Local News Articles

Cookeville Man Found with Meth

February 16, 2015
Dwayne Page
Anthony Leon Tindle
Neal Bernard Keenan
James Michael Phipps
Billy Douglas Ferrell
Steven Lee Gebhardt
Teesha Nicole Reynolds
David Allen Sloan
John Wesley Curtis

A Cookeville man was found with methamphetamine during a Sheriff's Department traffic stop in Smithville last week.

44 year old Anthony Leon Tindle of North Pine Hill Road, Cookeville is charged with possession of a schedule II drug (methamphetamine). His bond is $25,000 and he will make a court appearance March 12. Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Friday, February 13 a sheriff's department detective spotted an older model Cadillac setting near a convenience store at the intersection of Highway 56 & 70 in Smithville. Another vehicle was parked behind the Cadillac. The driver of the Cadillac appeared to be slumped over the wheel. The detective stopped and spoke with the driver, Tindle. During the conversation Tindle told the officer that he had a pipe in his pocket and produced a plastic container which held a wet rock like substance which field tested positive for methamphetamine and weighed 4.8 grams. Tindle was placed under arrest.

58 year old Neal Bernard Keenan of West Main Street, Dowelltown is charged with driving on a revoked license. He was further issued citations for not wearing a seatbelt and for violation of the responsibility law (no insurance). His bond is $1,500 and he will be in court March 5. Sheriff Ray said that on Monday, February 9 Keenan was operating a motor vehicle and stopped for not wearing a seatbelt. A computer check revealed that his driver's license were revoked for DUI on August 5, 2013. He was arrested and brought to the sheriff's office for booking.

48 year old James Michael Phipps of Cookeville is charged with possession of a schedule II drug (Opana) for resale. His bond is $10,000 and he will make a court appearance on March 12. Sheriff Ray said that on Monday, February 9 a sheriff's department drug detective arrested Phipps, who was a passenger of a vehicle stopped for a traffic violation. Phipps gave the detective consent to search his person and in his coat pocket, six loaded syringes were found. Phipps admitted that the syringes were loaded with the drug Opana. He was arrested and brought to the sheriff's department for booking.

27 year old Billy Douglas Ferrell of Dale Ridge Road, Dowelltown is charged with driving on a suspended license. He was further issued citations for violation of the financial responsibility law, for no license plates on his vehicle, and for not giving immediate notice of an accident. His bond is $1,500 and he will be in court March 26. Sheriff Ray said that on Monday, February 9 a deputy was dispatched to New Home Road in reference to someone hitting a mailbox and then leaving the scene. When the officer arrived, he found a piece of a bumper that had broken off in the accident. The next day, Tuesday February 10 the deputy was informed by central dispatch that someone had witnessed the wreck and followed the vehicle to the home of Ferrell. According to the caller, Ferrell was the driver. The officer went to Ferrell's home and spoke with him. Ferrell admitted to being the driver of the automobile which hit the mailbox on New Home Road. According to Sheriff Ray, Ferrell further admitted to leaving the scene after the mishap and driving to his home. A computer check revealed that Ferrell's license were suspended for failure to maintain proof of insurance on April 2, 2014. The deputy had previously cited Ferrell on January 23, 2015 for a first offense of driving on a suspended license and advised him at that time not to be driving anymore. Ferrell was arrested and brought to the jail for booking.

29 year old Justin Ray Lohorn of Driver Street, Smithville is cited for violation of the light law, simple possession of marijuana, and failure to maintain his lane of travel. He will be in court March 12. Sheriff Ray said that on Thursday, February 12 a sheriff's department detective saw a red pickup truck with no tail lights swerving on Braswell Lane in Smithville. The detective stopped the truck and spoke with the driver, Lohorn. After receiving consent to search, the detective found a marijuana joint inside the vehicle.

41 year old Steven Lee Gebhardt of Hurricane Ridge Road, Smithville is charged with public intoxication. His bond is $3,000 and he will be in court March 12. Sheriff Ray said that on Thursday, February 12 a sheriff's department deputy was dispatched to Turtle's Bar and Grill on Sparta Highway on a complaint of a customer who was trying to start a fight. Upon arrival, the officer spoke with Gebhardt who was unsteady on his feet and he had a strong odor of alcohol on his person. Gebhardt was placed under arrest.

32 year old Teesha Nicole Reynolds of Lovers Lane, Liberty was arrested on Monday, February 9 after an investigation by detectives of both the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department and Smithville Police Department. She is charged with two counts of fraudulent use of a debit card and theft of property under $500. Her bond totals $6,500 and she will be in court February 19. In the sheriff's department case, Reynolds allegedly took a debit card belonging to another on West Main Street, Smithville without the owner's consent and used it at the Dollar General Store at Snow Hill. The purchase amount was for $45.52.

35 year old David Allen Sloan of Tramel Branch Road, Alexandria is charged with public intoxication. His bond is $1,500 and he will make a court appearance May 7. Sheriff Ray said that on Saturday, February 14 Sloan was in the parking lot of Turtle's Bar and Grill and he was asked to leave when he started a disturbance with employees. He was highly intoxicated and acting very belligerently. The arresting officer asked Sloan several times to calm down but he refused to comply. He was placed under arrest.

24 year old John Wesley Curtis of Braswell Lane, Smithville is charged with driving under the influence. He was also issued a citation for violation of the implied consent law and for stopping on the highway. His bond is $1,500 and he will be in court on March 26. Sheriff Ray said that on Monday, February 16 a deputy was dispatched to Highway 70 and Dale Ridge Road due to a car blocking two lanes of travel. Upon arrival the officer spoke with the driver, Curtis who had urinated on himself. Curtis had bloodshot eyes, slurred speech, and a strong odor of alcohol on his person. He allegedly admitted to drinking six- 24 ounce beers. He performed poorly on field sobriety tasks but he refused to submit to a blood test. Curtis was placed under arrest.

Lady Cats Claim National Championship

February 16, 2015
Hayley Martin, Carlee West, and Katherine Clendenon
Lady Cats Junior Level 2 All-Star Competitive Cheer Team from Power Athletics in Cookeville

The Lady Cats Junior Level 2 All-Star Competitive Cheer Team from Power Athletics in Cookeville brought home the gold and winners' jackets from the 2015 Cheersport National Cheer and Dance Championship in Atlanta, Georgia this past weekend in Junior Small Gym 2 Division II. This is one of the largest cheer and dance competitions in the United States with over 1,300 teams and 50,000 cheerleaders in attendance.

Competing on the Lady Cats team from Smithville are Hayley Martin, Carlee West, and Katherine Clendenon. There were 16 teams in The Lady Cats' division, which also included one team from England. Not only did they win their division, but they also had the highest raw score out all 45 teams in the Junior Small Gym 2 category with a score of 96.31, and they had zero deductions from their routine on both days of competition.

This is the second National Championship that this team has won this season after winning the Athletics Platinum Championship in Chattanooga in January. The Lady Cats are coached by Ashley Farris and Jordan Todd.

The Epidemic is Here! Friday, February 20th

February 14, 2015
Dwayne Page
The Epidemic is Here! Friday, February 20th

A workshop on the epidemic of prescription medication abuse will be held in Smithville on Friday, February 20 at the DeKalb County Complex from 8:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m.

"The Epidemic is Here” will offer CME’s for medical professionals but it is also open to all those who want to attend. The goal of this conference is not to alert people to the epidemic, but rather to discuss what can be done as a medical community to combat the problem. It will feature presentations on screening methods for addiction that are being used in medical facilities, better prescribing practices and the latest in treatment methods. It also serves as a fundraiser for the Community Advisory Board of DeKalb County with half the proceeds to benefit the DeKalb Foster Children's Fund

The featured speaker will be Dr. Steven Lloyd, a recovering addict who treats addiction. Angela McKinney Jones, Director of Prevention Services for the state will also speak along with General Sessions/Juvenile Court Judge Bratten Cook, II.

DeKalb Drug Court Coordinator Norene Puckett said the conference should be of interest to everyone. "A group of us from the Drug Court Program as well as some other agencies had gone to this same conference in Cookeville and Dr. Lloyd spoke. He just blew our minds about addiction and changed the whole way that we saw addiction. We came back from that conference and met with our community advisory board and said we need to get this (conference) to DeKalb County," said Puckett.

"As everyone knows we have a drug problem here and we're not really doing much for it so we decided we want to bring this here. It's a conference for our medical community but we also want to encourage anyone to attend. There are CME's being offered for the doctors but it's also open to the public. It's designed not to say that we have a drug problem but more to get the community together to see what we can do to combat the problem. We'll have screenings. A lady will be there to teach about screenings. SBIRT is a screening method for drug abuse and prevention and it is now a billable service so doctors and nurse practitioners can bill that in their offices. Angela McKinney is the Director of Prevention Services for the state and she will be there and actually give them the billing codes they need to make that service available. Dr. Lloyd will speak about the power of the pen and the proper prescribing of narcotics and the latest in treatment methods for Opioid addiction. This is also a fundraiser for the community advisory board. We hope to use at least half of the funds for the DeKalb Foster Children's Fund. We already have a lot of people signed up and we'll have different booths there. The cost is $50 for CME's. For medical professionals who need CME's. It's $20 for general admission," said Puckett.

The agenda is as follows:
8:00 - 8:30 Registration / Welcome
8:30 - 9:45 Angela McKinney Jones - SBIRT
9:45 - 10:00 Break
10:00 - 10:15 Judge Bratten Cook II
10:15 - 11:30 Dr. Stephen Loyd, MD, FACP -
The Power of the Pen
11:30 - 11:45 Break
11:45 - 12:45 Dr. Stephen Loyd, MD, FACP -
Medication Assisted Treatment
for Opioid Dependence
12:45 - 1:00 Closing remarks / Certificates /

This event will be sponsored by The Community Advisory Board of DeKalb County, The DeKalb County Drug Court, The Anti-drug Coalition of DeKalb County, DeKalb Community Hospital, Haven of Hope Counseling, Bradford Health Services, Lifeline of Tennessee, Ten Broeck of Tennessee, Health Connect America, Camelot Care, and The Tennessee Commission of Children and Youth. We have joined together to try help reduce the rates of addiction that are destroying our communities and to also treat those in need of help.

The cost is $50.00 for CME or $20.00 for general admission. A meal will be provided.

All proceeds for this training will go to the Community Advisory Board of DeKalb County.

If you or someone you know does not have available funding for training, there will be a limited amount of scholarships available.
For more information visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-epidemic-is-here-tickets-15042487485 or email jessica.tucker@tn.gov or rvalerio@bradfordhealth.net

New Billboard Sign Helps School System Promote Literacy

February 13, 2015
Dwayne Page
New Billboard Sign Helps School System Promote Literacy

Have you read with a child today?

It's the most important twenty minutes of your day.

Just 20 minutes a day reading aloud with young children strengthens relationships, encourages listening and language skills, promotes attention and curiosity, and establishes a strong reading foundation. These skills are essential for success in school and in life.

The DeKalb County School System seeks to heighten awareness of the importance of reading with a young child so they will be better prepared for school.

Signs are now available for businesses to help spread the word and a new billboard sign is now up on East Broad Street in Smithville facing west near Pizza Hut which promotes the "Read 20" literacy message. The billboard shows Attendance Supervisor Joey Reeder reading to his granddaughter Stella. The billboard sign was funded through a Readiness (State Discretionary) Grant.

Julia Little Named DCHS Class of 2015 Valedictorian

February 13, 2015
Dwayne Page
DCHS Class of 2015 Valedictorian Julia Little
DCHS Class of 2015 Salutatorian Makalee Ruch

DeKalb County High School has released the names of students in the Class of 2015 Top Rank including the Valedictorian Julia Little and the Salutatorian Makalee Ruch. Little is the daughter of Dr. Scott Little and Kristin Raymond. Ruch's parents are Melissa and Joe Ruch.

To be considered for Top Rank, students must take at least 10 honors, dual enrollment, and AP courses. Students must also have a 21 or higher ACT composite score. Forty DCHS students met this qualification, according to DCHS Guidance Counselor Lori Myrick

Students in the Class of 2015 Top Rank (listed in alphabetical order) are as follows:

Shara Adcock, Rachel Adcock, Rayanna Baker, Austin Ball, Jonathon Ball, Isaac Beck, Rebecca Benshoof, Kathryn Blair, Leah Burchfield, William Caplinger, Savannah Driver, Dakoda Eaton, Taylor Ellis, Michael Ferguson, Matthew Foutch, Sydnie Garmer, Bailey Hayes, Kelsey Hedge, Rachel Holcomb, Justin Johnson, Brandon Leiser, Julia Little, Ortega Maciel, Micah Merriman, Kenzie Morris, Cason Oakley, Jacquelyn Overbey, Bethany Poss, Makayla Redmon, Brooke Reffue, Zachary Roberts, Makalee Ruch, Harlli Silcox, Emilee Stephens, Austin Tittle, Lydia Trail, Darrian Turner, Jacob Washer, Bruce Wilson, and Charles Young.

School Board Considering Stop Arm Cameras on School Buses

February 13, 2015
Dwayne Page
Board Chairman W.J. (Dub) Evins, III
Transportation Supervisor Jimmy Sprague

The DeKalb County Board of Education is considering installing cameras on school buses to catch motorists behaving recklessly.

The issue was discussed briefly during Thursday night's regular monthly school board meeting.

The cameras automatically record when the buses activate their stop signs. Or, the school system could choose to have the cameras operate manually allowing bus drivers to push a panic button to activate them. The goal is to catch motorists who drive around school buses while the buses are picking up or dropping off students. Failure to stop for a school bus is a traffic violation in Tennessee. The cameras record what's happening around the bus, so police don't have to rely on bus drivers to provide descriptions of rule-breakers.

"One is a manual system that drivers would use when they pull up to a stop and they see traffic is not going to stop. They can push a panic button which automatically turns the cameras on and we can catch all the images. Or there is another system that is quite pricey but it is all automated. When the stop sign is deployed, it all comes on," said Transportation Supervisor Jimmy Sprague. "In my opinion the panic button is probably the better bang for the buck. I am still waiting on confirmation within state laws if this would stand in a court of law where we could prosecute somebody. I've researched this and found that other states, Georgia, Alabama, and Indiana use them (camera systems) and get good results. They've cut their stop arm issues by 60%. Right now in order to fill out a report (on a violator) and send it to the state you must have a tag number. Usually when this issue comes about it happens so quickly and the car goes by the bus (so fast) you don't have a chance to get a tag number. Sometimes they'll catch up with a car at a stop light and get a tag number then and I can fill out my report and send it to the state. As of today I have sent twenty nine reports to the state where I have caught and my drivers have caught (violators) on the routes," said Sprague.

Board Chairman W.J. (Dub) Evins, III said school bus safety is a serious concern. "I've seen some of this first hand. I actually saw what turned out to be almost an accident with a special education bus just yesterday (Wednesday) when someone turned in front of it. We have issues where when these stop signs go out (stop arms on buses) and these buses stop there is a period of time in state law that says when the flashing lights come on and the stop sign comes out, that means (motorists) stop. It's a matter of the general public, when they're driving down the road, especially down a five lane highway paying close attention. Consider if this were your child getting off that bus would you pay more attention? There have been a few citations written. I'm not in favor of writing a lot of citations but I am in favor of giving fair warning. In discussing this matter, I hope that people will start abiding by (the law and take into consideration) that there are upwards of 90 children and teenagers on these buses and getting them to school safely and getting them home safely is of utmost importance. We have 3,000 students in this school system and 2,000 of them ride the bus. I hope the general public will understand it," said Evins.

No action was taken Thursday night. If a system is purchased, the school board may elect to obtain only one camera system initially and use it on more than one bus. By rotating its use among buses in the fleet, motorists would not know which bus is equipped with the device on any given day.

In other business, Board Chairman Evins gave the Director of Schools monthly update on personnel on behalf of Director Mark Willoughby who was unable to attend due to sickness in his family.

Cynthia Taylor has been employed as a bookkeeper. Shea Wiegele, a teacher at DCHS, has been granted a leave as requested.

Jacqueline Michelle Overstreet has been transferred from a substitute to an educational assistant position. Elaine Davis, bus driver has resigned.

Judge Ups Bond for Murder Defendent to One Million Dollars

February 12, 2015
Dwayne Page
 Anthony (Tony) Crews
Ashley Bain

One week after being charged with second degree murder in the fatal stabbing of his girlfriend, 42 year old Anthony (Tony) Tyrone Crews made his first court appearance this morning (Thursday) under tight security at the DeKalb County Courthouse.

Crews stands accused of killing 28 year old Ashley Bain, whose body was found lying on the floor of a bedroom at the home she and Crews shared at 3870 Cookeville Highway, Smithville last Thursday afternoon, February 5.

During the brief hearing in General Sessions Court today, Judge Bratten Cook, II increased Crews' bond from $250,000 to one million dollars and set his next court date for March 5th. Judge Cook also appointed the District Public Defender's Office to represent Crews. WJLE was the only media in the courtroom covering the hearing.

Before increasing the bond amount, Judge Cook questioned Crews about his background. Crews said he was from New York and had relocated to McMinnville three years ago. He is married and had once served in the military. At the time of his arrest last Thursday, Crews was enrolled as a student at MTSU and had worked at Shiroki in Smithville. He admitted to having a misdemeanor criminal past for simple assault in New York but claimed the charges against him there were dismissed. Crews said he is not currently on parole or probation for any other offense.

After being appointed to represent Crews, Assistant District Public Defender Allison Rasbury West asked that his bond be kept at $250,000 saying that amount was sufficient. However Judge Cook raised it to one million dollars. Upon hearing the judge's decision, Bain's father, who was in the courtroom along with other family members, called out "Thank you Judge".

Crews was then escorted out of the courtroom by sheriff's deputies and transported back to a facility in another county.

Members of the family and all others in the courtroom were asked to remain seated until Crews had departed the building.

Sheriff Patrick Ray told WJLE last Thursday that Bain had been stabbed numerous times about the upper body. It's not known exactly how long Bain had been dead by the time authorities were notified but Sheriff Ray said she had been seen alive earlier in the day on Thursday. A knife, believed to have been the murder weapon, was found in the home.

According to Sheriff Ray, Crews called 911 at 2:33 p.m. to report that he had discovered Bain's body when he entered the residence. Sheriff Ray and members of the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department were alerted and quickly arrived on the scene. The TBI and District Attorney General's Office also joined the investigation. Sheriff Ray said authorities determined that Crews had committed the crime and made up the story about finding the body. Although officials believe they know the motive for the stabbing, Sheriff Ray said they are not releasing it at this time.

The warrant against Crews alleges that "on February 5th, 2015, at 3870 Cookeville Highway, Anthony Tyrone Crews did intentionally and knowingly kill Ashley Bain by stabbing her numerous times about the upper body".

New DCHS Baseball Indoor Training Facility Almost Complete

February 11, 2015
Dwayne Page
New DCHS Baseball Indoor Training Facility Almost Complete
Hitting and Pitching Lanes
Dressing Room and Lockers with Coaches Office, Bathroom, and Storage Room at the far end
Another View of Indoor Pitching/Hitting Cage

Play ball!

Although some finishing touches are needed before it's completed, the new indoor training facility for the DCHS baseball program is now open and being used by the players just in time for the upcoming season.

"It's being used now. This is the second week they (players) have been in it," said Jeff McMillen, President of the DCHS Tiger Baseball Booster Club.

The boosters spearheaded the fund raising drive for construction of the 40 x 81 foot metal building, which consists of two hitting and two pitching lanes on artificial turf, dressing room with lockers, coaches office, restroom facility with shower, and a storage room.

"We started talking about this a couple of years ago. Coach (Tracy) Slone believed in it and he got us believing in it and we got busy. We've been able to raise the money and do the things we needed to do for the program to take it to the next level. We're very proud of what we have and the community has been wonderful to help us," McMillen told WJLE.

Local businesses and individuals have supported the effort with cash donations and others have provided volunteer labor to help build the facility. "The only thing we paid anybody to do in here was we had the metal put on the roof. Everything else is volunteer labor from mostly a few parents of the players and we've had some people who stepped up who have construction businesses. We got our permits pulled by a licensed electrician. We did the wiring and he did the inspection and we had to go under state inspection too. But everything is up to codes," said McMillen.

Still, a few other projects remain to make the building complete. "We don't have our water and sewer hooked up yet but they're in the process of finishing up the sewer. We'll put the water in within the next couple of days. We have heat in the building but we need a separate heater for the dressing room. And we're hoping to pour a little concrete around the front of the building to keep the gravel out of the inside. It's just the finish up work you have to do. As money becomes available we'll do all those things. Hopefully, we'll get it all done before the season is over," he said.

McMillen said the new facility has already generated enthusiasm. "I think it will be good for the program and the kids. They have already bought into it. We've worked out here until eight, nine, and ten o'clock at night and just about every night we're out here there are kids out here too staying and hitting as long as we're here," he said.

The DCHS Tiger Pre-Season Schedule is as follows:
Saturday, February 14: Stewarts Creek (AWAY): 11:00 A.M. (PRE-SEASON)
Thursday, February 26: Friendship Christian (HOME): 4:00 p.m. (PRE-SEASON)
Tuesday, March 3: Siegel (AWAY): 5:00 p.m. (PRE-SEASON)
Thursday, March 5: Cookeville(AWAY): 5:00 p.m. (PRE-SEASON)

The season opener will be Monday, March 9 at home against Grundy County at 5:00 p.m.

Monetary Support Needed for the Blue Springs Community Center

February 11, 2015

The Blue Springs Community Center is currently in the process of being updated.

These updates include improved wiring, lighting, plumbing, flooring, painting, blinds, and other cosmetic improvements. Additional updates are also planned, but your monetary support is needed to make them possible.

If you would like to make a monetary donation for improvements to the Blue Springs Community Center, please contact Reed Miller by calling (615) 215-7938 or mail your donation to 414 South College Street, Smithville, TN 37166. Any monetary donation amounts are appreciated and needed in order to continue making improvements to the community center.

Neighorhood Watch Group Partners with Sheriff's Department

February 11, 2015
Dwayne Page
Sheriff Patrick Ray shows where large rocks have been placed to block passageway for vehicles to get underneath bridge on New Bildad Road
Underneath bridge on New Bildad Road where suspected drug activity has been occurring. A vehicle was recently found burning here. Note graffiti on the bridge.
Neighorhood Watch Group Partners with Sheriff's Department

A neighborhood watch group is partnering with the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department to combat crime in the Seven Springs Community.

The group has been reporting suspicious activity in the area including at the bridge on New Bildad Road, where drug paraphernalia has been found, apparently left behind by trespassers who have been using that location to engage in drug activity.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said arrests have already been made in that area and boulders have been placed there to keep others out. "This is at the bridge on New Bildad Road. We've been having a lot of people come and park under the bridge. This past year, we joined forces with the neighborhood watch program at Seven Springs and contacted Road Supervisor Butch Agee who brought a couple loads of big rocks down there and put them in the drive that leads under the bridge to stop people from coming down there. In the past we have found people there with meth labs and drugs. We've also found drug paraphernalia laying on the ground there and old meth labs laid out in the weeds so we joined in a partnership with them. The landowners have posted that property down there where nobody has permission to be down there unless they ask the landowners first and no one is to be there after dark. Anybody we catch down there, we'll cite them for criminal trespassing," said Sheriff Ray.


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