Local News Articles

Smithville Mayor and Aldermen-Elect Take Oath of Office

June 29, 2010
Dwayne Page
Smithville Mayor Taft Hendrixson
Alderman Stephen White
Alderman Cecil Burger
Judge Bratten Cook II

Smithville Mayor Taft Hendrixson and Aldermen Stephen White and Cecil Burger, re-elected on June 15th, were sworn into office to begin their new two year terms Tuesday evening during a special meeting of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen at city hall.

General Sessions Court Judge Bratten Cook II administered the oath of office.

After the swearing in ceremony, Mayor Hendrixson appointed each of the alderman as commissioner of a city department.

The appointments are as follows:

Steve White-Vice Mayor and Commissioner of Water and Sewer
Shawn Jacobs- Commissioner of Finance and Taxation
W.J. (Dub) White- Commissioner of Sanitation
Cecil Burger- Commissioner of Streets and Safety
Aaron Meeks - Commissioner of the Police and Fire Departments

Mayor Hendrixson also appointed citizen representatives and aldermen to serve on various city boards.

Hoyte Barrett was re-appointed to a new six year term and Alderman Steve White was re-named to a new two year term on the city planning commission.

Anthony Hagan was re-appointed to a new four year term as a citizen member and Alderman Cecil Burger was chosen again to a new two year term on the Smithville Electric System Board.

Alderman Cecil Burger got a new two year term on the city beer board

Alderman Steve White was re-appointed to a new term on the 911 board.

The aldermen unanimously approved the mayor's appointments.

In other business, the aldermen adopted a continuing budget resolution to keep city government operating beyond June 30th until a new budget is approved.

The mayor and aldermen will not be meeting on Monday, July 5th because of the holiday weekend. Their next regularly scheduled meeting is set for Monday, July 19th at 7:00 p.m. at city hall.

Local Artists Plan Major Presence At 2010 Jamboree

June 29, 2010
Mike Antoniak
2009 Jamboree spectators watch chairmaker Tim Hintz at work

Members of the Off the Beaten Path artist group will be out in full force for the 39th Smithville Fiddler’s Jamboree and Crafts Festival, with ongoing demonstrations and exhibits of their work July 2 and 3.

“We’ve decided to make the Jamboree our main summer event,” says Susan DeMay, group vice president and ceramic artist based in Smithville. “It’s a great opportunity to showcase the high quality crafts produced in this area, and to raise awareness of our annual Off The Beaten Path Studio Tour.”

More than a dozen Off The Beaten Path members will be participating in this year’s Jamboree. The group has reserved two exhibit spaces and the air-conditioned 303 building on the north side of the square. One tent will feature crafts activities for children, the other a series of craft demonstrations. Friday’s schedule includes demonstrations in clay, wood and jewelry decoration, with additional clay demonstrations planned for Saturday.

“Inside the 303 building Jamboree visitors can take a break from the heat and see exhibits featuring our members’ work in a variety of media, all available for sale,” says DeMay. “We’ll also be on hand to talk about our tour, and invite visitors back to the area in the fall.”

Held the last full weekend each October, The Off The Beaten Path Studio Tour draws thousands of arts enthusiasts to DeKalb and Cannon counties to visit the artists where they work. This year’s 10th anniversary tour, with more than two dozen participating artists, will be held October 29 through 31. For more information on the group and its activities, please visit their website, www.offthebeatenpathtour.com

Construction Bids Sought for Development of New Farmers Market Location

June 29, 2010
Dwayne Page
2008 photo of Jeff Cantrell at the Farmers Market downtown

The Farmer's Market may have a new home within a few months.

The county commission Monday night voted to accept bids for the construction of a new farmer's market on the north side of the Town and Country Shopping Center plaza that the county now owns. It will be developed in the parking lot facing East Bryant Street.

The farmer's market is currently held each Saturday around the courthouse in which local farmers bring their home grown produce to sell.

The county commission, two years ago, voted to seek a $50,000 Rural Business Enterprise Grant from USDA Rural Development to help relocate the Farmer's Market where a proper structure could be built. The grant has since been approved. The project must be completed within 120 days.

The county is also awaiting word from the state on whether it's application for a $30,000 agriculture enhancement grant is going to be funded from the Tennessee Department of Agriculture for the new farmers market location.

County Mayor Mike Foster says the Farmer's Market helps bring people downtown on Saturday, which is a good thing, but the farmers who bring their produce to sell need shelter from the weather and the proposed new location could provide that. "We have done the environmentals and the traffic flow pattern. It would have a bathroom, a wash area, refrigerated area with storage, a display area, tables, and it's all handicapped accessible."

County Commission Favors Erecting Memorial in Tribute to All Local Fallen War Heroes

June 29, 2010
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Commission has given it's blessing for a new memorial to be erected on the courthouse grounds in tribute to all local military men and women who have died in service to our country.

County Mayor Mike Foster, during Monday night's county commission meeting, said the project will require public input and community fundraisers. "We have talked about doing a memorial on the courthouse grounds. Since the Anderson boy (PFC Billy Anderson) was killed, we've had some people discuss putting up a memorial for him. But we have broadened it (idea) into maybe doing a fundraiser where the community is really involved in doing this and doing it for all wars."

"I would personally like to see us do a fundraiser where the public is involved in it and that we make it (monument) big enough to put the names of people from World War I, World War II, Vietnam, Korea, the Iraqi and Afghanistan wars and have room on there for others (in the future). Rather than having a lot of single markers or memorials for those people, it would be better to have just one for everybody."

" I think it's a good idea and everybody is for it but the design of it, where it's located, and all of that needs to be studied and worked on. Before we start seeking people to contribute to it and raising money for it, we should at least put in the minutes (of the meeting) that you (county commission) have tentatively approved it and that we start with the procedure and form committees as to how we and the public want it to look and then get the community involved because I think it means more to people if they're involved in it."

Dowelltown Woman Charged with Statutory Rape

June 28, 2010
Dwayne Page
Jessica Marie Tittle
Kenny Waymon Dyal Jr
Lisa Michelle Porterfield
Robert Tucker Treadway

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department arrested a Dowelltown woman for statutory rape last week after she admitted to having sex with a young boy.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says 25 year old Jessica Marie Tittle of South Mill Street Dowelltown was charged on Tuesday, June 22nd after an investigation into allegations that she had sexual relations with a 15 year old boy on June 12th at her residence. Detectives interviewed Tittle last Tuesday and she admitted to the crime. Bond for Tittle was set at $5,000.

Meanwhile, in other crime news, 23 year old Kenny Waymon Dyal Jr. of Floyd Drive Smithville was arrested on Wednesday, June 23rd for theft of property under $500. His bond is $1,500 and he will be in court on July 1st. While on patrol last Wednesday, a deputy stopped a vehicle on Eagle Creek Road off the Cookeville Highway for weaving. The officer asked Dyal, the driver, for his license. As Dyal was retrieving his driver's license, the officer noticed that Dyal had a debit card that belonged to another person. The deputy inquired about the card and Dyal told him that it belonged to a member of his family and that another family member had given it to him to buy some items at the store. The officer contacted the family and found that Dyal did not have permission to obtain the card.

Also on Wednesday, June 23rd, the Sheriff's Department executed a search warrant at the home of 32 year old Lisa Michelle Porterfield at 4812 McMinnville Highway. Detectives obtained the search warrant after Porterfield was found to be selling the drug Dilaudid from her home. During the search, officers confiscated 35 used hypodermic needles, a crack pipe, used straw containing a white residue, rolling papers, a plastic bag containing marijuana, a Xanax pill, 6 Suboxone pills, 9 Hydrocodone pills, 3 Dilaudid pills, and $494.52 in cash. Detectives seized the money along with Porterfield's Chevy Lumina that she was allegedly using to transport the drugs. Porterfield was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of a schedule II drug for resale, 2 counts of possession of a schedule III drug for resale, possession of a schedule IV drug for resale, and possession of a schedule VI drug for resale. Her bond was set at $175,000 and she will appear in court on July 1st.

On Thursday, June 24th, a deputy received a call that a man was trying to sell the drug LSD to people. After obtaining a description of the vehicle, the officer spotted it on Allen's Ferry Road. After making the traffic stop, the deputy noticed that the driver, 19 year old Robert Tucker Treadway of Peach Tree Street, Nashville, had slurred speech. The officer also detected the smell of marijuana coming from inside the vehicle. After receiving consent to search the vehicle, the deputy found a bag of marijuana and a pill bottle containing sugar cubes. Treadway was charged with a first offense of driving under the influence and possession of a schedule VI drug (marijuana) for resale. Treadway's bond was set at $6,500 and he will appear in court on July 15th. The sugar cubes will be sent to the T.B.I. crime lab for analysis to determine if they contain the drug LSD.

22 year old Billy D. Ferrell of R Arnold Road Smithville was charged Thursday, June 24th with violation of an order of protection after deputies were summoned to check out a domestic call. When deputies arrived at the residence, they found Ferrell and his mother's husband in an argument. Ferrell had an order of protection against him. He was under a court order to stay away from the residence. Ferrell was taken into custody and his bond was set at $2,500. He will appear in court July 1st.

On Friday, June 25th, a deputy while on patrol on McMinnville Highway, stopped 25 year old John Bryan Pedigo for a traffic violation. Pedigo was found to be driving on a revoked license. Pedigo's license was revoked for failure to file security after an accident on January 16th in DeKalb County. Pedigo was charged with a first offense of driving on a revoked license and his bond was set at $1,500.. He will appear in court on July 14th.

Smithville, Tennessee businessman charged with felony theft

June 27, 2010
Mark Violet

A well-known Smithville jeweler was arrested Friday, after a joint investigation by the Smithville Police Department and the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department into a trio of recent burglaries, involving almost $10,000 in stolen jewelry. Arrested was Mark Violet, operator of K&M Jewelry on West Broad Street, who was charged with two counts of felony theft as a result of the investigation.

The case began with the report of a burglary at a residence on White Oak Drive in Smithville, on Friday, June 18th, in which the victims reported some $2,500 in jewelry to be missing. Patrolman Matt Farmer responded to the scene and took the report from the victims. Later the same day, Patrolman Farmer was dispatched to the residence next door to the previous one on White Oak Drive, in which the homeowners stated they had been robbed of some $3,700 in jewelry, plus other miscellaneous items.

On Tuesday, June 22nd, Patrolman Scott Davis was dispatched to a residence on Ed Taft Drive, where the homeowner reported some $3,500 in jewelry, as well as additional items of value, had been taken from their home.

The case was assigned to Detective Matt Holmes of the Smithville Police Department. Holmes later contacted Detective Mike Billings and Detective Shane Martin of the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department, and an investigation was conducted into the burglaries, which were all similar in nature. Their investigation led them to a suspicious person who had been seen in the area of the burglaries in the days leading up to and following the break-ins. The investigation further led authorities to Violet, who when initially questioned by police, denied having any knowledge of the stolen jewelry.

Later, further questioning of the jeweler led to his alleged confession of having bought the jewelry from a person named Travis Hill, who had allegedly been the person who entered the residences and took the jewelry and other items. Hill then met Violet at an unspecified location, where the jeweler allegedly paid Hill for the stolen goods. Violet also admitted to police that he had melted and sold some of the jewelry, and was no longer in possession of it.

A search of the premises at K&M Jewelry led to the recovery of a DVD player that was actually at Violet's home and had been stolen from Wal-Mart. Upon questioning Hill, he led authorities to the location where he had disposed of much of the stolen merchandise, which was recovered and later identified by the victims.

Violet’s bond for the two counts of felony theft was set at $10,000, and he will appear in General Sessions Court on the charges, July 15th. Hill, meanwhile, was charged with three counts of aggravated burglary, three counts of felony theft and possession of a schedule II drug. He is scheduled to appear in General Sessions Court, August 5th. Additional charges could be pending in the case.

Those working on the joint investigation into the burglaries were Chief Randy Caplinger, Detective Matt Holmes, Sergeant Randy King and Patrolman David Phillips of the Smithville Police Department, along with Sheriff Patrick Ray, Detective Mike Billings and Detective Shane Martin of the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department.

Unemployment rate continues steady decline

June 25, 2010
Dwayne Page

DeKalb County’s unemployment rate for the month of May was an even 10 percent, down eight-tenths of a percentage point from the revised April rate of 10.8 percent.
According to Labor Force figures, DeKalb County’s work force for May was 9,600, with 8,640 persons employed, while 960 were unemployed. The May, 2010, rate was also significantly lower than that of May, 2009, when 10.6 percent of the county’s workforce was unemployed.

Tennessee’s unemployment rate for May was 10.4 percent, down one-tenth of a percentage point from the April rate of 10.5 percent. Unemployment rates in Tennessee decreased in 86 of the state’s 95 counties in May, increased in seven counties and stayed the same in two counties.

In Local Workforce Investment Area 7, which includes DeKalb and 11 other Upper Cumberland counties, Cannon County had the lowest jobless rate at 8.4 percent, followed by Putnam County at 9.2 percent. DeKalb County and Macon County were next in line at 10 percent each, with Smith County next at 10.5 percent. Other jobless rates in the area include the following: Overton County, 10.7 percent; Jackson County, 11.5 percent; Fentress County, 11.7 percent; Clay County, 12.3 percent; White County, 12.5 percent; Van Buren County, 12.6 percent; and Pickett County, 13.6 percent.

Meanwhile, Lincoln County registered the state's lowest county unemployment rate at 6.6 percent, down from 7.1 percent in April. Scott County had the state’s highest unemployment rate at 19.8 percent, down from 20.2 percent in April, followed by Marshall County at 16.7 percent, down from 17.3 percent in April.

Knox County had the state’s lowest major metropolitan rate of 7.7 percent, down from 8.2 percent in April. Davidson County was 8.9 percent, unchanged from the April rate. Hamilton County was at 8.6 percent, down from 9.0 in April, and Shelby County was 10.0 percent, down from 10.2 in April.

The national unemployment rate for the month of May was 9.7 percent.

Roses Assistant Manager Arrested for Theft

June 25, 2010
Dwayne Page

An assistant manager at the Roses store in Smithville was arrested on Thursday, and charged with theft, after he allegedly took money from the store.
In the latest city of Smithville crime report, Chief Randy Caplinger said Officer Matt Farmer arrested 36-year-old Ronald D. Ferrell, Jr. of 7691 Holmes Creek Road for theft over $500. Ferrell, who was employed at the Roses store on South Congress Boulevard, allegedly took money from the store without consent and with intent to deprive. Ferrell was allegedly taking items and falsely returning them to the store, then keeping the money.

Ferrell allegedly admitted to taking the money. Bond for Ferrell was set at $2,500, and he will appear in court, July 29th.

In other city crime news, K-9 Officer Bradley Tatrow arrested 32-year-old Andrew Westley Wilbert of 120 Hillside Road, Dowelltown, for tampering with evidence and criminal littering. While standing out in front of City Hall, K-9 Officer Tatrow and Trooper Dewayne Jennings observed Wilbert speaking to a subject that had pulled up at the parking area of the courthouse. Upon walking back up the courthouse steps, both officers observed Mr. Wilbert holding something in his left hand near his crotch. When he reached the top step, he looked back at the officers, turned his back and appeared to stuff something down the front of his pants. Both officers approached him and received consent to search his person. While searching Wilbert, a rubber glove filled with urine fell from his right pants leg. Both officers were aware that Wilbert was subject to take a drug test before he could leave court. Wilbert reached down, got the glove and threw it on the ground in an attempt to destroy the evidence. Bond for Wilbert was set at $7,000 and he will appear in court on the charges, July 22nd.

On June 24th, Officer David Phillips arrested 20-year-old Heather Ann Yoskovich of 1792 Holiday Haven Road for shoplifting, drug paraphernalia and public intoxication. On that date, Officer Phillips was dispatched to Kwik N Ezy in regard to a report of a shoplifter. Upon Officer Phillips arrival, he found Sergeant Randy King speaking with the suspect, Yoskovich, at the side of the vehicle that she had been traveling in. Yoskovich then spoke with Officer Phillips, who found that her speech to be slurred, and she was unsteady on her feet. Sergeant King asked the owner of the vehicle for consent to search. Inside the vehicle, the officer discovered an item allegedly taken from the store and a needle was found in Yoskovich’s purse, which was located in the vehicle. Bond for Yoskovich was set at $3,000 and she will appear in court, July 15th.

On June 18th, Corporal Travis Bryant arrested 28-year-old Tammy J Simpson of 202 Village Place for third offense of driving on a suspended license. Corporal Bryant responded to Golf Club Drive in response to a motor vehicle accident in which Simpson was driving a Dodge truck. A check of her driver’s license revealed it to be suspended for prior offenses. Simpson’s bond was set at $2,500, and she will appear in court on July 1st.

On June 20th, Sergeant Randy King arrested 25-year-old Joshua Lynn Mullican of 1290 Keltonburg Road for possession of a schedule II drug and drug paraphernalia. Sergeant King and Officer David Phillips were dispatched to Rite-Aid Pharmacy in reference to possible shoplifters and drug activity. Sergeant King spoke with the subjects and asked for identification. The subjects were found to be Joshua Mullican and another subject. Mullican was asked if he had anything in his pockets, and he stated that he didn’t. During a check of Joshua Mullican for weapons, Sergeant King felt a cylindrical object in his right pocket, which turned out to be a straw with residue in it. Mullican dropped a crushed cigarette pack on the floor that contained a small bag of a white powder substance, which tested as methamphetamine. Bond for Mullican was set at $2,500, and he will appear in court on July 15th.

On June 21st, Corporal Travis Bryant arrested 24-year-old Krista D. Mahaney of 2702 Sparta Highway for a violation of probation. She is being held without bond until her court date.

On June 22nd, K-9 Officer Bradley Tatrow arrested 37-year-old Leslie Maurice Callen of Murfreesboro for speeding. Officer Tatrow pulled over a Monte Carlo at approximately 6:30 p.m. for speeding. The driver, Callen, was clocked by radar traveling 55 miles per hour in a 40 mile per hour posted speed zone on Short Mountain Street. After verifying with Central Dispatch that Callen’s driver’s license was valid, Officer Tatrow issued him a citation for speeding. Officer Tatrow explained to Callen that by signing the citation, it was not an admission of quilt, but rather was like signing his own bond to appear in court on the cited charges. Callen refused to sign the citation, however, so Officer Tatrow again explained to Callen that by not signing the citation, he would be arrested and taken to jail for speeding. Callen still refused to sign and was arrested at that time. Callen’s bond was set at $150, and he will appear in court, July 22nd.

On June 24th, Sergeant Randy King arrested 39-year-old Jenna Sue Murphy of 625 Restview Avenue for public intoxication and possession of schedule IV drug. Sergeant King was dispatched to the intersection of Wade Street and Juniper Street in response to a call about someone being passed out on the lawn. Upon his arrival, Sergeant King found Murphy lying unconscious on the ground. Upon awaking and speaking with her, Sergeant King noticed that she was incoherent, had slurred speech and she was unsteady on her feet. Murphy was placed under arrest for public intoxication. A search of her person also revealed a white pill, believed to be a Soma, in her right front pocket. Bond for Murphy was set at $2,500, and she will appear in court, July 15th.

Meanwhile, Chief Caplinger is asking anyone with any information on the following offenses to please contact the Smithville Police Department.

On the morning of June 17th, two houses were allegedly burglarized on White Oak Drive, with some jewelry allegedly taken in both burglaries. The suspect was described as being a white male of medium height in his mid 20’s to early 30’s, with sandy blond to brownish short hair and he was seen carrying a blue backpack.

Meanwhile, on June 22nd, someone burglarized a home on Ed Taft Drive. It is believed the same person has burglarized homes on White Oak Drive.

If you have information on these or any other crimes, please contact the Smithville Police Department at 597-8210 or the Crime Tip Line at 464-6046. All information will be appreciated and kept confidential.

Alexandria Youth Airlifted After ATV Accident

June 23, 2010
Dwayne Page
Alexandria Youth being transferred from ambulance to helicopter
Toyota Corolla involved in ATV Accident

A fifteen year old Alexandria boy was airlifted to Vanderbilt Hospital in Nashville Tuesday evening after he was injured in an ATV accident with another vehicle near his home on Lower Helton Road.

Central dispatch received the call at 6:50 p.m.

Sergeant Mark Dial of the Tennessee Highway Patrol says Robert Austin Hale was coming out of the driveway of his home on a Honda 350 four wheeler, attempting to go west on Lower Helton Road, when he pulled into the path of a westbound 1999 Toyota Corolla, driven by 48 year old Timothy James Anderson.

Sergeant Dial says the car struck the ATV and Hale was ejected. Anderson was not injured.

DeKalb EMS treated Hale and took him to the helicopter landing zone on Brush Creek Road (Highway 53) about a mile from the accident scene, to await Vanderbilt Life Flight. Hale's injuries were not believed to be life threatening.

Members of the Alexandria Police and Fire Departments were also on the scene

Graduation Ceremony Held for Leadership DeKalb Class of 2010

June 23, 2010
Suzanne Williams
Leadership DeKalb Class of 2010 (Photo by Suzanne Williams)

The Leadership DeKalb Class of 2010 graduation was held on Tuesday at the 303 North Public Square Building, Smithville. After a welcome from Leadership Director Jen Sherwood and Chamber President Tim Hintz, the invocation was given by class member Shirley Ingram. Special music for the evening was provided by James and Dorothy Hayes and class member Jackie Smith. The night's guest speakers were Leadership DeKalb Alumni Association 2009 Community Leader of the Year, Laura Stone, and the 2009 Leadership Legacy Award recipient, Judy Sandlin. Laura spoke on the topic "Helping Others” while Judy talked about “The Importance of Community Volunteerism.”

Class president Twana Green led the class overview of the year's sessions. A PowerPoint slide show assembled by class members Rita Bell and Abigail Laprad depicted each month’s speakers and activities. Leadership Director Jen Sherwood and Chamber Director Suzanne Williams presented the graduating class with plaques. Leadership Alumni President Shawn Jacobs closed with final words of encouragement to continue giving back to the community as graduates of Leadership DeKalb.

Leadership DeKalb is a 10-month program designed to bring together individuals who desire increased leadership responsibility in improving the quality of life in DeKalb County, and train these citizens with knowledge, skills and an increased awareness of opportunities so that they are involved, effective and active leaders. Each summer, applications are accepted for the next year's class. Participation is open to any who lives or works in DeKalb County and who has a desire to contribute to positive change in DeKalb County. For more information, contact Jen Sherwood at 597-4851 or the chamber office at 597-4163.

(Pictured left to right: Front row: Jen Sherwood, LD Director; Shirley Lockhart Ingram, Author; Mary Ann Smithson, Middle Tennessee Urology Specialists; Twana Green, DTC Wireless; Lori Manns, Manns Master Mechanics
Back row: Betty Turner, Artist; Kiki Brown, The Real Estate Team; Jackie Smith, State Farm Insurance; Rita Bell, Haven of Hope Counseling; Abigail C. Laprad, DCHS student/Smithville Rotary Club; Jennifer K. Butts, OIC Designs.)


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