Local News Articles

Election Commission to Strictly Enforce 100 Feet Campaign Free Zone at Polls

January 16, 2008

Voters will no longer encounter candidates or their supporters soliciting votes or distributing campaign materials at the polls when they come to vote.

The Election Commission is enforcing a strict 100 feet Campaign Free Zone for this and all upcoming elections in accordance with Tennessee Code Annotated 2-7-111(a)(b).

State law concerning this issue states as follows: "TCA 2-7-111 (a)....The officer of elections shall measure off 100 feet from the entrances to the building in which the election is to be held and place boundary signs at that distance. (b)(1)Within the appropriate boundary as established in subsection (a) and the building in which the polling place is located, the display of
campaign ads, and solicitation of votes for or against any person, political party,or position on a question are prohibited. No campaign posters, signs or other campaign literature may be displayed in any building in which a polling place is located."

The State Division of Elections has expressed an opinion that the 100 ft. Campaign Free Zone is a radius measurement and if the 100 ft. measurement ends up in the middle of a public road, the 100 ft. boundary continues to the opposite side of the road from the Courthouse. Signs will be posted at all entances to the building.

Candidates are reminded that No campaign literature, campaign advertisments, or solicitation of votes is permitted within the 100 ft Campaign Free Zone. In the past some have parked vehicles endorsing a candidate around the Courthouse. Any vehicle left in such a manner violates the 100 ft. Campaign Free Zone and are subject to be towed at the owners expense.

Early voting begins January 16 and continues through January 31 for the Presidential Preference Primaries. The voting hours are from 9:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. everyday except Thursday. Thursday hours are from 2:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. Voting is held every day except Sunday. The early voting location for all voters is the basement Courtroom in the DeKalb County Courthouse, located near the Election Office. For voters entering the South entrance (that is the side with the Veterans Memorial and Eternal Flame) the voting room is straignt ahead.

Efforts have been made to reserve parking spaces for voters. Several parking spaces are marked with orange cones labeled "Voters" "Elections Dept". The loading zone which is marked with yellow horizontal lines in front of the South entrance may be used as a "Drop Off Zone" for voters if others are driving them to the polls.

Voters are encouraged to look at a sample ballot prior to voting. Sample ballots are hung at the polling place, have been published twice in the paper or may be obtained from the Election Commission office upon request. Please visit our website at www.dekalbelections.com for more election related information.

Voters are required to show some form of ID when voting. If DeKalb county registered voters have moved since the last time they voted, their registration needs to be updated. If voters come during Early Voting election officials can take care of the address change when they vote. Procrastinating until Election Day will slow down the voter because they will be required to
fill out an address change at the election day precinct. This usually takes longer than stopping by the office or taking care of it when you vote early.

Remember that February 5th is a Primary Election Day and voters will be required to indicate on their application for ballot which party primary they want to vote in.

Election Day, February 5, the polls open in DeKalb County at 8:00 a.m. and close at 7:00 p.m.

Local Businessman Injured While Trying to Catch Two Men Stealing from Him

January 15, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page

A local businessman was injured Monday morning as he tried to catch two men who were stealing from him.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says 52 year old Thomas Anthony Pavone of Eagle Creek Road and 40 year old William "Tojo" Cantrell of Redman Road are each charged with theft of property over $500, criminal trespassing, and attempted second degree murder.

According to Sheriff Ray, the businessman spotted the two men putting of couple his truck tires and a radiator into their white Toyota four door car. He called out to the two men, ordering them to stay put while he called the Sheriff's Department. But they got in the car and fled, hitting the victim with the vehicle as they sped away. The victim was thrown onto the hood of the car and then landed on the gravel.

Though injured, the victim got in his automobile and chased the car on Old Sparta Highway to Old West Point Road, where he was able to get the driver to stop. The victim detained Pavone, who was the driver of the car, but Cantrell got out of the vehicle and fled on foot.

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department was contacted and officers came to the scene and placed Pavone under arrest. Sheriff Ray says Cantrell turned himself in at the jail later in the day Monday.

The stolen semi-truck tires and the radiator, valued at $800, were recovered from the Toyota that Pavone was driving.

Bond for Pavone is $70,000 and $45,000 for Cantrell.

They will appear in General Sessions Court on the charges January 17th.

Sheriff Ray would not disclose the name of the victim or the name of his business, but said an ambulance was called to the scene and that the man was given medical treatment for his injuries.

Smithville Police Issue Citations Against Two for Shoplifting at Walmart

January 15, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page

Smithville Police have charged two females with shoplifting from the Walmart store.

Chief Richard Jennings says 16 year old Elissa Nicole Tanner of Alexandria and 21 year old Amanda Sue Hemby of Hermitage were arrested early Monday morning.

Officer Tyler Wix's report states that "I was patroling the Walmart parking lot when I was stopped by employees who stated that they had two shoplifters inside. I went inside to find Tanner and Hemby who had filled their purses with merchandise and attempted to leave the store. Both Tanner and Hemby were caught by employees prior to my arrival. Upon a search of the individual purses, a total of $233.70 worth of merchandise was taken. Both Tanner and Hemby were transported to the Smithville Police Department and charged with shoplifting. They were issued citations for the offenses and were released to Mrs. Tanner's mother."

Meanwhile, in other cases 25 year old Sandy Russell Young of Sparta was charged on Sunday with unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia.

The arrest warrant states that " Officer Randy King arrested Young at Fred's parking lot for drug possession and a search of the vehicle, upon incident to arrest, found a blue bottle that contained a liquid, believed to be water. A syringe was under the seat and in the driver side door compartment was an empty bottle that was not his that was for dilaudid."

Young's bond is set at $1,000 and he will be in court on the charge February 14th.

40 year old Shannon D. Cook of Cooper Street was charged on Saturday with domestic assault. He will be in court on January 31st. He was arrested by officers Travis Bryant and Matt Holmes.

Two Interested in City Attorney Position

January 15, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page

Two local attorneys interested in being the new city attorney for Smithville have submitted resumes to city hall.

Vester Parsley, Jr. and former city attorney Sarah Cripps are both seeking the position.

Smithville has been without a city attorney since the resignation of John Pryor, effective December 31st.

The city advertised seeking resumes through January 11th.

No one has yet been named to fill the vacancy.

Sheriff Ray Releases 2007 Activity Report

January 14, 2008

Sheriff Patrick Ray has compiled an activity report for the year 2007

In the report, Sheriff Ray says, "As we begin a new year in 2008, I would like to take this opportunity to look back at 2007 and review the accomplishments at the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department. With the support of our county government, DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department Staff, and the citizens of our county, we have made significant strides in making our department a professional and accountable department that we all can be proud of. Here are some highlights of our first year:

Earlier in the year, we had our Drug Roundup where 48 people were arrested for 164 various drug offenses. The various drugs which were bought were drugs such as Dilaudid, Oxycontin, Cocaine, Methamphetamine, Hydrocodone, Xanax, and Marijuana.

The Sheriff’s Department also purchased a Malinois K-9 narcotic detector dog to fight the illegal sale and use of drugs. The K-9 was purchased with money that was seized from drug dealers and no tax money was spent.

The first Inmate Garden was started. Inmates worked throughout the summer planting and tending vegetables. Vegetables such as squash, cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes, and a variety of beans were planted. In the fall, the inmates planted turnip greens. These vegetables were served to each inmate in the jail throughout the year.

In May, we had 2 DARE Graduations. There were over 375 fifth graders from Northside Elementary and DeKalb West School that completed a 10 week course where they were taught about the effects of drug abuse and violence. Also in May, the Sheriff’s Department conducted a Graduation Roadblock where a total of 1,044 vehicles were checked. There were many arrests with one arrest resulting in a charge for possession of over 22 grams of Cocaine.

In July, we purchased a new travel trailer valued $25,000.00 from the Federal Government at a cost of only $1,000.00. We now use this trailer as our mobile Critical Response Unit.

In August, we started the Sheriff’s Departments new website. The website’s address is www.dekalbsherifftn.com. This site has a lot of different links related to law enforcement informational services and community safety tips that helps our citizens, particularly our children and seniors, to live safe and productive lives.

The DeKalb County Jail and Jail Annex were recertified by the Tennessee Corrections Institute. We also added 18 more beds to the Annex area of the Jail to reduce overcrowding. The Jail was approved to house 104 inmates.

We also teamed with the Governor’s Task Force on Marijuana Eradication where they did a fly-over of a portion of DeKalb County and found and destroyed over 453 marijuana plants.

In the fall, we launched the “Citizens Alert System”. This system is designed to quickly inform the citizens of DeKalb County, via email, about matters which might affect them. This system also is very beneficial in assisting the Sheriff’s Department in certain investigations.

In September, we teamed with the local senior citizens group in the HELP Program, which stands for “Helping Elderly Live Productively”. We delivered over 50 cases of donated water to senior citizens in DeKalb County suffering from the extreme heat and drought conditions.

In November, the Sheriff’s Department assisted the HELP Program by helping distribute canned foods to the elderly and disabled citizens in the county. In December, the Sheriff’s Department continued our support and assistance with the HELP Program by delivering donated gifts to the elderly and disabled citizens in the County.

Also in December, working in cooperation with the City of Alexandria Police Department and the City of Smithville Police Department, we conducted a New Year’s Eve Roadblock where almost 300 vehicles passed through, and 4 arrests were made.

During 2007, our department has had four Deputies graduate from the police training academy. In addition, our department’s Deputies and Correctional Officers have completed over 40 hours of certified training each.

My administration’s goal continues to be giving top priority in addressing the drug problem in DeKalb County. I think we have made a focused impact on this continuing battle during our first year, and there should be no question of my department’s seriousness and commitment in fighting this problem that so seriously affects so many people.

I would like to thank each and every one of my employees for the wonderful job they do. I, along with you, the citizens of DeKalb County, am very blessed to have employees working for us that have the best interest of our county at heart. As your Sheriff, I look forward to beginning a new year with continued commitment and hard work in making you proud of your sheriff’s department."

Smithville Volunteer Fire Department Called to NHC Healthcare Center Monday

January 14, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page

The Smithville Volunteer Fire Department was called to NHC Healthcare Center Monday afternoon after an air handling unit on top of the building overheated sending smoke through the duct work into one wing of the facility.

Fire Chief Charlie Parker says a belt apparently locked up in the unit causing the problem.

The smoke triggered the fire alarm and a few residents down one wing were relocated to another part of the building while firefighters set up positive pressure fans to clear the smoke.

There was no damage to the building and no one was injured as a result of the incident.

Meanwhile, Chief Parker says city firefighters were also called to McDonald's restaurant around 5:00 a.m. Sunday morning after an electrical breaker box overheated and kicked off as employees were preparing to open for business.

Chief Parker says there was no damage to the building and no one was injured.

Sheriff's Department Gets Grant for Removable In-Car Video Cameras

January 14, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb Sheriff’s Department has been awarded a grant from the State of Tennessee Department of Finance and Administration, Office of the Criminal Justice Program.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says this grant is for 15 removable in-car video cameras. Each patrol car will be equipped with a new video camera. This camera will be attached to the patrol cars dash, but also can be removed and used as a hand held video recorder. This will assist deputies while on traffic stops and will give them the ability to video tape any crime scenes they respond to. The Grant is for $18,000.

DeKalb County Sheriff's Department to buy equipment with Federal Grant

January 14, 2008

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department will use an $11,500 U.S. Department of Homeland Security grant to buy much needed equipment, U.S. Representative Bart Gordon announced.

"The Commercial Equipment Direct Assistance Program provides smaller communities and rural areas with technology, equipment and technical assistance to enhance their first responder capabilities, " Gordon said. "CEDAP is particularly helpful for local law enforcement agencies, such as DeKalb County, which have limited resources."

CEDAP provides resources such as communications interoperability equipment, information sharing technology, chemical detection devices, sensors, personal protective equipment and rescue tools and training in how to use the equipment, devices, and technology.

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department will use the funds to buy XOA Portable Video Surveillance System, according to Sheriff Patrick Ray. The surveillance system is capable of managing up to four cameras- including pan-tilt-zooms, long range, day-night, analog and IP digital and recording evidence directly to a removable media, such as an external hard drive.

"This system will provide a new degree of investigative capabilities for our department," Ray said. "The best part of this award is that it will be delivered at no cost to our county."

Three Arrested on Drug Charges by Sheriff's Department

January 14, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department has arrested three people in recent days on drug charges.

23 year old Brandon Lynn Tallent was charged on January 5th with simple possession of a Schedule II drug (dilaudid).

Sheriff Patrick Ray says deputies responded to a call about a vehicle sitting in the roadway. When officers arrived, they found Tallent around the vehicle and then saw him throw a blue container in the ditch. Deputies found two pills believed to be dilaudid.

Tallent posted a $1,500 bond and he will be in court January 31st on the charges.

Meanwhile on January 7th, deputies responded to a gas drive off on Highway 56 South. Sheriff Ray says when deputies arrived, they found 45 year old Darrell Wayne Evans of Winding Way, McMinnville in the store. The owner of the store had reportedly chased the vehicle down and asked Evans to return to the store. Evans was found to be in an intoxicated state. Upon a search of Evans' person, he was found to have six blue pills in his pocket believed to be valium.

Evans posted a $3,500 bond for public intoxication and simple possession of a schedule IV drug.

He will appear in court on January 31st.

32 year old Jennifer Leigh Taylor of 455 Parsley Road, Smithville was charged January 9th with possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of a schedule III drug. Sheriff Ray says deputies were attempting to serve a warrant at Lakeside Resort and found a cut straw and a plate that contained a line of white powder and a total of four pills in Taylor's possession. The pills are believed to be Hydrocodone. Sheriff Ray says Taylor did admit that the plate and pills belonged to her. Taylor posted a $2,500 bond and she will be in court on February 7th.

DeKalb County to Get Recycling Equipment Grant

January 14, 2008

Governor Phil Bredesen and Environment and Conservation Commissioner Jim Fyke announced today that 20 recycling equipment grants have been awarded for projects to help reduce landfill
waste across Tennessee. These grants total more than $424,000.

“I’m pleased we can provide funding to support the waste reduction efforts these 20 grants represent,” Bredesen said. “This program plays an important role in our state’s strategy to encourage recycling and to reduce the amount of solid waste that goes into landfills in
Tennessee.”

DeKalb County has been approved to receive $22,645 to assist with the purchase of divided and open-top containers. DeKalb County is represented in the General Assembly by Representative Frank Buck and Senator Mae Beavers. The local match is $9,705.

“By providing assistance to local communities to help them recycle, we can keep more materials from ending up in landfills,” Buck said. “I’m pleased the state is able to provide this assistance for the benefit of Tennesseans.”

Recycling equipment grants may be used to purchase equipment for new recycling programs, improve and expand the operation of an existing site or prepare recyclable materials for transport and marketing. Grants may be awarded to counties, cities, non-profit recycling organizations and solid waste authorities across Tennessee to help reach or exceed the goals set forth in the Solid Waste Management Act of 1991. Each recipient is required to match the state grant on a sliding scale basis. Local matching funds toward these 20 projects total nearly $199,000.

The grant program was authorized by the Solid Waste Management Act of 1991 and is supported from the Tennessee Solid Waste Management Fund that is administered by the Department of Environment and Conservation. The fund receives its revenues from a state surcharge on each ton of solid waste disposed in landfills and from a fee on new tires sold in
the state.

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