Local News Articles

THP Promotes Eric McCormick to Sergeant for DeKalb and Smith County

May 7, 2013
Sergeant Eric McCormick

The Tennessee Highway Patrol has announced that Eric McCormick has been promoted to Sergeant for the counties of Smith and DeKalb in the 6th District Cookeville (District). Sgt. McCormick began his career with the Tennessee Highway Patrol in March of 1997. After completing the THP Academy he was assigned to a road position in Putnam County. Sgt. McCormick has remained in Putnam County for the past sixteen years.

Throughout his career he has served on several special assignments from the 2013 Presidential Inauguration to local special events. Sgt. McCormick has served on the Riot Control Unit and is a Crash Reconstructionist. He has acquired several certifications during his career and is an Instructor in various areas within the Department.

Trooper McCormick has escorted Tennessee Tech Football Coach Watson Brown for the past 6 years. He is a 2005 Graduate of the Northwestern University School of Staff and Command.

Prior to becoming a Trooper with the State of Tennessee He was a Deputy with the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department and a native of DeKalb County. Sgt. McCormick, his wife Connie and three children, Grant, Grace, and Gaylin reside in Putnam County.

Sgt. Eric McCormick replaces Lt. Mark Dial who was promoted and is now stationed in Putnam County as Midnight Lieutenant.

Jones Injured in Pickup Truck Accident

May 7, 2013
Dwayne Page
Noah Jones Injured in Pickup Truck Accident

A 20 year old Smithville man was injured when his pickup truck wrecked on Jacobs Pillar Road Monday afternoon.

Sergeant Eric McCormick of the Tennessee Highway Patrol said that Noah Jones was driving south in a 1998 GMC Sonoma pickup truck when he lost control. The truck went off the road, up an embankment, through a fence, struck a tree, and overturned, coming to rest on its wheels. Jones was reportedly ejected from the truck. He was taken by DeKalb EMS to DeKalb Community Hospital.

DUD Announces Rate Increase

May 7, 2013
Dwayne Page
DUD Announces Rate Increase

The DeKalb Utility District, for the second consecutive year, will be increasing water rates effective with bills due on July 10.

The seven percent rate hike last year and the seven percent increase this year is to help pay for construction of a water treatment plant. The DUD currently plans to increase rates again next year by up to another seven percent.

Basic rates for customers who use up to 2,000 gallons per month will increase by $1.33 to $20.33 (minimum bill) effective with bills due July 10. For monthly usage above 2,000 gallons up to 5,000 gallons, the costs will be an additional $7.55 per thousand, an increase of 50 cents per thousand gallons. Customers who use more than 5,000 gallons per month will pay an additional $8.10 per thousand, also an increase of 50 cents per thousand. These rates will apply to all DeKalb Utility District customers except those who reside north of Hurricane bridge.

A customer, for example, who uses 6,000 gallons of water per month will see their bill increase from $47.75 to $51.08 plus tax.

DUD Board Chairman Roger Turney has explained during board meetings in the past year that while rates would have to increase over a three year period beginning last year, they will actually stabilize, if not decrease in time with this new plant. "We had to project to the state what our rate increases would be in order to pay for this water treatment plant. Our board passed a seven percent rate increase for last year, seven percent this year, and seven percent the third year with the stipulation that the third year that seven percent increase may not be that much. Let's talk about what that really means. At the end of that three years, the minimum bill will go up four dollars and twenty cents. That's not going to break anybody. I don't want anybody's water rate to go up but that's a small price to pay. We figure that our average customer uses about 6,000 gallons. At the end of the three year period, their water bill will go up $10.55," he said.

The DUD has been approved to receive a $5,000,000 loan and a grant of $1,250,000 through the USDA Rural Development program and an Appalachian Regional Commission grant award in the amount of $500,000 to fund construction of a three million gallon a day water plant. The terms of the loan are forty years at 2.75% interest. The remaining $4,250,000 needed to build the $10.5 million facility is to be funded through a bond issue. Turney has said that the DUD also plans to refinance other loans to save money. "In this loan and grant we have applied for, we're refinancing some of the loans we already have at a savings of over $400,000 on the money that we have right now because of the historically low interest rates," he said.

The water plant project has been held up for several months after a group of DUD ratepayers and the City of Smithville, contending that a DUD water plant and subsequent water rate increases because of it were unnecessary, petitioned the state for a DUD rate review. The state's Utility Management Review Board held a hearing last month in Smithville and dismissed the ratepayer's petition. After a final order from that hearing is filed, the ratepayers and city have sixty days to file an appeal.

Smithville Police Detective Matt Holmes Promoted to Lieutenant

May 7, 2013
Dwayne Page
Randy Caplinger, Shawn Jacobs, Matt Holmes, and Jimmy Poss

Smithville Detective Matt Holmes has been promoted to the rank of Lieutenant, effective July 1.

The aldermen Monday night voted unanimously to make the promotion upon the recommendation of Police Chief Randy Caplinger. Holmes' status as detective will be elevated to lead detective within the police department with this promotion.

"Even though he is young, Matt is one of the older officers here," said Chief Caplinger. "When Matt was promoted to detective, it carries the rank of a sergeant. If anyone can't reach me, he is the man they call if we are going to a crime scene. I use him in a lot in the supervisory positions. The men (police officers) have a real good rapport with Matt. He has been a very special officer for all of us. Since he (Matt) has been here if you'll go back a few years I think you'll notice how much of a change there has been in investigations and crimes that have been solved. There has been a lot of good things done. We've really worked a good undercover drug program. We're still working that. We're working on a lot of things right now. As a detective, you are really not supervising the men. If he needs someone on the scene, he is in charge of that scene. As far as being a supervisor in other capacities, whether it be on a wreck or whatever, then he (Matt) has that authority (as lieutenant) to tell those officers what we need to be doing if I'm not here. The promotion will take effect July 1 with the new budget. I want to use Matt now for about the next month and a half until July 1 to help me in this capacity, to be learning and doing things. He has put a lot of effort into this (career) and he has a lot of specialized training," said Chief Caplinger

"I'm very proud of Matt Holmes," said Alderman and Police Commissioner Shawn Jacobs. "He came to work for us before I was even on the council. You could tell there was something special about Matt even then. As he was eventually promoted to detective and now receiving another department promotion tonight to lead detective, we have something to be very proud of in Matt and also detective (Brandon) Donnell. I think we have two of the best. I don't think a town this size could want anything any better than these two men and I'm just very proud of the job they do and the rapport they have with the people as well. They are just fine young men and I hope they become fine old men in the service of the Smithville Police Department," said Alderman Jacobs.

After graduating from DeKalb County High School, Detective Holmes furthered his education at the Tennessee Technology Center. He graduated from Walter State Community College and began his career with the Smithville Police Department in 2007. Holmes was later promoted to the rank of Detective.

He is a graduate of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation School and is certified by the 13th Judicial District Drug Task Force in drug diversion and the Tennessee Meth Task Force. Holmes is certified in Child Passenger Safety, the United States Department of Justice Amber Alert training and technical assistance program and Pharmaceutical Overdose Death Investigations. During Detective Holmes' six years of employment, he has been awarded three departmental commendations for criminal investigations and narcotics arrests.

In other business, the aldermen named Dwain Snow to fill the unexpired term of Clay Farler on the city planning commission. Farler recently resigned the position.

The mayor and aldermen will also meet in an informal workshop on Tuesday, May 21 at 5:30 p.m. at city hall to make preparations for the 2013-14 city budget. Janice Plemmons, the city's financial advisor will also meet with the board during the workshop. "We will have the departmental heads come in and they will give us their wish list and go over the major projects for the upcoming year," said Secretary-Treasurer Hunter Hendrixson.

Sheriff's Department Makes Arrest in Break-In at Maggie's Landing

May 6, 2013
Dwayne Page
Christopher Trent Barnes
Travis Marcus Melton
William Corey Dickens

The Sheriff's Department has charged one man with breaking into Maggie's Landing on Highway 70.

30 year old Christopher Trent Barnes of Smithville is charged with burglary and theft of property over $1,000. His bond is $10,000 and he will be in court on June 6.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Monday, March 11 Barnes allegedly entered the front door of Maggies Landing on Highway 70 while the business was closed. He allegedly took two 12 gauge shotguns, a nine millimeter handgun, a 22 caliber rifle, rolled and loose change, and other various items all valued at over $1,000. The case was investigated by criminal detectives of the sheriff's department.

In a separate case, another man has been charged with breaking into two homes last year on Johnson Chapel Road.
20 year old Travis Marcus Melton of Johnson Chapel Road, Sparta is charged with two counts of aggravated burglary and two counts of theft of property over $1,000. His bond is $80,000 and he will be in court on May 16.

Sheriff Ray said that on February 29, 2012 Melton allegedly broke into a residence on Johnson Chapel Road by kicking in a back door. He allegedly took a 20 gauge shotgun, two flat screen TV's, a DVD player, a chain saw and other various items all valued at over $1,000.

Meanwhile on the same day, February 29 Melton also allegedly broke into another home on Johnson Chapel Road through a window. Melton allegedly took a 46 inch flat screen TV, DVD player, laptop computers, a digital camera, and other various items all valued at more than $1,000.

The case was investigated by criminal detectives of the sheriff's department.

28 year old William Corey Dickens of Forrest Avenue, Smithville is charged with theft of property under $500. His bond is $2,500 and he will be in court on May 22.

Sheriff Ray said that on Tuesday, April 9, Dickens allegedly unlocked a Seven Up and Coke vending machine and took $160 at Prichard's Foods on Highway 53. He allegedly unlocked the vending machines with a seven pin tubular lock pick ordered off the Internet.

31 year old Christopher J. Nash of Sparta Highway, Smithville is charged with domestic assault. His bond is $2,500 and he will be in court May 16. Sheriff Ray said that on Monday, April 29 Nash allegedly assaulted his girlfriend at the Lake Motel on Sparta Highway by hitting her in the face and head several times with his fist leaving a knot on her forehead.

41 year old Richard Brandon Turner of Andrew Street, Smithville is charged with public intoxication. His bond is $1,500 and he will be in court on June 6.

Sheriff Ray said that on or about Thursday, May 2, a criminal detective of the sheriff's department saw Turner walking in the middle of the street on South Bright Hill Road. Turner was unsteady on his feet, stumbling in and out of traffic. Turner had a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on his person and bloodshot eyes.

21 year old James Raymond Graham is charged with domestic assault. His bond is $1,500 and he will be in court on May 9.

Sheriff Ray said that on Saturday, May 4 Graham allegedly assaulted his wife by pushing her into a door. Several times, Graham allegedly refused to let her leave the residence on Young Ridge Road. The woman had a bruise on her leg from the scuffle. Graham was arrested and brought to the jail for booking.

Habitat for Humanity Dedicates New Home

May 6, 2013
Dwayne Page
Melba Vinca Receives Keys to her New Home from Nolan Turner (WJLE Photo)
Habitat members join Melba Vinca family for dedication ceremony
Melba Vinca and Grandchildren with Nolan Turner of Habitat for Humanity

A dedication ceremony was held Sunday afternoon by members of Habitat for Humanity of DeKalb County to commemorate the recent completion of the fourth partner family home on Hayes Street in Smithville.

Melba Vinca and her grandchildren, Bradley Mullican and Cayton and Justin Lance are expected to move into the home soon. Vinca said the family loves their new home and are thankful to everyone who helped them.

The dedication ceremony included a greeting, prayers, scripture reading, and consecration of the home all led by Dr. John Carpenter of the Smithville First United and Bright Hill United Methodist Churches.

Local Habitat member Sharon Evans presented Vinca a Bible and Habitat President Nolan Turner gave her the keys to the home.

The program ended with the group reciting in unison the Lord's Prayer.

"This house has 1,050 square feet of living area inside," said Turner. "Its got three bedrooms, a bathroom, living room, and kitchen combination. It has a half bath and closet space. Each house we build is based on the number in the family. Every family we have served has had two or three children. So all of our houses have basically been the same square footage," said Turner.

Officers of Habitat for Humanity of DeKalb County are: President, Nolan Turner; Vice President, Chad Driver; Secretary, Gayla Hendrix; and Treasurer, Brenda Hooper.

Habitat Board Members are: Michael Barry, Chad Driver, Joy Parker, John Carpenter, Pam Restrepo, Arthur Primrose, Larry Steffee, Mary Nell Summers, Cindy Webb, Lisa Garrison, Larry Green, Rob Willingham, and Hearon Puckett.

Former Board members who continue to serve as committee chairs are: Sharon Evans, Tecia Puckett Pryor, Tom Janney, Glenda Davis, Gary Johnson, John Quintero, Kay Quintero, Kim Wheeler, Laura Stone, Nancy Lewis, and Marie.

Weight Loss Challenge Kicks Off

May 4, 2013
Shan Burlow
Mike Foster, Sue Conley, and Shan Burklow
Connie McCracken, Janice Barnes, Elaine Rigsby, Diana Adams, Brenda Colwell
Sommer Deebanks, Shan Burklow, Jennifer Tramel, Beth Chandler

Over 275 participants came out and signed-up for the Ultimate Weight Loss Challenge on Tuesday night. Individuals and teams will have 90 days to lose all the weight they can. DeKalb Community Hospital will be providing support groups, nutrition classes, and local discounts along the way to make losing weight easier. The individuals or teams with the highest percentage of body weight lost by July 23rd will receive cash prizes and will be named the Ultimate Weight Loss Champions. The Dekalb County winner will go head-to-head against the Cannon County Champion as the County Mayors, Mike Foster and Mike Gannon reveal the winning county champ at the DeKalb County Fair on Friday, July 26th at 7pm.

"This is a great way to get our community thinking about healthy choices, getting active and beating Cannon County in the process," County Mayor, Mike Foster smiles, "Every time you look at a dinner roll, put it down, and think of how happy we will be to bring home that trophy! I can't wait to see the look on Mike Gannon’s face when DeKalb County wins."

“Our hospital was so pleased with the wonderful turnout to support the challenge. Hundreds of people across DeKalb and Cannon Counties will be making healthy choices, getting active and supporting each other,” said Sue Conley – CEO of DeKalb Community Hospital and Stones River Hospital, “We would like to personally thank Pat Ford of Smithville Subway for partnering with us and encourage other local restaurants to do the same. It’s more fun when we lose the weight together.”

The Ultimate Weight Loss Challenge is sponsored by DeKalb Community Hospital, The Smithville Review, WJLE 101.7FM, WJLE.com, Subway Fresh Fit Menu and other local participating restaurants. To find out how your business can be a part of the challenge, contact Director - Shan Burklow sburklow@dchtn.com

DCHS Baseball Coach Scott Odom Suspended for Alleged TSSAA Rule Violation

May 3, 2013
Dwayne Page
Coach Scott Odom

DeKalb County High School Baseball Coach Scott Odom will have to sit out the rest of the season.

DCHS Principal Patrick Cripps suspended Coach Odom this week based on allegations that a TSSAA regulation was violated when Little League umpires were scheduled for the DCHS game against Watertown Tuesday in Smithville. The Tigers won that game on senior night 8 to 7.

"Gene McNeese of the TSSAA called me on Wednesday with a charge that our baseball program had violated a TSSAA rule and regulation," said Cripps in an interview with WJLE Friday. "That violation was using unregistered umpires in a TSSAA game. Upon investigation it was found that we did violate that rule. At that time I decided to suspend Coach Odom for the remainder of the baseball season. We've got to look at what's best for the program," said Cripps.

The suspension only applies to Odom's coaching duties. It has no impact on his teaching job.

The game with Watertown, originally scheduled for Monday, April 29 using TSSAA umpires, was rained out. Reportedly, TSSAA umpires were not available for a Tuesday make-up game and Watertown could not re-schedule for Wednesday. The district tournament began Thursday.

WJLE contacted Coach Odom by email Friday. He replied stating he did not wish to make a comment at this time.

Assistant Coach Andrew Dixon will serve as acting head coach for the remainder of the post season.

Convicted Felon Found with Gun, Meth Lab, and Marijuana Grow Operation

May 3, 2013
Dwayne Page
Anthony Mason Adcock
Tammi Faye Adams

While serving a search warrant on a convicted felon for illegal sale of weapons, the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department Thursday night/Friday morning discovered that the man was also growing marijuana and had a meth lab at his residence on the Old Mill Hill Road, Dowelltown.

The arrest of 43 year old Anthony Mason Adcock came as the result of a lengthy investigation by the Sheriff's Department. Two other arrests were also made, 42 year old Tammi Faye Adams, also of Old Mill Hill Road; and 34 year old Shawn Bradley Patton of Oak Place, Smithville. Patton, who was picked up at the Adcock residence for violation of parole.

According to Sheriff Patrick Ray, Adcock has an extensive criminal history. “My drug detectives started an investigation on Adcock some time ago. Adcock has a lengthy criminal background and he is no stranger to law enforcement. Adcock has been convicted of many drug offences such as the Manufacture of a Schedule II Drug (Methamphetamine), Simple Possession of a Schedule II Drug (Methamphetamine), Conspiracy to Manufacture/Possess with the Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine, Simple Possession of a Schedule VI Drug (Marijuana), and weapon charges such as carrying a Weapon for the Purpose of Going Armed and Possession of a Destructive Device (Pipe Bomb)," said Sheriff Ray.

“Adcock was one of DeKalb Counties first methamphetamine lab busts in the late 90’s and was one of the first meth labs I worked on," said Sheriff Ray. Adcock also at that time had an explosive device, which was a pipe bomb, in his home. Adcock was charged here locally at that time and then we were able to get him into the Federal Court System. Since that time he has had even more drug arrests," according to Sheriff Ray.

Sheriff Ray continued “We were able to get a search warrant on Adcock’s residence (recently) after an investigation into the illegal sale of weapons. Adcock is a convicted felon and cannot possess, buy, sale, or trade on any firearms of any kind. When we arrived at the Old Mill Hill Road address (Thursday night) Adcock, Adams, Patton, and three other individuals were there. While conducting the search warrant we found a .22 caliber pistol in his residence and we also found ammunition. During the search we also found marijuana, marijuana paraphernalia such as pipes, plastic grow trays, marijuana seeds, and over 30 small marijuana plants that Adcock had growing in a plastic tote. My Department and I stopped the search and my drug detectives and I went back to the jail and obtained yet another search warrant for the marijuana, the paraphernalia, and any other controlled drugs. When we executed that search warrant for the drugs not only did we find items to manufacture marijuana with, we also found items that are consistent in the manufacture of methamphetamine such as tubing, coffee filters, turkey basters, ammonium nitrate, drain cleaner, and acid in a 20 oz soda bottle," said Sheriff Ray.

Adcock is charged with 2 counts of possession of a weapon by a felon, manufacture of a schedule VI drug (Marijuana) and initiating process to result in the manufacture of methamphetamine and his bond is set at $125,000. Adams' charges are manufacture of a schedule VI drug (Marijuana) and initiating process to result in the manufacture of methamphetamine and her bond is set at $50,000. Both will be in court on May 16 2013. Adcock’s money, an outside security system, and car were seized and the residence has been quarantined due to the meth lab discovery.

Sheriff Ray said there are more charges pending in the case and Drug Detectives will be contacting the Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms for possible federal charges.

Sandy Willingham Named DeKalb County Teacher of the Year

May 3, 2013
Dwayne Page
Sandy Willingham Named DeKalb County Teacher of the Year
Teachers of the Year

A third grade teacher at Northside Elementary School was named "DeKalb County Teacher of the Year" Thursday night during the sixth annual Teacher of the Year banquet at the Elizabeth Chapel Baptist Church.

Sandy Willingham received the honor and a check for $150 from Liberty State Bank, the sponsor of the banquet. The presentation was made by Director of Schools Mark Willoughby and Roy Nelson Pugh of Liberty State Bank.

Willingham was among five local educators who were recognized during the banquet for being chosen by peers as "Teacher of the Year" at their schools. The others were Amanda Rhoady, a first grade teacher at Smithville Elementary School; Suzette Barnes, a seventh grade educator at DeKalb Middle School; Tammy Payne, a fourth grade teacher at DeKalb West School; and Joey Reeder, a History teacher at DeKalb County High School

Every year DeKalb County participates in the Tennessee Teacher of the Year program. Each school picks a Teacher of the Year from their school who is in the running for honors at the county and regional level. Teachers are selected in the categories of Pre-K through 4th grade, 5th through 8th grade, and 9th through 12th grade. The overall Teacher of the Year from DeKalb County is selected from among the five teachers of the year at the school level.

Principals and assistant principals introduced the Teachers of the Year at their schools and remarked on how they deserved the honor.

The guest speaker for the banquet was Billie Friel, Pastor of the Alexandria First Baptist Church.

(TOP PHOTO: Director of Schools Mark Willoughby, Sandy Willingham, Roy Nelson Pugh of Liberty State Bank, and School Board Chairman Johnny Lattimore)

(BOTTOM PHOTO: Mark Willoughby, Suzette Barnes, Amanda Rhoady, Joey Reeder, Tammy Payne, Sandy Willingham, Roy Nelson Pugh, and Johnny Lattimore)


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