Local News Articles

Early Voting Begins October 17 (VIEW SAMPLE BALLOT BELOW)

September 20, 2012
Dennis Stanley

Early voting hours for the November Presidential Election have been set by the DeKalb County Election Commission.
As was the case for the August balloting, the commission voted to have two afternoons of early voting in an effort to accommodate more voters.

Hours for early voting, which begins October 17, are Mondays from Noon until 5 p.m.; Tuesdays 9 a.m. until 1 p.m.; Wednesdays 9 a.m. until 1 p.m.; Thursdays from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.; Fridays from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m.; and Saturdays 9 a.m. until Noon.

Sample Ballot

During the early voting period, which ends Nov. 1, there are 2 Mondays, 3 Thursdays and 2 Saturdays, giving voters who work late or work out of town ample opportunity to vote early.

“With the interest we’ve seen in the upcoming election, we really hope people will take advantage of early voting,” said Dennis Stanley, Administrator of Elections. “We strongly believe the turnout overall will be much heavier than the other two county-wide elections this year, so it makes sense to take advantage of early voting and try to avoid a long line at your precinct on election day.”

A day-by-day breakdown of early voting hours are:

WED. OCT. 17—9 A.M. TO 1 P.M.
THURS. OCT. 18—2 P.M. TO 6 P.M.
FRI. OCT. 19—9 A.M. TO 1 P.M.
TUES. OCT. 23—9 A.M. TO 1 P.M.
WED. OCT. 24—9 A.M. TO 1 P.M.
THURS. OCT. 25—2 P.M. TO 6 P.M.
FRI. OCT. 26—9 A.M. TO 1 P.M.
TUES. OCT. 30—9 A.M. TO 1 P.M.
WED. OCT. 31—9 A.M. TO 1 P.M.
THURS. NOV. 1—2 P.M. TO 6 P.M.

Smithville Police Department Taking Back Unwanted Prescription Drugs

September 20, 2012
Smithville Police Department Taking Back Unwanted Prescription Drugs

The Smithville Police Department, DeKalb Prevention Coalition (DPC) and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) on Saturday, September 29 from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. will give the public another opportunity to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs. Bring your medications for disposal to Smithville Police Department parking lot at 104 East Main Street. The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked.

Last April, Americans turned in 552,161 pounds—276 tons—of prescription drugs at over 5,600 sites operated by the DEA and nearly 4,300 state and local law enforcement partners. In its four previous Take Back events, DEA and its partners took in over 1.5 million pounds—nearly 775 tons—of pills.

This initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are alarmingly high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs. Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet. In addition, Americans are now advised that their usual methods for disposing of unused medicines—flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash—both pose potential safety and health hazards.

Four days after the first event, Congress passed the Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act of 2010, which amends the Controlled Substances Act to allow an “ultimate user” of controlled substance medications to dispose of them by delivering them to entities authorized by the Attorney General to accept them. The Act also allows the Attorney General to authorize long term care facilities to dispose of their residents’ controlled substances in certain instances. DEA is drafting regulations to implement the Act. Until new regulations are in place, local law enforcement agencies like Smithville Police Department and the DEA will continue to hold prescription drug take-back events every few months.

Sparta Man Airlifted after Motorcycle Wreck

September 20, 2012
Dwayne Page
Motorcycle Rear Ended Pickup Truck Shown Here
Truck  Rear Ended by Motorcycle

A 28 year old Sparta man was airlifted to Erlanger Hospital Thursday morning after he rear ended a pickup truck while riding a motorcycle on Highway 70 at Laurel Hill.

Central dispatch received the call at 8:30 a.m.

Trooper Jimmy Tisdale of the Tennessee Highway Patrol told WJLE that John Bumbalough was on a 1998 Harley Davidson traveling east when he ran into the rear of a 1995 GMC Sonoma pickup driven by 40 year old Linda Gail Oliver, who had stopped for a flagger as a TDOT road crew was doing some work there. Oliver was not injured.

Bumbalough was wearing a helmet but may have suffered a broken leg. He was airlifted from near the scene by a Life Force helicopter ambulance.

Maynard Gets Four Years Probation in Burglary of Local Business

September 19, 2012
Dwayne Page
Johnna M. Maynard
Nathan Trapp

A 27 year old woman, who allegedly served as a lookout while another person broke into Smithville Rental Center on East Broad Street earlier this year, received a sentence of four years on probation in DeKalb County Criminal Court on Monday, September 17.

Johnna M. Maynard pleaded guilty under a negotiated settlement to theft over $1,000 and burglary. Judge Leon Burns, Jr. sentenced her to four years in each case suspended to probation. The cases are to run concurrently as one four year sentence. Maynard must make restitution to Smithville Rental Center in the amount of $1,275, jointly and severally with a co-defendant in the case, Willie Ray Murphy. Maynard was arrested on Tuesday, April 3. Maynard was given jail credit of 114 days.

Sheriff Patrick Ray told WJLE that on or about March 17, Maynard served as a lookout while another person (Willie Ray Murphy) broke into a business on East Broad Street (Smithville Rental Center), taking several items. She was accused of helping in the commission of the theft.

During her arrest, Maynard told a drug detective that she had two needles in her bra and a bottle of xanax in her body cavity. A female correctional officer removed those items from Maynard. Found were eight and a half lorazopam pills (2 milligrams) and five lorazapam (1 milligram) pills along with the needles.

Murphy was charged with burglary and theft of property over $1,000. He was arrested on Friday, March 23.

According to Sheriff Ray, "Murphy went around to the side of the building and busted out a glass door. He then entered the business. While Murphy was in there, he took out some power tools for concrete work.

On July 31st, Maynard was indicted by the grand jury for possession of a schedule IV controlled substance, possession of paraphernalia, and theft under $500. Murphy and Maynard were co-indicted on charges of burglary and theft over $1,000. The drug charges against Maynard were dropped as part of her plea deal.

Murphy's case has not yet been settled.

A 29 year old man, who allegedly stole metal racks from Smithville Rental Center earlier this year, pleaded guilty to the crime Monday, September 17 in DeKalb County Criminal Court.

Nathan Trapp, originally charged with theft over $1,000, pleaded guilty to the lesser offense of theft under $500 and received a sentence of 11 months of 29 days to serve at least 75%. Trapp must make restitution of $1,000 to Smithville Rental Center jointly and severally with a co-defendant in the case, 34 year old Sam Walker. The sentence is to run concurrently with other cases against him in General Sessions Court.

According to Sheriff Ray, Trapp and Walker went to Smithville Rental Center on East Broad Street on Tuesday, February 2 and allegedly stole 940 pounds of metal racks valued at more than $1,000, taking them to a local recycling center where they sold them.

Walker's case has apparently not yet been settled.

45 year old Timmy George pleaded guilty to sale of a schedule II controlled substance and received a four year sentence on probation. He must pay a $2,000 fine and make $40 restitution to the Smithville Police Department. He was given jail credit of forty eight days.

George was arrested by Smithville Police on a sealed indictment returned by the DeKalb County Grand Jury on July 31.

The indictment against George stated that on or about January 9, George and a co-defendant knowingly sold and delivered a schedule II controlled substance (Dilaudid). The delivery charge against him was dropped as part of the plea deal.

27 year old Robin Woodard pleaded guilty to a third offense of driving under the influence. She received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days suspended to supervised probation, except for 120 days to serve. Woodard was fined $3,010 and she will lose her license for five years. She was given 62 days jail credit.

Belmont Women's Golf Places Third at Murray State; Sullivan Finishes Third Individually

September 19, 2012
Shay Sullivan

The Belmont women's golf team finished in third place at this week's Drake Creek Invitational hosted by Murray State at the Drake Creek Golf Club in Murray, Kentucky.

The Bruins posted a team score of 318 in Tuesday's final round to finish in third place with a 54-hole score of 919. Central Arkansas won the team title with a score of 906, while Arkansas State placed second at 911.

Belmont had three players finish among the top-20. Junior Shay Sullivan, who led the tournament after day one, finished in third place. She posted a 79 on Tuesday to finish with a three-round score of 223. Her third place finish tied a career-best for the Smithville, Tennessee native. Senior Janet Steen tied for 13th place at 229, after carding an 80 in the final round. Sophomore Sydney Hudson shot a 81 on Tuesday to finished tied for 19th place at 232.

Other Belmont finishers from the tournament included: sophomore Evin Edens (T-26th, 236) and senior Patricia Masick (T-50th, 255)).

Junior Morgan McQuary competed as an individual to finish tied for 50th at 255.

The women's golf team will take almost a month off before returning to action on October 15-16 when they compete at the Austin Peay Intercollegiate.

DeKalb Reigns Supreme at State Fair

September 19, 2012
Crowns for a Cause
Taneah Cantrell
Tyra Graham and Shan Burklow

DeKalb County was represented by an impressive number of contestants at the Tennessee State Fair Pageants earlier this month. Due to the massive turn out, DeKalb County Fair will be awarded a plaque and a $500 Cash Prize for showing the most overall county support at the state fair pageants in Nashville. The award ceremony will take place at the Tennessee State Fair Convention in January 2013. Several crowns and titles were awarded to contestants that currently reside in DeKalb County. The State Fair Pageants also hosted a crown ceremony so that beauty queens across Tennessee could donate their crowns to children of Monroe Carrell Jr. Children's Hospital so that they, too, can be 'Queen for a Day. In a heartwarming swell of emotion, queens from ages 4 to 70 gave away 65 crowns as well as raising $1,740.00 to purchase additional crowns for the children. The crowns will be delivered in late September.

"We were amazed at the number of queens that came out to support the two day event," Pageant Director Shan Burklow remarked, "Crowns for a Cause received enough money to not only allow every sick little girl to be 'Queen for a Day', but they are also purchasing fire hats for all the little boys along with a visit from the Nashville Firefighters to salute them as 'Hero for a Day'. Our hearts are overwhelmed with gratitude to all of the beauty queens as well as their friends and family for making this small idea such a huge success! I wish I could thank each one of them in person."

Having been born severly premature, blind, and weighing only 2 pounds 6 ounces, Burklow has experienced Vanderbilt Hospital firsthand. When asked what she plans to do next, Burklow smiled, "I was very happy to support a cause that is very dear to me. I am thankful for the support of my family, and especially my hard working sister (Beth Chandler). I want to continue to pay it forward in any way that God sends me the ability. If we all try and do one small good deed a day...well, that would really be something!"

Contestants placing from DeKalb County include: TN State Queen Supreme Overall - Tyra Graham, the 14 year old daughter of Kyle and Doris Graham of Smithville, TN / Tennessee Top Model Queen - Taneah Cantrell, the 16 year old daughter of Scott and Tammy Cantrell of Smithville, TN / Miss Sweetheart Queen - Addison Grace Oakley, the 11 year old daughter of Clark and Lisa Oakley of Liberty, TN / Little Miss Princess First Runner-Up Arlene Kirby, the 8 year old daughter of Jesse and Shauna Kirby of Smithville, TN / Fourth Runner-Up Addison Jean Puckett, the 8 year old daughter of Jimmy and Anita Puckett of Smithville, TN / Little Miss Third Runner-Up Isabella Faith Rackley, the 4 year old daughter of Gordon and Jessica Rackley of Smithville, TN / Junior Fair Princess Second Runner-Up - Tyra Graham, the 14 year old daughter of Kyle and Doris Graham of Smithville, TN / Third Runner-Up - Taneah Cantrell , the 16 year old daughter of Scott and Tammy Cantrell of Smithville, TN / Fourth Runner-Up - Liz Abigail Qualls, the 14 year old daughter of Brad and Kim Trapp of Smithville, TN. Other optional awards were given to various other DeKalb contestants including Madison Brooke Dawson, Ashley Medlin, Addison Jean Puckett, Maeloree Kirby, Sophia Angeletti, Alexis Atnip, Makayla Shea Funk, and Sydney Jayann Robinson. (see photos)

(Captions in blue - pictured from left to right)

Photo 1: Queens across TN donate their crowns during a ceremony at the TN State Fair Pageants.
Photo 2: Tennessee Top Model Winner - Taneah Cantrell of Smithville, TN
Photo 3: TN State Queen Supreme Winner Overall - Tyra Graham of Smithville, TN with Pageant Director Shan Burklow of Dowelltown, TN
Photo 4: Crowns for a Cause Queen Emily Burklow of Dowelltown, TN donates her crown
Photo 5: Tyra Graham of Smithville, Hope Stephens, Avalon Huddleston, Taneah Cantrell of Smithville, and Liz Qualls of Smithville, TN
Photo 6: Madison Little, Dorothy Montanye, Ryleigh Street, Ava Lowe, and Isabella Faith Rackley of Smithville, TN
Photo 8: Abby Sholar, Danielle Dildine, Queen Addison Oakley of Liberty, TN, Lexi Caldwell, and Christina Sisco
Photo 9: A group of donating queens celebrating after the crown ceremony including: Ashley Medlin and Taneah Cantrell of Smithville.

DeKalb Trustee's Office to Accept Partial Tax Payments

September 19, 2012
Dwayne Page
Sean Driver

DeKalb County property taxpayers may make partial tax payments for the 2012 tax year

According to Trustee Sean Driver, the total bills of county taxpayers may be divided into monthly payments over two to five months or the office will accept any amount the taxpayer wants to pay toward their balance as long as the total tax bill is paid by February 28, 2013.

Driver said partial payments relieves the stress of taxpayers having to come up with the entire tax payment in one lump sum. It is especially helpful to elderly people and those on fixed incomes.

The plan, approved by the state Comptroller of the Treasury, does not include provisions for partial payment on any 2011 payment delinquencies. If any partial payments have been made, penalties will be assessed only against the unpaid balances.

According to Driver, if the total base tax is not paid on or before February 28, penalties and interest will be applied on the remaining balance on March 1.

He added that partial payments may still be made after the March 1 delinquent deadline and taxpayers may continue to make partial payments until the taxes are turned over to the Chancery court the following year.

Taxpayers who take advantage of the partial payment option will be issued a receipt showing the amount paid and the balance owed. However, no notification of partial balances owed will be issued before the February 28 deadline.

Driver reminds taxpayers that they may still pay their taxes in the trustee's office in person, by mail, online at tennessetrustee.com or through the State of Tennessee Tax Relief Program.

For more information, call the Trustee's Office at 597-5176 or stop by the office at 732 Congress Boulevard Smithville, room 103.

Smithville Municipal Judge Hilton Conger Gets New Term

September 18, 2012
Dwayne Page
Hilton Conger

Smithville Municipal Judge Hilton Conger will serve for another two years.

The aldermen Monday night approved Conger's reappointment during the city council meeting. The City Judge, who was once elected by city voters to an eight year term, now serves at the pleasure of the Mayor and Board of Aldermen, appointed to a two year term. His salary is $1,000 per month.

Conger was last elected as City Judge in 1998. He was named to his first appointed term in 2006 and he was re-appointed in 2008 and 2010.

After changes were made in the City Charter a few years ago, the City Court's jurisdiction was reduced to mostly minor traffic offenses and city ordinance violations. The court now convenes usually once per month.

Conger's new term runs through August 31, 2014.

Meanwhile, in an effort to curb the spread of mosquitoes, the Smithville Aldermen Monday night took action requiring property owners to keep stagnant water from accumulating on their properties.

The council adopted on first reading an amendment to the property maintenance regulations under the municipal code regarding stagnant water.

Under the proposed amendment, "It shall be unlawful for anyone to knowingly allow any pool of stagnant water to accumulate and stand on their property without treating it so as to effectively prevent the breeding of mosquitoes. Also it shall be unlawful for water to accumulate in tires that are stored outside on their property. Approved methods to treat this stagnant water to prevent the breeding of mosquitoes shall be the responsibility by owners of said tires on residential and commercial property."

Second and final reading will follow a public hearing at the next meeting on Monday, October 1 at 7:00 p.m. at city hall.

School Bus Stranded During Flash Flooding

September 17, 2012
Dwayne Page
School Bus Stranded on Dearman Street During Heavy Rains
Facebook Photo from Contributor Shows Flooding on College St at Greenbrook Park
Facebook Photo from Contributor Shows Flooding at Highway 56 & 70

A bus, loaded with 32 students heading home from elementary after school programs, became stranded in a flash flood on Dearman Street Monday afternoon.

M2U00838 from dwayne page on Vimeo.

Central dispatch received the call at 6:01 p.m. from someone reporting that the bus had slid off the road. The side doors to the bus were heavily damaged but neither the driver, Gayle Pack, nor any of the students aboard were injured. The students, who exited through the rear emergency door of the bus, were loaded onto another bus which was called to the scene. Because of the rising flood waters, the DeKalb County Rescue Squad was summoned to assist in transferring the students from one bus to the other. Members of the Smithville Police and Fire Departments and DeKalb County Sheriff's Department were also on site along with Director of Schools Mark Willoughby and other school administrators.

Director Willoughby told WJLE that it may morning after the water recedes before its known for sure what happened. "There was a lot of flash flooding in the area. We're not exactly sure what happened. But its evident that the door was hit. The water was probably twelve to fifteen inches deep right there. It could have washed out a place in the road and the bus front tire may have hit a hole and caused the damage to the door. The important thing is that no one was hurt. The bus driver handled the situation really well," said Willoughby.

Charlie Parker, Smithville Fire Chief and DeKalb County Emergency Management Agency Coordinator, said much of the flash flooding Monday afternoon was in the Smithville area. "We had several places where water was up and over the road including College Street, Meadowbrook Drive, Dearman Street, Bright Hill Road, and down at the intersection of Highway 56 & 70 near DeKalb Tire and Service we had to detour traffic around for a little while because the drains just couldn't handle it. We've had a lot of water everywhere even out in the county on Turner Road and Jacobs Pillar Road. We had houses on Short Mountain and College Streets where water flooded basements. There were no evacuations other than in a couple of cases on Turner Road where residents, who had water coming up to their porches, decided to leave their homes on their own until the water receded," said Parker.

Director Willoughby said he appreciates the support of the community in responding to this emergency. "We had individuals from the community, parents and volunteers who came out there to help transfer those students from one bus to the other. They just wanted to make sure everything was okay. We also had law enforcement officers, the rescue squad, and EMA coordinator Charlie Parker and his crew. We want to thank everybody for going above and beyond. It's what communities are about and our community did an outstanding job. They just jumped in and did what was needed. I just want to say thank you to all those folks who helped out," said Willoughby.

Dowelltown Man Charged with Incest

September 17, 2012
Dwayne Page
Billy Ray Baker
Randall Johnson
Jenadiah Ray Barnes

A 65 year old Dowelltown man has been charged with incest after allegedly admitting to having sex with his niece.

Billy Ray Baker is under a $50,000 bond and he will be in court October 5. Baker was arrested on September 10

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Thursday, September 6, a girl came to the Sheriff's Department and reported that Baker, who is her uncle, had raped her. Upon further investigation, a criminal detective from the sheriff's department contacted Baker who admitted that he had sexual relations with his niece but that it was consensual. Baker was arrested and brought to the jail for booking.

49 year old Randall Johnson of LaFever Ridge Road, Silver Point was arrested on Thursday, September 13 for being a fugitive from justice. His bond is $50,000 and he will be in court on September 20.

Sheriff Ray said that a deputy went to Johnson's residence after authorities in Noble County, Indiana contacted local authorities to report that Johnson was wanted for possession of marijuana and for failure to appear and that he was believed to be in DeKalb County. Johnson was found, taken into custody, and brought to the jail for booking.

33 year old Jenadiah Ray Barnes of Brush Creek is charged with six counts of forgery. His bond totals $18,000.

Sheriff Ray said that Barnes allegedly passed six forged checks at Prichard's Foods in Alexandria in the amounts of $135 and $100 on June 22, 2011; $135 and $160 on June 24, 2011; and $225 and $225 on June 29, 2011 The name of the victim was forged on the checks without authorization.

The warrants were taken out against Barnes on September 2, 2011. Barnes was arrested on September 10, 2012. The reason for the delay in his arrest on these charges was because he had apparently been held until now in another facility on other offenses. The case was investigated by a criminal detective of the sheriff's department.

25 year old Jennifer Ann Ferrell of Dowelltown is charged with filing a false report. Her bond is $5,000 and she will be in court on September 20.

Sheriff Ray said that on Wednesday, September 12 a deputy went to Regions Bank on the public square in Smithville to serve a warrant on Matthew Baker, who had earlier been spotted in the bank. The deputy searched the bank but couldn't find Baker. Ferrell, who works as a cleaning lady in the bank, told the deputy that Baker was not there. Later, as a security officer was locking up the bank, Baker emerged from inside. He told the officer that he had hidden in the ceiling tile. Ferrell was charged because she allegedly lied to the deputy about Baker's being in the bank, according to Sheriff Ray.

49 year old Johnny Michael Howard of Billings Road, Sparta is charged with driving on a revoked license. His bond is $1,500 and he will be in court on October 10.

Sheriff Ray said that on Wednesday September 12, Howard was operating a motor vehicle on Highway 70 when he was stopped by an officer who had prior knowledge that Howard's license was revoked. A computer check confirmed that his license were revoked for driving under the influence on February 1, 2012 in Cannon County. Howard was arrested and brought to the jail for booking.


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