Local News Articles

Man Arrested in Burglary Investigation by Sheriff's Department

January 5, 2009
Dwayne Page
Scott Lynn Sykes

A 35 year old Smithville man was arrested Sunday in a burglary investigation by the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department.

Sheriff Patrick Rays says deputies and detectives arrested Scott Lynn Sykes of Alexander Street, Smithville Sunday for burglary, theft of property over $1,000, and possession of burglary tools.

According to Sheriff Ray, Sykes went to a residence on Dry Branch Road in Alexandria and entered the home by prying open the back door. While inside, Sykes took the faucets, sinks, and a ceiling fan with 3 lights, drain pipes, light covers, a showerhead, and the central heat and air unit of the home all valued at over $1,000.

Sheriff Ray says Sykes has admitted to his part in the crime. When lawmen picked up Sykes at his home, they found some of the items in Sykes' automobile along with tools believed to have been used to commit the theft. These items included a hacksaw, screwdriver, an ax, and a hatchet.

Bond for Sykes was set at $80,000 and he will appear in court on January 22nd.

Sheriff Ray says the home received extensive damage, especially water damage from the cut water lines.

Meanwhile, a county deputy last Wednesday spotted a vehicle weaving on Highway 70 East. Upon making a traffic stop, the officer found 23 year old Jesse Louis Clouse of South Walnut Street, Cookeville to be the driver.

Sheriff Ray says Clouse submitted to and failed sobriety tasks and a check of his driver's license revealed that it was revoked..

Clouse was convicted of a DUI in Putnam County on December 17th, 2007.

He was arrested and charged with a second offense of driving under the influence and driving on a revoked driver's license. Clouse was also issued a citation for violation of the implied consent law.

His bond was set at $3,000 and he will appear in court on January 8th.

32 year old Oliver Eiland and 25 year old Jessica Charlene Brett of Cookeville Highway, Smithville were charged Friday with filing a false report with the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department.

Sheriff Ray says the two had earlier filed a theft report and then returned to the Sheriff's Department on Friday to add to the report that a book of checks had also been stolen.

Upon an investigation, detectives learned that Eiland and Brett had written the checks to businesses in surrounding counties for large amounts and then went to the bank and reported them forged. Detectives obtained photos of the two from at least one of the businesses showing them writing a check which they reported forged.
Bond for Eiland and Brett was set at $1,000 each and they will appear in court on January 22nd. More charges are pending.

On Sunday, deputies were summoned to Alexandria on a theft investigation. When they arrived, the complainant told them that a man had stolen an item from him. The victim was able to get a tag number from the vehicle the man was driving.

Sheriff Ray says while the deputy and victim were talking, the vehicle in question drove by. The officer took off after the vehicle and attempted to stop it. The driver refused to stop for at least 1 ½ miles. After getting the vehicle stopped, officers found the driver to be 24 year old Danny Ray Alsept of Stigall Street, Camden Tennessee. Deputies also learned that Alsept has apparently never had a driver's license in Tennessee.

Alsept was charged with evading arrest and no driver's license. His bond was set at $6,000 and he will appear in court on January 22nd.

Students and Teachers Go Back To School

January 5, 2009
Dwayne Page

The winter break is over which means students and teachers are back in the classrooms this week to begin the third nine week session.

Schools will be closed again for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day on Monday, January 19th and for President's Day, Monday, February 16th.

The spring break will be March 19th, 20th, & 23rd

Students will not attend on Good Friday and Monday, April 10th & 13th . Students will also be off on Thursday, May 21st. That will be an administrative day and all teachers must attend.

The last day of school will be Friday, May 22nd. That will be an abbreviated school day and report cards will be given to the students.

Parent-Teacher Conferences will be held on Thursday, March 12th at DeKalb County High School from 3:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m.

Parent-Teacher Conferences will also be held from 3:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. Thursday, January 29th at DeKalb Middle School, Northside Elementary, Smithville Elementary, and DeKalb West School.

Report cards will be sent home on Thursday, January 8th, and Tuesday, March 10th.

Competency testing at DCHS will be February 10th-12th.

Gateway testing at DCHS will be May 5th-7th. Gateway test makeup will be May 8th.

Writing Assessment for the 5th, 8th, and 11th grades will be February 3rd. Writing Assessment make-up will be February 4th.

TCAP testing of elementary students will be April 20th-24th.

(Stockpile Days) Professional Development/Instructional Days will be held from 8:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. on Friday, May 1st.

Smithville Police Make Arrests For Drug and Alcohol Related Offenses

January 3, 2009
Dwayne Page

The Smithville Police Department has made a few arrests in recent days on drug and alcohol related charges.

Smithville Police Chief Richard Jennings says 21 year old Joshua Lynne Batey is charged with possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of a schedule VI controlled substance for sale and delivery.

His bond totals $30,000 and he will be in court on January 8th.

Investigator Jerry Hutchins, Jr. reports that on December 30th, Batey called the Smithville Police Department to 228 Green Acre Drive. Upon entering the residence, a plastic bag of marijuana could be seen in plain view on a table. After obtaining consent to search, police also found a box of sandwich bags and a marijuana grinder in the house.

Meanwhile, 37 year old Richard B. Turner is charged with public intoxication and simple possession. His bond totals $5,000 and he will be in court on the charges January 8th.

Officer Matt Farmer reports that on December 30th on Crestlawn Avenue, the Smithville Police Department was in the area on a dispute call. Turner was walking across the street. He was unsteady on his feet and had an odor of alcohol on his person. Turner is under a restraining order and not supposed to be at the housing authority. Upon incident to arrest, Officer Farmer found six seroquel pills, a legend drug, loose in his front pocket.

In another case, 47 year old Roy Douglas Atnip is charged with public intoxication. His bond is $1,000 and he will be in court January 8th. Officer Nathan Estes reports that on December 30th at 634 Crestlawn Avenue, the Smithville Police Department received two calls on Atnip. He was seen in the front yard very unsteady on his feet. He also had an odor of alcohol on his person.

Another vandalism was reported on Tuesday. Lieutenant Steven Leffew reports that on December 30th at 5:16 p.m., he responded to Sundance Restaurant downtown where someone had busted out the front glass. A large rock was found near the front of the building.

Tracy Foutch also reported to police on December 30th that someone trespassed on his property at 720 Robinson Road and cut six trees valued at $2,000.

Chief Jennings asks that if you have seen or see anyone cutting trees in that area to contact police.

DeKalb County Fire Department Receives $190K Federal Grant

January 1, 2009
Dwayne Page
County Fire Chief Donny Green

When there is an emergency, fire stations should have the necessary staff and personnel to properly respond. Today, Congressman Bart Gordon announced that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) awarded $190,000 to the DeKalb County Fire Department for recruitment of volunteer firefighters.

“Countless lives are saved every day by the courageous efforts of first responders – our nation’s firefighters, EMTs, and police officers,” said Congressman Gordon who is a member of the Congressional Fire Services Caucus. “This DHS grant will allow the DeKalb County Fire Department to staff up and do an even better job than they are already doing.”

The grant was awarded through the DHS Assistance to Firefighters Grant program. The program was developed to help firefighters and other first responders obtain critically needed equipment to improve their ability to protect the public and emergency personnel from fires and related hazards.

The DeKalb County Fire Department will receive the $190,000 grant incrementally over the next 4 years and use the funds to recruit and retain volunteer firefighters and personnel.
“We’re excited about this. We’ve been struggling with recruitment and retention of volunteers,” Chief Donny Green said.

The DeKalb County Fire Department plans to use billboards and media advertisements to expand the 72 all-volunteer countywide department. The department currently serves 11 stations in DeKalb County. “That’s a little less than seven firefighters per station, and with volunteers, half are at work or out of town,” explained Chief Green. “We really need 40-50 more volunteers.”

Retention incentives include fuel reimbursement of $10 per call and payment of $200 at the end of the year to each firefighter who attends 75 percent of monthly training drills or $400 for 100 percent of all training.

Wednesday Morning Fire Damages Shop Building

December 31, 2008
Dwayne Page
Smithville Firefighters at Shop Building Fire

The Smithville Volunteer Fire Department was called to a structure fire at 539 West Main Street Wednesday morning at 6:36 a.m.

Chief Charlie Parker says a garage type shop building belonging to Stevie Cripps was extensively damaged in the fire. The building is located behind Cripps' home.

A passerby, who spotted the smoke, stopped at the Cripps home to alert him

No one was in the shop at the time of the fire and no one was injured.

Chief Parker says a lot of the contents including cabinets, tools, and other odds and ends, were either damaged or destroyed in the fire.

The cause of the fire is undetermined.

Several Firefighters Complete Rookie Recruit Training

December 31, 2008
Area Firefighters Receive Training

The DeKalb County Fire Department recently held its semiannual 64 hour rookie recruit training class at the new facility.

Assistant Chief Roy Merriman says he is proud of the sacrifice of these individuals who took time to complete this basic firefighter class. He says most of these firefighters have already signed up for the 32 hour pumper operations class that will begin in January here and the 22 hour live burn at the Tennessee fire academy

Among those taking part in the class included Instructors Marvin Montgomery and Wallace Colwell, Smithville firefighters Joseph Hall , Stephanie Wright, Dusty Johnson and Glen Lattimore; Baxter firefighter Tonya Lee; North Warren firefighters Trey Clark and Dowie Green; Alexandria firefighters Brian Partridge, John Partridge, Jeff Ash and Brent Davis; and DeKalb firefighters Skip Roberts, Chris Wyke and Dale Pack.

Smithville Police Department to Conduct Sobriety Checkpoints

December 30, 2008

The Smithville Police Department will be conducting sobriety checkpoints and saturation patrols through January 4th in an effort to keep the roadways safe for the public and to reduce the risk of traffic related fatalities and drunk drivers during the holiday season. However during the year of 2009, the Smithville Police Department will continue to work with the Governor's Highway Safety Office to provide extra traffic patrols, saturation patrols, and sobriety checkpoints in a continued effort to keep the roadways safe for the public.

"Booze It & Lose It" is designed to reduce impaired driving injuries, fatalities, & associated economic losses. The "Booze It & Lose It" campaign provides for increased law enforcement efforts and public service messages to accomplish its goal. The intervention targets all drivers who are impaired due to the consumption of alcoholic beverages.

Impaired driving and impaired-related crashes constitute one of the nation's leading health problems. These events result in more deaths each year than do total homicides, and alcohol is a factor in 35% of all crashes in the United States.

More Sex Offender Laws Take Effect In Tennessee

December 30, 2008

The Tennessee Sex Offender Registry will offer even more information about each individual offender beginning January 1, 2009 to be in compliance with the state’s legislation that was passed during this year’s legislative session.

Overview of Sex Offender Registry law additions:

* The TBI’s Sex Offender Registry will now include each offender’s full criminal history. Arrests that result in convictions will be listed with the date of the disposition as well as any outstanding warrants. There will also be text of the law defining the criminal offense.

* The sex offender’s physical description will now be included on the registry. It will encompass height, weight, hair and eye color, tattoos, scars and marks.

* Registered sex offenders whose crimes are against a minor are now prohibited from dressing up or pretending to be a character with the intent to attract minors. They are also prohibited from driving any type vehicle that would attract minors or work in a profession that would require unsupervised direct contact with minors.

* An email notification system is set up on TBI’s website where the public can enter an email address and be directly notified when an offender makes a change in his/her public registry information. The public can search by specific offender or zip codes.

All the above changes bring the state’s Sex Offender Registry closer to be in complete compliance with the federal Adam Walsh Act. You can view the Tennessee Sex Offender Registry at www.tbi.state.tn.us.

Chamber Banquet Set for January 27th

December 29, 2008
Suzanne Williams

The Annual Chamber of Commerce Membership Banquet will be held on Tuesday, January 27, at Elizabeth Chapel Baptist Church starting with a "Silent Auction" at 5:30 p.m.. The dinner and program will begin at 6:00 p.m.

Suzanne Williams, Executive Director of the Chamber of Commerce says the keynote speaker, sponsored by FirstBank, will be former Murfreesboro Riverdale High School Coach Micheal Burt. "Over the past twelve years, Micheal has fulfilled the role of head women's basketball coach, athletic director, college professor, speaker, consultant, and author. As a coach, Micheal has produced seven consecutive 20+ win seasons, four conference titles, three sub-state appearances, two Miss Basketball finalists, and 100% of his players have furthered their education at the collegiate level. In 2007, Micheal's strategies were validated when he led his team to a 2007 Class AAA state championship and a 38-3 record for the first time in over 83 years in the city of Murfreesboro and the first time in the school's 36-year history." As a speaker, coach, and consultant, Burt has worked with some of the top companies in the world. "The author of three books, the most recent This Ain't No Practice Life, Micheal serves as the Chief Leadership Officer for multiple companies as well as his own Maximum Success, a leadership consulting firm that helps people go from where they are to where they want to be. Micheal maintains over 100 speaking engagements per year with a message that is both inspirational and educational and helps people and organizations fulfill their deepest potential."

Also during the program, the Leadership DeKalb Alumni group will present their winners for "Community Leader of the Year" and "Legacy" awards. The newly-elected Chamber Board Members will be introduced and the retiring directors will be honored.

Entertainment will be provided by singer/entertainer Dan McCorkle. Each chamber member is asked to donate an item for the Silent Auction. Please contact the Chamber office at 597-4163 as soon as possible and let them know what you will offer. They will be glad to pick it up.

Tickets are $20 per person and may be purchased from any of the 15 board members or tickets can be picked up at the Chamber office located at 301 N. Public Square, Smithville.

Alexandria Man Charged with Attempted Aggravated Robbery

December 28, 2008
Dwayne Page
Billy Ray Thomas
Gregory Micheal Patton
Jack Adams

A 48 year old Alexandria man allegedly tried to pull off an armed robbery at Prichard's Foods in Alexandria Saturday night.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says Billy Ray Thomas of Lower Helton Road is charged with attempted aggravated robbery and unlawful carrying of a weapon with the intent to go armed.

His bond totals $55,000 and he will be in court on the charges January 22nd.

Sheriff Ray says on Saturday night at 6:52 p.m. 911 received a call from Prichards Foods in Alexandria that a man had come into the store, got some items, and brought them to the cashier. As he approached the counter, the man was wearing a rag over his face telling the cashier he had a bad cold and didn't want her to catch it. When she totaled up the items on the cash register, the man pulled a knife, pointed it toward the cash register before the drawer opened and ordered the cashier to " give me what you got". The cashier turned and ran through the store screaming for someone to call 911.

The man then left the store and got in his vehicle but before he drove away, the store manager had followed him outside and wrote down the license tag number. He then called 911.

Another witness later called 911 and reported that he was behind the vehicle and that it was going east on Highway 70.

Officers of the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department and the Tennessee Highway Patrol pulled over the vehicle, a 1994 Dodge Sedan, on Highway 70 near Dowelltown and placed Thomas into custody.

Inside the vehicle, the officers found an eight inch knife between the seats and a rag that may have been used in the attempted robbery.

Sheriff Ray says officers later learned that Thomas had gone into another Alexandria store Saturday "looking for help" prior to the incident at Prichards Foods.

According to Sheriff Ray, Thomas walked into the Dollar General Store in Alexandria and asked the cashier for help. He was holding a rag over his face and had a knife in his back pocket. The cashier told him to go outside, get rid of the knife, and come back in and she would help him. He then walked out of the store and left. Thomas did not display the knife and apparently did not make any demands of the cashier while he was at the Dollar Store. Nothing was taken and no one was injured.

Thomas was not charged in that incident.

In addition to the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department and the Tennessee Highway Patrol, the Alexandria Police Department assisted in the case.

Meanwhile, in a separate case, 33 year old Gregory Micheal Patton and 49 year old Jack Adams both of Petty Road Smithville were arrested Saturday after a traffic stop on Bluhmtown Road.

Sheriff Ray says deputies stopped Patton for a traffic violation after observing him driving a 1993 Chevy Cavalier. Upon entering the vehicle, officers detected a strong smell of alcohol and they noticed a half of a six pack of Busch beer in the rear floorboard. Patton submitted to field sobriety tasks which he failed. Patton had a smell of alcohol on his person and he was very unsteady on his feet. A search was conducted and a marijuana cigarette was found in a cigarette pack in Patton's pocket. Deputies also found a hypodermic needle between the seats of Patton's car. A check of Patton's driver's license also showed them to be suspended for failure to pay child support. Patton admitted to drinking beer, but refused a blood test. He was arrested for driving under the influence, driving on a suspended driver's license, and possession of drug paraphernalia. His bond was set at $3,500 and he will appear in court on January 22nd. Patton was also issued citations for violation of the implied consent law and turn signal required.

Adams, a passenger of Patton's vehicle, was found to have a marijuana cigarette in his pocket and a small bag of marijuana was found in his seat. Adams was charged with simple possession of marijuana and his bond was set at $1,500. Adams will appear in court on January 22nd.

51 year old Forrest (Frosty) Byrd was arrested Sunday for leaving the scene of an accident after deputies investigated a one vehicle accident with property damage over $500 on Banks Pisgah Road.

Sheriff Ray says Byrd was driving a 1990 Mitsubishi Eclipse when he lost control and wrecked causing property damage to a fence. Byrd then left the scene. After an investigation, it was discovered that Byrd had gone to a business on Short Mountain Highway and called for a wrecker, but never returned to the accident site. Byrd was later charged with the crime. His bond was set at $2,500 and he will appear in court on January 29th.


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