Local News Articles

City of Smithville Accepting Applications for Chief of Police

March 30, 2010
Dwayne Page

The City of Smithville is accepting applications to fill the position of Police Chief.

Mayor Taft Hendrixson, in a public notice, states that applications may be picked up at city hall from 8:00 a.m. until noon. through April 16th All applicants must be certified by the Peace Officers Standards and Training Commission (P.O.S.T.) with a minimum of six years experience as a certified, full-time officer with a minimum of three years experience in a supervisory position. The City of Smithville is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate based on race, religion, color, sex, age, national origin, or disability.

The Police Chief position has been open since December when the Board of Aldermen, with four voting in the affirmative, upheld the city discipline board's decision in November to terminate former Police Chief Richard Jennings for dereliction of duties/negligence..

Lieutenant Steven Leffew has been serving as "Officer in Charge" of the department since November.

On December 10th. Jennings and his wife June filed a federal court lawsuit against the City of Smithville claiming he was wrongfully terminated and that his constitutional rights were violated
In the lawsuit, Jennings alleges that the city never established a cause for his termination, that the city violated his constitutional due process rights, and that he was the victim of age discrimination in the dismissal.

The former police chief is asking for a jury trial, that he be awarded back pay and damages for loss of earnings and benefits in an amount to be determined at trial, that front pay be awarded to compensate him for lost employment opportunities, that compensatory damages be awarded in an amount to be determined at trial, and that he be awarded attorney's fees, expenses of the litigation, prejudgement interests, punitive damages, and such other and further relief as may be deemed just and proper."

Jennings is being represented by Murfreesboro attorney Kerry Knox.

THP Investigates Four Vehicle Accident

March 29, 2010
Dwayne Page

The Tennessee Highway Patrol investigated a four vehicle accident Monday morning at the intersection of North Congress Boulevard and East Main Street in Smithville.

Trooper Mark Jones says 78 year old Billy Harris of Smithville was traveling west on East Main Street in a 2003 Chevy pickup truck, crossing Highway 56 as 68 year old Kenneth Tramel, driving a 2006 Ford F-150 pickup for the Tennessee Forestry Division was going north on Highway 56. After impact, Tramel's truck crossed into the southbound lane and struck a 1994 Oldsmobile, driven by 33 year old Alfaro Alejandro, who was setting in the outside southbound lane at the traffic light. After making contact with the Alejandro vehicle, Tramel's truck also hit a 1987 Chevy pickup behind Alejandro, driven by 50 year old James Johnson of McMinnville.

According to Trooper Jones, both Harris and Tramel claim they had a green light but Alejandro and Johnson say the light on Congress Boulevard was red.

Trooper Jones says Tramel went to the hospital by private vehicle to be checked out, but there were no other injuries.

Luna Charged with Leaving the Scene of an Accident

March 29, 2010
Dwayne Page

A 62 year old man was arrested Monday morning after leaving the scene of a traffic accident at the intersection of South Congress Boulevard and Vaughn Lane.

Corporal Travis Bryant of the Smithville Police Department says Raymundo Luna is charged with leaving the scene of an accident and he was cited for not having any insurance and for failure to yield while entering an intersection. His bond totals $3,500 and he will be in court on April 15th.

According to Corporal Bryant, Luna was traveling west on Vaughn Lane in a 1992 Buick Regency when he failed to stop at the intersection with Highway 56 south. Luna proceeded through the intersection and crossed into the path on a southbound Mercury SUV driven by 20 year old Ashlee Thomason of Smithville.

Corporal Bryant says Luna left the scene after the wreck, drove to College Street, turned right, and then cut across to Short Mountain Highway.

Thomason gave police a description and tag number of the vehicle and a "BOLO" or "Be on the Lookout" was issued by Central Dispatch. A witness spotted the car parked in a barn at the Pirtles Nursery location on Short Mountain Highway and notified authorities.

County deputies went to the nursery and verified that the car was the same one that was involved in the accident. Corporal Bryant came to the scene and talked with the owner of the vehicle, Luna, who worked at the nursery. Luna admitted to leaving the scene of the accident, saying he did so because he was trying to get to work and was scared.

Thomason, who received minors injuries in the accident, was taken to the hospital by private vehicle.

Hale Crowned Spring Blossom Junior Miss

March 27, 2010
Dwayne Page
Junior Miss Haley Marie Hale
Junior Miss Haley Marie Hale and Runners-up
Miss Photogenic Makalee Beth Ruch and Miss Congeniality and Junior Miss Haley Marie Hale

Thirteen year old Haley Marie Hale of Smithville is the new Junior Miss of the Spring Blossom Pageant, which was held Saturday night at the high school and sponsored by the Smithville Women's Club.

Hale, daughter of Melissa and Chad Hale, succeeds the 2009 Junior Miss, Darrian Lanay Turner of Smithville, the twelve year old daughter of Regina and Shane Turner.

Hale was also named Miss Congeniality.

First runner-up in the pageant was Taneah Brooke Cantrell of Smithville, the thirteen year old daughter of Tammy and Scott Cantrell.

Fourteen year old Sarah Elizabeth Edwards of Liberty was second runner-up. She is the daughter of Tena and the late Clay Edwards..

Liz Abigail Qualls of Smithville, the twelve year old daughter of Brad and Kim Trapp and Jason and Stormy Qualls, was named third runner-up.

Eleven year old Tyra Grace Graham of Smithville, daughter of Doris and Kyle Graham was the fourth runner-up.

Others making up the top ten in no particular order were fourteen year old Lindsay Michelle Wright of Smithville, daughter of Jennie Adkins and Bobby Wright; fourteen year old Kami Denise Bogle of Dowelltown, daughter of Amy Scott and Chris Bogle; twelve year old Makalee Beth Ruch, daughter of Melissa and Joe Ruch of Smithville; thirteen year old Ale Maciel, daughter of Idalia and Francisco Maciel; and thirteen year old Ashley Hershman of Smithville, daughter of Laura Cook.

Twelve year old Makalee Beth Ruch of Smithville was named Miss Photogenic. She is the daughter of Melissa and Joe Ruch.

A total of nineteen young ladies participated in the pageant.

(Top Photo: Junior Miss Haley Marie Hale)

(Second Photo from Top: Left to Right- Fourth runner-up Kyra Grace Graham; Second runner-up Sarah Elizabeth Edwards; Junior Miss Haley Marie Hale; First runner-up Taneah Brooke Cantrell; and Third runner-up Liz Abigail Qualls)

(Bottom Photo: Left to Right- Miss Photogenic Makalee Beth Ruch and Miss Congeniality and Junior Miss Haley Marie Hale)

Taylor Takes Little Miss Title

March 27, 2010
Dwayne Page
Little Miss Kenlee Renae Taylor
Little Miss Kenlee Renae Taylor and Runners-up
Miss Manners Kennedy Grace Polk and Miss Photogenic Madison Rae Rackley-

Four year old Kenlee Renae Taylor of Smithville is the 2010 Little Miss of the annual spring pageant sponsored by the Smithville Women's Club.

She was crowned Saturday night at DCHS.

Taylor, daughter of Cindy and Ken Taylor, succeeds the retiring Little Miss, Christina Howard of Smithville, the six year old daughter of Allison and Kevin Howard.

Six year old Lexie Thomas of Smithville, daughter of Shaina Keaton and Chase Thomas, was named first runner-up.

Second runner-up went to Madison Rae Rackley of Smithville, the six year old daughter of Jessica and Gordon Rackley. She was also the pageant's Miss Photogenic.

Third runner-up was Ellie Cripps of Smithville, the six year old daughter of Troy and Jamie Cripps.

Four year old Elaina Bryce Turner of Smithville was fourth runner-up. She is the daughter of Regina and Shane Turner.

Fifth runner-up went to Rainey Tiner of Smithville, the five year old daughter of Margie Tiner.

Rounding out the top fifteen in no particular order are five year old Madelyn Rose Ray, daughter of Melissa and Melvin Ray of Smithville; six year old Caitlyn Rene Harwell, daughter of Jaya and Jerry Harwell of Smithville; six year old Ellie Elizabeth Webb, daughter of Cindy and C.D. Webb of Dowelltown; five year old Hailey Palk, daughter of Tabitha and Jamey Palk of Smithville; six year old Lindsey Kristen Hutchins, daughter of Laura and Jerry Hutchins, Jr. of Smithville; five year old Addison Jean Puckett, daughter of Anita and Jimmy Puckett of Smithville; five year old Kyleigh Breanne Hill, daughter of Colleen Clary and Kyle Hill of Smithville; five year old Lindsey Faye Nokes, daughter of Amanda Stephens and Toby Nokes of Smithville; and five year old Addison Roller, daughter of Chana and John Roller of Smithville.

Kennedy Grace Polk of Smithville was named Miss Manners. She is the six year old daughter of Kerry and Chad Polk.

The pageant featured thirty six contestants.

(Top Photo: Little Miss Kenlee Renae Taylor)

(Second Photo from Top: Left to Right- Fourth runner-up Elaina Bryce Turner; Second runner-up Madison Rae Rackley; Little Miss Kenlee Renae Taylor; First runner-up Lexie Thomas; Third runner-up Ellie Cripps; and Fifth runner-up Rainey Tiner)

(Bottom Photo: left to right- Miss Manners Kennedy Grace Polk and Miss Photogenic Madison Rae Rackley)

Trapp Wins Little Mister Pageant

March 27, 2010
Dwayne Page
Little Mister Anthony Gage Trapp
Little Mister Anthony Gage Trapp and Runners-up
Mister Manners Ethan Carter
Mister Photogenic Kolter Garrett Kilgore

Six year old Anthony Gage Trapp of Smithville was crowned Little Mister of the annual spring pageant held Saturday at DeKalb County High School sponsored by the Smithville Women's Club.

Trapp is the son of Amanda and Tony Trapp of Smithville. He succeeds the 2009 Little Mister Dexton Bradley Emberton of Smithville, son of Brandi and Travis Johnson and Steve Emberton.

Six year old Kobbe Braden Clary of Smithville was named first runner-up in the pageant. He is the son of Brooke and David Clary of Smithville.

Ethan Carter of Smithville was the second runner-up. He also received the title of Mr. Manners. Carter is the six year old son of Emily Funk and Terry Carter.

Third runner-up went to Kaden Nathaniel Trapp of Dowelltown, the four year old son of Melissa Hart and Nathan Trapp.

Adan Ramirez of Smithville was fourth runner-up. He is the four year old son of Carelis Haynes and Roel Ramirez.

Five year old Kolter Garrett Kilgore of Smithville was selected as Mr. Photogenic. He is the son of Ginda and John Kilgore.

The pageant featured eight little boys. Others in the pageant were Zakkary Hamilton of Smithville, the six year old son of Christy and Scott Hamilton; and Brayden Seth Creek of Dowelltown, the five year old son of Luanne and Barnie Creek.

(Top photo: Little Mister Anthony Gage Trapp)

(Second Photo from Top: Left to Right- Fourth runner-up Adan Ramirez, Second runner-up Ethan Carter, Little Mister Anthony Gage Trapp, First runner-up Kobbe Braden Clary, and Third runner-up Kaden Nathaniel Trapp)

(Third Photo from Top: Mister Manners Ethan Carter)

(Bottom Photo: Mister Photogenic Kolter Garrett Kilgore)

Smithville Police Make Two Arrests in Theft Case

March 27, 2010
Dwayne Page
Gregory Eugene Neal
Desiree Ferrell

Smithville Police have made two arrests in a recent theft investigation.

40 year old Gregory Eugene Neal and 34 year old Desiree N Ferrell of 427 Morgan Street were arrested on Tuesday, March 23rd for theft over $500. Officer Matt Farmer was dispatched to 300 Wade Street to take a report concerning a theft. According to Chris Cantrell and Stacy Campbell someone had broken into the residence and several items were taken. A fire had occurred there on Friday morning and they had been staying elsewhere. When Cantrell returned home on Monday, March 22nd, he noticed that someone had apparently entered the residence through a window. Later that day, Officer Farmer and Sergeant Randy King went to 427 Morgan Drive concerning a complaint of possible drug activity. Officers saw Greg Neal in the yard by his truck and asked if they could go inside and talk. Desiree Ferrell was also at the residence. Neal was informed that an anonymous tip had been received concerning drug activity occurring at his residence. Both Neal and Ferrell stated that there was nothing going on and the officers could look anywhere they wanted. While walking through the residence, Officer Farmer saw some items believed to have been be stolen from the residence at 300 Wade Street. Both Neal and Ferrell were asked about the items but claimed they had received these items in return for payment of money owed to them. Two TV's and a VCR were confiscated and taken to the Smithville Police Department. The victims were contacted and identified the items as some of the stolen property. Neal and Ferrell were arrested for theft. Bond for them was set at $5,000 each and their court date is April 22nd.

39 year old Rafael Luevano Castorena of 650 Cecil Hale Road and 33 year old Juan Lucio Galvan of 2663 Short Mountain Highway were arrested on Saturday, March 20th for public intoxication. Sergeant Joey Jones was dispatched to the area of Morgan Drive and Gentry Street to check out a suspicious vehicle. Upon arrival he noticed a maroon mini van parked on the corner. A man was inside in the passenger seat. He was passed out and the driver side door was open. Sergeant Jones made contact with the driver, Castorena, who had gone into the apartments at this location. Castorena said he was there to visit a friend. Castorena had a strong odor of beer on his person and he was unsteady on his feet. Officer Scott Davis, who was assisting Sergeant Jones, made contact with Galvan, the man who was passed out in the passenger seat of the mini van. Galvan had an open beer between his legs. Officer Davis awoke Galvan. His speech was slurred and his eyes were watery and blood shot. Galvan was also unsteady on his feet and he could not provide his address. Due to the their intoxication level, both Castorena and Galvan were placed under arrest for public intoxication. Bond for both was set at $1,000 and their court date is April 1st.

Meanwhile, anyone having any information on the following offense is asked to please contact the Smithville Police Department at 597-8210 or the Tip Line at 464-6046.

On Friday, March 19th Officer Scott Davis was dispatched to 920 South Mountain Street, Lot 10 in reference to a burglary. Angela Escobedo stated that when she arrived home her husband advised her that someone had attempted to break into their trailer. It appeared someone had attempted to gain entry into the home by prying open the front door. Damage was done to the door and lock, however; but no one entered.

Any information received that will help Smithville Police solve any criminal offense will be greatly appreciated. All information is confidential.

Deadline Approaching for Candidates to Qualify for State Offices

March 27, 2010
Dwayne Page

The deadline for getting in the race for state offices including State Representative, State Senator, U.S. House of Representatives, and Governor is Thursday, April 1st.

Persons who have picked up petitions in their home county for State Representative of the 40th legislative district which includes DeKalb, Smith, and Macon County are as follows:

Incumbent Terri Lynn Weaver of Smith County

Jamie Winkler of Smith County
James Hale of DeKalb County
Sarah Marie Smith of Smith County

Pleas S. Ford of Macon County
Joseph W. Arnold of DeKalb County

Most have returned their petitions and have become qualified to run

Meanwhile candidates for the State Senate in the 17th district which includes Cannon, Clay, DeKalb, Macon, Smith, Trousdale, Wilson, and part of Sumner County are as follows:

Incumbent Mae Beavers of Mount Juliet
Susan Lynn of Mount Juliet
Gordon Borck of Wilson County

Aubrey Givens of Lebanon
George McDonald of Smith County
Sam Hatcher of Wilson County

The Democrats and Republicans will be seeking their party's nomination in the state primaries on August 5th. The Independents will be running against the Democratic and Republican nominees in the November General Election.

Fire Causes Damage at Alexandria Motorcycle and ATV Business

March 27, 2010
Dwayne Page

Several motorcycles and all terrain vehicles were destroyed in a Thursday evening fire at an Alexandria business, but quick action by the Alexandria Fire Department helped prevent a total loss of the building.

Redline Cycles, a motorcycle and ATV sales and repair business, located on Highway 70 in Alexandria, is at the former location of Prichard's Foods beside Alexandria Café.

Caleb Roth, Assistant Alexandria Fire Chief, says the owner of the business, Brad Langford was working on a motorcycle when it caught fire. Langford tried to extinguish the blaze but it quickly spread. Firefighters, who arrived within minutes of receiving the call, found flames coming through the roof and around the bay door of the garage.

Roth says firefighters were able to contain the fire damage to the garage area, which is located in a two story portion of the building on the southeast side The showroom and living quarters of the building received some smoke damage. Contents of the garage, including several motorcycles and ATVs were destroyed. No one was injured although the Langford family dog perished in the fire.

Members of the DeKalb County and Watertown Volunteer Fire Departments assisted the Alexandria Fire Department in battling the blaze.

Qualifying Deadline April 1st for School Board Races

March 26, 2010
Dwayne Page

Thursday at noon, April 1st, is the qualifying deadline for persons wanting to run for a seat on the DeKalb County Board of Education in the August 5th DeKalb County General Election.

School board members will be elected in the first, second, third, fourth, and seventh districts. Each term is four years.

Those who have qualified to run include:

First District:
Incumbent John David Foutch

Second District:
Incumbent Charles Robinson
Jerry Wayne Johnson

Third District:
Incumbent Kenny Rhody
Jonathon Willoughby

Fourth District:
Billy Miller
Larry Redmon

Seventh District:
Incumbent Johnny Lattimore

School board contenders run as non-partisan candidates


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