Local News Articles

Judge Grants Probation in Aggravated Assault Case

April 16, 2017
Dwayne Page
Joshua Lorne Tate

A Woodbury man who allegedly went on a drunken shooting spree with an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle and a Glock 21 semi-automatic handgun during an argument with family members in November putting their lives in danger appeared for sentencing Monday, April 10 in DeKalb County Criminal Court.

Judge Gary McKenzie presided.

Joshua Lorne Tate, charged with five counts of aggravated assault, stop frisk halt arrest, assault, and possession of a handgun while under the influence, entered a plea by criminal information to one count of aggravated assault. He received a six year sentence on TDOC probation with credit for time served in the DeKalb County Jail from November 20, 2016 to April 10, 2017. Tate must also forfeit his weapons.

Although no one was injured, Sheriff Patrick Ray said Tate endangered the lives of his (Tate’s) wife, step daughter (juvenile), brother-in-law and his two sons (both juveniles), and a deputy.

The incident began after Tate and his wife and step-daughter got into an argument. The victims ran toward and hid under a bridge in a creek bottom as Tate produced an AR 15 semi-automatic rifle and began shooting several times in their direction.

Later, as Tate’s brother-in-law and his two sons drove up, Tate produced a Glock 21 semi-automatic handgun and began firing at them as they sat in their vehicle and continued shooting even after they started backing down the driveway to get away. The gunshots struck the automobile at least five times in the front end and the hood.

After 911 was notified, deputies arrived on the scene and found Tate uncooperative. According to Sheriff Ray, Tate disobeyed officer’s commands to stop and halt and he even advanced toward a deputy in a threatening manner. At one point, Tate ran toward his vehicle where officers suspected Tate had weapons. After Tate was forcibly taken into custody, officers found a loaded AR 15 rifle on the passenger seat of his automobile. The Glock handgun was also recovered.

Woodbury Man Gets Six Years Probation for Aggravated Burglary

April 15, 2017
Dwayne Page
Charles Edward Moody, Jr

A Woodbury man arrested earlier this year for allegedly breaking into and stealing items from a Dowelltown residence appeared for sentencing Monday, April 10 in DeKalb County Criminal Court.

20 year old Charles Edward Moody, Jr. entered a plea by criminal information to one count of aggravated burglary and received a six year sentence on TDOC probation. The term is to run consecutive to Cannon County cases against him. Moody is to make restitution of $200 to one victim and $425 to another.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Wednesday, February 1 Moody allegedly broke into a residence on East Main Street in Dowelltown and stole handguns, two tablets, Winchester shells, and $1,100 in cash. Four days later on Sunday, February 5 Moody allegedly sold an Armscor 38 pistol to a resident on Pine Orchard Road. Moody, a convicted felon since 2016, cannot legally possess a weapon.

The case was investigated by a Sheriff's Department Detective.

TBI Releases Name of Person Killed During Pursuit

April 15, 2017
Dwayne Page

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has released the identity of the man who led law enforcement officers on a pursuit from Smithville to Sparta Thursday before losing his life in an officer involved shooting.

The deceased individual has been identified as 33 year old Michael Zennie Dial II from Clarksville, TN.

Meanwhile, All three White County officers injured during the pursuit have been released from the hospital.

The incident began at around 4:30 p.m. with an attempted traffic stop in the City of Smithville. Smithville Police Officers tried to pull over a pickup truck hauling a trailer. The driver of the vehicle refused to stop, and the chase by Smithville Police at speeds up to 75 miles per hour continued from the city to about one mile into White County where the pursuit was terminated. Four city patrol units reportedly gave chase. A DeKalb County Sheriff’s Deputy, who was following Smithville Police in support, ended his involvement in the pursuit at the county line. White County authorities later picked up the pursuit from Highway 70 to north on Highway 111 in Sparta, following the vehicle. The driver of the truck crashed into several of the law enforcement vehicles, hitting them on the side, and from behind.

At some point, the tires of the trailer appeared to have flattened, dumping some of the items from the trailer into the median. As the driver continued down the road, two officers, one with the White County Sheriff’s Office , and one with the Sparta Police Department, fired shots toward the truck. The truck, still hauling the trailer, veered off the highway, went down an embankment, and lodged in the tree line. The driver of the vehicle died.

Three officers, one from Sparta Police Department two from the White County Sheriff’s Office, sustained injuries consistent with being in a vehicle crash and were transported to the hospital.

TBI Special Agents are continuing to investigate and interview witnesses, and the case remains active and ongoing. At the conclusion of this investigation, the investigative case file will be turned over to the District Attorney General for his office’s review.

DeKalb West Recognizes Students of the Month

April 15, 2017
Pictured first row left to right are Kaylee Kent, Hudson Moss, Camille Barton, Zoi Hale, and Dayton Heflin. Second row left to right: Emily Young, Sierra Sabatino, Caleb Dies, and Sydnee Hendrixson.

DeKalb West School announces its April Students of the Month. Named this month as the Best at DeKalb West are Dayton Heflin, Kindergarten; Camille Barton, 1st grade; Kaylee Kent, 2nd grade; Hudson Moss, 3rd grade; Emily Young, 4th grade; Zoi Hale, 5th grade; Caleb Dies, 6th grade; Sierra Sabatino, 7th grade, and Sydnee Hendrixon, 8th grade. Students are chosen based on academics, character, and other traits that make them outstanding among their peers.

Pictured first row left to right are Kaylee Kent, Hudson Moss, Camille Barton, Zoi Hale, and Dayton Heflin. Second row left to right: Emily Young, Sierra Sabatino, Caleb Dies, and Sydnee Hendrixson.

Chamber having a Live Auction with Guitars signed by Famous Stars

April 13, 2017
Chamber having a Live Auction with Guitars signed by Famous Stars

The Smithville- DeKalb County Chamber Annual Banquet is Thursday, April 27th starting with a Silent Auction at 5:30 PM and the Program/Dinner at 6 pm.

The Chamber will also be having their first-ever Live Auction. Some of the live auction items include a Fender Guitar signed by Barbara, Louise, & Irlene Mandrell, an Epiphone Guitar signed by Charlie Daniels, an Epiphone Guitar signed by Vince Gill, and Billy Dean’s custom rustic quilt rack and signed by him.

Irlene Mandrell will be the night’s entertainment. Get your tickets now! Only $25 per ticket or reserve a table for 7 for $175.

Call the Chamber office at 615-597-4163 or email: swilliams@dekalbcountychamber.org.

"Classroom Champion" Award Goes to Abby Cross

April 13, 2017
Dwayne Page
Abby Cross
Attorney Jim Judkins, Assistant Northside Elementary Principal Beth Pafford, Tony Cross, Abby Cross, Shelly Cross, Northside Elementary Principal Karen Knowles, and WJLE’s Dwayne Page

Abby Cross, a fifth grader at Northside Elementary School, is this week’s “Classroom Champion”.

The award was presented by Smithville Attorney Jim Judkins and Dwayne Page of WJLE .

Abby is the daughter of Tony and Shelly Cross and she has four siblings, Eli, Allyson, Isaac, and Silas. Her teacher is Carrie Gottlied.

She likes pigs, the color teal, lasagna, and basketball but doesn’t care for snakes, strawberries, and brussels sprout.

When she grows up, Abby said she wants to do something in pediatrics or radiology.

In an effort to recognize achievements of students in the DeKalb County School System, WJLE has partnered with attorney Judkins in featuring a “Classroom Champion” each week for the next several weeks.

The name of the student selected each week will be announced on WJLE and will be featured on the WJLE website. Each student winning will receive a plaque and a gift certificate.

“This is our way of recognizing and celebrating the achievements of the future citizens and leaders of the community. It can benefit their learning and overall school atmosphere and climate. The students' selection is based on academic performance, responsibility and work ethic, leadership abilities, and citizenship and character,” said Judkins.

Smithville Elementary Names Students of the Month

April 13, 2017
Smithville Elementary Names Students of the Month

Smithville Elementary School has named Students of the Month for April. These students were selected for their outstanding character, academics, and other traits that make them an all-around excellent student. Selected as Students of the Month for April are:

Pre-K: Tavian Fury

Kindergarten: Grant Slager

1st grade: Blaine Scarbro

2nd grade: Taylor White

(Students of the Month are pictured with Principal Julie Vincent and Assistant Principal Anita Puckett. From left to right: Tavian Fury, Grant Slager, Blaine Scarbro, Taylor White )

Parents Plea to Child Abuse and Neglect

April 13, 2017
Dwayne Page
Donnie Ray Gillman
Christina Dawn Mooneyham

The parents of a 25 month old youngster who were charged with child abuse and neglect in November after testing positive for meth while caring for their toddler appeared in criminal court Monday, April 10.

36 year old Donnie Ray Gillman and 39 year old Christina Dawn Mooneyham each entered a plea by criminal information to child abuse and neglect. Gillman received a sentence of two years all suspended to probation. He must comply with DCS/ treatment. Mooneyham will be on judicial diversion and supervised probation for two years. She must continue treatment and abide by DCS requirements.

Smithville Police took a report from a case worker of the Department of Children Services on Monday, November 28, 2016 who said she had received a referral alleging that Gillman and Mooneyham had been abusing methamphetamine. During an investigation by DCS Gillman and Mooneyham tested positive for methamphetamine during a urine drug screen and both admitted to having used drugs in the home while caring for their child. A hair follicle on the child also tested positive for methamphetamine. The toddler was placed in a foster home on Wednesday, November 9.

"Generation Found" to be Presented Friday Night in Smithville

April 12, 2017

Come watch "Generation Found" from the creators of the amazing documentary Anonymous People at the DeKalb County Complex at 712 South Congress Boulevard Smithville on Friday, April 14 from 6:00 p.m. until 8:30 p.m.

There will also be a live performance by Matt Butler! Check it out!!! A great chance to learn more about addiction and how you can help!

Join a group who are passionate about the upcoming documentary and discussion about addiction and the incredible communities developing in the U.S. to provide vital support for young people in recovery. Check out this exciting film trailer here:http://generationfoundfilm.com .


About the film: From the creators of the groundbreaking film, THE ANONYMOUS PEOPLE, comes GENERATION FOUND, a powerful story about one community coming together to ignite a youth addiction recovery revolution in their hometown. Devastated by an epidemic of addiction, Houston faced the reality of burying and locking up its young people at an alarming rate. And so in one of the largest cities in America, visionary counselors, law school dropouts, aspiring rock musicians, retired football players, oil industry executives, and church leaders came together to build the world’s largest peer-driven youth and family recovery community.

Independently filmed over the course of two years, GENERATION FOUND takes an unprecedented and intimate look at how a system of treatment centers, sober high schools, alternative peer groups, and collegiate recovery programs can exist in concert to intervene early and provide a real and tested long-term alternative to the “War on Drugs.” It is not only a deeply personal story, but one with real-world utility for communities struggling with addiction worldwide.

Liberty Mayor and Aldermen Seek to Change Election Cycle

April 12, 2017
Dwayne Page

The Liberty Mayor and Aldermen are seeking state legislative action to amend the city charter changing the timing of municipal elections so that all seats are filled in the same election every four years and authorizing the mayor and aldermen to receive pay for attending monthly city board meetings.

Under legislation by State Senator Mae Beavers and State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver, the next municipal election in Liberty would be on the first Thursday in August 2018, and every four (4) years thereafter, to fill the office of mayor and five (5) aldermen.

Under the existing charter, Liberty elects its city officials in a four year cycle but in back to back years. For example, three aldermen were elected in 2016 and this year (2017) a mayor and two aldermen are to be elected. Without a change the cycle would be repeated in the years 2020 and 2021.

In order to get all future city elections on a four year cycle, the Liberty mayor and aldermen want to reschedule this year’s city election to August, 2018 to coincide with the county general election.

Under the proposed city charter amendment, the mayor and aldermen so elected in August, 2018 shall hold their respective offices for a term of four (4) years and until their successors are duly elected and qualified. In order to have the elections for the board of mayor and aldermen coincide, the terms of the mayor and two (2) aldermen who were elected in the election held in August 2013 shall be extended for one (1) year to August 2018.

The board of mayor and aldermen, after each of their respective elections, shall take office on or before the first succeeding Monday night, at which time the board shall meet, organize, and begin the discharge of its duties.

The Board of Mayor and Aldermen also want the power to authorize a payment to the mayor and each alderman for their attendance at meetings of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen. Such payment shall not exceed forty-five dollars ($45.00), may not be paid to the mayor or to an alderman more often than once a month, and is conditioned on the mayor and alderman's attendance at the regular monthly board meeting.

If the Board votes to authorize payment to the mayor and aldermen, such payment shall not take effect until after the next regular election after such authorization vote has occurred.

If adopted by the state legislature, the city charter amendments must be approved by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the legislative body of the Town of Liberty.


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