Local News Articles

Three Juveniles Charged With Starting Fire At Indian Mound Home For Boys

September 13, 2006
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department has charged three teenage boys with starting a fire at the Indian Mound home for boys Tuesday night.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says the three boys, a 14 year old and two 16 year olds, are each charged with aggravated arson. All three are residents of the home.

They have been taken to a Juvenile Detention Center in Cookeville.

Sheriff Ray says the fire was reported around 8:58 p.m. Tuesday after a staff leader smelled smoke and went to investigate. The staff kept the fire contained until fire fighters arrived.

He says the fire started in the ceiling of the basement and burned some insulation around the air ducts. The boys apparently crammed toilet tissue and paper towels around the air ducts and set it on fire with a lighter.

Another fire was started under the stair case leading to the basement from a cardboard box that was set on fire.

None of the fifteen boys who reside at the home or any of the staff members were injured. The building was evacuated as a precaution.

Fire damage was reportedly kept to a minimum.

Members of the Johnson's Chapel, Short Mountain Highway, and Midway Fire Stations responded.

A Total of 917 Vote Early In DTC Directors Election

September 14, 2006
Dwayne Page

A total of 917 people voted early in the DTC Communications' election of directors this week.

The early voting breakdown at each voting location is as follows: Alexandria 131, Gordonsville 36, Smithville 642, and Woodbury 108.

Directors will be elected in three exchanges, including the Alexandria (529), Liberty (536), and Smithville (215/597) exchanges.

Incumbents Bennie Curtis and Randy Campbell are running unopposed in the Alexandria and Liberty exchanges, respectively.

The Smithville exchange is represented by four candidates: Incumbent Paul Cantrell and three who qualified by petition - Freddy N. Colvert, Ronald Garrison, and Vester Parsley, Jr.

Voting for directors will take place at the cooperative's annual meeting on Saturday, Sept. 16

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.

On Saturday, Sept. 16, 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.

For additional guidelines regarding membership and voting, refer to the by-laws section of any DTC phone directory, or call DTC at 615-529-2955.

Family Left Homeless By Fire

September 14, 2006
Dwayne Page

A woman and her three children were left homeless this morning (Thursday) after a fire destroyed their mobile home at 5159 Cookeville Highway.

County Fire Chief Donny Green says fire fighters were called to the home of Jennifer Taylor at 3:57 a.m.

Green says one of the children awoke to the smell of smoke and then woke up his mother. She then discovered the blaze coming from a back bedroom and called 911.

Taylor and her children safely made it out of the home.

Green says as firefighters arrived they saw flames coming from the roof of the mobile home. They battled it for several hours but were unable to save the residence. In addition to their home, the family lost all their personal belongings except the family automobile.

The car, which was parked only feet from the house, was towed clear of the scene by Walker's Wrecker Service.

Members of the Cookeville Highway, Short Mountain Highway, and the Midway Fire Stations responded along with the tanker truck. Members of the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department and EMS were also on the scene.

Lattimore Re-elected Chairman of School Board

September 14, 2006
Dwayne Page

Seventh District School Board member Johnny Lattimore was re-elected Chairman of the Board of Education Thursday night.

The board re-organizes each September, naming a chairman, vice-chairman, and an assistant secretary.

Lattimore was first elected chairman of the school board last September.

Second District member Charles Robinson was named Vice-Chairman and Sixth District member Linda Fuston was selected Assistant Secretary for the year.

In other business, Director of Schools Mark Willoughby presented the board his monthly written report on personnel moves made since the August meeting.

Those employed include:

Jean Bandy, substitute cafeteria worker; Donna Emmons, teacher at DCHS; Elizabeth Redmon, Educational Assistant at Smithville Elementary School; Jennifer Gay, Educational Assistant at Smithville Elementary School; Tamara Lambert, Educational Assistant at DCHS; and Joyce Robinson, Federal Programs Payroll/Bookkeeper.

Those named to the approved substitute teacher list include:

Guylene Atnip, Suzette Barnes, Carolyn Caldwell, Nancy Cantrell, Phyllis Cantrell, Ginger Caplinger, Trent Colwell, Melissa Cook, Darcie Cripps, Kenderly Cripps, Marie Cripps, Kristie Dougherty, India Duncan, Faye Evans, Darlene Evans, Kimberly Foutch, Debbie France, Leanne Frasier, Misty Franklin, Doris Graham, Vicki Haggard, Judith Hale, Melissa Hale, Connie Henry, Susan Hight, Jean Hope, Lori Manns, Cody Martin, Josh Melton, Ashley Mooneyham, Beth Pafford, Dianne Page, Elaine Perricone, Jeania Poss, Misty Poss, Debra Poteete, Lisa Puckett, Kimberly Rhea, Beth Rhody, Vickie Simpson, Teresa Spencer, George Sperry, Thomas Sufano, Tammy Turner, Amanda Vaughn, Wanda Vickers, Susan Waggoner, Helen Wilson, Kimberly Young, and Nancy Young.

Amanda Mathis, a teacher at Northside Elementary School, was granted a leave of absence as requested.

Suzanne Williams was transferred from a cafeteria position at DCHS to an Educational Assistant position. Cynthia Armour was transferred from a substitute to a part-time cafeteria position at DCHS and Helen Lafever was transferred from a substitute to a part-time cafeteria position at DCHS.

School Board Votes To Establish An Adult High School

September 14, 2006
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Board of Education Thursday night voted to establish an Adult High School.

Materials Supervisor Larry Johnson says the school will be set up as a non-structured learning center for those age 17 and older who have dropped out of school but want to complete their high school education. \"All we have to do is get a building approved by the fire marshal, apply for a school number, then we can set it up.\"

The school, to be located in an existing building near DCHS, will most likely operate on a 20 hour a week schedule, possibly from 3:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. five days a week.

Johnson says the adult high school will be operated as a separate school from DCHS and classes will be taught by qualified teachers, however it will be non-structured, meaning that students won't be required to attend and each student may have a different course of study even though they share the same classroom. \"Some might be working on history while others are working on science in the same classroom under the direction of a certified and qualified teacher. We will have to keep attendance and everything, just like a regular school, but it will be a school unto itself with a different address and everything.We'll be funded under the BEP on the number of students who attend but we won't have to do any monthly reports and everything like we do for a regular school.\"

Students must complete 70 contact hours in order to earn a half credit or 133 contact hours for one whole credit.

Johnson says it's a great second chance opportunity for dropouts. \"We have a number of 17 year olds, soon to be 18 year olds, who are on the verge of dropping out. Since I've been working on the truancy board, we've had one student, who will turn 18 the 17th of this month, tell us she's quitting because she has to work. This might give her an opportunity to go back to school and finish her schooling.\"

Johnson added \"Let's say you have a child that's a high school senior who lacks nine credits. Well he's got every reason to want to drop out because he can't get but eight credits in one year. If he had this (adult high school) he could go after school and pick up an extra credit.\"

DCHS Principal Kathy Hendrix says the adult high school will take the place of the high school GED program but won't count against the DCHS graduation rate. Students who attend the adult high school will also be required to earn fewer credits. \"We wouldn't have our high school GED program. We would have our adult high school that we would transfer them to and if they didn't want to go to that then they could go to the adult GED program. They still have to pass the Gateway but with the Adult High School, students just need 21 credits, instead of 28 and they would not count on our graduation rate. They would graduate from the adult high school, not the regular high school. It's a separate school. Last year we had 17 students that graduated with a GED, which was over 12% of our graduates. That was killing our graduation rate.\"

One Person Wounded In Shooting

September 15, 2006
Dwayne Page

One person was reportedly wounded in a shooting Thursday night at a location on White Street in Smithville.

The incident was reported at 11:35 p.m. The male wounded in the shooting was reportedly taken to DeKalb Community Hospital and then later transferred to a Nashville Hospital.

Smithville Police are investigating the shooting.

No other details were available.

Cantrell Charged With Attempted Murder of Gordonsville Man After Thursday Night Shooting

September 15, 2006
Dwayne Page

A 21 year old Gordonsville man is in Vanderbilt Hospital after being shot in the face Thursday night.

The victim is identified as Joseph Givens of Baker Lane, Gordonsville.

The man accused of doing the shooting, 25 year old Garth Wayne Cantrell of Pine Grove Road, Smithville, is charged with attempted first degree murder. His bond is set at $125,000.

According to a press release by Thomas Stufano, Executive Officer of the Smithville Police Department, law enforcement officers from the Smithville Police Department and the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department responded to a residence located in the 300 block of White Street, Smithville Thursday night at approximately 11:35 p.m.

The press release states that \"Upon arrival, officers discovered that Givens had been shot in the face with a small caliber rifle by a known assailant. With cooperative effort of DeKalb County Sheriff Patrick Ray, responding agencies were able to coordinate their assets and arrest Cantrell shortly after the incident.\"

Cantrell was booked into the DeKalb County Jail. The victim was transported to Vanderbilt Hospital where he remains in stable condition.

The case is still under investigation by Lieutenant Richard Jennings of the Smithville Police Department.

Garrison Unseats Cantrell In DTC Director Election

September 16, 2006
Dwayne Page

Ronald Garrison defeated three other challengers including incumbent Paul Cantrell to win the Smithville Exchange seat on the DTC Communications Board of Directors in Saturday's election.

Garrison received a total of 444 votes, edging out Cantrell who had 409 votes. Vester Parsley, Jr. garnered 279 votes and Freddy N. Colvert picked up 117 votes.

A total of 1,268 members voted in the DTC Directors Election including 917 early voters and 351 on election day (Saturday).

Incumbent Liberty Exchange Director Randy Campbell received a total of 807 complimentary votes and Incumbent Alexandria Exchange Director Bennie Curtis had 791 complimentary votes. Both Campbell and Curtis were unopposed.

All three directors elected Saturday will serve for three years.

Here's how the votes break down for each candidate at the four early voting locations and on election day:

Ronald Garrison: Smithville- 179, Alexandria- 88, Woodbury- 30, Gordonsville- 7, Election Day- 140

Paul Cantrell: Smithville- 200, Alexandria- 19, Woodbury- 56, Gordonsville- 18, Election Day- 116

Vester Parsley, Jr.: Smithville- 190, Alexandria- 19, Woodbury- 14, Gordonsville-5, Election Day- 51

Freddy N. Colvert: Smithville, 68, Alexandria- 5, Woodbury- 7, Gordonsville- 4, Election Day- 33.

The DTC Communications Board of Directors, in addition to Garrison, Campbell, and Curtis, include Terry McPeak of Norene, Charles Dwight Vinson of Milton, Robert Don Malone of Temperance Hall, Greg Rogers of Woodbury, Roy Nelson Pugh of Auburntown, David Parker of Woodland, and James Dillard, Jr. of Gordonsville.

Sunday Morning Fire Destroys Vacant House

September 18, 2006
Dwayne Page

A vacant house at 234 Keltonburg Road was destroyed by fire Sunday morning.

County Fire Chief Donny Green says the house, which had been vacant for about two years, belonged to Robert Patton.

A Warren County deputy, who lives in DeKalb County and was going to work, spotted the fire and reported it.

Green says the house was destroyed but firefighters were able to keep the flames from spreading to a barn behind the home.

Members of the Keltonburg, Belk, Blue Springs, Short Mountain Highway, and a tanker truck responded along with DeKalb EMS

The cause of the fire is undetermined.

D.A. Gibson Denies Any Wrongdoing And Won't Resign

September 18, 2006
Dwayne Page

District Attorney General Bill Gibson is vowing not to resign in the face of criticism and an investigation into whether he was criminally or ethically wrong in corresponding with a man convicted of murder, that his office prosecuted.

In letters, sent by Gibson to 34 year old Christopher Barrett Adams of Cookeville, The D.A. reportedly gave the man legal advice, encouragement, and religious counsel, both while the murder case was pending in court, and after the man was sentenced, without the knowledge of Adams' attorney.

Adams is currently in the penitentiary serving a 35 year sentence for robbing and killing an elderly Buffalo Valley woman. He was initially charged with first degree murder, but under a negotiated settlement, Adams pleaded guilty to second degree murder. Adams has also sought post-conviction relief in order to get either a shorter sentence or a new trial.

Reports say attorney's ethical rules prevent lawyers from secretly talking to other attorney's clients.

Gibson could lose his law license and possibly be charged with a crime. He is currently under investigation by the TBI and is facing action by the Tennessee Board of Professional Responsibility.

Gibson contends while he may not have exercised good judgement he was morally right and doesn't plan to resign.

Gibson says he started writing to Adams in response to correspondence he received from Adams and claims his motive was to make sure that Adams fully understood all his legal options.

Gibson claims he has done nothing wrong and believes he was morally obligated to help Adams, who Gibson claims has become a Christian. Adams apparently has shared his religious experiences with Gibson through some of the letters.


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