Local News Articles

Man Charged After Allegedly Firing Shot at His Brother

April 29, 2014
Dwayne Page
Jonathan Lewis

A Smithville man, accused of shooting at his brother during an argument, will be in court next month for aggravated assault.

35 year old Jonathan Lewis is under a $35,000 bond. His court date is set for May 22.

Chief Randy Caplinger told WJLE that on Sunday, April 20 Police were called to investigate a report of two individuals shooting at each other at 627 Highland Street. When officers arrived, they discovered that Lewis had allegedly gotten into an argument with his brother and had fired a shot, though no one was injured. Lewis' brother left the residence before police got there. " When officers arrived they were advised by the neighbors that the shooter (Lewis) was still inside the house. The officers attempted to get the shooter to come out. He did finally come out of the front door and was taken into custody. When we received permission to search the residence a 45 caliber Glock pistol was found along with three empty rounds and two live rounds of ammunition," he said.

Although Lewis allegedly admitted to firing a weapon, he denied trying to shoot at his brother. " He (Lewis) said he came out the front door of his residence and fired the weapon. He said he was firing straight ahead. Lewis' brother got in a vehicle and took off," said Chief Caplinger.

60 year old Danny Petty is charged with public intoxication. His bond is $1,500 and he will be in court May 1. Chief Caplinger said police were dispatched to Oak Street on Friday, April 25 in response to a possible public intoxication. Upon arrival, the officer found a man, Petty, laying in a ditch. He was unable to stand and had a strong odor of alcohol on his person. He was placed under arrest.

33 year old Mark Young is charged with driving on a revoked license. His bond is $1,500 and he will be in court May 1. Chief Caplinger said police responded to a wreck in the parking lot of Mapco Express on Friday, April 25. Upon arrival, police spoke with Young. He said he had been driving and had rear ended another vehicle. A computer check revealed his license were revoked for DUI on November 21, 2013. Young said he is currently on bond for the previous offense.

25 year old Dustin Hutchings is charged with public intoxication. His bond is $1,500 and he will be in court May 22. Chief Caplinger said police were dispatched to Star Manufacturing in response to an angry intoxicated employee. Upon arrival, the officer spoke with Hutchings in the parking lot. He was very unsteady on his feet and his speech was slurred. Hutchings was placed under arrest.

56 year old Howard Mayberry is charged with driving under the influence. His bond is $1,500. Chief Caplinger said an officer recently responded to a call of a blue Ford Mustang traveling east on Broad Street in the westbound lane. The officer spoke with witnesses who gave a description of the person driving the car. Police located the suspect (Mayberry) at a local bank. His speech was slurred and he was very unsteady on his feet. Mayberry submitted to a portable breath test which detected alcohol. He also submitted to a blood test. Mayberry was placed under arrest.

56 year old Forrest Byrd is charged with public intoxication. His bond is $1,000. Chief Caplinger said that on Thursday, April 24 a witness saw a man stumbling down the road behind Taco Bell. Police responded and at Oak Street observed a man getting up out of the ditch on the right side of the road. He had difficulty standing. The man (Byrd) had a strong odor of alcohol on his person and he was very unsteady on his feet. Byrd was placed under arrest.

Vocal Music II Presents Finian's Rainbow

April 29, 2014
By Elizabeth Lasser

A mysterious Irishman named Finian, along with his beautiful daughter, Sharon, arrive one day in the small tobacco town of Rainbow Valley, Missitucky. This is the setting for the intriguing, diverse musical that vocal music teacher Josh Gulley will be directing on his own for the first time.

“I think I can handle directing on my own,” Gulley said, “but I’m not really a theater person, so it is a big learning process.”

Gulley chose “Finian’s Rainbow Jr.” through a process of elimination. He said he also enjoys the idea of an Irish theme.

An adaptation from the original Broadway play, this year the play will only have one cast and two performances, so be sure to come and see it either Fri., May 2 or Sat., May 3, 7 p.m. at the Ina Ruth Bess Auditorium on the campus of DCHS.

Gulley looks forward to the two nights with a hopeful eye. He said that tradition inspires him to continue musicals in the school, and he believes it is a vital learning experience for the students involved.

“I know the cast is going to do well. When I was casting, the characters almost chose themselves,” Gulley said.

Members of the cast are: Tony Johnson, Bethany Russell, Dayzion Ringo, Travis Ferrell, Devonta Milan, Charlie Young, Jacob Hale, Justin Johnson, Brooke Reffue, Rachel Holcomb, Kalynn Thompson, Caitlyn Williams, Jessica Williams, Michaela Young, Xena Walker, Anna May, Will Puckett, Amanda Blanco, Cody Gooch, Dylan Crook, Alex Thompson, Lauren Lewis, Zack Maxwell, Hannah Ball, Chelsea Johnson, Ashley Hershman, Brianna Phillips, Kayla Wheeler, Diana Carrillo, and Tori Redmon.

Tickets for the show only are $5 and may be purchased either in advance from a cast member or at the door.

New Equalization Board Appointed

April 29, 2014
Dwayne Page

All new members have been appointed to the DeKalb County Equalization Board.

The county commission, during Monday night's regular monthly meeting, named Russell Watson, Ronald Ashburn, Carl Dwayne Webb, Phillip Hendrix, and Bobby Reynolds to serve on the board. Peggy Owens will be an alternate.

In the past, the equalization board has been made up of seven members, one from each district of the county. But under state law, there can be no more than five members. According to Tennessee Code Annotated (state law) "The county legislative body of each county shall, at the April session of each even year, from the different sections of the county, elect, for a term of two (2) years, five (5) freeholders and taxpayers who shall constitute a county board of equalization."

Based on population, the City of Smithville can have one member on the board. Russell Watson was chosen for that position.

According to state law, county equalization boards across the state are to meet each year on June 1 (or the next business day if the 1st falls on Saturday or Sunday). The county board is authorized by law to receive and hear appeals of current year property tax assessments as fixed by the county assessor of property. Generally an assessment must be appealed to the county board of equalization to preserve the taxpayer’s right to further appeal.

The DeKalb County Equalization Board will meet this year June 2-6 at the county complex in the office of the Assessor of Property.

Several weeks ago, Assessor of Property Scott Cantrell presented the county commission the names of five members he wanted to see appointed to the equalization board. But at that time, members of the county commission wanted to keep seven members on the board, even though state law only provided for five members. Cantrell submitted the names of Hilda Oakley, Jen Sherwood, John Hylton, Carl Dwayne Webb, Peggy Owens, and Rick Lee for consideration. Josh Miller was to be the City of Smithville's representative on the board.

Miller and Lee were later determined to be ineligible because of a state law that prohibits persons who receive pay from city and county governments to serve on the board. Miller is a city alderman and Lee is a county employee.

Cantrell told WJLE that he was disappointed that of the five remaining persons he recommended, only Webb was appointed by the county commission as a member while Owens was selected only as an alternate.

DeKalb County to Participate in Great American Clean Up

April 29, 2014
Mike Foster, Jimmy Poss, and Suzanne Williams

The Smithville-DeKalb County Chamber of Commerce and the DeKalb County Mayor's office would like to invite residents across the county to participate in the DeKalb County Clean Up campaign on Saturday, May 24th. This event will be held in conjunction with the Keep America Beautiful initiative going on across the country. This organization’s mission revolves around a core belief that beauty is a silent but powerful force that makes communities safer, healthier and more livable.

Suzanne Williams, Executive Director of the Chamber of Commerce, would like to remind everyone that DeKalb County’s peak tourism season is about to begin, so now is a great time to start getting things spruced up for our coming visitors. According to Williams, “I think we are all aware of the value and importance of beautification in our communities to attract newcomers and tourists to our area and to maintain a stable and growing economy.”

To get a head start on clean up, dumpsters will be set up at highly visible and convenient locations a few days prior to the main event. Dumpster locations will be at the Dowelltown Community Center, Liberty Community Center, Alexandria City Parking Lot (behind square), and the County Complex parking lot.

County Mayor Mike Foster says, “We would like for people to come out and help clean our communities and roadways. Folks are welcome to pick their own locations to clean, or we will be glad to assign a safe place for each person to participate.”

DeKalb Clean Up volunteers are asked to come to the County Complex, 732 So. Congress Blvd., Smithville on May 24th between 9 AM and 10 AM to sign-in and pick up the provided trash bags, rubber gloves, and bottles of water. For early sign-up, you can stop by the Chamber, located in the Courthouse, Room 201, anytime during regular office hours by May 23rd to pick up supplies. Or if stopping by is not convenient, call the Chamber office at 597-4163 to be counted as a DeKalb Clean Up volunteer -- just give your name and the general area where you will be working. Whether you’re beautifying your street, a highway, a park, ball field, a stream, or your own home, what a difference we can make through working together!

Requests for Absentee Voting Due Today

April 29, 2014
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Election Commission reminds voters that today (Tuesday, April 29) is the last day that the office can receive a request for an absentee ballot for the May 6th Primaries.

"The request for an absentee ballot must be in our office today, including by mail", said Administrator of Elections Dennis Stanley.

Meanwhile, the turnout for early voting remains good. A total of 1,241 persons have now taken advantage of early voting as of Tuesday, April 29.

According to the DeKalb County Election Commission, 1,176 persons have voted in the Democratic Primary and 65 have cast ballots in the Republican Primary.

On Tuesday, 112 voters participated including 108 in person and four by absentee ballot.

Early Voting continues through Thursday, May 1 on the following dates and times on the first floor of the courthouse:

Wednesday, April 30 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Thursday, May 1 from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Election day is Tuesday, May 6

McCoy Found with Pills During Traffic Stop

April 28, 2014
Dwayne Page
Jermaine Derperise McCoy
Timothy Wade Cantrell
Shauna Leeann Anderson
John Preston Lawrence
Rosemary Joyce Anderson
Bridgette Nicole Stafford
Hugo Godinez Juareg
Joseph Kilzer

A Smithville man stopped last week for a traffic violation was found with pills and a large amount of cash in his possession.

36 year old Jermaine Derperise McCoy of Smith Road, Smithville is charged with two counts of possession of a schedule II controlled substance for resale. He was further issued a citation for no driver license. His bond is $5,000 and he will be in court on May 22. Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Thursday, April 24 a Sheriff's Department Drug Detective stopped McCoy for not having a valid driver license. McCoy gave the officer consent to search his person and vehicle. Found in his left pants pocket were two baggies containing pills. One of the baggies contained three blue Oxycodone 30 milligram pills. The other baggie held four white Oxycodone 20 milligram pills. The pills were believed to have been packaged for resale. McCoy could not provide a valid prescription for the pills. McCoy also had $602 in his pocket. He was arrested and taken to the jail.

54 year old Timothy Wade Cantrell of Oak Street, Smithville is charged with driving under the influence. He is under a $1,500 bond and he will be in court on May 1st. Sheriff Ray said that on Monday, April 21 a Sheriff's Department Drug Detective observed a white Jeep traveling north on South College Street. The Jeep crossed the center line several times. The detective stopped the vehicle at Greenbrook Park and spoke with the driver, Cantrell. The officer asked Cantrell to submit to field sobriety tasks but Cantrell was unable to perform the tasks or follow directions. His motor skills were poor and he was very unsteady on his feet. Cantrell also had an odor of an alcoholic beverage on his person. He did consent to a blood alcohol test.

41 year old Shauna Leeann Anderson of Martin Lane, Alexandria is charged with aggravated assault. Her bond is $10,000 and she will be in court May 15. Sheriff Ray said that on Tuesday, April 22 the Sheriff's Department received a call about an argument in progress at a residence on Martin Lane in Alexandria. Upon arrival a deputy spoke with a woman who said her mother, Anderson had assaulted her with a baseball bat. The officer noticed that the woman (victim) had physical marks and swelling in the areas of her left arm and right wrist. Anderson admitted to the officer that she had assaulted the victim with the baseball bat. Through the investigation it was determined that Anderson was the primary aggressor and she was placed under arrest. The victim was taken by DeKalb EMS to the hospital.

40 year old John Preston Lawrence of Lebanon is charged with public intoxication. His bond is $1,500 and he will be in court on May 15. Sheriff Ray said that on Saturday, April 26 a Sheriff's Department deputy responded to Highway 70 in the area of the Midnight Express where a man was reported to be walking down the middle of the road, threatening to jump in front of vehicles. Upon arrival, the officer found the man, Lawrence standing on the double yellow line of the highway. The deputy asked Lawrence to walk over to his patrol car. Lawrence had a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on his person. His walk was staggered and his speech was slurred. During his conversation with the officer, Lawrence said that "he was ready to die tonight". Lawrence was placed under arrest and brought to the jail for booking due to his being a danger to himself and the public.

27 year old Rosemary Joyce Anderson of Cecil Hale Road, Smithville is charged with domestic assault. Her bond is $2,500 and she will be in court May 1. Sheriff Ray said that on Sunday, April 27 an officer of the Sheriff's Department responded to a disturbance call at a residence on Cecil Hale Road. Upon arrival the deputy spoke with Anderson in the yard of the home. Anderson was aggressive and irate. While there, the officer learned that Anderson had gone to a neighbor's home with the intentions of assaulting the girlfriend of Anderson's estranged husband. During the confrontation, Anderson's husband got in between his wife and girlfriend. Anderson then hit him in the area of his face and pulled his shirt. She later admitted to the deputy that she assaulted her husband and had intended to assault his girlfriend.

23 year old Bridgette Nicole Stafford of Kings Court, Smithville is charged with domestic assault. Her bond is $2,500 and she will be in court May 1. Sheriff Ray said that on Sunday, April 27 a Sheriff's Department deputy responded to a domestic violence call at a residence in Kings Court. Stafford told the officer that she and a man had gotten into an argument and that after the man had accidentally struck her, she had hit him several times in the face. The man, who did not retaliate to the assault, did have visible injuries. Stafford was arrested and brought to the jail for booking.

23 year old Hugo Godinez Juareg of Big Woods Road, Smithville is charged with driving under the influence. His bond is $1,500 and he will be in court May 1. Sheriff Ray said that on Sunday, April 27 a deputy responded to a prowler call at a residence on Banks Pisgah Road. Upon arrival, the officer found Juareg passed out in the back of his vehicle. Several bottles of alcohol were in the automobile. The deputy awoke Juareg and asked him why he was in the driveway of this residence. Juareg said that he was in no condition to drive due to being intoxicated so he pulled over. He had a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on his person. His eyes were bloodshot. His speech was slurred and he was very unsteady on his feet. Juareg submitted to but performed poorly on field sobriety tasks. He was arrested and brought to the jail for booking.

28 year old Joseph Kilzer of Parkway Drive, Smithville is charged with aggravated assault. His bond is $5,000 and he will be in court on May 1. Sheriff Ray said that on Sunday, April 27 a deputy responded to a physical domestic call at a residence on Parkway Drive. Upon arrival, the officer spoke with a woman who said that she and her boyfriend, Kilzer had gotten into an argument over her having damaged a guitar. The woman said Kilzer became very irate and tried to strangle her. She had red marks on her neck. Kilzer was arrested and brought to the jail for booking.

New Group being Formed for the Humane Treatment of Animals

April 28, 2014
Dwayne Page
David McDowell

A new group is being formed to address the problem of abandoned and abused animals in DeKalb County.

"It's called the DeKalb Coalition for the Humane Treatment of Animals, and we are in the process of securing IRS 501 c 3 charitable status," said David McDowell, Fourth District County Commissioner, who is a member of the Coalition.

"The purpose is to provide for an adequate animal shelter and facilities; to provide a permanent & safe location for neglected, abandoned and abused animals; to provide an alternative low-kill policy so these animals receive medical attention, reduce overpopulation, and be cared for until they can be placed in permanent homes," said McDowell in a statement to WJLE.

"We want to work together with the mayors and city councils, and the DeKalb County Mayor & County Commission, to provide a more humane treatment of unwanted or neglected animals. After all, one measure of a society is how they treat their weakest members," said McDowell.

Other members of the Coalition are Sue Puckett Jernigan, Dr. Hugh Don Cripps, Marsha Darrah, Renee Ferguson, and Smithville Alderman Jason Murphy.

County Mayor Mike Foster told WJLE Saturday that he is confident this new coalition will offer a new and better approach to a growing problem. "This group has already formed their new charter and registered it. We feel they are a rock solid group of people that are in it for the long haul. They are applying for a 501 c 3, which takes a little bit of time, but by doing it with the city and county we can begin to move on. There are a lot of grants out there for a 501 c 3 that are not available to the governmental agencies. We feel like the timing is right to do this," he said.

Foster said the county and cities must work together to address the concerns. "Just this past week we had five or six people who were bitten (dog bites). We're continuously having vicious dogs in neighborhoods and as it currently stands we don't have any way to adopt animals out. We would like to come up with some type of program that does a much better job of that (adoption). A lot of dogs just get mistakenly picked up. They may break a chain or something. We need a way to hold them in a safe environment and let their owners come and check on them and make sure they don't get euthanized. We have to come up with a better program. We currently don't have ways to adopt those dogs out and we don't have the facility to hold them in safely. I just think it's a really good thing that we are beginning to talk along those lines of trying to come up with hopefully a combined animal shelter between the city and the county and maybe the other towns in the county and that we collectively solve this problem," he said. Literally, we have had several people who have been bitten and when they are we don't know if that dog has had rabies shots or not. We have to hold that dog for a minimum of ten days. It (animal) needs to be safely confined to where you don't run the risk of that patient of having to go take rabies shots or worse, getting rabies. I think Mayor (Jimmy) Poss is going to go back to the (Smithville) city (council) and talk to his board. I think we can begin moving along those lines and hopefully try to come up with one animal shelter rather than having to run two or three. It's much more economically feasible and we can do a lot better job," said County Mayor Foster.

The City of Smithville currently operates the animal shelter for the county just behind the DeKalb County Road Department headquarters off of Smith Road. Officials say that facility, owned by the county, is no longer sufficient to meet current needs.

On-Site School Immunization Clinics Scheduled

April 27, 2014
Dwayne Page
DeeAnna Reynolds

The DeKalb County School System is partnering with the local health department to help ensure next year's seventh graders have the required T-DAP immunizations before the start of the 2014-15 school year.

Up and coming seventh graders must have the T-DAP (tetanus-diphtheria-pertussis) booster and a second dose of the varicella (chicken pox) vaccine. That means these students will need a certificate showing that they have received these vaccines to go into 7th grade.

DeeAnna Reynolds, School Health Coordinator, said on-site clinics to administer the T-DAP immunizations have been scheduled at DeKalb Middle and DeKalb West School. "Coordinated School Health has partnered with the health department this year to do an on-site school immunization clinic. That's for our current sixth graders who will be seventh graders in the fall. It's for the T-DAP booster. That clinic will be May 7 at DeKalb West School and May 8 at DeKalb Middle School," said Reynolds.

"We'd like parents to know that there is information and a letter going home from the health department as well as from the school system and we're asking for that to be returned by Friday, May 2.," she said

"Students are not going to be allowed to return to school in the fall if all of their immunizations are not current. If there are other immunizations they are lacking, they will need to contact the health department or their regular physician," Reynolds continued.

"They (health department) will be at the pre-K registration on May 9 at Smithville Elementary and at the Kindergarten registration on May 16 at Smithville Elementary and DeKalb West School to offer assistance to parents and guardians who might have some questions about their children's immunizations," she said.

John Anderson to Perform at National Day of Prayer Observance

April 27, 2014
Dwayne Page
John Anderson

A program will be held Thursday, May 1 at noon to observe the National Day of Prayer, an annual event held on the first Thursday of May, inviting people of all faiths to pray for the nation.

Local businesswoman Jamie Anderson, who is helping organize the event, said the program will be held at the DeKalb County Complex Auditorium and will last for about an hour. It will feature prayers and remarks from local community leaders, ministers, and state lawmakers, music by Country Star John Anderson, who is Jamie's husband, and more.

Everyone is invited to attend. Admission is free!

The National Day of Prayer was created in 1952 by a joint resolution of the United States Congress, and signed into law by President Harry S. Truman. According to the NDOP website, "Our Task Force is a privately funded organization whose purpose is to encourage participation on the National Day of Prayer. It exists to communicate with every individual the need for personal repentance and prayer, to create appropriate materials, and to mobilize the Christian community to intercede for America’s leaders and its families. The Task Force represents a Judeo Christian expression of the national observance, based on our understanding that this country was birthed in prayer and in reverence for the God of the Bible."

Almost 1,000 Have Voted Early in DeKalb County

April 27, 2014
Dwayne Page

Almost one thousand people have taken advantage of early voting for the May 6th primaries in DeKalb County.

age 4-26-14.pdf (22.95 KB)

As of the close of business Saturday, April 26, a total of 996 persons had voted early, including 934 in the Democratic Primary and 62 in the Republican Primary, according to the DeKalb County Election Commission.

On Saturday, 115 voters participated including 87 in person and twenty eight by absentees/nursing home.

Of the 996 who have voted, 730 are over the age of fifty and 398 of them are age sixty five and older.

The following are the age groups of the early voters as of Saturday, April 26:

Age 18-20: 16 voters
Age 21-30: 43 voters
Age 31-40: 81 voters
Age 41-50: 126 voters
Age 51-65 : 332 voters
Age 65 and older: 398 voters

Four years ago, there were a total of 2,907 voters in the primary including 1,149 who voted either early or by absentee and 1,758 who cast ballots on election day.

The following is a break down of the number of early voters who have come to the courthouse to cast ballots from the various precinct areas as of Saturday, April 26:


Early Voting continues through Thursday, May 1 on the following dates and times on the first floor of the courthouse:
Monday, April 28 from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Tuesday, April 29 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Wednesday, April 30 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Thursday, May 1 from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Election day is Tuesday, May 6


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