Local News Articles

Smithville Christmas Parade Float Winners (View Videos Here)

December 4, 2016
Dwayne Page

Pedigo's New and Used won 1st place at the Smithville Christmas Parade Saturday for their float entry "Radio Flyer" wagon

The Smithville Lions Club received 2nd place at the Smithville Christmas Parade for their float entry "A Christmas Story"

The Smithville First Assembly of God received 3rd place at the Smithville Christmas Parade for their float entry "God of this City"

The DeKalb Junior Pro Football Players and Cheerleaders won the "Spirit Award" at the Smithville Christmas Parade presented by the Smithville Business and Professional Women's Club

Smithville Christmas Parade Videos (VIEW ENTIRE PARADE HERE)

December 3, 2016
Dwayne Page

Spectators lined the streets Saturday eagerly awaiting the arrival of Santa in the annual Christmas Parade sponsored by the Smithville Volunteer Fire Department.


Enthusiastic kids and grownups alike enjoyed the sights and sounds of this long awaited annual event which included floats, horseback riders, horse drawn wagons, boy and girl scouts, veterans, vintage automobiles, emergency vehicles, the DCHS band, State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver and of course, Santa Claus.

Smithville Christmas Parade (Part 2)

Winning first place among the float entries was Pedigo’s New and Used” Radio Flyer wagon

Second Place went to the Smithville Lions Club’s “A Christmas Story”

The Smithville First Assembly of God received third place for their float “God of this City”.

The Spirit Award, presented by the Smithville Business and Professional Women's Club, went to the DeKalb County Junior Pro Football Players and Cheerleaders.

The Liberty Christmas Parade will be Sunday, December 4 starting at 2:00 p.m. weather permitting.

NHC Smithville Honors CNA’s of the Year

December 2, 2016
CNA’s of the Year at NHC Smithville
Maria Amaya,  NHC Smithville’s nominee for CNA of the Year for all NHC centers in the Central Region

Certified Nurse Aides (CNA) provide essential care in healthcare settings by assisting patients with activities of daily living. Nine area residents were recently recognized as CNA’s of the Year at NHC Smithville. Dekota Watson, Maria Amaya, Nicole Stanfield, Pam Sims, Darlene Donelson, Cassie Dyer, Sue Cook, Opal Parker, and Susie White, were honored at the Nashville Zoo at Grasmere with a day of fun and a banquet. They celebrated with other honored CNA’s from NHC HealthCare Centers throughout Middle Tennessee and Southern Kentucky. The keynote speaker this year was Tennessee Titan for Life and former Linebacker, Mr. Tim Shaw. Mr. Shaw, recently diagnosed with ALS, shared a wonderful message of gratitude, hope, and service with all honorees.

The honorees were evaluated on knowledge and performance of their duties, among other key factors. Mrs. Maria Amaya was further recognized as NHC Smithville’s nominee for CNA of the Year for all NHC centers in the Central Region. NHC Smithville Director of Nursing, Melinda Wilson, said, “Each of these CNA’s are hard-working, professional, compassionate, caring, honest, understanding, and highly skilled. They are a tremendous asset to NHC Smithville and we are truly fortunate to have them as valued partners.”

NHC Smithville offers inpatient and outpatient rehabilitative care and accepts Medicare, Medicaid, private insurance, workers compensation, managed care, and private funds. The inpatient healthcare center offers skilled nursing and rehabilitation services to adults of all ages on a short-term and long-term basis. NHC Smithville’s outpatient clinic offers physical, occupational, and speech therapy services to infants, children and adults of all ages. For more information about NHC Smithville, visit www.nhcsmithville.com or call (615) 597-4284.

PHOTOS (L to R (STANDING): Susie White, Clint Hall (Administrator), Melinda Wilson (Director of Nursing), Dekota Watson, Darlene Donelson, Sue Cook, Pam Sims, Opal Parker, Nicole Stanfield, and Cassie Dyer. (IN FRONT): Ryan Vaden (Administrator in Training), and Tim Shaw (Titan for Life). #2-Maria Amaya, CNA of the Year.

Farris Gets Five Year Sentence in Meth Case

December 2, 2016
Dwayne Page
Eddy Farris
Donald Atnip, Jr.
Richard Leon McDaniel

A man arrested by Smithville Police in June during a drug bust appeared for sentencing in DeKalb County Criminal Court on Monday.

35 year old Eddy Farris entered a plea by information to possession of a schedule II drug for sale and delivery and received a sentence of five years to serve. The term is to run concurrently with a violation of probation against him. He was fined $2,000.

Acting on a complaint of illegal drug activity, Smithville Police went to a residence on Jennings Lane Thursday, June 16 and found Farris with meth and drug paraphernalia. After entering the residence, police observed Farris trying to hide under a bed mattress. While there officers were informed by Central Dispatch that Farris had active warrants against him. During a search, police recovered a black camera case containing a baggie with a white crystallized substance believed to be meth weighing approximately 7 grams, a burnt glass straw with a copper filter, a set of scales, a burnt light bulb configured with a straw coming out of the end, a spoon with a white substance melted onto it and a loaded syringe with a white substance inside.

31 year old Donald Atnip, Jr. entered a plea to aggravated burglary and received a five year sentence all suspended to supervised probation except for one year to serve. The sentence is to run concurrently with a violation of probation against him. He was given jail credit from June 11 to July 11 and from October 31 to November 28. Sheriff Patrick Ray said that Atnip allegedly broke into a residence on Page Drive on Sunday, November 1, 2015 and took a flat screen Visio television valued at $300. He allegedly admitted to entering the home and taking the TV. The case was investigated by a sheriff's department detective.

41 year old Richard Leon McDaniel entered a plea to reckless aggravated assault and received a two year sentence on supervised probation. He must also receive domestic violence counseling. Sheriff Ray said that on Thursday, February 11 McDaniel allegedly assaulted his girlfriend by shoving her into the wall which caused an injury to her face. He also allegedly tried choking and pointing a knife at her saying he was going to kill her. He was given one day of jail credit.

43 year old Regina C Valdez entered a plea by criminal information to reckless endangerment and received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days on probation supervised by CPS until court costs are paid and then her probation will be unsupervised. She was arrested for DUI and cited for violation of implied consent on August 2, 2015. Smithville Police Officer Lance Dillard observed a vehicle traveling on East Broad Street crossing over the center line without properly functioning tail lights. He initiated a traffic stop and spoke with Valdez who had a strong odor of alcohol on her person. Valdez performed poorly on sobriety tasks. Her speech was slurred and she was unsteady on her feet. Valdez refused to submit to a blood test.

50 year old Edward Wayne Tarpley, Jr. entered a plea by criminal information to aggravated assault and driving under the influence. He received a three year sentence in the assault case and 11 months and 29 days for the DUI to run concurrently with each other and concurrently with a Rutherford County case against him. He was given jail credit from January 21 to January 22 and from February 12 to November 28

Christmas Marketplace and Yard Sale for DCHS Project Graduation Coming Saturday

December 2, 2016
Dwayne Page
DCHS Seniors Bailey Redmon and Caitlyn Lawrence invite you to  the Christmas Marketplace and Yard Sale for DCHS Project Graduation Saturday
Christmas Marketplace and Yard Sale for DCHS Project Graduation Coming Saturday

Members of the DCHS Class of 2017 are asking for your support of Project Graduation by shopping the Christmas Marketplace and Yard Sale on Saturday, December 3.

The event will be held at the First Baptist Church Life Enrichment Center on the corner of West Church and North College Street in Smithville. Pictures with Santa will be from noon until 3:00 p.m. Craft Vendors Marketplace Booths available for $25. An Indoor Yard Sale, Poinsettia Sale, Silent Auction, and Chili and Hot Dog Lunch will also be held. Come out and support Project Graduation. For more information contact Elizabeth Redmon at 615-464-5446 or Tracy Lawrence at 615-464-5229.

Also remember to make a donation to the Class of 2017 DCHS Project Graduation account at any DeKalb County branch office of Liberty State Bank

DTC Ending Its Mobile Wireless Network Operation

December 1, 2016
Dwayne Page
DTC Chief Executive Officer Chris Townson

DTC Communications is getting out of the mobile wireless business.

In a letter to customers last week, Christopher Townson, DTC Chief Executive Officer announced that Advantage Cellular Systems, Inc also known as DTC Wireless will cease operation of its mobile wireless network as of January 31, 2017.

Subscribers of DTC’s fixed wireless service, landline voice service, broadband internet service, DTC TV service, DTC’s First Choice Security or other services provided by DTC Communications will not be affected by this change.

“The decision to cease operating the network is based on the high cost to provide wireless service to our area. For years, DTC Wireless has provided quality wireless services to an area in Middle Tennessee that larger network carriers refused to serve. In recent years, the local wireless market has changed significantly, including the reduction of roaming partners and a lower number of customers subscribing to DTC Wireless Services,” Townson wrote.

“We have greatly valued you as a customer and regret that we cannot continue to serve you in this capacity. However, there are several local options for replacement service. Carriers like Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, Straight Talk Wireless and other providers all offer some level of wireless services in the DTC area. You may port your number to another provider until January 31, 2017, but not after. It is necessary for you to switch to another carrier prior to January 31, 2017”.

“If you have not transitioned your wireless service to another service provider by December 15, 2016, one of our customer service representatives will contact you to assist you with the transition to another provider”, the letter concluded.

If you have any questions, call (800) 772-8645.

District Attorney General Pleased with Cody Key Sentence (LISTEN TO HIS COMMENTS HERE)

December 1, 2016
Dwayne Page
District Attorney General Bryant Dunaway

District Attorney General Bryant Dunaway is pleased that 25 year old Cody Key is going to prison over the beating death of 23 month old Colten Alexander May.

“It was a good result. A reasonable result and it sends him to prison for the next 45 years,” DA Dunaway told WJLE Thursday after Key entered a plea in Putnam County Criminal Court to second degree murder and received a sentence of 45 years to be served at 100%.He will receive jail credit of 563 days for time served from May 19, 2015 to December 1, 2016.


Key and the child’s mother, 20 year old Jessica May were indicted by the DeKalb County Grand Jury on Tuesday, May 19, 2015 in the youngster’s death. Key was indicted for first degree felony murder and aggravated child abuse. May was indicted for aggravated child neglect.

The couple brought the child to the emergency room of Saint Thomas DeKalb Hospital on Sunday morning, May 17 but he was already dead. It was determined that the child had suffered internal and other physical injuries that resulted in his death. Law enforcement officers concluded that Key had beaten the child and that May knew the abuse was taking place.

“This is a pretty egregious case. The victim was a 23 month old little boy who had died from blunt force trauma causing internal injuries. In plain language he was beaten to the point where his internal injuries caused his death. It’s just a sad, sad case. We take these types of cases very seriously. Whenever a child is injured like this it just pulls at your heart strings. Its just not something you forget,” DA Dunaway told WJLE.

Although the case against Key was set for trial starting Monday, December 5 in DeKalb County Criminal Court, prosecutors reached a settlement with Key and his attorneys, the staff of the District Public Defender’s Office on Thursday. In the deal, Key agreed to enter a plea to the lesser offense of second degree murder and to take the 45 year sentence to be served at 100%. The hearing was held in Cookeville because Key is incarcerated at the Putnam County Jail. Had the trial been held, Key would have been transported to DeKalb County for the case.

“It was done in Cookeville for practical reasons. He was being held in the Putnam County Jail just for practical reasons. We were preparing for trial which was to begin Monday in DeKalb County. The plan was that he was to be transported back and forth to court in Smithville but the negotiated plea came together kind of in the last day. Just because he was in Putnam County and Judge Gary McKenzie happened to be there today and the lawyers were in Cookeville today it was just a practical decision to do it there. Circuit Court Clerk Katherine Pack came up to Cookeville to handle the clerk’s duties for the hearing and we were appreciative of that,” DA Dunaway continued.

“During the hearing, I recited the factual basis for the plea to the court and at the conclusion of the plea, the law allows the families of victims to give a victim impact statement. The paternal grandmother, Jennifer Pitts made a victim impact statement. She addressed Cody Key and just made a few statements as to her emotional feelings and how his actions affected the family. It was kind of an emotional statement. That was the nature of it and she was the only one who spoke besides the lawyers,” said DA Dunaway.

“We’re pleased with the result. Key has been in custody since May 19, 2015 and remains so and he has been sentenced to the custody of the department of correction at this point. That concludes the case against Cody Key,” he added.

As for Jessica May, Dunaway said she is expected to enter a plea under a negotiated settlement next week. “Jessica May is still in jail. I expect to bring her before the court in the next few days, hopefully next week to address her case,” DA Dunaway concluded.

Cody Key Gets 45 Years for Second Degree Murder in Beating Death of Child

December 1, 2016
Dwayne Page
Cody Ryan Key
Jessica May
Colten Alexander May

A Smithville man may spend the rest of his life in prison for the beating death of his girlfriend’s 23 month old son last year.

25 year old Cody Ryan Key appeared in Putnam County Criminal Court today (Thursday) and entered a plea under a negotiated settlement to second degree murder in the death of Colten Alexander May and received a sentence of 45 years. Because of the nature of the crime, Key’s sentence will be a 100% term not to be reduced below 85% . The sentence is outside the normal sentencing range for Key as a Class A felony based on his criminal history. He will receive jail credit of 563 days for time served from May 19, 2015 to December 1, 2016.

Key was due to stand trial next week in DeKalb County Criminal Court on charges of first degree (felony murder) and aggravated child abuse.

He and the child’s mother, 20 year old Jessica May were indicted by the DeKalb County Grand Jury in May 2015. May's charge of aggravated child neglect is still pending but she is expected to enter a plea under a negotiated settlement soon.

According to District Attorney General Bryant Dunaway , the child was brought to the hospital by the couple Sunday morning, May 17 2015 but he was already deceased. The youngster was found to have internal and other physical injuries to his body. Key is alleged to have inflicted the injuries. May is accused of having known the abuse had been taking place.

"At approximately 3:11 am Sunday, May 17, 2015 Smithville Police Sergeant Travis Bryant and Officer Joey Myers were dispatched to the emergency room of Saint Thomas DeKalb Hospital in reference to a possible child abuse resulting in the death of a two year old child. Investigating officers deemed the death to be of a suspicious nature," said Captain Steven Leffew. " I was notified along with Lieutenant Matt Holmes and Detective Brandon Donnell . Additionally District Attorney Bryant Dunaway and investigators from the District Attorney's office and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation responded," he said.

"The child suffered great injuries and as a result the child died," said D.A. Dunaway.

The case was investigated by the Smithville Police Department , the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, and the District Attorney General's Office.

"We presented the case to the DeKalb County Grand Jury (Tuesday, May 19, 2015) related to the death of the child," said D.A. Dunaway. " Over the weekend, May 17 2015 the child was brought to Saint Thomas DeKalb Hospital by the child's mother and her boyfriend. The child was deceased at the time of arrival. We believe the child was killed by the boyfriend late Saturday night, May 16 or early Sunday morning, May 17 in their home where they resided together. We believe the child died based upon physical injuries to the body and internally which were inflicted by the boyfriend," he said.

New Arby's Restaurant Opens to Line of Customers

December 1, 2016
Dwayne Page
New Arby's Restaurant Opens to Line of Customers

The new Arby’s Restaurant opened for business this morning at 10 a.m. and a line of customers from the front door to around the side of the building waited their turn to be among the first to be served and for a chance to get free meals for a year.

One customer, who had ticket #3, told WJLE she had been camped out since 9:30 p.m. Wednesday night. Another man said he had been there since 3:30 a.m. this morning.

As a special grand opening promotion, Arby’s issued tickets to the first 50 customers each of whom is to receive 52 free meals, one each week for a year.

County Takes Next Step On Cherry Hill Community Center Property

November 30, 2016
Dwayne Page
County Takes Next Step On Cherry Hill Community Center Property

The DeKalb County Commission has taken the next step toward outright ownership of the Cherry Hill Community Center property on Cookeville Highway.

Although the state deeded the 0.24 acre site to DeKalb County in August, 1981, a restriction requires the county to use the property for public purposes. After taking control of the site in the 1980’s the county constructed the Cherry Hill Community Center there. In recent years community interest in the center has waned and the building is now in need of repairs. Members of the commission have expressed an interest in disposing of the property.

In order to have the deed restriction removed and for the county to assume total control of the property, the county commission Monday night authorized County Mayor Tim Stribling to file with the Tennessee Department of Transportation an application for “Conveyance of Interest of Surplus TDOT Right of Way”.

County Mayor Stribling explained that this process requests the state to ascertain the fair market value of the property should the county decide to purchase it. “It is a request that TDOT come up and look at the right of way because we (county) did not purchase it (in 1981). For this restriction to be removed from the deed we (county) will have to pay a fair market value for the land. The property has approximately 0.24 acres. If its valued under $10,000 TDOT will do the appraisal and let us know. If its over $10,000 they will have an independent appraiser come up and let us know. Its up to us on whether we want to purchase the land. But in order to remove the restriction we would first have to go before the excess land committee. It meets every other month. The next meeting will be in January. They tell me it will probably be in February before we’ll have an answer. But all this amounts to is asking for TDOT to take a look at it to determine a fair market value and to remove the deed restriction. By doing this, if the county should want to lease it to an individual business, you could or sell it. But the way it is right now its restricted and there is nothing going on with it,” said County Mayor Stribling.

“I make a motion we proceed to get it in our name no matter what we do with it,” said County Commissioner Joe Johnson. Commissioner Jack Barton seconded the motion. All members voted in favor.


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