Local News Articles

Police Report No Serious Injuries in Friday Wreck

January 20, 2014
Dwayne Page
Car and green colored semi truck involved in accident
Car driven by Jacob Seibers

Smithville Police report no serious injuries in a traffic accident Friday involving a car and a tractor trailer (tanker) truck at the intersection of Broad Street and South Congress Boulevard.

Corporal Travis Bryant told WJLE that 18 year old Jacob Seibers of Smithville was west on East Broad Street, turning left to go south on Congress Boulevard when he pulled into the path of an eastbound tractor trailer (tanker) truck, driven by 52 year old David Spry of McMinnville. Spry was hauling feed grain for the owner of the truck, Randall Roberts. 22 year old Michael Shanks of Cookeville was a passenger of the Seibers' car.

According to Corporal Bryant, both drivers claimed to have had the green light.

DeKalb EMS and members of the Smithville Volunteer Fire Department were also on the scene.

War of Words Continues Between City and DUD

January 20, 2014
Dwayne Page
DeKalb Utility District
City of Smithville

The war of words between the City of Smithville and the DeKalb Utility District over increases in water rates continues.

City Secretary-Treasurer Hunter Hendrixson issued a statement to WJLE Friday morning on behalf of the Mayor and Aldermen in response to DUD's notice last week that rates to customers who receive water purchased by the DUD from the city will be increased by 42% or $4.30 per thousand gallons effective with the January billing.

DUD officials say the increase is necessary to help offset the 144% rate increase the City imposed on the DUD effective January 1. The DUD must now pay the city $5.00 per thousand gallons, an increase from the rate of $2.05 per thousand gallons the DUD had been paying.

"The DUD has an opportunity to discuss their new rate at the next Smithville Mayor and Board of Aldermen meeting on February 3 at 6:00 p.m. at City Hall if they are indeed concerned about their new rate," said city officials in the response.

City officials claim the DUD has enjoyed extremely low water rates from Smithville over the last three decades and that the rate has only increased by 90 cents per thousand gallons in the last 34 years.

"Since 1979, DUD’s water rate per 1,000 gallons has increased only 90 cents. Their 1979 rate was $1.15 and their 2013 rate was $2.05. That’s only 90 cents in 34 years," according to city officials.

The city response continues as follows:

"The City of Smithville Water Treatment Plant produces 1,000 gallons of water for $2.67 per the 2013 Water Cost Study conducted by Warren and Associates of Lebanon. Again, DUD’s rate was $2.05 per 1,000 gallons in 2013, 62 cents less than the City’s cost to produce. But they (DUD) still raised their customer’s rates 7% in 2013."

"DUD’s customers have already endured a 14% rate increase since 2012 with another 7% rate hike projected for 2014 to fund a water treatment plant that has yet to even begun construction".

"According to their 2013 audit, the DeKalb Utility District shows a long term debt obligation of over $4,000,000.00 but they want to borrow millions more to construct an unnecessary water treatment plant. Currently, the City of Smithville Water and Sewer Department enjoy ZERO debt."

"The Smithville Board of Aldermen has invited DUD’s Board on numerous occasions to sit down and work out a new water rate for 2014. Other than a few mail correspondences their board never responded to the City’s request to a meeting dating back to early 2012. DUD did attend the November 11, 2013 workshop by the Aldermen to discuss new rates for DUD. They were asked by the Mayor and Aldermen if they had any input or comments on their rates for 2014. The DUD Board sat silently. It’s hard to negotiate a new rate if the other side is unwilling to speak."

"It’s obvious the DeKalb Utility District has enjoyed extremely low water rates while the citizens of Smithville have been subsidizing DUD’s low rates over the years."

DUD representatives, in response to the city's statement, said "If the City of Smithville has undercharged DeKalb Utility District for the past ten years and the City of Smithville has ZERO debt, why has the City chosen to spend tens of thousands of taxpayer’s dollars to prevent DUD from building a treatment plant? The City of Smithville should be relieved DeKalb Utility District does not want to be their customer".

Martin Picked up on Drug Indictment

January 20, 2014
Dwayne Page
Terrance Ladale Martin
Jessie Eugene Thomas
William Stacy Matthews
Terry Lynn Burton
Jessica French Hale
Vanessa Ann Murphy
Nelson Gregory Hendrixson

A 31 year old Smithville man is the latest to be arrested on drug charges in a recent undercover investigation by the Sheriff's Department.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that Terrance Ladale Martin of South Bright Hill Street, Smithville was charged in a grand jury sealed indictment with one count of sale and delivery of a schedule II drug (Roxycodone) in a drug free zone. His bond is $50,000 and he will be arraigned in DeKalb County Criminal Court on February 21. He was arrested on Saturday, January 18.

A total of 56 people have been arrested in the three month undercover drug sting . A total of 64 people were indicted last Monday, January 13 as a result.

Meanwhile, in other recent crime news 35 year old Jessie Eugene Thomas of Dale Ridge Road, Dowelltown is charged with a violation of an order of protection. His bond is $2,500. Sheriff Ray said that on Monday, January 13, a deputy responded to a residence on Toad Road. Upon arrival the officer found Thomas sitting in a vehicle parked halfway in the yard. The woman, who had obtained the order of protection against Thomas, was in the front yard of the residence when the officer arrived. She reported that Thomas was on the premises trying to speak to her in violation of the order of protection. He was arrested and taken to the sheriff's department for booking.

38 year old William Stacy Matthews of Gard Lane, Smithville is charged with two counts of forgery. His bond is $10,000 and he will be in court on January 23. Sheriff Ray said that on or about October 26, 2013, Matthews allegedly forged a name to the title and registration of a 1999 GMC van, registering the vehicle in the name of the victim. Matthews allegedly admitted to forging the victim's name. The case was investigated by a criminal detective of the Sheriff's Department.

41 year old Terry Lynn Burton of Wolf Creek Road, Silver Point is charged with driving under the influence. His bond is $1,500 and he will be in court on January 23. Sheriff Ray said that on or about January 14, a deputy was dispatched to Wolf Creek Road in response to a report of someone having driven a vehicle into a neighbor's yard. Upon arrival the officer spoke to Burton who had a strong odor of alcohol on his person and his speech was slurred. Burton allegedly admitted to drinking and driving into his neighbor's yard. Burton submitted to but performed poorly on all field sobriety tasks. He was arrested and brought to the jail for booking.

31 year old Jessica French Hale of South College Street, Smithville is charged with theft of property under $500. Her bond is $1,500 and she will be in court January 23. Sheriff Ray said that on Thursday, January 9 Hale allegedly took $120 from the cash register of a business on Dale Ridge Road without the owner's consent. She allegedly admitted to taking $80 from the register. The case was investigated by a criminal detective of the Sheriff's Department.

35 year old Vanessa Ann Murphy of Short Mountain Road, Smithville is charged with driving under the influence. She was further issued a citation for failing to maintain her lane of travel. Her bond is $1,500 and she will be in court on February 20. Sheriff Ray said that on Thursday, January 16 Murphy was operating a motor vehicle on Highway 70 when she was stopped for failing to maintain her lane of travel. Her speech was slurred and she had difficulty keeping her eyes open. Murphy was also unsteady on her feet. Murphy submitted to but performed poorly on all field sobriety tasks. She also submitted to a blood test. According to Sheriff Ray, Murphy is believed to have been taking narcotics. She was arrested and brought to the jail for booking.

34 year old Nelson Gregory Hendrixson of Bethel Road, Smithville is charged with domestic assault. His bond is $2,500 and he will be in court on January 23. Sheriff Ray said that on Friday, January 17, Hendrixson allegedly assaulted his wife at their residence by hitting her in the mouth with his fist, causing a severe cut on her lip. She then tripped and fell. While the woman was on the floor, Hendrixson allegedly kicked her in the body and legs. She had bruising on her left shoulder and left leg requiring her to be treated at the emergency room of the hospital.

Brian Williams Named DeKalb County Volunteer Firefighter of Year

January 19, 2014
Dwayne Page
Steve Repasy (left), Brian Williams (Center), Matt Boss (right)
Honorary Lifetime Members: Billy Crymes, Dick Kinsey, and James Pennington

The 2013 DeKalb County Volunteer Firefighter of the Year is Brian Williams, Station Commander of the Main Station, located on King Ridge Road.

Williams received the award Saturday night during the Department's Annual Awards Banquet held at the DeKalb County Complex.

Chief Donny Green said Williams is more than worthy of the honor. "The DeKalb County Fire Department always wants to recognize firefighters who excel in applying their training and community service. Anyone can show up in a classroom or show up on an emergency scene and say they are learning or are efficient in their firefighting skills. However, our department is interested in recognizing firefighters who are demonstrating a high level of proficiency in applying their learning and making a difference at emergency incidents. It’s not the numbers that should impress anyone, it’s all about the results,” said Chief Green.

"Brian was nominated this year and the evaluation of his nomination considered his fire call response, training attendance, and community service participation. The fire calls and training attendance stand for themselves. He excelled in both of those areas. As far as his community service, Brian has demonstrated an outstanding community service by taking the lead in allowing our department to partner with the Tennessee Fire Marshall’s Office in the “Get Alarmed Tennessee” Smoke Alarm Program. Starting in April 2013 and up to December 31, 2013, Brian has sacrificed his personal time and expense to travel to every community in DeKalb County while installing 681 smoke alarms in homes with no alarms, or in homes with deficient alarms. Keep in mind, this enormous task not only included traveling to residences and delivering the free smoke alarms, but also included the time that he spent ensuring that every alarm was properly installed and functioning. The degree of safety for our DeKalb County residents has been dramatically improved with Brian’s efforts in this program responsibility that he voluntarily accepted. This type of community service, that so clearly demonstrates going above and beyond normal training and emergency response duties, is exactly what we want to recognize in the selection of this prestigious award. DeKalb County Fire Department attempts to recognize firefighters who reflect a positive image on our department in the community and there’s absolutely no doubt that Brian has accomplished this. As such, we are honored to announce that Brian Williams is DeKalb County Fire Department’s 2013 “Firefighter of the Year”.

Firefighter Steve Repasy received the Department’s 2013 “Git R Done" award. Captain Anthony Boyd and Lieutenant Kyle Casper made the presentation. This award is given to a firefighter who demonstrates exceptional sacrifices by attending works sessions, additional instructor-led fire related training, and working to enhance the department’s fundraising successes. Repasy willingly took on the task that entailed planning, fabricating, and installing storage racks on tanker trucks for the portable folding water tanks that the department uses to supply water in areas where hydrants are not readily available. This ability is vitally important in order for the department to be able to maintain adequate water supplies that meet the Insurance Services Office (ISO) minimum criteria for water supply. He also enlisted the help of Todd Cantrell who assisted him in planning and directing the project from start to finish. Repasy contributed about 50 hours of design and development. In total, Repasy and other firefighters donated 64 hours of installation labor. The General Metals Class performed about 160 hours in fabricating the tank racks. In combination, the class and other volunteers donated a total of about 274 man hours and services for this project allowing the cost of this project on all three tankers to be less than $400 total. Purchasing such racks from a fire service equipment vendor, and having them installed, would have easily cost the county fire department a minimum of $5,000. Repasy's commitment to sacrifice his personal time, while leading the numerous work sessions involved in this project, clearly shows why he is being recognized as the 2013 recipient of the DeKalb County Fire Department’s “Git R Done” Award.

The "Rookie" award went to Firefighter Matt Boss of the Liberty Station. Assistant Chief/Training Officer David Agee made the presentation. This award is exclusively based on hours of training and goes to a firefighter who completed his/her basic recruit training during 2013. Agee said the department feels that the most important thing we can do for our new recruits is to give them basic training and reinforce the importance of training. Consequently, training is the sole criteria that we use in the “Rookie of the Year” selection. From January through December 2013, Boss had 192 hours of training, including completion of the 64 hour Basic Firefighter Training. In addition to his Basic Recruit training, he has completed extra training to improve his fire fighting abilities. “We certainly want to recognize recruits who demonstrate an outstanding level of commitment to training. Our department is fortunate to have an excellent group of recruits who have excelled in training in 2013. We are proud of all of them and we are honored to name Firefighter Matt Boss as our “Rookie of the Year” for 2013,” said Assistant Chief Agee.

Four firefighters were recognized and presented pins for their years of service including the following:
Five years of service: Bradley Johnson (Short Mountain Station), Richard “Skip” Roberts (Austin Bottoms Station), and Steve Repasy (Midway Station).

Fifteen years of service: Captain Anthony Boyd

Three firefighters were awarded Honorary Lifetime Membership awards. James Pennington, a former Captain, Lieutenant, and a member of the Belk Station received this honor for his 11 years of service, both as an officer and firefighter, and his involvement in the Department’s Fire Prevention and Safety Program. Billy Crymes, a former Lieutenant and member of the Main Station was presented this award for his 10 years of service, both as an officer and firefighter, and his involvement in several construction projects within the Department. And lastly, Richard “Dick” Kinsey, a former Captain, Lieutenant, and member of the Short Mountain Station was awarded this honor for his 10 years of service, both as an officer and firefighter, and his contributions in instructing several vehicle operations training courses, CPR/First Aid courses, and his role in many special events.

Forty one members of the department were also presented incentive awards for their “above and beyond” efforts in regards to training attendance and fire call response. These awards are funded through a federal “Staffing for Fire and Emergency Response” (SAFER) grant, which Chief Green said is to help retain and recruit firefighters."In 2008, we were awarded a SAFER Grant from the federal government that is a non-matching local grant and does not require any local funding, it's 100% federal, to help us recruit and retain firefighters. Under this program, we've provided these training award incentives for firefighters who made 100% of their monthly training and at least 35% of their assigned station calls, or at least 75% of their monthly training and at least 35% of their assigned station calls. Our goal is to use these incentives as a tool to help encourage our firefighters to stay engaged and involved with the training and operation in our department." Firefighters who met the 100% attendance criteria in 2013, each received $400 (or a prorated amount if they have been active for less than the full year). Firefighters who met the 75% attendance criteria in 2013, each received $200 (or a prorated amount if they have been active for less than the full year).

Firefighters receiving 100% Training Perfect Attendance Awards are as follows:
Assistant Chief David Agee, Bobby Anderson, Lee Ansel, Josh Arnold, Jacob Bond, Matt Boss, Kelly Cantrell, Lieutenant Kyle Casper, Nelson Davis, Bill Fowler, Chief Donny Green, Bradley Johnson, Dustin Johnson, Jerry Wayne Johnson, Vert Komoroski, Harley Lawrence, Ronald Merriman, Jeremy Neal, Andy Pack, Shawn Puckett, Steve Repasy, Robin Summers, Tony Thomas, Calvin Tramel, Brian Williams, and Lieutenant Chris Wyke.

75% Training Attendance Awards:
Seth Braseel, Justin Brooks, Gelasio “Marco” Chacon, Donnie Johnson, Ian Johnson, Gary King, Zach Kubiak, Stan Morris, Bob Myracle, Jason Neal, Danny Parker, Brandon Pyles, Brent Reed, Billy Tiner, and Hugh Washer.
During the ceremony, Chief Green highlighted some of the major accomplishments achieved by the Department in 2013. In April, the Department began its first ever 6-week Citizens’ Fire Academy with 9 participants. Also in April, the Department partnered with the Tennessee Fire Marshall’s Office in the “Get Alarmed Tennessee” smoke detector program. From April through December, Firefighter Brian Williams headed up the free smoke alarm installation program and installed 691 smoke alarms in DeKalb County homes. In May, the Spring 2013 Session Citizens’ Fire Academy graduation ceremony was held at Center Hill Lake. Twelve of our members graduated from the Fire Academy’s 22-hour Live Burn Training in June. Additionally, in June, DeKalb County Fire Department and DeKalb County High School’s General Metals Shop completed a lengthy project that involved designing, building, and installing storage racks on three of the Department’s tanker/pumpers. In September, Firefighters Chris Wyke and Kyle Casper were promoted as Lieutenants. The Fall 2013 Session of the Citizens’ Fire Academy began in October and continued for 6 weeks. We had 9 students graduate on November 5," said Chief Green.

Approximately 175 people were in attendance at the Awards Banquet, including firefighters, their families, local and state officials, graduates of the 2013 Citizens’ Fire Academies (Spring and Fall session), and community partners. County Fire Chief Donny Green, who presided over the ceremony.

DeKalb GOP Caucus Nominates Candidates for August General Election

January 18, 2014
Dwayne Page
Sean Driver, Patrick Ray, Chris Smithson, Mingy Bryant, Butch Age
Bobby Joines, Jerry Adcock, Mason Carter
Edwin Sadler for District Public Defender
Chris Tramel and Lee Plummer

The DeKalb County Republican Party held a caucus Saturday morning, January 18 to formally nominate candidates for county offices in the August General Election.

As expected, delegates to the caucus nominated the following candidates:

Patrick Ray for Sheriff

Sean Driver for Trustee

Butch Agee for Road Supervisor

Mingy Bryant for General Sessions Judge

Chris Smithson for County Mayor

Mason Carter for County Commissioner in the first district

Bobby Joines for County Commissioner in the second district

Jerry Adcock for County Commissioner in the fifth district

Chris Tramel for Constable in the second district (to fill a vacancy)

Lee Plummer for Constable in the first district (to fill a vacancy)

All are incumbents seeking re-election except Agee, Bryant, Smithson, Tramel, and Plummer.

Meanwhile, two candidates for offices in the 13th Judicial District also spoke Saturday including Jonathan Young of Putnam County for Circuit Court Judge Part II and Edwin Sadler candidate for District Public Defender. They will be seeking the Republican nomination for those offices in the May 6th GOP Primary in the 13th Judicial District, which includes DeKalb and six other counties.

Four Others Arrested on Drug Indictments

January 18, 2014
Dwayne Page
Garth Cantrell
Eric Dewayne Judkins
Robert Jeffery League
Brandon Scott Kidd

Four other persons have been arrested on drug charges from the recent undercover investigation by the Sheriff's Department. That brings the total to 55 arrested out of the 64 named in sealed indictments returned by the Grand Jury on Monday, January 13.

The latest to be arrested are:
32 year old Garth Cantrell of Pine Grove Road, Smithville:
One count of Sale and delivery of a schedule II drug (Roxycodone); and one count of Sale and delivery of a schedule II drug (Crack Cocaine), bond $50,000

22 year old Eric Dewayne Judkins of Hendrixson Road, Smithville:
One count of Sale and delivery of a schedule II drug (Opana); and one count of Sale and delivery of a schedule III drug (Hydrocodone), bond $50,000

50 year old Robert Jeffery League of Smith Road, Smithville:
Two counts of Sale and delivery of a schedule I drug (MDMA Ecstasy); and two counts of a Drug Free Zone, bond $50,000

28 year old Brandon Scott Kidd of Four Seasons Drive, Smithville:
One count of Sale and delivery of a schedule IV drug (Xanax), bond $20,000

All those indicted in this investigation will be arraigned in DeKalb County Criminal Court on February 21.

Cantrell and Hale Awarded at Smithville Fire Department Appreciation Dinner

January 18, 2014
Dwayne Page
Deputy Chief Hoyte Hale and Lieutenant Donnie Cantrell

Smithville Volunteer firefighter Lieutenant Donnie Cantrell received the "Highest Attendance Award" Friday night during an appreciation dinner for city firefighters at the Smithville First United Methodist Christian Fellowship Center.

The award was presented to Cantrell by Smithville Fire Chief Charlie Parker.

Lieutenant Cantrell responded most to incidents during 2013. A total of 125 out of 144 total fire calls. Deputy Chief Hoyte Hale was next having responded to 123 calls followed by James R. Hunt with 118 and Lieutenant John Poss at 114.

Deputy Chief Hale received an award for having put in the most training hours during the year at 227 followed by Lieutenant Cantrell with 161 hours, Lieutenant Danny Poss with 157 hours, and Lieutenant John Poss with 155 hours.

Chief Parker recognized all firefighters for their service to the department and the City of Smithville including:

Shawn Jacobs, auxiliary member with 4 months of service

Will Frazier: three months

Tyler Ludwig: three months

Patrick Edge: one year

Becky Atnip: one year

Cory Killian: three years

Kevin Adcock: three years

Ronald Whitaker: five years

Glen Lattimore: six years

Stephanie Wright: eight years

Gary Johnson: nine years

James R. Hunt: nine years

Wallace Caldwell: ten years

Charles Young: fifteen years

William Brown: sixteen years

Greg Bess (photographer): nineteen years

Lieutenant Anthony Wright: twenty two years

Lieutenant John Poss: twenty three years

Captain Jeff Wright: twenty eight years

Deputy Chief Hoyte Hale: twenty nine years

Lieutenant Danny Poss: thirty four years

Lieutenant Donnie Cantrell: thirty four years

Chief Charles Parker: thirty four years.

In addition to the firefighters and their spouses, the event was attended by Mayor Jimmy Poss and Aldermen Danny Washer, Jason Judd Murphy, Josh Miller, Tim Stribling, and Shawn Jacobs and members of their families. City officials expressed appreciation to the firefighters for the work they do and their commitment to helping improve the operation of the fire department to keep residents safer.

Chaplain Wallace Caldwell read the following poem:

Dad's Poem

Her hair was up in a pony tail,
her favorite dress tied with a bow.
Today was Daddy's Day at school,
and she couldn't wait to go.

But her mommy tried to tell her,
that she probably should stay home.
Why the kids might not understand,
if she went to school alone.

But she was not afraid;
she knew just what to say.
What to tell her classmates
of why he wasn't there today.

But still her mother worried,
for her to face this day alone.
And that was why once again,
she tried to keep her daughter home.

But the little girl went to school
eager to tell them all.
About a dad she never sees
a dad who never calls.

There were daddies along the wall in back,
for everyone to meet.
Children squirming impatiently,
anxious in their seats

One by one the teacher called
a student from the class.
To introduce their daddy,
as seconds slowly passed.

At last the teacher called her name,
every child turned to stare.
Each of them was searching,
for a man who wasn't there.

"Where's her daddy at?"
she heard a boy call out.
"She probably doesn't have one,"
another student dared to shout.

And from somewhere near the back,
she heard a daddy say,
"Looks like another deadbeat dad,
too busy to waste his day."

The words did not offend her,
as she smiled up at her Mom.
And looked back at her teacher,
who told her to go on.

And with hands behind her back,
slowly she began to speak.
And out from the mouth of a child,
came words incredibly unique.

"My Daddy couldn't be here,
because he lives so far away.
But I know he wishes he could be,
since this is such a special day.

And though you cannot meet him,
I wanted you to know.
All about my daddy,
and how much he loves me so.

He loved to tell me stories
he taught me to ride my bike.
He surprised me with pink roses,
and taught me to fly a kite.

We used to share fudge sundaes,
and ice cream in a cone.
And though you cannot see him.
I'm not standing here alone.

"Cause my daddy's always with me,
even though we are apart
I know because he told me,
he'll forever be in my heart"

With that, her little hand reached up,
and lay across her chest.
Feeling her own heartbeat,
beneath her favorite dress.

And from somewhere here in the crowd of dads,
her mother stood in tears
Proudly watching her daughter,
who was wise beyond her years.

For she stood up for the love
of a man not in her life.
Doing what was best for her,
doing what was right.

And when she dropped her hand back down,
staring straight into the crowd
She finished with a voice so soft,
but its message clear and loud.

"I love my daddy very much,
he's my shining star.
And if he could, he'd be here,
but heaven's just too far

You see he was a policeman
and died just this past year
When airplanes hit the towers
and taught Americans to fear.

But sometimes when I close my eyes,
it's like he never went away."
And then she closed her eyes,
and she saw him there that day.

And to her mothers amazement,
she witnessed with surprise.
A room full of daddies and children,
all starting to close their eyes.

Who knows what they saw before them,
who knows what they felt inside.
Perhaps for merely a second,
they saw him at her side.

"I know you're with me Daddy,"
to the silence she called out.
And what happened next made believers,
of those once filled with doubt.

Not one in that room could explain it,
for each of their eyes had been closed.
But there on the desk beside her,
was a fragrant long-stemmed pink rose.

And a child was blessed, if only for a moment,
by the love of her shining star.
And given the gift of believing,
that heaven is never too far.

Author Unknown

Smithville Clinic Under Investigation

January 17, 2014
Dwayne Page
Officers Inspecting Trunk of Car at Health Care Team Clinic
Laura Jean Suggs taken into custody
Laura Jean Suggs
Martin Keith Ball

Local, state, and federal law enforcement officials converged on a local pain clinic shortly after noon on Friday in Smithville.

The Health Care Team Clinic at 409 East Broad Street is under investigation by the Federal Drug Enforcement Agency, the Tennessee Inspector General's Office, the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department, and the Smithville Police Department apparently over the dispensing of narcotics. Activity at the clinic in recent months has aroused suspicion with some patrons to the clinic coming here from counties many miles away.

Sheriff Patrick Ray and Police Chief Randy Caplinger, in a joint statement Friday said that "The sheriff's department, police department, and federal DEA agents executed a search warrant at Health Care Team at 409 East Broad Street today (Friday)." They would say no more about the investigation.

Two persons were arrested on unrelated charges. Sheriff Ray said that 41 year old Martin Keith Ball of Sunlight Road, Parrottsville, Tennessee was arrested for violation of community corrections out of Cocke County, Tennessee. 27 year old Laura Jean Suggs of Edwina Bridge Port Road, Newport Tennessee was arrested for violation of probation out of Cocke County, Tennessee.

Both Ball and Suggs were each picked up by Cocke County Sheriff's Department officials from the DeKalb County Jail and transported to the Cocke County Jail.

More Persons Rounded up in Drug Investigation

January 17, 2014
Dwayne Page
George O. Divine
Brandy Faye Batey
Ronald “Jag” Jagnandan
Howard Robert Mayo Jr.
Evelyn Darlene Cantrell
James Todd Qualls

Six more drug defendants have been arrested as part of the recent undercover investigation by the Sheriff's Department.

Those defendants and their charges are as follows:

56 year old George O. Divine of North Butler Street Sparta:
Three counts of Sale and delivery of a schedule II drug (Adderall), bond $90,000

28 year old Brandy Faye Batey of King Ridge Road, Dowelltown:
Two counts of Sale and delivery of a schedule II drug (Opana); two counts of drug free zone, bond $100,000

30 year old Ronald “Jag” Jagnandan of C.B. Johnson Road, Sparta:
One count of Sale and delivery of a schedule II drug (Roxycodone); One count of Sale and delivery of a schedule II drug (Adderall), bond $60,000.

47 year old Howard Robert Mayo Jr. of Main Street, Gassaway:
One count of Sale and delivery of a schedule III drug (Hydrocodone), bond $20,000

48 year old Evelyn Darlene Cantrell of Bobby Hayes Road, Dowelltown:
Two counts of Sale and delivery of a schedule II drug (Opana), bond $60,000

31 year old James Todd Qualls of Luna Lane Sparta:
Initiation of a process to manufacture methamphetamine, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, and possession of a schedule I drug (Mushroom), bond $75,000

All will appear for arraignment in DeKalb County Criminal Court on February 21.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Thursday he spoke with officials of the Tennessee Inspector General’s office concerning the possibility that some of the 64 drug defendants in the investigation illegally sold TennCare funded precriptions. "Our departments will be working together to see if any of our drug defendants from our latest drug bust sold their prescriptions that were paid for by Tenn-Care. If any defendant is found to have bought their prescriptions with tax money (Tenn-Care funds), the defendant could face additional charges and may loose their government funded healthcare," said Sheriff Ray.

According to the Sheriff, a variety of drugs were purchased through this three month investigation from individuals across the county. "Through these controlled drug buys, we were able to purchase many different types of drugs. We purchased Dilaudid, Morphine, Opana, Roxycodone, Percocet, Hydocodone, Suboxone Strips, Suboxone Pills, Adderall, Valium, Xanax, Subutex, Ecstasy, Crack Cocaine, and Marijuana. The majority of the drugs bought were prescription pain killers," he said.

Deadline Arrives to Submit Ballots for FSA County Committee Election

January 17, 2014
Dwayne Page
Donny Green

USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) County Executive Director, Donny Green, today reminded farmers and other agricultural producers that they have until this Friday, Jan. 17, 2014, to return completed ballots to FSA for the county committee election. Eligible voters who have not received a ballot can obtain one from their local USDA Service Center. The last day for voters to submit completed ballots in person to local USDA Service Centers is Jan. 17, 2014. Ballots returned by mail must be postmarked no later than Jan. 17.

County committee members are an important component of the operations of FSA and provide a link between the agricultural community and USDA. Farmers and ranchers elected to county committees help deliver FSA programs at the local level, applying their knowledge and judgment to make decisions on commodity price support programs; conservation programs; incentive indemnity and disaster programs for some commodities; emergency programs and eligibility. FSA committees operate within official regulations designed to carry out federal laws.

To be an eligible voter, farmers and ranchers must participate or cooperate in an FSA program. A person who is not of legal voting age, but supervises and conducts the farming operations of an entire farm may also be eligible to vote. Agricultural producers in each county submitted candidate nominations during the nomination period, which ended on Aug. 1.

Close to 7,700 FSA county committee members serve in the 2,124 FSA offices nationwide. Each committee consists of three to 11 members who serve three-year terms. Approximately one-third of county committee seats are up for election each year. More information on county committees, such as the 2013 fact sheet and brochures, can be found on the FSA website at www.fsa.usda.gov/elections or at a local USDA Service Center.


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