Local News Articles

Sheriff Ray Warns Residents To Beware of Scam

September 10, 2007
Dwayne Page

Sheriff Patrick Ray is warning DeKalb Countians about a recent scam.

According to Sheriff Ray "Victims in the County have been calling me about receiving checks in the mail and a letter telling you to deposit the checks, how much money to keep, and where to forward the remaining money. One victim had gotten e-mails and telephone calls from the scammer." Sheriff Ray says "This is a scam, so do not cash the checks. The checks are no good and you could be responsible for paying the money back. Some of the checks have been up in the thousands of dollars. If you receive one of these checks, you may contact me or someone from my office or simply destroy the checks by tearing them up. Our office has contacted the F.B.I. about this scam."

Meanwhile, in other crime news, On Monday, September 3rd, 47 year old Mike Alton Baugh of Atelia Drive, Antioch, Tennessee was arrested on Highway 70 west for 2nd offense DUI, Violation of the Implied Consent Law, Driving on a Revoked Driver's License, Leaving the Scene of an Accident, Violation of the Open Container Law, Simple Possession of a Schedule VI Drug (Marijuana), and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.

Baugh and a female passenger were in a 1998 Dodge pickup truck towing a pontoon boat traveling west on Highway 70 West. Baugh and the passenger started throwing each other's belongings out of the windows of the vehicle. Baugh suddenly jerked his vehicle around to make a u-turn in the middle of the road when the pontoon boat he was towing came off and landed in a private drive. Baugh returned to where his items where thrown out, retrieved the items, and left his passenger beside of the pontoon boat. Baugh fled the scene and was eventually stopped in Liberty. Baugh was intoxicated and had in his possession a small amount of Marijuana, hemostats, a pair of alligator clips, and a half bottle of wine. A check of Baugh's license revealed it was revoked due to a DUI. Baugh's truck was also seized. Bond was set at $6,000 and he is to appear in General Sessions Court October 10th.

52 year old Larry Dale Lepley of Miller Road Smithville was charged Wednesday, September 5th with Violation of The Sexual Offender Act. Lepley's listed address was checked and deputies found out that he had moved and failed to report his new address. Bond for Lepley was set at $10,000 and his court date is September 20th.

26 year old Julie Elaine Moore of Cookeville Highway Smithville was charged Friday, September 7th with 2 counts of forgery. Moore took two stolen checks and passed them at a business in Liberty. The checks were in the amount of $100.00 each. Her court date is September 13th and her bond is $10,000.

19 year old Samantha Rene Devault of Highland Drive Smithville was arrested Saturday for Theft of Property over $500.00. Devault stole three diamond rings, valued at over $500.00 from a residence on Shady Drive Smithville. The rings have been recovered. Her bond was set at $10,000 and her court date is October 11th.

On Sunday, September 9th , deputies were dispatched to Jacobs Pillar Road Smithville in answer to a call of a suspicious vehicle setting in the middle of the road. When Deputies arrived, they found 26 year old Luis Alberto Villanunva passed out in the vehicle. Villanunva's vehicle was running, in gear, and Villanunva had his foot on the brake. Villanunva was arrested for DUI 1ST offense and Driving without a license. His court date is October 4th and his bond is $1,000.

Center Hill Team Makes Recommendations To Ensure Dam's Safety

September 9, 2007
Dwayne Page

An independent team of engineers has reviewed planned repairs to Center Hill Dam and made key recommendations to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, according to U.S. Representative Bart Gordon.

The recommendations made by the peer review panel include an immediate reduction in the water level at Center Hill Lake to reduce pressure on the dam.

"The Corps should take every reasonable precaution to protect the lives and property of those who live downstream of Center Hill Dam," said Gordon. "While the Corps tells me a dam break is unlikely, the results would be devastating."

Last month, Gordon went to the dam and met with Corps officials regarding the planned repairs. The $240 million, six-year rehabilitation will involve the addition of grouting to voids where seepage is occurring in the earthen dam. Installation of a concrete cut-off wall into the rock foundation of the dam will provide another level of defense against future seepage.

Problems with seepage have been a problem at Center Hill Dam since its completion in 1951. The most recent rehabilitation to the dam occurred in 1992, when grouting was added to combact seepage.

"Addressing the seepage problems will greatly enhance safety for the Middle Tennesseans who live downstream, as well as for the many people who visit the lake each year," said Gordon. "While the rehabilitation will cause temporary headaches, the end result will be a safer place for recreation and residence."

While Corps officials say there is no immediate danger of the dam failing, they are monitoring the seepage so that emergency actions could be taken to lessen the possibility of a catastrophic breach occurring.

A catastrophic dam failure could result in significant damage and loss of life if water from Center Hill Lake were to flood downstream communities.

The Corps is planning to hold public meetings later this year in downstream communities and is working with the Department of Homeland Security to provide residents with maps depicting potential flooding in the event of a failure at the dam.

A copy of the full peer review report is available at the Corps' web site at www.Irn.usace.army.mil/CenterHill.

Baker, Clayborn & Tubbs Elected Aldermen in Alexandria

September 6, 2007
Dwayne Page

Derrick Baker, Shelia Clayborn, and Maureen Tubbs were elected Aldermen during the Alexandria Municipal Election Thursday.

Clayborn led the ticket with 74 votes (31.6%) followed by Baker with 72 votes (30.7%) and Tubbs with 52 votes (22.2%).

Barbara (Bobbie) Crawford, a write-in candidate, received 17 write-in votes on the machine and one vote by paper ballot.

James R. Walker received 15 votes.

A total of 91 people voted in the election including 86 on election day and five during early voting.

DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department Awarded Federal Grant

September 6, 2007
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department has been awarded a $241,410 U.S. Department of Homeland Security Operations and Safety Grant, U.S. Representative Bart Gordon announced.

"Many communities struggle to maintain EMS and firefighting services," said Gordon, a member of the Congressional Fire Services Caucus. "Even though demands of EMS providers and firefighters have increased tremendously over the years, the resources they depend on to provide their life-saving services have not.

That's why Congress initiated the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program, which is similar to the highly successful COPS program that put more than 100,000 new police officers on the nation's streets."

Chief Donny Green said the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department will use this federal funding award to purchase 44 new self-contained breathing apparatuses (SCBA's), or commonly referred to as "air packs", which will allow for four SCBA?s at each of the 11 stations across the county. These SCBA's cost a little more than $5,000 each.

Green added "Our county budget simply could not afford us to buy this essential safety equipment. The SCBA's currently used by the department's 77 volunteer firefighters are not NFPA compliant and do not offer the most up-to-date safety features that our volunteers deserve. The delivery of these SCBA's will allow our department to be in compliance and provide a higher degree of safety for our 77 volunteer firefighters."

Fire Burns Hay Field

September 6, 2007
Dwayne Page

A fire Wednesday burned a hay field belonging to Grady Ray on Wright Bend Road in the Belk Community.

County Fire Chief Donny Green says firefighters received a call around 2:30 p.m. Wednesday that a hay field was on fire and that the blaze was getting dangerously close to structures in the area.

Members of the Keltonburg and Belk Stations of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department responded along with the brush truck and the Tennessee Division of Forestry.

The hay had been cut and mowed but had not yet been raked.

The fire burned the entire twelve acre hay field as well as an acre of an adjoining pasture.

The blaze got close to a barn and house but fire fighters were able to put it out before causing any damage to them.

Green says the fire may have started from the heat or a spark created by the using of the mowing equipment.

No one was injured.

Police Department Applicants Interviewed

September 5, 2007
Dwayne Page

Three applicants to fill vacancies in the Smithville Police Department were interviewed Tuesday afternoon at city hall by Mayor Taft Hendrixson, Vice Mayor/Alderman Steve White, and Smithville Police Department Officer in Charge, Steven Leffew.

Randy King, Joey Jones, and Steve Cowan have expressed an interest in being hired by the city as a police officer.

King, originally from Grundy County, now lives in Warren County and is currently out of law enforcement, working for a company in Jasper. He began his law enforcement career in Tracy City, where he became certified. For financial reasons, King left law enforcement and went into business for himself, before taking a job in Jasper. King was among the top ten in his class when he completed the Tennessee Law Enforcement Training Academy.

Jones, a resident of White County, is also a certified officer and has worked for thirteen years for the White County Sheriff's Department.

Cowan, who lives at Brush Creek, is a certified officer and is currently employed as a security officer for UMC Medical Center in Lebanon. He formerly worked for over 18 years in security at Tennessee State University, and spent a year and a half working for the Smith County Sheriff's Department, before becoming employed at UMC.

Mayor Hendrixson says a decision on hiring some new officers could come soon and would have to be approved by the aldermen at the next regular meeting.

Meanwhile, Mayor Hendrixson says the police department is planning to change the working schedule of it's officers to twelve hour shifts.

Alexandria City Election Set for Thursday

September 5, 2007
Dwayne Page

Three Aldermen will be elected Thursday, September 6th in the Alexandria City Election.

Voting will be held from 8:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. at the Kenneth Sandlin Center at the DeKalb County Fairgrounds.

The official slate of candidates for this election, in addition to the write-in candidacy of Barbara (Bobbie) Crawford include Derrick Baker, Sheila Clayborn, Maureen Tubbs, and James R. Walker.

Crawford's name will not be printed on the ballot. Anyone who wants to vote for her will have to "write in" her name. The voting machines that will be used allow the voter to do this on the machine rather than requesting a paper ballot. According to Tennessee Election Laws paper ballots are only to be used in an emergency situation when voting machines are not available for use.

A total of four people voted early for this election including three by personal appearance and one by mail.

Enrollment In School System Down by 21 Students Compared to Last Year

September 4, 2007
Dwayne Page

Student Enrollment in the DeKalb County School System, after the first month of school, is down by 21 students compared to this same time last year.

Clay Farler, Attendance Supervisor, told WJLE Tuesday that system-wide, DeKalb County has an enrollment to date of 2,945, compared to 2,966 after the first month of school last year.

Enrollment is down by 13 students at Smithville Elementary School, down by one student at DeKalb Middle School, down by 16 students at Northside Elementary School, and down by 6 students at DeKalb County High School. Enrollment at DeKalb West School is up by 15 students.

Farler says one reason the enrollment number may be down at DCHS is because of the addition of the adult high school. Those attending the adult high school are not counted in the enrollment at DCHS.

The enrollment numbers include students in the four Pre-K classes at Smithville Elementary and one Pre-K class at DeKalb West School, all of which are not yet filled.

The enrollment numbers after the first month of school for 2007 and 2006 at each school are as follows:

DeKalb County High School-
Year 2007- 819
Year 2006- 825

DeKalb Middle School-
Year 2007- 527
Year 2006-528

Northside Elementary-
Year 2007-527
Year 2006-543

Smithville Elementary School-
Year 2007-645
Year 2006-658

DeKalb West School-
Year 2007-427
Year 2006-412

Early Voting Begins Monday for DTC Director Election

September 4, 2007
Dwayne Page

Early voting will be held Monday through Wednesday, September 10th-12th for the DTC Communications Director Election.

The annual meeting will be held on Saturday, September 15th at the DeKalb County Fairgrounds in Alexandria.

Directors will be elected in four exchanges, including the Auburntown (464), Gordonsville (683), Temperance Hall (548), and Woodland (765) exchanges.

Incumbents Roy N. Pugh, Robert Don Malone, and David Parker are running unopposed in the Auburntown, Temperance Hall, and Woodland exchanges, respectively.

The Gordonsville exchange is represented by two candidates: Incumbent James H. Dillard, Jr. and David A. Watson who qualified by petition.

Voting for directors will take place at the cooperative's annual meeting on Saturday, Sept. 15 and during early voting Monday-Wednesday, Sept. 10-12.

Hours and locations for early voting include:
Early Voting Hours
Mon., Sept. 10 - Noon to 7 p.m.
Tues., Sept. 11 - Noon to 7 p.m.
Wed., Sept. 12 - 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Early Voting Locations
Kenneth Sandlin Building, DeKalb County Fairgrounds, Alexandria
Gordonsville Clinic/DTC Conference Room, 126 JMZ Drive, Gordonsville
DeKalb County Courthouse, Room 100, 1 Public Square, Smithville
DTC Training Center (former Woodbury phone store), located beside the DTC Customer Service Center, Woodbury

On Saturday, Sept. 15, gates to the DeKalb County Fairgrounds in Alexandria will open at 11:45 a.m., with voting from noon until 4 p.m. The business meeting will begin at 4 p.m. or once the last person in line at that time has voted.

Only DTC members may vote, and each member must present identification. For a single membership, only that individual may vote. Either member of a joint membership may vote, but not both. In the case of a business membership, a business affidavit is required.

For questions regarding membership and voting guidelines, refer to the by-laws section included in the current DTC phone directory, or call DTC at 615-529-2955.

Three Involved In Serious Traffic Accident Making Recovery

September 3, 2007
Dwayne Page

A week after being involved in a serious traffic accident on Banks Pisgah Road, three persons have been released from the hospital and are making a recovery.

Lieutenant Brian Lawson of the Tennessee Highway Patrol says 18 year old Kerrie Neal of Lee Braswell Road, Smithville was traveling south on Banks Pisgah Road last Tuesday evening in a 1994 Chevy pickup truck when she crossed the double yellow line and struck a northbound 1993 Nissan pickup, driven by 39 year old Lisa Evon Crowe of Parkhurst Road, McMinnville. Lieutenant Lawson says the crash occurred as both drivers were trying to negotiate a curve in front of the Banks Cumberland Presbyterian Church near Bethel Road.

According to Lieutenant Lawson, both Crowe and Neal were airlifted along with a passenger of Neal's vehicle, 17 year old Billy Gene Anderson of Page Drive, Smithville.

Two were flown to Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga and one to Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville.

All three have since been released.

Lieutenant Lawson says Crowe, who was the most seriously injured, suffered a broken finger, broken bones in her hand and two broken ribs.

Neal was cited for failure to keep the proper lane of travel and Anderson was cited for not wearing a seatbelt.


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