Local News Articles

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.

Proposed City Ordinance Could Pose Legal Concerns

September 27, 2006
Dwayne Page

The Smithville Board of Mayor and Aldermen is scheduled to adopt an ordinance on second and final reading Monday night to charge for making copies of public documents, requested by the public, and for the time required by city employees to produce those documents.

The council adopted the ordinance on first reading September 18th and a public hearing will be held prior to second reading passage Monday night, October 2nd at 7:00 p.m. at city hall.

The City has sought assistance from MTAS, the Municipal Technical Advisory Service, in preparing the ordinance, which is similar to ordinances in other cities.

However a legal challenge is being mounted against Loudon County over their fee policy.

The Knoxville News Sentinel, in their Wednesday, September, 20th edition, reported that a Chancery Court petition for declaratory judgment and injunctive relief has been filed on behalf of three Loudon County residents.

Loudon County's policy requires that those seeking access to county records come to the county mayor's office and fill out a form. Applicants must pay $25 an hour plus 25 cents per page for copies; and there is a non-refundable minimum charge for the first hour that must be paid up front.

According to the state's attorney general, local governments can't charge for employees' time spent fulfilling a public records request. That from Frank Gibson, executive director of the Tennessee Coalition for Open Government.

According to Gibson, the attorney general says the only thing the law and the Tennessee Supreme Court has said is allowable under Tennessee law is the cost of the copies.

Under the proposed Smithville ordinance, fees for inspection and copying of city records shall cover the costs of retrieving, supervising access to, and inspection of, and reproduction of records.

\"Such fees shall be as follows: seventy five cents per page for each photostatic copy provided by the city. Fees for items such as, but not limited to, cd roms, computer disks, and audio/video cassettes, will be assessed at the rate paid for such items by the city. Actual personnel costs related to time spent retrieving and accessing records based upon each involved employee's effective hourly rate of pay, including benefits. Actual personnel costs related to time spent supervising access to and inspection of or reproduction of records based upon each involved employee's effective hourly rate of pay, including benefits.\"

The proposed ordinance states that \"All fees for purposes identified in this chapter shall be due at the time such costs are incurred. If multiple copies are requested or copies are requested that require more than minimal time for retrieval, the City of Smithville may require a reasonable deposit for the estimated cost which must be paid prior to the retrieval of the records and prior to the commencement of copying said records. If the city employee involved in the retrieval and copying of records determines that the costs of retrieval will exceed the amount of the deposit, the city employee involved in the search and retrieval shall request an additional deposit sufficient to cover the estimated cost. No reproduction fee shall be assessed, other than the photostatic copy fee of seventy five cents per page, when an employee of the City of Smithville determines that the cost of charging and handling the fee exceeds the cost of providing a copy without charge.\"

Bredesen Announces CDBG Grant for DeKalb County

September 27, 2006
Dwayne Page

Governor Phil Bredesen and Economic and Community Development Commissioner Matthew Kisber recently approved a $366,730 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) to assist in improvements to the Alexandria sewer system collection system in DeKalb County.

?I?m glad the state of Tennessee can provide funding to improve sewer systems and expand economic opportunities in communities, like DeKalb County,? said Bredesen. ?The CDBG grants maintain and update community resources and improve the overall economic and environmental health of our state.?

Funding for the $403,000 project will include $36,270 in local funds. The funds were provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and were allocated under a procedure authorized by the Tennessee General Assembly. The grants were approved by the ECD Loan and Grant Committee following an application by each county.

?CDBG grants help Tennessee communities lay the groundwork for economic development through improvements to roads, water and sewer facilities and the overall quality of life? said Kisber. ?I'm proud the State of Tennessee can play a role in the progress of our communities.?

The grant was approved following an application by the Town of Alexandria and has the support of State Representative Frank Buck. U.S. Senators Bill Frist and Lamar Alexander and Congressman Bart Gordon aided in securing the funds.

?Such grants are a good example of long range planning by local government. I give credit to our

officials for their vision and willingness to do the work necessary to apply for CDBG funding.

This is a win-win situation for our community and the state,? said Rep. Frank Buck.

Allocation of CDBG funds is based on priorities set at local levels where community needs are best known. The CDBG program is administered in Tennessee by the Department of Economic and Community Development.

Sheriff's Department Makes Arrest In Theft Investigation.

September 28, 2006
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department has made an arrest in a local theft investigation.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says 22 year old Daniel Rose of 410 South College Street has been charged with aggravated burglary, theft under $500, and forgery.

Sheriff Ray says on or about Wednesday, September 20th, Rose allegedly stole a check made out for $400 from a residence on Allen's Ferry Road. He then allegedly forged a signature on the check and cashed it at a local bank.

His bond is set at $12,500.

McCoys Busted By Sheriff's Department For Possession of Marijuana

September 28, 2006
Dwayne Page

A man and woman were arrested Wednesday after officers of the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department found marijuana in their residence.

28 year old Joseph McCoy of 200 Huddleston Loop, off Adcock Cemetery Road is charged with manufacturing, delivery, and sale of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia, and failure to appear. His bond is $61,000.

22 year old Bonnie McCoy of the same address is charged with possession of drug paraphernalia and manufacturing, sale, and delivery of marijuana. Her bond is $60,000.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says deputies went to the residence to serve a failure to appear warrant on Joseph McCoy when they smelled the odor of marijuana that had been smoked . Upon a further investigation, officers found a large amount of marijuana inside a container along with drug paraphernalia including bongs, pipes, hemostats, and seeds.

The McCoys will appear in General Sessions Court on October 4th.

McGee In Custody

September 28, 2006
Dwayne Page

A Smithville man, wanted by the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department since last week, is now in custody.

30 year old William Paul McGee was arrested Wednesday night in Warren County.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says Warren County investigators found his vehicle at an apartment complex and contacted the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department.

Sheriff Ray says DeKalb and Warren County officers set up surveillance and closed in as McGee emerged from the apartments. He says McGee jumped in his vehicle and took off, hitting a utility pole behind the apartments, before he was stopped and placed in custody.

McGee has been charged in DeKalb County with reckless endangerment and felony evading arrest. His bond on these charges is $41,000

McGee is also wanted on other charges in at least two other counties.

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, September 19th which led to Officer Andy Snow losing control of his patrol car and overturning on Short Mountain Road near the DeKalb/Cannon County line.

Neal was arrested the next day.

McGee remained at large until Wednesday.

Smithville Man Charged In Rash of Burglaries

September 28, 2006
Dwayne Page

A 20 year old Smithville man has been arrested on multiple counts of burglary and vandalism as the result of an investigation by the Smithville Police and DeKalb County Sheriff's Departments.

In a prepared news release, Thomas J. Stufano, Executive Officer of the Smithville Police Department, says Brian Dewayne Thomason of 439 Morgan Drive is charged with one count of aggravated burglary of a dwelling, two counts of vandalism to a structure and five counts of burglary of vehicles occurring on West Spring Street, Fisher Avenue, Short Mountain Street, Anthony Avenue, Kendra Drive, and Meadowbrook Drive. Additional charges could be filed pending a further investigation.

Thomason was booked into the DeKalb County Jail with bail set at $32,000.

According to the news release, \"On Wednesday, September 27th at approximately 11:20 p.m. police officers and sheriff's deputies working a Burglary Task Force in the 300 block of West Bryant Street were able to positively identify and arrest a suspect who had eluded authorities for almost three weeks.\" The suspect, Thomason, is accused of breaking into seven residences and automobiles.

\"Based on leads, reports and witness statements over the last three weeks concerning the escalating rise in burglaries in the area, officers canvassed the neighborhoods speaking to residents and tracking prospective movements of the suspect. With the cooperation of good neighbors and concerned citizens coupled with fast police response times and effective report writing, Task Force Officers working the cases were able to easily identify the suspect.\"

\"Smithville Police Sergeant Steve Deffendoll, Officer Bill Elliott, Officer Lelani Defore, and DeKalb County Sheriff's Detective Chris Russell were able to closely align and track the suspect's movements over the past three weeks that plagued these quiet residential areas.\"

\"Incidental to the arrest, Mr. Thomason voluntarily cooperated with the investigation identifying additional areas he had either broken into or attempted to break into but had been stopped by vigilant neighbors who called the police. During his interview, Thomason stated that he was able to keep track of police response times in order to time his get away by using a portable handheld police scanner.\"

Stufano's news release states that \" In speaking to the victims and neighbors, all were highly in favor of the city's new Crime Watch Program due to roll out shortly. This nationally recognized crime prevention program trains citizens on how and what to look for when reporting incidents. Additionally, home and business inspections are performed to help provide a safer living or working environment. Simple methods such as replacing outside light bulbs that have burned out or trimming hedges that block windows, and making sure your car doors and windows are locked are things citizens can do to deter crime in their area.\"

Pending Appeal, Patterson Soon To Assume Bench As New Criminal Court Judge

September 29, 2006
Dwayne Page

Almost two months after the August 3rd election, it appears there is now a winner in the race for Criminal Court Judge Part II in the 13th Judicial District.

Retired Nashville Judge Ben Cantrell, appointed to hear the election contest lawsuit filed by Lillie Ann Sells, dismissed the case Wednesday night after hearing two days of testimony in the Putnam County Chancery Court hearing.

Judge Sells, who lost her re-election bid to challenger David Patterson by 10 votes, asked that the election be voided

Sells filed her \"contest of election\" suit on August 17, alleging that various irregularities occurred in the voting on election day and asking the Chancery Court to review her allegations and either declare her the winner or order a new election.

Among her allegations are claims that convicted felons voted in one county, that voters applying for absentee ballots were not required to furnish their Social Security numbers, that voters spent too much time in the voting booths in some instances, and that a non-resident of the district was allowed to vote in one county.

Judge Cantrell ruled that he could find only one or two votes that shouldn't count. One of those ballots was cast by a convicted felon in White County. The other was an absentee ballot signed by someone who assisted the voter, with no witness signature present.

The other contested ballots had missing information, such as a Social Security number, reason for voting absentee or dates of the voter's absence.

Many of the requests or applications for absentee ballots were elderly voters, who are allowed by law to vote absentee if they are over 65 years old. However Stephen Zralek of Nashville, Sells' attorney, said that those votes should not be counted when the voter's age is not specifically listed as the reason for voting absentee, even though the voter's birth date is clearly on the application.

Zralek claimed that those missing items were necessary in order to process applications for absentee voting, according to the law governing absentee ballots. Zralek contended that the strict rules of absentee voting should be followed, saying, \"The violations of the statute affect the freedom and purity of the ballot. Either the law is strictly complied or it's not.\"

Defense attorneys argued that Sells' complaint over the election alleges no fraud or purposeful wrongdoing on the part of administrators or voters in that election.

Judge Cantrell sided with the defense saying there was no proof of any fraud, no allegations of any fraud and no proof of conspiracy. The judge said he didn't believe that the statute requires applications for absentee ballots to list Social Security numbers.

Sells has 30 days to appeal Judge Cantrell's decision.

John M. Roberts of Livingston has been serving as an appointed interim judge, pending the outcome of this case.

Bain Named DCHS Homecoming Queen

September 30, 2006
Dwayne Page

The 2006 Homecoming Queen at DeKalb County High School is Jessica Bain.

Bain is the 17 year old daughter of Larry and Teresa Johnson and Harold and Debbie Bain of Smithville.

Bain has been a DCHS football cheerleader for four years serving as co-captain her senior year. She was an All-American cheerleader nominee for three years. Bain was also a member of the Lady Tiger basketball team her freshman year.

Bain is a member of FBLA, the Literature Club, French Club, Science Club, and she is the treasurer of the HOSA Club. She has received the TSSAA academic achievement award for three years and was named \"Most Improved Cheerleader\" her freshman year. The football team voted her \"cutest' her freshman year and \"Most Compatible\" her junior year at the football banquet. She was voted \"Most Popular\" by her senior class.

Bain attends the Elizabeth Chapel Baptist Church.

The Senior Attendant is Martha Ilean Robertson, the 17 year old daughter of Bill and Joyce Robertson of Smithville and the late Judy Robertson.

Robertson has been a DCHS football cheerleader for four years serving as captain her senior year. She has been an NCA All-American cheerleader nominee for four years and was named to the NCA All-American cheering team her Junior and Senior year. She was chosen by her squad as \"Most Spirited Cheerleader\" her junior year. This year, her squad won the Top Team trophy at NCA camp.

Robertson is a member of FBLA, the Literature Club, French Club, FCA, and Science Club. She is an active member of the Elizabeth Chapel Baptist Church and their youth group.

She was chosen by the faculty as a Top 20 Senior and she received the TSSAA academic achievement award for three years.

Robertson is the youngest of eleven children.

The Junior Attendant is Geri Anna Wilson, the 16 year old daughter of Don and Vicki Wilson of Dowelltown. She is the older sister of Bruce Wilson, also of Dowelltown.

Wilson has been a football cheerleader for three years. She was nominated for homecoming attendant her freshman and junior years and was an NCA All-American cheerleader nominee her sophomore year. She has received the TSSAA academic achievement award for two years and was voted \"Most likely to succeed\" by the football team her sophomore year.

She is a member of FCA, FBLA, French Club, the Literature Club, Science Club, BETA Club, and Student Council. She attends the Smithville First United Methodist Church and is a member of the Smithville Church of God youth group.

Jessie Young Strickland is the Sophomore Attendant.

She is the 15 year old daughter of Jerry Strickland, Jr. of Alexandria and the late Melissa Strickland. She has an older sister, Kristen Strickland. She is a member of the FCCLA, Science Club, and the Literature Club. She enjoys playing softball, volleyball, and tennis. She attends the West Main Street Baptist Church in Alexandria.

Brittany Leeann Brown is the Freshman Attendant.

She is the 14 year old daughter of Glenn and Teresa Brown of Alexandria. She is a member of the DCHS football cheerleading squad. She was nominated for the NCA All-American cheerleading team this year.

Homecoming activities will be held at DCHS all week. The annual Homecoming Day Parade will be Friday, October 6th.

The parade will leave DCHS at 12:20 p.m. and arrive at Smithville Elementary School by 12:40 p.m. The parade will then move to Northside Elementary School by 1:00 p.m. and then make it's way to the public square by 1:30 p.m., led by the high school band.

The Tigers will host the Upperman Bees Friday night in the Homecoming Game at 7:30 p.m.


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