Local News Articles

Local Families to Adopt Children From Ukraine

October 11, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page
Todd and Missy Pack to Adopt 14 year old Misha from Ukraine
Todd and Missy Pack to Adopt 12 year old Mykola from Ukraine

After a bout with ovarian cancer several years ago, Missy Pack learned that she and her husband Todd would be unable to have biological children
of their own. But an encounter with a group of children from the Ukraine at their church in August got them thinking about parenthood through
adoption and it has changed their lives.

Through “Bridges of Faith”, an Alabama faith-based program, orphans from the Ukraine are brought to America for a period of cultural enrichment,
and it was during that August visit to their church, the Smithville First Assembly of God, where the Pack’s met ten kids from the Ukraine, including
two in particular who stole their hearts.

“That’s where we met the two children we are now planning to adopt. We knew right then they were for us” Todd told WJLE.

“These orphaned children came here for a visit and to be brought before the body of Christ to help get them adopted and while we knew the kids
would be here we had no clue at that time that we would be planning to adopt any of them. But when we saw them at the church and got to hug them I just knew instantly that God had called me to be two of these children’s momma. I am unable to have kids so for me to experience that fulfillment of becoming a momma, I knew that was God working and when He tells you to do it, you do it no matter where the children are from. You adopt these children and you give them a family,” said Missy to WJLE

After the children’s visit, Todd and Missy chose to adopt two boys, 14 year old Misha and 12 year old Mykola. But the process is lengthy and
expensive. “It takes time and money,” said Todd.

“We had to talk to a facilitator in Ukraine. We had to obtain passports and sign power of attorney over to him so that he could start the adoption
process there. We also have to do a lot of paper work here, go through background checks with the government, send our paper work over to the
Ukraine, and then it goes through the court system there. We will eventually have to go before a judge there to complete the adoption,”
added Todd.

“It’s going to cost about $36,000. We have $3,000 raised so far. Right now we’re raising funds for our end of the paperwork here. Before we go to
Ukraine we will need about $15,000 for our first trip. A lot of it is the traveling expense,” said Missy.

To help offset the costs, several fundraisers are planned including a benefit Chili Cook-Off and Silent Auction to be held on Saturday, October
22 at the county complex from 5:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. The chili dinner and cook-off competition begins at 6:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. and proceeds
raised will go to the Pack’s and another family planning to adopt, Will and Kim Frazier. The community is urged to show support for these families
by attending and participating in all the fundraisers.

The Pack's are looking forward to bringing Mykola and Misha home and they too are anxious to come live with their new family. “They love America. We get to see them sometimes on facebook chat with our friend in the orphanage with them. That last Saturday (during their visit), Mykola even
called me momma although momma means different for them. It means someone they trust and confide in,” She concluded.

Founded by the Reverend Tom Benz, Bridges of Faith International reaches out to orphans in Ukraine. Three to four times each year, Bridges of Faith brings Ukrainian orphans to BridgeStone, a 140 acre retreat center in Central Alabama, to taste Alabama culture, faith, and life. All volunteer
driven, hundreds of people from across America and Ukraine work together to demonstrate love for these kids. Though not an adoption agency,
families meet the children and often invite these kids into their forever families.

To follow the Pack's fundraising page visit
https://fundrazr.com/toddandmissypack

Lebanon Man Gets Three Years Probation for Swindling Local Businesses

October 11, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page
Greg Keith Oxendine
Steven Anthony Nelson
Christopher Gibbs
Amanda Nicole Wright

A Lebanon man who claimed to have a t-shirt printing business and swindled hundreds of dollars from five local businesses and a member of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department in 2014 was sentenced Friday, October 7 in Criminal Court.

Judge Gary McKenzie presided.

59 year old Greg Keith Oxendine entered a plea by criminal information to six counts of misdemeanor theft and received a total sentence of three years, all suspended to supervised probation. He must make restitution to the victims in the case.

According to Sheriff Patrick Ray, Oxendine’s crime spree locally took place in October, November, and December 2014 when he went to B&G Supply, Sue’s Taxidermy, Center Hill Nursery, Turtle’s Bar & Grill, AEI Recycling, and a member of the DeKalb County Fire Department and collectively swindled a total of $1,723.90 from them. In each case, Oxendine purported to have a printing business and took orders and down payments for caps, t-shirts, and hoodies but he never produced the merchandise and wouldn’t answer calls when the victims tried to contact him by phone.

Meanwhile, a Smithville man accused of threatening his wife with a knife in September 2015 was sentenced Friday. 39 year old Steven Anthony Nelson entered a plea to one count of aggravated assault and received a five year sentence, all suspended to supervised probation except for time served from January 12, 2016 to October 7, 2016. He is under a restraining order to keep away from the victim and he is to complete a drug treatment program at the Lighthouse. Sheriff Ray said that the incident occurred on September 19, 2015. According to a detective, Nelson’s wife said that at around 6:00 p.m. she and Nelson began arguing and that he grabbed and threw her to the ground. Nelson allegedly hit her several times while she was on the ground, tried to strangle her and then threatened her with a knife. After the assault, the woman left home and went to Mapco Express and got help.

A Dowelltown man, who suffered a non life threatening self inflicted gunshot wound last December, was in court Friday on a charge of unlawful possession of a weapon. 39 year old Christopher Gibbs entered a plea to the offense and received a sentence of two years, all suspended to supervised probation. He was given jail credit of fourteen days. Sheriff Ray said that on Tuesday, December 1, 2015 a Sheriff's Department Detective responded to a residence on Sims Street in Dowelltown in reference to a self inflicted gunshot wound. The detective spoke with the victim, Gibbs who had a 22 caliber Marlin rifle in his possession. Gibbs had suffered a non life threatening self inflicted gunshot wound to his shoulder. He was treated at the scene by DeKalb EMS but refused transport to the hospital. A criminal background check revealed that Gibbs is a felon having been convicted of a schedule II drug offense.

43 year old Gerald Kier entered a plea by criminal information to one count of theft over $500 and received a sentence of two years, all suspended to supervised probation. He must make restitution of $1,452 to Walmart and he is under a restraining order to keep away from the store. According to Smithville Police, Kier and two other individuals entered Wal-Mart on Sunday, August 14 at approximately 1:00 a.m. and could be seen on video surveillance taking an estimated $3,794.12 in merchandise. They were arrested and found to be in possession of several stolen items from Wal-Mart including hunting bows, knives, and other various merchandise valued at over $500. The cases against the co-defendants, 34 year old Wayne Lattimore and 29 year old Brenda Lattimore apparently remain pending in court.

28 year old Amanda Nicole Wright entered a plea by criminal information to attempted possession with intent to sell (meth) and a second offense of driving under the influence. She received a six year term in the drug case and 11 months and 29 days for the DUI to run concurrently and all suspended to time served. She was fined $2,000 and given jail credit from August 7 to October 7. Sheriff Ray said that on Sunday, August 7 a deputy responded to the area of Keltonburg Road and McMinnville Highway where a woman was observed passed out behind the wheel of a vehicle setting in the roadway. The officer stopped and awoke the driver, Wright. She had an empty 12 ounce can of beer in her lap. She also had an open container of beer in the cup holder of the automobile. The deputy detected a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on Wright. Her speech was slurred and she had bloodshot eyes. Wright performed poorly on field sobriety tasks and she was placed under arrest. During a search of Wright’s vehicle, the deputy found in her purse three small individual baggies containing a clear crystal substance which tested positive for methamphetamine (over .5 grams) and an empty baggie was found with traces of meth.

DeKalb Countians Urged To Practice Safe Debris Burning

October 10, 2016

The Tennessee Department of Agriculture Division of Forestry is observing National Fire Prevention Week by reminding citizens to follow simple safety practices to prevent wildfires.

National Fire Prevention Week begins Oct. 9. The official start of wildfire season in Tennessee is Oct. 15.

“It’s important, and required from October 15, 2016 to May 15, 2017, that citizens call for a burning permit and follow outdoor burning safety recommendations,” State Forester Jere Jeter said. “Throughout October and into November, the state is forecasted to experience above normal temperatures and below normal precipitation creating an expansion of drought now seen in southeast Tennessee. The permit system helps us communicate to the public when and where it is safe to burn and focuses attention on safety.”

The online burn permit system is free, fast and simple. If you are burning a leaf or brush pile that is smaller than 8 feet by 8 feet in size, log on to www.burnsafetn.org for approval. More than 300,000 permits are issued each year, and the online system provides a quick and efficient way to apply.

For a larger burn, apply for a free permit by calling your local Division of Forestry burn permit phone number Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. In DeKalb County (West of the Caney Fork River) call (615) 597-4015. In DeKalb County (East. of the Caney Fork River) call (931) 839-2328. In the City of Smithville call 615-215-3000.

Burn permits are only issued when conditions are conducive to safe burning. If you live inside city limits, there may be additional restrictions. Check with your municipality before you burn.

To learn what materials may not be burned, check the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation's Open Burning Guidelines at https://tn.gov/environment/article/apc-open-burning.

Burning without a permit is a Class C misdemeanor punishable by up to 30 days in jail and/or a fine. Wildfires caused by arson are a class C felony punishable by 3 to 15 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines. Anyone with information about suspected arson activity should call the state Fire Marshal’s Arson Hotline at 1-800-762-3017. The hotline is answered 24 hours a day, and you may remain anonymous when providing information. Cash awards are offered for information leading to an arrest or conviction. To report illegal burning, please call 1-888-891-TDEC.

Visit www.burnsafetn.org for additional tips to burn safely and to protect your community.

The Division of Forestry promotes the wise use of forest resources by assisting landowners, fighting wildfires, providing quality seedlings, monitoring insects and diseases, improving urban forests, managing state forests, protecting water quality and collecting forest inventory data. The Division also works to promote primary and secondary forest industries to stimulate the state’s economy. Visit http://www.tn.gov/agriculture/section/forests for more information.

Obtaining a Safe Debris Burning Permit by Phone

Burning permits by phone are available Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., except on holidays. Permits may be obtained in advance for weekends and holidays.

Permits will not be issued on days and in locations if it is considered unsafe to conduct a debris burn.

Carthage Man Charged with Criminal Trespassing and Assault

October 10, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page
Ian Joseph Prince
Amy Jeanette Lawson
Miriam Juanice Ellis
Laddie Bill Jerrells

A Carthage man has been arrested for allegedly entering a home on Snow Hill Road and assaulting the owner of the residence.

33 year old Ian Joseph Prince of River Wood Circle, Carthage is charged with aggravated criminal trespassing and assault. His bond is $3,000 and his court date is October 27. Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Saturday, October 8 a detective was dispatched to a residence on Snow Hill Road in regard to a possible domestic. Upon arrival, the detective spoke with Prince who was standing outside the home. Prince allegedly admitted to having kicked in the back door and then tried to remove an air conditioner from a window to gain entry into the residence. The back door was found on the ground. Once inside, Prince allegedly initiated a physical altercation with the homeowner.

39 year old Amy Jeanette Lawson of Haley Road, Smithville is charged with failure to appear, theft of property under $500, and fraudulent use of a credit card. Her bond is $6,000 and her court date on two of the charges is October 27. She will make a court appearance on the failure to appear warrant on November 8. Sheriff Ray said that on August 27 Lawson allegedly stole a wallet containing several items including a driver license, social security card, a Regions bank debit card, a Discover credit card, Buckle credit card, Victoria Secret credit card, and $100 cash. Lawson also allegedly used the Regions Bank debit card for $25.02 at the Liberty Stop N Buy.

Miriam Juanice Ellis of East Main Street, Murfreesboro is charged with driving under the influence. She was also cited for violation of implied consent and violation of the open container law. Her bond is $1,500 and her court date is October 27. Sheriff Ray said that on Thursday, October 6 a deputy responded to the area of Old Snow Hill Road in reference to a vehicle which had been on private property but had left. The officer spotted the vehicle setting partly in the roadway on Old Snow Hill Road. The driver, Ellis, had an odor of an alcoholic beverage on her person. Her eyes were bloodshot and her speech was slurred. Ellis submitted to but performed poorly on field sobriety tasks. She initially agreed but then refused to submit to a blood test.

56 year old Laddie Bill Jerrells of Long Street, Smithville is charged with failure to appear. His bond is $1,500 and his court date is October 27. Sheriff Ray said that Jerrells was served with a criminal summons for assault on September 25 and had ten days to be booked into the jail but he failed to report within that time frame. The warrant for failure to appear was issued on October 6.

Two Escape Injury in Rig Fire

October 10, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page
THP Trooper Sean Tramel, Sheriff's Deputy Joseph Carroll, and County Fire Chief Donny Green at scene of Rig fire Sunday
Two Escape Injury in Rig Fire

The driver and his son escaped injury Sunday after a fire started between the fuel tank and sleeper cab of their tractor trailer rig.

55 year old Jeffery Don Wells of Florida, the driver of the rig, and his son were reportedly enroute to Florida hauling five wrecked automobiles on their trailer when the fire started as they were at Highway 70 in Dowelltown.

Trooper Sean Tramel of the Tennessee Highway Patrol and Sheriff’s Deputy Joseph Carroll quickly arrived on the scene and used fire extinguishers to help put out the blaze. Members of the Liberty, the Main Station, and Short Mountain Highway Stations of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department also responded.

Five Juveniles Involved in Rollover Crash

October 9, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page
Five Juveniles Involved in Rollover Crash
Saturday Rollover Crash on Game Ridge Road

Five minors were involved in a one vehicle rollover accident Saturday evening on Game Ridge Road.

Trooper Jason Cobble of the Tennessee Highway Patrol told WJLE that the operator of a Jeep Cherokee was traveling toward Short Mountain Highway trying to negotiate a curve when the vehicle went off the right side of the road, came back across, and then ran off the left side and overturned, coming to rest on it’s top.

Three of the minors, two females and a male were taken to the hospital by DeKalb EMS where they were treated and released. Two other males in the vehicle were not injured.

All five were from the Smithville, Dowelltown, and Alexandria area.

Charges are pending.

Trooper Cobble did not release their names because they are all juveniles.

4-H Grill Masters

October 9, 2016
by: 
By: Leigh Fuson, 4-H Agent
Team: Kayla Belk placed 1st in beef, Wyatt Martin 2nd in pork, and James Mathis 3rd in poultry at the Central Region 4-H Outdoor Meat Cookery Contest in Lebanon.
State: Kayla Belk placed 3rd in the beef category at the State Outdoor Meat Cookery Contest in Knoxville

DeKalb County 4-H members Kayla Belk, James Mathis, and Wyatt Martin recently had a very successful day at the Central Region 4-H Outdoor Meat Cookery contest, held each year at the Wilson County Fair in Lebanon. Kayla took top honors and moved on to represent DeKalb County and the Central Region at the state competition on October 1st in Knoxville.

4-H’ers in grades 7-12 can participate in this fun contest that not only teaches them how to grill, but how to do it safely. Each contestant must start his or her own grill, prepare the meat, and cook it to perfection. On a four person team, each member is responsible for grilling a different species of meat: beef, poultry, lamb, and pork. They are judged throughout the cooking process to make sure they start their fires properly, prepare the meat safely, and cook it to the correct temperature. The meat itself is then judged on taste, texture, appearance, and originality of recipe.

This year, James Mathis placed 3rd in chicken, Wyatt Martin 2nd in pork, and Kayla Belk placed 1st in the beef category. Kayla also placed 3rd at the state contest! Congratulations on representing DeKalb County so well. We would also like to say thank you to Smithville Food Lion for helping to supply meat for the contest. If you are interested in competing in this contest next year, please contact the 4-H office at 615-597-4945.

Photo Captions
Team: Kayla Belk placed 1st in beef, Wyatt Martin 2nd in pork, and James Mathis 3rd in poultry at the Central Region 4-H Outdoor Meat Cookery Contest in Lebanon.

State: Kayla Belk placed 3rd in the beef category at the State Outdoor Meat Cookery Contest in Knoxville

"Trick or Treat Halloween Downtown" to be Held October 31

October 9, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page
Circuit Court Clerk Katherine Pack and Staff participated in Halloween Downtown last year

Parents, children, and local businesses are invited to join the City of Smithville and the Police Department's "Trick or Treat Halloween Downtown" Monday, October 31 from noon until 5:00 p.m.

Some offices in the DeKalb County Courthouse, Smithville City Hall, Smithville Police Department, Justin Potter Library, and participating businesses downtown will have candy and special treats for the children. Look for the stores and offices with a picture of an orange pumpkin on their windows. Maps will soon be available at the police department and Justin Potter Library to show parents which businesses will be taking part in the event.

WJLE will soon post a map at www.wjle.com.

For more information call Beth Adcock at the Smithville Police Department at 615-597-8210 extension 1 or check out the police department's face book page at https://www.facebook.com/SmithvillePoliceDepartment.

This event is sponsored by the Smithville Police Department and the Smithville City Hall.

Meanwhile, the Smithville-DeKalb County Chamber of Commerce will sponsor a “Best Costume Contest” for downtown businesses and offices. Take a picture and email it to swilliams@dekalbcountychamber.org or take a photo with your phone and send it to 615.464.7760 by 1:30 p.m. on October 31. First, second, and third place winners will be presented a “Halloween on the Square Best Costume Award”, media recognition, and bragging rights.

The Smithville Volunteer Fire Department will have special treats for children on Monday, October 31 from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m. Stop by for a hot dog, candy, and a tour of the Smithville Fire Hall. Meet with Smithville Fire Chief Charlie Parker and the Smithville Fire Department Volunteers.

Other communities and churches in the county will also be observing Halloween events this month.

THP Urges Motorists to Watch Out for Deer

October 9, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page
THP Urges Motorists to Watch Out for Deer

The Tennessee Highway Patrol cautions motorists to watch out for deer on or near the roadways this fall season. An increase in deer-related crashes is likely during the months of October through December due to deer mating and hunting season.

“A crash with a deer can be a very serious and dangerous incident,” THP Colonel Tracy Trott said. “Deer pose a danger to motorists throughout the year, especially in the fall. Our stats show November is typically the worst month for deer-related crashes. It is important motorist exercise caution, slow down and remain alert in areas where deer are populated.”

In Tennessee, between 2011 and 2015, 22 percent of deer-related crashes occurred on interstate highways. In 2015, there were 6,953 deer-related crashes, including 351 that involved injuries and 0 that were fatal. That was up by 8.15 percent from 6,429 the previous year. However, since 2011, deer-related crashes in Tennessee have increased 22.04 percent.

The Department of Safety and Homeland Security, Tennessee Highway Patrol and the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency suggest the following tips to help prevent deer-related crashes during peak mating and hunting seasons:

Remember that mating season puts deer on the move and deer tend to move at dawn and dusk.

•Whenever you see deer cross the road, expect more to follow. Many times, the second or third deer crossing becomes the one that motorists hit.

•Be attentive; drive defensively, constantly scanning the roadside, especially at daybreak and dusk.

•Do not swerve to avoid contact with deer. This could cause the vehicle to flip or veer into oncoming traffic, causing a more serious crash. Swerving also can confuse the deer as to where to run.

•When you spot a deer, slow down immediately. Proceed slowly until you pass that point.

•If you do collide with a deer, never approach the injured animal. They are powerful and can cause bodily harm to a human. Report any deer collision, even if the damage is minor.

“October and November are prime months for the rut, which is the time of year when male deer (bucks) are focused on seeking females,” Don King, Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency’s Chief of Information and Education said. “Many times bucks will be less aware of their surroundings, including traffic, as they follow their natural instincts in seeking does.”

In the event of a deer crash, move the vehicle as far off the road as possible, and dial *THP (*847) from an available cell phone for assistance. The call will be connected to the nearest THP Communications Center and a State Trooper will be dispatched to the location.

Tennessee law allows deer killed in a collision to be taken and used as food, as long as you contact the

nearest TWRA regional office and report the accident within 48 hours. For TWRA regional offices, visit the TWRA website at www.tnwildlife.org

Voter Registration Deadline for November Election is October 11

October 8, 2016
Dennis Stanley

Time is running out to get registered to vote. The deadline to register to vote in the November general election is Tuesday, Oct. 11.

To fill out a voter registration application or check your registration status, visit GoVoteTN.com.

" Now the deadline is approaching. If you plan to vote in the presidential election, your voter registration application must be received or postmarked by Tuesday," said Dennis Stanley, Administrator of Elections.

Election Day registration is not available. Early voting runs from Wednesday, Oct. 19, through Thursday, Nov. 3. Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 8.
Voters should bring valid photo identification. Photo IDs issued by Tennessee state government, including driver’s licenses, or the federal government are acceptable even if they are expired. College student IDs are not acceptable.

The easiest way for voters to find their polling locations, view and mark sample ballots, see their elected officials, districts and county election commission information as well as access online state and federal election results is through the GoVoteTN app. The app is free in the App Store or on Google Play.

In addition to casting their ballots, voters are encouraged to participate in Honor Vote program by dedicating their vote to someone who is currently serving, or has served, in the U.S. military. Enrolling allows voters to share their dedication online, across social media and by wearing a commemorative button on Election Day in honor of the veteran or service member they choose.

More information about what types of photo IDs are acceptable, the GoVoteTN app and the Honor Vote program can be found at GoVoteTN.com or by calling the DeKalb County Election Commission at 615-597-4146.

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