Local News Articles

DeKalb Emergency Management District Approved For Homeland Security Grant

March 29, 2007
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Emergency Management District has been approved for a Homeland Security Grant for 911 Mapping Software.

Brad Mullinax, DeKalb County ECD Director, says \"The software will allow us to update and correct map errors on a more frequent basis, assist with the county Reverse 911 system, and assist with many regional projects in the Upper Cumberland Region.\"

Mullinax says \"Our agency will be able to provide emergency responders with more accurate map of emergency incidents. The grant is 100% funded by the Department of Homeland Security with no local match funds.\"

In a letter to Mullinax, Corey Gruber, Acting Assistant Secretary of the Office of Grants and Training for Homeland Security, writes, \" I am pleased to inform you that your application submitted under the fiscal year 2006 Commercial Equipment Direct Assistance Program has been approved. Through CEDAP, your agency will receive the ArcGIS Geographic Information System Software Package.\"

\"CEDAP provides emergency response agencies with the equipment and technology they need to fulfill their homeland security mission. It is an important component of a larger, coordinated effort to strengthen our Nation's overall preparedness baseline. CEDAP's primary focus is to enhance regional response capabilities, mutual aid, and interoperable communications in jurisdictions ineligible to receive assistance under the DHS Urban Areas Security Initiative.\"

Bass and Foutch Receive Allen D. Hooper Memorial MVP Basketball Awards

March 30, 2007
Dwayne Page

DeAndre Bass and Kelsey Foutch received the Allen D. Hooper Memorial Most Valuable Player Awards during the annual DeKalb County High School Basketball banquet held Thursday night at Elizabeth Chapel Baptist Church.

The MVP trophies were presented by Chad Kirby of Love-Cantrell Funeral Home. The awards are named in memory of Kirby's grandfather.

Kirby also presented the Allen D. Hooper Memorial Most Valuable Cheerleader Award to Amber Evans.

Tiger Coach Lynus Martin presented the individual awards to members of his team. This year's winners are:

Best 6th Man- Hunter Stewart
Most Improved Player- J.J. Herriott
Best Practice Player- Zach Rowland
Smartest Player- John Malone
Hustle Award, Best Athlete, Best Passer, and Best Ball Handler- Travis Woodward
Best Offensive Player, Best Defender, Best Rebounder, Tiger Charge Award, and MVP- DeAndre Bass.
Best Attitude- Thomas Hale
Best Free Throw Shooter- Keith Johnson

The individual Lady Tiger Awards were presented by Coach Amy Tobitt. This year's winners are:

Best Practice Player and Best Attitude- Victoria Bennett
Best Defender- Kayla Fish
Best Rebounder- Crystal Street
Most Improved Player and Best 6th Man- Lauren Hansard
Hustle Award- Kelsey Foutch
Best Athlete and Best Offensive Player- Katie Herman
MVP-Kelsey Foutch

Cheerleader Coach Walteen Parker presented the individual cheerleading awards. This year's winners are:

Most Improved- Amanda Ours
Captain Award-Courtney Rhody
Tiger Spirit-Courtney Rhody
MVP- Amber Evans
Dance-Amber Evans
Jump- Lacey Parchman
Stunt: Spot- Lacey Parchman
Stunt:Base- Alison Curtis
Stunt:Flyer- Heather Luna

One year cheerleading awards went to Caroline Carter, Kendra Foutch, and Amanda Ours. Two year awards were presented to Rosemary Apple, Jessica Cook, Alison Curtis, Brittnee Linn, Heather Luna, and Mindy Mofield. Three year awards went to Amber Evans and Lacey Parchman, and a Four Year Award was presented to Courtney Rhody.

Smithville Police Department Sponsors Display To Help Prevent Drunk Driving

March 30, 2007
Dwayne Page

Smithville Police Chief Thomas Stufano says the residents and merchants of the City of Smithville are serious about the ill effects of Driving Under the Influence.

In a current campaign Smithville Police in cooperation with the Dekalb County School Board and the Tennessee Governor?s Highway Traffic Safety Office are promoting the ill effects of Driving Under the Influence (DUI) by placing an illustration vehicle involved in a serious accident in the Food Lion parking lot and at DeKalb County High School. This promotion also includes corporate sponsors including DeKalb Tire and Service, Bradley Printing Company, the Movie Gallery and Food Lion.

Chief Stufano says the campaign is to promote safe driving practices specifically DUI and aligns with the annual Dekalb High School graduation and prom festivities in April. Smithville Police have made over (74) DUI arrests in the last year within the city limits and have been awarded a government Traffic Enforcement Grant to cover overtime for extra patrols. He says \"The City leadership is committed to the program with the Police Department having recently appointed Officer Mac Judkins as the department?s Traffic Enforcement Officer.\"

In the current ?Booze It & Lose It? program administered by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Tennessee Governor?s Highway Safety Office, flyers are being distributed advising that:

?A first-time DUI conviction will take your license away for an entire year.In addition, a first-time DUI conviction will put you in the county jail or workhouse for at least 48 hours.

?The average American has a 30% chance of being killed or injured by a drunk driver in his or her lifetime.

?Someone dies from an alcohol-related crash every 33 minutes and someone is injured every two minutes.

?A DUI driver on the average drives their vehicle 80 times a year DUI

Chief Stufano says \"Smithville Police are grateful to the residents and merchants of Smithville for their active participation in calling in suspicious activity and drunk driving. It is everyone?s business to help identify those that are senselessly hurting our love ones when they elect to drink and drive.\"

Hendrixson and Stanley Crowned Little Miss & Mister

April 1, 2007
Dwayne Page

Deering Grace Hendrixson and Triston Bailey Stanley were selected Little Miss and Mister DeKalb County Saturday night at the Spring Blossom Pageant.

Hendrixson, the five year old daughter of Tiffany Hill Hendrixson and Darbie Hendrixson, succeeds the retiring Little Miss, Elizabeth Grace Guinn, the five year old daughter of Kendra and Ricky Guinn.

Stanley, the five year old son of Kym Curtis and Steve Stanley, succeeds the retiring Little Mister, Elijah Thomas Hall, the five year old son of April and Joseph Hall.

First runner-up in the Little Miss pageant was Melanie Odom, the six year old daughter of Tatiana and Shayne Odom. Second runner-up was Abigail Hope Taylor, the six year old daughter of Ken and Cindy Taylor. Third runner-up was Sarah Anne Colwell, the six year old daughter of Trent and Christie Colwell. Fourth runner-up was Madison Elaine Colwell, the six year old daughter of Gabriel and Heather Colwell.

Brittney Lynn Edwards was chosen Miss Manners. She is the four year old daughter of Ricky and Amanda Edwards..

First runner-up in the Little Mister pageant was Malachi Harrison Hall, the four year old son of Joseph and April Hall. He was also named Mister Manners.

Six Injured In Traffic Accidents

April 1, 2007
Dwayne Page

Five people were involved in a two vehicle crash Saturday afternoon at the intersection of Highway 96 and U.S. 70 in Liberty.

Trooper Brian Raymond of the Tennessee Highway Patrol says 52 year old Sandra Hudson of Lower Helton Road, Alexandria was in a 2003 Dodge Caravan attempting to turn west on U.S. 70 from Highway 96 when she crossed into the path of an eastbound 1996 Suzuki Rodeo SUV, driven by 21 year old Jessica Tittle of Mill Street, Dowelltown.

Trooper Raymond says Hudson was ejected from the vehicle upon impact. Her husband, who came upon the wreck, put her in the back of his pickup truck and rushed her to DeKalb Community Hospital.

Tittle and her two children, 4 year old Ethan Tittle and 2 year old Anthony Tittle, and her mother-in-law, 39 year old Betty Lott, were taken to the hospital by EMS where they were treated and released.

Trooper Raymond says Hudson was charged with failure to yield the right of way.

Others on the scene rendering assistance were members of the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department, DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department, and DeKalb and Wilson County EMS.

Meanwhile, a 33 year old Cookeville man escaped serious injury in a traffic accident Friday afternoon on Highway 56 near Puckett's Point Road.

Trooper Raymond says Jeromy York of Salem Road, Cookeville was traveling north in a 1999 Sterling Dump truck pulling a skidder on a trailer.

Trooper Raymond says as York was rounding a curve, the load shifted and the chain, anchoring the skidder, broke causing it to roll off the trailer. The truck then went out of control and overturned coming to rest on it's side.

York received minor injuries but was not transported to the hospital by EMS.

Traffic was tied up for several hours with only one lane of travel open most of the time during the investigation and cleanup.

Members of the Tennessee Department of Transportation, DeKalb County Sheriff's Department, DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department, and DeKalb EMS were also on the scene rendering assistance.

Call from Concerned Citizen Leads to Two Arrests on Drug Charges

April 2, 2007
Dwayne Page

Smithville Police arrested two persons on drug charges Friday as the result of a call from a concerned citizen .

Chief Thomas Stufano says Smithville Police Investigators working an undercover operation responded to the Walmart parking lot after a citizen called reporting that numerous people were getting in and out of two vans bearing out of state plates. \"Upon arrival and contact with the occupants, officers detected a strong odor of marijuana emanating from inside one of the vans. Further investigation noted that the occupants had been smoking the substance and were intoxicated as a result. The subjects were arrested and additional drugs were found.\"

Stufano says \"Smithville Police were advised that the defendants were in the area selling magazines door to door. A check with the city clerk's office could not provide a valid occupational license for the sales.

Arrested were 23 year old Veronica Ferrer of 3730 South Delsea Drive in Vineland New Jersey and 22 year old Cedric Antoine Sims of 604 North Avon Street in Rockford, Illinois. Both listed their occupation as Sales Managers supervising a crew of approximately 6 people each working in this area.\"

The two were charged with Simple Possession of Drugs and transported to the DeKalb County Jail under a $1,500 bond each. The vans were also towed.

In another case, Smithville Officers working an enhanced DUI enforcement detail Sunday night, spotted 31 year old Cristobal Vazquez of 261 Park Drive, Rock Island driving his vehicle in a reckless manner and at a high rate of speed on Highway 56.

Chief Stufano says \"Upon stopping the vehicle, officers smelled a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on Vazquez' breath. Standardized sobriety tests confirmed that he was intoxicated. Also present at the scene was a substantial amount of a schedule III & IV narcotics along with some cash. Vazquez was arrested for DUI 2nd Offense and Possession of Schedule III & IV controlled substance for resale. He was transported to the DeKalb County Jail under a $13,000 bond. Vazquez was also ticketed for Violation of the Open Container Law, Unregistered vehicle, No License and No Insurance. The Vazquez' vehicle was impounded pending forfeiture under the state's DUI & Drug Law. He admitted to the officers that he was an illegal alien from Mexico working at one of the local nurseries.\"

In other news, the Smithville Police Department is stepping up it's DUI enforcement as summer approaches. High Schools are getting ready to graduate and parties and proms have already been planned. In a planned effort by the Smithville Police and the Tennessee Traffic Safety Council, literature and visual effects are being used to convey a strong public safety message. Parents are encouraged to set workable parameters with their children during party seasons that involve driving a motor vehicle.

Some Prom and Graduation Celebration tips include:

? Make sure your teen has a plan for the evening and that you know the plan.
? If your teen is driving, check the brakes, fluids and tires before they use the vehicle.
? Tell your teen not to drink and drive and lead by example.
? Limit the number of passengers your teen is allowed to transport.
? Take stock of the alcohol in your home.
? If you're using a limousine service-allow no booze or drugs. Ask parents and passengers to sign a contract allowing the driver to phone the parents if alcohol or drugs are detected.
? Work with the school or a post-prom party host to have food, activities and a safe place for the teens to gather afterwards.
? Communicate with other parents and school officials.
? Insist that your teen and his/her passengers wear a seat belt and again lead by example.
? Parents remember to enforce the rules that you set.
? Teens remember to follow the plans you made with your parents.

Chief Stufano says \"the Smithville Police Department commends our merchants and residents for their strong support in keeping our roadways free from Drug and Alcohol abuse. Your reporting of suspicious activity is making a difference!\"

Sergeant Leffew Named Smithville Police Officer of the Month

April 10, 2007
Dwayne Page

Sergeant Steven Leffew has been named Smithville Police Officer of the Month

The commendation, presented to Sergeant Leffew by Police Chief Tom Stufano, Mayor Taft Hendrixson, and Police Commissioner Aaron Meeks, states that \"On behalf of the City of Smithville Police Department I would like to commend you for your recent actions and diligent efforts in your capacity as Police Sergeant. Your determination and efforts for the months of March and beginning of April regarding the restructuring of the Police Evidence & Property room has streamlined our evidence procedures. Your tireless efforts in this endeavor coupled with your assigned patrol supervision duties has shown that you have exceeded this department's expectations in quality service to our citizens and your fellow employees.\"

\"Due to your professional training, the many hours of dedicated service on your own time and the professionalism displayed know that you are making a difference for the citizens of Smithville in our joint efforts to protect and serve our community. Your professionalism enabled the citizens of Smithville, your fellow co-workers and guests of our area to know that the Smithville Police Department is always striving for quality service and protection. You have served with distinction and are a credit to your professionalism as a Smithville Police Officer.\"

\"Additionally, your work ethic and tenacity during the month of March/April has shown your true commitment to the citizens we serve and your fellow officers.\"

\"I appreciate your input and current performance and for that you are hereby formally recognized and commended with a copy of this Commendation becoming apart of your permanent personnel record for all to see.\"

\"Congratulations on a job well done!\"

Grand Jury Returns Many Indictments During April Term

April 3, 2007
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Grand Jury returned indictments against more than 40 people Monday and Tuesday and many others have been named in sealed indictments.

All those indicted will appear for arraignment in DeKalb County Criminal Court Monday, April 16th at 9:00 a.m.

The names of those charged in sealed indictments cannot be released until they are arrested.

Among those indicted are:

Amanda May Hicks- Possession of a schedule II controlled substance for sale and delivery

Art Dawson- Sale and delivery of a schedule II controlled substance

Vickie Ann Cantrell- Possession of a schedule II controlled substance for sale and delivery, simple possession of a schedule IV controlled substance, and possession of paraphernalia.

Eddie Lattimore- Possession of a schedule II controlled substance for sale and delivery (2 counts), illegal possession of a handgun as a convicted felon, and possession of paraphernalia

Darryl Wayne Cantrell- Aggravated assault and possession of paraphernalia

Calvin Kent Adcock- Burglary (2 counts) and Vandalism over $1,000

Kathyerine Michelle Carr- Sale and delivery of a schedule II controlled substance, possession of a schedule II controlled substance for sale and delivery (2 counts), possession of a schedule IV controlled substance for sale and delivery, possession of a prohibited weapon, and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Andy Joe Certain- Possession of a handgun by a convicted felon, possession of paraphernalia, theft under $500, domestic assault, and telephone harassment

Joshua W. Goff- Sale and delivery of a schedule II controlled substance and possession of a schedule II controlled substance for sale and delivery

Thomas Jacob Sims- Aggravated burglary and theft over $1,000, and driving while suspended

Steven James Baker- Rape of a child (2 counts) and aggravated sexual battery (3 counts)

Garth L. Cantrell- Attempted first degree murder

Vickie Dornes Marsh- Possession of paraphernalia

Dallas E. Hannah- Simple possession of a schedule VI controlled substance, criminal conspiracy, possession of a schedule IV controlled substance for sale or delivery, and contributing to the delinquency of a minor

John T. Prater- Domestic assault

James N. McKissack and Joshua P. Knowles- Aggravated burglary (3 counts), theft over $500, theft under $500 (2 counts), and resisting arrest

Wilburn Estes and Margaret Lack-Attempted arson

David Allen Boss- DUI and violation of the implied consent law

Michael Lynn Vance- Aggravated burglary, burglary of an auto, theft under $500, evading arrest with a motor vehicle, and driving while revoked (2nd offense)

Timothy Wade Ford- Aggravated kidnaping and car jacking

Jimmy B. Martin- DUI 2nd offense and violation of the implied consent law

Richard B. Turner- theft under $500 and public intoxication

Nathaniel K. Murray- DUI 2nd offense and violation of the implied consent law

Roger Tremain Rapp III- Possession of a schedule II controlled substance for sale and delivery, simple possession of a schedule IV controlled substance and possession of a legend drug for sale and delivery

Carlos Garcia- Domestic assault

Larry J. Keaton- Driving on a revoked license (4th offense)

Halton Wayne Hicks- Failure to appear

John Lane Wilson- Domestic assault

Dennis M. McBride- DUI and violation of the implied consent law

Scottie Lenn Baird- Burglary (2 counts), theft over $1,000 (3 counts), and theft under $500

John R. Gentry II and Jeffrey L. Hendrix- Burglary, theft over $500, aggravated burglary, and vandalism over $10,000

Homer A. Petty and Homer Anthony Petty II- Burglary and theft over $1,000

Gary Wayne Adcock- DUI and violation of the implied consent law

James F. Summers, Carrie Young, and Randy A. Caldwell- Aggravated burglary and theft over $1,000 (2 counts)

Clenton Jerome Maples- Worthless check

Charles E. Kirby- DUI and violation of the implied consent law

Lorenzo Hawkins, Jr.- Driving on a revoked license (9th offense)

Joel Torres- No drivers license, violation of the seat belt law, violation of the registration law, and violation of the financial responsibility law

Jiminy Harris- Assault

Commission Sets Dates For Public Meetings On Proposed Sales Tax Hike

April 5, 2007
Dwayne Page

The county commission met Thursday night at the courthouse to set tentative dates and times for public meetings on the proposal to increase the local option sales tax from 1.5% to 2.75%.

The issue will be decided by DeKalb County voters in a special election referendum on Thursday, May 17th. This will be a county wide election. Early voting will begin Friday, April 27th and end Saturday, May 12th.

On election day, May 17th, the polling places will open at 8 a.m. and close at 7 p.m.

County Mayor Mike Foster says these meetings will give the public a chance to express their views and ask questions.

In addition to setting the dates for the public meetings, the commissioners also signed a pledge that they will vote to decrease the property tax rate by at least 19 cents at the beginning of the new budget year, if the sales tax increase is approved at the polls. That pledge with the signatures will be published in the local newspapers next week.

The wording on the ballot will read:




The public meetings will be held on the following dates, times, and locations, subject to availability of the meeting places:

First District-
Tuesday, April 17th - the DeKalb County Fairgrounds at 6:00 p.m.
Tuesday, April 17th- Temperance Hall Community Center at 7:15 p.m.

Second District-
Thursday, April 12th- Liberty Community Center at 6:00 p.m.
Thursday, April 12th- Dowelltown Community Center at 7:00 p.m.

Third District-
Monday, April 16th- Smithville Church of God Annex at 6:00 p.m.
Monday, April 16th- Snow Hill Community Center (second district location) at 7:15 p.m.

Fourth District-
Thursday, April 19th- Cherry Hill Community Center at 6:00 p.m.
Rock Castle- (date, time, and location to be announced)

Fifth District-
Tuesday, April 24th- Courthouse (4th district location) at 6:00 p.m.
Tuesday, April 24th-Johnson's Chapel Community Center at 7:15 p.m.

Sixth District-
Friday, April 20th- Belk Community Center at 6:00 p.m.
Saturday, April 21st- Keltonburg Community Center at 5:30 p.m.
Saturday, April 21st- Blue Springs Community Center at 6:30 p.m.

Seventh District-
Monday, April 23rd- Church of Christ Annex at 5:30 p.m.

The public is invited to attend any or all of the community meetings.

Habitat Partner Family Eager to Start on Second Home Here

April 6, 2007
Dwayne Page

Home ownership will soon become a reality for Smithville resident Felicia Gibbs. The DeKalb County native and her two small children were just named the second Partner Family by Dekalb County?s Affiliate Chapter of Habitat for Humanity. Construction on their Adams St. home should begin within months.

?I?m just overwhelmed and grateful,? said Gibbs after being informed of her selection. ?This is the kind of blessing I?ve prayed and prayed for...When I signed the agreement, I felt like I was signing for the beginning of my life.?

For the past two years Gibbs, a divorced single mother, has been working at Bumpers in Smithville to support daughter Dasia, 4, and son Tristan, eight months old.

She is a 2001 graduate of DeKalb County High School, and daughter of Lisa Cox and Terry Gibbs. Felicia learned of Habitat?s commitment to help deserving candidates become homeowners through local officials and Denise Perry, head of Habitat?s first partner family here.

?I never dreamed I?d be selected,? Gibbs says. ?Now I am just so grateful and excited, and eager to get started.?

Nolan Turner, president of the local Habitat affiliate describes her as an outstanding candidate for home ownership. ?She?s cooperative and humble, and her eagerness to work stand out as qualities we look for in partner families.?

Gibbs? and her children met all three criteria used by Habitat for Humanity to identify the best candidates for success: demonstration of need, ability to pay and willingness to partner with Habitat to realize their dreams of home ownership.

Recipients of Habitat-built homes are required to come up with a down payment, and put in many hours of ?sweat equity? before construction begins. Once the home is completed, the partner family assumes a 20-year interest-free mortgage for the purchase price, based solely on the cost of materials and related services. These costs are projected to be in the $40,000 to $45,000 range, with monthly payments ranging between $200 and $300.

With their second partner family selected, local Habitat members must address their next challenge, raising that money. Planned efforts include a county-wide outreach to churches; a campaign to establish a Habitat for Humanity donor club; and the opening of a local Habitat Restore for the sale of donated building supplies and materials.

Anyone interested in donating money, materials or tools to the DeKalb County Affiliate Chapter of Habitat for Humanity, or volunteering for a construction crew, should call 215-8181. Please leave a voicemail message with your contact information and a board member will get back to you.

The local Habitat affiliate is one of more than 2100 Habitat for Humanity chapters operating in more than 100 countries. Since the organization?s start in 1978, local chapters have built or renovated housing for more than 30,000 American families, and 175,000 families throughout the world.

Each Habitat affiliate chapter operates as a self-sustaining non-profit organization, committed to Habitat?s faith-based initiative. Habitat for Humanity International defines itself as a non-profit ecumenical Christian organization founded on the conviction that every man, woman, and child should have a simple, decent and affordable place to safely live with dignity.


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