Local News Articles

Smithville Electric System to Build Another Substation

August 6, 2015
Dwayne Page
Future location of new SES substation at 1233 South College Street
John Robert Nixon

In order to provide a secondary source of power especially in times of emergencies and to ensure continued reliability for current and future demands, Smithville Electric System has acquired property to develop a new substation.

The facility, to be called the John Robert Nixon substation, will be located on just over five acres at 1233 South College Street. The name is in tribute to the man who has served as a member and Chairman of the Board of Smithville Electric since the utility was established 45 years ago. Construction is expected to begin soon with completion anticipated by late 2016 or early 2017.

While SES will continue to share the existing substation on West Main Street with TVA and Caney Fork Electric Cooperative, the new one will be solely for the use of Smithville Electric System.

"We're getting ready to build a second substation so we can have an alternate power source for the City of Smithville. This way we will be able to supply power to the entire city from either substation. We can do maintenance work on the West Main Street substation without shutting off the power to the entire city. Initially, we will transfer part of the supplied load from the West Main substation to the new one, " said Richie Knowles, Interim Manager of Smithville Electric System in an interview with WJLE Wednesday.

A secondary substation could also serve as a means of new industrial recruitment. " It will provide us a secondary feed for industries that might be looking at possibly coming to Smithville. That is usually their first question " do you have a dual feed"? At the moment we have to say no but we're working on that so in the future when they call we'll be able to say "yes we do". Hopefully that will help attract new industry and help us keep the industry we have," said Knowles.

According to Knowles, this location is ideal because it is directly beneath an existing transmission line route. Efforts will be made to keep it hidden from public view as much as possible. "It's going to be just one transformer. A small compact substation. It will set back off the road. Hopefully, it won't be unsightly to the neighborhood. We'll make it as clean as possible with fencing and landscaping. We'll try to make it as nice to the neighborhood as we possibly can," said Knowles.

TVA has already approved plans for the new substation, which will be approximately 105 feet x 192 feet in size. "TVA has approved the site. We got that approval before we purchased the property. We now have to get the substation designed, engineered, and do the grade work. Of course, we'll have to order all the materials and start assembling it. We hope to get the plans done in the next couple of months and maybe start the grade work before this winter. We hope to have it up and operational by late 2016 or early 2017," said Knowles.

DeKalb Middle School Celebrates Back to School

August 6, 2015
Dwayne Page

DeKalb Middle School held a Back to School Celebration Wednesday on the first full day of school.

Members of the school administration and faculty welcomed students as they entered the building.


Smithville Man Arrested in Rash of Forgeries

August 5, 2015
Dwayne Page
Enrique (Ricky) Adelaido Lomas
Lynda Erika Brown
 David Colby Johnson
William Andrew Cantrell
James Danny Troglen
Jonathon Charles Hall
Kimberly Ann Patterson
Larry James Pedigo Jr.
Rebecca Jade Andrews
David Earl Hickman, Jr
Jennifer Nicole Miller
Christopher James Sherfield

A Smithville man has been arrested in a rash of recent forgeries for passing stolen checks to an individual and at three local businesses.

22 year old Enrique (Ricky) Adelaido Lomas of Bright Hill Road, Smithville is charged with eight counts of forgery and one count of theft of property under $500. His bond totals $121,500 .He will be in court on August 6. The cases were investigated by a Sheriff's Department Detective.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Monday, July 6 Lomas stole a check from the glove box of a truck. He was charged with theft in that case.

Lomas then passed forged checks to another individual for $150 on Tuesday, July 7 and for $130 on Friday, July 10. In at least one case, white out was used as Lomas changed the amount of the check.

Meanwhile on Thursday, July 16, Lomas passed forged checks in amounts of $120 and $80 at Kwik N Ezy.

Five days later on Tuesday, July 21 Lomas passed forged checks in amounts of $100 & $65 to Disco Tienda Latina, $100 to Kwik N Ezy and $100 to Mercadito Chabelita

In some cases the checks were flagged as stolen and returned to the merchants.

31 year old Lynda Erika Brown of Punta Gorda, Florida and 28 year old David Colby Johnson of North Fort Myers, Florida are each charged with being a fugitive from justice. Bond for each was $50,000. Both had a failure to appear warrant against them in Florida for possession of a controlled substance (marijuana) over 20 grams. Since their arrests, the two have been extradited back to Florida.

46 year old William Andrew Cantrell is charged with a third offense of driving on a revoked license. He is under a $5,000 bond and will be in court on September 24. Sheriff Ray said that on Wednesday, July 22 a deputy saw Cantrell driving a vehicle on Braswell Lane. Knowing that Cantrell's license were revoked, he stopped the automobile. Cantrell could not produce a valid driver license. A computer check confirmed that his license were revoked on September 25, 1992 for DUI. His previous DRL offenses were on September 2 & 8 2005.

49 year old James Danny Troglen of Doyle is charged with driving under the influence. He was further issued a citation for driving on roadways laned for traffic. His bond is $1,500 and he will be in court on September 24. Sheriff Ray said that Wednesday, July 22 a deputy spotted a white car crossing the white dotted line and white emergency line of the road. He made a traffic stop and spoke with the driver, Troglen whose speech was slurred. When asked if he had been drinking or taking medication, Troglen said he had just left the hospital. Troglen said he had been given some medication including a pill intended to make him sleep. When asked what day it was, Troglen said July 16 when it was actually July 22. He also did not seem to know where he was at the time. He submitted to but performed poorly on field sobriety tasks. He also took a blood test and was placed under arrest.

28 year old Jonathon Charles Hall of Magnolia Lane, Smithville is charged with domestic assault. His bond is $2,500 and he will be in court August 27. Sheriff Ray said that on Thursday, July 23 a deputy was dispatched to a residence on Magnolia Lane due to a domestic complaint. Upon arrival, the officer determined that Hall had assaulted his brother by punching him in the face during a fight. The victim's right eye was swollen from the blow. According to the deputy, Hall got off the couch and went into the kitchen where he got into an argument with his brother which resulted in a fight. Hall was placed under arrest.

47 year old Kimberly Ann Patterson of Toad Road, Dowelltown is charged with possession of a schedule II drug (Dilaudid) for resale. Her bond is $25,000 and she will be in court on August 27. Sheriff Ray said that on Friday, July 24 a sheriff's department detective went to Patterson's residence on Toad Road and spoke with her. During a discussion about a search, Patterson produced money and a silver container from her bra. The cash totaled $200. Inside the container were four and a half pills believed to be Dilaudid. She was placed under arrest.

39 year old Larry James Pedigo Jr. of Luttrell Avenue is charged with driving under the influence. He was further issued a citation for violation of the implied consent law and driving on roadways laned for travel. His bond is $1,500 and he will be in court on September 24. Sheriff Ray said that on Tuesday, July 28 a deputy saw a red Mustang driving 25 miles an hour in a 40 mile per hour speed zone. The car crossed into the turning lane multiple times. The officer stopped the vehicle and spoke with the driver, Pedigo who had a difficult time retrieving his wallet. His speech was also slurred. Pedigo performed poorly on field sobriety tasks and refused to submit to a blood alcohol test.

35 year old Rebecca Jade Andrews of Smithville is charged with domestic assault. Her bond is $2,500 and she will be in court on August 6. Sheriff Ray said that on Thursday, July 30 a deputy responded to Cookeville Highway after receiving a report that a woman had fallen by the road. Upon arrival, the officer spoke to a man who said that he and Andrews had been in an argument but that she had left. The man said Andrews was very intoxicated and had asked him for $250. When he refused to give her money, Andrews became irate. He claims Andrews began calling him names, spat on him, threw a beer can at him, and slapped him in the face. When he pushed her away from him, Andrews ran toward the road where she fell and busted her mouth. He said a man in a red truck stopped and picked her up. She was apparently dropped off at the sheriff's department. The officer came back to the jail and spoke with her there. She was determined to have been the primary aggressor and was placed under arrest.

43 year old David Earl Hickman, Jr. of Pea Ridge Road, Elmwood, Tennessee is charged with failure to appear. His bond is $2,500 and he will be in court August 13. Sheriff Ray said that on March 28 through April 4 Hickman failed to report to the DeKalb County Jail to serve a weekend sentence as part of a 30 day term due to failure to pay child support.

29 year old Jennifer Nicole Miller of McMinnville Highway, Smithville is charged with domestic assault. Her bond is $2,500 and she will be in court August 13. Sheriff Ray said that on Saturday, August 1 a deputy was dispatched to a residence on McMinnville Highway due to a domestic complaint. Upon arrival, the officer spoke with a man and his wife, Miller who said they had gotten into an argument which escalated into a fight resulting in the man suffering a bloody nose. The deputy found no marks or injuries to Miller. She was determined to have been the primary aggressor and was placed under arrest.

39 year old Christopher James Sherfield of Pine Grove Road, Smithville is charged with driving under the influence. His bond is $1,500 and he will be in court September 24. Sheriff Ray said that on Saturday, August 1 a deputy was dispatched to 186 Page Drive due to a report of an unresponsive man in a truck. Upon arrival, the officer found Sherfield asleep in the driver's seat with his foot on the brake and the keys in the ignition. Beside of Sherfield in the truck was a glass bottle of liquor, a bottle of juice, and some beer. The deputy detected a strong odor of alcohol coming from the truck. After waking him, the officer noticed that Sherfield's eyes were bloodshot and his speech was slurred. He was also very unsteady on his feet. He performed poorly on field sobriety tasks and he submitted to a blood test.

TDOT to Host Public Meeting on Highway 56 Project (VIEW MAP HERE)

August 5, 2015
Dwayne Page

The Tennessee Department of Transportation has scheduled a public information meeting on a project to reconstruct State Route 56 from south of the Warren County line to Magness Road in DeKalb County.

Dekalb 56 Location Map (EPD).pdf (307.76 KB)

Bids are to be opened in December.

The public meeting will be Thursday, August 20 from 6:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. in the auditorium of the DeKalb County Complex at 712 South Congress Boulevard in Smithville. The meeting will consist of a presentation of the project followed by a question and answer session. The public is invited to ask questions and make comments during the meeting. Representatives of TDOT will be present to answer questions on any aspect of the project.

Funding for the construction, $6.8 million, is included in the state's 2015-16 budget under the general Expedited Project Delivery (EPD) category of the 2015-17 three year work program. However, the new stretch of highway to be built will look different from TDOT's original, more costly plan.

Instead of building a four lane divided and five lane road, TDOT now proposes to build a two lane undivided section containing two 12 foot travel lanes and two 12 foot shoulders (10 feet paved). This proposed project will maintain corridor preservation and allow for future expansion. The project is 3.25 miles in length.

Meanwhile plans are available for public inspection at the offices of Robert Rodgers, 4005 Cromwell Road, Chattanooga, TN 37421. Phone 423-510-1138.

Change of Plea Hearing Scheduled in Federal Case Against Larry Webb

August 4, 2015
Larry Webb

Larry Webb, the former deputy director of the Upper Cumberland Development District, is expected to be in U.S. District Court this month for a change of plea hearing.

According to an order entered on Wednesday, July 29, U.S. District Judge Aleta Trauger has set this change of plea hearing for Monday, August 17 at 3:00 p.m.

The Herald-Citizen reports that Webb, along with former UCDD director Wendy Askins, pled not guilty in September 2014 to a variety of federal charges, including 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.

The indictment alleges that Askins, who was the executive director of the UCDD, and Webb, who was the deputy director of UCDD, 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 allegedly 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 allegedly 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, according to the indictment.

In order to cover up the illegal activity, Askins and Webb allegedly directed other individuals to alter the official minutes of the UCDD board meeting that occurred on Feb. 16, 2010, and to delete audio recordings of all UCDD meetings, according to the indictment.

If convicted on those federal charges, Askins faces up to 225 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 220 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.

The case is set to go to jury trial Sept. 22 in Nashville.

Student Enrollment Down Slightly from Last Year

August 4, 2015
Dwayne Page
Joey Reeder

Enrollment in the DeKalb County School System is down slightly from last year at this time.

According to Attendance Supervisor Joey Reeder, a total of 2,909 students were enrolled as of Monday, August 3.

"These (numbers) are pretty fluid and will be until Labor Day. We'll have people coming in and moving out but as of this morning (Tuesday, August 4) we're at 2,909 which is a few down from where we were last year. As of Monday, August 3 we had 849 students at the high school; 521 at DeKalb Middle School; 647 at Northside Elementary; 533 at Smithville Elementary; and 356 at DeKalb West School for a total of 2,909. I think we'll be somewhere close to where we were last year by the time it is all said and done," said Reeder.

Attendance is important and Reeder encourages students to be in school on time every day when classes are in session. "According to Tennessee state law, once you miss five unexcused days in a school year you are considered truant. Juvenile Court Judge Bratten Cook, II has been a big friend to education. He realizes the importance of education and he wants all our students in school. He has been a big help. Court is often a last resort. We try to intervene using various other tactics before we take them to court. First, we'd like our teachers to be in contact with parents and let them know if a child is not attending school or as much as they should. The law says it's the parent's responsibility to see that the child is in school. Once you (students) reach that threshold of five unexcused days, you are considered truant. Of course you will not be in court for five unexcused absences but we will be in contact with you. It's very important that your child is in school as many days as they possibly can be," said Reeder.

"We have a real large problem with tardies in our school system and it's probably a bigger issue at the lower grades than the upper grades. Certainly, if you have a child in the first or second grade and they are late to school, it is not the student's fault because it's the parent who brings them to school. Remember if you bring your child to school it's important that you have them there at 7:45 a.m. and don't drag in at eight o'clock because that causes more work for everyone and they (students) miss a little bit of instruction. If you can't get up and get your kids to school on time, put them on the school bus. The bus will get them there on time. Very seldom do we have buses late for school unless there are mechanical difficulties. It would be a big help if more people used our bus system. We have a tremendous amount of kids that are brought to school by the parents which is fine but just try to get them there on time," said Reeder.

Meanwhile, Reeder said parents and students are urged to take advantage of the "Skyward" student information system. "This is our second year using the program. It was a tremendous asset to us last year and it will be an asset to parents and students if they choose to use it. It's an online tool where you can get registered and check your child's attendance. You can check a child's grade up to date. It's real time information. For example, if you have a child in the third grade and you want to log on and look this afternoon, you can see what their grade is in science. It's a tremendous tool and we've had a lot of people take advantage of it. If you are a parent or guardian of a student in DeKalb County and would like to keep track of important information like attendance, grades, discipline, and many more areas, please contact our student information system manager, April Odom by email. We have found this is the easiest way to activate your parent/guardian account. Please contact her at aodom@k12tn.net. If you will email her and say I'd like some more information on "Skyward" she will get you set up. She has to email you back with a password and log in information. It's a good feature. If I had a child in school I would certainly get signed up where I could keep track of them. This year our high school students were able to log on to "Skyward" a week or ten days before school started and see their class schedule. It allows you to communicate with your teachers via email. It'll enhance your child's education if it's used correctly," said Reeder.

City Seeks Resumes for Police Chief

August 4, 2015
Dwayne Page
Mayor and Aldermen

Although a lawsuit remains pending against the City of Smithville over the termination of former Police Chief Randy Caplinger, a majority of the aldermen voted Monday night to begin the process of finding a new chief.

Upon the recommendation of Mayor Jimmy Poss, the aldermen voted 3-2 to advertise seeking resumes from persons interested in becoming the city's next police chief. Aldermen Danny Washer, Jason Murphy, and Gayla Hendrix voted in favor. Aldermen Josh Miller and Shawn Jacobs voted against, preferring to wait until the outcome of Caplinger's lawsuit.

"I think it's time we start advertising for a police chief. We've been a pretty good while without one. (Captain) Steven (Leffew) is doing a great job. But I think it's time we started thinking about it. We're talking about advertising for resumes. That's just my idea. I want to see what you think about it," said Mayor Poss.

"I think we should have already been advertising for it. Not that Steven has not been doing a good job but I'm not for sure he wants this burden on him forever. I do think we need to go forward with that," said Alderman Hendrix.

Aldermen Murphy and Washer agreed.

But Alderman Miller said anyone selected should serve on an "interim" basis until the Caplinger lawsuit is settled. "I would like to see him be named interim chief until things are smoothed over," he said.

City Attorney Vester Parsley said the city could still accept resumes in the meantime. "We can advertise for resumes and go from there. We're not talking about getting into the pure application process. We're talking about seeing what interest is out there and let them submit resumes to be considered later. There would be more (in the selection process) than just the resume later on. We're not talking about an "interim" at this time. We're just talking about taking some resumes. Depending upon when we get a hearing on the other (Caplinger lawsuit), we're hoping that would be pretty soon but we don't have a date set for that hearing," said Parsley

In the lawsuit, attorneys for Caplinger, Sarah Cripps and Brandon Cox are asking, among other things, that the court "hold and declare that Caplinger's suspension without pay effective March 13, 2015 is invalid, and hence, a nullity" and that Caplinger be allowed to "receive all accrued back pay from March 13, 2015 until the date of the hearing in this cause".

"We are seeking to have Chief Caplinger restored to his rightful position as chief. We are also asserting that he is entitled to receive all accrued back pay and every other benefit to which he would be entitled had this unlawful suspension and termination never occurred," Cripps told WJLE when the lawsuit was filed.

Suspected Drug Dealer and Sex Offender Arrested

August 3, 2015
Dwayne Page
 Thomas Braxton Nix

A suspected drug dealer and sex offender was arrested twice last month by the Sheriff's Department.

20 year old Thomas Braxton Nix of Morgan Drive, Smithville is charged with possession of a schedule II drug for resale (methamphetamine), possession of a schedule VI drug for resale (marijuana), possession of a schedule IV drug for resale (alprazolam), and possession of a schedule III drug for resale (hydrocodone). He is also charged with statutory rape of a 14 year old girl in a separate offense. His total bond is $300,000. Nix will make a court appearance on the charges August 27.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Monday, July 20 a sheriff's department detective stopped a red Grand Am on Terrell Road after observing the car weaving on Highway 70 east. As he approached the vehicle, the detective noticed that the driver (Nix) was moving around inside. The officer asked Nix to exit the vehicle. When Nix got out of the driver's seat, the detective spotted a cellophane pack containing four alprazolam pills. After Nix gave consent for a search of his person, the detective spotted a small piece of ICE (meth) on the ground and behind the vehicle was a baggie containing ICE (meth). Inside of Nix's wallet were seventeen- 7.25 milligram Hydrocodone pills. During a search of the vehicle, the detective also found a blue and black bag that held two Mason jars. One of the jars was full of marijuana and the other had two marijuana buds. Two digital scales, several baggies, and a marijuana shredder were also found in the bag. Nix had a total of 23.4 grams of meth, 2.66 ounces of marijuana, four alprazolam pills, and seventeen hydrocodone pills along with $853 cash. Nix admitted selling meth and he was placed under arrest

The next day, Tuesday July 21, Nix was charged with statutory rape. According to Sheriff Ray, Nix was arrested by another detective for sexually penetrating a victim at a residence on County House Road. At the time of the incident, the female victim was 14 years old. Nix is 20 years old.

Audas Gets Probation in Assault Case

August 3, 2015
Dwayne Page
Joseph Stephen Audas

A Dowelltown man answered to an aggravated assault charge against a woman Monday, July 27 in DeKalb County Criminal Court.

30 year old Joseph Stephen Audas pled guilty to the offense and received a three year sentence, all suspended to supervised probation. Audas was granted judicial diversion with his probation to be transferred to Warren County. Audas was given 229 days jail credit.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Thursday, July 10, 2014 Audas allegedly tied the woman's wrist and hands with a belt and held her down at knifepoint while hitting her in the face. During the assault, Audas allegedly struck the woman's left ear and cut her under the chin and throat with the knife.

27 year old Brandon Hutchings pled guilty to aggravated burglary and received a five year sentence to serve. The term is to run consecutive to a violation of probation sentence against him. He was given jail credit of 420 days.

43 year old Glenda Chapman pled guilty to two counts of forgery and received a two year sentence in each case to run concurrently with each other. She will be on probation and has made application for judicial diversion. Chapman must make restitution of $3,675 to the victim.

45 year old Billy Dobbs pled guilty to attempted manufacture of marijuana and received a two year sentence on supervised probation. He was fined $2,000 and given jail credit of 64 days.

38 year old Jermaine McCoy pled guilty to possession for resale and sale of a schedule II drug. He received a four year sentence for possession and three years for sale to be served consecutively for a total of seven years but the term has been suspended to community corrections probation. He was fined $2,000.

31 year old Brandon Tallent pled guilty to sale of a schedule III drug and violation of probation. The terms are to run concurrently with each other and concurrently with another VOP against him. He received a two year sentence to serve in the drug case. He must serve the balance of a three year sentence for the VOP with 195 days credit.

39 year old Dennis Jason Reeder pled guilty to driving under the influence. He must serve 45 days. The sentence is to run concurrently with a White County case against him and with his current probation. He was fined $350.

34 year old Cynthia Carter pled guilty to driving on a revoked license and received a six month sentence on probation, supervised by CPS.

Off Duty City Official Charged with DUI

August 3, 2015
Dwayne Page
Hunter Hendrixson

An off duty City of Smithville employee has been charged with driving under the influence and violation of the implied consent law.

Hunter Hendrixson, who serves as city administrator, is to make an appearance in General Sessions Court on Thursday, August 27.

He was pulled over on Vaughn Lane at 2:15 a.m. Friday morning, July 31 by Sergeant Charlie Caplinger of the Tennessee Highway Patrol.

According to the complaint, " I, Sergeant Charlie Caplinger was traveling east on Vaughn Lane. I noticed a gray pickup truck (2002 Dodge Ram 1500) traveling across the center double line several times. I observed this at least four times before a traffic stop was made. Upon approach I found Mr. Hendrixson behind the wheel with a strong smell of an intoxicant about his person. He admitted to drinking prior to driving. I asked him to perform field sobriety tasks in which he could not perform as demonstrated. Each field sobriety task showed clues of impairment. He was placed under arrest and transported to the DeKalb County Jail for warrants. Mr. Hendrixson was charged with a first offense of driving under the influence. I read the Tennessee Implied Consent form and asked him to provide blood for blood alcohol content. Mr. Hendrixson stated that he would not give blood for sample. This is a violation of TCA (Tennessee Code Annotated)".

Hendrixson was off duty at the time and was driving his own personal vehicle.


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