Local News Articles

Smithville Police Officer Injured After Being Struck By Vehicle

September 22, 2006
Dwayne Page

A Smithville Police Officer was slightly injured Thursday night when a vehicle struck him while he was answering a complaint at Center Hill Village Apartments.

Sergeant Steve Deffendoll suffered slight trauma to his right knee area.

Police made an arrest in the case Friday morning. 29 year old Darryl Cantrell of 3659 Allen Bend Road, Smithville was arrested by Officers of the Smithville Police Department and DeKalb County Sheriff's Department at 11:20 a.m.. Police say Cantrell was driving the same vehicle he had fled in Thursday night. Cantrell has been charged with aggravated assault.

According to a news release by Thomas J. Stufano, Executive Officer of the Smithville Police Department, \" On Thursday at approximately 10:30 p.m., Officers William Elliott and Sergeant Deffendoll responded to Center Hill Village Apartments, located at 1222 South College Street for a reported suspicious vehicle complainant.\"

\"Upon arrival to the scene, the officers made contact with the vehicle which had two male subjects sitting in the vehicle. As the officers approached the front and side of the vehicle, they identified themselves as police officers and advised the occupants to keep their hands in plain sight.\"

\"The driver then started the vehicle and backed it up at an accelerated rate striking Sergeant Deffendoll in the right leg. The officers again commanded the vehicle to stop. The driver accelerated the vehicle forward in the direct path of Sergeant Deffendoll.\"

\"Fearing for their safety, the officers drew their service weapons and two rounds were fired into the front of the vehicle. The vehicle then sped off. A search of the area by Smithville Police and the DeKalb County Sheriff's Office was made without further contact of the subjects.

Investigators on the scene were able to positively identify the driver and a warrant was issued for Cantrell's arrest.

Sheriff's Department Asks For Help In Locating Suspect

September 22, 2006
Dwayne Page

The Sheriff's Department is asking for your help in locating a man wanted in DeKalb and two other counties on various charges.

30 year old William Paul McGee of Smithville is believed to be traveling in a red 2000 Jeep Cherokee with a license plate bearing the letters and numbers RHV-126.

Authorities believe McGee and 21 year old Josh Neal were the two men in a Jeep Cherokee that ran from county deputies on Tuesday night, which led to Officer Andy Snow losing control of his patrol car and overturning on Short Mountain Road near the DeKalb/Cannon County line.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says Snow and another deputy from the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department went to the home of Neal's cousin on Lee Braswell Road Tuesday evening after receiving a call from the Warren County Sheriff's Department that Neal was a suspect in the break-in of his step-father's home on Capshaw Road in which some guns were stolen. DeKalb County also had a warrant on Neal for violation of probation. Neal, who had formerly lived with his step-father, had reportedly recently moved in with his cousin.

Neal's cousin told the deputies that Neal had been at the residence, but that he had left with another man in a red Jeep Cherokee. Sheriff Ray says the officers were still at the residence talking to Neal's cousin when the Jeep Cherokee drove by.

Knowing that Lee Braswell Road dead ends, the deputies got in their patrol cars to follow the Jeep Cherokee but met it coming back. Officer Snow tried to get the vehicle to stop, but the driver of the Jeep Cherokee accelerated toward Snow's patrol car and swerved at the last instant, taking a ditch to go around the cruiser.

The deputies got behind the Jeep Cherokee and turned from Lee Braswell Road onto Highway 146 south. Officer Snow, while still trying to get the vehicle stopped, lost control of his patrol car and wrecked near the county line.

Snow was taken to DeKalb Community Hospital where he was treated and released with minor injuries.

The Jeep Cherokee was last seen speeding toward Cannon County.

Sheriff Ray says Neal returned to his cousin's home on Lee Braswell Road Wednesday morning, having hitched a ride after walking part of the way back from Woodbury.

Neal was subsequently arrested but McGee remains at large.

Sheriff Ray says authorities got a tip Wednesday that McGee might be at a residence in Cannon County, but he was not there when DeKalb and Cannon County officers went to investigate.

If you know of McGee's whereabouts or see the red Jeep Cherokee call the Sheriff's Department at 597-4935.

Former D.A. Buck Ramsey Dies

September 23, 2006
Dwayne Page

Former District Attorney General Charles S. (Buck) Ramsey, Jr. died Wednesday at his home in Coffee County after a short battle with cancer.

The 65 year old Ramsey was appointed to the post in 1967 at the age of 26 by Governor Buford Ellington. He was the youngest prosecutor in the state and ran two successful re-election bids for DA in 1974 and 1982. His district included DeKalb County.

During this time in office, Ramsey oversaw several high profile cases including the murder conviction of J.B. Bounds of McMinnville, who shot and killed Sherman Wright in DeKalb County, in the early 1980's. Bounds is still in prison today.

In the late 1980's DeKalb County was realigned out of Ramsey's district into what is now the 13th Judicial District.

In 1990 Ramsey retired from the DA's office and went into private practice.

The funeral will be Monday at 1:00 p.m. at Saint Bede's Episcopal Church in Manchester. There will be a procession to Viola Cemetery immediately after the service where his ashes will be scattered.

House Fire Under Investigation

September 24, 2006
Dwayne Page

County and city volunteer firefighters responded to a structure fire at 5:24 p.m. Saturday at the home of Ronnie Taylor at 1102 Cordell Love Road near the Smithville Airport.

Assistant County Fire Chief Roy Merriman says the fire was contained to a back bedroom and bathroom but other portions of the house received some heat and smoke damage.

No one was at home at the time of the blaze and no one was hurt.

Members of the Cookeville Highway, Short Mountain Highway, and Midway Fire Stations responded along with the Smithville Volunteer Fire Department.

The cause of the fire is under investigation by the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department and State Fire Marshal.

County Commission Set To Adopt Budget & Tax Increase

September 25, 2006
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Commission is expected to set the property tax rate and adopt a new budget for the 2006-2007 fiscal year tonight (Monday).

The new fiscal year officially started July 1st, but the county has delayed passage of a new budget, partly because of the sales tax referendum, which was put before the voters and was defeated in the August General Election.

The commission must pass a budget by October 1st, or risk losing state funds or having the state set a budget and tax rate for the county.

County Mayor Mike Foster says county government needs a tax increase to operate this year and had the sales tax referendum passed in August, the size of any proposed property tax increase would not be as large as it is now.

The Budget Committee has met several times over the summer trying to whittle down the size of the proposed tax increase and has finally settled on 39 cents, down four cents from the previous proposal of 43 cents.

Foster says the budget committee will request that the county commission adopt a property tax rate of $1.90, a 39 cent increase over last year.

Here's how the proposed tax rate would break down:

County General- 67 cents, a six cent increase
Schools- 73 cents, an eleven cent increase (plus $950,000 from the special school sinking/sales tax fund)
Debt Service- 29 cents, a nineteen cent increase (includes $771,000 to service the Northside School Debt and funds to service debt on the jail and landfill)
Highways- 3 cents (to recoup $216,000 in lost state funds and to purchase a loader at rock crusher)
Solid Waste- 18 cents

Even with some growth this year and a 39 cent tax increase, Foster says the county may still have to dip into the reserves to make it through the year. \" The 39 cents will actually impact the reserves just a little. The 43 cents is really what we needed to balance and that's what the budget committee was trying to do. We had really good growth this year. The appraisals grew by $72-million which will generate about $260,000 in new money which is a big impact on our county. Hopefully, we will get that kind of growth again next year. If we do, that will about get us back to where we need to be.\"

Foster says the school system will get more money than last year, with an eleven cent tax increase, but not as much as the 13 cent tax increase the school board had requested. \"The school budget is about $15.8 million dollars and of that, there was about $70,000 in monies cut from it, a little bit here and a little bit there, but there are no jobs at risk. It was a cut in the amount of money they requested. There is ample money in there to cover maintenance of effort and then some.\"

Foster says efforts have been made to make cuts from every department. \"It's really a complex thing. I'm fairly conservative and most of the commission is fairly conservative, but there are legal things you've got to do such as meeting maintenance of effort with the schools (not spending less than last year) and maintenance of effort with the sheriff's department in that you can't cut any employee position or salary without the sheriff's permission. We did cut one position this year with the sheriff's permission. Actually, we've got one less employee there (sheriff's department) than we had last year.\"

\"There are so many federal and state guidelines that we absolutely have to meet. For example, it (state/federal government) says you must pick up and dispose of garbage. It doesn't say how you do it. Of course, traditionally DeKalb County has had a solid waste disposal/landfill and now there has to be a new cell built. We're in the process of building it and a big part of it (project) will come this year because the one (cell) that's there now will be full by Christmas. That's a necessity. There were no extra funds put in this year. The landfill operation is basically the same as it was six years ago. The big deal is the new cell.\"

In addition to meeting the maintenance of effort requirements, Foster says county government has to account for other expenditures that are on the rise. \" School maintenance of effort requires that you spend no less money that you did last year. Then the state gives some raises with state money but they also about double the contributions that we must make to retirement. Our workers comp, liability, and all those insurance costs went up as well as the cost of fuel and the health care program.\"

Foster says the county has also budgeted small pay raises for county employees, both full time and part time.\" They still, on average, make a little less than ten dollars an hour and some of them, the part-timers, make maybe $6.50 an hour.\"

A public hearing will be held at 5:30 p.m. followed by the county commission meeting at 6:30 p.m. tonight (Monday) at the courthouse. WJLE will broadcast the meeting LIVE.

Sheriff's Department Makes Arrests In Local Burglaries

September 25, 2006
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department has made three arrests in two recent home break-ins.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says 23 year old Thomas Jacob Sims of 165 Lakeside Drive, Smithville and 19 year old Jennia Lee Wilson of 1677 Snow Hill Road, Dowelltown are charged in connection with a break-in at a residence on Vandergriff Hollow off Dry Creek Road during the early morning hours of Wednesday, September 20th.

Entry was made through a back door and several items were stolen including a computer, drill, answering machine, candles, personal care items, and a BOSE AM/FM CD radio, valued at over $1,000.

Sheriff Ray says the intruders even cooked a meal and ate before they left.

Sims is charged with aggravated burglary, a first offense of driving on a suspended license, and theft over $1,000.

Wilson is also charged with aggravated burglary and theft over $1,000

Meanwhile, 34 year old Lori Kilgore of 775 Dr. Jennings Road, Rock Island is charged with theft of property over $1,000 and aggravated burglary in a break-in on September 16th at a residence on Blue Springs Road, in which some jewelry was stolen. She will appear in General Sessions Court October 12th.

In another case, 47 year old Tim Cantrell of 463 White Oak Drive was charged last Tuesday with four counts of prescription fraud.

Sheriff Ray says Cantrell allegedly passed a forged prescription for hydrocodone at four local pharmacies between September 4th and 16th. His bond is $10,000 and he will be in court on the charges October 12th.

County Commission Adopts New Budget With 39 Cent Property Tax Hike

September 25, 2006
Dwayne Page

Your property tax rate is going up.

The DeKalb County Commission, by a vote of 8 to 6, Monday night adopted the new budget for the 2006-2007 fiscal year totaling $29,145, 066 and set a new property tax rate of $1.90 cents per $100 of assessed value, a 39 cent increase.

Two votes were taken, one on the budget and another on the tax rate. Both passed by an 8 to 6 vote.

Those voting in favor of both the new budget and tax rate were John Green, Jack Barton, Bobby Joines, Jerry Scott, Wayne Cantrell, Chris Smithson, Marshall Ferrell, and Larry Summers.

Commissioners voting against were Mason Carter, Elmer Ellis, Jr., Randy Caplinger, Jeff Barrett, Jeff Barnes, and Willie Thomas.

The tax rate breaks down as follows:
General Fund- 67 cents
Solid Waste- 18 cents
Debt Service- 29 cents
Highways- 3 cents
General Purpose Schools-73 cents

The budget breaks down as follows:
General Fund- $5,053, 229
Courthouse & Jail Maintenance- $89,150
Local Purpose Fund- $1,092,723
Drug Control- $58,430
Highways- $2,050,978
General Purpose Schools- $15,810,490
School Cafeteria Fund- $1, 088, 037
Debt Service- $1,446,575
Capital Outlay- $140,870
Solid Waste- $2,314,584 (Includes a six year note for up to $1,225,000 to build a new cell at the landfill)

The commission also adopted a resolution to provide funding to various non-profit groups including:

Prospect Incorporated- $12,500
Senior Citizens Program- $17,500
UCHRA- $1,200
Plateau Mental Health- $7,180
Chamber of Commerce- $7,500
Genesis House- $1,500
UCDD- $3,411.36
Families First- $750
Tennessee Division of Forestry- $1,500
Rescue Squad- $11,500
Soil Conservation District- $19,500

A public hearing was held prior to the commission meeting but only a few spoke out against the proposed tax increase.

County Commission Reluctantly Votes To Pay Comp Time To 32 People

December 31, 1969
Dwayne Page

The County Commission, by a vote of 9 to 5 Monday night, reluctantly voted to pay more than $100,000 in accrued comp time to a total of 31 employees who worked for former Sheriff Lloyd Emmons and one employee of former Trustee Bobbie Young.

The measure was approved on the second roll call vote. It failed 10 to 4 on the first roll call.

County Mayor Mike Foster told the commission that the money had to be paid by Friday, or the county could risk having to pay penalties. \" We have been meeting with the Federal Fair Labor and Wage people for the last three or four weeks. He told us we should pay these amounts by this Friday or we will be under a penalty.\"

Foster says in most cases, the employees are clearly due the money because they have the proper documentation. \"Some of them are very clear cut and we absolutely owe them. Some of them we may need to question further. Many of these people have good time sheets and need to be paid, but there are some we need to have an attorney look at.\"

Foster says three cents of the 39 cent tax increase or $115,000 has been included in the new budget to pay the comp time, yet he still wanted the commission to give him approval.

On the first roll call, ten commissioners voted against making the payment including Willie Thomas, Larry Summers, Marshall Ferrell, Jeff Barnes, Jeff Barrett, Wayne Cantrell, Randy Caplinger, Bobby Joines, Elmer Ellis, Jr. and Mason Carter.

Those voting in favor were John Green, Chris Smithson, Jerry Scott, and Jack Barton.

After the vote failed, Foster told the commission while he agreed with their decision, they must face facts that the money must be paid.\" Friday morning, if we don't pay this, we will incur a 10% penalty that will incur on a regular basis. If we go to court, they told us it would cost probably $200,000 and if we should not prevail, these people would be paid three times what this amount is for.\"

County Attorney Hilton Conger agreed saying, \" The problem is the auditor has come in and he has verified it and he says you owe it. If you go to court, it's a losing proposition.\"

Realizing they had no other alternative, the commission voted 9 to 5 on the second roll call vote, to make the payments.

Those voting in favor were John Green, Jack Barton, Marshall Ferrell, Jeff Barrett, Chris Smithson, Jerry Scott, Bobby Joines, Elmer Ellis, Jr. and Mason Carter.

Commissioners voting against were Willie Thomas, Larry Summers, Jeff Barnes, Wayne Cantrell, and Randy Caplinger.

The names of the persons and the amounts owed are as follows:

Boyd Atnip- $2,947.84
Gayle Bowling- $2,840.32
Milton Bowling- $1,141. 28
Patrick Britton- $5,117.51
McClure Cantrell- $994.56
Kyra Clouse- $201.60
Mark Collins- $2,664.64
Darla Emberton- $331.52
Charles Griffith- $1,116. 94
David Hedge- $207.08
Jimmy Hendrix- $1,258.88
Bobby Johnson- $340.48
Mac Judkins- $216.10
Dana Lafever- $5,586.75
Shane Martin- $1,811.06
Chris McMillen- $1,909.55
Howard \"Butch\" Morris- $19,065.96
Jackie Ray- $560.00
Kenneth Ray- $1,052.80
Patty Rottero-$236.84
Jon Slager- $3,236.10
Ricky Smith-$1,216.32
Andy Snow-$2,064.32
Thomas Southworth- $978.88
Joyce Spurlock- $2,246.72
Susan Teachout- $860.16
Angela Tisdale- $1,357.44
David Ward- $3,818.38
Roger Whitehead- $1,403.03
Samantha Young- $654.08
Debra Stanley- $705.60
Talmage Young- $33,380

The total including fringe benefits comes to around $114,000.

Foster says new policies and procedures will soon be implemented to try to keep this from re-occurring. \" We're going to be using one time sheet from now on and under no circumstances will anybody be paid in the future without a time sheet except department heads that the law exempts. We'll have one time sheet that everybody signs. It will keep a running balance of comp times used and accrued and all other leaves and it will be on file in the office as required, and if someone leaves his or her employment, that position won't be filled until his or her normal salary pays for that comp time to equal it out.\"

State Supreme Court Orders D.A. Bill Gibson's Law License Be Temporarily Suspended

September 25, 2006
Dwayne Page

The state Supreme Court issued an order Monday that will temporarily suspend District Attorney General Bill Gibson's law license.

Gibson will be allowed to continue practicing law for 30 days, in which time he may mount an appeal.

The Board of Professional Responsibility filed the petition asking the high court to suspend Gibson's law license temporarily under a provision calling for that when there is \"a threat of substantial harm to the public.\"

Gibson is accused of ethics violations involving legal advice and spiritual counseling he gave a man he prosecuted for murder. The correspondence between Gibson and Chris Adams occurred without the knowledge of Adams' attorney.

Lebanon attorney Jack Lowery is representing Gibson

Gibson is also the target of a criminal investigation by the TBI in the case.

Judge Burns Hands Down Sentences Monday In Criminal Court

September 26, 2006
Dwayne Page

Judge Leon Burns, Jr. handed down sentences against five persons Monday in DeKalb County Criminal Court.

24 year old Christopher Hale received a five year sentence after pleading guilty to four counts of aggravated burglary, three counts of theft over $1,000, theft over $500, and theft under $500.

Hale must serve one year of the sentence either in jail or in Teen Challenge and make restitution. Hale was given credit for 96 days of jail time served.

28 year old Samuel Wade Walker pleaded guilty to theft over $10,000 and burglary. He received a three year sentence on probation after serving 150 days. He must make restitution of $1,000 to Johnny's Drugs and perform 100 hours of community service work.

36 year old Richard Scott Adams pleaded guilty to aggravated burglary and received a three year sentence on probation. He was given three months jail credit and must agree to testify against a co-defendant in the case.

18 year old Ben Pascal pleaded guilty to sale of a schedule III controlled substance, sale of a schedule IV controlled substance, and two counts of sale of a schedule II controlled substance. He received a total of four years to serve ninety days and then be on probation. He was fined $2,000, must make restitution of $535 , and perform 100 hours of community service.

53 year old Gary Marshall Carter was denied a request for judicial diversion and received a two year sentence after pleading guilty at an earlier hearing to a charge of statutory rape. He must serve nine months and comply with the Sexual Offender Registration and Monitoring Act by registering with the TBI Sexual Offender Registry. He will be on probation for a total of four years.


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