Local News Articles

Missing Elderly Man Returns Home Safely

January 24, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page

An 82 year old man who apparently wandered away from home in the Blue Springs area shortly after noon today (Thursday) after visiting a neighbor returned home safely just before dark.

Austin Eugene Underwood, who apparently has Alzheimer's Disease, had not been seen or heard from since around 12:15 p.m. but he emerged from the woods near his home around 5:00 p.m.

He and his wife Evelyn reside at 693 Lassiter Road.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says Underwood was cold and appeared to be somewhat confused but other than some scratches where he had been in the woods, he appeared to be okay. First responders from the fire department were on the scene to evaluate his condition.

Underwood, who is about 5 feet, 7 inches tall and weighs approximately 130 pounds, was wearing a black fur hat, a thin blue flannel jacket, and a pair of blue Docker pants and dress shoes when he went missing.

Underwood, a retired minister, apparently left home around noon to go across the road to visit a neighbor. According to the neighbor, Underwood stayed about fifteen minutes and then left to go back home.

Underwood's wife, who was not at home at the time, called the house to check on him around 12:45 p.m. but no one answered the phone.

She returned home and discovered he was gone.

Sheriff Ray says he wants to express his appreciation to all those who helped in the search effort including members of the Sheriff's Department, DeKalb County Rescue Squad, First Responders from the Fire Department, concerned citizens, friends and family of the Underwoods, and members of the Smithville Church of God, where Underwood and his wife attend church.

Sheriff Ray also wishes to thank the Tennessee Highway Patrol Special Unit, who was enroute by helicopter to conduct an aerial search when Underwood returned; local troopers of the Tennessee Highway Patrol, who conducted a road search; and the Putnam County K-9 and THP STRIKE Unit, who were enroute to help locate Underwood.

In addition, Sheriff Ray would also like to say thanks to the team at Central Dispatch for their help in organizing the search and to constable Mark Milam, who went door to door in the neighborhood, asking residents if they had seen or knew of Underwood's whereabouts.

Slippery Road Blamed for Unusual Crash

January 23, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page

A 28 year old woman, who is also pregnant, apparently escaped serious injury early Tuesday morning after the truck she was driving went out of control and crashed into the garage side of a house at 625 Bethel Road.

The three people inside the house at the time of the accident were not hurt.

Trooper Dewaine Jennings of the Tennessee Highway Patrol says Shalyn Eaton was traveling west in a 1996 Ford F-150 around 5:30 a.m. when she went off the left side of the road, overcorrected and then came back across the road. The truck then exited the road to the right into a yard and then traveled some 1,200 feet before crashing into the side of the garage at the residence of Bridgette Ribble. The house is a rent home belonging to Wilburn Winnette.

According to Trooper Jennings, Ribble had just returned home after taking her husband to work, but she wasn't injured. Another woman and her son, also at the residence, were apparently asleep on a bunk bed in the garage where the crash occurred, but they too were uninjured.

Eaton was transported by DeKalb EMS to DeKalb Community Hospital where she was expected to have been treated and released.

Trooper Jennings says the slippery road conditions are believed to have contributed to the crash.

Gordon Wants To Close Loophole In Sex Offender Registration

January 23, 2008

U.S. Rep. Bart Gordon is supporting legislation to close a loophole in a federal law requiring convicted child predators to register as sex offenders.

"As a parent, I take the job of protecting children against sex offenders and online predators very seriously," said Gordon. "When Congress passed a law requiring a national sex offender registry, we wanted to give law enforcement agencies and parents the tools they need
to safeguard children against these criminals."

Gordon is co-sponsoring the Sex Offender Mandatory Registration Act to make technical corrections that would close a loophole in the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act, which became law in 2006.

While the intent of Congress was to require all sex offenders to register with authorities, the loophole resulted in the release of a man who failed to register as a sex offender when he moved
from Iowa to Missouri. The loophole led a federal judge to rule in favor of the man, who had been convicted on seven accounts of acting as a sexual predator.

"This loophole shouldn't be allowed to jeopardize the safety of one more young person in America," said Gordon. "Congress should act swiftly to close it and make our original intentions clear."

The Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act is named after a six-year old boy who was abducted in 1981 and later found murdered. Adam was the son of Reva and John Walsh, who became a victims' rights advocate and host of the "America's Most Wanted"
television show.

The law established a National Sex Offender Registry, increased penalties for crimes against children and allowed the Department of Justice to provide background checks to screen teachers, employees and prospective foster or adoptive parents. It also authorized grants to promote Internet safety and to help local law enforcement agencies integrate their sex offender registry systems.

DeKalb Fair Named Best in it's Class for 2007

January 21, 2008

The DeKalb County Fair Association has been awarded " Best Fair" in it's Class for 2007 by the Tennessee Association of Fairs Convention.

The award was presented Saturday night during a ceremony at the convention held in Nashville at the Airport Marriott Hotel

The convention is sponsored by the Tennessee Department of Agriculture and the Tennessee Fairs Association.

This year's convention was attended by more than 800 fair mangers, vendors, and volunteers. Nearly 50 of the states "best fairs" were represented.

Five areas of fair operation have been identified as the most important characteristics in evaluating fairs. These are Agriculture/Livestock/Exhibits/Exhibitors, General Appearance, Community
Participation, Programs, and Carnival.

The DeKalb County Fair Board would like to thank the sponsors, supporters, volunteers, and the people of DeKalb County for making this fair one of the best in Tennessee for 2007.

Sheriff's Department Makes Five Arrests on Sunday

January 21, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department arrested five people Sunday on various charges.

45 year old Connie Gale Chapman was charged with simple possession of a schedule VI drug (marijuana) and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says a deputy spotted a vehicle on the side of the road on West Main Street Dowelltown and found Chapman inside. Upon consent to search, Chapman was found to have two plastic bags of marijuana and a bottle containing marijuana cigarette butts. Chapman was placed under arrest and has posted a $2,000 bond. Her court date is set for April 30th.

Meanwhile, in another case, two people were arrested on Webb Lane, Smithville after county deputies responded to a disturbance call. 41 year old Mark Gregory Brock was charged with domestic assault, driving on revoked driver's license, and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Sheriff Ray says Brock was leaving the residence when deputies arrived at the scene and discovered that he was driving on a revoked driver's license. Upon further investigation, Brock was found to have assaulted his wife, 37 year old Daphney Kay Brock, by slapping her in the face. Brock and his wife were charged with possession of drug paraphernalia after officers found crack pipes and cut straws with a white residue.

Bond for Mark Brock was set at $4,500 and his court date is set for January 31st. Daphney Brock will also appear in court on January 31st and her bond was set at $1,000.

Also on Sunday, deputies went to the residence of 58 year old Harold Gene Blackwell of Jay Hutchins Road to execute a state warrant for failure to appear in court on 31 year old Russell Allen Blackwell.

Sheriff Ray says when deputies arrived at the residence, they saw Russell Blackwell through a window in the home. Harold Blackwell came to the door and told the officers that Russell was not there. Deputies discovered that Harold Blackwell had a trap door in the bathroom closet of his home and that Russell had gone through that passageway to get under the home, where he was found hiding.

Russell Blackwell was arrested on the failure to appear warrant and he is being held without bond. His court date is January 30th.

Sheriff Ray says Harold Blackwell admitted to hiding Russell Blackwell and he was charged with aiding and abetting. His bond is set at $3,500 and his court date was set for February 21st.

Local Man Dies in Saturday Evening Wreck

January 19, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page

A DeKalb County man died from injuries suffered in a pickup truck crash around 5:22 p.m. Saturday evening on New Home Road.

Trooper Brian Raymond of the Tennessee Highway Patrol says 40 year old Roy R. Colburn, III of Tammy K. Road, Dowelltown was driving south in a 2000 Chevy S-10 pickup truck when he failed to negotiate a curve, ran off the north bound lane, struck a culvert and rolled three times. The truck then hit a utility pole, rotated 180 degrees and came to rest up on it's wheels in a private driveway.

DeKalb EMS quickly arrived to treat Colburn and a Life Flight helicopter crew also landed at the scene. Colburn was transported by ground ambulance to DeKalb Community Hospital where he died.

Trooper Raymond says Colburn was wearing a seat belt and there was no indication of alcohol.

Trooper Raymond was assisted by Lieutenant Brian Lawson of the Tennessee Highway Patrol. The DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department and the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department were also on the scene providing assistance and the Smithville Volunteer Fire Department was at the hospital.

Plans Underway for 2008 American Cancer Society Relay For Life

January 19, 2008

The American Cancer Society Relay For Life of DeKalb County is getting underway! Plan to register your team by attending the Kick-Off Celebration on January 28th starting at 5:30 pm. This “celebration of life” brings the DeKalb community together in a unified effort to fight cancer.

Former and current cancer patients, those who have lost a loved one to cancer, families, businesses, civic organizations, and the public are invited to take part in this exciting team event. Relay For Life is scheduled for May 9th 2008 at Greenbrook Park.

The American Cancer Society Relay For Life is a family-oriented event where participants enjoy the camaraderie of a team and also raise funds to help eliminate cancer. Participants camp out at the Relay site, and when they are not taking their turn walking, they take part in fun activities and enjoy local entertainment. The event helps communities celebrate those who have faced cancer, remember loved ones lost and fight back against the disease.

Teams from companies, churches, organizations, hospitals, and schools collect donations and can win individual and team prizes for their efforts.

“Relay For Life brings the progress against cancer to the forefront,” said Ivadell Randolph , event chair. “Many participants are our family, friends, and neighbors who have dealt with cancer themselves. Their involvement is proof of the progress that has been made not only reducing death rates, but also in the quality of life following cancer treatment.

“The funds raised enable us to continue our investment in the fight against cancer through research, education, advocacy, and patient services,” said Casey Midgett. “Thanks to the generosity of corporate sponsors like: Liberty State Bank, DeKalb Community Bank, Regions Bank, Wal-Mart Smithville, DeKalb Shell Market, Shiroki North America, Inc., Tenneco, Smithville Curves for Ladies, DeKalb Community Hospital, & Dr. Dana Thompson, the money raised by participants goes directly to the American Cancer Society’s funding of cutting edge research & lifesaving programs.”

Information about how to form a team or become involved in Relay For Life is available by calling chairman Ivadell Randolph at: 615 597 5296. or you can visit the RFL DeKalb website online at http://events.cancer.org/rfldekalbtn. You will be able to check out our event, sign up as a team or volunteer, request a Relay Luminaria, or just see what Relay is all about!

The American Cancer Society is dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem by saving lives, diminishing suffering and preventing cancer through research, education, advocacy and service. Founded in 1913 and with national headquarters in Atlanta, the Society has 13 regional Divisions and local offices in 3,400 communities, involving millions of volunteers across the United States. For more information, call 1-800-ACS-2345 or visit www.cancer.org

DCHS' Page inks scholarship papers with Vol State

January 18, 2008

DeKalb County High School senior, Bray Page, will continue his baseball career after his playing days with the Tigers are over, this spring. Page, the son of former DCHS baseball standout, Kelvin Page, signed scholarship papers, Friday morning, with Vol State Community College, a two-year college located in Gallatin.

Pioneers' assistant coach, Brandon Nolen, was on hand for the signing, and said the school is pleased to get a player of Page's caliber. "Bray came up for an independent showcase workout in Gallatin, and we just stumbled upon him. When we saw him throw across the infield and off the mound, we knew he was a guy we wanted to have in, right away. He has a great deal of potential, a good arm. Both our head coach and pitching coach instantly fell in love with him on the mound."

Page is excited to continue his baseball career on the next level. "They have a great baseball program. I went down there and threw, and I really liked the atmosphere of the school and the players, and it's just a great place to play baseball. The game (of baseball) has been great to me, and I really love the game. I've played all the other sports, but baseball has always been there for me and I've succeeded in it."

Tiger baseball coach, Scott Odom, is proud to see Page move on to the next level and continue his playing career. "We're really proud of Bray, and seeing him move on to play at the next level is something very exciting for our program. Signing early will help him take some of the pressure off, with our season coming up, which is sometimes a concern with seniors, especially if they get off to a slow start. Bray has started with us since he was a freshman, and hes been a great kid you can always count on. He's a leader, and you always know what you're going to get from when you put him out on the field. He means a great deal to our team."

Vol State Community College is a member of the Tennessee Junior College Athletic Association and of the National Junior College Athletic Association. Page will enroll at the school upon graduation from DCHS in May.

Gordon Reminds Tennesseans To Take Sales Tax Deduction

January 17, 2008

U.S. Rep. Bart Gordon is reminding Tennesseans that they are eligible to deduct state and local sales tax from their federal income tax returns for the 2007 calendar year.

"As we get our tax returns in order, we should all remember this deduction," said Gordon. "Without it, Tennesseans would pay more in federal taxes than residents of equal income in states with an income tax."

Taxpayers were allowed to deduct state sales taxes on their federal returns until 1986, when the deduction was repealed; however, the state income tax deduction was retained.

In 2004, Gordon and other members of Congress from states without an income tax succeeded in reinstating the sales tax deduction on a temporary basis. The deduction gives taxpayers the option to claim state and local sales taxes instead of state and local income taxes when
they itemize their federal income tax returns.

The sales tax deduction expired at the end of 2007. That means Tennesseans are eligible to take the deduction for tax returns filed this year for income earned in 2007, but the provision would need to be extended for taxpayers to use it when they file taxes in 2009.

Gordon said he will work with his colleagues in Congress to reinstate the deduction so Tennesseans can continue to use it.

"Tennessee taxpayers shouldn't be penalized for living in a state without an income tax," said Gordon. "It's only fair to continue to make this deduction available to hardworking Tennesseans."

Taxpayers who want to claim the deduction but have not kept receipts showing paid sales tax can use tables provided by the Internal Revenue Service at www.irs.gov or call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040 to have the forms sent by mail.

Temperance Hall Voters to Cast Ballots at the Community Center

January 17, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Election Commission has made the decision to change the polling place at Temperance Hall to the Community Center.

The Temperance Hall Community Center is located at 2760 Old Temperance Hall Road.

On Election Day, February 5th the polls will open at 8:00 a.m. and close at 7:00 p.m.

The polling place was temporarily moved to Temperance Hall Methodist Church last year. No voting will take place at the church on Feb. 5th.

The Election Commission is in the process of mailing letters and voting cards to everyone in the Temperance Hall Precinct. The voters should receive the new cards before Election Day, but if there is some delay, voters may use their old voter registration card or any other form of identification at the polls.

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