Local News Articles

Relentless Student Ministries brings home 3rd in the Nation

August 13, 2015
Relentless Student Ministries brings home 3rd in the Nation

The Smithville First Assembly of God Youth just recently attended the 2015 National Fine Arts Competitions held in Orlando Florida. They represented Tennessee in three categories including Large Human Video, Worship Dance Troupe, And Large Drama Ensemble. They came in 3rd out of 97 groups from around the world. Being one of the most active Youth groups in DeKalb County everyone around knows how they excel in Drama & Dance.

Relentless Student Ministries lead by Iain & Kassy Swisher & Josh Issac, started their journey in March when they competed at the Tennessee State Competitions held at Trevecca University located in Nashville. Relentless Students competed in 8 all original and self-choreographed categories taught by Josh Isaac & Kassy Swisher and came home with 7 winning state titles. The Titles included Large Human Video, Small Drama Ensemble, Large Drama Ensemble, Worship Dance Troupe, and Solo Worship Dance. The hardest decision was figuring out what they wanted to take to nationals.They couldn’t afford to take all 7. Relentless Students raised all their own money by having bake sales, yard sales, RADA, Donuts, Dinners, and Dinner Theaters. They left for their 9 day trip to Orlando on July 31st and was honored with top 3 out of 97 teams on Friday, August 7th at the 56th Assemblies of God General Council 2015 Fine Arts Celebration Ceremonies. DeKalb county should be proud of these teens who all represented our church, city, county, and state well. These students have chosen to use their talents to impact their schools and city in a positive way. Each student is very active in school activities as well. We have DeKalb Tiger Football Players, Cheerleaders, Mr. & Mrs. DCHS, and Tiger Basketball Players. These students strive to be that light in all that they do. It’s always great to see their hard work pay off. They embody the bible verse they wear on the shirts: Romans 12:2 “And be not conformed to this world: but be TRANSFORMED by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is good, and acceptable and perfect in the will of God.

Watertown Man Injured in Motorcycle Crash

August 13, 2015
by: 
Dwayne Page

A Watertown man was injured when his motorcycle rear ended a pickup truck Wednesday morning in Smithville.

71 year old William Taylor was taken by DeKalb EMS to Saint Thomas DeKalb Hospital.

According to Captain Steven Leffew of the Smithville Police Department, Taylor was east on Broad Street on a Honda Goldwing motorcycle when he crashed into an eastbound 2010 Toyota Tacoma, driven by 33 year old Michael Auffinger of Liberty. Captain Leffew said the accident occurred as
Auffinger slowed to make a right turn into the parking area of Patty's Restaurant. Auffinger was not injured.

Early Voting Begins Friday for Alexandria Election

August 13, 2015
by: 
Dwayne Page
Early Voting Begins Friday for Alexandria Election

Early voting begins Friday, August 14 for the Alexandria Municipal Election.

(CLICK LINK BELOW TO VIEW SAMPLE BALLOT)

alex ballot web site newspaper.pdf (9.29 KB)

Voting will take place at the election commission office at the courthouse in Smithville through August 29 as follows:

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon and Thursday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

The election is being held to elect three aldermen to four year terms and to fill the remaining two years of vacant or unexpired terms of mayor and two aldermen positions.

Candidates for Mayor are Tony Tarpley and Bennett Armstrong.

Those running unopposed for the two year aldermen positions are Danny Parkerson and Matthew Boss.

Kelly Pyburn, David Cripps, and John F. Suggs are each running unopposed for the four year alderman terms.

Election Day is Thursday, September 3

Applicants Sought for Senior Center Director

August 12, 2015
by: 
Dwayne Page

The Smithville Senior Center Advisory Board is seeking applicants for the position of Senior Center Director.

Responsibilities include development of the center's overall work plan and supervision of the day to day operations. The Senior Center Director will also be responsible for HR management, fiscal budgeting, community events, and fundraising activities.

The director, or person appointed by the director, shall represent the center as a member of the local emergency management team to provide information on the needs of older persons.

Desired qualifications for this position are good verbal and written communication skills, computer skills, knowledge in recruitment and interview process, knowledge and ability of budgeting, and past experience of coordinating events in fundraisers.

Please mail or hand deliver resumes to:

Brenda Cantrell
c/o First Bank
200 West Main Street
Smithville, TN. 37166

The deadline for accepting applications is 5:00 p.m. on August 28, 2015.

Police Urge Residents to be Vigilant Against Car Burglars

August 12, 2015
by: 
Dwayne Page
Captain Steven Leffew

Although two people were recently arrested in connection with a rash of car burglaries, the Smithville Police Department is still receiving reports of vehicle burglaries.

Captain Steven Leffew encourages people to lock their vehicle doors. "It appears that unlocked vehicles are being targeted. We would also encourage citizens not to leave valuables such as purses, wallets or purchases in plain sight as this may encourage thefts," he said.

Adams Arraigned on Attempted Second Degree Murder Indictment

August 12, 2015
by: 
Dwayne Page
Jordan Adams

A Smithville man recently indicted in a shooting which occurred a year ago was arraigned in DeKalb County Criminal Court on Monday, August 10.

29 year old Jordan Adams was indicted by the Grand Jury on Monday, July 27 for attempted second degree murder and reckless endangerment in the shooting of 40 year old Jamie Murphy. The incident occurred on Juniper Lane, August 5, 2014.

The case was investigated by the Smithville Police Department.

According to the arrest warrants at the time, Murphy was shot once in the back shoulder and by another bullet which grazed his arm. He was taken by DeKalb EMS to DeKalb Community Hospital for treatment of his wounds. He has since recovered.

Murphy was reportedly behind the wheel of a pickup truck and trying to get out through the passenger side when Adams, who was standing outside the truck, allegedly fired rounds from a .25 caliber pistol, which struck Murphy. A male passenger in the truck with Murphy was not injured.

After the shooting, Adams allegedly got in a different pickup truck driven by another man and left the scene.

Lieutenant Detective Matt Holmes told WJLE at the time that he received an outside tip about the shooting and spotted the fleeing vehicle on Broad Street. He followed as the truck turned onto Dry Creek Road and then into the driveway of a residence. Lieutenant Holmes said he pulled in behind the truck to make a high risk stop, got out of his patrol car and ordered the two occupants in the vehicle to get out. As Adams exited the vehicle and went down, Lieutenant Holmes said he saw a handgun fall to the ground. Adams was then placed under arrest.

The arrest warrants alleged that "On August 5, 2014 Jordan Adams did shoot Jamie Murphy in the back as he attempted to flee his vehicle out of the passenger side door. Mr. Murphy was shot twice, once in the back shoulder and once as a bullet grazed his arm as he retreated. Mr. Adams left the scene and was located by Lt. Matt Holmes where he was found to be in possession of a .25 caliber handgun. Mr. Adams cannot possess a weapon due to being a convicted felon. Mr. Adams did fire multiple shots down the road where multiple people were outside and in or around the line of fire."

Count 1 of the indictment against Adams alleges that "On August 5, 2014, Adams knowingly did attempt to kill Jamie Murphy, constituting the offense of Attempted Second Degree Murder. Count 2 alleges that Adams recklessly did engage in conduct which placed or which might have placed the citizens of DeKalb County in imminent danger of death or serious bodily injury, said offense being committed with a deadly weapon, to-wit: a .25 caliber handgun, constituting the offense of Reckless Endangerment with a deadly weapon".

Adams' case will be back in court for settlement discussions in September and for negotiation deadline in October.

Jury Returns Split Decision in Drug Case

August 11, 2015
by: 
Dwayne Page
Vester Parsley, Ronnie Evans, and Jon Slager

A jury, following a day long trial Tuesday, August 11 in DeKalb County Criminal Court, returned a split decision in a drug case against a local man indicted in an undercover investigation by the Sheriff's Department in November 2013.

63 year old Charles Ronnie Evans of Students Home Road, Smithville was found not guilty in a unanimous verdict by the jury on one count of sale and delivery of a schedule II drug (Roxycodone). But the jury, made up of 10 women and 2 men, could not reach a unanimous decision on another count of sale and delivery of a schedule II drug (Dilaudid). The vote was 10 in favor of acquittal with 2 opting for a lesser included offense. As a result, Judge David Patterson declared a mistrial in the Dilaudid case. The District Attorney General's staff must now decide whether to seek a new trial on the Dilaudid charges. An announcement is expected on October 2, the next negotiation deadline date. Evans will remain on bond pending that decision.

Attorney's Jon Slager and Vester Parsley represented Evans during the trial Tuesday, which was covered exclusively by WJLE.

Evans was one of sixty four persons named in sealed indictments by the DeKalb County Grand Jury on Monday, January 13, 2014 after a three month undercover drug investigation by the Sheriff's Department. Evans, an employee in the tire shop at DeKalb Farmers Coop, was accused of selling to a confidential informant one Roxycodone pill on November 8, 2013 and one K4 Dilaudid pill five days later on November 13, 2013. The alleged transactions occurred while Evans was at work in the tire shop. The informant, Chris Hale, was contracted by the sheriff's department to make undercover drug buys during the investigation and was paid for his services from the drug fund. Hale testified that he bought a pill from Evans on both occasions.

But Evans, who has never before been in trouble with the law, took the witness stand in his own defense Tuesday to deny the allegations and to assert that he was the victim of a setup between Hale and a former Coop employee, Chris Pack. According to Evans, Pack had been suspected of stealing tires from the shop and he (Evans) reported that to management. A defense theory was that a plan may have been hatched between Pack and Hale to retaliate against Evans since it was Pack who had put Hale onto Evans. However, Pack himself was indicted in the same undercover investigation for two counts of sale and delivery of a schedule II drug (Roxycodone). Pack was later fired from the Coop.

Hale's credibility was also called into question by attorneys Slager and Parsley since Hale is a convicted felon, having served prison time for multiple thefts and burglaries. Hale admitted to committing the crimes to obtain money to support his drug addiction but claims he has kicked the habit now that he is out of prison after undergoing rehab programs while doing his time.

Hale testified that he was working at a local recycling business when he was contacted by former sheriff's department detective Houston Cantrell about becoming a confidential informant. Hale said he agreed to do it to help fight the drug problem. But attorneys for Evans claim that Hale's motive was more for monetary than moral reasons in that he was being paid up to $100 for every schedule II pill he bought during the investigation and that over a three month period, he earned as much as $10,000 working undercover. It was also during this time that Hale quit his job at the recycling business.

On the dates Evans is alleged to have sold the pills, drug detective Jeremy Taylor and former detective Cantrell testified that they met Hale at a prearranged secure location about a mile from DeKalb Farmers Coop. At the secure location, Hale was made to strip down to his boxer shorts. Both Hale and his car were searched for contraband and he was wired with an audio recording device but no body camera. After being given money to make the drug buys, Hale got in his vehicle and drove to the Coop. Taylor and Cantrell then set up video surveillance near the Coop and monitored audio communication from the wire planted on Hale.

The video tape recording on November 8, 2013, as shown to the jury, revealed Hale driving up to the Coop tire shop. He got out of the car and went into the shop. During his testimony, Hale said both Evans and Chris Pack were in the shop when he arrived and that after speaking briefly to Pack, he and Evans stepped aside in the shop and made the drug transaction. In the video tape of November 13, Hale again is shown arriving at the tire shop as Evans is working on a tire. As the men walk through the shop, they are screened from view behind a portion of the building. In both cases, the video and audio recordings are of poor quality and no drug transactions are discernible.

After the alleged transactions were made on both dates, Hale drove back to the prearranged secure location and met with detectives Taylor and Cantrell where he was again strip searched down to his boxer shorts. According to the detectives, Hale had only in his possession the pills he purchased from Evans. His car was also searched for contraband. Another defense theory is that Hale may have had the pills to frame Evans all along and concealed them from detectives even during a search of his clothing and car.

In addition to Hale and detective Taylor and former detective Cantrell, Sheriff Patrick Ray also testified for the prosecution.

Along with Evans, defense witnesses were Elder Ricky Arnold, pastor of the New Bildad Primitive Baptist Church and Gilbert Martin, a Coop employee. Arnold said Evans is a long time member, deacon, and treasurer of the church. Both Arnold and Martin served as character witnesses for Evans testifying as to his honesty and integrity.

Tenneco to Add New Jobs with Expansion

August 11, 2015
Tenneco to Add New Jobs with Expansion
Tenneco Expanding

The Smithville area economy is getting a boost in the very near future.

Tenneco’s Smithville plant will be adding 150 new jobs by February next year with the completion of a 24,500 square-foot expansion. Work on the expansion, which is already underway, should be completed by the end of this year or early 2016.

Tenneco, which currently employs 481 workers, manufactures mufflers, catalytic converters and exhaust systems for automotive companies, including GM, Toyota, Nissan, Honda and Chrysler.

The local facility has been advertising for employees for the past several weeks. Positions include team specialists, welders, maintenance, drivers and team leaders.

Tenneco recently celebrated its 20th anniversary in Smithville and is one of 13 U.S. clean air manufacturing plants under the Tenneco umbrella.
Tenneco has 89 manufacturing facilities in 100 countries.

Cookeville’s J. Cumby Construction Company (JCC) is heading up the expansion project.

Trio Sentenced in Meth Lab, Pipe Bomb Case

August 11, 2015
by: 
Dwayne Page
James Lee Adcock
Don Diamond Groshon
April Lee Hollingsworth

Three people were sentenced Monday, August 10 in DeKalb County Criminal Court after entering a plea in a meth case in which live pipe bombs were also found.

46 year old James Lee Adcock, 43 year old Don Diamond Groshon, and 37 year old April Lee Hollingsworth appeared before Judge David Patterson.

Adcock received a five year sentence in each case of attempted initiation of meth, attempted possession of a prohibited weapon, and aggravated burglary all to run concurrently with each other but consecutive to previous charges against him. His name will appear on the state meth registry

Groshon pled guilty to promotion of methamphetamine and a separate case of assault. He received a three year sentence in the meth case and 11 months and 29 days for the assault with the sentences to run concurrently with each other but consecutive to a violation of probation against him. His name will appear in the state's meth registry.

Hollingsworth pled guilty to promotion of meth and received a two year sentence to serve. The term is to run consecutive to other sentences against her. Her name will appear on the state's meth registry.

The trio were arrested on December 8, 2014 after Sheriff's department deputies found a meth lab and two live pipe bombs after arriving at Adcock's home on Jefferson Road to serve a violation of probation warrant. Upon arrival, Sheriff Patrick Ray said officers saw two men running from a barn on the premises. During a search, deputies found Adcock and Groshon hiding in the woods. Hollingsworth remained in the barn. After receiving consent from the property owner to search the barn, officers found a live pipe bomb made of PVC pipe containing explosives, a one liter one pot, a Toastmaster burner, 18 ounces of crystal Drano, 16 ounces of Kingford charcoal lighter fluid, digital scales, a turkey baster, an empty ice compress box, an ice compress pack that had been cut open, 10 hypodermic needles, a funnel, a 16.4 ounce propane bottle, an empty lithium battery pack, four stripped lithium batteries, and three cut straws. A search of Adcock's home turned up another live pipe bomb made of galvanized steel and containing explosives. Due to the discovery of the pipe bombs, Sheriff Ray said members of the Tennessee Highway Patrol Special Operations Unit were called to the scene.

Murder Defendant Arraigned in Criminal Court

August 11, 2015
by: 
Dwayne Page
Anthony (Tony) Tyrone Crews Appears in Court for Arraignment

The man accused in the fatal stabbing of his girlfriend in February appeared in criminal court for arraignment Monday.

42 year old Anthony (Tony) Tyrone Crews was transported from the location where he is being housed out of the county and brought to the DeKalb County courthouse Monday morning. Sheriff Patrick Ray and deputies escorted Crews into the courthouse and up to the courtroom where he appeared to formally enter a not guilty plea to a grand jury indictment of first degree murder in the death of 28 year old Ashley Bain, whose body was found lying on the floor of a bedroom at the home she and Crews shared at 3870 Cookeville Highway, Smithville on Thursday afternoon, February 5. At the time of his arrest on the evening of the stabbing, Crews had been charged with second degree murder. The indictment alleges that "Crews, on February 5, did unlawfully, intentionally, and with premeditation, kill Ashley Bain, constituting the offense of first degree murder".

Judge David Patterson appointed the District Public Defender's Office to represent Crews and kept his bond at $2 million.

Along with all others who were indicted by the grand jury on Monday, July 27, Crews case will be back in court for settlement discussions in September and for negotiation deadline in October.

Following the brief hearing Monday, Crews was escorted out of the courthouse to an awaiting unmarked patrol car which transported him back to the location where he is being housed.

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