Local News Articles

Sheriff Says Scammers Preying on Elderly

March 6, 2018
Dwayne Page

Scammers are preying on the elderly of DeKalb County in a new way and Sheriff Patrick Ray urges you guard against becoming a victim.

According to Sheriff Ray, would be victims have reported receiving calls in recent weeks from someone telling them that their grandchild has been injured in a wreck and needs money for an attorney because they have been arrested.

The caller asks the victim to put money on a Walmart or Google card and then to read off the card’s numbers and access code to them. The scammer then instantly withdraws the money from the card.

Most have figured out it’s a scam but one person has fallen victim to it and lost several thousands of dollars.

Sheriff Ray urges you to just hang up if you get such a call. If you should become a victim report it to the sheriff’s department but don’t expect to recover your cash. “Once those cards are cleared they go into a bank account and then they go outside the United States so there is no way to get the victim’s money back,” said Sheriff Ray.

Mother Needs Help Locating Missing Daughter

March 6, 2018
Dwayne Page
Hannah Marie Grisham
16 year old Hannah Marie Grisham

The mother of a missing DeKalb County teenage girl needs your help in locating her.

16 year old Hannah Marie Grisham went missing from her home in Liberty on February 11 according to her mother, Darlene Grisham.

No one has seen or heard from her and police have no leads as to her whereabouts.

If you should see or speak to Hannah or know where she is please contact Central Dispatch at 615-215-3000 or her mother at 615-318-3040 or 615-580-9064.

Aldermen Want City Administration to Keep them Better Informed

March 5, 2018
Dwayne Page
Smithville Mayor and Aldermen: Seated Mayor Jimmy Poss and Alderman Gayla Hendrix. STANDING: Aldermen Danny Washer, Jason Murphy, Josh Miller, and Shawn Jacobs

Smithville Aldermen, concerned that they are too often being left in the dark by the administration about things going on in city government, want to be better informed.

During Monday night’s meeting, members of the council expressed their frustrations saying they have learned from the public or been asked about certain things of which they were unaware and should have known about pointing to two examples in particular. One involved the hiring of the mayor’s son, Tony Poss without board approval to work part time at the golf course and swimming pool last September after Poss surrendered his lease of the facilities in August. Shortly after Poss gave up the lease, the city entered into a one year contract with Riverwatch Golf & Resort to upgrade and maintain the golf course at a cost to the city of $74,115, most of which is coming from the city’s general fund surplus . Poss’ employment with the city ended Monday (March 5) before the issue was brought up Monday night. From September 1 to March 2, Poss’ gross amount of pay was $300 per week for a total of $8,100.

The other issue involves the city paying a part time employee at the animal shelter since January for working over 40 hours a week without board approval, which is a violation of the city’s agreement with the DeKalb Animal Coalition. Under that agreement, the city is to fund only one full time and one part time position at the animal shelter. Members of the Coalition addressed the mayor and aldermen last month asking that the city make the part time position full time but no action was taken by the board.

"I don't like coming up here and finding out stuff I should know before I get here that they (public) hear on the street. If they know it on the street, why don't we know it?" asked Alderman Danny Washer.

"Maybe we need to have ground rules on what we need to know. We all work full time jobs and I don't want to be called every time somebody wants to do something. I think the leaders we have hired should have discretion up to a certain point and maybe we need to decide where that line is," said Alderman Jason Murphy.

Alderman Josh Miller raised the issue about Tony Poss asking why he was hired.

“This has been something that has been brought to me and I think to others. I would like to know why we have been paying somebody to mow the golf course when we have it subbed out to Riverwatch?

“Who are we paying to mow the golf course?” asked Mayor Jimmy Poss

“I got numbers today and we have been paying somebody (Tony Poss) from September 1, 2017 through March 2, 2018 apparently to mow the golf course,” said Alderman Miller.

“No” responded Mayor Poss.

“So that’s not true?” asked Alderman Miller.

“Not to mow the golf course, no," replied Mayor Poss.

Alderman Miller then produced a city employee payroll data document for Tony Poss bearing the mayor’s signature with a hand written note that reads “part time seasonal salary $300 to mow golf course”.

After Aldermen Miller passed the document to him during the meeting, the mayor admitted that Tony was hired to do other things and not to mow the grass.

“We had a problem and what he (Tony) has done, he has taken care of that golf course with what Riverwatch wasn’t doing. He (Tony) has protected us from freezing up. The pool was running low with no water being put in it. It wasn’t being maintained by the city and that wasn’t Ken’s deal (Ken Lacy of Riverwatch). This is what Tony did. He took care of the city’s property. Now it wasn’t mowing. That’s an error there,” explained Mayor Poss.

Alderman Washer asked City Attorney Vester Parsley if the city can hire a new part time employee without board approval.

“I would really have to look and see. I wouldn’t want to make a comment either way right now,” answered Parsley.

“So is he (Tony) still part time?" asked Alderman Miller

“No, he is not anymore,” answered Mayor Poss

“When did that happen?”, asked Alderman Miller

“Today," replied Mayor Poss

Alderman Shawn Jacobs said he was under the impression that “Riverwatch was supposed to be taking care of everything over there (golf course). I thought that is why we hired them. That was quite a bit of expense to the city,” he said.

The things they (Riverwatch) weren’t going to do we were having Kevin Robinson’s department (Public Works) to do which were already city employees handling those issues,” added Alderman Gayla Hendrix.

"My suggestion is that any issue with an employee whether part time or full time it should come before the board (for approval) so at least we know who our employees are because we are ultimately liable for these people," Alderman Hendrix continued.

Concerning the part time employee at the animal shelter, Alderman Washer said the city is paying him more than it should be. “I averaged it out and from the time he hired in to the end of our last meeting (February) he was paid for 41.8 hours (per week)”.

Janice Plemmons Jackson, the city’s financial advisor, confirmed that the city has been paying more for that part time position than the aldermen agreed to pay. “What we budgeted for the animal (shelter) employees 'salaries was for one full time person, 40 hours and one part time person, 25 hours. That was set in contract with them (Animal Coalition) but we are exceeding the budget tremendously with what they are turning in and the city has been paying for extra things that are not in that contract. It is my opinion that with a contract you either stay with it or you have to modify it,” she said.

As for paying the part timer at the animal shelter, Jackson asked the aldermen what the city should do?

"Go back to what we agreed on. We can't keep spending money that we hadn't put out there (budgeted). If you do little by little its going to catch up to you and bite you," said Alderman Washer.

Community Bids Farewell to Officer Joseph Bowen (VIEW VIDEOS HERE)

March 5, 2018
Dwayne Page

Family, friends, and other mourners including uniformed police officers from a number of county and city law enforcement agencies, firefighters, and other emergency service providers bid farewell to Joseph Bowen Monday.

The memorial service with full police honors was held in Lebanon followed by a procession to his final resting place at Salem Cemetery in Liberty.

The 28 year old Lebanon Police Officer, husband, and father of two lost his life in a crash last Thursday on Highway 70 at Dowelltown while returning home from work.

Firefighters, law enforcement officers, and other emergency services responders stood side by side on Highway 70 and saluted as the hearse bearing Officer Bowen’s body arrived in Liberty.

He is survived by wife Kim Bowen; children Katy Jo and Wesley Brock Bowen; parents Dwayne and Lisa Bogle Bowen; brother Jacob (Kayla) Bowen; uncle Mike Bowen; nephew Knox Bowen; in-laws Steven and Kathy Deffendoll; brothers and sisters-in law Brandon Deffendoll, Chris and Kristina McMillen; niece and nephew Lacey and Cole McMillen. He is preceded in death by grandparents Frank and Helen Bowen and Lemuel and Betty Bogle.

Memorial Donations will be accepted at Wilson Bank and Trust for the children’s scholarship fund. Sellars Funeral Home, Lebanon was in charge of the arrangements.

Chamber To Celebrate 55 Years At Upcoming Annual Banquet

March 5, 2018
Suzanne Williams

Everyone is invited to attend the Smithville-DeKalb County Chamber Annual Banquet. The banquet will be held on Thursday, April 26, 2018 at the DeKalb County Complex, 712 South Congress Blvd., Smithville. “We are excited to again host this enjoyable and informative event. We invite the all the public to share in this fun-filled night of dining, entertainment, and Chamber updates including the introduction of our new Board, 2018 Officers and recognition of our retiring board members. This is a wonderful networking opportunity and a great way to see some of the positive things that are happening in our county,” says Chamber Executive Director Suzanne Williams.

Come early to network as doors open at 5:30 PM. The dinner and program begin at 6:00 PM. The delicious meal will be served by the DeKalb Middle School Jr. Beta Club.

We invite local businesses to be a Corporate Sponsor for the event, to not only support the Chamber and its many programs, but as a valuable marketing opportunity. The cost of corporate sponsorship is $250. Some of the advantages include:
• Corporate Sponsors will be included on all banquet-related printed materials.
• Corporate Sponsors will be announced on the Chamber Chat Radio / TV program, in the Smithville Review, and social media outlets
• Corporate Sponsors and employees will be recognized during the banquet

Banquet tickets prices are $25 per person and can be purchased by calling the Chamber at 615-597-4163, email at: swilliams@dekalbcountychamber.org, text Suzanne at 615-464-7760, or from any of the Chamber Board of Directors – Rita Bell, Isaac Gray, Steve Johnson, Connie Tjarks, Sherry Harris, Beth Adcock, Jane Brown, Dana Scott, Mark Taylor, Lori Webb, Debra Ruzinsky, Tom Sturdivant, Lisa Cripps, and Andy Wachtel. Or, you can stop by the Chamber office located in the DeKalb County Courthouse, Room 201. Remember, you don’t have to be a Chamber member to attend. Everyone is welcome!

Special thanks to our Annual Banquet Committee Members: Rita Bell, Lori Webb, Lisa Cripps, Shan Burklow, Beth Chandler, Connie Tjarks, Sherry Harris, and Jen Sherwood for all the work they do to ensure a successful night. We are also so grateful to the Appalachian Center for Craft for providing table arrangements.

We are going to have a great time and hope you can be a part of the Chamber’s 55th Anniversary.

Twenty Four DCHS Seniors Earn "Tennessee State Honors"

March 5, 2018
Dwayne Page

Twenty four seniors at DCHS have met the requirements for graduating with Tennessee State Honors by meeting all of the ACT/SAT subject area readiness benchmarks.

Those students are:
Jaimie Alexander
Ana Amaya
Savannah Belcher
Kayla Belk
Kaitlyn Cantrell
Abby Evans
Hannah Evans
Marshal Evins
Jacob Frazier
Breanna Gibson
Grace Godowns
Griffen Goldstein
Austin Johnson
Kyle Justice
Mark Mace
Allison Maynard
Kelsie Merriman
Bradley Miller
David Pack
Logan Painter
Jasmine Parker
Ami Patel
Lee Randolph
Maggie Robinson.

The ACT benchmarks for this honor are English-18, Reading-22, Math-22, and Science-23.

SAT benchmarks are: Evidence-Based Reading and Writing-480, and Math-530.

Students who take the ACT in April and meet the requirements may still graduate with honors.

Sparta Man Sentenced for Theft of Utility Trailer

March 5, 2018
Dwayne Page
Bruce Randall Bumbalough

A Sparta man has been sentenced for stealing a utility trailer.


Seagate Crystal Reports - REPOR_60.pdf (2.08 MB)

52 year old Bruce Randall Bumbalough of North Butler Street, Sparta entered a plea by criminal information Friday, February 23 in DeKalb County Criminal Court for theft over $1,000 and received a two year TDOC sentence on probation. He must make restitution of $1,200 to the victim.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on August 10, 2017 the sheriff’s department received a report that someone had stolen a 6 x 12 foot utility trailer from a residence on Big Hurricane Road, Smithville valued at $1,200.

A detective was assigned to the case and developed Bumbalough as a suspect. He was later arrested for the crime.

33 year old Shannon Ray Herman of McMinnville Highway, Smithville entered a plea by criminal information to theft of property over $1,000 and received a sentence of two years to serve in the Tennessee Department of Correction. The term is to run concurrently with another DeKalb County sentence he is serving. He was given jail credit from November 1, 2017 to February 23, 2018.

Sheriff Ray said that on Saturday, September 16, 2017 Herman was found to be in possession of a stolen 1987 Dodge pickup truck, which was reported stolen in Smith County on Sunday, September 10. When questioned about the vehicle, Herman admitted to the deputy to having possession of the truck but he wouldn’t say where he got it.

51 year old Carolyn Mary Helminski entered plea by criminal information to theft under $1,000 and received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days to serve. The term is to run concurrently with a Cumberland County sentence against her that she is now serving. She must also make restitution to the victim. Helminski was given jail credit from October 2, 2017 to February 23, 2018. The victim filed the theft report on Friday, August 25, 2017 informing police that Helminski lives with her and had taken some of her jewelry and pawned it at Insta Cash. Upon investigation, some of the jewelry was recovered from Insta Cash and Helminski was charged with the theft.

A man charged with driving under the influence in July 2016 entered a plea by criminal information to reckless endangerment.

24 year old Kevin Michael Kijanski received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days all suspended to supervised probation and a $50 fine. Other charges against him were dismissed.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Sunday, July 3, 2016 a deputy received a call about a man who was passed out in the driver seat of a vehicle behind DeKalb Market on Highway 70 west. Upon arrival, the officer observed a jeep parked behind the store with its head lights on. Kijanski was also at the vehicle. He had a strong odor of alcohol on his person. Kijanski submitted to but performed poorly on field sobriety tasks. His eyes were bloodshot and he was unsteady on his feet. Kijanski admitted to having consumed alcohol earlier in the evening.

57 year old Melody Ann Thomas entered a plea by criminal information to reckless endangerment and received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days all suspended to CPS probation. Sheriff Ray said that on Sunday, January 15, 2017 a deputy received a call about a black Nissan car headed toward Smithville on Short Mountain Highway and traveling recklessly. The officer spotted the vehicle and observed it failing to maintain its lane of travel. The deputy made a traffic stop and spoke with the driver, Thomas. Her eyes were bloodshot and she had a strong odor of alcohol on her person. She initially admitted to having consumed one beer but later said she had several beers. Thomas performed poorly on field sobriety tasks and she submitted to a blood test.

56 year old Donald Gene Rigsby entered a plea to sale of a schedule III controlled substance and received a two year sentence all suspended to probation supervised by TDOC subject to judicial diversion . Rigsby was indicted following a 2016 undercover drug investigation by the Smithville Police Department. Rigsby’s indictment alleged that on January 14, 2016 he did unlawfully and knowingly sell and or deliver a controlled substance, to wit: Buprenorphine, a Schedule III controlled substance.

52year old Riley Bullard entered a plea to simple possession of marijuana and received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days on probation. He was fined $250.

25 year old Austin Duane Sigler entered a plea to sale of a schedule II controlled substance (methamphetamine) and received a six year sentence on TDOC probation subject to judicial diversion. He must make restitution of $265 to the sheriff’s department. He was indicted in a 2016 undercover drug investigation by the sheriff’s department.

18 year old Kassey Jo Faith Collier entered a plea to sale of more than half an ounce of marijuana, a schedule VI drug. She received a two year suspended sentence subject to judicial diversion. She must make restitution of $400 to the sheriff’s department.

33 year old Jasmine Penny Spence entered a plea by criminal information to reckless endangerment and simple possession of a schedule IV controlled substance and received a sentence in each case of 11 months and 29 days all suspended to probation. The sentences are to run concurrently. She was fined $750.

39 year old Ronald Nicholas Parker entered a plea by criminal information to reckless endangerment and received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days suspended to supervised probation.

44 year old Carl Bryant Henry entered a plea by criminal information to reckless endangerment and received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days on probation supervised by CPS. Sergeant Travis Bryant of the Smithville Police Department stopped Henry for speeding on August 9, 2015 and he exited the vehicle as Sergeant Bryant approached. Henry was unsteady on his feet and his speech was slurred. Henry performed poorly on field sobriety tasks.

30 year old Magdaleno Diaz Valazquez entered a plea by criminal information to reckless endangerment and received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days all suspended to CPS probation.

50 year old Pablo Jacinto Jimenez entered a plea by criminal information to driving on a suspended license and received a six month sentence on probation supervised by CPS.

50 year old Joseph Kurt Lingauer entered a plea to reckless endangerment and received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days on supervised probation by CPS subject to judicial diversion.

43 year old Charlotte Hill entered a plea to driving on a suspended license and received a six month sentence suspended to supervised probation.

DeKalb Citizens' Fire Academy Accepting Participants for Spring Session

March 4, 2018
Dwayne Page
2017 Citizens Fire Academy

Would you like to get first hand experience of what it’s like to be a county volunteer firefighter and know more about how the department and supporting agencies operate ? Then the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department’s Citizens’ Fire Academy may be for you

You have a special invitation to enroll in the Spring Academy scheduled for April 17 through May 22. The classes meet each Tuesday from 6 p.m until 8 p.m. and there is no cost to participate.

Get an exciting “behind the scenes” look at how emergency services work for you. This academy is educational and fun.

To enroll or to get more information contact County Fire Chief Donny Green at 615-464-7176 or email” chief300@dtccom.net.

The deadline to enter is March 31.

Frequently Asked Questions about the DeKalb County Fire Department’s Citizens' Fire Academy:

Q: What is the purpose and intent of the DCFD Citizens' Fire Academy?

A:The purpose of this academy is to provide a behind-the-scenes look, from a citizens' perspective, at the organizational structure, administration, operation, and response capabilities of the DeKalb County Fire Department and supporting agencies, such as the 911 Dispatch Center, law enforcement/investigations, emergency medical services, and fire prevention and safety agencies.

Q: Is there a cost to participate in the DCFD Citizens' Fire Academy?

A:There is absolutely no cost for participating in this academy. Participants will be provided a light meal at each session and there will be a graduation ceremony and meal on May 22. We also provide each participant with an official DeKalb County Fire Department Citizens’ Fire Academy t-shirt!

Q: Will participants be trained to be firefighters?

A:Although class participants will have the opportunity to have some hands-on experience, the intent of this course is not to make firefighters out of participants.

Q: Will participants be required to perform strenuous activities?

A: No. Participants have the choice to participate as observers, or they can also volunteer to participate in hands- on tasks at whatever level they feel comfortable. Regardless of your physical condition, everyone can participate and have a positive and fun experience in this program.

Q: What is the class schedule?

A: We will be meeting weekly on Tuesday evenings from 6-8 pm beginning on April 17 and the academy graduation will be on May 22. Participants will meet at the DeKalb County Fire Department's Headquarters at 782 King Ridge Rd., Dowelltown, TN. 37059. It is very important that participants plan to be at every session.

Q: Who is eligible to participate in the DCFD Citizens' Fire Academy?

A: Anyone who lives or works in DeKalb County is invited to participate. However, we would like to place emphasis and strongly urge our community and business leaders to take part in this educational opportunity.

Q: Who can I talk to that has completed this academy that can give me a recommendation?

A: The Spring 2018 session will be our 9th session since we began the academy and we have had over 70 graduates who have provided us with very positive feedback about their experience. You can contact Chief Donny Green at (615) 464-7176 and he will be happy to provide you with contact information for academy alumni.

Q: What is the deadline to request participation in the Spring 2018 session of the DCFD Citizens' Fire Academy?

A: We will continue to accept requests for enrollment until March 31, 2018.

Q: How do I sign up to confirm my intent to participate in the Spring 2018 DCFD Citizens' Academy?

A: All you have to do is either email Chief Donny Green at chief300@dtccom.net, or call 615-464-7176 to submit your name for consideration before the class fills up. Remember, we strive to keep the class size to a maximum of 15 students. Please do not delay confirming your intent to enroll if you are interested in participating.

Prisoner Charged with Assaulting Another Inmate

March 4, 2018
Dwayne Page
Andrew Dayton West
Katelyn Michelle Walz

A prisoner in the DeKalb County Jail was recently charged with aggravated assault after attacking another inmate.

27 year old Andrew Dayton West of Tramel Branch Road, Alexandria is under a $20,000 bond and his court date is March 15.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Thursday, February 22 a DeKalb County Correctional Officer observed West on camera stomping on another inmate. The officer then alerted other correctional officers.

West caused serious bodily injury to another inmate by stomping his head while he was laying on a mat. The injured prisoner was transported to the emergency room of the hospital where he was treated and released back into custody.

21 year old Katelyn Michelle Walz of Smithville is charged with driving under the influence. She was also cited for violation of the implied consent law, no insurance, and open container. Her bond is $1,500 and her court date is March 15.

Sheriff Ray said that on Saturday, February 17 a deputy was called to Sparta Highway near the Midnight Express where a vehicle was in the ditch.

Upon arrival he spoke to the driver of the automobile, Walz who said she had turned too sharply and missed the driveway. Walz had a strong odor of alcohol coming from her person and her eyes were glassy, red, and watery. She was unsteady on her feet. Walz submitted to but performed poorly on field sobriety tasks. When she refused to comply with the implied consent law, a search warrant was obtained for a sample of her blood. The officer found an open can of beer under the driver seat of the vehicle.

Candidates Asked to Keep Political Signs Off School Properties

March 3, 2018
Dwayne Page

All political candidates are asked not to place their campaign signs on any school property in DeKalb County.


Because the Board of Education has an active policy prohibiting it.

Policy #1.806 “Advertising and Distribution of Materials in Schools” states that “No part of the school system, including the facilities, the name, the staff, and the students, shall be used for advertising or promoting the interests of any commercial, political, or other non-school agency or organization. There are exceptions but those apply mainly to non-profit or governmental agencies that promote education or are pertinent to students’ interest and not for political purposes.

The policy goes on to state that “political literature shall not be distributed through the school to students, nor sent home to parents, nor placed in teachers’ mail boxes, lounges, or on school premises.”

“Political signs for people who are running for public office shall not be allowed on school property”.

Any political signs placed on school properties are to be removed.


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