The tragic death of a boy in a bicycle accident, the loss of two long time city leaders, an effort to get more SRO officers in the school system, the awarding of a construction contract on the new Sligo bridge, the death of a woman after she drove her SUV into Center Hill Lake, the shooting of a man who drew a weapon on officers of the sheriff's department, the drowning of a swimmer, a fatal motorcycle crash, an Alexandria man awarded a scholarship on national television, and the continuing saga between the DeKalb Utility District and the City of Smithville were among the top local news stories for the first six months of 2013.
WJLE has compiled a summary of the top news stories month by month from January to October as follows below:
*Former Smithville Mayor and alderman Cecil Ray Burger passed away at NHC Healthcare Center. He was 89 years old. Mr. Burger served the City of Smithville for more than forty five years, including sixteen years as mayor and six years as alderman. Burger was first elected mayor in 1990. He served eight terms, sixteen years in that office until 2006 when he chose instead to run for alderman. He ended his long career with the city on June 30, 2012 when his third term as alderman came to an end. Mr. Burger began his career with the city in 1966 as secretary-treasurer, which also meant overseeing the city's public works operation and city employees. He served as city judge for the first couple of years as well. Burger retired from the secretary-treasurer position in 1989 but came out of retirement fifteen months later after being elected mayor in 1990.
*The DeKalb County Board of Education approved an architect contract with Kaatz, Binkley, Jones & Morris Architects of Mount Juliet for the DeKalb West School building project. The school system recently received final approval for a FEMA grant to fund the classroom addition including eight tornado "safe rooms".
*Morris Multimedia, the owner of the Smithville Review announced that it had acquired the DeKalb County Times newspaper.
*The Smithville Mayor and Aldermen received both public praise for and public appeals to reconsider passage of an ordinance amendment allowing 24-7 beer sales and on premises permits in eligible businesses. After the public comment period at a January meeting, the aldermen adopted the minutes from the regular meeting on December 17 and special meeting on December 27 and moved on to other business. They did not reconsider their vote on the beer ordinance amendment and the mayor did not cast a veto.
*A sheriff's department detective doing a New Year's Day welfare check on a child arrested a man after finding meth lab components in the home. 39 year old Scott Lynn Sykes of Alexander Street, Smithville was charged with initiation of a process intended to manufacture methamphetamine. Sykes admitted that these items belonged to him. He was arrested and brought to the jail for booking. The house was placed under quarantine.
*The sheriff's department and Tennessee Bomb and Arson investigated a suspicious fire in Liberty. Lieutenant Anthony Boyd of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department told WJLE that firefighters were called to a vacant home at 226 Eckles Heights Street. The home belonged to Debbie Hardaway. The home, which was up for sale, contained some furnishings but no one lived there. The cause and origin of the fire were not immediately determined, according to Lieutenant Boyd but the upstairs and the back left side of the home were destroyed in the blaze with heat, water, and smoke damage to other parts of the house.
*DeKalb County School buses passed state inspection. State Trooper Darryl Winningham, inspector for this district, told WJLE that he had completed his weeklong evaluation of the thirty three buses in the fleet along with the seven substitute buses and all passed inspection. "We do annual inspections on all buses but we also do spot checks through the year if we have a reason. Every bus we've run through passed inspection. Right now we're at 100% here. We work to ensure that everything is properly working on a bus before it gets back on the highway," he said.
*The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department apparently solved a rash of burglaries and thefts in the Dowelltown and Dry Creek Road area with the arrest of two men. 24 year old Allen R. Lester, Jr. of Church Street, Dowelltown and 18 year old Ronald Deshon Reeder of Smith Road, Smithville. Sheriff Patrick Ray told WJLE that the burglaries and thefts occurred on December 28 and from January 7-10 mostly in Dowelltown but also on Dry Creek Road in the area from New Home Road to the city limits of Smithville. There were nine victims altogether. According to Sheriff Ray, Lester was responsible for the actual burglaries and thefts. Reeder is charged with Lester in three of the crimes on Dry Creek Road because he rode along with Lester and sat in the vehicle, while Lester was out committing the burglaries and thefts, knowing what Lester was doing. Sheriff Ray said after Lester was identified as a suspect, detectives and officers of the Sheriff's Department raided his home and found most of stolen items.
*An Alexandria man, who was left paralyzed by a tragic car accident two years ago in DeKalb County, was surprised with a full tuition-paid, four-year grant to Colorado Technical University on the nationally televised Ricki Lake Show. The grant, presented to 20-year-old Kyle Thomas, will help him pursue his dream of earning a college degree. The grant was announced as part of the show's "Hidden Heroes" series led by cosmetic dentist and TV personality Dr. Bill Dorfman. Thomas plans to use the CTU grant to earn his bachelor's degree through Colorado Technical University's award-winning virtual campus, which offers flexibility in taking classes online, from anywhere and anytime.
*A mistrial was declared after a day long jury trial of 54 year old Jeffrey Leigh Sloan of Sparta charged with the misdemeanor offense of boating under the influence on Center Hill Lake. After deliberating for two hours, the jury of ten women and two men informed Judge Leon Burns, Jr. that they could not reach a unanimous decision on a verdict. Had he been found guilty, Sloan could have received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days and fined from $250 to $2,500. Sloan might also have lost his boating privileges. Sloan was arrested on the night of October 7, 2011 by TWRA officers Nick Luper and Mike Beaty .
*Saying they desire a "level playing field", several store owners, licensed to sell packaged beer at their establishments in the county came before the DeKalb County Beer Board to find out how they can be afforded the same opportunity as city stores to extend their hours for selling beer. The meeting was called, apparently for the purpose of allowing store owners to speak on this issue. No other business was discussed, other than approval of the minutes from the last meeting. Beer Board members informed the store owners that they would have to see County Mayor Mike Foster about getting this issue placed on the agenda for the next county commission meeting.
*Steve Repasy of the Midway Station was named the "2012 County Firefighter of the Year", for the second consecutive year during the department's annual awards banquet held at the DeKalb County Complex. Captain Brad Mullinax received the "Officer of the Year" award. The "Rookie" award went to Kristie Johnson of the Main Station. Ronald Merriman of the Keltonburg Station was presented an Honorary Lifetime Membership award. Thirteen firefighters were recognized and presented pins for their years of service.
*Smithville Volunteer firefighter Danny Poss received the "Highest Attendance Award during an appreciation dinner for city firefighters at the Smithville First United Methodist Christian Fellowship Center. The award was presented to Poss by Smithville Fire Chief Charlie Parker. Poss attended the most incidents, training, and activities during 2012. A total of 124 out of 148 calls. Deputy Chief Hoyte Hale was next having attended 114 calls and Lieutenant John Poss attended 105 calls. Meanwhile city firefighters were also presented pins for years of service.
*Senior Quarterback Lucas Phillips was named Most Valuable Player of the 2012 DeKalb County High School Football Team during the annual Awards Banquet at the Smithville First Baptist Church Life Enrichment Center building. The awards were sponsored by Liberty State Bank. The MVP trophy was presented to Phillips by Coach Steve Trapp. Phillips helped lead the Tigers to an overall 10-2 record and another appearance in the state play-offs in 2012. The team won its first ever home playoff game but was eliminated the following week in the second round at Livingston Academy. Coach Trapp said Phillips had 5,368 yards passing for his high school career and threw for 71 touchdowns in twenty eight games played. Phillips rushed for 1,307 yards on 263 carries and scored thirteen rushing touchdowns. Meanwhile, Senior Callie Gash was named Most Valuable Cheerleader. The presentation was made by Cheer Coaches Amanda Fuller and Sonya House.
*The Genesis Diner on Highway 70 in Alexandria was heavily damaged by fire. The restaurant was apparently closed at the time and no one was there. The Alexandria Volunteer Fire Department quickly responded with mutual aid support from the Liberty station of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department and the Watertown fire department. There were apparently no injuries.
*After months of delay, the new Sligo bridge is expected to be under construction by this summer. During a meeting with County Mayor Mike Foster and the county commission, Paul Degges, Chief Engineer of the Tennessee Department of Transportation said bids will likely be opened in April or May with construction to begin soon after. Before TDOT could begin with the project, it had to work out a deal on right of way acquisition with the only landowner in the area, being the federal government, through the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The problem was that owners of Sligo Marina, who have a lease with the Corps were concerned that the bridge construction would adversely affect their business. The marina owners wanted the state to pay for potential loss of business to them during the construction of the bridge. But Degges, in previous forums, had said that the state cannot legally pay for those types of damages. Over time, TDOT re-designed plans for the bridge hoping to address concerns to the satisfaction of Sligo Marina, but to no avail. So, the state came up with another alternative. To build the bridge from the river. Barges will be assembled on the river for the cranes and other equipment needed in construction. The project will be more costly to build the bridge from the river, according to Degges but the marina will not be impacted in this manner. The project will let for bids this spring and be under construction by summer and should be finished within twenty four to thirty months.
*As expected, the county commission took no action on authorizing 24-7 sales for stores licensed to sell packaged beer in the county as Smithville did for city stores in December. With several people both for and against the proposal in attendance waiting to hear what the county commission would do, County Mayor Mike Foster announced that the commission would do nothing until a public hearing is scheduled to give citizens a chance to express their views. Foster said the commissioners want to take some time to see how the changes made in the city are working out.
*A 35 year old sex offender, accused of showing up on school property during a soccer game last August, appeared in DeKalb County Criminal Court on Wednesday, January 23. James Hesson pleaded guilty to violation of the sex offender registry under a negotiated settlement. Judge Leon Burns, Jr. gave Hesson a two year sentence to serve. He was given jail credit from August 31, 2012 to January 23. Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Friday, August 31, Hesson violated the sex offender registry law by being on school property where children were present. Hesson was told to leave the school grounds due to his being a sex offender and that he was not to be within one thousand feet of the school property line. Shortly thereafter, Hesson was found in the back yard of property adjoining the high school where he was watching children at play during a sports event after regular school hours. Sheriff Ray said that Hesson was well aware that he was not to be near school property.
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*The man who led authorities on a three county pursuit was arrested thanks to an investigation by the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department. 35 year old Howard Eugene Brown of Green Acre Drive, Smithville was found at home with his wife. He had apparently returned home on foot after crashing and bailing out of the pickup truck he was driving on Bright Hill Road. Brown was taken into custody by the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department, who had developed him as a suspect during an investigation.
Sheriff Patrick Ray told WJLE that the pursuit began in Van Buren County after a K-9 officer there, driving a Dodge Ram 4 x 4 pickup, stopped to check on a black Dodge Dakota pickup truck that had stopped on the side of the road. Brown, the driver of the truck, got out and approached the officer. A computer check revealed that he had no license. Brown then jumped in the truck and took off," said Sheriff Ray.
The Van Buren County K-9 officer initiated a pursuit which turned onto Highway 111 north into White County and then west on Highway 70 from Sparta. White County authorities joined Van Buren County in the chase and notified DeKalb central dispatch that the pursuit was approaching DeKalb County. Members of the Sheriff's Department and Smithville Police Department were planning to set up at the intersection of West Broad Street and Congress Boulevard when word came that the pursuit had reached Smithville but had turned from Highway 70 onto Evins Mill Road. Local officers then repositioned themselves to other locations hoping to intercept the pursuit. The chase continued on Evins Mill Road, to Cripps Lane, and then onto Bright Hill Road.
An off duty state trooper of the Tennessee Highway Patrol, Dewaine Jennings was at his residence on Bright Hill Road when he heard about the approaching pursuit. He got a spike strip from his patrol car and placed it on Bright Hill Road in front of his house. When the truck came speeding by, it hit the spike strip and some of the tires blew out. The truck then sped out of control as it approached the sharp curve on Bright Hill Road and struck a guardrail. The Van Buren County K-9 officer's vehicle also received some minor damage when it too apparently sideswiped the guardrail.
According to Sheriff Ray, after the truck came to a stop, the man (Brown) bailed out the driver's side door of the truck, jumped over the guardrail and disappeared into the woods on foot. A search immediately ensued by officers of the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department, Smithville Police Department, constables, along with K-9 units from Van Buren and Putnam Counties and the Tennessee Highway Patrol. Sheriff Ray said the K-9 dogs picked up the man's scent and followed a trail through the woods to Highway 56 near Harney's Nursery and the New Life United Pentecostal Church, where the dogs lost the scent. Authorities suspect that the man (Brown) crossed the highway and then walked to his home on Green Acre Drive, a short distance away. Smithville Elementary School, which is in the area of the search, was placed on lock down status until dismissal time at 2:45 p.m. as a precaution. According to Sheriff Ray, Brown was on probation for criminal impersonation, theft, and aggravated criminal trespassing at the time of his arrest.
*The Smithville Beer Board granted applications from three Mexican Restaurant owners for on-premises consumption permits. City Secretary-Treasurer Hunter Hendrixson, who presided over the meeting, said that all three businesses, El Rancho of 1101 West Broad Street, Mercadito Chabelita Restaurant of 408-A East Broad Street, and Los Lobos of 106 East Broad Street meet all requirements including the minimum distance of 400 feet to schools, churches, and or other places of public gatherings. The Smithville aldermen in December changed the city's beer laws to allow eligible restaurants to have an on-premises permit.
*Hunter Graham, a senior member of the DCHS Tiger baseball team, will play for the Columbia State Community College Chargers next season. A signing was held at DCHS. Graham was joined by his parents, Kyle and Doris Graham; his sister, Tyra Graham, DCHS baseball coach Scott Odom and assistant coach Andrew Dixon; and Mike Corn, head coach of the Columbia State Chargers.
*Construction began for a new Dollar General Store on Highway 70 at Snow Hill. With the new store, Dollar General will have three locations in DeKalb County. The other two are in Smithville and Alexandria. Dollar General recently announced plans to add 635 new stores and 550 relocations or remodels throughout the country in 2013 creating 6,000 new jobs. "Throughout 2013, we plan to expand throughout the 40 states we serve based on how we can best meet our customers' needs," said Crystal W. Chassemi, Public Relations Manager for the Dollar General Corporation
*The City of Smithville and the DeKalb Utility District are at odds again. This issue is over which company should conduct a cost study of the city's water system. City officials already contracted with Warren & Associates of Lebanon but the DeKalb Utility District wanted the Jackson Thornton firm to perform the study. In January, city officials received a letter from Roger Turney, Chairman of the DUD board of directors addressing the city's request for a face to face meeting on proposed contract discussions for a long term water purchase agreement and he mentioned that DUD would be interested in sharing the cost of a study if an "independent" entity were selected.
*With the Tiger's 85-60 victory over the Chattanooga Patriots on Senior Night, DCHS Basketball Coach Lynus Martin reached a milestone with his 200th career coaching win. Coach Martin's overall record as of senior night was 200-117, dating back to when he took over during the 2002-03 season. This was his 11th season with the team. Coach Martin has a 67-59 district record. His post-season record is 12-16. He has won one Regular Season District Championship (this year), finished as District Tournament runners-up twice (2010-11 & 2011-12) and appeared in the Region Tournament five times. Coach Martin was also selected to coach in the Basketball Coaches Association of Tennessee All-Star Game in Murfreesboro on Saturday, March 16. Tiger seniors Braxton Atnip, Sonni Fullilove and Stephen Howell were all chosen to play.
*With a local principal calling for more School Resource Officers, the school board scheduled a workshop to discuss options for strengthening school security, including the possibility of asking the county commission to help fund more SRO officers. DeKalb County currently has one School Resource Officer at DCHS. The four other schools do not have an SRO. During a school board meeting held at DeKalb West School, Dr. Gayle Redmon, Principal at Northside Elementary School said its time for the school board to act. "While I am aware that the funding for School Resource Officers is not an item that comes out of the school budget, I would like to make an appeal to the School Board to request from our County Commissioners, a School Resource Officer in each of our schools in DeKalb County," she said. "I concur with Mrs. Redmon," said Danny Parkerson, Principal at DeKalb West School. "Schools have changed. Our society has changed. An SRO Officer in the schools just has a calming affect if nothing else. I've been to ball games and had SRO Officers attend our ball games and it makes an unruly fan, ruly," said Parkerson.
*DeKalb County's Sonni Fullilove has been named the boy's Defensive Basketball Player of the Year in District 8 AA while Tiger Coach Lynus Martin is the Boy's District Coach of the Year. In addition to taking the Defensive Player of the Year award, Sonni Fullilove of DeKalb County was also named to the All-District's 1st Team along with Braxton Atnip. Stephen Howell was named to the 2nd Team. Ethan Roller made the 3rd Team and Lucas Phillips and Will Molander received Honorable Mention. Loren Cripps of the Lady Tigers made the All-District 3rd Team. Ashli Chew and Morgan Pedigo were selected to the All Freshman Team and Chelsea Lewis received Honorable Mention.
*Kayla Belk, a seventh grader at DeKalb Middle School, won the 10th annual DeKalb County Spelling Bee at the county complex auditorium. Belk, the 12 year old daughter of ChrisAnne Belk and Andrew Fults of Smithville was among forty students from the fourth grade to the eighth grade who participated in the contest. Eleven year old Holly Evans, a fifth grader at DeKalb West School, was the runner-up. She is the daughter of Mike and Amy Evans of Alexandria. Belk and Evans will compete in the Middle Tennessee Regional Spelling Bee sponsored by Middle Tennessee State University. The regional bee will take place on Saturday, March 2 at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro. The winner of the Regional Spelling Bee will compete in the Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee in Washington D.C.
*The DeKalb County School System announced its "Teachers of the Year" at the building level of the five schools in the county. This year's honorees are Amanda Rhoady, a first grade teacher at Smithville Elementary School; Sandy Willingham, a third grade educator at Northside Elementary School; Tammy Payne, a fourth grade teacher at DeKalb West School; Suzette Barnes, a seventh grade educator at DeKalb Middle School; and Joey Reeder, a History teacher at DeKalb County High School.
*The Smithville Mayor and Aldermen adopted a resolution to make changes to the city charter including having the terms of office go from two to four years, extending voting rights to county residents that own commercial property in the city (two persons per deed), allowing property rights voting to county residents who own at least 3,500 square feet of property in the city, and allowing by ordinance regular city council meetings to be held only once per month. The resolution, passed unanimously by the aldermen, will be sent to State Representatives Terri Lynn Weaver and Mark Pody and State Senator Mae Beavers asking that they introduce an act in the legislature to amend in its entirety the city charter, which is Chapter 486 of the Private Acts of Tennessee for 1941 and to replace it with the new charter. After the resolution is adopted by the General Assembly, it must return to the Board of Mayor and Aldermen for a second reading where it must receive a vote of not less than two thirds of the entire membership of the board before it can take effect.
*A 16 year old boy suffered a gunshot wound in the leg after an accidental shooting at a residence on North Congress Boulevard just outside the city limits. Officials said the boy and his girlfriend were cleaning guns when a weapon she held was accidentally discharged causing a wound to the boy's leg. He was taken by DeKalb EMS to the Smithville Municipal Airport where he was airlifted by a Life Flight helicopter ambulance and flown to Vanderbilt Hospital in Nashville. A family member told WJLE that the boy lost his leg. No charges will be filed in the case since it was an accidental shooting. The names of the boy and girl were not disclosed because they are juveniles.
*Local attorneys spoke out against a proposed judicial redistricting plan that would take DeKalb County out of the current make up of the 13th Judicial District and make it part of a new eight county district, which would also include Macon, Trousdale, Smith, Jackson, Cannon, Warren, and Coffee counties. For DeKalb, that would mean a different set of judges, District Attorney General, and District Public Defender from those that currently serve the county. In a meeting with the local media, several attorneys expressed their displeasure with the proposal and planned to lobby state legislators to vote against it if presented to the general assembly. "We (all local attorneys) are unanimous in our opposition to this. It's ridiculous to say just because nothing (judicial redistricting) has happened since 1984, let's go in and make something happen. If it's not broken, it doesn't need to be fixed," said General Sessions and Juvenile Court Judge Bratten Cook, II, who is president of the DeKalb County bar.
*A 52 year old Liberty man charged in a fatal traffic accident last summer appeared in DeKalb County Criminal Court before Judge Leon Burns, Jr. where he pled guilty to vehicular homicide, vehicular assault, and assault. Johnny Lynn Hickey, facing a possible prison term of eight to twelve years and loss of his driver's license for up to three years, will be sentenced on August 12. He was indicted in December on one count of vehicular homicide, two counts of vehicular assault, and driving under the influence. Hickey was charged in the death of 30 year old Chris Gammons who passed away Monday, July 9, 2012 at Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga. Gammons and Hickey were among four people in the accident which occurred on Saturday morning, June 23, 2012 on Highway 70 near the intersection of Highway 96 (Dale Ridge Road) on Snow Hill. Gammons and Troy Bruno, both of Smithville were airlifted from near the scene of the crash by Life Force and Air Evac helicopter ambulances. The other person injured in the wreck was 32 year old Cleva Elaine Gammons of Smithville, wife of Chris Gammons. Hickey was not hurt.
*Three people charged in an Alexandria robbery last summer each received an eight year sentence in DeKalb County Criminal Court after entering pleas in negotiated settlements. 24 year old Michael Ray Slaughter of Clarksville, 25 year old Dustin Shane Puckett of Watertown, and 27 year old Joseph Clark Hindelang of Lebanon each pleaded guilty to robbery and received an eight year sentence with parole eligibility after serving 30%. Each, originally charged with aggravated robbery, agreed to plea outside of the range of punishment to get the charge reduced to robbery. Hindelang and Puckett, in addition to robbery, also pled to theft of property over $1,000 and each received a two year sentence to run concurrently with their eight year terms. Both Hindelang and Puckett were given jail credit of 206 days. Slaughter's eight year term is to run concurrent with any violations or other charges in effect against him. He was fined $2,000.
Alexandria Police Chief Mark Collins told WJLE that Slaughter, Puckett, and Hindelang were arrested in an armed robbery at a home on Measles Lane on August 1, 2012. Police learned that two of the suspects entered the home, displayed handguns and forced the occupants, an adult female and two children , to sit and remain quiet while they went through the home taking several things including electronics, jewelry, personal items, and narcotics. After leaving the home, the suspects fled into the woods nearby but they were seen by witnesses, who reported it to Sergeant Chris Russell. After spotting a man running out of the woods, Sergeant Russell gave chase. After a short foot pursuit, the man, Slaughter was placed in custody. Shortly thereafter witnesses saw the suspects' vehicle on High Street and reported it. Police responded, found the driver, Hindelang, and placed him in custody. Witnesses also reported having seen the third suspect, Puckett , running out of the woods on Brush Creek Highway. As a result, police found Puckett and arrested him. During a search of the area, officers recovered items taken from the home along with approximately 42 grams of marijuana found in the suspects' vehicle and other items believed to have been stolen from another location. Police seized the vehicle as a result of the investigation.
*The Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP) named Tonya Hattaway of Smithville as the 2012 Dispatcher of the Year at a special award ceremony held in Murfreesboro. Hattaway, who is assigned to the THP’s Cookeville District, earned the honor for an incident last February in which she helped find a woman who was thought to be harmful to herself and sent a trooper to the woman’s aide. Hattaway earned the THP Dispatcher of the Year honor for preventing a possible suicide attempt in February 2012 after she received a call from a distressed woman who believed a loved one was traveling by car to Crossville with intentions of taking her own life. Hattaway requested the troubled woman’s cell phone number and contacted her several times to establish her location. Hattaway spent three hours trying to locate the woman. Once she did, Hattaway dispatched a trooper to her location; the trooper made contact and transported the woman to a hospital where she could receive help. Hattaway was also instrumental in the arrest of a child predator in DeKalb County. Hattaway and the trooper she was assisting looked beyond a “normal traffic stop” and determined the driver, who had a teenage girl with him, was wanted for child molestation in another county.
*Trooper Dewaine Jennings of the Tennessee Highway Patrol, for the second time in four years, has been named Trooper of the Year for the Cookeville District. Jennings, a resident of Smithville, was among twelve members of the THP who were honored as Troopers of the Year for their individual districts during a special ceremony in Murfreesboro. Trooper Jennings was named the 2012 Trooper of the Year in the THP's Cookeville District after looking beyond the ticket on a traffic stop made on August 25, 2012. Trooper Jennings stopped a vehicle for speeding and upon contact with the two occupants noticed suspicious behavior. He then ran a validation check on the 19-year old driver and discovered he had an outstanding warrant for statutory rape. Trooper Jennings detained the driver and began questioning his female passenger. It was discovered that the female passenger was 13-years old and was the girlfriend of the male driver. Trooper Jennings contacted the girls' mother and transported the two to the DeKalb County Sheriff's Office for further investigation. It was later revealed that the 13-year old female had been raped by an older adult and the mother had been advised to keep her away from older men. The boyfriend admitted to a sexual relationship with the female juvenile, and her mother admitted to being aware of the relationship. Both the 19-year old male and the juvenile's mother were arrested. Trooper Jennings thorough investigation in this case resulted in the discovery of a crime. Additionally, his trooper activity ranks second in the district with 23 DUI arrests and second in total citations with 837.
*He has already served almost eleven years for the fatal shooting of a DeKalb County man, but 40 year old Christopher Nicholas Orlando will be in prison for at least another three years. After a parole hearing, three members of the Tennessee Board of Parole voted to decline parole for Orlando due to the seriousness of the offense and to reconsider the case in March, 2016. Orlando is serving a 45 year prison sentence for facilitation of first degree murder in the death of 20 year old Joshua Murphy. Orlando is incarcerated at the Northeast Correctional Complex in Mountain City, Tennessee. Murphy was shot and killed in a secluded area in the Laurel Hill Community at the end of Old Eagle Creek Road on Sunday, September 15, 2002. His body was discovered three days later. Officials said Orlando and a co-defendant, Melvin Turnbill suspected Murphy of stealing methamphetamine. Orlando was tried and convicted of the crime by a DeKalb County Criminal Court Jury in April, 2004. Turnbill entered a guilty plea to facilitation to first-degree murder in September, 2003 and was given a 25-year sentence, of which he must serve at least 30 percent. Turnbill remains incarcerated at the Bledsoe County Correctional Complex in Pikeville. His parole hearing is set for April, 2014. While Orlando said he was sorry for the death of Murphy during the parole hearing, he denied being the triggerman in the shooting, blaming Turnbill for actually committing the murder.
*A sergeant in the Cookeville District of the Tennessee Highway Patrol has been promoted to Lieutenant. Mark Dial is among fifteen members of the THP who were formally recognized for promotions in a special ceremony at the Tennessee Highway Patrol Training Center in Nashville. A commissioned state trooper since 1997, Dial's first assignment was in White County in the Cookeville District. Dial went on to serve as a Road Trooper in White County for nine years. In late 2006, Dial was promoted to Sergeant in Putnam County, where he served for 14 months before transferring to DeKalb County as a Patrol Sergeant over both Dekalb and Smith Counties, where he is currently assigned. Throughout his career, Dial has served as a member of the THP Riot Team, and after being promoted to the rank of Sergeant, he was selected as a Squad Leader on the Riot Squad. Dial is member of the THP Honor Guard. In May of 2011, Dial became the "Officer in Charge" of the Honor Guard.
*DeKalb County Volunteer Firefighters prevented the Company Store from being destroyed by a blaze. The business, located on Highway 96 near Cove Hollow, was closed at the time of the fire. County Fire Chief Donny Green told WJLE that members of the Liberty, Temperance Hall, and Main Stations responded along with manpower from other stations. The tanker and equipment truck were also on site. County firefighters contained the blaze to the kitchen area of the building and kept it from spreading. The cause of the fire was undetermined at the time.
*The current makeup of the 13th Judicial District, which includes DeKalb County, would remain unchanged under a consensus plan to redraw Tennessee's judicial districts as unveiled by Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey (R-Blountville. The districts were last drawn nearly thirty years ago in 1984.Under the plan, the 13th Judicial District would remain intact with no changes. The district includes Clay, Cumberland, DeKalb, Overton, Pickett, Putnam, and White Counties. A previous plan under consideration would have included DeKalb County in a new eight county district with Coffee, Cannon, Warren, Smith, Jackson, Trousdale, and Macon. Local judges and attorneys argued that the judicial system works well in the 13th district and that there was no need for redistricting here. The new proposed map causes minimal disruption to the current system affecting only 22 counties in 8 districts. To maximize efficiency, the number of judicial districts has been reduced from 31 to 29. Factors such as regional integrity, geographic boundaries and ease of inter-county travel were also heavily considered.
*The DeKalb County Jail and Jail Annex have again met minimum standards for certification by the Tennessee Corrections Institute. Sheriff Patrick Ray said the Tennessee Corrections Institute recently performed an inspection of the DeKalb County Jail and the DeKalb County Jail Annex. In a letter to Sheriff Ray, TCI Executive Director Beth Ashe, wrote that "The inspection revealed that this facility meets all applicable minimum standards. This status shall be reported to the Board of Control at its next meeting. After approval from the Board of Control, you will receive a Certificate of Certification. You are to be congratulated for attaining this degree of professionalism in your organization," wrote Ashe. Detention Facility Specialist Joe Ferguson, in the report wrote that "On February 28, 2013 I inspected the DeKalb County Jail and Annex. With no apparent deficiencies found, I recommend continued certification for 2013". The DeKalb County Jail and Annex have a certified capacity of 102 beds.
*An employee of the Discount Beer and Tobacco Store in Alexandria was arrested after being accused of inappropriately touching female customers and giving beer to a minor. 54 year old Sobhy Eskandar of Antioch, Tennessee has been charged by the Alexandria Police Department with six counts of sexual battery, one count of sexual battery of a minor, and one count of furnishing alcohol to a minor. Eskandar was arrested on Saturday, March 23. Alexandria Police Chief Mark Collins states that the Alexandria Police Department began investigating Eskandar ,who was an employee at the Alexandria Discount Beer and Tobacco Store on Nashville Highway, after receiving numerous complaints from female customers that Eskandar had touched them inappropriately while inside the store. Chief Collins states one of the complaints involved a minor, in which Eskandar also gave the minor a beer. Chief Collins stated that more charges are expected .
*Seniors Chelsea Lewis and Braxton Atnip were named the 2013 DCHS basketball Most Valuable Players at the annual team banquet while Senior Kaylee Cantrell was selected as the Most Valuable Cheerleader. The awards were presented by Chad Kirby of Love-Cantrell Funeral Home. The MVP and MVC awards are named in memory Chad's grandfather, Allen D. Hooper. Atnip went over 1,000 points in scoring for his career at DCHS during the Chattanooga Howard game in the sectionals or sub-state. The Tigers concluded the 2012-13 campaign with an over-all record of 30-7, the most ever wins in a single season in school history. They were also regular season district champs and runners-up in the district and regional tournaments. The DeKalb County Lady Tigers wrapped up their season losing to Livingston Academy in their opening game of the District 8 AA basketball tournament at Cookeville. The Lady Tigers finished with an over-all record of 16-16.
*More than $4,500 was raised during a three hour radiothon on WJLE for the DCHS Class of 2013 Project Graduation. DCHS teacher Chris Vance hosted the program and parents of high school seniors who serve on the Project Graduation committee answered phones, taking pledges during the drive. Several seniors also made an appearance on the radiothon to talk about their school activities and future plans and to ask for pledges. Project Graduation is an all night drug-free, alcohol-free graduation party for members of the DCHS Class of 2013 committed to having a safe, wholesome, yet entertaining celebration together for the last time as a class. The DCHS Graduation is set for Friday, May 24.
*A child sex sting operation based in St. Johns County, Florida resulted in the arrests of 15 men, including a former DeKalb County assistant scoutmaster. According to media reports in Florida, the sting by the Johnson County Sheriff's Office was called "Operation No Soliciting and took place over the course of five days, starting March 13. Among those arrested was 47 year old Richard Charles Holubek of Orange Park, Florida, a former assistant scoutmaster for Boy Scouts of America Troop 347 in DeKalb County. Holubek is now a drug store manager in Florida. Authorities said Holubek was trying to meet a 13 year old male. He is charged with one count of use of computer service to solicit a child, one count of obscene communication travel to meet after use of a computer to lure a child, and one count of utilizing a two way device to facilitate a felony.
*The Tennessee Department of Transportation awarded the construction contract on Sligo bridge to the Massman Construction Company based in Kansas City, Missouri. Massman, at $38,903, 917, had the lowest bid of the six bids submitted for the project. According to Jennifer A. Flynn, TDOT Regional Community Relations Officer, the bid came in at well under TDOT's estimated cost of the project at $43.5 million dollars.
*After a hearing which lasted all day and into the night, the state's Utility Management Review Board dismissed a petition filed by a group of DeKalb Utility District ratepayers who were hoping to halt DUD plans to build a water treatment plant. UMRB Board members said the petitioners had failed to meet their burden of proof that DUD rates or services provided were unreasonable. The hearing was held in Smithville at the DeKalb County Complex auditorium. "I do not believe that the petitioners presented a case for water rates," said one member of the UMRB board. "They presented a case for not wanting Smithville to lose DeKalb Utility District as a customer. What the petitioners proved was that Smithville didn't want to lose a customer, not that the rates were improper," he said. Randy Rhody, a twenty five year customer of DeKalb Utility District and one of the petitioners opposed to the proposed DUD water plant, testified during the hearing. "We want the plant stopped. We want to keep things exactly the way they are. That's the only way to hold the rates the way they are. If we keep the rates exactly the same as they are then everybody will be happy. We don't need redundant services and pay more. It doesn't make good sense that we would raise everybody's rates. We already have good water," he said. Barring an appeal or any other review, the DUD apparently may now proceed with its plans to construct a water treatment plant.
*A 30 year old Smithville man with HIV, indicted by the DeKalb County Grand Jury for the rape of an eight year old boy, has now been served with a sealed indictment charging him with the rape of another child, a nine year old boy. Jose Juan Reyes of Old Blue Springs Road is now facing a total of three counts of rape of a child and two counts of criminal exposure to HIV. According to the indictment, on or about March 2, 2013 Reyes allegedly engaged in unlawful sexual penetration of a nine year old boy constituting the offense of rape of a child and that he did this knowing he was infected with HIV constituting the offense of criminal exposure to HIV. The other grand jury indictment alleges that Reyes allegedly engaged in unlawful sexual penetration of an eight year old boy on two occasions on or about February 22, 2013 constituting the offense of rape of a child and that he did this knowing he was infected with HIV constituting the offense of criminal exposure to HIV. This allegedly occurred at Reyes' residence on Blue Springs Road.
*The current members of the DeKalb County Election Commission have been reappointed by the Tennessee Election Commission. The state election commission made these appointments on Monday April 1st. The term of each member is for two years. Members of the DeKalb County Election Commission are Walteen Parker, Barbara Vanatta, Jim Dean, Harry Lasser, and Richard Hearon Puckett. Vanatta and Dean are beginning their third terms. Parker has served since 1992. All three are republicans. Lasser, a democrat, is starting his second term. Puckett, also a democrat, has been filling the unexpired term of Kenneth Moore, who died last year. This will be Puckett's first full term.
*Smithville Police detectives Matt Holmes and Brandon Donnell have solved a local identify theft case with the arrest of a Nashville man. 41 year old Jeffery D. Nelson is charged with four counts of identity theft. Nelson is accused of using information from a Smithville man's debit card to withdraw funds from the victim's bank account to pay his own utility bills on several occasions. The total amount of the theft comes to nearly three thousand dollars. According to Police Chief Randy Caplinger the Smithville resident hired the All My Sons Moving and Storage Company of Nashville last October to transport furniture from his home here to a condo in Banning, California. Nelson, who worked in the Nashville office of All My Sons, was able to access the victim's debit card information from paper work showing where the victim had paid the company for their services. After Nelson was developed as a suspect, warrants were prepared and the U.S. Secret Service was contacted to make the arrest. Nelson was then handed over to Smithville Police.
*Four year old Jacob Marlin Stewart was crowned Little Mister of the annual spring pageant at the DeKalb County High School gym, sponsored by the Smithville Women's Club. Stewart, the son of Megan and D.J. Stewart of Smithville, succeeds the 2012 Little Mister, Carter Matthew-Mikel Benson of Smithville, the six year old son of Karey and Chris Benson.
*Six year old Annabella Eleni Dakas of Smithville is the 2013 Little Miss of the annual spring pageant sponsored by the Smithville Women's Club. She was crowned at the DCHS gym. Dakas, daughter of Amanda and John Dakas, succeeds the retiring Little Miss Isabella Faith Rackley, the five year old daughter of Jessica and Gordon Rackley of Smithville. Annabella was also named Miss Photogenic.
*Twelve year old Sarah Anne Colwell of Smithville is the new Junior Miss of the Spring Blossom Pageant, which was held at the DCHS gym and sponsored by the Smithville Women's Club. Colwell, daughter of Christie and Trent Colwell, succeeds the 2012 Junior Miss Liz Abigail Qualls of Smithville, the fifteen year old daughter of Brad and Kim Trapp and Jason and Stormy Qualls.
*The DeKalb County Election Commission has chosen its officers for the next two years. The commission met in regular monthly session at the courthouse to reorganize and to conduct other business. Walteen Parker was named to her third term as chairman of the commission. Harry Lasser was re-elected as the secretary. In other business, the commission reappointed Dennis Stanley as administrator of elections for the next two years. All five members voted in favor of Stanley's reappointment.
*A Smithville man stood trial in DeKalb County Criminal Court for the rape of a child but a jury of eight women and four men found him guilty of the lesser offense of aggravated sexual battery. Judge Leon Burns, Jr. presided over the trial. 44 year old Kenneth Lee Moore, facing a possible prison term of eight to twelve years, was sentenced on May 17 to eight years and six months in the state penitentiary. Had he been convicted as charged in the indictment for rape of a child, Moore could have been sentenced to a minimum of twenty five years in prison. The jury deliberated for more than four hours before returning their verdict. According to Sheriff Patrick Ray, Moore allegedly raped his twelve year old niece on November 15th, 2010. The child, who was living with Moore at the time, awoke from sleep to find Moore allegedly making sexual contact with her. A motion for a new trial will be heard on July 22nd in DeKalb County Criminal Court.
*The Smithville-DeKalb County Chamber of Commerce has been in existence for fifty years and members gathered to celebrate this milestone during the annual banquet at the county complex auditorium. Ralph Vaughn, former manager of WJLE was the keynote speaker for the evening. The winners of the annual Leadership DeKalb Alumni awards were honored. DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Chief Donny Green received the Community Leader of the Year Award and Liberty Mayor Edward Hale was presented the Legacy Award.
*Having moved his permanent residence to White County, long time fifth district county commissioner John Green submitted his resignation. During a county commission's all-committees meeting, County Mayor Mike Foster informed the commissioners that Green turned in his resignation letter on Monday, April 8. Green has served on the county commission for eleven years. He was first elected in 2002 and then re-elected in 2006 and 2010. Foster said the county will advertise for applications from persons in the fifth district interested in filling the unexpired term. The commissioners will interview the applicants and later vote to name a successor. Green's term expires August 31, 2014. Those hoping to succeed Green on the commission are James Young, Anita Puckett, Hunter Hendrixson, Steven Cantrell, Eugene LaFever, and Rick Cantrell.
*A proposal to redraw Tennessee's judicial districts for the first time since 1984 was killed when House members voted against it. Even if the measure had passed the current makeup of the 13th Judicial District, which includes DeKalb County, would have remain unchanged. The district includes Clay, Cumberland, DeKalb, Overton, Pickett, Putnam, and White Counties. The State House of Representatives voted 66-28 to defeat the measure sponsored by Republican Representative Jon Lundberg of Bristol. The companion bill in the Senate was approved 27-4 earlier this month. The plan from Republican Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey of Blountville, would have affected 22 counties in eight districts. The number of judicial districts would have been reduced from 31 to 29.
*Both the State House and Senate adopted a rewrite of the Smithville charter, subject to final approval by the Smithville Mayor and Aldermen. The legislation amends Chapter 486 of the Private Acts of 1941 to make changes in the city charter, as sought by the mayor and aldermen. The measure passed in the State House of Representatives 87-0 and in the State Senate 29-0. The resolution was passed by the Board of Aldermen in February and sent to the legislature. It will now return to the Board of Mayor and Aldermen for a second reading where it must receive a vote of not less than two thirds of the entire membership of the board before it can take effect.
*County Mayor Mike Foster and county commissioners received the John S. Wilder Rebuild Tennessee Award presented by The Tennessee Development District Association and The Upper Cumberland Development District. The Wilder award is presented for a special project in each of the state's nine development districts. The DeKalb County Complex was selected as the project worthy of this year's award in the UCDD. Each recipient received a commemorative plaque that recognizes their achievements. The plaques were presented by the East, Middle, and West Tennessee Development District Association Vice-Presidents at the TDDA Annual Rebuild Tennessee Awards Breakfast on April 4th at the downtown Sheraton in Nashville. The observance was part of the 2013 Annual TDDA Annual Conference and Business Meeting April 3 & 4. "The John S. Wilder Rebuild Tennessee Award is selected by each development district," said Teresa Sanders, Coordinator for the Conference and Annual Meeting. "Tennessee is divided into nine development districts and each one chooses a project in their district to be recognized. It can be a project they are affiliated with or it can be a project that is beneficial to that region overall," said Sanders
*A 14 year old boy was killed while riding a bicycle down Casey's Cove Road after he ran into an oncoming Honda CR-V and was then hit by an F150 pickup truck. Dead is Jacob Billings. 911 was first notified of the accident at 6:58 p.m. Trooper Craig Wilkerson of the Tennessee Highway Patrol told WJLE that the boy was riding his bike east on a steep downhill grade, trying to negotiate a curve, when he crossed the double yellow line into oncoming traffic and ran into a westbound 2011 Honda CR-V, driven by 31 year old Sarah Atkinson of Lexington, Kentucky. After impact, the boy came off the bike and was hit by a 2006 F150, driven by 22 year old Dalton Parker of Murfreesboro, who was traveling west behind Atkinson's vehicle. The boy, who was not wearing a helmet, reportedly suffered severe head trauma and was taken by DeKalb EMS to DeKalb Community Hospital where he was pronounced dead. Atkinson had three passengers with her. Parker's brother was riding with him. Neither of them were injured. Another teenage boy was also reportedly riding his bike down the hill at the time but he was not involved in the crash and wasn't hurt.
*A 40 year old Putnam County woman lost her life after she allegedly drove her Chevy Blazer down a boat ramp and into the lake at Johnson Chapel. Dead is Nancy Randolph. Two others were in the Blazer with Randolph, reportedly her daughter Sara and her daughter's boyfriend Houston Bussell, but they made it out safely. Family members allege that Randolph intentionally drove the SUV into the water. Nancy's daughter Sara was in the front seat and Sara's boyfriend Houston Bussell was a backseat passenger, according to reports. After they got out, Bussell allegedly went back to get Nancy out but she pushed him away. In a prepared statement, Sheriff Patrick Ray said the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department was dispatched to the Johnson Chapel boat ramp where a car had run off into the lake. A sheriff's deputy who was close to the area arrived on the scene within seven minutes and spoke to two adults who said that the vehicle they were in had run into the lake and that the driver, a female, was still inside the automobile. Deputy Brian Williams and Detectives Mike Billings and Jeremy Taylor of the sheriff's department went into the water and pulled the body of the woman from the submerged vehicle. The water was believed to be ten to fifteen feet deep. DeKalb EMS was on the scene and started CPR on the woman. She was then taken to DeKalb Community Hospital where she was pronounced dead. The other two adults were treated at the scene but refused further medical treatment.
*The Town of Liberty mourned the loss of their beloved mayor. 95 year old J. Edward Hale, Jr. died at DeKalb Community Hospital. Hale served as mayor for forty two years. Until his death, Mayor Hale held the distinction of being the current longest serving elected public official in DeKalb County.
*54 year old Randy Gerald Petty was treated for gunshot wounds at Vanderbilt hospital after he allegedly drew a weapon and was shot by officers of the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department. Sheriff Patrick Ray did not disclose the names of the deputy and detective involved in the shooting. However, in accordance with a sheriff's department policy, the officers were placed on administrative leave with pay pending the outcome of the investigation. Sheriff Ray told WJLE that the incident occurred around midnight as the officers were responding to a complaint of yelling and gunshots being fired in the area of Adcock Cemetery Road/Petty Road. " At 11:53 p.m. dispatch got a call of multiple gunshots and yelling in the area of Adcock Cemetery Road, "said Sheriff Ray. " A deputy and detective responded to the call. The detective spoke with the complainant and a member of Petty's family. The complainant reported hearing yelling and gunshots coming from the area of Petty Road," he said.
The detective was informed by a family member of Petty that he had told someone that if law enforcement officers pulled up in his driveway, he would shoot them," said Sheriff Ray. "The deputy and detective drove to Petty Road and stopped near Petty's house. As they got out of their vehicles and prepared to walk up the road toward his home, Petty came out from behind some trees in a neighbor's yard," said Sheriff Ray." Petty drew a gun on the officers. The deputy and detective then drew their weapons and fired multiple shots. Petty was wounded in the shooting and transported by DeKalb EMS to DeKalb Community Hospital. He was later taken by ground ambulance to Vanderbilt Hospital in Nashville. The officers involved in the shooting were not hurt," he said. The shooting is under investigation at this time by the DeKalb Sheriff's Office, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and the District Attorney General’s office and will be reviewed by the DA when completed.
*A third grade teacher at Northside Elementary School was named "DeKalb County Teacher of the Year" during the sixth annual Teacher of the Year banquet at the Elizabeth Chapel Baptist Church. Sandy Willingham received the honor and a check for $150 from Liberty State Bank, the sponsor of the banquet. The presentation was made by Director of Schools Mark Willoughby and Roy Nelson Pugh of Liberty State Bank. Willingham was among five local educators who were recognized during the banquet for being chosen by peers as "Teacher of the Year" at their schools. The others were Amanda Rhoady, a first grade teacher at Smithville Elementary School; Suzette Barnes, a seventh grade educator at DeKalb Middle School; Tammy Payne, a fourth grade teacher at DeKalb West School; and Joey Reeder, a History teacher at DeKalb County High School.
*A dedication ceremony was held by members of Habitat for Humanity of DeKalb County to commemorate the recent completion of the fourth partner family home on Hayes Street in Smithville. Melba Vinca and her grandchildren, Bradley Mullican and Cayton and Justin Lance are expected to move into the home soon. Vinca said the family loves their new home and are thankful to everyone who helped them. The dedication ceremony included a greeting, prayers, scripture reading, and consecration of the home all led by Dr. John Carpenter of the Smithville First United and Bright Hill United Methodist Churches. Local Habitat member Sharon Evans presented Vinca a Bible and Habitat President Nolan Turner gave her the keys to the home. The program ended with the group reciting in unison the Lord's Prayer.
*DeKalb County High School Baseball Coach Scott Odom had to sit out the rest of the season. DCHS Principal Patrick Cripps suspended Coach Odom based on allegations that a TSSAA regulation was violated when Little League (unregistered) umpires were scheduled for the DCHS game against Watertown Tuesday in Smithville. The Tigers won that game on senior night 8 to 7. The suspension only applied to Odom's coaching duties. It had no impact on his teaching job.
*Smithville Detective Matt Holmes has been promoted to the rank of Lieutenant, effective July 1. The aldermen voted unanimously to make the promotion upon the recommendation of Police Chief Randy Caplinger. Holmes' status as detective will be elevated to lead detective within the police department with this promotion. After graduating from DeKalb County High School, Detective Holmes furthered his education at the Tennessee Technology Center. He graduated from Walter State Community College and began his career with the Smithville Police Department in 2007. Holmes was later promoted to the rank of Detective.
*The DeKalb Utility District, for the second consecutive year, will be increasing water rates effective with bills due on July 10. The seven percent rate hike last year and the seven percent increase this year is to help pay for construction of a water treatment plant. The DUD currently plans to increase rates again next year by up to another seven percent. Basic rates for customers who use up to 2,000 gallons per month will increase by $1.33 to $20.33 (minimum bill) effective with bills due July 10. For monthly usage above 2,000 gallons up to 5,000 gallons, the costs will be an additional $7.55 per thousand, an increase of 50 cents per thousand gallons. Customers who use more than 5,000 gallons per month will pay an additional $8.10 per thousand, also an increase of 50 cents per thousand. These rates will apply to all DeKalb Utility District customers except those who reside north of Hurricane bridge. A customer, for example, who uses 6,000 gallons of water per month will see their bill increase from $47.75 to $51.08 plus tax.
*The Tennessee Highway Patrol announced that Eric McCormick has been promoted to Sergeant for the counties of Smith and DeKalb in the 6th District Cookeville (District). Sgt. McCormick began his career with the Tennessee Highway Patrol in March of 1997. After completing the THP Academy he was assigned to a road position in Putnam County. Sgt. McCormick has remained in Putnam County for the past sixteen years. Prior to becoming a Trooper with the State of Tennessee, he was a Deputy with the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department. A native of DeKalb County, Sgt. McCormick and his wife Connie and three children, Grant, Grace, and Gaylin reside in Putnam County. Sgt. Eric McCormick replaces Lt. Mark Dial who was promoted and is now stationed in Putnam County as Midnight Lieutenant.
*Travis Hendrixson was the overall winner in the male division of the Relay for Life 5K May 4. His time was 18:43. Kristen VanVranken had the best time in the female division at 20:32. "The Relay 5K was a success despite the poor weather," said spokesman Roth Terrell. "This was the largest group of Runners and Walkers the Relay 5K has ever experienced, with a total of 99 people," said Terrell. The Relay for Life 5K raised a total of $3,870.76.
*Folks flocked to Greenbrook Park to show their love and support for cancer survivors and to join the fight against the disease during the 16th annual American Cancer Society Relay for Life. Rains, called for in the weather forecast , eventually came but held off during the first few hours of the event as young and old alike gathered to enjoy the food, games, music, and fellowship. Relay For Life is a unique opportunity for the community to come together to celebrate people who have battled cancer, remember those lost, and fight back against the disease. Many of the participants are cancer survivors themselves.
*More than a million dollars in scholarships were awarded to members of the Class of 2013 at DeKalb County High School during the annual Senior Awards Day program. Representatives of colleges, universities, branches of the armed services, businesses, civic groups, and other organizations made the presentations. Erin Cantrell-Pryor received more than $212,500 in scholarships, the largest total award presented to any student during the program.
*Outstanding DCHS Junior Golfer Mallory Sullivan, who has competed at the state tournament level for the last three years, signed with Cumberland University and will join the school once she graduates. "We're happy to have someone of Mallory's character," said Richard Williams, Assistant Golf Coach at Cumberland University. "Obviously playing ability is important but we're also looking for good kids. We have a great group and a good chemistry on the team and we think she (Mallory) will fit in very well," he said. Mallory, who will return for her senior season next year at DCHS, said she is looking forward to another good year of golf before she heads off to Cumberland. "I'm very excited. I'm ready to start my future. I'm back from a shoulder separation injury and I'm playing good. It should be a good year," said Sullivan.
*Smithville Police arrested a 19 year old man after finding him on the property of Smithville Elementary School with an air soft pistol. It's not known for certain if he is the same person who had been seen earlier that morning which led to a brief lock down of the school. Cody Daniel Harchenko is charged with displaying a weapon on public property. According to police, Corporal Travis Bryant was dispatched to Smithville Elementary School at 2:15 p.m. in regard to a man on the property with a gun. Upon arrival, Corporal Bryant said he observed a man (Harchenko) in the fenced area of the front of the school. The man had what appeared to be a black pistol tucked in the waistband of his pants. But while it looked like a real gun, police found that Harchenko actually had an air soft pistol. Smithville Elementary School was placed on lock down for about fifteen minutes that morning after a student reported seeing someone near the school wearing dark clothing possibly with a weapon. Smithville Police responded. A search of the school property turned up nothing at that time.
*It was a night of joy and celebration for the Class of 2013 on the occasion of graduation at DeKalb County High School. Three of the most outstanding members of the class were singled out for special recognition. This year's White Rose Awards went to MyKaela Duke and Hunter Collins while the Citizenship Award was presented to Matt Boss. The 181 graduates received their diplomas during the commencement, each one shaking hands with Director of Schools Mark Willoughby as their names were called by Principal Patrick Cripps and Assistant Principal Kathy Bryant
*A member of the county commission wanted the full body to vote on the hiring of four School Resource Officers in the DeKalb County School System but the move was blocked for now. Second District Commissioner Jack Barton made the motion, saying the county commission should do everything it can to protect our children and secure our schools. Fourth district member David McDowell seconded the motion. Sheriff Patrick Ray, in a previous county budget committee meeting, had requested that funds be budgeted next year for the School Resource Officers. If approved, the new SRO's would be assigned to the four schools that don't already have them. Seventh District Commissioner Larry Summers made a motion that Barton's motion be tabled for now to give the commission more time to consider it. " I make a motion that we table this for further discussion. We haven't really discussed it thoroughly enough. Everybody knows where our hearts are. We just have to see how we can pay for these things," said Summers. First district Commissioner Mason Carter seconded the motion to table. The vote was 9-2 to table Barton's motion.
*A Mount Juliet man was killed when his motorcycle crashed into a guardrail on Dale Ridge Road (Highway 96). Dead is 29 year old Joshua Jernigan. According to the Tennessee Highway Patrol, Jernigan was traveling north on his Suzuki motorcycle when he went off the right side of the road and struck a guardrail post. The fatal crash occurred near the intersection with Caplinger Hollow Road. Jernigan was wearing a helmet. He was taken to DeKalb Community Hospital by DeKalb EMS where he was pronounced dead.
*A 19 year old swimmer drowned in Center Hill Lake near Sligo Bridge. Dead is Ricardo Duenas of Walker Street, McMinnville. Sheriff Patrick Ray told WJLE that Duenas and another man went swimming in the lake near an old rock quarry on the east side of Sligo bridge. He said Duenas was trying to swim across to another bank of the lake and made it about half way when he began showing signs of problems and went down. He never resurfaced alive. Others who were swimming in the area tried unsuccessfully to rescue him. 911 received the call for help at 5:36 p.m. The body was recovered more than three hours later. Members of the TWRA and DeKalb, White, Warren, and Putnam County Rescue Squads participated in the search. The local Emergency Management Agency, officers of the Sheriff's Department, and DeKalb EMS were also on the scene. Sheriff Ray said officers of the TWRA conducted a sonar scan and spotted an object of interest in about 40 feet of water. Divers of the Putnam County Rescue Squad went down to investigate and found the victim's body.
*U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander announced that the two-year ban stopping the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from restricting fishing below dams on the Cumberland River, passed first by the Senate and then by the House, has officially become law. In April, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District announced plans to begin implementing permanent full-time water access restrictions around Center Hill Dam and the other nine dams on the Cumberland River and their tributaries for safety reasons. Since 2009, three fatalities, one serious injury and 10 near misses/rescues have occurred in the hazardous waters immediately downstream of dams on the Cumberland River and its adjoining tributaries. Life jacket wear has been ineffective in these areas, since all of the victims who drowned were wearing a life jacket. The legislation that became law prohibits the Corps from implementing existing fishing restrictions for two years, while also delegating enforcement below the dams to state agencies in Tennessee and Kentucky.
*Facing a possible deficit in the general fund of more than $344,000 by the end of 2013-14 fiscal year, the Smithville Aldermen voted 3 to 2 to adopt a new $7.8 million budget ordinance on first reading without any new paid full time firefighter positions. Aldermen Tim Stribling, Jason Murphy, and Danny Washer voted for the budget. Aldermen Shawn Jacobs and Gayla Hendrix, who wanted to include funding for one new firefighter, voted against the budget. Two versions of the budget were presented to the aldermen for consideration. One of the proposed budgets included another full time firefighter at $41,000 (salary, payroll taxes, and insurance benefits). The other did not include the position. According to the city's financial advisor, Janice Plemmons-Jackson, the proposal with the firefighter would have put the projected budget deficit by year's end at $385,000. Without the firefighter, Jackson said the anticipated deficit is $344,105. The budget was adopted later in the month by a 4-1 vote on second and final reading. Jacobs voted no.
*An initial report of multiple gunshots at the Austin Bottom Boat Ramp near Center Hill Lake turned out to be a physical altercation between two men, in which one of them pulled a pistol on the other and then fired one shot into the air. No one was hurt. 24 year old Kalen Allen Paschal of Cookeville, a convicted felon, has been charged by the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department with aggravated assault, unlawful possession of a weapon by a felon, and possession of a schedule VI drug for resale. According to Sheriff Patrick Ray, Paschal and another man got into an argument which led to a physical altercation. During the incident, Paschal pulled out a handgun, pointed it at the victim, and fired once in the air. Paschal then hid the weapon in the woods. The victim meanwhile contacted his family and they came to the scene with a rifle but it was not fired. Detectives found .45 ounces of marijuana in Paschal's backpack along with a set of scales and $240 in cash, all of which were in twenty dollar bills. Sheriff Ray said detectives seized Paschal's cash, marijuana, and handgun. The rifle belonging to the victim's family was also seized. The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department requested and received mutual aid assistance at the scene from the Putnam County Sheriff's Department. DeKalb and Putnam County EMS were also there.
*Omega Apparel Incorporated received notification from the Department of Defense that they won their bid to produce skirts for the Air Force and Marine Corp. The contract effective date is September 28, 2013 and will continue for 5-years. “This is a critical win for us” shared Terry Green, Plant Manager at Omega. “Retaining the Air Force and Marine Corps contract enables us to create scale in our skirt production line and continue to provide jobs for 25+ Smithville area residents.” Omega Apparel was established in 1994 and is a leading producer of uniforms for the Department of Defense. The company specializes in making dress pants and skirts for the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard. The production facility is based in Smithville, TN and employs a workforce of 200+ that deliver $10M+ in annual sales. Omega Apparel has a best-in-class track record in the industry for Quality and Customer Service. Omega Apparel was acquired in 2012 by Brentwood, TN, resident Dean Wegner
*Nick Luper has been named the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency 2012 Boating Officer of the Year while Tommy Stockling is honored as Part-Time Boating Officer of the Year. The recipients of the annual awards were announced by Darren Rider, TWRA Boating and Law Enforcement Division Chief. Both officers serve in TWRA District 31, which encompasses 12 counties in northern Middle Tennessee and has popular boating and fishing destinations. The officers were presented their awards at the May meeting of the Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission.
*A surprise award ceremony was held for a local hometown hero during his 40 year high school reunion at the First United Methodist Church Christian Fellowship Center in Smithville. Sergeant Major Eddie N. Evans, US Marine Corps, whose military career spanned 30 years from 1974 to 2004, was formally recognized for receiving the Bronze Star Medal in 2004. Evans' fellow 1973 DCHS Classmates and teachers attending the reunion rose to their feet as Captain Nathaniel McClung, US Marine Corps, made the presentation. "We have an American Hero here in our midst," said Captain McClung in an interview with WJLE. "This is a certificate for the Bronze Star Medal that was previously received by Sergeant Major Evans at the end of his service in 2004. We wanted to bring this certificate to this 40 year class reunion and honor him in front of his hometown," said Captain McClung. Sergeant Major Evans said this recognition was quite a surprise. " I came here to attend my 40 year reunion and I wasn't expecting this since I received it (Bronze Star Medal and citation) in the mail when I retired. It was a good honor and a surprise in what they did in recognizing this. I have not seen most of these people (classmates) in 40 years," said Sergeant Major Evans in an interview with WJLE.
*This past month, DeKalb Community Hospital completed a successful stroke drill and training with Saint Thomas Health to make them the newest member of the St. Thomas Health Stroke Network. This affiliation comes from hard work in an effort to expand accessible, quality care to stroke patients in outlying areas. On Wednesday, June 12th, the hospital hosted a reception and ribbon cutting to honor this important event. Sue Conley, CEO of DeKalb Community Hospital and Stones River Hospital said “We are very proud to be recognized as stroke ready. The staff has worked very hard to make this happen. I also want to speak out to the community to say that if you, or anyone you know shows any possible sign of a stroke, ...do not wait. Every second counts, and you should go straight to the ER to help avoid permanent disability. It is our job to take care of you, but we can’t do that properly if you don’t act fast.”
*Construction on the new Sligo bridge should begin soon. The contractor who was awarded the bid on the project, Massman Construction of Kansas City, Missouri is starting to set up the staging area at the Highland Trail (Dubland) Boat Ramp near Riverwatch to gain access to the lake in getting barges to work from down to the bridge. The boat ramp is now closed to the public until construction is completed. Jennifer Flynn, TDOT Regional Community Relations Officer, told WJLE that Massman has until June 2016 to get the new bridge completed.
*The Smithville Mayor and Aldermen held a brief special meeting Tuesday morning, June 18 at city hall to formally ratify the new charter before election day voting began. The vote was 5-0 to adopt the new charter. The aldermen wanted to enact the charter before the election because it extends the length of terms of the newly elected aldermen from two years to three years. Beginning with those elected next year and with all future elections, terms of office for the mayor and aldermen will be four years. A resolution, seeking these and other changes in the charter, was passed by the Board of Aldermen in February and sent to the Tennessee General Assembly. Legislation amending Chapter 486 of the Private Acts of 1941 to make these changes in the charter was adopted by the Tennessee General Assembly on Friday, April 19. However, by law the aldermen had to wait at least sixty days before taking action to ratify it. Tuesday, June 18 marks the 60th day.
*The Smithville city council will have a new member July 1. Josh Miller, who is employed in the construction and real estate business, led the ticket with 311 votes (20.94%) in his race for one of three alderman seats in the Smithville Municipal Election. Incumbent aldermen Shawn Jacobs and Danny Washer were re-elected. Jacobs, who won a third term, received 278 votes (18.72%). Washer had 261 votes (17.58%) to win a second term. Alderman Gayla Hendrix lost her bid for re-election to a second term. She came in fourth place with 237 votes (15.96%). Anthony Scott and Aaron Meeks were also unsuccessful in their bid for alderman. Scott received 222 votes (14.95%) and Meeks garnered 172 votes (11.58%).A total of 615 people voted in the election including 431 early votes/absentees combined and 184 on election day. There were 33 absentees (included in the early voting total). There are 2,948 registered voters in the City of Smithville. The new make-up of the aldermen are: Josh Miller, Shawn Jacobs, Danny Washer, Tim Stribling, and Jason Murphy. Jimmy Poss is the mayor.
*Dennis Stanley, the Administrator of Elections in DeKalb County, has been elected to a leadership role in the Tennessee Association of County Election officials(TACEO). Stanley was recently elected Middle Tennessee Vice President of the organization, which consists of election administrators and election commission members in all of the state's 95 counties. As a regional V.P., Stanley will also serve on the statewide executive committee. Stanley has been a member of the TACEO legislative committee the past two years and has worked closely with state lawmakers in the passage of new and amended election laws designed to protect the integrity of the ballot while making elections more cost efficient. The purpose of the Tennessee Association of County Election Officials is to provide an educational forum for the exchange of ideas relative to the administration of elections and to offer an opportunity for members to suggest and participate in the mplementation of improvements in or to election law.
*The owners of Cookeville Boat Dock & Resort Inc. haven't paid their ad valorem taxes to the county since 1998 and their attorney claims it's unconstitutional for them to be forced to pay. Jon E. Jones of Cookeville, on June 17 filed an amended answer to the county's Chancery Court lawsuits against delinquent taxpayers including Cookeville Boat Dock & Resort along with a counter complaint seeking a declaratory judgment for his clients. Jones contends the owners of Cookeville Boat Dock & Resort are being discriminated against in that the county is trying to force them to pay ad valorem taxes on the boat dock facility which is leased from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (federal government property) while other properties in Tennessee leased from the state or local government entities (under Article II, Section 28 of the Tennessee Constitution) are exempt from payment of ad valorem taxes. This, he claims is a violation of the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution making the tax assessment against Cookeville Boat Dock & Resort, Inc. invalid. County officials have said that Cookeville Boat Dock & Resort, Inc., like other marinas on the lake, conducts business on leased land from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and is assessed by the county only for personal property and improvements. The counter plaintiff asks that the Attorney General of the State of Tennessee be made a party to this litigation for purposes of defending the constitutionality of Article II, Section 28 of the Constitution of Tennessee".
*The man convicted of the 1998 killing of State Senator Tommy Burks of Monterey was found dead in his prison cell at the Morgan County Correctional Complex. The former Putnam County property assessor was convicted of murder in the 1998 fatal shooting of Burks as he sat in his pickup truck near his Cumberland County farm. Looper was Burks' political opponent in the November election that year for the State Senate and prosecutors believed that was the motive for the killing. The murder occurred only a few weeks before the election. After Senator Burks' death, a district wide write-in campaign was launched to elect Burks' wife Charlotte to the State Senate. At that time, DeKalb County was part of Burks' district. Looper, who legally changed his middle name to "Low Tax," stood trial later and was sentenced to life in prison.
The DeKalb West School building project is more expensive than the architect originally anticipated. During a school board meeting, Jason Morris of Kaatz, Binkley, Jones & Morris Architects, Inc. of Mount Juliet, informed the school board that the total costs come to more than $4.8 million dollars. The county commission, last summer approved a $3.4 million note to cover this project and other school roofing work. "The project bid came in over budget," said Morris. J. Cumby Construction of Cookeville had the overall lowest bid of the three bids submitted at $3,534,000. Board members decided to delay action until more study can be made of the options available to them.
*One man died in a car crash on Highway 146 (Short Mountain Highway). Dead is 69 year old Haskel Hawkins, Jr. of Smithville. According to Sergeant Eric McCormick of the Tennessee Highway Patrol, Hawkins was traveling south in a 2002 Buick Century when his car veered off the left side of the highway, went into a ditchline, struck a culvert and rolled coming to a final rest on its side in a soybean field. Hawkins, who was not wearing a seatbelt, was ejected from the car. He was taken by DeKalb EMS to DeKalb Community Hospital where he was pronounced dead.
*The Grand Champion Fiddler of the 42nd annual Smithville Fiddler's Jamboree and Crafts Festival is John Boulware of Kimball, Tennessee. He won the Berry C. Williams Memorial Award Saturday night after the Grand Finale Fiddle-Off between the best Junior and Senior Fiddler. Boulware made it to the fiddle off by winning the Junior Fiddling competition and he won the Grand Championship by beating the winner of the Senior Fiddling contest Billy Brewer of Lyles, Tennessee. For the second consecutive year, Ivy Phillips of Chapmansboro has won the top Jamboree award as the best fiddler in the National Championship for Country Musician Beginners. The "Entertainer of the Year" Award also went to Phillips. This award is presented to the best overall instrumental entertainer among winners in the dobro guitar, mandolin, five string banjo, and flat top guitar competition. The National Championship for Country Musician Beginners showcases the talents of children up to age twelve in seven categories of competition.
*DeKalb County High School has a new baseball coach. Tracy Slone of Murfreesboro succeeds long time coach Scott Odom who recently resigned the position. Slone is a native of Indiana and a graduate of Cumberland University in Lebanon where he pitched on the Bulldogs’ first World Series team in 1988. He played two seasons of minor league baseball in the New York Yankees and Oakland A’s organizations. For the last two years, Slone has been an assistant baseball coach at Siegel High School in Murfreesboro. Prior to coaching at Siegel he was the head coach at Lebanon High School from 2005-2011, Lincoln County High School from 1994-2004, and at Lakeland High in LaGrange, Indiana. During his prep coaching career, Sloan won more than 350 games and has seen 70 of his former players go on to play at the college level and three more sign pro contracts
*The three recently elected Smithville Aldermen were sworn into office. City attorney Vester Parsley, Jr. administered the oath of office to Josh Miller, Shawn Jacobs, and Danny Washer. The new city council is made up of Aldermen Miller, Jacobs, and Washer who will each serve a three year term and Tim Stribling and Jason Murphy, whose terms expire next year. The mayor is Jimmy W. Poss and his term expires next year. The city election in 2014 will be the first Thursday in August and a mayor and two aldermen will be elected, each to serve a four year term.
*42 year old Scott Fanning of Lebanon was the overall winner of the Fiddler 5K and One-Mile Fun Run. This is his fifth time to have won the race. Fanning ran the course in 17 minutes and 17 seconds. Fanning was the winner in 2004, 2005, 2006, and 2011. 35 year old Kristen VanVranken of Silver Point, best among women, ran the course in 19:57, setting a new course record for females.The 15th Annual Fiddler 5K and One-Mile Fun Run featured 349 registered participants. However, 272 actually ran in the rain. Funds raised will support Habitat for Humanity of DeKalb County
*The City of Smithville is taking its fight to keep the DeKalb Utility District from building its own water treatment plant to Chancery Court in Davidson County. Following the recommendation of city attorney Vester Parsley, Jr. the aldermen voted 4-0 to hire Nashville attorneys Bill Purcell and Jason Holleman to file an appeal of the State Utility Management Review Board's dismissal of a petition by a group of DUD ratepayers who were hoping to halt DUD plans to build the water plant. After a hearing on Thursday, April 4 which lasted all day and into the night, the UMRB board found that the petitioners had failed to meet their burden of proof that DUD rates or services provided were unreasonable. The hearing was held in Smithville at the DeKalb County Complex auditorium.
*18 year old Rebekah Grace Webb is the 2013 Fairest of the Fair. Webb, the daughter of C.D. and Cindy Webb of Dowelltown, was also named "Miss Photogenic. The DeKalb County Fair Miss Sweetheart is twelve year old Abigail Hope Taylor, the daughter of Ken and Cindy Taylor of Smithville. Nine year old Addison Jean Puckett of Smithville was crowned Little Miss Princess. Puckett is the daughter of Jimmy and Anita Puckett. Chase Bowman and Isabella Faith Rackley were crowned Little Mister and Miss at the DeKalb County Fair. Bowman is the five year old son of Phillip and Tasha Waggoner of Liberty and Rackley is the five year old daughter of Gordon and Jessica Rackley of Smithville. The Junior Fair Princess of the DeKalb County Fair is 14 year old Mary Elizabeth Murray, the daughter of Angel Brown of Smithville.
*Rolando Navarro of Smithville was the overall winner of the first ever DeKalb County Fair 5K Fun Run held in Alexandria. Navarro ran the course in 23:29
*DeKalb County has a new TWRA officer. Joe Fortner, originally of Cookeville has served TWRA as an officer in Williamson County since 2004. Fortner will be relocating to DeKalb County. He is taking over from TWRA officer Mike Beaty who will now be working in Putnam County.
*DeKalb County High School has a new baseball coach. Tracy Slone of Murfreesboro succeeds long time coach Scott Odom who recently resigned the position. Slone is a native of Indiana and a graduate of Cumberland University in Lebanon where he pitched on the Bulldogs’ first World Series team in 1988. He played two seasons of minor league baseball in the New York Yankees and Oakland A’s organizations. For the last two years, Slone has been an assistant baseball coach at Siegel High School in Murfreesboro. Prior to coaching at Siegel he was the head coach at Lebanon High School from 2005-2011, Lincoln County High School from 1994-2004, and at Lakeland High in LaGrange, Indiana. During his prep coaching career, Sloan won more than 350 games and has seen 70 of his former players go on to play at the college level and three more sign pro contracts.
*The man indicted in a double murder last year in Smithville has been deemed competent to stand trial after undergoing an evaluation at the Plateau Mental Health Center in Cookeville. In a letter to the court, Dr. Sandra DeMott Phillips, a Clinical Psychologist wrote that 44 year old David Howard Dixon, after undergoing an evaluation as to his competency "has sufficient present ability to consult with his lawyer with a reasonable degree of rational understanding and a rational as well as a factual understanding of the proceedings against him". Dixon was named in a sealed indictment in November, 2012 charging him with two counts of first degree murder in the deaths of 55 year old Ervin Raymon Beacham and Jose Sagahon Ticante. On August 7, 2012, the Smithville Police Department responded to 311 Tommy Harrell Street and discovered Beacham, the owner of the residence, shot to death on the couch in his home. A second victim, Ticante was also found murdered and his body hidden under a tarp and some lumber in the backyard of the residence.
*All five DeKalb County Schools will soon have a School Resource Officer.The county commission, by a vote of 9-4, adopted the 2013-14 consolidated budget during Tuesday night's meeting at the courthouse. The new budget includes funding for four new SROs. Commissioners Jeff Barnes, Mason Carter, Elmer Ellis, Jr., and Jerry Adcock voted no on the budget. The county has been funding one School Resource Officer at the high school for several years. The other four schools in the county have never had an SRO.Under the spending plan, two of the new School Resource Officers will be funded (salaries and benefits) in the county general budget while the other two new SRO's (salaries and benefits) will be paid for out of the school budget. Money to equip and train all four new SRO officers will be included in the county general budget and the four extra used patrol cars for the officers will be paid for out of the county general's capital projects fund. The officers are to be hired by the sheriff and will work out of his department. The new SROs will be assigned to Smithville Elementary, Northside Elementary, DeKalb Middle, and DeKalb West School once they have completed training.In addition to passage of the budget, the county commission voted to keep the property tax rate status quo for the 2013-14 fiscal year at $1.62 per $100 of assessed value. The vote was 12-1.
A 53 year old woman lost her life in a pickup truck crash on Highway 70 between Dowelltown and Liberty. Dead is Lisa Fineis of Alexandria. Trooper Craig Wilkerson of the Tennessee Highway Patrol told WJLE that Fineis was driving west on Highway 70 in a 2011 GMC Sierra when the truck went off the right shoulder of the highway. After hitting a berm near an access road off the highway, the truck went airborne and flipped as it hit the ground, coming to rest on its side. Fineis, trapped inside, was initially reported to be unresponsive. She was not wearing a seatbelt. DeKalb EMS quickly arrived on the scene along with members of the DeKalb County Fire Department's Rescue Team who were called to perform extrication. Fineis was removed from the truck and taken by ambulance to meet a Life Force helicopter ambulance which had landed in the grass near the intersection of Highway 70 and East Main Street in Liberty. But instead of airlifting her, the woman was taken by ground ambulance to the emergency room of DeKalb Community Hospital where she died.
*Dwight Mathis was elected Mayor of Liberty. Mathis received 32 votes in the municipal election. He was unopposed. Meanwhile Incumbent Alderman Howard Reynolds, Jr. was also re-elected unopposed. He received 30 votes. Since the election was uncontested, voting was done by paper ballot. The city government is now made up of Mayor Dwight Mathis and Aldermen Howard Reynolds, Jr. Paul M. Neal, and Jason H. Ray.
*Twelve people were named in sealed indictments on drug charges following a year long undercover investigation by the Smithville Police Department. The investigation was conducted by Lieutenant Matt Holmes and Detective Brandon Donnell. K-9 Officer James Cornelius and Sergeant Brad Tatrow assisted in some of the cases. The actual drug buys were made by confidential sources.
*The four new School Resource Officers have completed training and began their duties August 12 at the schools to which they have been assigned. Sheriff Patrick Ray told WJLE Monday that the SRO officers are working at the following schools: Officer Terry Cowart, Jr. at Smithville Elementary School, Officer Roger Whitehead at Northside Elementary School, Officer Chris McMillen at DeKalb Middle School, Officer Kenneth Whitehead at DeKalb County High School, Officer Lewis Carrick at DeKalb West School. SROs are new to all schools except DCHS where officer Kenneth Whitehead has worked as an SRO for several years. "The new SRO's just completed a 40 hour intense School Resource Officer Training Seminar in Williamson County," said Sheriff Ray. "They graduated Friday, August 9.
*Enrollment in the DeKalb County School System is up by ten students over last year at this time. Total enrollment, as of Tuesday, August 13, was 3,052 compared to 3,042 last year on the same day, according to Joey Reeder, Attendance Supervisor. DeKalb County High School (grades 9-12) has 834 students, nine fewer than one year ago. Enrollment at DeKalb Middle School ( grades 6-8) is 592, twenty two more than last August. Northside Elementary School's enrollment (grades 2-5) is 591, three students fewer than last year at this time. Smithville Elementary School (Pre-K through 2nd grade) has 621 students, sixteen more than a year ago. Four hundred fourteen students are enrolled at DeKalb West School (Pre-K through 8th grade), sixteen students fewer than last year.
*Clint Hall was recently named the new administrator at NHC HealthCare Smithville. Hall takes over for Jim Finley, who transferred to NHC HealthCare Glasgow in Glasgow, KY. Hall previously served as the Administrator of NHC HealthCare Scott in Lawrenceburg, TN. Hall attended the Webb School in Bell Buckle, TN and later received his Bachelor of Arts in Economics from the George Washington University and his Master of Business Administration in Management from Middle Tennessee State University. Hall has worked for NHC since 2009 and is a graduate of NHC’s Administrator-in-Training program. Prior to NHC, Hall served as a Research Analyst for the Tennessee Senate Transportation Committee and as a political consultant for various officeholders in Middle Tennessee. Hall and his wife, Loree, are originally from Murfreesboro, TN.
*Three men accused of stealing more than $100,000 worth of copper and brass from Federal Mogul in Smithville over an eight month period have been arrested by Smithville Police. Chief Randy Caplinger told WJLE that 56 year old Billy Joe Rigsby of Raymond Road, 28 year old William Corey Dickens of Forest Avenue, and 46 year old Martin Riley, III of Poss Road are all charged with theft of property. According to police, the thefts occurred multiple times from December 2012 to August 2013 during the middle of the night after the second shift when no one else was at the plant. The intruders went under and over a fence, entered through an unlocked door at the receiving area behind the building, and loaded carts with 50 pound bags of almost pure grain copper, which is used in the manufacture of brake pads at the facility. In some cases, pieces of EDM brass were also stolen. "They way they were doing it was after hours they were entering the building, loading up carts while no one else was there, and wheeling the carts out the back door. They would go during the times they (plant) were closed during the middle of the night and take anywhere from 10 to 25 to 30 bags at a time or however many they could get loaded and feasibly get out of there with. They went under the fence and loaded their truck," said Lieutenant Matt Holmes. After committing the thefts, the men allegedly sold the copper and brass at the Southern Central business in McMinnville.
*Tennessee Department of Transportation Commissioner John Schroer joined with state and local officials to celebrate a milestone in the major bridge rehabilitation project on the Hurricane Bridge on State Route 56 over the Caney Fork River in DeKalb County. After being down to only one lane for over two years to allow the contractor to safely work on the bridge, the project had progressed enough that the bridge can now be reopened to two lanes of traffic. "The Hurricane Bridge is very important to the DeKalb County area and the entire region," said Commissioner Schroer. "I am pleased to be here today to join with our state and local partners to celebrate the reopening of the bridge to two lanes of traffic. Work began in February 2011 on the project to fully rehabilitate the 1954 Truss bridge, which was showing signs of aging. The structure has undergone a full rehabilitation, including truss strengthening, steel repair, painting, and bridge deck removal and replacement. The prime contractor for the $28.1 million project is OCCI, Inc. from Fulton Missouri, and the original contract completion date is October 31, 2013.
*Rick Cantrell was selected by the county commission to fill the unexpired term of John Green as a member in the fifth district. Seven votes were needed to get the appointment. Cantrell received eight votes. Cantrell was among four applicants for the position. The others were Steven Cantrell, Eugene LaFever, and James Young. All were interviewed by the county commission during an All-Committees meeting. Green's term expires August 31, 2014. Green resigned from the county commission in April announcing that he had moved his residence to White County. He had served on the county commission for eleven years, having first been elected in 2002. He was then re-elected in 2006 and 2010.
*Hoyte Barrett and Taft Hendrixson now join Jerry Taylor as a part time judicial or warrant commissioner for the county. The county commissioners voted to fill a vacant judicial commissioner post and to create another one. The county has been operating for several years with just two judicial commissioners. Taylor holds one of the positions. Tammy Ashburn held the other but she recently resigned. Rod Higham fills in as an assistant judicial commissioner on a part time basis as needed and he will continue to do so.Barrett and Hendrixson were among six applicants for the two new positions. The others were Mark Adams, Oscar Boyd, McClure Cantrell, and Richard Jennings. All were interviewed by members of the county commission. Judicial commissioners serve for a year at a time at the pleasure of the county commission and will be up for reappointment next September.
*The boards of directors of Citizens Bank of Lafayette and Liberty State Bank, which has three locations in DeKalb County, announced they have entered into a definitive agreement to merge the two banks. Under the agreement, Liberty State Bank will be merged with and into Citizens Bank of Lafayette, with Citizens Bank of Lafayette to be the bank to survive the merger. Citizens Bank of Lafayette will continue to operate the current Liberty State Bank branches under the Liberty State Bank name. According to a prepared news release sent to media outlets, The merger is expected to be completed prior to the end of 2013, and will offer both businesses and consumers in surrounding communities a broader array of locations for banking services. With its acquisition of Liberty State Bank, Citizens Bank of Lafayette’s total assets will exceed $630 million, and Citizens Bank of Lafayette will have 15 branches covering Macon, DeKalb, Wilson, Sumner, Clay, Jackson and Smith counties.
*Thirty three persons were named in sealed indictments handed down by a special called session of the DeKalb County Grand Jury and all but one were the result of a lengthy investigation by the Sheriff's Department into the illegal sale of narcotics and other crimes committed in DeKalb County. The special session of the grand jury met on Monday, August 19 at the DeKalb County Courthouse. "Some of the drugs we bought during this controlled drug buy were Dilaudid, Crack Cocaine, Hydrocodone, Xanax, Methadone, Morphine, Roxycodone, Percocet, Mushrooms, and Suboxone. There were two Marijuana grows, a Meth lab, and we worked some burglaries and thefts. There were a total of thirty three individuals charged with various crimes. We charged one man with aggravated exploitation of a minor," said Sheriff Patrick Ray.
* The body of a 27 year old Tullahoma man was recovered from Center Hill Lake Sunday afternoon, September 8 almost twenty four hours after he jumped off a pontoon boat and drowned on Saturday. Dead is William Bates. TWRA Officer Tony Cross told WJLE that Bates' body was recovered in about 90 feet of water near where the incident occurred about a mile from Floating Mill Recreation area. According to Officer Cross, Bates was with five other men on a pontoon boat going upstream Saturday afternoon when Bates jumped in the water to take a swim as the boat came to a stop. When Bates didn't come back up after going under the water, the others jumped in but were unable to rescue him. 911 was notified and members of the TWRA, DeKalb County Rescue Squad, and U.S Army Corps of Engineers Rangers came to the scene. The search continued non-stop throughout the rest of the day on Saturday, all night, and during the day on Sunday until the body was found. Others participating in the search were members of the White, Putnam, Coffee, and Franklin County Rescue Squads. The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department and local Emergency Management Agency Coordinator Charlie Parker assisted in the effort. In addition to dragging operations, divers and sonar equipment aided in the search. In fact, the body was detected by the Franklin County Rescue Squad's tow fish sonar. Divers of the White County Rescue Squad then went down and recovered it. The body was brought by boat to the Hurricane Bridge Recreation Area and then loaded onto a DeKalb EMS ambulance for transport to the hospital.
* A 61 year old man was found dead Saturday, September 7 in an automobile accident on Four Seasons Road. 911 received the call around 11:30 am. Dead is Michael J. Dean of Smithville. Trooper Jeremy Wilhite of the Tennessee Highway Patrol told WJLE that Dean, of Burton Ridge Lane, was operating a 1999 Toyota Rav4 heading south on Four Seasons Road when he went off the right side of the road , struck a tree stump, and a telephone substation box. The SUV overturned in tall weeds coming to rest upright off the right side of the roadway facing south. Dean, who not wearing a seatbelt, was ejected. His body was found on the ground near the vehicle. The exact time of the accident is not known. A passerby spotted the wreck and reported it. Members of DeKalb EMS, Sheriff's Department, and the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department were also on the scene.
* This high school football season, the Tennessee Titans asked fans to select the Titans High School Coach of the Week winners through online polling, and fans decided the Week 2 winner to be Steve Trapp of DeKalb County High School in Smithville. The school received a $1,000 grant for its program from Titans Owner K.S. “Bud” Adams, Jr.
Led by a freshman quarterback, Steven Jennings, Coach Trapp’s Tigers defeated the Livingston Academy Wildcats, 35-28. This is DeKalb County’s first win against the Wildcats since 1994. In the game’s final seconds, the Tigers’ defense was successful with a goal-line stand as Livingston threatened to tie the game. Coach Trapp was to be the team’s guest at the Titans’ season finale versus the Houston Texans on Dec. 29 when the team honored all 2013 Coach of the Week winners and announced the winner of the 2013 Coach of the Year!
* The 2013 Homecoming Queen at DeKalb County High School was Lauren Ashley Medlin. A senior, Medlin is the 17 year old daughter of Greg and Teresa Medlin of Smithville. The Homecoming Attendants were Senior Attendant -Sarah Elizabeth Edwards, the 17 year old daughter of Tena and the late Clay Edwards of Liberty; Senior Attendant- Elizabeth Jane Mason, the 18 year old daughter of Jim and April Mason of Smithville; Junior Attendant- Brooke Danielle Roller, 16 year old daughter of Richard and Rose Roller of Smithville; Sophomore Attendant- Tyra Grace Graham, the 15 year old daughter of Kyle and Doris Graham of Smithville; Freshman Attendant- Susan Marie Webb, the 14 year old daughter of C.D. and Cindy Webb of Dowelltown
* The DeKalb County Board of Education returned seventh district member Johnny Lattimore as Chairman of the Board. Fifth district member W.J. (Dub) Evins, III was elected Vice Chairman and Second district member Charles Robinson was named Assistant Secretary. All were elected without opposition and will serve in those positions for the next twelve months. The school board re-organizes each September.
*A federal grand jury indicted three former officials from the Upper Cumberland Development District, including former UCDD Board Chairman and DeKalb County Mayor Mike Foster in an alleged conspiracy into the misappropriation of federal funds stemming from Living the Dream, a home for needy seniors.
Former UCDD Executive Director Wendy Askins and former Assistant Director Larry Webb of DeKalb County were charged with conspiring to commit various federal offenses as well as six counts of theft and conversion of government property in excess of $1,000; four counts of bank fraud; three counts of money laundering; and a single count of concealing a material fact within the jurisdiction of the United States. Additionally, Askins and Foster were charged with a single count of making a false statement regarding a matter within the jurisdiction of the United States.
According to the indictment, Askins and Webb perpetrated a scheme from February 2010 through February 2012 to convert over $670,000 of government funds intended for UCDD and its related agencies to the use of the “Living the Dream” property, which was owned by Askins and Webb. Askins and Webb incorporated Living the Dream in their own names and caused money to be transferred from UCDD to Living the Dream without seeking the approval of the UCDD Board of Directors. Askins and Webb also obtained bank loans and lines of credit in excess of $1,000,000 to renovate the Living the Dream property by using UCDD bank accounts and property as collateral for the loans.
In order to cover up the illegal activity, Askins and Webb directed other individuals to alter the official minutes of the UCDD board meeting that occurred on February 16, 2010, and to delete audio recordings of all UCDD meetings. Askins prepared a false statement, which was read by Foster, who at the time was the chairman of the UCDD Executive Committee and Board of Directors, at a UCDD board meeting on January 19, 2012. Foster knew the statement was false when he read it.
If convicted, Askins faces up to two hundred and twenty-five years in prison and a $6,750,000 fine as well as forfeiture of property derived from or used in the bank fraud and money laundering offenses charged. Webb faces up to two hundred and twenty years in prison and a $6,500,000 fine, as well as forfeiture of property derived from or used in the bank fraud and money laundering offenses charged, and Foster faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
*A 38 year old Smithville man died in a pickup truck crash on Highway 264 (Temperance Hall Road) just across the county line in Smith County on Tuesday, September 24. Dead is Nathan Estes. The Tennessee Highway Patrol told WJLE that Estes was driving north in a 2000 Chevy pickup truck when he ran off the left side of the roadway and struck a tree. The truck then skidded sideways, flipped, and came to rest against another tree. Estes was partially trapped under the vehicle. He was not wearing a seatbelt. According to the THP, the accident occurred around 6:45 a.m. The crash was investigated by Trooper Gerald Carter, Trooper Tommy Cooper, and Sergeant Eric McCormick of the Tennessee Highway Patrol.
*In February, 2014, Helga Thompson will be packing her bags and leaving the comforts of home in DeKalb County for a new life experience in Tanzania. For twenty seven months, Thompson will be serving in the east African country as a Peace Corps volunteer working in environmental education. "Working with people and trying to leave something good behind has always been part of my life," said Thompson in a recent interview with WJLE. Since its creation in 1961, the Peace Corps' mission has been to promote world peace and friendship by helping the people of interested countries in meeting their need for trained men and women; helping promote a better understanding of Americans on the part of the peoples served; and helping promote a better understanding of other peoples on the part of Americans.
*James H. Dillard, Jr. of the Gordonsville Exchange won re-election to the DTC Communications Board of Directors beating challenger Ronnie Burton. Dillard received 266 votes and Burton garnered 115 votes.The other three incumbent directors up for re-election all won without opposition including Roy N. Pugh from the Auburntown exchange with 229 votes; Jimmy Oakley from the Temperance Hall exchange with 231 votes and David Parker from the Woodland exchange with 218 votes. All four directors elected Saturday will serve for three years.
*A happy collection of owners, founders, staff and community leaders cheered on bulldozers Wednesday afternoon, September 11 at the ground breaking ceremony for a brand new 15,000 square foot facility in Alexandria, for the ever expanding sunless tanning leader Norvell. The new location will offer increased warehouse space with room for over 1000 more palettes, additional lab capacity for Norvell’s growing manufacturing/development, a new product filling area, a dynamic soundstage with audio/visual, a classroom for on-site trainings for Norvell University (the division of the brand which has trained thousands of industry techs nationwide), a new employee break room and additional offices for the graphic arts department. “This groundbreaking is a meaningful milestone for Norvell as a company,” explained Rick Norvell, “but it also signifies something greater -- the promise of future jobs for our community and economic strength for our city and state. We are so pleased to celebrate this event with three generations of the Norvell family, and our employees who are our extended family.”
*Only three days after taking office and presiding over his first city council meeting, Alexandria Mayor Jim York announced his resignation Friday, September 27 saying he does not have the respect or support of the aldermen. York ran unopposed in the municipal election September 5 and received fifteen votes to become the town's new mayor, succeeding Ria Baker who had served as mayor for seven years. York was sworn in as mayor at the regular monthly city council meeting on Tuesday night, September 24. Since his election, York claimed that the aldermen conspired to keep him from exercising his full authority as mayor. But some said that York tried to exercise too much control at city hall. Tensions between the mayor and aldermen, at least in part, grew out of a dispute over who had the authority to sign checks. As mayor, York felt he should have the authority to sign checks and apparently became upset with the board's decision to name others and not include him as a check signer. The aldermen denied assertions that they had conspired against York.
*Friends and family of Mitchell Rowland turned out for a reception in his honor Friday afternoon, September 27 at the Liberty Post Office where he retired after 38 years with the US Postal Service. Rowland began his career with the Postal Service as a substitute rural mail carrier at the Liberty Post Office in March 1975. Rowland officially retired on July 31, 2013.
*A motorcycle accident in Lebanon claimed the life of a dentist with ties to DeKalb County. The Tennessee Highway Patrol reports that 62 year old Dr. Steven Thaxton died after his 1994 Harley Davidson ran onto a shoulder and hit some gravel while going around a curve on Hickory Ridge Road. According to a published report in the Lebanon Democrat, troopers said Dr. Thaxton lost control of the motorcycle and ran off the right side of the road. Thaxton was traveling west at 4555 Hickory Ridge Road near the Bonnie Valley Drive intersection when the wreck happened Thaxton was wearing a helmet. Thaxton, a DCHS graduate, was a dentist in Lebanon for 35 years.
*A local student, Kelsey Evins received the Student Recognition Award during the Tennessee School Boards Association Upper Cumberland Fall District meeting held at South Fentress Elementary School in Fentress County. Each year TSBA honors one student from each of its nine districts who has achieved distinction in the areas of academics, community leadership, and engagement as part of its Student Recognition Award program. One of those nine students will win the statewide Student Recognition Award to be presented at the TSBA Annual Convention which will include a $2,000 scholarship. Evins, the 2013 Upper Cumberland District winner, is currently a senior at DeKalb County High School.
*A head-on crash Monday, October 7 on Highway 53 near the DeKalb line in Smith County claimed the life of a 68 year old woman and injured two other persons. Dead is Wanda Williams of Brush Creek. Trooper Terry Seay of the Tennessee Highway Patrol told WJLE that Williams was a passenger of a 2008 Mercury Marquis, driven by her husband, 71 year old Doras Williams. A family member said the crash occurred only a short distance from the Williams' Brush Creek area home. According to Trooper Seay, the Williams' were traveling south on Highway 53 when their car was hit head-on by a northbound 2008 Ford Fusion, driven by 26 year old Jeramie Reed of Dowelltown, who had pulled into the southbound lane to pass a van. It was reportedly foggy at the time. Mrs. Williams died at the scene. Mr. Williams was taken to Riverview Regional Medical Center-North in Carthage. Reed was transported by DeKalb EMS to DeKalb Community Hospital and later taken to Vanderbilt Hospital in Nashville. Trooper Seay said the injuries to Mr. Williams and Reed were not believed to be life threatening. Trooper Jimmy Tisdale and members of the THP Critical Incident Response Team assisted Trooper Seay in the crash investigation. Charges are pending. Members of the Smith County Sheriff's Department, Fire Department, and EMS responded along with DeKalb EMS, Alexandria Volunteer Fire Department, DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Rescue, and the DeKalb Sheriff's Department.
*Cookeville Boat Dock's claim in a Chancery Court delinquent tax lawsuit that it can't be forced to pay ad valorem (property) taxes on constitutional grounds is without merit and should be dismissed by the court, according to Tennessee Attorney General Robert E. (Bob) Cooper, Jr. In answer to the marina's counter complaint, Cooper states that "the Tennessee Constitution does not grant a property tax exemption to commercial taxpayers that operate a business on land owned by the state or local governments," as the owners of Cookeville Boat Dock claim. In his answer filed Tuesday, September 24 in DeKalb County Chancery Court, Cooper further asserts that Cookeville Boat Dock's constitutional challenge is not properly before the court because the marina owners failed to first pursue other statutory remedies available to them. Cookeville Boat Dock owns and operates a commercial boat dock and concession on land in DeKalb County that is leased from the federal government. The marina has been assessed ad valorem taxes on the boat dock property since 1998; however, it apparently has not paid these taxes and, thus, the boat dock property has been included in the delinquent tax proceedings of DeKalb County covering the tax years from 1998 through 2011.
*DeKalb County High School senior Mallory Sullivan finished tied for fifth at the Class A/AA state golf tournament at the Willowbrook Golf Club. Sullivan, the only female from DCHS to compete in the state golf tournament all four years, carded a 3-over 75 to tie for a fifth place finish at 82-75—157, just a stroke away from a medal. She had the second lowest score of the day on Wednesday. Sullivan placed 11th in the state tournament as a freshman, second as a sophomore and tied for 14th as a junior. She has signed to play at Belmont where her sister, Shay went. Middle Tennessee State junior Payne Denman is the only DCHS male golfer to compete at the state tournament all four years
*The body of a man found floating in Center Hill Lake on Friday, October 11 was later positively identified by the state medical examiner as Joseph Loupe of Rutherford County. "The pathologist was able to take Xrays to make a positive identification," Sheriff Patrick Ray told WJLE. "The autopsy revealed that Loupe was the victim of a drowning. No foul play is suspected, according to Sheriff Ray. Loupe's badly decomposed body was spotted by a fisherman on what would have been the victim's 45th birthday. The remains surfaced in the area of Edgar Evins State Park and Center Hill Marina, near where his boat was found on the day of his disappearance nearly three years ago. Loupe rented a pontoon boat from Center Hill Marina on Tuesday, November 2, 2010 and set out on the lake. Later that day, the boat was found unoccupied but still in gear and traveling in a circle, about three quarters of a mile from the marina. "We believe he either fell or jumped into the water from the boat. A fanny pack was on the body that contained his identification but since the remains were so badly decomposed, we couldn't tell who he was. After his body was sent to Nashville for an autopsy, the state medical examiner asked us to see if we could find Xrays to help confirm his identity," said Sheriff Patrick Ray.
*Alexandria Alderman Tony Tarpley was appointed mayor by his fellow aldermen in a special meeting at city hall. Tarpley was sworn into office by city attorney Vester Parsley, Jr. Alderman Addie Farley was named Vice Mayor. Other members of the city council are Pat Jackson and Bennett Armstrong. Jim H. York, Jr. was elected mayor in September but he resigned three days after taking office in a dispute with the Aldermen.
*The freedom of 66 year old Gerald Wayne (J.B.) Bounds of McMinnville, who has been behind bars for 32 years in a 1981 DeKalb County murder, remains in question. Two members of the Tennessee Board of Parole took opposite views Wednesday, October 16 with one, Tim Gobble voting to deny parole for another year and the other, Patsy Bruce voting to parole him. As a result, more board members will have to vote in the coming weeks and whichever decision reaches 4 votes first will be the final verdict. Bruce and Gobble were the only parole board members present at the prison for Bounds' hearing Wednesday. Bounds is serving a life sentence for fatally shooting 27 year old Sherman Wright of DeKalb County. The hearing was held at the Southeast Regional Correctional Facility in Pikeville where Bounds is incarcerated. Bounds was convicted of first degree murder in the killing of Wright, who was shot once in the head just outside the Odyssey Arcade on West Broad Street, across from the Dairy Queen. The incident occurred on the afternoon of February 2nd, 1981, allegedly over a gambling debt. Bounds was tried by a DeKalb County Circuit Court Jury in October 1981 and he has been in prison since. He has been up for parole four times, in September 2002, August 2005, October 2010, and October 2011. This was his fifth parole hearing.
*A 24 year old Alexandria man died in a single vehicle traffic accident in Murfreesboro on Friday October 18. Dead is Joshua Maston Owens. According to media reports, the Murfreesboro Police Department's Fatal Accident Crash Team investigated the fatal crash that occurred on East Clark Boulevard at 7:12 a.m. A single vehicle left the road near 1018 East Clark Boulevard and struck a tree, according to a Murfreesboro Police Department news release. Ashley McDonald, a spokeswoman for the Murfreesboro Fire & Rescue Department said in a separate news release that MFRD units responded to provide extrication however upon arrival it was determined that extrication was not needed adding that it was unclear if a medical emergency led to the crash. The driver was transported to Saint Thomas Rutherford Hospital where he was pronounced deceased, according to the Murfreesboro Police Department.
*The On The Way Convenience Market at 736 South Congress Boulevard is prohibited from selling beer for ninety days. Following a brief hearing, the Smithville Beer Board found the beer permit holder, Bindyia, Inc. in violation of the city's beer ordinance for the sale of alcohol to a minor and voted to suspend the license for ninety days. The board heard from Lieutenant Detective Matt Holmes of the Smithville Police Department, who was sworn under oath and questioned by city attorney Parsley. No one from the store attended the meeting. Acting on numerous public complaints of possible illegal beer sales to minors, the Smithville Police Department conducted an investigation in August targeting all eleven stores in the city licensed to sell beer for consumption off the premises. Only one arrest was made. 19 year old Danielle Owens, a store clerk at On The Way market was charged with the misdemeanor offense of selling alcohol to a minor. The investigation was conducted by Lieutenant Holmes and Detective Brandon Donnell. A 20 year old officer from another county, in plain clothes, attempted to make a beer purchase from each store. In all but one case, the store clerks refused to make the beer sales to the undercover officer after checking his ID and using an age chart to verify his age. He was denied the sale and told he was too young to buy beer. The exception was with Owens at On the Way market.
*The partial federal government shutdown affected some services in DeKalb County. The USDA Service Center on Bright Hill Road, home to the Farm Service Agency and the Natural Resources Conservation Service, was closed during the shutdown. Meanwhile, the Nashville District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced it was in the process of conducting an orderly shutdown because of a lack of appropriations. The district was to reduce its manpower over time to essential personnel only. These essential personnel were to continue to support critical Corps of Engineers missions such as dam safety, hydropower, and operation of the navigation locks on both the Cumberland and Tennessee Rivers. Also due to the government shutdown, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District closed all of its campgrounds and day-use parks including those on Center Hill Lake as of noon on Friday, October 4 . The district previously announced it intended to keep these areas open as originally scheduled. However, officials said support to recreation areas could no longer be sustained as the district progresses through its orderly shutdown. Center Hill Lake campgrounds are located at Floating Mill, Ragland Bottom and Long Branch. Day-use areas are at Floating Mill, Ragland Bottom, Hurricane Bridge, Holmes Creek, Long Branch, Buffalo Valley, and Johnson Chapel.
* The DeKalb County Tigers traveled to Knoxville Catholic for the first round of the 2013 Division I BlueCross Bowl Class 4A Football Playoffs but lost to the Fighting Irish 55-13. This was the third consecutive year the Tigers earned a berth in the state play-offs. It was their fifth appearance in the last six years.
* Seventeen year old Taneah Brooke Cantrell captured the Fall Fest Crown during the annual pageant at the DeKalb County Complex auditorium. The event is sponsored by the Smithville Business and Professional Women's Club. Six young ladies ages fourteen to eighteen competed for the title. Julia Grace Curtis was crowned the new Autumn Sweetheart. Curtis is the twelve year old daughter of Bruce and Amy Curtis of Smithville. She succeeds the retiring Autumn Sweetheart Morgan Faith Green, the fourteen year old daughter of Suzanne and Jon Harrison of Smithville. The beauty contest featured nine contestants, ages eleven to fourteen. Ten year old Ellisyn Kelsey Cripps is the 2013 Autumn Princess. Cripps, daughter of Troy and Jamie Cripps of Smithville, succeeds the retiring Autumn Princess, Addison Jean Puckett, the nine year old daughter of Jimmy and Anita Puckett of Smithville. The pageant featureding fifteen girls ages seven to ten.
* The Smithville Planning Commission voted to take under advisement a proposal to annex several properties into the city along Highway 70 just outside the western city limits. However, the commission stopped short of making a formal recommendation for annexation to the mayor and aldermen until up to date cost estimates are provided for implementing the required plan of services to the annexed area, specifically sewer. City planner Shannon Copas gave a general overview of the plan of services during the meeting and city public works director Kevin Robinson provided 2008 sewer cost figures. Commission Chairman Wallace Caldwell and member Norris Colvert said they wanted to see more specifics on costs.
* An elderly man was kidnapped at knifepoint in Smithville and then forced to withdraw funds from his bank account at an ATM machine. The man's abductors later drove him to McMinnville where he made his escape and called police. 29 year old Amanda Maxwell of 717 Fisher Avenue is charged with aggravated kidnapping, aggravated robbery, theft over $1,000, and aggravated assault. 31 year old Charles Wayne Reagan of Smithville is charged with aggravated kidnapping and theft over $1,000. The case was investigated by Lieutenant Detective Matt Holmes and Detective Brandon Donnell of the Smithville Police Department.
* The City of Smithville's legal fight to keep the DeKalb Utility District from building its own water treatment plant remains pending in Davidson County Chancery Court. City Attorney Vester Parsley, Jr. informed the mayor and aldermen that the transcript from April's Tennessee Utility Management Review Board (UMRB) hearing has been filed and that a brief for the city is forthcoming. "I talked to Jason Holleman. His firm as you know is representing the city with the appeal. The transcript of the hearing that was held here in April has been filed with the Chancery Court in Nashville. It was filed on October 28. Jason and Bill Purcell have until November 27 to file our brief for the city. Thereafter, DUD will have up to 30 days to file their brief which will basically put it at December 27. Of course, they can file that brief early. If they do then Jason and Bill will have an additional fourteen days to reply to that. It looks like the earliest that we probably will have any real hearing before the Chancellor in Nashville will be somewhere in January. Probably toward the middle (January) but those dates are not certain because the time for filing briefs has just gotten started. That's where we're at right now," said Parsley. In July, the aldermen voted 4-0 to hire Nashville attorneys Bill Purcell and Jason Holleman to file an appeal of the UMRB's dismissal of a petition brought by a group of DUD ratepayers and the city who were hoping to halt DUD plans to build the water plant.
* Outstanding DCHS Senior Golfer Mallory Sullivan has signed with Belmont University to play golf next season. Mallory's parents, James and Tonya Sullivan appeared with her during the signing at DCHS. Sullivan said she is looking forward to playing golf at Belmont, where her sister Shay signed to play after her high school career. "It's a great school. I'm going into business and I love the golf team. My sister (Shay) is already there. It just felt like a perfect fit for me". Mallory finished tied for fifth at the Class A/AA state golf tournament held recently at the Willowbrook Golf Club. Sullivan, the only female from DCHS to compete in the state golf tournament all four years, carded a 3-over 75 to tie for a fifth place finish at 82-75—157, just a stroke away from a medal. She had the second lowest score on the second day of the tournament. Mallory placed 11th in the state tournament as a freshman, second as a sophomore and tied for 14th as a junior.
* The DeKalb County Democratic Party held a re-organization convention at the courthouse to elect party leaders for the next two years. Jim Judkins was returned as Chairman. Jordan Wilkins, Larry Bain, and Kim Ambrose were re-elected Co Vice Chairmen. Joyce Hendrixson remains as Secretary and Myra Johnson Miller is the new Treasurer, replacing Katherine Pack who declined to accept another term, citing a conflict, since she is planning to seek re-election as Circuit Court Clerk. Members of the DeKalb County Democratic Executive Committee were named for the next two years including Judy Slager from the First District, Frank Buck in the Second District, Faye Fuqua from the Third District, David McDowell in the Fourth District, James Hale from the Fifth District, Flint Gilley in the Sixth District, and Tommy Webb in the Seventh District.
* The City of Smithville is offering alternatives for the DeKalb Utility District to consider on a possible new water purchase agreement. The existing ten year agreement is set to expire as of December 31. In a letter to DUD manager Jon Foutch, dated Thursday November 14, City Attorney Vester Parsley, Jr. set out the proposals being offered by the city for the DUD board to consider. Although the mayor and aldermen have been consulted, no vote has been taken by the city council on this offer in either a regular or special meeting. Any accepted proposal by the DUD would have to be approved by the mayor and aldermen. One of proposals calls for a new ten year deal with the city to charge the DUD $2.20 per thousand gallons for five years and $2.40 per thousand gallons for an additional five years. But that deal would be below the city's cost according to a recent study by Warren and Associates, paid for by the city, which revealed that the actual cost for Smithville to produce water is $2.67 per thousand gallons. Under this proposal, the city is asking the DUD for at least a minimum amount of water to be purchased during this ten year period and for DUD to abandon plans to build its own water plant. The second proposal seeks to negotiate a new rate based on the DUD sale of three of its metering points to the City of Smithville. During a workshop with the mayor and aldermen on Monday night, November 11, the city's utility engineer J.R. Wauford said that if the DUD were willing to sell the city the water lines and customers connected to at least three of its metering points, the city could be in a position to negotiate the price it charges the DeKalb Utility District. If the DUD were to reject the proposals offered herein and have no new agreement by January 1, the city may begin charging the DUD $7.50 per thousand gallons, the same rate it charges water customers outside the city.
* The state's 2013 Report Card on DeKalb County Schools reveals that the system received A's and B's in the areas of achievement and value added growth in grades 3-8. Students take the TCAP tests in the spring. The report card represents data collected from the spring of 2013 for the state, school districts and individual schools. As in its past version, the report card also includes end-of-course exam percentages, ACT results, graduation percentages and other school-related profile information. The DeKalb County School System had all B's in Math, Reading, Science, and Social Studies, the same letter grade as last year but in each subject the actual scores were up. "Achievement is a measure of how well students performed on the TCAP tests in 2013. How high did they score? Were they proficient? We have many areas to celebrate that showed an improvement over 2012," said Data Analyst Lisa Bell. Value Added marks (Growth) were as follows: A in Math, up from a B last year; a B in Reading, the same letter grade as last year but with a higher score; and a B in Science and Social Studies, better than last year's C in those subjects. (Value Added) Growth is measured by comparing test performance over the previous years of testing," said Bell. The DCHS graduation rate was 95.4% for 2013, up from 93.5% in 2012 and well above the state average of 86.3%. The DCHS Junior and Senior Classes ACT three year average remained the same at 18.4, which falls short of the students predicted score of 19.5 and the state average of 19.1. However, officials say ACT study online courses have been implemented at DCHS for students to help improve ACT results
* Surrounded by her parents, coaches, and fellow players, DCHS Softball standout Danielle Tyson signed with Trevecca Nazarene University to play softball after she graduates here. Trevecca is a private Christian liberal arts college located in Nashville. "I chose Trevecca because I felt like it was where the Lord was calling me to go," said Tyson. " It is a great school. I loved the players when I went there to camp this past summer. I just really liked the atmosphere and the campus. Those are the major factors why I chose Trevecca," she said. DCHS Tigerette Coach Danny Bond said Tyson has been an asset to his program and has helped put them in contention for district and regional championships in recent years.
* Construction of the new addition at DeKalb West School is progressing on schedule. David Brown of Kaatz, Binkley, Jones & Morris Architects, Inc. of Mount Juliet addressed the school board with an update on the project. "In the classroom addition which is our storm shelter the foundations are complete. The slab is complete. The block is going up. Most of it is to bearing height already. Most of the door frames are in place. The roofing is underway as well. You have about five more weeks of roofing the existing building. The next big thing that will happen on the classroom addition is that they will place the concrete planks that are the roof of that. That will happen in about three or four weeks. The school has turned over the music room, which will become a part of the new kitchen. We have a lot of electrical work to do to relocate your existing electrical. They are wanting to do that over the Christmas holiday. They will do some exploration and if that looks good they will make that transition then but if they run into something unexpected or unforeseen they will wait until after the semester is over," said Brown. J Cumby Construction of Cookeville is the General Contractor for the project. The "Tornado Safe Rooms" are being funded mostly by FEMA grant funds but also with local dollars. The addition, being built in the front of the school, will have eight classrooms, restrooms, a new secure entrance, an office, clinic, conference room, and a guidance and teacher work area. A kitchen/cafeteria renovation in the existing building and a re-roofing of the school is also part of the overall project. Construction is expected to be completed by late June or early July.
* A sixty four year old private act governing the manner in which members of the DeKalb County Democratic Party's Executive Committee are selected has been deemed unconstitutional by the Tennessee Attorney General. AG Robert E. Cooper, Jr. issued a written opinion at the request of State Representative David A. Shepard of Nashville on behalf of local party leaders who wanted an opinion as to the "enforceability" of the Act as originally adopted in 1949 and amended in 1972 by the Tennessee General Assembly. Cooper's opinion basically finds that the legislature can't constitutionally place burdensome restrictions on political parties in how they may organize. In his opinion, the attorney general wrote that "the statute constitutionally burdens the associated rights of the Tennessee Democratic Party and its members in DeKalb County and therefore is unenforceable". Instead of electing members to the executive committee, as the Private Act calls for, the party sought an answer as to whether members could be appointed under the Tennessee Democratic Party Rules. Without a compelling state interest, Cooper's opinion basically finds that the party may determine for itself how to organize, a right protected by the U.S. Constitution. The State Attorney General's opinion does not change a law already on the books, therefore legislation may be filed seeking to abolish the private act for DeKalb County once the General Assembly convenes early next year.
* Another long time judge in the 13th Judicial District has decided to call it quits after completing his current term of office. After serving for what will be 30 years next year, Circuit Court Judge John J. Maddux, Jr. has announced that he will not seek re-election and will be leaving the bench when his term expires on August 31, 2014. Judge Maddux was first elected Circuit Court Judge in 1984, and was re-elected unopposed in 1990, 1998 and 2006. He serves DeKalb and six other counties in the 13th Judicial District. Criminal Court Judge Leon Burns, Jr. is also expected to retire at the end of his term next year, although he has apparently made no official announcement