Local News Articles

DeKalb County Recovery Court Hosts Art Exhibit

April 19, 2017
By Marie Crosson
Chamber Director Suzanne Williams, County Mayor Tim Stribling, and Recovery Court Coordinator Norene Puckett
DeKalb County Recovery Court Hosts Art Exhibit
Blake and Terra Goad
Program Coordinator Norene Puckett and Counselor Kay Quintero received Community Spotlight awards for their work with recovery court from the Smithville-DeKalb Chamber of Commerce and St. Thomas DeKalb Hospital

More than 100 people attended the opening reception of the DeKalb County Recovery Court Art Exhibit on Wednesday, April 5. The exhibit was open April 5th through April 7th.

The art at the exhibit was produced by recovery court participants from across Tennessee and was originally shown at the annual Tennessee Association for Drug Court Professionals (TADCP) conference this past December. One of the Dekalb County Recovery Court participants, Michael Blanchfield, who also produced art for the exhibit, spoke at the reception, as well as County Mayor Tim Stribling.

Program Coordinator Norene Puckett and Counselor Kay Quintero received Community Spotlight awards for their work with recovery court from the Smithville-Dekalb Chamber of Commerce and St. Thomas DeKalb Hospital. Along with TADCP, local sponsors of the event included the Dekalb County Prevention Coalition and St. Thomas DeKalb Hospital. This event was an impressive example of local collaboration. Not only were all the sponsors on site helping to set up, providing food for volunteers and setting up the reception, but there was also a local radio station on site as well as iCUBE from Tennessee Tech University (http://ttuicube.com/). They had a station where one could participate in a simulation to experience the impact of driving under the influence of a variety of substances.

County Mayor Stribling read the following proclamation for 2017 NCADD Alcohol Awareness Month, Connecting the Dots: Opportunities for Recovery

"WHEREAS, excessive drinking is responsible for more than 4,300 deaths among underage youth each year; and

WHEREAS, alcohol is the most commonly used addictive substance in the United
States; and

WHEREAS, nearly 10 million young people, ages 12 to 20, report that they've consumed
alcohol in the past 30 days; and

WHEREAS, young people who begin drinking before age 15 are four times more
likely to develop alcohol dependence than those who begin drinking at age 21; and

WHEREAS, drinking by persons under the age of 21 is illegal, yet people aged 12 to
20 drink 11% of all alcohol consumed in the United States; and

WHEREAS, the typical American will see 100,000 beer commercials before he or she
turns 18; and

WHEREAS, kids who drink are more likely to be victims of violent crime, to be
Involved in alcohol-related traffic crashes, and to have serious school-related
problems; and

WHEREAS, a supportive family environment is associated with lowered rates of
alcohol use for adolescents; and

WHEREAS, kids who have conversations with their parents and learn a lot about the
dangers of alcohol and drug use are 50% less likely to use alcohol and drugs than
those who don’t have such conversations.

THEREFORE, I, DeKalb County Mayor Tim Stribling now join the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc. (NCADD) and do hereby proclaim that April 2017 is Alcohol Awareness Month in DeKalb County, Tennessee. As the DeKalb County Mayor, I also call upon all citizens, parents, governmental agencies, public and private institutions, businesses, hospitals, schools and colleges in DeKalb
County, Tennessee to support efforts that will provide early education about alcoholism and addiction and increase support for individuals and
families coping with alcoholism. Through these efforts, together, we can provide Hope, Help and Healing for those in our community who are facing challenges with alcohol use and abuse.

May it be so decreed."

Sign Up for 4-H Summer Camp!

April 19, 2017
Leigh Fuson
Sign Up for 4-H Summer Camp!
Water Slide

Summer time is just around the corner, and school is almost over! Keep your kids busy and active over summer break by signing them up for 4-H camp. There are several options available for 4th-8th graders.

Junior camp is for anyone in 4th-6th grade and takes place at Clyde York 4-H center in Crossville. This camp will take place June 12th-16th. It features shooting sports, arts and crafts, swimming and a water slide, canoeing and kayaking, zip lining, sports and games, and much more! Cost is $300 which includes all meals, room & board, transportation, t-shirt, and activities. Registration deadline is May 23rd.

Junior High camp also takes place in Crossville, May 29th-June 2nd. It is available for 7th & 8th graders. The theme this year is “Technology Revolution” and will feature activities with robotics and drones, along with the traditional camp activities of junior camp. Cost is $290 and includes everything besides transportation. Registration deadline is May 1st.

Electric camp is open to 6th and 7th graders and takes place at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. It will be held June 27-30th. Campers learn about electricity and energy through fun, hands-on activities. They also get to visit Dollywood! Cost is $275, and includes transportation, boarding at UT, meals, and activities. Sign up by May 1st.

Experience! Taste of Culinary camp is for 6th-8th graders and will be held July 11-13th in Murfreesboro. If you love cooking and being creative in the kitchen, this camp is for you! Cost is $150 which includes hotel, meals, and activities. Transportation is not included.

“Tennessee 4-H camps are an opportunity for youth to explore their relationship with the world around them while at the same time having loads of fun. Tennessee 4-H camps allow youth to “learn by doing,” through 4-H’s experiential learning method of 'Do, Reflect, and Apply.' Youth are engaged and involved from the time they arrive to the time they depart,” said Daniel Sarver, a youth development specialist with University of Tennessee Extension.

At camp, when children make new friends, explore, and learn that "I can" is much more powerful than "I can't", magic happens. In an environment created just for them, children learn life skills, develop self-esteem, and gain a sense of independence and community. Whether children are playing, exploring nature, conquering new heights, or becoming part of a camp family, they are creating memories that will last a lifetime.

For more information and to register for camp, please stop by the UT/TSU Extension office located in County Complex or call 615-597-4945. Payment plans are available. 4-H is a proud part of UT/TSU Extension, the UT Institute of Agriculture, and the TSU Cooperative Extension Program. UT/TSU Extension provides equal opportunities in programs and employment through the cooperation of county, state, and federal governments. Programs are open to all people regardless of race, color, sex, national origin, or disability.

Female Prisoner Gets Four Year Sentence for Bringing Drugs Into Jail

April 19, 2017
Dwayne Page
Natalie Gail Barrett

A female prisoner who allegedly smuggled drugs into the jail in February appeared for sentencing in DeKalb County Criminal Court on Monday, April 10.

24 year old Natalie Gail Barrett of Miller Road, Smithville entered a plea by criminal information to one count of introduction of contraband into a penal institution and received a four year sentence as a range 1 offender. The sentence is to run consecutively to a violation of probation against her. She is to enter a treatment facility and her sentence will be suspended upon her completion of long term treatment.

Barrett was one of four female prisoners charged with bringing contraband into the jail after three of them were sent to the hospital Friday night, February 17 for swallowing drugs that had been smuggled into the jail. One of the two inmates hospitalized had to be airlifted. All were later returned to jail. According to Sheriff Patrick Ray, Barrett had on her a blue pill believed to be morphine and a white capsule pill thought to be Lyrica while in jail.

The women, who had apparently hidden the narcotics in their body cavities, consumed the drugs fearing they would be caught with them.

The cases against the others, 25 year old Trinity Krystina Wildbur of Vine Street, Chattanooga; 39 year old Amy Jeannette Lawson of Haley Road, Smithville; and 20 year old Olivia Hope Barber of Forrest Avenue, Smithville remain pending in court.

County Donates Old Ambulance to Motlow for Student Training

April 18, 2017
Dwayne Page
County Commissioner Joe Johnson, Drew Hooker, EMS Director of the Motlow State EMS Education Department, County Mayor Tim Stribling, DeKalb EMS Director Hoyte Hale, and Kristie Johnson, AEMT/EMT Coordinator for Motlow EMS Education and part time DeKalb EMS employee.

Although it has been retired from service, an older DeKalb County ambulance will continue to have a useful purpose.

The county commission last month voted to declare the ambulance as surplus and donate it to the EMS Education department of Motlow State Community College to be used for student training.

County Mayor Tim Stribling presented the keys and title of the ambulance Tuesday to Drew Hooker, EMS Director of the Motlow State EMS Education Department.

“This ambulance can assist in the type of training that we do specifically in the DeKalb and Upper Cumberland area,” said Hooker.

“It will create realistic training for students and when they come out and show up at the EMS services they will be work ready. We don’t want to train a student for a year and turn around and have to spend six or eight more weeks training. We want them to be ready when they get here so being able to put them in a real unit with real supplies will ensure that they have all the training necessary during the time they are with us. We want to provide the best education for the students and continue the relationship between the college and the EMS services along with the county governments because we need each other. We need the students and they need the employees to provide the best care for the citizens,” Hooker continued.

“We are a program that provides students that attend clinicals in DeKalb County as well as future employees to the DeKalb EMS department. Our program is one that works hard to provide work ready EMT/AEMT and paramedic students so they are ready to work once they are hired by the county services. This ambulance will allow for us to train as close to the “real life” simulations as possible. This will allow for us to broaden our training at the McMinnville classes. This unit will be used in our classes and will directly influence each student that graduates our program. We are in the process of ramping up our program in the upper Cumberland area with the hope that provides more possible employees for the DeKalb EMS service. We hope that this donation will continue the partnership of our educational facility and the DeKalb EMS service to bring greater training to the area, as well as provide more employees for DeKalb County to be able to hire,” said Hooker.

“This donation will help us with real life scenarios. One of the biggest complaints we have is students who come out not exactly knowing how to use the equipment or driving the vehicles. This gives us an opportunity to run real life scenarios. We do a twenty four hour class where the students actually run twenty four hours with the lights, sirens, load patients, etc. This gives us an edge because nobody else has a truck in the Upper Cumberland area to use for practice. This is unbelievable for us as far as being able to train and get employees. We are very thankful to have this truck,” said Kristie Johnson AEMT/EMT Coordinator for Motlow EMS Education and part time DeKalb EMS employee.

“We are proud to help the college by giving them a teaching tool which will return people back to us who are already trained to run our ambulance service. I think the cost of the old ambulance we will reap in benefits by having more and better trained employees,” said Second District County Commissioner Joe Johnson, who is a member of the county commission’s emergency services committee.

"A Crazy Little Thing Called Love" Returns

April 18, 2017
Cast of " A Crazy Little Thing Called Love"

The Cast of " A Crazy Little Thing Called Love" has not seen their final curtain call after all!

At the beginning of April Josh Issac led a new cast on a journey to share his newest musical. Josh has written and directed another hit Musical and this show focuses on LOVE. After 5 shows in four days the cast had rave reviews and the last show was an emotional one. The cast even had a cast party to watch the show and reminisce their memories over the course of the last three months. Josh Issac went to talk to The Park Theater in McMinnville and is now partnering with them to bring " A Crazy Little Thing Called Love" back to the stage for one more night.

" So many people have reached out and shared how the show touched them so much. Many have called asking if we could just do it one more time so they can see it. This is their chance. My dream has always been to take my shows to other counties so I am so excited to introduce this amazing cast to Warren county. This cast has what it takes to move forward for another great show," says Josh.

Burglar Caught After Returning to Scene of the Crime

April 18, 2017
Dwayne Page
David Matthew Hill
Sonny Roman Smith
James Cary Hicks, Jr.
Christopher Kyle Atnip
Guadencio Perez Martinez

A burglar was allegedly caught after returning to the scene of the crime the next day.

34 year old David Matthew Hill of Highland Drive, Smithville is charged with aggravated burglary (2 counts), burglary, and theft over $1,000 (2 counts). His bond is $25,000 and his court date is May 4.


Seagate Crystal Reports - REPOR_19.pdf (2.49 MB)

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Friday, April 14 Hill allegedly broke into a residence and an outbuilding on Twilla Lane, Smithville and stole a lawnmower, a chainsaw, a weedeater, and a mini bike valued at more than $1,000. The victim discovered the break-in upon returning home and reported it to the sheriff’s department.

The following day on Saturday, April 15 Hill returned to the scene of the crime looking for his cell phone that he had lost during the burglary the day before. While there, Hill broke into the same residence again and stole property this time valued at $2,748. The victim returned home while Hill was still on the property and called the sheriff’s department. Officers responded and placed Hill under arrest.

25 year old Sonny Roman Smith of Wade Street, Smithville is charged with driving on a suspended license. He was also cited for no insurance and simple possession or casual exchange. His bond is $3,000 and his court date is April 20. Sheriff Ray said that on Tuesday, April 11 a deputy was dispatched to a wreck with no injury on Keltonburg Road. Upon arrival the officer spoke with Smith who admitted to having been the driver of the vehicle. A computer check revealed that Smith’s license were suspended for failure to pay fines in Lebanon Municipal Court on May 17, 2015. Smith said he had no insurance and he had in his possession 3.0 grams of marijuana.

37 year old James Cary Hicks, Jr. of Clear Fork Road, Liberty was charged with criminal impersonation on Tuesday, April 11 after giving officers a fake name while being booked into the jail on a driving offense. According to Sheriff Ray, Hicks told the correctional officer several times that his name was Mike Hicks. After the officers discovered his real name was James Cary Hicks, Jr. he was charged with criminal impersonation.

23 year old Christopher Kyle Atnip of Cookeville Highway, Smithville is charged with domestic assault. His bond is $1,500 and his court date is April 27. Sheriff Ray said that on Thursday, April 13 deputies responded to a residence on Pine Orchard Road due to an assault. Upon arrival the officers spoke with witnesses who said that Atnip assaulted another man after the two of them became involved in a verbal altercation. Atnip allegedly punched the man repeatedly until he was incapacitated. The victim was transported to the hospital by EMS with injuries to his face and head. Atnip and the victim had lived together previously on E.H. Haas Road during the spring and fall of 2015.

30 year old Guadencio Perez Martinez of Banks Pisgah Road, Smithville is charged with driving under the influence. His bond is $1,500 and his court date is May 4. Sheriff Ray said that on Saturday, April 15 a deputy noticed a white SUV bright lighting him three times as it approached from Herman Road. The officer conducted a traffic stop and spoke with the driver, Martinez. The deputy also spotted a bottle of beer in the center console and an empty alcohol bottle in the floor board on the passenger side. Martinez’s eyes were bloodshot and he had a strong odor of alcohol on his person. Martinez was unsteady on his feet and he submitted to but performed poorly on field sobriety tasks.

Election Commission Reorganizes

April 18, 2017
Dwayne Page
Seated: Walteen Parker and Administrator Dennis Stanley. Standing: Barbara Vanatta, Jackie Smith, Lisa Peterson, and Jim Dean (Jordan Wilkins Photo)

The DeKalb County Election Commission has chosen its officers for the next two years.

The commission met in regular monthly session Monday afternoon at the courthouse to reorganize and to conduct other business.

Walteen Parker was named to her fifth term as chairman of the commission. Lisa Peterson was elected secretary.

In other business, the commission voted 5-0 to reappoint Dennis Stanley to his fifth term as administrator of elections for the next two years.

The DeKalb County Election Commission members include Republicans Walteen Parker, Barbara Vanatta, and Jim Dean. Democratic members are Jackie Smith and Lisa Peterson.

Judkins Sentenced for Aggravated Burglary

April 18, 2017
Dwayne Page
John Allen Judkins, Jr.
Jacob James Damon
Aubrey Glenn Rigsby

A 43 year old man was sentenced in criminal court last Monday, April 10 on an aggravated burglary charge.

43 year old John Allen Judkins, Jr. (AKA J.J. Judkins) of Cecil Hale Road, Smithville entered a plea to the offense and was sentenced to six years, to serve one year in the county jail before being released on supervised probation. He was given jail credit from April 29, 2016 to April 10, 2017. He must make restitution of $700 to the victim.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Sunday, April 24, 2016 Judkins allegedly broke into a home on Nashville Highway and stole a Craftsman saw, reciprocating saw, jigsaw, pole saw, chainsaw, charger, Stihl weedeater, drill bits, and saw blades all valued at approximately $1,270. The stolen items were recovered. The case was investigated by a sheriff’s department detective.

Meanwhile 23 year old Jacob James Damon of McMinnville entered a plea to theft over $1,000 and evading arrest. He received a four year sentence in each case to run concurrently with each other to serve 90 days and then be on probation. He was given jail credit from August 4, 2016 to April 10, 2017. Damon must also make restitution of $430 to a victim in the case.

Sheriff Ray said that on Wednesday, August 3, 2016 Damon allegedly broke into and stole a 1991 Nissan pickup truck valued at $1,000. In the back of the truck were various items valued at $935 which were also stolen. The following day, Thursday, August 4, 2016 Smithville Police responded to a complaint of a reckless driver on Cookeville Highway coming into the city limits. Officers spotted the vehicle near Northside Elementary School and observed it go through the red light at Highways 70 & 56 at a high rate of speed. Police activated their blue lights but the driver (Damon) refused to stop and continued into Warren County through a residential area. The driver (Damon) then turned onto a driveway and drove through the back yard and field where the vehicle went out of control and spun around before going into the yard of another residence. Due to a safety threat, police determined that the driver (Damon) needed to be stopped. They implemented the controlled pit maneuver and got the vehicle stopped. The driver (Damon) exited and continued to evade on foot. Officers gave chase and apprehended Damon.

A convicted felon, armed with a loaded weapon, who got into a scuffle with police in the parking lot of Walmart on Wednesday, December 7, 2016 was sentenced Monday, April 10 in criminal court.

37 year old Aubrey Glenn Rigsby entered a plea to unlawful possession of a weapon and received a four year TDOC sentence to serve. The term is to run concurrent with any other cases or sentences against him. He must forfeit his weapons. He was given jail credit from December 7, 2016 to April 10, 2017.

Smithville Police responded to Wal-Mart in reference to a person armed with a gun. Upon arrival officers confronted the suspect, Rigsby and ordered him to put his hands in the air and step out of his car. As Rigsby got out of his vehicle, one of the officers noticed that he appeared to be reaching for his waistline and warned the assisting officer who began to wrestle with Rigsby and saw that he was gripping a gun while it was still holstered in the front of his pants. As Rigsby was unable to draw the weapon, he stopped resisting and raised his hands in the air. The officer then removed the loaded handgun from Rigsby. A certified criminal history check revealed that Rigsby is a convicted felon.

Prescription Drug Take Back Day set for Saturday, April 22

April 18, 2017
Dwayne Page
Prescription Drug Take Back Day set for Saturday, April 22

The DeKalb County Prevention Coalition encourages all DeKalb County residents to join the effort to reduce the risk of prescription drug abuse by participating in the Drug Enforcement Administration's National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day. This event will be held on the public square in front of the Smithville City Hall on Saturday, April 22 from 10:00am to 2:00pm. The DeKalb County Prevention Coalition urges DeKalb County residents to come out to this event and drop off any unwanted, unneeded, or expired prescription medication for safe disposal. This is confidential and no names or information will be collected.

The DeKalb County Prevention Coalition is partnering with the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, in association with the U.S. Department of Justice, Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), and the Office of Diversion Control in providing this service.

On Saturday, April 22, in communities across the state, Tennesseans have the opportunity to take part in National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day which aims to provide a safe, convenient, and responsible means of disposing of prescription drugs from homes and offices.

Take These Steps to Remove Prescription Drugs From Your Home or Office.

•Check for unused prescriptions in medicine cabinets, bathroom, closets, bedside tables and kitchen drawers, under the sink, and in closets, purses, handbags, and containers.

•Remove all labeling and packaging on bottles and containers before disposing to ensure the protection of your privacy and personal information.

Keep in mind: the majority of Tennessee’s Take-Back Boxes are in locations that are accessible seven days a week, 24 hours a day. While there is special focus on take-back events each year in April and October, most boxes are located in law enforcement buildings and offices, where they are available for safe disposal anytime you need them.

If you or someone you care for is in need of substance use treatment, call the Tennessee REDLINE anytime at 1-800-889-9789 for help now. Resources are available across the state.

County Clerk Unveils User Friendly Office Updates

April 17, 2017
Dwayne Page
County Clerk Office
License Plate Board
Bulletin Board and Counter
Kiosk Machine

A few renovations have been made in the County Clerk’s Office to update and make it more attractive and user friendly.

“Upon taking office a little over two years ago we decided the current plate organizer in place was an obstruction. It blocked a majority of the drive-thru window from the work stations and was very difficult to view the plates without removing them individually. For the public's convenience we erected three display boards to better view the plates and relocated the original organizer. With the relocation of the previous plate organizer, customers at the drive-thru, our staff and the customers inside can now view transactions at both locations,” said County Clerk James L. (Jimmy) Poss.

“We also decided to relocate the Kiosk machine from the far end of the hallway to inside our office. This allows us to better assist customers with it's use,” he continued.

A large bulletin board has been installed allowing us to post office related information, hours of operation and public notices. Underneath the bulletin board we installed a counter for filling out business and marriage license applications, notary applications, etc.”

“Our office strives to accommodate the public, maintain office cleanliness and a friendly and efficient customer service. We thank everyone for allowing us to serve them and desire to continue being fair and honest servants to the community,” County Clerk Poss concluded.


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