Local News Articles

Dewaine Jennings Receives Trooper of Year Honor in Cookeville District

March 1, 2013
Dewaine Jennings Receives Trooper of Year Honor in Cookeville District

Trooper Dewaine Jennings of the Tennessee Highway Patrol, for the second time in four years, has been named Trooper of the Year for the Cookeville District.

Jennings, a resident of Smithville, was among twelve members of the THP who were honored as Troopers of the Year for their individual districts during a special ceremony held Thursday evening in Murfreesboro.

The overall 2012 Trooper of the Year for the state is Trooper Nathan W. Hall in the Fall Branch District that includes Sullivan County. In addition to Trooper Hall's statewide recognition, State Troopers in each of the THP's districts received district Trooper of the Year honors. Awards were also given to the Investigator of the Year and Interdiction Trooper of the Year, while 10 troopers were recognized for their DUI enforcement.

"Each award recipient has shown their dedication to public service and to the safety and security of the state of Tennessee by their extraordinary accomplishments," Safety and Homeland Security Commissioner Bill Gibbons said. "It's an honor to recognize them for their service tonight and to honor their sacrifice year-round." Trooper Hall earned the honor after preventing a possible suicide attempt by a juvenile last December in Sullivan County.

"Trooper Hall is a great example of what is expected of a Tennessee State Trooper. He's professional, courageous, works hard and has a positive attitude. His actions on the night of December 16, 2012 were nothing short of heroic. Trooper Hall is an outstanding representative of our agency and deserves the Trooper of the Year recognition," Colonel Tracy Trott said.

Trooper Jennings was named the 2012 Trooper of the Year in the THP's Cookeville District after looking beyond the ticket on a traffic stop made on August 25, 2012. Trooper Jennings stopped a vehicle for speeding and upon contact with the two occupants noticed suspicious behavior. He then ran a validation check on the 19-year old driver and discovered he had an outstanding warrant for statutory rape. Trooper Jennings detained the driver and began questioning his female passenger. It was discovered that the female passenger was 13-years old and was the girlfriend of the male driver. Trooper Jennings contacted the girls' mother and transported the two to the DeKalb County Sheriff's Office for further investigation. It was later revealed that the 13-year old female had been raped by an older adult and the mother had been advised to keep her away from older men. The boyfriend admitted to a sexual relationship with the female juvenile, and her mother admitted to being aware of the relationship. Both the 19-year old male and the juvenile's mother were arrested. Trooper Jennings thorough investigation in this case resulted in the discovery of a crime. Additionally, his trooper activity ranks second in the district with 23 DUI arrests and second in total citations with 837.

Trooper Nathan W. Hall earned the Trooper of the Year honor after responding to an alleged suicide attempt by a 15-year old female in Sullivan County on December 16, 2012. Trooper Hall responded to Interstate 26 near the Meadowview Convention Center following a request for assistance from the Kingsport Police Department. After searching the area for nearly one hour, Trooper Hall located the juvenile on a rock cliff approximately 60 – 70 feet high. Trooper Hall scaled the cliff, while talking to the young female in attempt to keep her calm. Once he reached the juvenile, he handcuffed himself to her for her safety. With the help of the Kingsport Fire Department's truck ladder, Trooper Hall then escorted the juvenile down to safety. Trooper Hall's quick and decisive actions led to a safe conclusion.

Trooper Eric Miller received the THP Knoxville District's Trooper of the Year honors. His responsibilities as a road trooper in Loudon County include serving as a member of the district's Strike Team and Honor Guard, as well as the Executive Security Detail. He also handles security for the University of Tennessee Football Coach and security assignments for both home and away games. Due to his work as a Field Training Officer, he has been asked to assist the THP Training Center with the upcoming trooper cadet class. In 2012, Trooper Miller had made 54 DUI arrests and 64 physical arrests, conducted 64 commercial vehicle inspections, and issued 638 citations.

Trooper Charles "Tommy" Lyles earned Trooper of the Year honors for the THP Chattanooga District after leading the district in DUI enforcement. He has arrested 95 individuals on suspicion of driving under the influence and made 106 other arrests. Trooper Lyles, who is stationed in Franklin County, has issued 1,028 citations and conducted 69 commercial vehicle inspections. He is a five-year veteran of the THP, during which time he has earned the respect and admiration of his peers and supervisors. Trooper Lyles has a tremendous work ethic and is a valuable asset to the THP.

The Nashville District presented Co-Trooper of the Year awards to Trooper Vincent Turocy and Trooper John Grinder. Trooper Turocy has set an agency record with 227 DUI arrests for 2012. The 14-year veteran also issued 1,674 total traffic citations for the year, the second highest in the district. Trooper Turocy's work-ethic is unmatched. He has consistently led the district in both DUI arrests and overall traffic enforcement. Trooper Grinder joined the THP in 2005 and is currently assigned to Robertson County. Trooper Grinder is runner-up in DUI arrests across the state with 134 cases. His DUI arrest totals are especially impressive because he works in a rural county with approximately 50,000 licensed drivers. He also has 349 commercial vehicle inspections, with an overall out of service rate of 29 percent. Additionally, his persistent investigative skills in a recent fatal crash case led to a vehicular homicide indictment, when the crash was initially deemed non-criminal by other investigators. Together, Trooper Turocy and Trooper Grinder have saved countless lives due to their combined DUI arrests and are deserving of this recognition.

Sergeant Jamie Jarrett of the Memphis District received that district's Trooper of the Year nod. On August 30, 2012, the Memphis Police Department advised THP dispatch to issue a "be on the lookout" for a Chevrolet SUV traveling eastbound on Interstate 40. The driver of the vehicle was wanted in connection with an alleged homicide that occurred earlier that day. Sgt. Jarrett was near the Haywood Scales Complex, where he is assigned, when he observed the suspect vehicle. Sgt. Jarrett had dispatch run the vehicle registration and confirmed it was the suspect wanted by MPD. He then requested backup before activating his emergency equipment to initiate a traffic stop. The suspect failed to stop and a pursuit ensued, continuing across the division line into the Jackson District. A Jackson Trooper deployed spike strips and the suspect crashed at the 76 mile marker with no other vehicles involved. The suspect was apprehended and later released to the Memphis Police Department. Sgt. Jarrett's actions kept citizens from harm, as he utilized the training he has received over his 12-year career as a State Trooper.

The Lawrenceburg District Trooper of the Year was awarded to Trooper Jon Judge. On August 20, 2012, Trooper Judge stopped a vehicle on US Route 431 in Marshall County for speeding. The male driver did not have a driver's license in his possession and gave conflicting information. Upon further investigation and several failed attempts to verify the driver's status, Trooper Judge attempted to arrest the driver for no driver's license. The suspect then fled on foot towards his own vehicle, but Trooper Judge thwarted his attempt to flee. Trooper Judge gave verbal commands, however, the suspect failed to comply and charged Trooper Judge. During the confrontation, the suspect re-entered his vehicle. Trooper Judge attempted to subdue him, but the suspect ignored the commands and drove away, dragging Trooper Judge down the roadway. Trooper Judge was able to fire his weapon and struck the driver in the left arm. Trooper Judge was freed from the vehicle and a pursuit followed. Trooper Judge apprehended the suspect in Lincoln County. It was later revealed that the suspect was wanted in Indiana on escape warrants and in Alabama on robbery charges. He also had a lengthy criminal history out of six different states. Trooper Judge's actions reflect his dedication of duty and service to the state of Tennessee.

Trooper Jason Kirk earned the Trooper of the Year award for the THP Jackson District. After graduating from the Trooper Cadet School in March of 2011, Trooper Kirk has served as a road trooper in Hardin County.
During 2012, he had 12 drug-related cases and led the district in all four quarters in DUI arrests (68). Trooper Kirk investigated 116 crashes during the year and made 104 other arrests. Additionally, he completed 69 commercial vehicle inspections and issued 1,570 citations. He has shown consistent activity to reduce crime and make roadways safe in Tennessee. Trooper Kirk is also a member of the District 8 Strike Team.

The THP's Investigative Trooper of the Year was awarded to Trooper Jeffrey Boyd. Trooper Boyd recovered significant amounts of illegal drug proceeds from two investigations. The first was on several warrants served by Trooper Boyd in April 2012 in the Lawrenceburg District. This investigation led to the seizure of vehicles, boats, and campers paid for with illegal drug money. Trooper Boyd worked with the Nashville Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) throughout this investigation. In December 2012, Trooper Boyd completed a more than two-year investigation that resulted in 22 arrests (19-TN; 3-TX), and the seizure of 41 kilos of cocaine and illegal drug proceeds.

Trooper Jeffrey Buchanan was named Trooper of the Year for the THP's Administrative District (9). On November 2, 2012, THP Special Operations/Aviation Unit were requested to help a stranded hiker on the Appalachian Trail in the Great Smokey Mountains. The hiker had suddenly encountered four to five foot snow drifts due to Hurricane Sandy traveling inland and was unable to continue the journey. Park Rangers had attempted to locate the hiker, however, chest deep snow and the hiker's location enabled them from proceeding with the search. The THP Huey helicopter launched into action and after almost an hour of searching, spotted tracks in the snow and followed them for approximately a mile and a half before observing the hiker's camp. Trooper Buchanan was lowered to the ground, where the snow was chest deep. He then made his way to the hiker, evaluated his condition, outfitted him with a harness, and gave the signal for him to be hoisted from the ground. Trooper Buchanan remained on the ground to collect the hiker's gear and supplies, before being raised to safety. It was determined the hiker would not have survived another night in the harsh weather conditions. Trooper Buchanan's commitment during the rescue mission likely saved the hiker's life.

Sergeant Wayne Dunkleman earned the Interdiction Trooper of the Year honors after his own success and leadership of the THP West Bureau Interdiction Plus Team. Sgt. Dunkleman made 15 felony arrests, eight DUI arrests and assisted in seizing more than 330 pounds of marijuana in 2012. He also conducted 76 motor vehicle inspections during the year. Most notably, Sgt. Dunkleman made a drug arrest that was adopted by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). This case involved a narcotics trafficking ring covering three states, including Tennessee, Texas and Alabama. It led to the arrest of seven individuals and the seizure of illegal drug proceeds. Sgt. Dunkleman leads by example and always goes the extra mile to make the Interdiction Plus program a success

Tonya Hattaway Named THP Dispatcher of the Year

March 1, 2013
Tonya Hattaway of Smithville Named THP 2012 Dispatcher of the Year

The Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP) named Tonya Hattaway of Smithville as the 2012 Dispatcher of the Year at a special award ceremony held Thursday evening in Murfreesboro. Hattaway, who is assigned to the THP’s Cookeville District, earned the honor for an incident last February in which she helped find a woman who was thought to be harmful to herself and sent a trooper to the woman’s aide.

“Hattaway always goes the extra mile for the safety of her colleagues and the public. She strives to go above and beyond in every situation and lives have been saved because of it,” Colonel Tracy Trott said.

Tonya Hattaway earned the THP Dispatcher of the Year honor for preventing a possible suicide attempt in February 2012 after she received a call from a distressed woman who believed a loved one was traveling by car to Crossville with intentions of taking her own life. Hattaway requested the troubled woman’s cell phone number and contacted her several times to establish her location. Hattaway spent three hours trying to locate the woman. Once she did, Hattaway dispatched a trooper to her location; the trooper made contact and transported the woman to a hospital where she could receive help. Hattaway was also instrumental in the arrest of a child predator in Dekalb County. Hattaway and the trooper she was assisting looked beyond a “normal traffic stop” and determined the driver, who had a teenage girl with him, was wanted for child molestation in another county.

In addition to Hattaway’s statewide recognition, dispatchers in each of the THP’s districts received district Dispatcher of the Year honors.

“The THP dispatchers are unsung heroes, the ones who keep in constant contact with all troopers to help ensure their safety and the safety of the public,” Safety and Homeland Security Commissioner Bill Gibbons said. “They are an absolute vital part of the Highway Patrol and share the title of ‘Tennessee’s Finest,’” Gibbons added.

Trina Hinchey is the Dispatcher of the Year from the THP’s Knoxville District. Hinchey was on duty last year when a man from Michigan, who was on his way to Atlanta for cancer treatment, was involved in an accident on Interstate-75 in Knox County. The man’s dog ran from the crash scene after the accident. Hinchey took it upon herself to get and send out information on the lost dog. Hinchey continued to keep in touch with the man throughout the day, even going to visit him at a local hotel and brought him food and money. While she was visiting the man, he was reunited with his dog after a citizen found and returned it. Hinchey was also on duty March 13,2012 when a crash occurred on I-75 in which a truck driver was burned inside. Her supervisors say she displayed professionalism, sent extra personnel and TDOT workers to the scene to detour traffic. This occurred on the same day as a rockslide in the area, and the same day that a state trooper was involved in a serious injury accident. Despite the busy day, Hinchey’s supervisors say she “handled it all in a calm, professional, and efficient manner.”

The Dispatcher of the Year from THP’s Chattanooga District is David Josh Winters. He is described as “an example of what we would like all employees to be.” Winters serves his colleagues and the public in a an efficient and professional manner each day. Winters has been the key to improving the training program in the Chattanooga District and is one of the primary certified training officers there. His dedication to training new employees shows in the daily performance of the personnel in the communications center. That dedication to making the THP a better organization has set Winters apart from others and has earned him this honor.

In THP’s Nashville District, Darlene Hauskins is the Dispatcher of the Year. Hauskins performed her duties in 2012 with a zero percentage error rate. Her supervisors stress that she demonstrates her dedication to her job as a dispatcher and making sure her job is done right. Her on-the-job mentality has been described as “results, not excuses.” Hauskins spent many hours in 2012 training four new dispatchers hired that year. She stepped up and gave them extra time and effort that they needed to complete the program and be successful dispatchers. Hauskins was essential in training and maintaining qualified dispatchers to ensure the safety of the troopers and the public.

Tequilla N. Daniels is the Dispatcher of the Year from the THP’s Memphis District. Daniels was contacted by the Memphis Police Department last August about a homicide suspect who was thought to be travelling on Interstate-40 in the district. Shortly after an advisory was issued, a trooper observed a vehicle matching the description of the suspect’s vehicle. Daniels confirmed this was the suspect wanted for allegedly murdering his wife, and dispatched another THP unit to assist. A 15-mile pursuit of the suspect ended after the vehicle hit deployed spike strips and crashed. During the course of the pursuit, Daniels remained calm and provided pertinent information, directions, and updates to the troopers involved. Upon learning that the suspect had planned to commit “suicide by cop,” Daniels understood the heightened risk and broadcasted the information immediately. Daniels’ ability to stay focused and remain calm may well have thwarted a potentially deadly situation.

The Dispatcher of the Year from the THP’s Fall Branch District is Rebecca Casey. Described as dependable and efficient, Casey is credited with improving and streamlining the various job tasks that are required in the radio room. Casey also serves as one of the radio operators for the Tennessee Highway Patrol at the Bristol Speedway. Each year, the district office receives compliments from the other agencies involved on how well Casey performs her duties to keep the public safe during this event. Casey’s supervisors say she is “truly an asset” to the THP.

Cynthia Krause is the Dispatcher of the Year for the THP’s Lawrenceburg District. Krause is credited for going above and beyond the call of duty to help a trooper in need. Last August, Krause was assisting a trooper who was attempting to arrest a man during a traffic stop for not having a license. An altercation occurred between the subject and the trooper. The trooper shot the subject, who got back in his vehicle and pursuit ensued. Krause handled the incident with the utmost professionalism. She was methodical in her approach and was extremely supportive of the trooper. Krause used her dispatch knowledge, experience, and talent to attempt to find any information on the subject. After a lengthy search, she found that the subject had a warrant issued out of Indiana, his driver license had been suspended, and he had a long criminal history in several states. Krause was a tremendous asset in finding the identity of the subject and located information on him when no one else could. The subject was ultimately apprehended and arrested.

The THP Jackson District has named Adam Forsythe as the 2012 Dispatcher of the Year. Forsythe is known as a dedicated and loyal employee. He has been instrumental in establishing the original dispatcher training program for the Jackson District. Forsythe has also provided valuable input and assistance during the design and remodel of the radio room at the Jackson Headquarters. His supervisors say that Forsythe cheerfully assists with computer projects and with the daily operations in the radio room. He is described as displaying “the attributes that any dispatcher should strive to attain.”

Lawsuit Against Election Commissions Expected to be Dismissed

February 28, 2013
by: 
Dwayne Page
John Harris, III

A federal judge is expected to dismiss a lawsuit filed against the DeKalb County Election Commission and several others in Tennessee brought by former administrators of elections in 2009 who claim they did not get to keep their jobs for political reasons.

In an order filed last week, U.S. District Judge Kevin H. Sharp found that "the position of county administrator of elections is a political position, subject to patronage dismissal."

The case now goes to Magistrate Judge Joe Brown for further review in light of the court's ruling. "The judge's ruling is limited to this party affiliation issue and he has sent the case back to the Magistrate Judge, it appears to decide whether or not there is anything else that needs to be addressed. If not, we expect to see a final order dismissing the case in favor of the election commissions and when that happens the plaintiffs will have a window of time to appeal the court's ruling or portions of it to the sixth circuit court of appeals" said Nashville Attorney John Harris, III, who represents the DeKalb County Election Commission in this case.

Former DeKalb County Election Administrator Lisa Peterson and the other former administrators filed the lawsuit in July 2009 against the defendant county election commissions, claiming that their First and Fourteenth Amendment rights were violated when they were removed from their jobs because of their actual, or perceived, political party association. The former administrators asked the court to order their reinstatement, or in the alternative, order that they receive front pay for a reasonable amount of time. They wanted full back pay and a judgment for compensatory damages and punitive damages and an award for reasonable attorneys fees. Locally, the lawsuit named as defendants the three Republicans on the DeKalb County Election Commission James Dean, Walteen Parker, and Barbara Vanatta.

"The main thrust of the case was that these democratic administrators of elections who were replaced or thought they were being replaced in 2009 all sued claiming that they could not be terminated because of party affiliation being democrats," said Harris in a telephone interview with WJLE. "But this month the federal district judge who has the case issued a ruling that the position of administrator of elections under Tennessee law is one that has sufficient political discretion so that federal law would allow individuals holding that office to be terminated based on no reason other than political party affiliation," said Harris. "We're not saying that's necessarily what happened to Mrs. Peterson, but the court has found that even if that's why she was not reappointed that this would be allowable under federal law because of the political involvement of that specific office in making decisions," said Harris. "According to the court, because of the political discretion of that office it would be permissible for an election commission to either refuse to hire or to refuse to appoint or even to terminate someone based on nothing more than party affiliation," according to Harris.

The defendants' first legal victory in the case came in December, 2010 when U.S. District Judge Thomas Wiseman found that the Republican election commissioners named in the lawsuit in DeKalb and other counties were not subject to liability for monetary damages sought, in either their official or individual capacities as "state actors" or state officials. After Wiseman's ruling, attorneys for the former administrators or plaintiffs filed an appeal to the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals but the appeal was later dismissed as premature, meaning that more proceedings must have been held at the trial court level before an appeal could be considered at the appellate level.

A Chancery Court lawsuit against the Republicans on the local election commission, filed by Peterson in 2009 prior to the federal lawsuit, was also recently dismissed according to Harris. "This was a case alleging that back in 2009 the election commission violated the Open Meetings Act. But after we got through the discovery phase, taking depositions Mrs. Peterson's attorney voluntarily dismissed that claim," he said.

In the Chancery Court action, Peterson contended that the Republican controlled election commission had violated the Open Meetings Act, State law, and the Constitution of the State of Tennessee "by a majority of its members' meeting, communicating, and deliberating in private, secretly deciding and agreeing to terminate her employment, and secretly deciding and agreeing to appoint a Republican to the position of administrator of elections prior to the April 24th, 2009 public meeting of the commission."

For decades, the local election commission had been controlled by Democrats. But when Republicans came to power in the state legislature in 2009, they also took control of the Tennessee election commission as well as county election commissions across the state

On April 24, 2009, the five member DeKalb County Election Commission, made up of three Republicans and two Democrats met to re-organize and to appoint an administrator of elections. Peterson, a Democrat who had been administrator for DeKalb County since 1998, did not receive enough votes to get reappointed. The vote was 2 to 2 along party lines with the Republican Chairman Walteen Parker opting not to vote. The commission then voted 3 to 2 along party lines to appoint Dennis Stanley, a Republican, to the position.

Chairman Parker explained during the April 2009 meeting that since the administrator position was "open" with a new election commission, Peterson was not being fired, just not re-hired. She added that the administrator serves at the pleasure of the election commission. " I don't look at this as a dismissal, but simply as not a re-hire. The position was open with the new commission and therefore the commission has spoken for Mr. (Dennis) Stanley," said Chairman Parker.

She also denied assertions, during the meeting, that the Republican majority violated the open meetings law. "I would like to go on record as saying there have not been any secret meetings among anybody about what is going on," said Chairman Parker.

Peterson and the other former administrators who filed the federal lawsuit have been represented by attorneys, W. Gary Blackburn and John Ray Clemmons of Blackburn & McCune, PPLC in Nashville.

DeKalb County Habitat For Humanity Names Officers and Board Members

February 28, 2013
2013 DeKalb County Habitat for Humanity Board

The DeKalb County Habitat for Humanity held their annual meeting at Evins Mill in Smithville in January

The newly elected Officers for 2013 are: President, Nolan Turner; Vice President, Chad Driver; Secretary, Gayla Hendrix; and Treasurer, Brenda Hooper.

Joining the Board as new members for a two year term are: Michael Barry, Chad Driver, and Joy Parker.

Other Board Members are: John Carpenter, Pam Restrepo, Arthur Primrose, Larry Steffee, Mary Nell Summers, Cindy Webb, Lisa Garrison, Larry Green, Rob Willingham, and Hearon Puckett.

Former Board members who continue to serve as committee chairs are: Sharon Evans, Tecia Puckett Pryor, Tom Janney, Glenda Davis, Gary Johnson, John Quintero, Kay Quintero, Kim Wheeler, Laura Stone, Nancy Lewis, and Marie Blair.

Leaving the Board as retiring members this year are: Jerry Scott, who has served since 2011, Laura Stone, who has served since 2007, and Nancy Lewis, who has served since 2003, and has served as Secretary for many years.

The DeKalb County Habitat for Humanity is nearing the completion of their fourth partner family house, which is located on Hays Street in Smithville. Plans for 2013 include: the completion of the fourth house; raising money to begin work on a fifth house; selecting and purchasing lots for future houses; and beginning the selection process of a partner family and an alternate partner family.

Funding for these projects comes from grants, fundraising projects, which include our annual fundraising events, The Fiddler 5K and the Chili Cook-Off.

The Fiddler 5K, takes place this year on July 6, 2013, (the Saturday morning of the Jamboree). Registration is currently available on the website at www.fiddler5k.com. The Annual Chili Cook-Off takes place in the fall (date to be announced), at the 303 Building on the square in Smithville.

Everyone is encouraged to continue supporting the DeKalb County Habitat through volunteering and fundraising events, to ensure continued success. If anyone would like to know more about how to volunteer, please contact any of the board members.

(2013 DeKalb County Habitat for Humanity Board Photo- Front Row (left to right) – Arthur Primrose, Michael Barry, Cindy Webb, Nolan Turner, Mary Nell Summers, and Lisa Garrison.

Back Row (left to right) – John Carpenter, Larry Green, Rob Willingham, Chad Driver, Gayla Hendrix, Joy Parker, and Brenda Hooper.

Not Pictured: Hearon Puckett, Pam Restrepo, and Larry Steffee)

Weaver and Pody Support Bill to Reduce Size of UCDD and UCHRA Boards

February 28, 2013
by: 
Dwayne Page
Ryan Williams
Terri Lynn Weaver
Mark Pody

A state lawmaker from Cookeville is proposing legislation to create a sunset provision for the Upper Cumberland Development District and Upper Cumberland Human Resource Agency and to reduce the number of members who serve on those boards.

The legislation, sponsored by State Representative Ryan Williams, would apply to all development districts and human resource agencies throughout the state. State Representatives Terri Lynn Weaver and Mark Pody, who represent DeKalb County, and Cameron Sexton of Crossville are co-sponsors of the legislation. State Senator Charlotte Burks is sponsoring the bill in the Senate although she is waiting for more public input before moving forward with the legislation.

Representative Williams said the purpose of the legislation is to make the boards smaller and more accountable while still providing services to the poor. Adding the sunsetting provision, he said would give the state comptroller the power to cut off funding to these agencies and shut them down if he feels they are not running efficiently. By sunsetting the agencies, the comptroller's office would look at them every three years by requesting audits from the past three years, according to Williams. Human Resource Agencies are already in the sunset cycle. Williams said the legislation could still be amended to address issues not covered by the bill.

The legislation would place the following agencies in the governmental entity review cycle, with a June 30, 2015, termination date: East Tennessee development district; First Tennessee development district; Greater Nashville regional council; Memphis area association of governments; Northwest Tennessee development district; South central Tennessee development district; Southeast Tennessee development district; Southwest Tennessee development district; and the Upper Cumberland development district.

Under present law, the membership of development district boards consist of the county mayor of each county within the district, the mayor of each municipality within the district, the chief executive officer of any metropolitan government within the district, one representative from a local agency in each county dealing with problems of industrial development or promotion appointed by the county mayor, and one (state senator and one state representative whose senatorial or representative districts lie wholly or in part in the development district.

This bill revises the board membership to be the county mayor of each county within the district, or an appointee of the county mayor of each county with knowledge of problems concerning industrial development or promotion; the chief executive officer of any metropolitan government within the district; and one state senator and one state representative whose senatorial or representative districts lie wholly or in part in the development district.

Similarly, the membership of the governing board under the Human Resource Agency Act consists of the county mayor of each county within the district, the mayor of each municipality within the district, the chief executive officer of any metropolitan government within the district, one representative from a local agency in each county knowledgeable of and dealing with the problems concerning human resource agencies appointed by the county mayor or chair, and one state senator and one state representative whose senatorial or representative districts lie wholly or in part within the development district.

This bill revises the membership of the governing board to be: the county mayor of each county within the district, or an appointee of the county mayor of each county with knowledge of problems concerning human resource agencies; the chief executive officer of any metropolitan government within the district; and one state senator and one state representative whose senatorial or representative districts lie wholly or in part within the development district.

Currently, the executive committee of the UCDD is made up of 32 members: 14 county mayors, 14 city mayors, two state representatives, and two industrial representatives. The agency's board of directors is made up of the 14 county mayors, 30 city mayors, an industrial representative from
each county, a legislator and a state representative. The board of directors only meet once a year.

UCHRA's board is made up of the same members, except there are consumer representatives instead of industrial representatives.

Drug Offenders and Others Sentenced in Criminal Court

February 28, 2013
by: 
Dwayne Page
Judge Leon Burns, Jr.

Sentences were handed down against thirteen people in DeKalb County Criminal Court last Friday, February 22. Most of the defendants entered pleas to various drug charges. Others pled to assault, DUI or other offenses.

Judge Leon Burns, Jr. presided.

21 year old Matthew Murphy and 20 year old Holly Ann Cikalo pleaded guilty to attempted initiation of methamphetamine and each received a six year sentence, suspended to time served. Each was fined $2,000. Murphy was given jail credit of 254 days. Murphy and Cikalo were arrested last summer in a meth lab investigation by the Smithville Police Department.

According to Chief Randy Caplinger, police were called to a residence on Woodlawn Street on Thursday, June 14, 2012 where Murphy had reportedly hidden components used to make methamphetamine in the back yard. Officers searched the premises and found muratic acid, drain cleaner, lighter fluid, ice compress, lithium batteries, and claritin D. Murphy, during questioning, admitted to the officers that these items belonged to him and that he intended to use them to make methamphetamine.

Cikalo, who was also at the residence with a young child, allegedly admitted to buying the lighter fluid and cold packs knowing that Murphy was planning to make meth with these items. The Department of Children Services was notified and the child was removed from the home.

Two women charged in an Alexandria meth lab discovery last summer pleaded guilty to their charges. 26 year old Kara L. Funk entered a plea to attempted initiation of methamphetamine. She received a three year sentence to be served. Funk was also fined $2,000. The case is to run concurrently with another sentence she is serving. A co-defendant in the case, 27 year old Jessica Renee Bogle pleaded guilty to promotion of the manufacture of methamphetamine. She received a three year sentence, suspended to 105 days of time served. In the first year of her sentence, Bogle will be in a residential long term drug treatment program. The sentence is to run concurrently with another case against her. Bogle will be on supervised probation and she must pay a $2,000 fine.

According to Alexandria Police Chief Mark Collins, while investigating reported suspicious activity in the area of Shady Lane in June 2012, officers found Funk and Bogle, and another person in the woods along with components used to manufacture methamphetamine. The case against the third person in the case, Christopher B. Pack is apparently still pending in court. The Tennessee Methamphetamine and Pharmaceutical Task Force responded to the scene to assist with the disposal of the components .

29 year old Brandon Tallent pleaded guilty to sale and delivery of a schedule II controlled substance and criminal exposure to Hepatitis. He received a three year sentence in the drug case and 11 months and 29 days in the criminal exposure case all suspended to probation. The sentences are to run concurrently. Tallent was fined $2,000. Smithville Police Chief Randy Caplinger reports that Tallent allegedly sold two pills believed to be dilaudid to an undercover operative on Tuesday, March 13, 2012.

33 year old Kenny Bly pleaded guilty to initiation of a process to manufacture methamphetamine and received a six year sentence to serve 30% before parole eligibility. He must undergo an alcohol and drug assessment. Bly was fined $2,000. The sentence is to run concurrently with another case against him for theft of merchandise or shoplifting. He was given jail credit from July 24, 2012 to February 22, 2013.

46 year old Teresa Mayo pleaded guilty to possession of drug paraphernalia and received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days all suspended to supervised probation. She was fined $150.

28 year old Benjamin Caldwell, Jr. pleaded guilty to possession of a schedule II and IV drug for sale. He received a three year sentence in one case and two years in the other but both sentences are to run concurrently as one three year term. The case is also to run concurrently with another sentence against him in Wilson County. He is to serve at least 30% of the sentence before parole eligibility. Caldwell was given jail credit of 183 days

28 year old Roxanna Landis pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of an accident and possession of drug paraphernalia. She received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days in the drug paraphernalia case. She will be on supervised probation but must undergo an alcohol and drug assessment and follow the recommendations. She was fined $150. Landis received a thirty day suspended sentence for leaving the scene and must make restitution. The sentences are to run concurrent with each other and with her state probation.

44 year old Victor Gingerich pleaded guilty to driving under the influence and possession of a schedule VI drug. He received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days in each case to run concurrently with each other. He must serve ten days and pay a fine of $610.

27 year old Clent Shehane pleaded guilty to assault for offensive touching and received a six month sentence, suspended to good behavior probation.

30 year old Joseph Edge pleaded guilty to assault and received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days, suspended to supervised probation. He is under a restraining order to keep away from the victim. The sentence is to run together with his current probation.

43 year old Robert Roy (Bobby) Atnip, Jr. pleaded guilty to a second offense of driving under the influence. He received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days to serve seventeen days and then be in rehab for twenty eight days with the balance of the sentence on supervised probation. His drivers license is suspended for two years. He was fined $600 and he must undergo an alcohol and drug assessment and follow the recommendations. Atnip must also take part in an alcohol education program.

Community Support Sought for More SRO Officers

February 27, 2013
by: 
Dwayne Page
Mark Willoughby, Jordan Wilkins, and Kenny Rhody

As local officials contemplate what to do to enhance school security, a DeKalb County High School student says he is a believer in the School Resource Officer (SRO) program.

Jordan Wilkins, a DCHS eleventh grader and non-voting student representative of the school board, said school security is very much on the minds of his fellow students, especially in the wake of the school shooting incident at Newtown, Connecticut in December. "They (students) are worried about it and since Newtown I've heard a lot more people speak up about it, especially since it got so close to us (recent on-line facebook threat) at Warren County," said Wilkins. "If you've got somebody there to protect you you're going to feel safer. People do feel the need to have an SRO here," he said.

"When you're at school, you're there a lot longer than you are with your families sometimes during the week," said Wilkins. "He (SRO) is somebody you can go to. If you have a problem with anything you can go to Officer (Kenneth) Whitehead (at DCHS) and he will help you in any way he can. There are some things you might tell him that you wouldn't tell a regular police officer. You learn to have a connection with him. Its good to have him there. He helps us out in any way he can," said Wilkins.

DeKalb County has only one SRO officer (Kenneth Whitehead) and he is assigned to DeKalb County High School. The position is funded by the county through the sheriff's department budget and he is employed by the sheriff.

During the February school board meeting, Dr. Gayle Redmon, Principal at Northside Elementary School, admonished the board members to work toward funding an SRO position at each of the five schools in the county.

Director of Schools Mark Willoughby said he likes the idea of expanding the SRO program but it needs the support of the community. "An SRO is not just a police officer at school and its not just a police car at school. I don't think we will ever know how important those police officers are in the school. Not only do they help take care of problems at the school, its also the relationship they have with everyone at that school. If there is something going on they hear about it. We hear the words "street smart". Well if you are an SRO officer you are "student smart". They know what to pay attention to and what not to pay attention to. I feel that if we did not have an SRO at the high school, we would probably have more problems. Students know what is important to tell (an SRO officer) and what shouldn't be told. They're probably not going to tell anybody about somebody cheating on a test. But if there is something serious that comes in, students want to take care of their school. They have ownership in the school. At DeKalb County High School, that relationship they have with officer Whitehead, we would like for that relationship to be developed at other schools," said he said.

Third district school board member Kenny Rhody said he believes the SRO program works well and has made a difference at DCHS. "I supported it when Vice Principal David Gash was our SRO officer. He (Officer Whitehead) has quelled so many things that have come about that you don't hear about. There might be a student who will come up to him and say ‘you might need to check a locker over there'. They will tell him things. He'll have information coming from every direction and he's very intelligent about going through it. He picks up those pieces of advice, I'd say on a daily basis and that helps avoid a bigger problem," said Rhody.

Other measures are already being taken to beef up school security, according to Willoughby. "We have had someone come out and go through the schools and study about the bricks and mortar and how we can make our schools safer. If you have been in some of our schools lately you'll notice that there are new locks on the doors, electronic locks and latches. Those things are happening right now but as time goes by technology will get cheaper so we are hopefully going to be funding some things that will make our schools safer in this next year," said Willoughby.

The board of education had intended to host a workshop on school security this week but that has been postponed until after the high school basketball tournaments involving the DCHS Tigers.

Director Willoughby said the workshop will soon be rescheduled and city and county leaders along with law enforcement authorities will be invited to attend to provide input. "When we have this meeting we would like to invite all the county commissioners, the mayors of Alexandria, Liberty, and Dowelltown, County Mayor Mike Foster, the sheriff, and the chiefs of police in Smithville and Alexandria. Of course, it'll be an open meeting for anyone who wants to attend. When we know where we are on the basketball tournaments, we'll be able to set a date that will hopefully be good for everybody who is concerned and wants to be involved in helping make those decisions," said Willoughby.

Fired DTC Employees Claim Extortion, Wrongful Termination in Federal Lawsuit; DTC Denies Allegations

February 26, 2013
by: 
Dwayne Page
Craig Gates
DTC Communications

Claiming they were the victims of a scheme to get rid of them and others, two former employees of DTC Communications, James A Vaden of Carthage and Kevin C. Young of Smithville filed a federal court lawsuit against the company and the CEO Craig Gates in November claiming they were the victims of extortion and wrongful termination. Vaden and Young contend that the defendants, DTC and Gates, wrongfully interfered with their employee benefits and improperly denied them their severance benefits. The incident, according to the lawsuit, has also triggered an extortion investigation by authorities in the 13th & 15th Judicial Districts against Gates.

The dismissal of both Vaden and Young apparently grew out of a probe into allegations that a group of DTC employees had participated in a scheme to sell copper cable owned by the company for their own benefit. Vaden and Young claim they did not participate in such a scheme.

Gates and DTC Communications have answered the lawsuit, denying the allegations made by Vaden and Young.

The case is set for trial in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee Northeastern Division on March 18, 2014 before U.S. Magistrate Judge Joe B. Brown with the final pretrial conference set for March 3, 2014 in Cookeville. Meanwhile a telephone conference with the parties to discuss the progress of the case and the possibility of ultimate dispute resolution is set for July 10, 2013

Vaden and Young claim that while they were both exemplary employees of DTC or DeKalb Telephone Cooperative the new Chief Executive Officer, Gates, implemented a scheme to rid the company of many of its most senior and therefore most highly compensated employees. Gates terminated a few employees outright. He presented several others with an ultimatum: sign an agreement requiring, among other things, that the employees be reclassified as "new hires" which would have reduced their pay and vested pension benefits, or be terminated. No matter what choice Young, Vaden, and their co-workers made, the defendants, DTC and Gates would cut their payroll expenses dramatically, a convenient result at a time when DTC was widely known to be suffering financially," according to the lawsuit.

Viewing the ultimatum to be nothing less than extortion, Young and Vaden refused to sign. They were promptly fired. To date, the defendants have refused to provide Young and Vaden with the severance benefits to which they are entitled pursuant to the company's severance welfare plan, according to the complaint.

Defendants, DTC and Gates' ultimatum to Young and Vaden constitutes extortion under the law of the State of Tennessee and that ultimatum is a wrongful basis for terminating Young and Vaden's employment. Rather than being motivated by any misconduct on Young and Vaden's part, defendant's actions were driven by a desire to interfere with Young and Vaden's pension, health, and welfare, and severance benefits and to retaliate against them for refusing to give up those benefits. Defendants have wrongfully denied Young and Vaden's benefits to which they are clearly entitled," according to the lawsuit.

In their answer to the lawsuit, DTC and Gates deny the allegations and deny there is any basis for liability. "After a careful and thorough investigation into the particularized facts, the defendants, DTC and Gates formed an honest belief that a group of employees, including Vaden and Young, participated in a scheme to sell copper cable owned by the company for their own benefit. Defendants, DTC and Gates deny that there is any basis whatsoever for individual liability as to Gates. Defendants deny that the severance policy contained in the employee handbook is a qualified plan pursuant to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). Defendants deny that any actions taken by the defendants were taken with the specific intent of avoiding ERISA liability. Finally, the defendants deny there is any factual or legal basis for any of the plaintiff's claims, including their common law retaliation claims, which fails as a matter of law," according to the answer filed by DTC and Gates.

Vaden and Young are seeking damages in an amount to equal the benefits owed to them under the employer's severance plan; that they be awarded compensatory and punitive damages, including but not limited to statutory damages under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) for interfering with their right to employee benefits; that they be awarded compensatory and punitive damages for defendant's extortion and wrongful termination; that they be awarded compensatory and punitive damages, including but not limited to statutory damages under ERISA for losses suffered due to the defendant's breaches of fiduciary duty; that Gates be made personally liable for losses suffered by the plaintiffs; that the court enjoin the defendants from further breaching their fiduciary duties; that the court grant the plaintiffs reasonable attorney's fees, pre-judgment interest and the costs of this cause; and that the court grant such further equitable, and or other relief as it may deem appropriate.

According to the lawsuit, Vaden began working for DTC on September 22, 1997 as a lineman on the line crew, installing, repairing, and replacing the external lines and related equipment that send telecommunications signals directly to consumer's homes. He was employed by DTC as a lineman until he was terminated on April 3, 2012 at which time he was earning $21.97 per hour.

Young started working for DTC in February, 2000, where he was employed as an installer and repairman. In 2003, he was transferred to the line crew where he worked as a lineman, installing, repairing, and replacing the external lines and related equipment that send telecommunications signals directly to consumers' homes. In 2009, Young was made the Network Administrator at DTC. He was employed by DTC in that capacity until he was terminated on April 3, 2012 at which time he was earning $26 per hour.

As a lineman, Vaden and Young's job duties included tearing down old cables and poles and disposing of them. Some of the cable wiring was made of copper. Linemen tore down and disposed of cable as instructed by their supervisor.

Upon information and belief, during the year 2007, some DTC employees realized that scrap copper could be sold and so they began selling scrap copper cable at a scrap yard. Vaden and Young were not involved in this scrap copper selling, nor did they have knowledge of it at that time," according to their lawsuit.

Upon information and belief, prior to this time, the cost of collecting and selling copper would have been equal to or greater than any profit received from its sale, and so DTC had no reason to object to employees selling said scrap copper," according to the lawsuit.

Upon information and belief, DTC had no policy in place in 2007 concerning the proper procedure for disposing of copper scrap. If such policy existed, Vaden and Young were not, and still are not aware of it, they claim.

Eventually, as the price of copper increased, DTC began selling all the copper scrap itself and employees were instructed to refrain from selling copper wiring individually. Upon information and belief, all but one employee complied with those instructions.

On or about September 17, 2011, Craig Gates became the new Chief Executive Officer of DTC. Upon information and belief, this change in leadership was prompted by DTC's declining financial health," according to the lawsuit.

At some point after Gates arrived at DTC, an employee, Tom Irwin, was caught allegedly taking copper scrap that belonged to DTC. A criminal investigation followed and is still pending.

Faced with rising payroll costs and a number of employees nearing retirement age, Gates used this incident with Irwin as an excuse to investigate and eventually terminate the other employees who were working as linemen back in 2007, according to Vaden and Young.

Gates implicated nine employees who had been on the line crew in 2007. In late March 2012, Gates summarily terminated two of those employees, Dale Myers and Luke Judkins. Upon information and belief, at the time of his termination, Dale Myers had been employed at DTC for approximately 34 years and Luke Judkins had been employed at DTC for approximately six years.

On March 29, 2012, Gates gathered the remaining seven employees and interrogated them all separately. On April 2, 2012, Gates presented at least four of them with an identical document, entitled "Agreement of Suspension". Gates gave them the choice of signing it or being terminated," according to the lawsuit.

The Agreement of Suspension required Vaden, Young, and their co-workers to admit to committing theft in 2007, repay $700, plus interest calculated at the usurious rate of 20%, accruing since 2007, and accept a six week unpaid suspension of employment.

Among other things, the Agreement of Suspension also substantially reduced employee benefits to which plaintiffs were entitled or would have become entitled, to wit:

The Agreement of Suspension required plaintiffs to waive the employee grievance procedure provided to employees, as outlined in DTC's Employee Handbook.

It suspended accrual of all employee benefits during the period of suspension, including health and pension benefits.

It required the linemen to accept re-employment after the period of suspension as "new hires" for any and all benefits available to them as employees. This provision would have eliminated vested pension benefits to which Vaden and Young were entitled by law. It would have also eliminated the vacation and sick time that Vaden and Young had accrued during the course of their employment.

It also required plaintiffs to accrue a 10% decrease in pay upon re-employment.

Those employees who signed the agreement, thereby admitting to theft from the company, were allowed to keep their jobs. Those who maintained their innocence and refused to sign, including Vaden and Young were terminated," according to the lawsuit.

Maintaining their innocence of any alleged theft or impropriety, and unwilling to be wrongfully deprived of their employee benefits, Vaden and Young refused to sign the Agreement of Suspension. They informed Gates of their decision not to sign on April 3, 2012 and they were terminated on the spot, according to the lawsuit.

Through these actions, Defendants either terminated the employment of or cut the salary and benefits of at lease five of the six highest paid members of the line crew, in addition to the Network Administrator.

By his actions, ostensibly based on the copper scrap sales of 2007, Gates accomplished the expense of reduction of a company-wide lay off without having to provide severance benefits to the terminated employees or incur the increased costs of unemployment insurance.

During the investigation period from March 29, 2012 until April 3, 2012 and in the time since then, the defendants have uncovered no evidence of Vaden's or Young's involvement in the copper scrap sales, because no such evidence exists.

As of the date of filing this Complaint, investigators in the 13th and 15th Judicial Districts are exploring criminal charges of extortion against Gates based on his actions leading up to Vaden's and Young's termination, focusing in particular on the specifics of the Agreement of Suspension, according to Vaden and Young's lawsuit.

Four Plead Guilty in Child Sex Related Crimes

February 26, 2013
by: 
Dwayne Page
Paul D. Gilliam
 Stephen M. Rogers, Jr
Donna Smith
Bryan Smith

Two men pleaded guilty to statutory rape of young girls in DeKalb County Criminal Court Friday.

Judge Leon Burns, Jr. presided.

19 year old Paul D. Gilliam, indicted for statutory rape of a 14 year old girl, pleaded guilty to the indictment. He is requesting judicial diversion probation. A sentencing hearing is set for April 8.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said at the time of his arrest that Gilliam is alleged to have had sexual intercourse on four or five occasions with a 14 year old female at her home on Dale Ridge Road and with her consent. The offense allegedly occurred on May 30, 2012. The case was referred to the sheriff's department and investigated by criminal detectives. Gilliam was arrested on July 11, 2012 and brought to the jail.

22 year old Stephen M. Rogers, Jr., indicted for the statutory rape of a 15 year old girl, pleaded guilty to the indictment. He is requesting judicial diversion probation. A sentencing hearing is set for April 8.

Meanwhile the parents of the victim in the Rogers case have each pleaded guilty to child neglect

46 year old Donna Smith and 34 year old Bryan Smith were indicted for child neglect because they allegedly allowed their daughter to engage in sexual activity with Rogers, even providing them condoms

Under a negotiated settlement, both Donna and Bryan Smith received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days, all suspended to supervised probation by CPS. They are to attend parenting classes.

The warrant against Rogers states that "on Friday, May 11, 2012 at a residence in Smithville, Rogers did have sexual intercourse with a 15 year old female while living with her the previous four months".

The warrant against Donna Smith, the mother of the girl, states that she " did knowingly approve of the daughter's sexual intercourse with a 21 year old male, Michael Rogers. This has been happening for the previous four months and on several occasions. Also the parents furnished condoms to the subjects and allowed them to live together".

The warrant against Bryan Smith, the father of the girl, states that he "did knowingly approve of his daughter's sexual intercourse with a 21 year old male, Michael Rogers. He has known of this going on for the previous four months and on several occasions has furnished them with condoms and allowed them to live together knowing that this was going on in the residence."

The case was investigated by the Department of Children Services and detectives and officers of the Smithville Police Department.

Twelve Answer to Burglary or Theft Charges in Criminal Court

February 26, 2013
by: 
Dwayne Page
Judge Leon Burns, Jr.

Twelve people answered to burglary and or theft charges in DeKalb County Criminal Court Friday.

Judge Leon Burns, Jr. presided.

19 year old Ryan Austin Felts pleaded guilty to auto burglary and burglary. He received a two year sentence in the auto burglary case, suspended to probation. Felts got a four year sentence for the burglary, but state prosecutors are recommending judicial diversion probation for him. The cases are to run concurrently. He must make restitution to Jason's Auto Sales in the amount of $1,981 and an amount to be determined to Chad's Auto Sales. Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Friday, June 22, 2012 Felts broke into a vehicle at Jason's Auto Sales at 3365 Nashville Highway with the intent to commit a theft. Entry was made by busting out the window and busting the steering column to try and take the vehicle without the owner's consent. Felts was also charged by Smithville Police with vandalism, burglary, two counts of theft of a vehicle, and theft of property over $10,000 as a result of burglary and thefts at Chad's Auto Sales on Saturday and Sunday, June 23 & 24, 2012.

22 year old William Richard Denton and 20 year old Travis Marcus Melton each pleaded guilty to aggravated burglary and theft over $1,000. Each received a four year sentence for aggravated burglary and two years for the theft all suspended to supervised probation. The sentences are to run concurrently for a total of four years for both Denton and Melton. Sheriff Ray said that Melton allegedly broke into a residence on Johnson Chapel Road Sunday, July 29, 2012. Entry was made through a back window. Items taken in the burglary were gold chains, gold bracelet, rings, several handguns, and ammo, together valued at more than $1,000. According to Sheriff Ray, Denton assisted Melton in the burglary and gave him the combination to a safe where the guns were kept. Denton then allegedly sold the stolen items taken from the home. The case was investigated by a criminal detective of the Sheriff's Department. Denton was arrested on Tuesday, August 7, 2012. Melton was arrested the following day.

37 year old Kevin G. Richardson pleaded guilty to theft over $1,000. He received a three year sentence on supervised probation to run concurrently with any sentence he is now serving. He must also make restitution of $4,410. Sheriff Ray said that on March 12, 2011, Richardson went to a farm on Tramel Branch Road and allegedly stole welders, a tiller, electric drills, electric wire, and several other items belonging to Danny Hale without his consent. These items were valued at over $1,000. The case was investigated by criminal detectives of the sheriff's department

33 year old Heather Trapp pleaded guilty to theft under $500 and received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days all suspended to supervised probation. Smithville Police Chief Randy Caplinger said on Tuesday, May 29, 2012 an employee of the Dollar General Store told police he saw Trapp place items in her purse. Trapp was confronted and confessed to the theft, removing the items from her purse. Trapp also admitted that she had been ordered, in a prior shoplifting offense there, not to be on the property of the Dollar General Store.

37 year old Russell Blackwell pleaded guilty to two counts of forgery and received a two year sentence, all suspended to supervised probation. The sentences are to run concurrently with each other and with his current probation in another case. Blackwell was originally charged with five counts of forgery for allegedly passing forged checks on the account of a family member at a local bank totaling $2,075 in June, 2012. According to Chief Caplinger, Blackwell passed checks in the following amounts on the following days on the account of Harold Blackwell: $475 on June 22; $300 and $600 on June 25; $350 on June 26; and $350 on June 28.

25 year old Lindsey Davenport pleaded guilty to aggravated burglary. She received a three year sentence, all suspended to supervised probation. She must undergo an alcohol and drug assessment and make restitution if applicable. The sentence is to run concurrently with a General Sessions probated sentence. Sheriff Ray said that on Wednesday, September 12, 2012 Davenport allegedly broke into a residence on Cecil Hale Road. Entry was made by prying open the front door. Davenport allegedly stole nose trimmers, a Radio Shack Weather Alert Radio, two fishing poles, a wind up grandfather clock, and a red tool box with miscellaneous tools with a total estimated value of $817. The case was investigated by a criminal investigator of the sheriff's department.

40 year old Willard Brown pleaded guilty to two counts of theft under $500 and received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days in each case, all suspended to supervised probation. The sentences are to run concurrently. He is under a restraining order to stay away from Potters Home Center.

21 year old Stephanie Mooneyham pleaded guilty to theft under $500 and received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days, all suspended to probation supervised by the Cannon County probation office. The sentence is to run concurrently with her Cannon County probation. She was given ten days jail credit and is under a restraining order to stay away from Walmart.

25 year old Justin Cantrell pleaded guilty to theft under $500 and received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days, all suspended to supervised probation to be supervised by community corrections. The case is to run concurrently with his probation in another case.

27 year old Robert Justin Luna pleaded guilty to theft under $500 and aggravated assault and received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days plus three years probation. He was given credit for time served.. He must make restitution to JR Motors in the amount of $650. The sentence is to run concurrently with two other cases against him.

35 year old Amy Lawson pleaded guilty to aggravated burglary and received a four year sentence to serve at least 30% before parole eligibility. She was given jail credit of sixty five days.

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