing ever increasing burdensome regulations and hassles with the landfill operation, county officials are beginning to think that a transfer station may be the way to go for the future.

During an all-committees meeting of the county commission Thursday night, County Mayor Mike Foster said he and the commissioners are planning a trip to Livingston Tuesday, November 22 to take a look at the solid waste transfer station there.

Foster went into more detail with WJLE in a phone interview Friday. "We're going to go up to Livingston to look at the transfer station for their solid waste.. They are one of several that do this. They bring their solid waste into a centralized location, dump it and segregate it. They go through it and pick out things that are readily recyclable. The rest of the main garbage they load onto a truck and haul it to a commercial site somewhere and pay a fee for dumping it in there. They don't have the environmental liability of running a landfill. We're looking at this option due to the all the environmental rules we have to go by," said Foster

"Right now (at the landfill) we have to put a 40 mil plastic liner over the entire mound of dirt when you're through as well as a 60 mil liner underneath it and then you have to put dirt on top of all that. The costs have just gone through the roof in the last three or four years so we're going to look at the option of doing that (transfer station). We may still want to run a class III/IV cell that doesn't require that (so many regulations) which would be mainly for construction materials and things like that and not household garbage," said Foster

"I think the county commission would want to make a decision on this probably within a year so we could start working toward that end because we have about two years left on the landfill that we're in now. Of course it would take some time to get a building ready and a spot to put the transfer station," said Foster

"We're probably going to go to Crossville soon. Crossville has a transfer station but they don't own it. Its owned by a subsidiary of Waste Management and they built the transfer station. Cumberland County just brings their garbage there and dumps it. They then pay them (Waste Management) a fee to handle it from that point on. We want to look at both scenarios so we can figure out which one best suits us. Depending on the costs involved, I personally would rather do the subsidiary where somebody else builds the facility and we just carry materials to them. That way we would not be out that initial cost. There's a lot of good benefits to that. They would have more experience in running that than we would so it just seems like a better fit," said Foster.

"If we had a class III/IV cell for construction materials and that sort of thing, it would just be dumped into a landfill that doesn't require all the liners because you can't put anything in there in the way of garbage. It would just have to be construction materials, shingles, and those kinds of things that you can cover and you don't have to haul the storm water away from it. You don't need a 60 mil liner under it and you don't need a 40 mil liner on top of it. Its just for construction material and debris, such as if you tore down a house, you could take that stuff in there provided it was checked and their weren't any toxic things in it," said Foster.

Foster speculated that the costs associated with going to a solid waste transfer station and maintaining a class III/IV cell would be about the same amount of money compared to the county continuing to operate its own landfill, but that the potential for environmental liability would be considerably less.

Waste transfer stations are facilities where solid waste is unloaded from collection vehicles and briefly held while it is reloaded onto larger long-distance transport vehicles for shipment to landfills or other treatment or disposal facilities.

Business Owners Urged to Display "Shop at Home" Signs for the Holidays

November 20, 2011
Dwayne Page
Suzanne Williams

Businesses in Smithville and DeKalb County are urged to display messages on their marquees or changeable signs to encourage shoppers to spend their tax dollars at home this holiday season.

Suzanne Williams, Executive Director of the Chamber of Commerce, said that "the busiest shopping time of the year is about to begin. We would like to ask each business with a changeable sign or marquee to post “Shop at Home” or “Shop Local” on your signs. With thousands of our local folks shopping for holiday food and searching for those perfect Christmas gifts, let’s make every effort to encourage them to help support our local merchants as much as possible. Please have your signs in place this week and display throughout the holiday season, if possible," said Williams.

Elizabeth Sanders Selected to serve as State 4-H Health Rocks! Teen Leader

November 18, 2011
Elizabeth Sanders (Photo by Laura Stone)

DeKalb County 4-H Member Elizabeth Sanders has been selected to serve as a state 4-H Health Rocks! teen leader!

In this role Elizabeth will be assisting the state 4-H office in training counties across the state to implement the Health Rocks! program. Health Rocks! is a healthy-living curriculum taught in many counties statewide where the emphasis is on resisting peer pressure to try illegal drugs, alcohol and tobacco. Emphasis is also placed on making wise choices. DeKalb County received funding for this program two years ago and with the assistance of guidance counselors at DeKalb Middle School, Northside Elementary, and DeKalb West Elementary, was provided to all students in 4th – 8th grades. DeKalb County received the grant again for 2012. With the assistance of her Extension Agent April Martin, Elizabeth plans to lead an after-school Health Rocks program at these schools again beginning in February.

4-H is the youth development program of UT Extension. 4-H teaches leadership, citizenship and life skills to more than 300,000 youth in grades 4-12. 4-H also has more than 18,000 adult volunteers statewide.

UT Extension operates in each of Tennessee’s 95 counties as the off-campus division of the UT Institute of Agriculture. An educational and outreach organization funded by federal, state and local governments, UT Extension, in cooperation with Tennessee State University, brings research-based information about agriculture, family and consumer sciences, and youth and community development to the people of Tennessee where they live and work.


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