Local News Articles

Sheriff Ray Busy During His First Days In Office

September 4, 2006
by: 
Dwayne Page

Sheriff Patrick Ray's first days on the job have been busy.

In a meeting with the local news media Friday, Sheriff Ray says he has already begun some investigations and is in the process of making his administration more accessible to the public. \"We've got a drug problem here and we're going to work on the drugs. That's one of the first things we're going to do. We're also going to work on the burglaries and thefts here. We've been getting in a few theft reports today and we'll be working on those. As a matter of fact, I've already got some people working on them now.\"

\"One of my campaign promises was to have an open door policy to the public. I want everybody to know they are welcome to come in and talk to me or call on the phone if they need to get in touch with me. We're here for the people. We answer all calls and are ready to help everybody the best that we can do.\"

\"We started early this morning (Friday) doing the cleanup behind the jail. We're doing an inventory of the jail today and an inventory of the seized vehicles out back. We'll be having a sale here pretty quick to get rid of some of these vehicles. I'm working with County Mayor Mike Foster in trying to find a place to tow our seized vehicles. We'll be keeping the area behind the jail mowed and cleaned up.\"

\"Here in front of the jail, we've taken down a temporary partition that was up. We want the public to feel like they're invited to come in and talk to the staff or to me.\"

Sheriff Ray says he plans to have inmates working under supervision picking up roadside litter and they will possibly work some at schools when children aren't present or maybe at the landfill, but don't expect them to work on patrol cars. \"I don't agree with the philosophy of letting inmates work on vehicles. If I put somebody in jail for something, I would not want them putting brakes on my patrol car or any of my guy's patrol cars. We'll be using local businesses to do most of the work.\"

Ray says he plans to start a Senior Safe program soon. \" One of the first programs that I want to start is my Senior program. As I was going around the county (during the campaign), I talked with a lot of seniors who live by themselves or have some kind of physical disability. We'll be starting that program pretty quick. What we will need is their names, addresses, and phone numbers. We'll also need to know if they have any kind of disability. One of my employees will make daily checks on them to make sure they're okay.\"

Don Adamson will be Ray's Chief Deputy. \"Don has law enforcement experience in his background. When I went and talked to him about taking the position of Chief Deputy here, he was a School Resource Officer in Wilson County. He agreed to come on board and I'm proud to have him. Don will be accessible to the public and if anybody wants to talk to him, they will be able to call or come and see him.\"

\"I've made out a schedule for my deputies. A 12 hour shift schedule, rotating weekends. We have two people on days, two on nights, and a swing shift person. All these people will work together in the department. In the jail, the previous administration had two jailers on but we have four on. We're full capacity on correctional officers and we also have a good staff of qualified deputies.\"

Sheriff Ray again stresses that his office door will always be open and if you have any questions or concerns, drug tips, or information, you may call 597-4935 or come by and see him at the DeKalb County Jail.

Governor?s Highway Safety Office Awards Law Enforcement Grants To Smithville and Alexandria

August 29, 2006
by: 
Dwayne Page

The Governor?s Highway Safety Office (GHSO)has announced that the state will fund High Visibility Law Enforcement Grants to 317 agencies across Tennessee including the Alexandria and Smithville Police Departments. These campaigns will focus on seat belt safety and alcohol countermeasure programs.

A statewide request for applications was issued to all law enforcement agencies throughout Tennessee to conduct High Visibility Law Enforcement Campaigns during the period of October 1, 2006 through September 30, 2007. Each agency that applied is receiving a grant up to $5,000 for a total of $1.5 million in funding. These campaigns will be federally funded through the Tennessee GHSO.

?Impaired driving is the most frequently committed violent crime in the state,? said Governor Bredesen, when approving the grants earlier this month. ?Someone dies in an alcohol related crash every 28 hours. I am proud that we are able to fund these enforcement campaigns to save lives on Tennessee roadways.?

?The population in our great state continues to grow by leaps and bounds,? said Chairman Phillip Pinion, House Transportation Committee. ?We must be diligent in our duties to keep Tennesseans safe on our roadways that are becoming more and more crowded.?

?I?m happy the state is able to support our local communities and law enforcement agencies through this special grant program,? reported House Speaker Jimmy Naifeh.

?This program will make a difference, I believe, for many people because it will touch so many communities across the state,? said Lieutenant Governor John Wilder.

?These high visibility grants will translate into lives saved,? stated Commissioner Gerald Nicely, Tennessee Department of Transportation. ?These grants will make a difference in the day to day safety of Tennesseans.?

?High visibility law enforcement grants will achieve measurable results because law enforcement agencies must make a concerted effort to conduct and participate in sobriety checkpoints, will partner with law enforcement liaison networks, and be involved in other activities that promote highway safety,? added GHSO Director Kendell Poole. Poole explained that each agency will submit data including number of hours officers participate, number of citations and arrests for DUI, seatbelts, speed and misdemeanor and felony charges. The data collected will be transferred to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The Governor?s Highway Safety Office will continue to search for innovative ways to drive the fatality rates down.

Bredesen Requests Agricultural Disaster Declaration for Eight Additional Tennessee Counties Including DeKalb

August 29, 2006
by: 
Dwayne Page

Governor Phil Bredesen has requested a federal designation of agricultural disaster for eight more counties in East and Middle Tennessee to help farmers who have suffered drought-related damages. The designation would allow farmers to apply for low-interest emergency loans to help them manage crop and livestock losses due to extreme heat and dry conditions.

In a letter to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns, Bredesen requested the designation for Bledsoe, Cannon, DeKalb, Hamilton, Overton, Pickett, Rhea and Warren counties.

?Again, I have asked the Secretary of Agriculture to give special consideration to designating these counties as an agricultural disaster,? said Bredesen. ?Farming is a tough business made tougher by unpredictable weather conditions. It?s important that we provide assistance to those who need it because these farms are small businesses that are important to our rural economy.?

Earlier this month Bredesen requested assistance for Fentress, Franklin, McMinn, Meigs, Morgan and Scott counties. USDA is still considering Bredesen?s earlier request and is expected to make a determination within the next few days. Bredesen also promised to continue to work with Tennessee Agriculture Commissioner Ken Givens to make additional requests for other counties as needed.

Farmers in the affected areas have reported an average loss of 30 to 65 percent for major crops including corn, soybeans, hay, tobacco, nursery stock and vegetables. Many livestock farmers have been forced to supplement pastures with stored feed and hay, and others have had to find alternate watering sources as ponds and creeks have dried up in some cases.

According to the Tennessee Field Office of USDA?s National Agricultural Statistics Service, recent rainfall across the state has helped crop conditions to remain in mostly good condition. However, some dry areas still remain, especially in East Tennessee, where crop conditions range from very poor to fair. The agency?s weather and crop report for the week ending Aug. 28 listed topsoil moisture levels as very short to short in over half the state and 38 percent of pastures in very poor to poor condition.

USDA is expected to make a determination on Bredesen?s most recent request in three to four weeks as the federal agency reviews damages. Once approved, eligible farmers can apply for assistance through their local USDA Farm Service Agency office.

Four People Sentenced In Criminal Court

May 22, 2006
by: 
Dwayne Page

Four people were sentenced in DeKalb County Criminal Court on Monday after entering pleas to charges against them in negotiated settlements.

44 year old Kenny Ray Herman pleaded guilty to two charges of sale of a schedule II controlled substance and three charges of sale of a schedule III controlled substance.

Judge Lillie Ann Sells sentenced him to a total of six years. He will serve one year in the county jail and then be on probation for the remainder of the term in community corrections. The sentence is to run consecutively to another case against him.

Herman was fined $2,000 and must make restitution of $585 to the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department/TBI.

He was given credit for 150 days of jail time served.

25 year old Misty Dawn Barnes Hesson pleaded guilty to three counts of casual exchange and received a suspended sentence of 11 months and 29 days in each case to run consecutively with each other and consecutive to a General Sessions Court case against her. Hesson was fined a total of $750 and must make restitution of $295.

50 year old Jeana Annette Hesson pleaded guilty to sale of a schedule II controlled substance and received a four year sentence, all suspended to probation. She was fined $2,000 and must make restitution of $300 to the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department. Hesson must also undergo an alcohol and drug assessment and perform 100 hours of community service.

Billie Green Sullivan, charged with two counts of sale and delivery of a schedule III controlled substance, was granted pre-trial diversion for a period of two years. She must undergo an alcohol and drug assessment and perform 100 hours of community service.

Monday was also arraignment day for those indicted by the Grand Jury earlier this month.

Most of those defendants will be back in court on June 2nd .

Fatal Shooting Under Investigation By Sheriff's Department And TBI

May 22, 2006
by: 
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation are probing the fatal shooting of a Smithville man in Dowelltown Sunday evening.

Dead is 29 year old David Crook of New Home Road, Smithville.

Crook, the driver of an SUV, was found slumped over in the vehicle on East Main Street in Dowelltown, having suffered a gunshot wound to the head by a 40 caliber handgun.

The man who had been in the vehicle with him, Greg Patton of Smithville, apparently told authorities that Crook had been distraught and suicidal.

Sheriff Lloyd Emmons says a thorough investigation is being conducted but preliminary indications are that this may have been a self-inflicted shooting.

According to Sheriff Emmons, Crook and Patton had spent the weekend in Bowling Green Kentucky, where they attended a flea market, and had stopped off at the residence of Crook's sister on Circle Drive in Dowelltown on the way back home.

Sheriff Emmons says after the visit to the Dowelltown residence, the two men got back in the SUV and drove away. He says Crook, who was driving, pulled over on East Main Street where the shooting occurred.

After the shooting, Patton ran to a nearby residence to call 911. He then ran back to the SUV.. A motorist, who came upon the scene, saw Patton taking some things from the vehicle and then flee on foot.

Law enforcement officers conducted a ground and aerial search for Patton and he was spotted from a helicopter about a half mile from where the shooting occurred. He surrendered without incident.

Sheriff Emmons says Patton remains in custody pending a further investigation by the Sheriff's Department and TBI. Among the officers involved at the scene Sunday evening were Sheriff Emmons, Chief Deputy Milton Bowling, County Deputies Andy Snow and Jon Slager, Reserve Deputies Dustin Johnson and David Sharp who brought in a K-9, TBI Special Agent Billy Miller, and Troopers Charles Caplinger and Allen England from the Tennessee Highway Patrol.

An autopsy will be performed on Crook's body.

Two Killed In Smith County Crash

May 22, 2006
by: 
Dwayne Page

Two people were killed in a one car crash Saturday on Interstate 40 in Smith County.

Dead are 59 year old Everett Charles (Chuck) South, Sr. and his wife 51 year old Dorothy South of 148 Cleveland Way, Smithville.

The Tennessee Highway Patrol reports that the two were traveling east on I-40 in a 1999 Jeep Cherokee when the vehicle ran off the left side of the road into the median and struck a large boulder head-on.

The accident occurred around 12:52 a.m. near the 264 mile marker.

Four Injured In Friday Wrecks

May 22, 2006
by: 
Dwayne Page

Three people were injured in a two car crash Friday afternoon on Highway 70 in Liberty and another person was hurt in a separate accident Friday morning on Highway 70 near Sligo Bridge.

Trooper Allen England of the Tennessee Highway Patrol says 19 year old Kristy L. Grandstaff of 120 Lavergne Street, Alexandria and 19 year old David M. Branner of Nashville were airlifted from the scene in Liberty by Life Flight helicopter ambulance and flown to Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

26 year old Joseph B. Trapp of Allen Ferry Road, Smithville was taken by DeKalb EMS to DeKalb Hospital where he was treated and released.

Trooper England says Grandstaff, the apparent driver of a 1995 Toyota Tercel, was attempting to make a left turn from Bratten Street onto Highway 70 when she pulled into the path of a 1996 Toyota Avalon, driven by Trapp, who was east on Highway 70.

Branner was a passenger of the Grandstaff vehicle.

The accident remains under investigation by the Tennessee Highway Patrol.

Meanwhile, 64 year old Barbara Dean Goodwin of Young Ridge Road, Sparta, was injured in a one vehicle accident Friday morning on Highway 70 near Sligo Bridge.

Trooper England says Goodwin was west on Highway 70 in a 2002 Toyota Sierra minivan when she failed to maintain the lane of travel, went off the road, crossed a ditch, hit an embankment, and overturned.

Goodwin was taken by DeKalb EMS to DeKalb Hospital where she was treated and released.

Early Voting Numbers For May Primary Down Compared To 2002

May 4, 2006
by: 
Dwayne Page

Early voting ended Thursday with a total of 1,378 people having cast ballots for the DeKalb County Democratic Primary, a low voter turnout compared to early voting for the May Primary (2,320) and the August General Election (1,660) four years ago.

Lisa Peterson, Administrator of Elections, says 320 people voted by personal appearance and three by mail on Thursday for the best turnout of any day during the thirteen day early voting period.

A total of 1,321 voted by personal appearance and 57 by mail.

DeKalb County has 12,606 registered voters.

The following are the numbers of persons from the various precincts who either voted by mail or who came to the courthouse to vote in person from April 12-27.

Alexandria- 31
Temperance Hall- 12
Edgar Evins State Park-1
Liberty- 23
Dowelltown- 25
Snow Hill-81
Middle School-315
Cherry Hill-5
Rock Castle- 2
Courthouse- 227
Johnson's Chapel- 8
Elementary School-186
Belk- 25
Keltonburg-87
Blue Springs-81
Church of Christ Annex- 269

During the May, 2002 DeKalb County Democratic Primary, 2,320 voted early and 3,502 cast ballots on election day for a total vote of 5,822.

However there were eleven more candidates on the ballot for county offices in May, 2002 than this year.

This ballot includes eleven candidates combined for the offices of Sheriff, County Mayor, Trustee, County Clerk, Circuit Court Clerk, and Register of Deeds compared to twenty three candidates combined for the same offices in May, 2002. Only three of the races, Sheriff, County Mayor, and County Clerk, are contested this year and this is the second primary election in a row that Democrats have not had a candidate to run for Road Supervisor. Five of the six races for county offices were contested in May 2002.

There are twenty one candidates combined running for the fourteen seat county commission this May compared to twenty three county commission candidates in May, 2002. Contested county commission races this year are in the second, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh districts. Four years ago, all district county commission races were contested except in the second and seventh districts.

This ballot has a slate of nine candidates combined for the DeKalb County General Sessions Court, Criminal Court, Circuit Court, Chancery Court, District Attorney General, and District Public Defender. Only one of these races is contested, Judge Lillie Ann Sells versus challenger Edwin Sadler for Criminal Court Judge Part II

The Judges, D.A., and Public Defender all serve eight year terms and were not on the ballot four years ago because they were in mid-term.

A total of 1,660 people voted early during the August, 2002 General Election/State Primary.

If you are an eligible voter and did not take advantage of early voting, you may vote on Tuesday, May 2 at your regular voting precinct. All sixteen polling places will be open Tuesday from 8:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m.

WJLE will have exclusive LIVE election return coverage from the courthouse starting at 7:00 p.m.

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