Local News Articles

Suzanne Williams Lifted up in Prayer by Community

October 9, 2017
Dwayne Page
Hilton Conger, Isaac Gray, Katherine Pack, Jen Sherwood, Tim Stribling, and Don Rigsby
Beth Gill, Kathy Hendrixson, Judge Bratten Cook, II and others at prayer service
Dama Agee, Ronda McAbee, Beth Adcock, Anthony and Dana Scott and Dessa and Sheriff Patrick Ray
Suzanne Williams Lifted up in Prayer by Community

A community outpouring of love was shown for Suzanne Williams Monday evening as friends and family gathered outside the courthouse to pray for her healing.

The long time Director of the Smithville-DeKalb County Chamber of Commerce was seriously injured in a fall last Wednesday and remains hospitalized at the LeConte Medical Center in Sevierville. The injury has left Suzanne unable to breathe on her own. She has been on a ventilator but underwent a tracheotomy Monday.

“She has come through surgery well,” said Suzanne’s daughter Shan Burklow. “ They have put in the tracheotomy and the next three days will tell how quickly she can heal from that and then we have to look at some long term care for her recovery. We need all the prayers we can get,” Burklow told WJLE.

Among those taking part in leading the prayer service Monday were County Mayor Tim Stribling, General Sessions/Juvenile Court Judge Bratten Cook, II, Circuit Court Clerk Katherine Pack, local ministers Isaac Gray and Don Rigsby, and community leaders and friends Josh Isaac, Jen Sherwood, Norene Puckett, and Kathy Hendrixson.

At the conclusion of the service, everyone gathered in a large circle hand in hand to recite the Lord’s prayer

Burklow told WJLE she was overwhelmed by the concern that has been shown for her mother and her entire family appreciates it.

“It’s overwhelming and that’s the term my sister used on the phone. She said please let everyone know how overcome we are with gratitude for the outpouring of our community coming together to pray for our mom. I know she’s the Chamber of Commerce Director and she is an outgoing person and does a lot in the community but she is our mom and just to see people come out pray for her and say such nice things about her means so much to us. When she recovers she is going to have a really big head. Her ego is going to be out of control. We are so grateful and we just want everyone to know that,” said Burklow.

Smithville Man faces two counts of attempted first degree murder in Smith County

October 9, 2017
(Smith County Insider Press)
Steve Franklin Mabe, Jr. (Photo courtesy of Smith County Insider)
Martha Conger Hale (Photo courtesy of Smith County Insider)

The following story was provided to WJLE by our news partner "The Smith County Insider".

A Smithville man faces two counts of attempted first degree murder and a host of other charges after firing shots at Smith County Sheriff’s Deputies who were investigating an attempted vehicle burglary during the early morning hours of Thursday, October 5. No one was injured.

47 year old Steve Franklin Mabe, Jr. of Charity Lane, Smithville is charged with two counts of attempted first degree murder, evading arrest, reckless endangerment, possession of drug paraphernalia (set of digital scales), possession of a schedule II drug (5 oxycodone, 15 milligram) manufacturing, delivery, sale of a schedule II drug (0.97 ounces of methamphetamine), possession of a schedule VI drug for resale (more than 40 plants of marijuana), possession of stolen property (bumper hitch wooden floor trailer confirmed stolen from Smithville), possession of a weapon by a convicted felon (9 millimeter pistol) and possession of same weapon during the commission of a dangerous felony. Mabe's bond totals $292,500 but he is being held without bond on the attempted first degree murder charges.

His girlfriend, 37 year old Martha Conger Hale, also of Charity Lane, Smithville is charged with evading arrest (hiding from officers in a camper), possession of a weapon (rifle) by a convicted felon, possession of a schedule VI drug for resale (more than 40 marijuana plants on her property), and two counts of accessory after the fact (for trying to help Mabe evade arrest). Her bond totals $215,000.

Both Mabe and Hale will appear in Smith County General Sessions Court on Thursday, October 12.

Sgt. Jimmy Gregory of the Smith County Sheriff’s Office was dispatched to a Ward Hollow residence in Brush Creek following a report of someone trying to break into a vehicle.

Gregory arrived in the area just after 1 a.m. and drove around to see if there was anyone walking down the road. On his way back, he noticed a red Jeep Cherokee next to a building. He went on down to the residence and made contact with the complainant.

According to the arrest warrant, the complainant stated that her dogs were barking at something. She looked out her son’s window and saw a man standing next to her car.

The complainant set the car alarm off and stated that she heard a man and female arguing in the woods beside her house, according to the arrest warrant. She then stated that she heard what sounded like an ATV start up and drive off, according to the arrest warrant.

Around this time, Deputy Nick Campbell arrived at the location. Gregory and Campbell drove up the road and parked.

The officers walked down to a trailer and looked around it but didn’t see anything out of place. They then started walking down the road a bit farther and saw the red Jeep start up and drive a short distance into the woods.

Per the arrest warrant, Gregory described the Jeep as being “kind of loud” and that it could be mistakened for an ATV.

The officers crossed the cable at the building and started walking toward a wooded area.

When Gregory and Campbell were about 25 to 30 yards from the Jeep, a flash and gun shot came from the other side of the vehicle, according to the arrest warrant.

Gregory announced themselves as being with the Smith County Sheriff’s Office and for those in the Jeep to come out with their hands up, but they took off running into the woods, according to the arrest warrant.

Dispatch was alerted of shots fired and the SRT Team (Special Response Team) was activated and sent to the officers’ location.

While waiting for the entire team to show up, Gregory heard the Jeep start up. He got on his PA and stated that “this is the Smith County Sheriff’s Office, come out with your hands up,” according to the arrest warrant.

Two male individuals, Joshua Spurlock (25, Silver Point, Tennessee) and Richard Davidson (23, Smithville), walked out of the wooded area and were taken into custody. They stated they had been working on a truck, according to the arrest warrant.

When the rest of the team showed up, they started clearing out vehicles as they came to them. Along the way, they came into contact with a camper on the property, which they advanced to.

While searching the camper, Martha Hale (37, Smithville) was found hiding under a bed with a rifle beside her, according to the arrest warrant.

Hale was placed in custody and then taken back to the staging area with the weapon.

At the point, the search turned to Steve Mabe (44, Smithville). The officers cleared the building behind the camper and then started down some trails.

As they were going through the woods, they came into a clearing where marijuana plants were growing.

Gregory and Lt. Jenkins stayed behind at the camper to guard the plants. While waiting, they heard movement behind them.

The officers went back to the patch, and when they turned on their flashlights, they saw Mabe standing over a bundle of marijuana.

Mabe was told to freeze, and he took off running. As he was running, he turned to the right and fell, according to the arrest warrant.

When Jenkins and Gregory made it to the area where he fell, they looked for him.

According to the arrest warrant, Mabe had put on a ghillie suit and was hiding in the weeds.

Mabe was then found and taken into custody, and Deputy Silcox and Sgt. Gregory took him to the staging area. According to the arrest warrant, a Kel Tec .9 mm fell from Mabe’s waistband.

They went back to the Jeep and found the casing that had been fired earlier, according to the arrest warrant.

When they got Mabe back to the staging area, he was searched again, and a metal box with five oxycodone 15 mg were found in his pocket along with a blue plastic container with 27.3 g of meth in it. They then went back and harvested the marijuana and brought it out.

Units from Gordonsville, South Carthage and Carthage P.D. responded for backup initially and helped set up a perimeter and transport suspects.

Spurlock and Davidson were held for investigation and then released.

Water Bottle Refill Stations at Northside Elementary

October 9, 2017
Pictured from left to right, Cindy Childers CSH Assistant, Amy Lattimore DeKalb School Nutrition Supervisor, Elise Driver CSH Coordinator, Lisa Cripps DeKalb Prevention Coalition Coordinator, and Norene Puckett-DeKalb Prevention Coalition Community Outreach Liaison.
Water Bottle Refill Stations at Northside Elementary

Northside Elementary School has been the recipient of two water bottle refill stations. DeKalb Coordinated School Health purchased the stations, DeKalb School Nutrition will pay for the new filters each year, and the Healthier TN Community along with DeKalb Prevention Coalition, donated 800 reusable water bottles to every student and staff member at NES.

The water bottle refill stations have a filter and can fill 3 times faster than a regular water fountain. There is a sensor so the student will not have to touch anything on the station, just place the bottle and it fills and cuts off by itself. They also have a counter on them that records every time a 20oz water bottle is filled, so the school can see how many plastic bottles are being kept out of our landfills. The water bottle refill stations have already recorded over 3500 refills in just over 3 weeks since install.

"We hope that by putting in the water bottle refill stations that we can encourage students to drink more water instead of sodas and also be more eco-friendly. Due to all of these great partnerships, we will be able to make a difference in the health of our students and staff. We would also like to thank the principal, Mrs. Karen Knowles, for allowing us to implement this initiative at NES," said Elise Driver CSH Coordinator.

Pictured from left to right, Cindy Childers CSH Assistant, Amy Lattimore DeKalb School Nutrition Supervisor, Elise Driver CSH Coordinator, Lisa Cripps DeKalb Prevention Coalition Coordinator, and Norene Puckett-DeKalb Prevention Coalition Community Outreach Liaison.

DeKalb County Chosen To Participate In ‘Select Tennessee Property Evaluation Program’

October 9, 2017
State Representative Mark Pody

State Representative Mark Pody (R–Lebanon) joined with the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development today to announce that DeKalb County has been chosen to participate in the Select Tennessee Property Evaluation Program (PEP).

Launched in 2015, the purpose of the PEP is to improve the inventory of industrial sites and buildings in Tennessee by evaluating potential properties, advising counties on where investment may be most beneficial, and to discover what is needed to address issues found that may be impeding area economic development.

The PEP benefits counties by emphasizing the importance of and assisting with planning for future industrial development.

“Available and up-to-date industrial properties are essential for a community to be competitive in recruiting new business to the area,” said Representative Pody. “However, developing and maintaining such an inventory is a difficult task, and many of our communities do not have a large range of quality properties available for the market. Through the Select Tennessee Program, we will be able to get assistance from the state that will help us in readying industrial properties for near-term development as well as creating a pipeline of properties for future development.”

For each county selected to participate in Select Tennessee, the program includes an educational webinar on the site selection process, an on-site visit, and a comprehensive assessment addressing each area’s strengths, weaknesses, and recommended next steps to improve marketability.

“Inclusion in the PEP will trigger technical assistance which would otherwise cost thousands of dollars for our community,” continued Pody. “The result of the industrial property evaluations will mean that Dekalb County has a more attractive portfolio of industrial sites to attract prospects and help with future economic development in the area.”

Selection into the program is based on demonstrated local need for industrial properties and also on the county’s ability to assemble viable properties with market potential.

The application process begins with the submission of a letter of intent which is accepted at any time. Upon receipt of the letter, counties are provided with the program application. The letter of intent, along with more information about the Select Tennessee Program, can be found by visiting http://goo.gl/Zms3nm.

Mark Pody serves as Vice-Chairman of the House Consumer & Human Resources Committee. He is also a member of the House Consumer & Human Resources Subcommittee and House Insurance & Banking Committee. He can be reached by email at Rep.Mark.Pody@capitol.tn.gov or by calling (615) 741-7086.

Tatrow Found with Marijuana and Drug Paraphernalia

October 9, 2017
Dwayne Page
Patty Sue Tatrow
Larry Wayne Capshaw
Danny Lloyd Street

A Smithville woman was found with marijuana and drug paraphernalia after officers went to her home last week to serve a warrant on her in a separate case.

42 year old Patty Sue Tatrow of Jackson Street, Smithville is charged with possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia. Tatrow’s bond is $8,500 and her court date is October 26.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Tuesday, October 3 a detective accompanied probation and parole officers to Tatrow’s home to serve a warrant.

During a search of the home, officers found a back pack which contained a baggie of marijuana that weighed 0.55 ounces, a mason jar of marijuana which weighed 0.80 ounces, $793 in cash, digital scales, approximately 50 sandwich bags, and several forms of identification belonging to Tatrow. The detective placed Tatrow under arrest and seized the cash.

A man has been charged with misuse of the 911 system for making five fake emergency calls to central dispatch.

48 year old Larry Wayne Capshaw of Ike Adcock Road, Smithville is under a $1,500 bond and his court date is October 26.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Sunday and Monday, October 1 & 2 Capshaw made a total of five 911 calls. Deputies responded and conducted diligent searches each time but could find no suspicious persons hiding in the area as Capshaw alleged.

54 year old Danny Lloyd Street is charged with assault. His bond is $3,500 and his court date is October 26.

Sheriff Ray said that on Monday, October 2 a deputy responded to a call concerning a trespasser. Upon arrival the officer found a man who had been assaulted. He had marks and blood on his body. During the investigation it was determined that Street had been the primary aggressor which resulted in the intentional bodily injury to the victim.

Three Involved in Sunday Crash

October 9, 2017
Dwayne Page
2006 Ford F150, driven by 54 year old William Gash of Smithville
2002 Chevy TrailBlazer driven by 52 year old Cindy Woody of Smithville

Three people were involved in a two vehicle crash Sunday afternoon on Highway 56 north near Puckett’s Point Road.

Trooper Bobby Johnson of the Tennessee Highway Patrol told WJLE that 52 year old Cindy Woody of Smithville was driving south on Highway 56 in a 2002 Chevy TrailBlazer when she lost control while trying to negotiate a curve and crossed into the northbound lane. Her vehicle struck the driver side of a 2006 Ford F150, driven by 54 year old William Gash of Smithville. Gash’s wife Suzanne was a passenger with him.

The Gash’s were taken by DeKalb EMS to Cookeville Regional Hospital. Woody was transported by ambulance to Saint Thomas DeKalb Hospital.

Members of the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department were also on the scene along with the Cookeville Highway Station and Extrication and Rescue Team of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department.

NHC Dietary Department Wins Multiple Awards

October 9, 2017
NHC Dietary Department Wins Multiple Awards

The Dietary Department at NHC Smithville was recently recognized with three awards by the NHC Central Region: the White Glove Award for cleanliness and sanitation, the Customer Service Award for achieving high results in patient and family satisfaction, and the Rising Star Award for making consistent improvement in all measurement areas. They competed against 16 other NHC healthcare centers and assisted living facilities in Middle and East Tennessee.

“Our team was very honored to receive these awards. We were especially excited about the White Glove Award. This makes the second year in a row we have received this award. We take great pride in our kitchen and to be recognized as one of the best in our region is a tremendous honor.” Barbara Meadows, Dietary Manager said. “Our cooks, dietary aides, and all partners who assist in meal service deserve the credit for this recognition.”

The NHC Smithville Dietary Department serves over 2,450 meals per week to patients, families, partners, and customers. They take great pride in preparing balanced, healthy, and great tasting meals. The dietary partners are committed to patient centered care and go above and beyond to accommodate meal preferences.

NHC Smithville offers inpatient and outpatient rehabilitative care to adults of all ages on a short-term and continuing care basis. For more information about NHC Smithville, visit www.nhcsmithville.com or call (615) 597-4284.

Rep. Weaver Receives TN Champion of Prosperity Award

October 8, 2017
Dwayne Page
James Amundsen, Deputy State Director for Americans for Prosperity, presented Representative Terri Lynn Weaver the “Tennessee Champion Award”

State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver has received the “Tennessee Champion of Prosperity Award” from Americans for Prosperity – Tennessee (AFP-TN), the conservative grassroots organization fighting for lower taxes and limited government.

James Amundsen, Deputy State Director for Americans for Prosperity, presented Representative Weaver the award at Angie’s Diner in Smithville Friday during her monthly “Coffee and Conversations” meeting with constituents.

The “Champion of Prosperity” award is given to select lawmakers who scored 90 or higher in AFP-TN’s biannual legislative scorecard and voted against raising the gas tax.

“Today I presented Representative Weaver with our “Champions of Prosperity Award” which is in recognition for her support for free market economic policies throughout the legislative session. Terri Lynn has scored really high on our biannual legislative scorecard. We are also recognizing the fact that she stood up in defense of taxpayers in the state of Tennessee with her opposition to the Governor’s Improve Act, which we recognize as being a gas tax increase on the hardest working families in Tennessee. We wanted to make sure she was recognized for all of her efforts. We are doing a tour throughout the remainder of this month recognizing about 40 state legislators, both state representatives and state senators,” said Amundsen.

Representative Weaver said she is honored to receive the award.

“A majority of the people in our district did not want any more taxes. They are taxed enough. We stood our ground. I think we did a very good presentation of the peoples’ voice who didn’t want it (gas tax increase). Unfortunately we lost that battle. It takes a lot of spine to stand up in an atmosphere that is basically overwhelming you but the good news is that I can come back to my district and I can tell the people who sent me down there that I stood strong on this issue and that I will continue to stand strong and remain a voice for people who believe in free market values, capitalism , our constitution, and less government. When 65% of your district did not want this to happen (Governor’s Improve Act) that is a strong voice and I am honored that I am able to represent them,” said Representative Weaver.

Although Representative Weaver opposed it, the state gas tax increase under the Governor’s Improve Act was adopted by the state legislature and signed by the governor earlier this year. It took effect on July 1.

Swindle Handed Six Year Prison Sentence for Aggravated Burglary

October 8, 2017
Dwayne Page
Randall Joe Swindle
Roxanna Landis

A convicted felon who got in trouble with the law again after being involved in a break-in last December at a residence on Pea Ridge Road was in DeKalb County Criminal Court on Friday, October 6.

Judge David Patterson presided.

47 year old Randall Joe Swindle entered a plea to aggravated burglary and possession of a weapon by a felon. He received a six year sentence to serve in each case in the Tennessee Department of Corrections. The two terms are to run concurrently with each other and concurrently with a 16 year sentence against him in Franklin County. He was given jail credit here from December 12, 2016 through October 6, 2017.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Monday, December 5, 2016 Swindle was involved in a break-in on Pea Ridge Road. The intruder gained entry by prying open the front door, causing damage. Taken from the home were a Remington 1889 double barrel shotgun, a crescent 1900 double barrel shotgun, a sentry safe, and a jar of change. The total value of the stolen property came to approximately $1,500.

A check of Swindle’s criminal history showed him to be a felon convicted for aggravated burglary in Franklin County.

According to Sheriff Ray, Swindle admitted to having taken the guns from the Pea Ridge residence and having them in his vehicle. He was arrested on Monday, December 12, 2016. The case was investigated by Sheriff’s Department Detectives.

Swindle escaped on Tuesday, March 28 but was captured minutes later at the parking lot of Hardees Restaurant. He was indicted for the offense in April.

In a separate case, 33 year old Roxanna Landis entered a plea to four counts of forgery and received a two year TDOC sentence in each case on probation. The terms are to run concurrently with each other. Landis is to make restitution of $735.79 to the victim. The offenses occurred July 15, 25, & 28, 2016.

Man Caught Breaking Into Home Serves 122 Days in Jail, Gets Probation

October 8, 2017
Dwayne Page
Billy Eugene Cook
Michael Shayne Reeder

A man caught breaking into a residence almost a year ago was sentenced in DeKalb County Criminal Court on Friday, October 6.

Judge David Patterson presided.

48 year old Billy Eugene Cook entered a plea to aggravated burglary and received a three year TDOC sentence on probation except for 120 days to serve in the DeKalb County Jail. He was given jail credit for having served 122 days. He must also make $100 restitution to the victim.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Monday, October 17, 2016 a deputy responded to a residence on Andrew Jackson Boulevard due to a burglary. Upon arrival, the officer spoke to the homeowner, who said he found a man inside his home without consent. The intruder left before the officer got there. The homeowner identified Cook as the burglar and confirmed it after viewing a booking photo.

Cook was later found at DeKalb Market and though he resisted, the officer placed him under arrest. “While trying to place him in custody, Cook failed to comply with verbal commands. He physically tried to resist being placed in custody,” said Sheriff Ray

In a separate case, 43 year old Michael Shayne Reeder entered a plea to theft over $1,000 and received a two year TDOC sentence on probation. He has applied for judicial diversion. Reeder must make $1,000 restitution to the victim and he must forfeit his weapon.

Sheriff Ray said that on Friday June 2, 2017 Reeder stole two firearms, including a Smith & Wesson M&P AR-15 and a .22 caliber Ruger. The total value of the weapons is $2,000. The case was investigated by a sheriff’s department detective.


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