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Spring Blossom and Little Miss & Mister Pageants set for Saturday Night

March 28, 2011
Dwayne Page
2010 Junior Miss Haley Marie Hale
2010 Little Miss Queen Kenlee Renae Taylor
2010 Little Mister King Anthony Gage Trapp

The 2010 Junior Miss Haley Marie Hale of Smithville will crown her successor during Saturday nights annual Spring Blossom Pageant at the DCHS gym, sponsored by the Smithville Women's Club.

Hale is the 14 year old daughter of Melissa and Chad Hale.

Meanwhile the 2010 Little Miss and Mister, Kenlee Renae Taylor and Anthony Gage Trapp, will also be retiring after reigning for a year. Taylor is the five year old daughter of Cindy and Ken Taylor of Smithville and Trapp is the seven year old son of Amanda and Tony Trapp of Smithville.

Saturday nights activities begin with the Little Miss & Mister at 4 p.m. followed by the Spring Blossom pageant. The Little Miss & Mister contestants are between the ages of four and six and the participants in the Spring Blossom are girls in sixth through eighth grades.

This years pageant features nine handsome boys and thirty-nine beautiful girls competing for the title of Little Mister King and Little Miss Queen. For the Spring Blossom there are sixteen young ladies vying for the title of Junior Miss Queen.

Little Mister contestants include: Andrew Reece Vickers, Kotler Garrett Kilgore, Jase Glendon Bain, Brayden Seth Creek, Dylan Chase Bogle, Toby Lee Hayes, Landon Speaks, Trevor Matthew Kirby, and Holden Craig Trapp.

Little Miss participants are: Lydia Grace Johnson, Addison Hale, Jaylynn Nichlos, Kiley Isabella Speaks, Micah Bogle, Katelyn Knight, Alexis Riley Hawkins, Courtney Elizabeth London, Katie Patterson, Addison Grace Miller, McKenzie Faith Sanders, Ashlynn Knight, Katherine Irene Knowles, Leah Michelle Hayes, Allyson Roxanne Fuller, Kathryn Alysse Hale, Melanie Bogle, Briahna Ryan Murphy, Nadia Celeste Creek, Natalie Snipes, Carlee Elizabeth West, Madelyn Rose Ray, Kyra Michelle Baker, Addison Gray Roller,Katherine Dell Gassaway,Graceson Elise Boyd, Elizabeth Carlene Gaines, Peyton Elizabeth Norris, Ella Rea Florida, Addison Jean Puckett, Hannah Dawn Hall,Kendall Michelle Davis, Kora Lin Kilgore, Katherine Ann Vickers, Haidyn Renee Hale, Jenna Elizabeth Wright, Jazmine Elaine Wagner, Kylee Raegan Cantrell, and Elaina Bryce Turner.

The Spring Blossom contestants are: Alexis Kasara Davis, Hailey Nicole Glass, Bethany Brooke Poss, Morgan Marie Vickers, Meranda Kay Atnip, Alyssa Kayleen Funk, Brooke Danielle Roller, Kacie Brooke Bain, Hannah Walker, Kelsey Sueanna Hedge, Tyra Graham, Amisti Jae Loftis, Mariah Faith Jones, Rachel Fuson, Casey Elizabeth Vickers, and Bethany Burke.

All contestants are to attend the pageant rehearsal on Friday, April 1, beginning at 5:30 p.m. for the Little Miss and Mister participants and at 7 p.m. for the Spring Blossom contestants.

Studio Six Limited will be offering portrait packages the night of event. Pageant photos will begin at 3 p.m Admission is $3 (excluding contestants only) for anyone four and older and concessions will be available throughout the evening. The pageants are sponsored by the Smithville Women's Club.

A Look at the Tennessee Legislature

March 28, 2011
Dwayne Page
State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver

The following is a legislative update from State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver:

Since taking office in January, the Governor has made clear his vision for wholesale reform of Tennessee’s education system. He has said student achievement should be the cornerstone of any educational initiative. Legislators agree and have stated on numerous occasions that promoting teacher excellence is one way to ensure that vision becomes a reality for Tennessee students.

The Speaker and Lieutenant Governor have confirmed their respective Chambers will aide the Governor’s quest to raise standards in our classrooms. This week, major legislation was advanced to that end in the House.

On Thursday, in a landslide vote of 64-32, the teacher tenure reform legislation easily won approval in the House. The bill’s sponsor said, “We said last fall that we would do what it takes to make Tennessee the number one destination for high-quality jobs in the South. That included top-to-bottom reforms in business regulation and education. This is yet another promise kept to Tennesseans that we are committed to bringing accountability to the classroom to ensure every student is led by a great teacher.” The House Majority Leader added, “The Governor laid out a clear vision for raising standards and bringing more accountability to our educational system. We’ve done just that with passage of this legislation. With high-performing teachers, our students will receive the training and skills they need to be successful in the workforce. That means more and better jobs for Tennesseans.”

On Wednesday, the charter school initiative started its legislative trek. The House Education Subcommittee held debate on the legislation and is expected to vote on the measure next week. The legislation will do away with the current restriction on the number of charter schools allowed in Tennessee and provide greater access to a quality education to Tennessee students. These measures, along with other initiatives moving through the House, will ultimately lead to a more diverse and skilled workforce in Tennessee, bringing in more businesses and jobs to the Volunteer State.

U.S. Senator Corker Visits the General Assembly, Offers Strong Conservative Message

On Tuesday, U.S. Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) paid a visit to the General Assembly where he spoke with Members and gave an encouraging message about the work being done in Nashville.

The Senator spoke to the Members about international affairs and education matters but spent the majority of time talking about the fiscal crisis facing our nation. He remarked, “…I was here to encourage them to help us motivate lawmakers throughout our state at the federal level and to talk with their citizens that they represent, their constituents, about how important it is to take action.” He pointed out he was proud of the efforts to rein in spending at the State level and hopes to lead the federal government to follow suit.

The Senator was welcomed by the Speaker and introduced by the Lieutenant Governor and afterwards took questions from the Members about issues facing Tennessee.

Work of the Governor and General Assembly Lead to Job Growth in West Tennessee

The State received encouraging news during the week as a federal grant had been approved for construction to begin on a new deepwater port in Northwest Tennessee on the Mississippi River. However, the grant would have been removed had it not been for the hard work of the Governor and some Members of the House.

For several weeks now, the Governor and legislators from West Tennessee have highlighted the fact Tennessee needed to find resources to continue moving forward with construction plans for the forthcoming Port at Cates Landing. When it is finished, the port will lead to approximately 1,700 jobs and bring in a much-needed economic boost of $354 million to the local economy. The facility will be the deepest port on the Mississippi River between Baton Rouge, LA and Saint Louis, MO. The positive commerce and shipping effects of the project will be felt throughout Tennessee.

Empowering Educators with Equal Access Bill Moving Through the House

The House moved legislation touted as a “new way forward” on education reform this week by passing HB 130 out of the House Education Committee. The pro-teacher legislation gives a voice to all teachers who have not had a voice in education negotiations over matters in the classroom. The bill, like many other common sense measures working their way through the Legislature, promotes student achievement and allows teachers to be rewarded for excellence in the classroom through items like merit pay.

The bill calls for a collaborative effort at the education negotiating table between all interested stakeholders and allows for “equal access” to all professional teaching associations. The Governor recently stated his support for the measure because it, “(G)ives superintendents greater flexibility in making personnel decisions and supports my central focus of doing what's best for children in Tennessee classrooms.” The bill now moves on to the Budget Committee for consideration.

General Assembly Begins Work on Health Care Compact

Tennessee is poised to take the lead in reasserting the role of States with recent legislative maneuvers—a priority for many voters in last fall’s elections who believed the federal government has stepped into areas not meant for Washington.

After passing the Health Care Freedom Act two weeks ago and the Governor signing it into law, the Legislature started working on the Health Care Compact. The Compact is a multi-State effort to rein in the federal government and allow States to determine their own individual plans for health care coverage for their citizens. The States utilize federal resources for the programs and get to determine the amount of government interference over health care decisions.

The Act envisions a partnership among the States and Congress to bring more transparency, accountability, and individual responsibility to health care at the local level, instead of allowing the bureaucracies of Washington to run the system. The measure currently is being debated in the House Health Committee.

Compromise Bill Calls for Phase Down Reduction of Telephone Intrastate Access Charges

March 26, 2011
Dwayne Page
Les Greer

Rural telephone companies, including DTC Communications will be forced to reduce their intrastate access charges to AT&T and other larger carriers beginning April 1, 2012 under legislation making its way through the Tennessee General Assembly.

The bill on its way to passage is a compromise between the smaller and larger telecommunications companies. The original bill, which had the support of most state legislators, would have called for an immediate reduction in the access fees resulting in a loss of revenue to the rural carriers, including DTC Communications by hundreds of thousands of dollars yearly.

Under the compromise bill, rural telephone companies including DTC will be forced to reduce their intrastate access charges in a phase down over the next six years, starting April 1st, 2012 until the rate is just under two cents per minute, the same as the interstate access fees.

Les Greer, CEO of DTC Communications, told WJLE Friday that the local cooperative will still lose revenue under this legislation, but since it is a phased in reduction, DTC will have time to adjust. "The reason we wanted to leave things as they were is because we have a contractual arrangement between the large carriers and DTC. It was governed by the Tennessee Regulatory Authority and the TRA set those rates. We (DTC) are charging all of those carriers the same rates and they have not changed since 1992. We didn't think the legislature ought to be setting retail rates between two commercial enterprises. Their (large carriers) argument was that the interstate rate is much lower than the intrastate and that they (rates) ought to all be the same. But there are some other components that help offset those lower revenue streams on the interstate rate that this bill does not take into account," said Greer.

"On the interstate rate, we (DTC) are currently charging just under two cents per minute. We charge just under four cents per minute for the intrastate rate. The bill proposes to take the intrastate rate down to the interstate rate. This will impact DTC Communications roughly about $115 to $120 thousand dollars a year for each year of the phase down and the phase down will start in April, 2012. This buys time for us to figure other revenue sources or other ways to increase revenues to offset that loss of revenues," said Greer.

"I would like to thank all the members of the cooperative and the business community (who supported us) on this bill with our legislators. I would especially also like to thank State Senator Mae Beavers and State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver for all the hard work they've done on our behalf. Unfortunately, we weren't as successful as we would have liked to be but I do appreciate their efforts and the efforts of the employees of DTC for speaking out on this issue," Greer concluded.

As amended, the legislation will reduce the disparity between intrastate and interstate access fees by a rate of 20 percent each year for five years beginning April 1, 2012 and each subsequent April 1.

When a customer places a telephone call, it generally travels over multiple networks, which are owned by different telephone companies, en route to its destination. To compensate owners for the use of their networks, telephone companies charge each other for calls that originate on each others networks. The carrier whose customer places the call pays a per-minute charge to the carrier whose customer receives the call. When the call is a long distance call, the charges are referred to as access charges.

There are two kinds of access charges. Calls that originate in one state and terminate in a different state are subject to interstate access charges. These calls are regulated by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and are the same throughout the U.S. Calls that originate and terminate within the same state are subject to intrastate access charges and fluctuate throughout the state. It is the intrastate access charges that this bill addresses.

Senate Bill 598 establishes a requirement that all telephone companies in Tennessee charge other telephone companies the same rate for connecting calls into their network, whether the calls originate inside or outside the state. It establishes a defined transition period during which intrastate access rates will be brought down in equal steps to the same level as interstate access rates.

The bill also provides the ability for telephone companies to account for increases in interstate access rate changes, which are federally governed, and change their intrastate rates to mirror federal changes. In addition, it requires all telephone companies to file and maintain a tariff price list with the Tennessee Regulatory Authority setting their access rates and structures.

Fire Destroys Home on Hurricane Ridge Road

March 26, 2011
Dwayne Page
Fire Destroys Home of Larry Bain, Sr. at 650 Hurricane Ridge Road

A fire destroyed the home of Larry Bain, Sr. at 650 Hurricane Ridge Road Saturday morning.

Central dispatch received the call at 5:22 a.m.

County Fire Chief Donny Green said a neighbor spotted the blaze and called 911 but the fire was already well in progress by the time it was discovered. The blaze consumed the house and all of Bain's belongings inside the home.

Firefighters were able to keep the fire from spreading to a shed behind the house, where shop and farm equipment were stored, although the structure did receive some minor heat damage.

Fire on Hurricane Ridge Road from dwayne page on Vimeo.

Members of the Main Station, Cookeville Highway, Blue Springs, and Short Mountain Highway stations of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department responded along with the tanker truck and equipment vehicle. The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department and DeKalb EMS were also on the scene.

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

Chief Green said the cause of the fire is undetermined but it appeared to have started in the living room area.

14th Annual Relay for Life June 3rd

March 25, 2011
Dwayne Page
Cancer Survivors from 2010 Relay for Life

The 14th annual Relay for Life in DeKalb County will be held starting Friday, June 3rd at Greenbrook Park, going all night until early Saturday morning, June 4th.

Relay For Life, the American Cancer Society's signature event, is a fun-filled overnight experience designed to bring together those who have been touched by cancer. At Relay, people from within the community gather to celebrate survivors, remember those lost to cancer, and to fight back against this disease. Relay participants help raise money and awareness to support the American Cancer Society in its lifesaving mission to eliminate cancer as a major health issue. During Relay For Life events, teams of people gather and take turns walking or running laps. The events are held overnight to represent the fact that cancer never sleeps. Through the survivors' lap and the luminaria ceremony, the people who have faced cancer first hand are honored, and those who have been lost to this disease are remembered.

But, Relay isn't about taking laps -- it's about coming together in the fight against cancer. It's a time to remember those lost to this disease and celebrate those who have survived. It's a place where people connect with others, share the cancer experience, and find comfort and solace. And it's an opportunity to build hope for a future where cancer no longer threatens the lives of the people we love.

As volunteers and donors, your efforts support research, education, advocacy, and services that allow the American Cancer Society to offer help and hope to people across the country when they need it most. By joining together at Relay, we celebrate life, friendship, and an opportunity to work to defeat cancer for future generations.

In 2010 in DeKalb County, the American Cancer Society provided 33 people with 92 patient services. Twenty five nights of lodging were also provided at the Nashville Hope Lodge along with gas for 155 trips to treatment through the Transportation Grant Program.

On June 3rd, the community will gather together as one group to help in the battle against cancer. At Greenbrook Park in Smithville, dozens of teams, volunteers, community leaders, and citizens will enjoy the annual Relay for Life event. Plans are to have lots of entertainment and food available that evening, starting at around 6:00 pm. Planning for the Relay is a year round event and the organizers hope that you will enjoy what they have in store for you. Relay is the largest community event held in DeKalb County. Please join in for this special night and have lots of fun helping raise money.

Corps to Conduct Periodic Test of Emergency Evacuation Siren at Long Branch Campground

March 25, 2011
Dwayne Page

The Corps of Engineers will be conducting a periodic test of an emergency evacuation siren at Long Branch Campground, located directly below Center Hill Dam, on Monday, March 28, 2011 at 10 a.m.

This siren serves the Long Branch and Buffalo Valley Recreation Areas immediately below the dam. Additionally, neighboring private landowners downstream of the dam may possibly hear the siren. The test will last for approximately one minute.

This is only a test.

In the unlikely event of a breach of the dam, the siren will be activated and an evacuation plan put into effect to assist the visiting public in the Long Branch and Buffalo Valley Recreation Areas. Anyone with questions should call the Center Hill Lake Resource Manager’s Office at 931-858-3125.

Storm Damage in Alexandria

March 23, 2011
Dwayne Page
Ominous storm clouds over Highway 53 in Alexandria

A severe thunderstorm which apparently spawned a tornado blew through Alexandria Wednesday evening causing some structure damage to a few homes and outbuildings.

Two buildings on the DeKalb County Fairgrounds known as Jennings Produce and Jennings Barber Shop were completely destroyed. Heavy damage was also inflicted on the Alexandria City Park and the Alexandria Lions Club Softball Field.

The Mahome community between Alexandria and Watertown was also hit hard with damage to homes and barns and numerous uprooted or blown down trees.

Assistant Fire Chief for the City of Alexandria, Caleb Roth also reported damage at homes on East Main Street just off the town square in Alexandria. "We were dispatched out to a power line down in the street on East Main Street around 6:30 p.m. We got there with one engine and a squad truck with several personnel. We found power lines down. It appeared to be maybe straight line winds or possibly a small tornado touched down. Approximately five to seven houses had some damage. Lots of roof metal pulled off, siding, and furniture all over the place. We found ten to fifteen trees down in the area and power lines in the road. We did several patrols around the town and that's about the most extensive damage we came up with. No one was hurt. We checked all the houses in this area and everybody was safe."

Tony Griffith, who resides at 119 East Main Street in Alexandria, said he was at a gas station near his home when he learned that DeKalb County was under a tornado warning and that the storm was approaching Alexandria. Griffith said he got in his pickup truck and headed for home. He was about 200 yards from his house when he saw the debris from the storm blowing across the street. "I was coming up the road from the gas station when I saw stuff twisting and blowing across the road on East Main Street. It was blowing my pickup truck too. You could feel the wind. When I got home I ran into the basement and made sure everybody was okay."

Griffith said the storm caused some minor damage to his home and destroyed a shed. Several of his neighbors also experienced damage to their homes although apparently no one was left homeless.

Smithville Water Treatment Plant Rehab Expected to be Completed Soon

March 22, 2011
Dwayne Page
W&O construction worker installing new high service pump at water plant

After more than three decades, the Smithville Water Treatment plant is getting a major overhaul and by the time the renovation is completed later this year, officials say the city will have a more state of the art facility which will continue to provide its customers with a clean, safe, reliable water supply for many years to come.

Work began last August by the W&O Construction Company of Livingston, who was awarded the construction bid in February 2010 by the board of aldermen at a cost of $2,542,000. The city has been awarded a $500,000 community development block grant administered by the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development to help fund the project. But the bulk of the funding, $2,342,000 is being appropriated from the city's water and sewer fund surplus.

The project at the water plant includes the installation of new high service pumps; new electrical breaker boxes, new storage tanks, new automated water filter control panel, new chlorinator, new liquid fluoride feeder system, the addition of a new standby generator, among many other renovations and improvements.

Mayor Taft Hendrixson said the city does not have to borrow the money because there are sufficient funds in the city's water and sewer fund reserves to support the project.

During Monday night's city council meeting, Mayor Hendrixson said officials of W & O Construction met with city officials last week to provide a monthly update on the project. "Their schedule says they will be finished in April and supposedly they're on time. But then they said maybe some intake pumps may take longer. So we may be looking after April (before they're finished) but according to everything on schedule now, they have all the new filters in and they are working. They backwash every eight to ten days instead of every two days. That saves us a lot of water and it's also a lot easier to treat. They're doing a lot of the electrical work down there. They have one high service pump installed and were working on getting another one out to put a new one in there. Our main problem with the plant now and has been for the last three or four months is the intake. We've had to spend some extra money down there to keep the intake going. But if you don't get water out of the lake, you can't make it. So we're doing the best we can and we are keeping the water flowing. I think the water plant renovation is in good shape."

Hunter Hendrixson, City Secretary-Treasurer, told WJLE Tuesday that "to date, the City has spent $1,477,187 on the plant renovations using Smithville Water and Sewer Funds. The City has been reimbursed $246,030 of the $500,000 CDBG grant. The J.R. Wauford Engineering Company is overseeing the project."

The water treatment plant was originally constructed in 1966. The last major update to the facility was in 1978 when work was done at both the plant and the pumps at the intake on the lake.

Judge Patterson Hands Down Sentences in Criminal Court

March 22, 2011
Dwayne Page

Judge David Patterson sentenced several people in DeKalb County Criminal Court on Monday after they entered pleas in negotiated settlements with the prosecutors.

37 year old Anthony Wayne Cantrell pleaded guilty by information to reckless driving and received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days on probation except for six days of jail time. He was fined $350.

24 year old Justin Clyde Hale pleaded guilty to theft over $10,000 and received a three year sentence to serve. The case is to run concurrently with a Putnam County case against him. He must also make $100 restitution.

24 year old Johnny Murphy, Jr. pleaded guilty to simple possession of a schedule III controlled substance and received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days, suspended to supervised probation. Murphy was fined $250 and must undergo an alcohol and drug assessment and follow the recommended treatment. He was given jail credit of six days.

25 year old Jordan Thomas Adams pleaded guilty by information to reckless endangerment and received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days, suspended to 90 days to serve with the balance on supervised probation. A second offense DUI charge against him will be dismissed. He must report to the jail on Monday, April 18th.

29 year old Michael Chad Owen pleaded guilty to three charges of aggravated burglary and received a three year sentence in each case, all suspended to community corrections. The cases are to run consecutively with each other for a total of nine years. He was given jail credit of approximately 13 months.

39 year old Pamela Jo Kelly pleaded guilty to a first offense of driving under the influence and received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days, suspended to 48 hours to serve with the balance on supervised probation. She will lose her license for one year and she must pay a fine of $365. The term is to run concurrently with a violation of probation sentence she is serving in Cumberland County. Her probation here will run concurrently with her probation in Cumberland County.

32 year old David Gaines pleaded guilty to promotion of the manufacture of methamphetamine and received a two year sentence at 30% and then be on supervised probation by TDOC. He was given credit for time served from September 8th, 2010 to March 21st, 2011. Gaines was fined $2,000 and he must undergo an alcohol and drug assessment and pay for any cleanup costs.

50 year old Nickey Cantrell pleaded guilty to two counts of manufacture, sale, and delivery of a schedule II controlled substance. He received a three year sentence on each count to run consecutively with a current sentence against him for a total of six years probation.

32 year old Michael S. Saylors pleaded guilty by information to possession of a schedule II controlled substance for resale and received a three year sentence, suspended to supervised probation. He also pleaded by information to promotion of the manufacture of methamphetamine and received a two year sentence, suspended to supervised probation. He was released to time served.

24 year old Kenny W. Dyal, Jr. pleaded guilty to five charges of burglary. He faces an eight year sentence but a hearing will be held later to determine how the sentence is to be served.

34 year old Lynda M. Neville pleaded guilty in information to two counts of simple possession and one count of possession of drug paraphernalia. She received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days in each case, all suspended to CPS probation. The sentences in the simple possession cases are to run concurrently with each other but consecutively with the drug paraphernalia sentence for a total of two years.

31 year old Jeremy Edward Woodard pleaded guilty to a first offense of driving on a suspended license and received a sentence of five months and 29 days, all suspended to supervised probation for a period of six months. He will lose his license for a period of time

62 year old David R. Driver pleaded guilty to a first offense of driving under the influence. He received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days to serve 48 hours and then be on probation. He was fined $365. Driver will lose his license for a period of one year although he may apply for a restricted license. He must complete the Alcohol Safety Education Program and complete an alcohol and drug assessment and follow any recommended treatment.

52 year old Eddie Lynn Taylor pleaded guilty to a second offense of driving under the influence and received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days, all suspended to 45 days to serve. He will lose his license for two years and he must pay a fine of $615. Taylor must complete the DUI drug court program. After serving seventeen days, he will be furloughed into treatment.

53 year old William B. Seals, Jr. pleaded guilty to a first offense of driving under the influence and received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days, all suspended except for 48 hours to serve. Seals will lose his license for one year but he may apply for a restricted license. He must pay a fine of $365 and complete the Alcohol Safety Education Program and an alcohol and drug assessment and follow any recommended treatment.

30 year old Christopher Sayle pleaded guilty to a first offense of driving under the influence and simple possession. He received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days all suspended to 48 hours to serve on the DUI offense and 11 months and 29 days, all suspended to CPS probation on the simple possession charge, but he'll be on unsupervised probation after six months if there are no further problems.. The two sentences are to run consecutively for a total of two years. Sayle must pay a fine of $615 and he will lose his license for one year but he may apply for a restricted license. As a condition of probation, Sayle must pay the balance of his probation fees in another case in the amount of $2,450.

54 year old Terry W. Kent pleaded guilty to a first offense of driving under the influence and received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days, all suspended to supervised probation except for two days to serve. He was fined $365.

Three Liberty Area Residents Charged with Attempted First Degree Murder in Cannon County

March 22, 2011

Three people from Pea Ridge Road near Liberty are facing attempted first degree murder, aggravated arson, and especially aggravated robbery charges in Cannon County after allegedly trying to destroy a mobile home by fire with someone still inside last Wednesday, March 16th.

Mary V. Hill, James W. Hill, and Charlotte M. Hill, all of 4641 Pea Ridge Road Liberty were being held in the Cannon County Jail at last report under bonds of $2.5 million each.

The Cannon Courier reports on its website that the Hills were in the process of moving from the home of Lonnie Estes on Big Hill Road to 4641 Pea Ridge Road when an argument began over sheets and towels, according to Cannon County Sheriff's Department Investigator Anthony Young.

According to the report, "Mr. Estes said that James Hill hit him with his (Estes') walking cane," Investigator Young said. "It broke, then he (Hill) hit Estes with a chair, knocking him to the kitchen floor. Estes said James Hill then went outside, got a gallon milk jar of gasoline, came back inside and threw it on the kitchen floor and set it on fire."

Estes said the three Hills then left the residence, taking his wallet in the process.

The 68 year old Estes made it out of the house and called 911.

Investigator Young responded and rode in the ambulance with Estes to DeKalb Community Hospital to obtain a statement.

Estes was treated and released for a severe laceration to his head and also for multiple bruises to his face and body.

According to the Cannon Courier, the arson and bomb squad was called in to investigate the fire, which caused extensive damage to the kitchen and smoke damage throughout the residence.

Investigator Young said he then returned to the scene and obtained statements from friends and neighbors of Estes and they began searching for the Hills.

"We put out a BOLO and then initiated an area-wide search. They were found within 12 hours. After initially leaving the county, they returned to the residence on Pea Ridge Road and were apprehended there," Investigator Young said.

The Hills are scheduled to make their initial appearance in Cannon County General Sessions Court on June 6.


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