Local News Articles

Chamber Announces Christmas on the Square

November 14, 2012
Suzanne Williams

The Christmas season is nearly upon us which means it’s almost time to celebrate Christmas on the Square & The Downtown Renovation Celebration! This holiday event will be celebrated on Thursday, November 29th from 5 PM to 8 PM on the Smithville Public Square.

The Community Chorus will sing from 5:00 to 5:25 PM on the west side of the Courthouse. Boy Scout Troop #347 will have a Flag-Raising Ceremony at 5:25 PM. Then more music from the Community Chorus after the Tree Lighting.

Tree Lighting Ceremony – Held at 5:30 PM on the west side of the Courthouse.

Courthouse Open House – Stop by to visit & enjoy the refreshments & festive atmosphere. Come by and visit the new Chamber office in the Courthouse, Room 201.

A FREE Photo Booth & Christmas DJ Music will be provided by the City of Smithville – Enjoy your favorite holiday music throughout the night plus have a fun, complimentary picture made at the Cosmo Creations Photo Booth located inside the east entrance of the Courthouse.

Downtown Renovation Celebration – Enjoy a walk around town to see all the new improvements to the downtown buildings, inside and out, as well as seeing the progress of the new Open-Air Stage at Evins Park across from the Smithville Post Office.

At the Justin-Potter Library, Children’s Book Author & Illustrator, Shan Burklow, will entertain & read to the children from 6 to 6:30 PM with a chance to win lots of great prizes. And the library will have a special visit from Santa immediately after, so don’t forget to bring your camera!

Inflatables & Train Rides for the Children, if weather permits.

There will be extended hours and Open Houses at several downtown stores, offices, and restaurants. This is a wonderful time for Christmas shopping and having a nice meal downtown.

Chamber Executive Director Suzanne Williams would like to invite everyone to this enjoyable and heartwarming experience – Christmas on the Square & the Downtown Renovation Celebration! For more information, call the Chamber office at 597-4163.

March Parole Hearing Expected for Man Convicted in 2002 DeKalb County Murder

November 14, 2012
by: 
Dwayne Page
Christopher Nicholas Orlando
Melvin Eugene Turnbill

A 40 year old DeKalb County man, currently serving a 35 year prison sentence in the fatal shooting of Joshua Murphy in September, 2002, is scheduled for a parole hearing in March, 2013, according to the Tennessee Department of Correction

Christopher Nicholas Orlando, convicted of facilitation of first degree murder, is incarcerated at the Northeast Correctional Complex in Mountain City, Tennessee.

Murphy was shot and killed in a secluded area in the Laurel Hill Community at the end of Old Eagle Creek Road on Sunday, September 15, 2002. His body was discovered three days later. Officials said Orlando and a co-defendant, Melvin Turnbill suspected Murphy of stealing methamphetamine.

Turnbill, now 40 years old, pled guilty to facilitation of first degree murder prior to the trial of Orlando and received a twenty five year prison sentence. Under terms of the plea agreement, Turnbill agreed to testify for the state.

After a jury trial, Orlando was convicted and on June 23, 2004, the trial court sentenced him as a Range II, multiple offender to 40 years in the Tennessee Department of Correction. Orlando's motion for a new trial was denied on April 18, 2005. At this hearing, the trial court modified Orlando's sentence to reflect a sentence of 35 years, concluding that the imposed 40 year sentence was inappropropriate.

Turnbill is incarcerated at the Southeastern Tennessee State Regional Correctional Facility in Pikeville and will be up for parole in April, 2014, according to the Tennessee Department of Correction.

Orlando filed an appeal but the court of criminal appeals upheld the sentence in August 2006.

Parades and Other Activities Planned to Usher in Christmas Season

November 13, 2012
by: 
Dwayne Page
Three Christmas Parades Coming Soon

Plenty of activities have been planned to celebrate the arrival of the Christmas season in DeKalb County.

It all begins Sunday, November 25 with the Alexandria Christmas Parade. The line-up begins at 2:00 p.m. and no later than 2:30 p.m. The parade gets underway at 3:00 p.m. First, second, and third place awards will be presented for best floats, trucks and cars (one group), and tractors. A drawing for prizes will be held after the parade. Food and craft booths may be set up on the square during the parade. All local pageant winners are urged to participate along with church and civic groups, scouts, high school bands, local law enforcement and emergency services, enter your vintage automobiles and tractors, and all horseback riders and horse drawn wagons are welcome, plus more. To enter call 615-948-4829, 615-948-6486, or call the Alexandria City Hall at 529-2171.

The Smithville Christmas Parade is set for Saturday, December 1st at 1:00 p.m. Line-up begins at 11:00 a.m. at Smithville Elementary School. To enter floats or other entries, contact Jeff Wright at 597-6750 or John Poss at 597-1135. No call needed to enter vintage automobiles or horses and wagons.

The Liberty Christmas Parade will be Sunday, December 2. The line- up begins at 1:00 p.m. at Salem Baptist Church. The parade begins at 2:00 p.m. Call Liberty State Bank for more information.

Meanwhile, Christmas on the Square & Renovation Celebration will be held in downtown Smithville on Thursday, November 29 from 5:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. featuring a tree-lighting ceremony, Justin-Potter Library activities, Santa, Christmas shopping downtown, and much more.

Woman Accused of Pickpocketing

November 13, 2012
by: 
Dwayne Page
Callie Howell
Eric Wayne Tramel

Smithville Police arrested a woman last week for allegedly pickpocketing.

32 year old Callie Howell is charged with theft of property. Chief Randy Caplinger said that on Tuesday, November 6, Howell allegedly walked up to the victim at a residence on Short Mountain Highway where he was working in the yard. Howell told him his pocket was sticking out and she reached in to fix it Later, the victim noticed that his wallet was missing. During the investigation, a detective went to Ms. Howell's residence and there he saw the victim's wallet on the kitchen table. Bond for Howell is $1,500 and she will be in court on November 15

Meanwhile 21 year old Ray Darnell Underwood was cited on Wednesday, November 7 for simple possession of a schedule VI controlled substance. Police were dispatched to Bell Street in reference to trespassers. While central dispatch was checking for warrants, the officer did a frisk search for weapons. Underwood put his hand in his pocket and when told by the officer to remove his hand, a small baggy containing a green leafy substance fell onto the ground.

27 year old Eric Wayne Tramel was cited for shoplifting on Thursday, November 8. An officer responded to Wal-Mart to check out a possible shoplifting and while speaking with the suspect, Tramel, merchandise began falling out of his jacket. His court date is December 6.

35 year old Crystal R King was arrested on Friday, November 9 for theft of property and she was cited for possession of drug paraphernalia. Police were dispatched to Rite Aid Pharmacy on a shoplifting call. Upon arrival, two Rite Aid Associates told the officer that a woman identified as King had just left in a car. The associates pointed out the car to the officer and informed him that King tried to leave the store with some merchandise but when confronted, she threw the items down and ran. After stopping the vehicle, police found King in possession of drug paraphernalia. Her bond is $1,500 and she will be in court on November 29.

63 year old Mary Louise Harris was arrested for DUI on Friday, November 9. According to the warrant, Harris was operating a motor vehicle which crashed into the Court House steps. She was very disoriented and unsteady on her feet. Harris was unable to do field sobriety tasks because of her intoxication. Her bond is $1,500 and her court date is December 6.

27 year old Eric Wayne Tramel was arrested on Sunday, November 11 for aggravated burglary, simple possession of a schedule III controlled substance and evading arrest. Warrants state that officers responded to a residence due to a burglary in progress. Police spoke to the victim who said that a man had forced his way into the home, chased his wife out the back door, and then locked them out. During the investigation, central dispatch received a call of a man fitting the same description at another residence down the street. The officers ran down the street and made contact with the man, later identified as Eric Tramel. Police ordered Tramel to remove his hands from his pockets. Tramel complied but acted as though he was pointing a gun. Tramel was told to get on the ground but as more commands were given, he got up to run. After he refused police commands to stop, Tramel was tased. Found in his pocket were a box cutter and pills. Tramel had no gun. Bond for Tramel is $16,500 and he will be in court on November 29.

49 year old Robert Todd Williams was arrested on Sunday, November 11 for domestic assault. The warrant states that Williams and a family member got into a verbal argument and Williams threw a small table hitting the victim in the right arm, cutting the victim's arm causing it to bleed. His bond is $1,000 and his court date is November 29.

39 year old Jeffery Sanders was arrested on Monday, November 12 for simple possession, resisting arrest and he was cited for possession of drug paraphernalia. 36 year old Lonnie Lynn Wheeler was also arrested in the case for stop, halt and frisk and he was cited for possession of drug paraphernalia. The warrants state that police responded to the area of Riley Avenue and Golf Club Drive where two men were going door to door asking for gas and becoming irate with the homeowners. The officers made contact with the men, Sanders and Wheeler. One of the officers noticed that Sanders appeared to be trying to hide something in the waistband of his pants. For the officer's safety, Sanders was patted down and told to place his hands flat on the hood of the patrol car. Sanders kept moving his right hand to the gap between the hood and windshield and refused to place his hand flat on the hood. Sanders also tried to resist arrest by lying down on his hands. He was subsequently handcuffed. Police found drug paraphernalia around the waist of his pants. Officers also found a small baggie of a white powdery substance, believed to be methamphetamine in the area where Sanders was cuffed. Wheeler was confronted by police at a residence Golf Club Drive. Wheeler was standing by a vehicle at the driver's side rear door, which was open. He had something in his hand. The officer ordered Wheeler to show his hands. Wheeler refused to comply and proceeded to walk around the back of the vehicle to the other side. The officer then saw Wheeler throw something which was later found to be a hypodermic needle. Bond for Sanders is $5,500. Wheeler's bond is $3,500. They will be in court on November 29.

Meanwhile, anyone with information on criminal activities is asked to please contact the Smithville Police Department at 597-8210 or the Tip Line at 464-6046.

Any information received that would help Smithville Police solve any criminal offense will be greatly appreciated. All information is confidential.

Infinity Athletics Stunners Bring Home Grand Championship

November 13, 2012
The Infinity Athletics Storm and Stunners

The Infinity Athletics Storm and Stunners had another successful weekend at Municipal Auditorium. The show team, Storm put on another spectacular performance, while the Stunners brought home 1st Place and Grand Champion. Both teams will be performing during some upcoming high school basketball games during halftime. They will be competing in the Nationals competition in Atlanta, as well as some more regional competitions early in 2013.

Pictured are:
Top (L-R) Rachel Rhody, Katherine Malone, Chloe Sykes, Leah Davis, Alley Sykes, Coach Avarie Maynard
Middle (L-R) Coach Jennifer Sykes, Kailey Herron, Kaitlyn Fish, Zoe Cripps, Keegan Martin, Preston Summers
Bottom (L-R) Elaina Turner, Braelyn Teachout, Peyton Norris, Hannah Trapp

Not Pictured: Malia Stanley, Shaunta Koegler, and Natalie Snipes

Community Pays Tribute to Veterans

November 13, 2012
by: 
Dwayne Page
Wreath Laid at Veterans Monument at Courthouse
Billy Hawkins Speaks During Veterans Day Program
DCHS Chorus Performs During Veterans Day Program
DCHS Band Performs During Veterans Day Program
DCHS Band member Emma Rigsby Blows TAPS

The community paused to recognize veterans in a special Veteran's Day observance Monday at the county complex auditorium.

The program, sponsored by the VFW POST 7623 and the American Legion POST 122, featured performances by the DeKalb County Fighting Tiger Band under the direction of Jonathan Wright and the DCHS Chorus under the direction of Josh Gulley. Our National Anthem was sung by State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver.

M2U00900 from dwayne page on Vimeo.
Commander Edward Frazier presided over the program. Chuck Olsen opened with prayer and Doyle Smith led the audience in the pledge to the flag.

Billy Hawkins, Retired Brigadiere General of the Tennessee State Guard, one of the featured speakers, paid tribute to our veterans and their volunteerism. "Tennessee is known as the volunteer state. Many veterans in our county volunteered their services when duty called. Veterans are a society of protectors of home, country and freedom," said Hawkins. It has been said if you can read, thank a teacher. If you have freedom, thank a veteran. We remain free today because of the sacrifice, loyalty, and courage of our veterans," he said.

"Today we have two and a half million troops that have served or are currently serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. The V.A. says that twenty percent of these veterans come home with post traumatic stress disorder. That's about 500,000 veterans coming home with PTSD which is very alarming. Suicide rates are going up. Not all veterans casualties are on the battlefield. A lot of them are returning home to us to be cared for," said Hawkins.

Many honorably and homeless veterans are cared for through Operation Stand Down Nashville, Inc. Executive Director of Operation Stand Down Nashville, Retired Lieutenant Colonel William J. Bill Burleigh addressed some of the services provided.

Operation Stand Down Nashville, Inc operates programs that train and support honorably discharged and homeless veterans as they work themselves off the streets and back into the community as responsible and contributing citizens.

Since 1993, a coalition of over 50 Nashville organizations has used this concept to organize a three day event for veterans who are homeless. The event provides outreach, information, and a variety of social services for this area's homeless veterans. The event has been held annually each fall. Coalition members represent over 25 community services agencies, over 25 veteran service organizations, and many businesses.

Burleigh said Operation Stand Down Nashville became a full time service organization in 1999. "Since July 1999 we have been a full time organization serving veterans everyday and we have grown," said Burleigh. "Some of the services we provide are employment, food, clothes, housing, shelter, and veterans benefits. We are the only veterans service center in Tennessee approved by the Department of Veterans Affairs. We provide jobs, clothes, and money when its needed to complete the process of a veteran and their family receiving the help they need," said Burleigh.

Following the program, a wreath was placed at the site of the veterans memorial monument outside the courthouse downtown. The wreath was placed by Ronnie Redmon, Jr. Carlton Miller, Joe Goodwin, Edward Frazier, and Jimmy Sprague.

Emma Rigsby of the Fighting Tiger Band, blew Taps to bring the observance to a close.

Three Arrested on Meth Charges

November 12, 2012
by: 
Dwayne Page
Jeremy Austin Scruggs
Amanda Gail Maxwell
Danny Ray Murphy

The Sheriff's Department arrested three people Saturday who were allegedly setting up a meth lab off Old West Point Road.

34 year old Jeremy Austin Scruggs of Highland Avenue, Smithville, 31 year old Danny Ray Murphy of Shady Drive, Smithville, and 28 year old Amanda Gail Maxwell of King Ridge Road, Smithville are each charged with initiation of a process to manufacture methamphetamine. Bond for Scruggs and Maxwell is $25,000 each. Murphy's bond is $50,000. All three will be in court on November 29.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that his department received a call of three suspicious persons on Old West Point Road. Upon arrival officers found Scruggs, Murphy, and Maxwell and several components used in the manufacture of methamphetamine, including rubber tubing, a 20 ounce plastic bottle with tubing from the top, aluminum foil, a plastic baggie of lye, and several other items. After being mirandized, Maxwell allegedly told the officer that she was paid by Scruggs and Murphy to carry them there in her vehicle in order to make meth. They were arrested and brought to the jail for booking. Murphy will be in General Sessions Court on a separate but similar offense on December 10.

Meanwhile, 45 year old Richard Len Judkins of Greenhill Road, McMinnville is charged with driving on a suspended license. His bond is $3,000 and he will be in court on November 15.

Sheriff Ray said that on November 8 an officer spotted Judkins operating a motor vehicle on Highway 70. Having prior knowledge that his license were suspended, the deputy stopped Judkins at Eastside Citgo. Judkins had been arrested earlier that day for a failure to appear in court, where he has several other driving on suspended license charges pending. Judkins had already been warned earlier that day not to be driving. Judkins was arrested and brought to the jail for booking.

Habitat Home May be Finished by Christmas

November 12, 2012
by: 
Dwayne Page
Habitat Home May be Finished by Christmas
Eric and John Barber working on Habitat Home
Bill Crook of B&D Custom Log Home Builders working on Habitat Home
Brandon Starnes working on Habitat Home

Two months after ground breaking the fourth Habitat for Humanity home in DeKalb County is under roof and could completed by Christmas.

The house is located on Hayes Street in Smithville and upon completion will become home to the Habitat partner family, Melba Vinca and her grandchildren Bradley Mullican, Cayton Lance, and Justin Lance.

"A lot of progress has been made, "said Larry Green, Vice President of Habitat for Humanity of DeKalb County. "We have had a lot of good volunteers who have come out and done a lot of work on it so we're coming along. We're hoping to have (partner) family in the home by Christmas. We've had a professional crew that's come in and done the framing. We had professionals to do the blocks and the wiring. We've got guys out here doing the siding. That's what they do for a living. They can do it so much faster than we can and that's really helped out. We've also had a lot of volunteers," said Green.

"They've donated their time," said local Habitat President Nolan Turner, referring to the professional crews. "Except for the block layers. Of course, that's understandable. We had to pay them some but they discounted. Most of the materials we purchase are at a discount," added Turner.

"This house has 1,050 square feet of living area inside," said Turner. "Its got three bedrooms, a bathroom, living room, and kitchen combination. It has a half bath and closet space. Each house we build is based on the number in the family. Every family we have served has had two or three children. So all of our houses have basically been the same square footage," said Turner.

Green said Habitat is in search of more volunteers. "We're getting to the point now where we can use a lot of volunteers. People don't have to wait until they're asked to come out and volunteer. They can come out just about on any Saturday and do some work out here," said Green.

Turner said donations are also welcomed. "We're going to take this one first and hope the funds come in for the second house because we already have another family who has already been approved (as partner family) if things work out financially for them by the end of the year. So we need funds for the next house. Anyone who wants to contribute, we would appreciate that," said Turner.

"Another thing we're looking for is land to build on," said Green. "If you have a lot somewhere that you would like to donate to us or maybe give us a good price on it, we're in the market now to buy another lot," said Green

"It (land)doesn't have to be in Smithville," added Turner. " We're looking for lots in Dowelltown, Liberty, Alexandria or anywhere in the county. This is a county project not just a Smithville project," he said

Habitat for Humanity of DeKalb County is a locally run affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International, a nonprofit, ecumenical Christian housing organization. Habitat for Humanity builds and renovates houses in partnership with volunteers and families in need, regardless of their ethnic or religious background. The houses then are sold to those in need at no profit and with no interest charged. To contact Habitat for Humanity of DeKalb County, please call 215-8181.

Man Seriously Injured As Car Breaks In Half during Crash

November 10, 2012
by: 
Dwayne Page
Man Seriously Injured As Car Breaks Apart during Crash
Car Crashes into Tree and Breaks Apart

A 40 year old Dowelltown man was seriously injured Saturday night after his car crashed into a tree and broke in half on Holmes Creek Road beside the Smithville Golf Course.

Central dispatch received the call at 6:23 p.m.

Trooper Bobby Johnson of the Tennessee Highway Patrol told WJLE that Phillip Carroll of the Possum Hollow area was driving north in a 2005 Pontiac Sunfire when he crossed the center line, overcorrected and ran off the right side of the roadway and struck a tree. Carroll was ejected. A small fire also ignited from the engine compartment of the car. It was quickly entiguished by members of the Smithville Volunteer Fire Department who arrived on the scene.

Carroll was taken by DeKalb EMS to the Smithville Municipal Airport and flown by helicopter ambulance to Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga. Trooper Johnson said he does not know the full extent of Carroll's injuries but he was conscious when help arrived to tend to him.

Members of the Smithville Police Department were also on site to render assistance.

Trooper Johnson said the cause of the wreck remains under investigation.

Haley Marie Hale Captures Fall Fest Crown

November 10, 2012
by: 
Dwayne Page
Haley Marie Hale Captures Fall Fest Crown
Fall Fest Queen and Runners-Up
Miss Congeniality Hannah Renea Walker

Haley Marie Hale captured the Fall Fest Crown Saturday night during the annual pageant at the DeKalb County Complex auditorium. The event is sponsored by the Smithville Business and Professional Women's Club.

Nine young ladies ages 14-18 competed for the title.

Hale, the fifteen year old daughter of Chad and Melissa Hale of Smithville, succeeds the retiring Fall Fest Queen, 16 year old Lauren Ashley Medlin, daughter of Greg and Teresa Medlin of Smithville

First runner-up in the pageant was Tyra Grace Graham, the fourteen year old daughter of Kyle and Doris Graham of Smithville.

Katie Sue Haggard was second runner-up. She is the eighteen year old daughter of David and Vicki Haggard of Smithville.

Seventeen year old Rebekah Grace Webb, daughter of C.D. and Cindy Webb of Dowelltown was the third runner-up.

Fourth runner-up went to Liz Abigail Qualls of Smithville, the fifteen year old daughter of Brad and Kim Trapp and Jason and Stormy Qualls.

Meanwhile, Hannah Renea Walker was named Miss Congeniality. She is the fourteen year old daughter of Scott and Misty Walker of Smithville.

Others in the pageant were sixteen year old Jayde Nokes of Smithville, daughter of Toby and Jamie Nokes; seventeen year old MaKayla Shea Funk of Dowelltown, daughter of Amie Funk; and fifteen year old Brooke Roller of Smithville, daughter of Richard and Rose Roller.

(Top Photo: Fall Fest Queen Haley Marie Hale)
(Middle Photo: Left to Right- Liz Abigail Qualls-4th Runner-Up, Katie Sue Haggard-2nd Runner-Up, Haley Marie Hale-Fall Fest Queen, Tyra Grace Graham-1st Runner-Up, and Rebekah Grace Webb-3rd Runner-Up)
(Bottom Photo: Hannah Renea Walker-Miss Congenality)

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