Local News Articles

Three Applicants in the Running for Police Investigator Job

December 29, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

The Smithville Police Department may soon have an Investigator.

Three people have applied for the job. Applications were accepted until noon Friday.

Those in the running include Jerry Hutchins' Jr., Marcus Caldwell, and Danny Holmes.

Hutchins is a former employee of the Smithville Police Department and he is currently employed with the Wilson County Sheriff's Department. Hutchins is also a former employee of the Lebanon Police Department where he worked as a field training officer and patrol supervisor. He is the son of Smithville Alderman Jerry Hutchins Sr.

Caldwell is also a former employee of Smithville Police Department. He is currently working for the White County Sheriff's Department.

Holmes is a former long time employee of the Putnam County Sheriff's Office and is head of Safety and Security at Cookeville Regional Medical Center.

In the past, the City Secretary/Treasurer, Mayor, and Police Commissioner have made the initial hire of employees in the police department, subject to final approval by the board of aldermen.

In recent months, some of the aldermen have said they want more input in the interview and hiring process.

Earlier this month, Alderman Tonya Sullivan, at a city council meeting, said the city must be consistent with it's hiring process. "The code and charter are very vague about who is supposed to be present for interviews, how many people are supposed to be interviewed, and what the process is that we are supposed to be following. We have not been consistent with our hiring process."

Meanwhile, the city is still in search of applications for a certified water plant employee and resumes for a new city attorney through noon January 11th.

At last report, none had been filed.

The city is accepting applications for a full time certified water plant employee. Only Grade III Certified applicants will be accepted.

The city is also accepting resumes from qualified, licensed attorneys for the city attorney position.

The water plant position is apparently is a new job being created. The new city attorney will succeed John Pryor, who has announced his resignation, effective December 31st.

Alexandria Woman Arrested for Theft and Forgery

December 28, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department recently arrested an Alexandria woman in a theft and forgery case.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says 37 year old Dana McKinney of Tramel Branch Road allegedly entered a home in Alexandria on November 1st and took numerous checks without the consent of the owner. McKinney then went to several stores in DeKalb County during the period of November 1st through November 13th, forged four checks, and cashed them. McKinney's bond was set at $12,500 and her court date is January10th.

McKinney was charged on Tuesday, December 18th with theft of property under $500 and four counts of forgery.

Meanwhile, 20 year old Amanda Brook Washer of McMinnville Highway, Smithville was charged on Saturday, December 22nd with Public Intoxication, Simple Possession of Marijuana, and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.

Sheriff Ray says deputies were on a traffic stop on Roy Womack Road when Washer came walking up to them in an intoxicated manner. Washer was unsteady on her feet and her speech was slurred. Washer was placed under arrest and after a search of her person, she was found to have a marijuana roach, rolling papers and a marijuana cigarette in her pocketbook. Washer's bond was set at $5,000 and she will appear in court on February 7th.

Deputies responded to a disturbance call on Highway 70 East at the Lake Motel on Monday, December 24th. The officers knocked on the door and were invited into the room. One of the persons who was there was 30 year old Andy Certain of The Loop Road, Smithville. Deputies learned that Certain was wanted in Wilson County for failure to appear to court. Deputies also noticed a bag of marijuana on a table. Certain admitted that the marijuana was his. Certain was charged with simple possession and his bond was set at $2,500. His court date is January 3rd. Certain will be transported to Wilson County later.

Three Charged in Recent Pharmacy Burglary in Alexandria

December 27, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

The Alexandria Police Department has charged three people with a November burglary at F.Z. Webb & Sons Pharmacy in Alexandria.

22 year old Bryon Ray (Bud) Gibbs and 25 year old Candice B. Vickers both of Liberty and 31 year old Jeffery A. Willet of Lebanon are charged with one count each of burglary and theft over $500.

According to Alexandria Police Chief Mark Collins, the investigation began on November 26th when officers from the Alexandria Police Department and the DeKalb County Sheriff's Office responded to a reported break-in at the pharmacy, which is located downtown.

Chief Collins says officers discovered that entry had been made through the roof and that 6,500 Lortab pills and liquid morphine were stolen. The break-in is believed to have occurred sometime between November 24th and November 26th.

All three are currently incarcerated in other jails on unrelated charges and will face the charges in Alexandria upon release. Bond will be $30,000 each.

More arrests are expected.

Sheriff Patrick Ray and the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department, along with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, assisted in the case.

Suspicious Fire Guts Home on West Bryant Street

December 26, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

A fire Wednesday morning gutted the residence of Freeland Estes at 109 West Bryant Street.

The Smithville Volunteer Fire Department was called to the scene at 10:49 a.m.

Chief Charlie Parker says it appears there were multiple fires in the residence, which rendered extensive damage.

The cause is under investigation.

No one was at home at the time of the blaze and no one was injured.

Estes says the fire damaged or destroyed all of his belongings.

The dwelling is a rent home belonging to John Bill Evins.

Fallen Tree Limb Causes Power Outage and Sparks Fire that Destroys Van

December 26, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

A fallen tree limb snapped a power line at the home of Bobby Rader at 925 Earl Avenue Wednesday evening which caused a power outage for a portion of the city and sparked a fire that destroyed Rader's Dodge Caravan.

Rader says he was topping a tree in his yard when the incident occurred. "I was already up in the tree, cutting the tree, when my mother-in-law pulled up in a car underneath where it was going to fall, so I stopped cutting to get down out of the tree, to get her out of there. It then began popping and everything."

"It was just an accident. The limbs were getting dead and I was trying to prevent them from getting into the lines and over the people's (neighbor's) homes. One of the limbs caught the smaller wire and snapped it into. It burned my van up and basically knocked power out to half the city."

Neither Rader nor his mother-in-law were injured and her vehicle apparently wasn't damaged, but as the tree limb fell, it broke a power line which sparked a fire in the yard where Rader's Dodge Caravan was parked, destroying that vehicle.

The Smithville Volunteer Fire Department was summoned to the scene around 4:57 p.m.

Deputy City Fire Chief Hoyte Hale says firefighters dealt with the fire but had to be a little more cautious due to the nature of it. " There were two big balls of fire around the van where the electric line had fallen on it and about 30 feet down the road, a transformer was arching on fire. Due to the safety of the firemen, we couldn't get around the van to put any water on it until the electric company crew got here, but while they were enroute, we stood across the road and straight streamed a pre-connect attack line and got it knocked down and kept an eye on it until they arrived and repaired the line."

Rader praised the fire department for their efforts."The fire department did a real good job, more than they were expected to do. I'm glad they responded the way they did."

The power outage was widespread, affecting the subdivision where Earl Avenue is located, and many other streets to the south of Broad Street from Carter to Mountain.

Three People Involved in Wednesday Morning Wreck.

December 26, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

Three people were involved in a two vehicle accident Wednesday morning at the intersection of Highway 56 south and Vaughn Lane.

Trooper Jimmy Tisdale of the Tennessee Highway Patrol says 28 year old Jamie Carroll of 834 Gentry Avenue was east on Vaughn Lane in a 1990 Chevy pickup, crossing Highway 56, when he collided with a Buick LaSabre, driven by 74 year old Charles Burgen of Pekin, Indiana, who was north on Highway 56.

Burgen and his wife, 71 year old Edith Burgen were taken by DeKalb EMS to DeKalb Community Hospital.

Trooper Tisdale says Carroll was cited for a second offense of driving on a suspended license and other charges are pending.

He says the Burgen's had been visiting their daughter who lives in McMinnville.

Candidates May Now Qualify for Smithville Municipal Election

December 22, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Election Commission is now accepting qualifying petitions for the Smithville Municipal Election.

A mayor and two aldermen will be elected on June 17th. The positions are currently held by Mayor Taft Hendrixson and Aldermen Steve White and Cecil Burger.

The qualifying deadline is Thursday, March 20th at 12 noon.

The last day to register to vote in the city election is Monday, May 19th.

The Smithville Charter allows Property Rights Voting. The property must be a minimum of
7500 square feet and the person owning the property must reside in DeKalb County. Proof of ownership and residence must be shown by the following means: (1) A certified copy of the deed and the execution of an affidavit that the person still owns this property and (2) A copy of the most recent DeKalb County real property tax notice, and (3) Proof of residence in DeKalb County. Property rights registrants are entitled to vote but not to hold any municipal office or serve on any municipal board or commission. Proof of ownership and registration form must be provided to the Election Commission office by the May 19th registration deadline.

Early voting for the city election will be May 28th through June 12th. Voting hours have not yet been set.

Meanwhile, January 16th is the first day candidates in the Liberty and Dowelltown Municipal Elections may pick up qualifying petitions.

The Dowelltown Election will be held on August 7th to elect a mayor and two aldermen. Three aldermen will be elected in Liberty on August 7th.

The qualifying deadline for both the Dowelltown and Liberty elections is 12 noon on April 17th and the last day to register to vote is July 8th.

The charters in both towns allow property rights voting, but proof of ownership must be provided to the Election Commission office by the July 8th deadline along with a registration form.

Early voting for both elections is July 18th through August 2nd. Voting hours have not yet been set.

Rogers Named General Manager of Caney Fork Electric Cooperative

December 21, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

William S. (Bill) Rogers will become the General Manager of Caney Fork Electric Cooperative, Inc. on January 1st.

A brief news release states that "Mr. Rogers began serving as the cooperative’s interim general manager on October 8, 2007. He has worked at the cooperative since 1985 as Director of Engineering. In addition to his duties as Director of Engineering, Mr. Rogers became the Assistant General Manager in 1997."

"Mr. Rogers is a native of Clarksville, TN and has a BS in Electrical Engineering from Tennessee Technological University in Cookeville, TN. He is married to Kristie Rogers who is an assistant principal at the Warren County Middle School in McMinnville. Mr. Rogers has one son, Slayden, a sophomore at Warren County High School."

"In his tenure at the cooperative, Mr. Rogers has worked closely with the rate structure. He has been instrumental in building three new substations, completion of office improvements at three of the cooperative offices, and has worked closely on the two way automated meter reading system now being installed at the cooperative."

Local Law Enforcement Working To Keep Roads Safer During New Year Holiday

December 21, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

Local law enforcement agencies are teaming up in preparation for the New Year's Holiday.

The Alexandria and Smithville Police Departments and the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department will be out in full force starting December 28th through January 1st for the safety of you and your family.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says "The Public's safety is a top concern for me and my Department. We will be conducting saturated patrols and Sobriety Check Points for intoxicated people who choose to get behind the wheel of a vehicle and we will also team with the Alexandria and Smithville City Police Departments to better cover areas where drinking and driving are more prevalent."

"Nearly 23,000 people are killed every year in alcohol-related traffic accidents. Statistics show one life is lost every 22 minutes in alcohol-related traffic collisions. Law Enforcement uses these checkpoints as a tool to reduce the number of intoxicated drivers on our highways and to diminish the amount of pain, suffering and death that results from intoxicated driving."

Chief Richard Jennings of the Smithville Police Department say's his department will be on the watch for impaired drivers on the streets of Smithville. "The Smithville Police Department will be out patrolling the streets of Smithville in full force this weekend with saturated patrols looking for impaired drivers. We are working in cooperation with the Sheriff's Department on conducting Sobriety Check Points within the City of Smithville to keep everyone safe."

Chief Mark Collins of the Alexandria Police Department say's his department will also be out in full force. "The Alexandria Police Department will conduct saturated patrols within the city limits of Alexandria. We will be working in cooperation with the Sheriff's Department conducting Sobriety Check Points within the city limits of Alexandria looking for impaired drivers. We want everyone who lives or travels through Alexandria to be safe and enjoy the upcoming New Year."

The Sobriety Check Points will be conducted on the following Highways: Highway 56, Highway 70, Highway 53, and Highway 146.

THP Investigating Triple Fatality on Highway 96 Near Liberty

December 20, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

Three people died and a 12 year old girl was seriously injured in a two vehicle crash on Highway 96 near Liberty Thursday evening.

Dead are 24 year old Nathaniel Dane Hishke of Milton, Florida, 37 year old Kenneth Lemke, Jr. of Franklin, and 42 year old Debbie Parchman of Alexandria, who was an educational assistant at DeKalb County High School and a former substitute teacher. Parchman's daughter, Haley is now in stable condition at Vanderbilt Children's Hospital in Nashville.

The accident, which occurred a little over a mile from the intersection of Highway 70, was reported to 911 at 4:32 p.m.

Trooper Dewaine Jennings of the Tennessee Highway Patrol says Hishke was driving a 1993 Pontiac Firebird, traveling west on Highway 96 (toward Murfreesboro) when he lost control and slid sideways into the path of a 2000 Jeep Grand Cherokee, driven by Parchman, who was traveling east (toward Highway 70). Trooper Jennings says Parchman's vehicle T-boned or struck the Firebird in the passenger side door.

Lemke, who owned the Firebird driven by Hishke, was a front seat passenger of the car. Both had been wearing their seatbelts at the time of the crash.

Parchman's daughter was a front seat passenger of the Cherokee. Neither she nor her mother were wearing their seatlbelts. The preliminary investigation revealed no sign of alcohol as a factor in the crash.

Trooper Jennings says Hishke, Lemke, and Parchman, who died at the scene, had to be extricated from their vehicles, as did the child. The young girl was transported by DeKalb EMS to UMC Medical Center in Lebanon and was later airlifted to Vanderbilt Children's Hospital.

Trooper Jennings says Hishke and Lemke were employed by Ford Roofing company of Franklin, and had visited Lemke's mother, who resides in Alexandria, prior to the accident.

The crash remains under investigation by the Tennessee Highway Patrol's Critical Incident Response Team (CIRT). Others on the scene included Lieutenant Brian Lawson and Troopers Allen England and Jeremy Wilhite of the Tennessee Highway Patrol, members of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department's Extrication Team, the Liberty Fire Station, DeKalb County Sheriff's Department, and DeKalb EMS.

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