Local News Articles

Missouri Fugitive Arrested After Incident at Midnight Express

October 29, 2012
Dwayne Page
Tim Melvin Hickman
Craig Lamar Waters

A Missouri fugitive, who allegedly hit his girlfriend with a vehicle at the Midnight Express before running away on foot Saturday night, was later found and arrested in his room at the Bridgeway Motel

35 year old Tim Melvin Hickman is charged with evading arrest and being a fugitive from justice from the state of Missouri. He is wanted by the St. Francis County, Missouri sheriff's office for driving on a revoked/suspended license. Hickman has an active warrant against him there and he will be extradited. His bond is $55,000 and he will be in court on November 1.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Saturday night a deputy was called to the Midnight Express to break up a fight in progress. Upon arrival, the deputy was told that a man had hit his girlfriend with a vehicle and was heading toward the woods on foot. The deputy spotted the man and ordered him to stop, announcing himself as an officer. But the man took off running down a hill. Several hours later officers learned that Hickman was at the Bridgeway Motel. They arrested him there in his room.

Sheriff Ray said the Tennessee Highway Patrol has also filed charges against Hickman.

38 year old Misty Dawn Bush of Smithville was cited on Monday, October 22 for driving on a revoked license and failure to drive within a lane of travel. She will be in court on November 14. Bush was stopped by a sheriff's department drug detective for failure to maintain a lane of travel. A check revealed that her drivers license were revoked.

34 year old Aron Dewayne Ponder was cited on Monday, October 22 for driving on a suspended license. He will be in court on November 28. Ponder, driving a Honda Accord, was stopped by a sheriff's department drug detective on Charity Lane. The detective knew that Ponder's license were suspended because he had issued him a ticket less than two weeks before this incident. A computer check confirmed that Ponder's license were suspended.

34 year old Tara Jane Atnip Summers of Allen Ferrell Road, Smithville is charged with public intoxication and resisting arrest. Her bond is $3,500 and she will be in court November 15.

Sheriff Ray said that on Tuesday, October 23 a deputy responded to a possible domestic between Summers and a family member at a residence on Allen's Ferry Road. According to Sheriff Ray a family member ordered Summers to leave the home. After the officer's arrival, Summers came out of the home. She was very belligerent and refused to obey any of the deputy's commands. The officer noticed a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on her person and her speech was slurred. Summers admitted to consuming alcohol. She was asked to calm down several times but she refused. Due to her actions, her level of intoxication, and being an unwanted person at the residence, Summers was placed under arrest. As the deputy was trying to place handcuffs on her, Summers began pulling away, telling the officer that she was not going to jail. Because of her belligerence and attempts to resist arrest, the officer had to use force to handcuff Summers and place her in the patrol car.

32 year old Cindy Armstrong Lemons of Smithville is charged with public intoxication. Her bond is $1,000 and she will be in court on November 1. She was also cited for possession of drug paraphernalia

Sheriff Ray said that on Thursday, October 25 a court officer, while at the courthouse working General Sessions Court, noticed a woman who was very unsteady on her feet. The woman, Lemons had slurred speech and she could not keep still. Due to her level of intoxication, Lemons was placed under arrest for her safety and the safety of the public. During a search of her person, Lemons was found to be in possession of a hypodermic needle and a pill bottle wrapped in black tape.

29 year old Craig Lamar Waters of Gordonsville is charged with the unlawful carrying or possession of a weapon by a felon. His bond is $3,500 and he will be in court on November 1.

Sheriff Ray said that on Friday, October 26, a sheriff's department drug detective made a traffic stop on New Home Road. He saw metal beams, protruding approximately five to six feet from the rear of a truck. The detective asked the driver, Waters if he had any drugs or weapons in the vehicle. Waters said that he had a pistol under the seat. The drug detective then asked Waters if he had a permit. Waters replied no. The detective found a holster strapped to the seat where Waters was sitting along with a highpoint nine millimeter pistol. Also beside Waters in the seat was a clip, loaded with nine millimeter ammo. Waters told the detective that he had previously been charged with a felony. A criminal history check confirmed that Waters had been arrested for a felony and was on probation.

34 year old Phillip Edward Miranda of Liberty was cited on Friday, October 26 for driving on a revoked license. He will be in court on November 14. Sheriff Ray said a drug detective saw a vehicle, being operated by Miranda, on Highway 70 west. Knowing that Miranda's license were revoked, the detective stopped the automobile. A computer check revealed that Miranda had two violation of probation warrants against him and that his license were revoked for a second offense of driving under the influence on December 16, 2010.

38 year old Susan Lynnette Carter of Dowelltown was cited on Friday, October 26 for driving on a revoked license, a violation of the child restraint law, and simple possession of a schedule III controlled substance. She will be in court December 5. Meanwhile a passenger of Carter's vehicle, 32 year old Cynthia Diane Carter of Alexandria was cited for simple possession of a schedule II and III controlled substance. Her court date is November 15

Sheriff Ray said that a drug detective stopped Susan Carter's vehicle on Highway 70 west in Dowelltown after a 16 year old passenger was observed not wearing a seatbelt. A computer check revealed that Carter's license were revoked for driving under the influence on April 19, 2011. After receiving consent to search, the detective found in the drivers seat three hydrocodone pills. The search further turned up three pills, believed to be ADHD medicine, in Cynthia Carter's purse. Neither woman claimed responsibility for the pills found in the drivers seat.

Applications Now Available for Angel Tree Project

October 29, 2012

Applications are now available for the 17th Annual Angel Tree Project through Friday, November 2nd.

Spokesperson Laura Stone said that the application turn in date has been set for one day only. "Applications can be picked up October 29th through November 2nd. You will continue to pick up your applications at the Department of Human Services, but the application must be returned in person the following week to the Smithville First Baptist Church Life Enrichment Center."

"Completed applications will have to be returned to the First Baptist Church LEC Building in downtown Smithville (on the corner across from First Baptist) on Monday, November 5th from 7am to 8pm. Applications not returned to the Church LEC Building on this day WILL NOT be accepted. There are no exceptions to the requirements of the application process", said Stone. It is very important that you understand we will only accept applications this one day only.

"Applications can only be picked up at the Department of Human Services on October 29th through November 2nd and can only be returned to the Church LEC Building on November 5th. In addition to bringing the completed application, applicants must provide photo identification of the person applying and social security cards and birth certificates for ALL children listed on the application. We will only be keeping the application; all other documents will be returned to the applicant. If an applicant cannot appear in person, their application can be submitted by a family member as long as all of the required information is presented."

"Eligible children must live in DeKalb County and be no older than age 12 by December 25, 2012. The Department of Human Services will only be passing out the applications. Nothing will be returned to them and any questions should be directed to Laura Stone at 615.597.5060"

Stone adds that "the Angel Tree has been such a tremendous success in the past and with economic times extremely tough for many in our area, we want this years Angel Tree to be no exception. The Angel Tree helps so many families who are struggling to make ends meet. It is sad to think about, but many of these children would not otherwise have a single present for Christmas. With the economy still struggling, we are expecting demand to be high."

DeKalb Fighting Tiger Band Big Winner at US Bands State Championship

October 29, 2012
DeKalb Fighting Tiger Band

The DeKalb County Fighting Tiger Band directed by Jonathan Wright and Assistant Director Joey Wilburn had a clean sweep Saturday night in Cookeville at the US Bands State Championship held at Tennessee Tech University. This was the last competition of the season for the band and in honor of all the seniors in the band they went out on the field for the awards ceremony to collect the trophies. The awards they picked up Saturday night were as follows

Class 1A
1st place band
Best Overall Effect
Best Music
Best Visual Ensemble
Best Color Guard
Best Percussion

2012 State Audit of DeKalb County Government Notes Fourteen Findings

October 27, 2012
Dwayne Page

The Division of Local Government Audit has released the Annual Financial Report of DeKalb County for the year ended June 30, 2012.

Basic financial statements of DeKalb County have been audited by the state.

The audit resulted in fourteen findings and recommendations, which have been reviewed with DeKalb County management. Detailed findings, recommendations, and management's response are included in the Single Audit section of this report


The following are summaries of the audit findings

Office of County Mayor:
The Solid Waste Disposal Fund required material audit adjustments for proper financial statement presentation.

The Solid Waste Disposal Fund had a deficit in unrestricted net assets.

Food for the jail was not bid in compliance with state statutes.

Office of Road Supervisor:
The office did not maintain adequate controls over consumable assets

The office had deficiencies in payroll procedures

A property owner erected a gate on a county road

The Highway Department performed work and provided materials on roads to private cemeteries without authorization. (SEE LOCAL NEWS FOR RESPONSE FROM ROAD SUPERVISOR KENNY EDGE)

Office of the Director of Schools
The School Federal Projects Fund had a cash overdraft of $96,023 at June 30, 2012 (SEE LOCAL NEWS FOR RESPONSE FROM DIRECTOR MARK WILLOUGHBY)

Office of Trustee
Excess fees were not reported and paid to the county in compliance with state statute

Offices of Circuit, General Sessions, and Juvenile Courts Clerk, and Register
Multiple employees operated from the same cash drawer

Office of Assessor of Property
New owners of greenbelt properties were not required to file a new application for agricultural property.

The assessor did not prorate new construction

DeKalb County
DeKalb County has a material recurring audit finding

Offices of Road Supervisor, Trustee, Register, and Sheriff
Duties were not segregated adequately

Best Practice

DeKalb County does not have a central system of accounting and budgeting. The Division of Local Government Audit strongly believes that a central system of accounting and budgeting is a best practice that should be adopted by the governing body as a means of significantly improving accountability and the quality of services provided to the citizens of DeKalb County.

Tigers to Host Sequoyah in First Round of Class 4A State Football Playoffs

October 27, 2012
Dwayne Page
Coach Steve Trapp

The DeKalb County Tigers will host the Sequoyah Chiefs in the first round of the 2012 Division I BlueCross Bowl Class 4A Football Playoffs next Friday night, November 2 at 7:00 p.m. in Smithville. WJLE will have LIVE coverage of the game.

The Tigers (9-1) are seeded fourth and the Chiefs (6-4) are a five seed. The winner will face either Livingston Academy (9-1) or Grainger (4-6) on November 9 at 7:00 p.m. The Wildcats are a number one seed. Grainger is an eight seed.


Coach Steve Trapp said while he is disappointed with the loss to Livingston Academy Friday night, he is happy that DeKalb County will be hosting a state play-off game for the second year in a row. "We're really excited to be able to host another play-off game. That's two years in a row," said Coach Trapp. "Ultimately we didn't finish off the season like we had hoped for but Livingston is a really good football team. But we'll rise up. We'll be resilient and we'll be ready to play this coming week. It's a whole new season. Everybody is back zero to zero. Its an exciting time of year for high school football programs to be able to continue their seasons," said Coach Trapp.

As for Friday night's 35-13 loss to Livingston Academy, Coach Trapp said the Wildcats had a good game plan and executed it well. "Livingston dominated us up front. They've got some really good players up front. They oversized us in a few positions. They are a very talented football team. We didn't play our best football by no means but Livingston Academy did a really good job at executing their game plan, keeping our offense off the field, and controling the football game in all regards. We've got to learn from it," said Coach Trapp.

If the Tigers defeat Sequoyah, they could potentially have a rematch with Livingston Academy on November 9. "If we take care of business we could possibly play those guys again in two weeks. But we've got to take care of this first one (game) first," he said.

Coach Trapp also expressed his thanks to the fans for their support. "I do want to say thank you to all the fans who came out. Before that game was very electrifying. And then to all the fans who met us back at the football field when we arrived home, that was really a great thing even after a loss. We really appreciate their support," said Coach Trapp.

Sequoyah High School is located in Monroe County or Madisonville northeast of Chattanooga.

Sequoyah's wins this year have been:
over Rockwood 41-14
over Tellico Plains 58-26
over Meigs County 40-2
over Cumberland County 48-0
over McMinn Central 42-21
over Scott County 35-20

Sequoyah's losses this year have been:
to Lenoir City 38-13
to Polk County 47-21
to Loudon 41-27
to Sweetwater 14-6

DeKalb County's wins have been:
over Warren County 50-0
over Clay County 65-0
over Cannon County 42-0
over White County 58-7
over Smith County 32-13
over Hixson 42-13
over York Institute 47-19
over Macon County 45-7
over Upperman 47-7

DeKalb County's only loss has been to Livingston Academy 35-13.

The other side of the bracket has Greeneville (7-3), a three seed, hosting Gibbs (6-4), a six seed. The winner of that game will advance to take on either Knoxville Carter (5-5) or Knoxville Fulton (8-2). Fulton, a two seed, is hosting Carter, a seven seed, next Friday night, November 2.

DeKalb Unemployment Rate for September Drops to 7.4%

October 27, 2012
Dwayne Page

DeKalb County's unemployment rate for September dropped to 7.4%, down from 8.2% in August and from 8.9% in September 2011

The local labor force for September was 9,740. A total of 9,010 were employed and 720 were unemployed. DeKalb County had the fourth lowest unemployment rate among the fourteen counties in the Upper Cumberland region.
Here's how they ranked from highest to lowest:

Pickett County: 11.3%
White County: 11%
Van Buren County: 10.4%
Clay County: 9.1%
Fentress County: 9.1%
Warren County: 8.6%
Cumberland County: 8.2%
Macon County:8.2%
Overton County: 8.1%
Jackson County: 7.5%
DeKalb County:7.4%
Smith County: 7.1%
Putnam County: 7%
Cannon County: 6.9%

County non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rates for September show the rate decreased in 94 counties and increased in one.

Tennessee's unemployment rate for September decreased to 8.3 percent, down from the August revised rate of 8.5 percent. The national unemployment rate for September 2012 was 7.8 percent, 0.3 percentage point lower than the August rate.

The state unemployment rate is seasonally adjusted while the county unemployment rates are not. Seasonal adjustment is a statistical technique that eliminates the influences of weather, holidays, the opening and closing of schools, and other recurring seasonal events from economic time series.

Knox County had the state's lowest major metropolitan rate of 5.9 percent, down from the August rate of 6.7 percent. Davidson County was 6.6 percent, down from 7.4 percent. Hamilton County was 7.1 percent, down from 7.7 percent, and Shelby County was 8.5 percent, down from 8.9 percent in August.

Tigers Fall to Livingston Academy 35-13

October 26, 2012

The DeKalb County Tigers lost at Livingston Academy 35-13 in the regular season finale Friday night. DC finishes 9-1 overall and 4-1 in the district. Livingston Academy also concludes the season at 9-1 and claimed the district championship at 5-0. Both teams have qualified for the state play-offs beginning next Friday night.

Wildcat quarterback Brock McCoin scored the first of his five touchdowns of the game on a five yard touchdown run with 6:34 left in the first period, capping a nine play drive on Livingston Academy's opening series. The P.A.T. by Eli Saddler was good and the score was 7-0

McCoin scored again with 8:12 left in the second period on a six yard touchdown run. Saddler converted the extra point and Livingston Academy led 14-0.

The Tigers got on the board with 37 seconds left before halftime on a five yard touchdown pass from quarterback Lucas Phillips to Will Molander. Ben Driver converted on the P.A.T. and DeKalb County trailed 14-7.

McCoin scored his third touchdown of the game on a nine yard run with 3:52 left in the third period. Saddler converted on the extra point and Livingston Academy extended its lead to 21-7

The Wildcats took a 28-7 lead on a 42 yard touchdown run by McCoin with five seconds left in the third period. The P.A.T. by Saddler was good.

DeKalb County's Chris Chapman scored on a 10 yard touchdown run with 8:31 left in the fourth period. The P.A.T. try by Ben Driver was no good and the Tigers trailed 28-13.

Livingston Academy's Brock McCoin scored his fifth touchdown of the game on a 62 yard run with 7:35 left. The extra point by Saddler was good and the Wildcats went on to win 35-13.

Willoughby Explains Cash Overdraft Finding in School Audit

October 26, 2012
Dwayne Page
Mark Willoughby

The DeKalb County School System has been written up in the latest state audit report for a school federal projects fund cash overdraft in the amount of $96,023 as of June 30, 2012.

Director of Schools Mark Willoughby said the reason for the overdraft is because the school system did not receive its federal reimbursement of grant expenditures in time to cover it.

Willoughby told WJLE that its not a serious finding since the federal reimbursement was expected, but to keep a cash overdraft from happening again, he has asked County Mayor Mike Foster to help the school system address the issue. "Back in 2009, we received a letter from the state saying that something like this might show up in the audits in the future. In dealing with federal and state funds, we have to spend the money before we're reimbursed. We have thousands of dollars we've written grants for but it takes a while for that grant money to reimburse. Again, we have to spend the money before we can request for the reimbursements. We run all of our after school programs with federal funds. I've talked with Mr. Foster. He and the budget committee are going to be meeting. Its recommended from the state that we set up a reserve fund to cover situations like this," said Willoughby.

The management response to the auditors finding, states that "The school system will monitor expenditures to ensure that a cash overdraft does not exist when closing our books in June. The school system will continue to adhere to federal program guidelines when requesting reimbursement for expenditures. During the 2011-12 school year, several programs operated in the month of June for which reimbursement was not received until mid-July, We realize that federal programs operate on a reimbursement basis, and an effort will be made to finalize all anticipated expenditures earlier in the school year so that reimbursement may be realized prior to closing the books.

Smithville Airport Gets Grant for Fuel Farm

October 26, 2012
Dwayne Page
Aerial View of Runway at Smithville Municipal Airport

The Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) announced today that federal and state aeronautics grants totaling $16.3 million have been approved for 23 Tennessee airports including one for Smithville.

The local project is for the design and construction of a fuel farm at the airport totaling $330,000, funded $297,000 federal, $16,500 state, and $16,500 local.

The grants are made available through the Tennessee Department of Transportation's Aeronautics Division.

The Division administers federal and state funding to assist in the location, design, construction and maintenance of Tennessee's diverse public aviation system.

Except for routine expenditures, grant applications are reviewed by the Tennessee Aeronautics Commission (TAC), which is a five member board charged with policy planning and with regulating changes in the state Airport System Plan. The board carefully reviews all applications for grants to ensure that the proper state and local matching funds are in place and that the grants will be used for needed improvements.

The TDOT Aeronautics Division has the responsibility of inspecting and licensing the state's 126 heliports and 75 public/general aviation airports. The Division also provides aircraft and related services for state government and staffing for the Tennessee Aeronautics Commission.

DeKalb Man Dies, Two Others Injured in Smith County Crash

October 25, 2012
Dwayne Page
Johnny Ray Farless

A 19 year old Smithville man died and two others were injured after their car ran into a tractor trailer rig on Interstate 40 in Smith County early Thursday morning.

Dead is Johnny Ray Farless. Those injured were 21 year old Amanda Price of Liberty and 19 year old Zachary Barlow of Lebanon.

An official of the Tennessee Highway Patrol told WJLE that Farless and Barlow were passengers of a 2009 Hyundai, driven by Price. The accident occurred at around 2:06 a.m.

According to the accident report filed by Trooper Nick Neal, Price was driving east on I-40 near the 252 mile marker when she apparently fell asleep and ran into the back of a 2012 tractor trailer, which was parked off the roadway near a truck rest stop area. The driver of the rig, 44 year old Alvin Walker of Olive Branch, Mississippi was asleep in the sleeper cab compartment of the truck at the time of the accident. The truck was loaded with general freight. After making impact with the rear of the trailer, Price's car spun around and came to rest halfway in the slow lane and the entrance ramp to the rest stop. Walker was not injured

Neither Farless, Price, nor Barlow were wearing a seatbelt.

The funeral for Farless will be Saturday at 1:00 p.m. at DeKalb Funeral Chapel. Visitation will be Friday from 5:00 p.m until 8:00 p.m. and Saturday from 10:00 a.m. until the service at 1:00 p.m. He was a member of the Emmanuel Bread of Life.

Farless was preceded in death by his father, Waylon Farless and grandparents, Rose and Larry Cobble.

He is survived by his mother, Keisha Farless and fiancee Charles Young of Smithville. A sister, Montana Farless of Smithville. Grandparents, Jerry and Terrie Bogle of Smithville, Ronnie and Cynthia Farless of Smithville, and Cheryl McCowan. An Aunt, Amanda Cobble of Smithville. Special cousin, Mackenzie Turner. Special friend, David Hutchins and girlfriend, Amanda Price.

The family asks that donations be made to DeKalb Funeral Chapel to help with funeral expenses, in lieu of flowers.


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