Local News Articles

Sparta Woman Involved in Wreck Sues Smithville and Two City Employees

January 13, 2010
Dwayne Page
Allison Long Dodge Durango
Smithville Garbage Truck in February 2009 Wreck

A 34 year old Sparta woman, who was involved in a traffic accident with a city garbage truck on Highway 70 east near Sligo bridge almost a year ago, has filed a circuit court lawsuit against the City of Smithville and the two men in the truck, Ronnie Walker and Jerry Rackley.

Allison Long is asking for a jury trial and seeks a judgment against the defendants including compensatory damages in the amount of $500,000, cost and disbursements incurred, pre-judgment interest and post-judgment interest in amounts allowed by law, and such other general relief to which the court deems just and equitable.

The accident occurred on February 27th, 2009. After investigating the mishap on that day, Trooper Dewaine Jennings of the Tennessee Highway Patrol told WJLE that 57 year old Ronnie Walker of Smithville, a city employee, was operating a 1999 freightliner garbage truck going west on Highway 70. Another city employee, 39 year old Jerry Rackley of Smithville, was a passenger in the truck. The two were apparently returning from the landfill where they had dumped a load of garbage. Long was going east on Highway 70 in a 2007 Dodge Durango.

According to Trooper Jennings, Long claims as she was negotiating a curve coming down the hill, she saw the garbage truck in her lane. As she applied her brakes, the Durango slid on the rain slick highway and struck the side of the truck at an angle in the westbound lane. Long's vehicle came to a final rest in the ditchline facing a rock wall. The truck continued west for a few feet and also went off the road in the ditchline and struck the rock wall.

Walker and Rackley were taken by DeKalb EMS to DeKalb Community Hospital. Long was to have gone to the Cookeville hospital by a private vehicle.

Neither of them were believed to have been seriously injured.

Trooper Jennings says Walker was cited for failure to exercise care.

In the lawsuit, Long claims she was in her proper lane of travel, observing the posted speed limit, and was operating her vehicle in a safe and prudent manner and that Walker or Rackley were operating the truck, belonging to the city, within their scope of employment.

Long says as a result of the negligent and lack of due care of the defendants and their failure to properly supervise and control the truck, it crossed into her lane of traffic and collided head on with her vehicle resulting in damages to her Durango and serious bodily injuries to her.

Long alleges that she was required to seek and obtain medical care and treatment for her injuries, sustained a loss in her earning capacity, incurred expenses, suffered mental and physical pain and a reduction in the enjoyment and quality of life. In addition, Long is suing the defendants for all damages permitted by law for her personal injury and property damage, including but not limited to past and future medical bills, past and future mental and physical pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, mental and emotional distress, past and future loss of earning capacity, lost wages, permanent injury, and all other damages permitted by law.

Liberty Man Charged with Two Burglaries

January 11, 2010
Dwayne Page
Joseph Daniel Richardson
William Timothy Brown
Crystal Fults
 Clent Lee Shehane

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department has charged a Liberty man with breaking into two homes on Clear Creek Road.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says 28 year old Joseph Daniel Richardson of Church Street, Liberty was arrested Thursday, January 7th on two counts of aggravated burglary and two counts of theft of property under $500. Detectives charged Richardson after an investigation into two break-ins that occurred on Clear Creek Road in Liberty. On New Year's Day Richardson entered the home without the owners consent. Once inside, he took a container of money and jewelry from the home. Then on Wednesday, January 6th Richardson entered another home without the owners consent. Once inside, he took a Play Station 2, a controller, one Play Station 2 game, and two cell phones. Bond for Richardson was set at $20,000 and his court date is set for February 4th.

29 year old William Timothy Brown of Dry Creek Road, Smithville was arrested Friday, January 8th for filing a false report. Detectives allege that on Wednesday, January 6th Brown staged an armed robbery at his home. Brown placed a call to 911 stating that two men came into his home and that one man had a knife and the other a crowbar. Brown said the men asked if he had a gun. According to Brown the two men rummaged through his home. Brown, who had injuries on his head and on one of his arms, went to the hospital to seek treatment. Meanwhile, on Wednesday, January 6th when detectives sat down with him to do an interview, Brown admitted that he had made up the incident. Brown said he did it because he wanted attention from his family members. Brown added that he staged the scene in his home and ran his head first into the door facing and then again with his arm causing injuries to himself. Bond for Brown was set at $2,500 and will be in court on February 4th. Filing a false report with law enforcement is a felony in Tennessee.

On Sunday, January 10th, deputies were called to break up a fight on Old Bildad Road, Smithville. Upon arrival, they found 23 year old Salomon Diaz in an intoxicated state in the complainant's yard. Diaz was unsteady on his feet, had an odor of alcohol on his person, and had slurred speech. Diaz was charged with public intoxication and his bond was set at $1,000. He will appear in court on February 17th.

Also on Sunday deputies stopped a vehicle on Village Place Street in Smithville for a traffic violation. Upon entering the vehicle, the officer noticed that a passenger and the driver were trying to hide something. The driver, 30 year old Crystal Fults of Blue Springs Road, Smithville was asked for consent to search. During the search, the officer saw Fults take a non prescription bottle from her purse and place it into the seat of the vehicle. The deputy confiscated the bottle which contained sixty seven Hydrocodone pills. Fults admitted that she did not have a prescription for the drug. Fults was charged with possession of a schedule III controlled substance (Hydrocodone) for resale. Her bond was set at $5,000 and she will appear in court on January 28th.

24 year old Clent Lee Shehane was arrested Saturday, January 9th for failure to appear to serve weekends. He was also charged with a second offense of driving on a suspended license, and possession of drug paraphernalia after he was stopped on Restview Avenue in Smithville. A deputy spotted Shehane and was aware of a state warrant against him for failure to appear. Shehane was under a court sentence to serve weekends in the DeKalb County Jail but he did not show up to serve all of his time as directed by the court. The deputy ran a check of Shehane's driver's license and discovered they were suspended for failure to satisfy a citation on December 6th, 2004. During a frisk down search before being placed into the patrol car, officers found a used hypodermic needle and a cut straw containing residue which were in Shehane's jacket pocket. After Shehane was taken to the jail and placed in a holding cell waiting to be booked, he vandalized the jail's fire sprinkler system. Shehane was further charged with vandalism. Bond for Shehane was set at $10,500 and he will appear in court on January 28th.

Meanwhile the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department is reporting a total of 7,326 incident calls from January 1st to December 31st, 2009, which is up by 790 calls from 6,536 during the previous year. That is over 20 calls per day and 666 calls per deputy for the year, according to Sheriff Ray.

He adds that these incident responses are dispatched calls, not self-initiated calls (incidents that officers respond to on routine patrols). Self-initiated calls are not included in these counts:

The following is a break-down of incident call responses in 2009:
Wrecks- 752
4 wheeler calls- 46
911 calls- 204
Abandoned Vehicles- 45
Animal calls- 268
Assaults- 53
Fires- 178
Break-ins- 244
Burglar Alarms- 556
Child Custody Exchanges- 29
Children in roadway- 7
Civil Matters- 33
Debris in roadway- 54
Disturbing the peace- 126
Domestic violence- 390
Drug trafficking- 36
Escorts- 128
Extra Patrols- 27
Fights- 112
Funeral Escorts- 173
Gas drive-offs- 15
Harassments- 45
Indecent exposure- 8
Investigations- 209
Vehicle lockouts- 800
Medical Assists- 295
Missing Persons- 41
Phone harassment- 17
Possible D.U.I.- 153
Problems with neighbors- 36
Prowlers- 69
Public Intoxication- 17
Rape- 1
Reckless Drivers- 314
Recover Property- 33
Robbery- 1
Seizures- 17
Shots fired- 86
Shop lifter- 5
Stolen property- 208
Stolen vehicle- 54
Stranded motorists- 80
Someone threatened- 132
Suspicious persons/vehicles- 485
Traffic Hazards- 100
Trespassing- 21
Unruly juveniles- 30
Unwanted guests- 129
Vandalism- 147
Vehicle fires- 22
Wanted Persons- 46
Welfare checks- 192
Miscellaneous- 57

Two Smithville Police Officers Receive Commendations from City Officials

January 11, 2010
Dwayne Page

Two Smithville Police Officers, Matthew W. Holmes and Corporal Travis K. Bryant, have received commendations from city officials.

Holmes' commendation states that "On behalf of the City of Smithville Police Department, I would like to commend you for your recent actions and diligent efforts in your capacity as a police officer."

"Recently you have conducted several criminal investigations including: aggravated robbery, rape and felony theft resulting in numerous arrests and the recovery of stolen property."

"Your determination and efforts in the continued performance of your duties exemplify your outstanding work ethic. Your actions enables the citizens of Smithville and your fellow co-workers to know that the Smithville Police Department is continuously striving for quality service. You have served with distinction. You are a credit to the Smithville Police Department. I appreciate your current performance and for that you are hereby formally recognized and commended with a copy of this commendation becoming a part of your personnel record."

Bryant's commendation states that "On behalf of the City of Smithville Police Department, I would like to commend you for your recent actions and diligent efforts in your capacity as Corporal."

"On December 13th, 2009 you responded to an automobile accident on Bright Hill Road, involving a vehicle that had overturned and landed upside down in a large body of water. With temperatures, nearing freezing and without hesitation, you entered the swift traveling water to render aid to the driver which was trapped inside the overturned vehicle."

"Your noble action enables the citizens of Smithville and your fellow co-workers to know that the Smithville Police Department is continuously striving for quality service. You have served with distinction and valor. You are a credit to the Smithville Police Department. I appreciate your current performance and for that you are hereby formally recognized and commended with a copy of this commendation becoming a part of your personnel record."

The commendations were signed by Lieutenant Steven Leffew, Mayor Taft Hendrixson, and Police Commissioner Aaron Meeks.

Senator Alexander to seek Federal Appropriation to Replace Sligo Bridge

January 11, 2010
Dwayne Page
U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander

DeKalb County may get some federal help in replacing Sligo bridge.

A spokesman for U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander said Friday, during a meeting with State Senator Mae Beavers and State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver at their offices in Nashville that efforts will be made to include the Sligo bridge project in the federal highway re-authorization appropriation, which must be passed by Congress and signed by the President. If approved, the bridge would be replaced, totally by federal funds. He says the Senator must first obtain some information from local officials before he can proceed with the request. "What we have coming up is the Highway Re-authorization Appropriation, and what Senator Alexander needs help with is, he needs some forms filled out to help us get in a position where he can submit a request for the $30 plus million dollars that are necessary to pay for the full bridge. The goal is to get this process moving so when the time comes to complete the highway bill, within the next six to twelve months, that Sligo bridge is in a good position to receive those federal funds."

Since Sligo bridge would be specifically included as a priority project in the bill, funds for it could not be diverted for other purposes. "This process would actually be spelled out in law and signed by the President. The way it works is it would be spelled out in the bill and voted on. It's a high priority project and would be listed so in the federal law. It's not that TDOT would not be involved in the actual construction because they would, but they would be required by law to work on it", according to the Alexander spokesman.

Meanwhile, $1.5 million has already been allocated for repairs to the existing Sligo bridge and for right of way acquisition under an appropriation sought by Senator Alexander last year. "There's already been $1.5 million appropriated for this project. It's under bridge repair so part of it will be used for right of way. The other part will be used for the repair of the existing bridge in order to keep it open so school buses won't have to drive around (take alternate routes). They could still keep the bridge active. That's really what that first slug of money is for. That was in the FY 2010 Senate Transportation Appropriation.", according to the Senator's spokesman.

Representative Weaver says she is grateful for Senator Alexander's help on this project "Being that it's a high priority project and that the money will definitely go to this project, that's very exciting to me because this is a specific request. I appreciate(Senator Alexander's representative) coming from Washington to our offices to get us up to snuff on where we are on it. I'm just excited that it's going to happen. We've always said it was. I want to again clearly state that I did not vote against the bridge. I'm also a believer that good things come to those people who wait. We have been working on this under the radar. We've been cooperating with local officials as well. We invited the mayor to be here this morning. I'm a team person and it takes a team to work on such a big project. I can't thank Senator Beavers enough and Lamar's office for coming out and us working on this. We are working together for the good of the people of DeKalb County and to keep this bridge open while the new one is being constructed. Again, I want to emphasis that we are working very hard. This is a high priority project. Washington now sees it as that so it's all good news."

State Senator Beavers added " A list of questions has been presented to us that they (Senator's office) needs answered. We're going to have to look to the locals to help us answer some of these questions, so we'll be getting in touch with them. We're excited to know that Senator Alexander is working with us and trying to help the people of DeKalb County. We'll continue to work on this project. We'll continue to work with all of our officials to get what we need."

Senator Alexander announced last August that he was seeking funds for Sligo bridge. The news release stated that "Federal funds for Sligo Bridge are included in a federal appropriations bill making it's way to the United States Senate"

Senator Alexander announced that the Fiscal Year 2010 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill, which was approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee, includes significant funding for a number of mass transit, roadway, and airport improvements across Tennessee. The bill must now be considered by the full Senate" (which has now been approved)

In the August news release, Senator Alexander said the bill includes" $1.5 million for DeKalb County for the replacement of the US-70 bridge. Funding will be used to repair the US-70 bridge in DeKalb County. The current bridge is structurally sound, but was built in 1947 and is in serious need of repair. It is the only bridge across Center Hill Lake on the eastern end of DeKalb County and the only way for school buses and traffic to cross from the other side of the lake."

"This legislation funds important initiatives to improve transportation and economic development in Tennessee," Alexander said. "As a member of the Appropriations Committee, I will continue working to ensure that Tennessee's federal tax dollars are used wisely to create jobs, upgrade our state's roadways and enhance the quality of life in our communities."

The FY10 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill includes funding for the following projects:

· $6 million for the Tennessee Public Transportation Association for statewide mass transportation programs. Funding will be used to purchase and improve mass transit systems across the state of Tennessee – including busing and light rail. Improved mass transit will reduce congestion in Tennessee's cities as well as help provide hospital transportation for rural Tennesseans.

· $1.5 million for Nashville International Airport for runway reconstruction. Funding will be used to upgrade a runway at Nashville International Airport so it can better accommodate larger freight and passenger aircraft to meet the air transport demands for Nashville, one of the South's fastest growing cities.

· $200,000 for Cocke County for improvements to Waterville Road. Funding will help repair the Waterville Road in Cocke County which is heavily impacted by tourists visiting the Great Smoky Mountains National Park which is partly within county limits.

· $1 million for the City of Gallatin for improvements to Airport Road. Funding will be used to redirect the airport road to make additional space for an expanded runway to accommodate increasing commercial aircraft traffic.

· $785,000 for the City of Jackson for improvements to East Chester Street. Funding will be used to improve East Chester Street and help spur redevelopment of East Jackson. East Chester Street was devastated by a tornado in May 2003.

· $1.5 million for DeKalb County for the replacement of the US-70 bridge. Funding will be used to repair the US-70 bridge in DeKalb County. The current bridge is structurally sound, but was built in 1947 and is in serious need of repair. It is the only bridge across Center Hill Lake on the eastern end of DeKalb County and the only way for school buses and traffic to cross from the other side of the lake.

Alexandria Woman Dies in Sunday Morning Wreck

January 10, 2010
Dwayne Page
 Lisa Hallmon

An Alexandria woman died Sunday morning when her car struck a DeKalb County garbage truck on Highway 70 near Sligo bridge. Central dispatch received the call at 6:54 a.m.

Dead is 47 year old Lisa A. Hallmon of 123 Avant Circle, Alexandria.

Trooper Mark Jones of the Tennessee Highway Patrol says Hallmon was driving a 1988 Cadillac east on U.S. 70 (going down Sligo hill) when she crossed the center line while negotiating a curve. Hallmon's car sideswiped a 2007 Peterbilt dump truck (county garbage truck), driven by 56 year old Danny E. Green of 1575 Haley Road, Smithville who was traveling west (going up the hill).

According to Trooper Jones, the truck over road or partially ran over Hallmon's car and then veered off the right side of the road and crashed through a guardrail, before coming to a stop. Sources say the truck came dangerously close to plunging off the side of the hill.

County Mayor Mike Foster later told WJLE that Green had gone to the landfill to pick up an empty garbage container and was returning to take the container to the Snow Hill convenience site to trade it for a full container. The truck apparently had no other cargo at the time of the accident.

Hallmon's car went off the right side of the road and into a ditchline

Trooper Jones says Hallmon, who died at the scene, had to be extricated from her vehicle by members of DeKalb County Fire Department's Extrication Team.

Green was reportedly taken by private vehicle to DeKalb Community Hospital where he was treated for non-life threatening injuries.

The accident was investigated by Trooper Jones, Trooper David Slatton, and Sergeant Kevin Norris of the THP Critical Incident Response Team. Others on the scene were DeKalb EMS and the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department.

Meanwhile, the Tennessee Highway Patrol investigated another accident on Sunday. This one occurred off Coconut Ridge Road in the Williamson Lane, Hurricane Point subdivision area. Central dispatch received the call at 3:01 p.m.

Trooper Todd Logan says 58 year old Nancy Zamora and her husband 52 year old John Zamora of 270 Rutherford Lane, Smithville were in a 2005 Dodge Dakota, being driven by Mrs. Zamora going up the road on a steep hill, which was also snow and ice covered. The truck began sliding backward and went off the road over the side of the hill, about ten feet down.

Mr. Zamora apparently escaped injury and got out of the truck on his own but Mrs. Zamora, who was hurt, needed assistance.

Because of the condition of the road, emergency personnel had to use four wheel drive vehicles to get to the scene. Mrs. Zamora was brought out and taken to meet an ambulance where she was transported to DeKalb Community Hospital.

In addition to the Tennessee Highway Patrol, members of the Cookeville Highway Station of the DeKalb County Fire Department, the DeKalb County Rescue Squad, the DeKalb County Fire Department's Extrication and Rescue Team, and the Sheriff's Department were on site along with DeKalb Tire and Service.

Martin Named County Firefighter of the Year

January 10, 2010
Dwayne Page
County Firefighter of the Year Jimmy Martin-
County Fire Department Officer of 2009 Lieutenant Anthony Boyd
County Fire Department Rookie of 2009 Bradley Johnson
County Fire Chief Donny Green Receives Award for 15 years of Leadership
County Firefighter Danny Parker Receives Honorary Liftetime Membership (Photo Provided)

Jimmy Martin of the Main Station on King Ridge Road was named "County Firefighter of the Year" Saturday night during the department's annual awards banquet held at the Smithville Church of God annex.

County Fire Chief Donny Green, who presided over the ceremony, said Martin met all the department's criteria in earning this award. "Jimmy was selected by the committee for his excellence in training attendance, incident response attendance, and community service. Jimmy's involvement in our department and our community shows that a volunteer firefighter can portray a professional image in the fire service just as well, or better, than a paid career firefighter."

Lieutenant Anthony Boyd received the "Officer of the Year" award. Chief Green says the same three elements used to select the "Firefighter of the Year" are also used by the department in honoring the Officer of the Year, training attendance, incident response attendance, and community service. "Lt. Boyd is a valuable asset to our department. Not only does he set an excellent benchmark for the evaluated categories, Anthony performs countless hours of "behind the scenes" service to the department. He data loads all the fire department's incident reports, maintains incident and training attendance records, and various other record keeping functions. Lt. Boyd takes care of issuing equipment to firefighters and has assumed the role of laundering all the department's personal protective clothing to keep it in good condition. We have a very talented and dedicated group of officers and Anthony is one that makes the DeKalb County Fire Department operate very smoothly."

The "Rookie" award went to Bradley Johnson of the Main Station on King Ridge Road. Chief Green says this award is totally based on hours of training and goes to a firefighter in his first year of service to the department. " Bradley has attended the 64-hour Basic Firefighters School, the 22-hour Live Burn School, completed the TARS Vehicle Rescue Training, and completed several specialized training courses through the Tennessee Fire and Codes Enforcement Academy. His level of commitment and dedication to our department is obvious and Bradley's training examples is one that we want other recruits to follow."

Meanwhile Danny Parker of the Johnson's Chapel Station received a twenty year service pin and along with an "Honorary Lifetime Membership Award." Lieutenant Michael Lawrence was presented a pin for ten years of service, and Captain Mark Young, Calvin Tramel of the Midway Station, Jeremy Neal of the Short Mountain Highway Station, and Tim Pedigo of the Blue Springs Station were recognized for five years, each receiving a pin for their length of service.

Chief Donny Green was presented a special award for his fifteen years of service as county fire chief and for the work he has done to upgrade and improve the services of the department over the years. The award was presented by his fellow firefighters.

Several members of the department were also presented gift certificates and cash awards, funded through a federal safer grant, which Chief Green says 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. Some of the things we've done is provide these training award incentives for firefighters such as length of service awards, firefighter of the year, rookie of the year, and for firefighters who made 100% of their monthly training or at least 75% of their monthly training. We've made those awards and we hope that's a tool we can use to help encourage our firefighters to stay on board and continue being involved with training in our department." Firefighters who made 100% of their monthly training each received $400 and those who made 75% of their monthly training took home $200 each.

DCFD members receiving 2009 Training Incentive Awards are as follows:

100% Attendance: ($400 awards--*prorated for members with 100% but less than one year of service)
Duncan Block
Anthony Boyd
Jay Cantrell
Kyle Casper
Billy Crymes
*Nelson Davis
Donny Green
Anthony Johnson
Bradley Johnson
Darrell Johnson
Donnie Johnson
Jerry W. Johnson
Michael Lawrence
Ronald Merriman
Roy Merriman
Brad Mullinax
Bob Myracle
*Jason Neal
Jeremy Neal
Dale Pack
Steve Phillips
Shawn Puckett
Howard Pyles
Steve Repasy
Richard Roberts
*Bradley Taylor
Calvin Tramel
C.J. Tramel
Hugh Washer
Jeff Williams
Chris Wyke
Mark Young

75% Attendance: $200 awards--*prorated for members with 75% but less than one year of service)

*Lee Ansel
Jeff Bogle
Joseph Bowen
Justin Brooks
Kelley Cantrell
*Kevin Cripps
Larry Dalton
Billy Fuson
Corey Killian
Dick Kinsey
Danny Parker
Tim Pedigo
Jimmy Martin
Kenny Maynard
Jeff Rankhorn
*Eric Snow
*Luke Tucker

Poteete and Hale Receive MVP Awards at DCHS Football Banquet

January 10, 2010
Dwayne Page
 MVP Award Winners April Hale and Hunter Poteete
DCHS Receiver Abram Edwards and Tiger Coach Steve Trapp
DCHS Quarterback Hunter Poteete
DCHS Football Award Winners
DCHS Football Cheerleader Award Winners

Senior Quarterback Hunter Poteete was named the 2009 DCHS Football Most Valuable Player at Saturday night's awards banquet.

Poteete, one of the mid-state's most outstanding quarterbacks, helped guide the Tigers to an overall 7-5 season, which ended in the second round of the TSSAA playoffs in November against Maplewood.

Tiger Coach Steve Trapp says Poteete is a special player. "He just had an excellent career. He's just an all around good kid and it shows in the kind of athlete he is. This year he was thirty something yards short of three thousand yards. The last two seasons he's just been remarkable as far as the numbers he has put up. Over seven thousand career yards, that's in the top five is the TSSAA. He has twelve or thirteen records in the top five as a passer in the state of Tennessee. That's just remarkable. I never thought anything like that would happen here at DeKalb County but it's just an attribute to what he puts into it and the type of person he is."

Meanwhile, DCHS senior, April Hale was named Most Valuable Cheerleader for the 2009 football season. Hale was a senior captain and a four-year member of the cheerleading squad.

In addition to MVP honors for Poteete, Coach Trapp announced during the banquet that the home Jersies of both Poteete and Senior Receiver Abram Edwards are being retired, not their numbers, just their Jersies.

Coach Trapp says both Poteete and Edwards deserve this honor."For 2008 and 2009 Hunter and Abram have made multiple All-State Teams. They've been recognized as two of the greatest players in DeKalb County football history. But they would be the first to admit that they couldn't accomplish anything without their teammates. We're retiring their home Jersies, not the numbers, so we'll still see number ten and number one running around out there. But as far as the Jersies they wore out there in front of the home crowd on Friday nights, we plan on hanging those Jersies up in the new fieldhouse to give all the new players and future players of DeKalb County football the opportunity to see two special young men who were two special athletes for DeKalb County football."

Other football awards were as follows:

Best Offensive Player: Abram Edwards

Best Defensive Player: Kevin Kijanski

Best Offensive Lineman: Tony Schellinburger

Best Defensive Lineman: Devin Thomas

Best Offensive Back: Tyler Weatherby

Best Defensive Back: Matt Giles

Best Receiver: Travon Johnson

Best Linebacker: Matt Collier

Best Special Teams Player :Shane Salley and Zach Taylor

Most Improved: Gage Brown

Clay Edwards Memorial Tiger Pride Award: Abram Edwards

Other cheerleading awards were as follows:

Best Stunts: Heather Hughes

Most Spirited: Quincie Winchester

Best Jumps: Johnna Roller

Best Dance: Johnna Roller

Most Improved: Grace Webb

(Dedication, Excellence, Attitude, Responsibility) D.E.A.R. Award: Erin Colwell

The annual DCHS Football banquet was held Saturday night at Elizabeth Chapel Baptist Church.

U.S. Census Count to Begin Soon

January 9, 2010
Dwayne Page

The U.S. Census Bureau will be sending a form to you soon.

Cameron Parish, Partnership Specialist with the U.S. Census Bureau, urges you to fill out the survey and send it back in. Otherwise, you will get a personal visit from a Census representative. "The Census Bureau conducts a survey every ten years to count the population. This Census is going to occur on April 1st, 2010."

"In previous years, it has been mainly a door to door operation but this year we're sending out a form to households. It's a ten question survey that folks will be expected to send in immediately once received.. It is a simple short form and we believe this will encourage participation. The only instance in which you should receive a visit from someone with the Census Bureau is if that form is not returned within the following month after receiving the form."

"On this year's form, we have just ten questions. Among those questions is ‘how many people are living in the household'. That is the most important question you can answer on that form. They ask questions with regard to race and ethnicity. They also ask for the sexes and ages of the folks who are living with you as well as things pertaining to whether or not that person stays somewhere else frequently or whether that person is a full time resident of the home."

"Forms will begin arriving in mid-March and everyone in the nation should have a copy of this ten question survey in their hands by April 1st, either delivered to their mail box or directly to their front door. If you don't fill out the forms someone will probably come and visit your house beginning in May to gather that information from you personally. So if you don't want a knock on the door go ahead and fill out the form and send it to us."

Our goal is to increase participation here and raise awareness of it's importance because the Census determines how much money DeKalb County can receive for the construction and improvement of schools, roads, health care, and other services. The eligibility for the money is not based solely on demand but it's based on the official numbers of the people living in the area, which are counted only every ten years by the U.S. Census Bureau. If those numbers are inaccurate, the county isn't going to get it's share of dollars that it needs to make improvements and attract desirable employers, such as manufacturing and retail so we want everyone to fill out the ten question survey and return it as quickly as possible so the county will receive the funds it is due."

"We've identified certain groups that have historically been less likely to fill out those surveys. Among those groups are newly arriving immigrants, the Hispanic population, senior citizens, the disabled, and the African-American population, so we're making special outreach efforts to contact those folks and encourage them to fill out the form. If it's a challenge for them to fill it out, we're offering assistance to help them understand the importance of why they need to be counted.."

The information gathered on the survey is confidential. Personal information is confidential for seventy two years. There are no questions on the form with regard to legal status. Since 1790, everyone in the country has been counted whether they were citizens nor not, free or slave. So it's really not of any importance where that person comes from or what their legal status is. No information will be shared with any law enforcement agency."

Meanwhile, the U.S. Census Bureau is now looking for applicants to fill thousands of jobs this spring in neighborhoods across the state.

If you are interested in working in the 2010 Census, call toll free at 1-866-861-2010 or go online to www.2010censusjobs.gov

For a temporary job with flexible hours, on-the-job training and good pay, remember: 1-866-861-2010 or www.2010censusjobs.gov.

Smithville Police Arrest Two for Theft and One for DUI

January 8, 2010
Dwayne Page

Smithville Police have made two more arrests this week on theft charges and one for driving under the influence.

24 year old Tracy Ann Thomason of 439 Morgan Drive was arrested on Monday, January 4th for theft of property. Officer Matt Holmes, in his report, states that he responded to the emergency room of DeKalb Community Hospital where he met with the complainant, Tia Young who told him that a female had been in the ER that morning and had stolen multiple items from the hospital. Young said that the suspect had just left the ER and was somewhere in the hospital. Officer Holmes located the suspect, Thomason, outside of the hospital in the parking lot and brought her inside the lobby where he noticed that she had a blanket inside her jacket. The woman, Thomason, said that someone in the ER told her she could have it. After further investigation, Officer Holmes learned that nobody in the ER told her she could take anything. Multiple office supplies were found under a trash bag inside a trash can in the bathroom. When Officer Holmes asked Thomason if she took the property found inside the bathroom, she stated she did not remember taking them. All the stolen property was returned to the owners. Bond for Thomason was set at $2,500 and her court date is January 21st.

23 year old Ashley Dawn Golden of 225 Big Hurricane Road was arrested on Wednesday, January 6th for theft under $500.00. K-9 Officer Bradley Tatrow, in his report, states that he received a call of a shoplifter at Wal Mart who was being detained in the office. Upon arrival, Officer Tatrow made contact with Golden. He asked her what was going on and Golden stated that she had stolen some stuff and she was stopped at the door. Golden said that she was asked by someone to steal the stuff from Wal Mart. The total amount of merchandise came to $443.40. Items taken were computer software & DVD's. Bond for Golden was set at $2,500 and her court date is February 11th.

26 year old Nicolas Reyes of 532 Carter Street was arrested last Saturday, January 2nd for a first offense of driving under the influence. According to the report, Corporal Travis K Bryant and Officer Matt Holmes stopped a vehicle traveling west on East Broad Street for driving 55 miles per hour in a 40 mph zone. Officer Bryant then made contact with the driver and identified him as Reyes. He had a strong odor of alcohol on his person, had slurred speech, and was unsteady on his feet. Reyes submitted to a portable breath test which indicated "FAIL". Due to a language barrier, no other field sobriety tests could be performed. Reyes was then arrested and transported to the Smithville Police Department where he submitted to a breathalyzer test which indicated his blood/alcohol level to be .147. Bond for Reyes was set at $1,500.

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

On Christmas Eve, jewelry, camcorder, DVD player & a 32 inch flat screen TV were taken from Mindy Evans & Mandy Sullivan's residences at 425 Kendra Drive.

On December 5th, Headers for a Camaro were taken from Dakota Nokes' residence at 481 West Broad Street. Also on January 3rd,a Stanley tool set and a trailer ball hitch were taken from this address.

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

DeKalb County Fire Department Incident Responses Up in 2009

January 8, 2010
Donny Green

The DeKalb County Fire Department has compiled its 2009 Incident Response Summary.

DeKalb County Fire Chief Donny Green says overall, 2009 fire incident responses in the county were up by 64 calls from 2008. In 2008, the department responded to a total of 410 fire incidents. The department responded to 474 fire incident responses in 2009. This count does not include the 391 rural medical first responder calls that county fire department personnel answered.

Green says with DeKalb County's rural population growing at rates higher than the cities' population growth in DeKalb County, the department continues to experience annual increases in its rural call volume. Even though 2009 was an extremely wet year, the department responded to the same number of grass fires as it did in 2008.

The following is a breakdown of each type of fire incident response call that the department answered in 2009:

Incident Type:
Structure-76 (2008) 64 (2009)

Wildland/Grass/Debris-73 (2008) 73 (2009)

Auto Wrecks- 126 (2008) 151 (2009)

Vehicle Fires- 25 (2008) 36 (2009)

Landing Zones- 18 (2008) 20 (2009)

Extrication/Entrapment- 31(2008) 25 (2009)

Hazmat- 0 (2008) 0 (2009)

Alarms- 54 (2008) 64 (2009)

Misc.- 7 (2008) 41 (2009)

TOTAL- 410 (2008) 474 (2009)


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