Local News Articles

Smithville Aldermen Take No Action to Ban Guns in City Parks

July 21, 2009
Dwayne Page

The Smithville Aldermen apparently will not opt out of a new state law giving gun carry permit holders the right to possess a firearm in parks..

The new state law, recently adopted by the Tennessee General Assembly, is meant to let handgun permit holders carry their weapons into every park in the state. But in a compromise to ensure passage of the law, legislators included a provision that gives local governments the power to ban guns in some or all of their parks by passing a new ordinance.

Now, many local governments in Tennessee are moving to do just that before the state law goes into effect September 1st.

Mayor Taft Hendrixson brought the issue up during Monday night's city council meeting at the request of Director of Schools Mark Willoughby who apparently has some concerns, since teachers often take school students on trips to the city's parks. "I got a call today from the Director of Schools. The new law that has gone into effect allows guns in bars, restaurants, and other places. There is a number of cities and towns that are opting out to keep those (guns) out of city parks. I don't think the people that carry gun permits have ever given any problems. The best I can find out, probably not a one in the State of Tennessee has ever given any problems. But I was asked by the Director of Schools. I think his concern is a lot of the teachers, at certain times of the year, take the children over there for picnics or whatever at the parks. He just asked if I would bring this up before the board and get their feeling on whether we want to opt out of the law and do a resolution not approving guns in the parks, all of our city parks. I guess we're talking about the Smith Road, Airport, and Greenbrook Parks, the Joe L. Evins Ballfield. All of our public parks would come under this."

Alderman Shawn Jacobs said he didn't see a need to issue a ban. "My feeling is most of these people, all the people that have gun permits have undergone background checks, their fingerprints are on file, they have all taken a certain minimum number of hours of training and they're certainly more equipped or attuned to carry guns than most of the general public and as we've discussed I don't think there has ever been a problem with anybody that's carried a gun permit because they've passed the backgrounds. I would hate to see us do that personally. I think we're restricting more and more civil liberties all the time and the reason the legislature passed that was to try to lessen the confusion, I think, about where you can or can't carry a gun. I personally would hate to see us do that. That's just my opinion. This is always something we could revisit at a later time if there were problems."

The board took no action.

Mayor Hendrixson reported to the aldermen that the city will receive a $500,000 community development block grant from the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development to assist in funding the proposed renovation of the water treatment plant, thanks to federal stimulus money coming to the state. "If you'll recall in 2008 we submitted a CDBG block grant for $500,000 to help with the water plant. We didn't make the cut. We were one or two below the cut off."

" I'll read you this letter I received today (from the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development). Dear Mayor Hendrixson, I am pleased to inform you that Governor Bredesen has approved your 2008 CDBG Recovery Funds application."

"This is some of the stimulus money that has gone back and picked up (unfunded grant applications). We have got that grant. I executed the contracts today and sent them back today. This is definitely good news. It will help on our water system reconditioning we're doing on the plant."

In other business Monday night, the city board, at the request of Alderman Steve White, voted to give members of the Smithville Volunteer Fire Department with at least of ten years of service as of November 30th, an extra $500 in addition to their regular compensation for fire calls, as payment in lieu of vacation. Mayor Hendrixson says about twelve firefighters would qualify for the extra pay which would cost the city about $6,000.

The city board also approved Alderman Steve White's request to schedule a city employee picnic for September or October at Greenbrook Park and to make it an annual event, in a show of appreciation to the city employees.

In other business, Mayor Hendrixson appointed Alderman Steven White as Vice Mayor. The aldermen voted unanimously to approve the appointment.

Dustin Bain, a water plant trainee since May 4th, who has been earning $10.01 per hour, was hired by the board as a permanent employee now that he has completed his probationary period. His pay will increase to $10.66 per hour.

Alderman Aaron Meeks said he had done some checking with Don Darden of the Municipal Technical Advisory Service (MTAS) about the role the aldermen play as commissioners over their departments, or in his case, police commissioner. Meeks says there appears to be some confusion on that issue. "I want to take a couple of minutes to clear up a question that has arisen. I'll draw everybody's attention to Title I of the city codes, Title I-102 which says "Each department to be under an alderman. Each department shall be under the immediate supervision of an alderman who shall be designated by the board to supervise that department."

"Webster's definition of ‘immediate' in that situation is ‘direct'.

"The confusion came from an email from Don Darden on August 18th, 2008 to Hunter (Hendrixson). It stated that ‘the police chief and not the police commissioner nor the mayor is in charge of day to day operations of the department', meaning the police department."

"I immediately contacted Don Darden and he got back in touch with me. I asked him does that mean that the mayor and the police commissioner have no authority in the police department? He said absolutely not. The mayor, the police commissioner cannot, on a day to day basis, supervise the officers. We can't make up schedules, but we certainly can direct the department head as to what we expect of the department and what we want accomplished by the department. I just want to clarify that."

"I have been in touch with Chief Jennings and I plan to spend more time in the department and find out how it's operating and what needs to be done to improve. There's plenty of room for improvement. We have some very good officers back there. We have some other officers that I'm questionable on. But I don't know until I have sufficient time to investigate and find out what is going on. I certainly want to keep the board apprized and I will keep the public apprized as to what is going on. This is for the public's edification as well as this board's."

The aldermen adopted on first reading proposed ordinance # 422 to rezone the property of Richard D. Atnip and Repsie C. Johnson at Bright Hill Road from R-3 High Density Residential to B-2 General Business. Second and final reading action will be scheduled following a public hearing at the next meeting on Monday, August 3rd at 7:00 p.m. at city hall.

Alderman Jacobs asked if the department heads could report once a month to the council. That, he says, is the practice in Murfreesboro, Alexandria, and other towns. "Since I'm new that would be very helpful to me for them to come in and briefly tell the council what is going on, how are they doing budget wise, and if there's any equipment they need."

Alderman Meeks asked if those reports could be made in writing and possibly sent to the aldermen with the agendas "then we have something to refer back to."

Alderman Jacobs was agreeable with Meeks' suggestion. "I'm not trying to create any extra work for anybody but it could benefit them (department heads) as well as us (aldermen) to be informed about what's going on in all the departments. It might be an efficient form of communication and keep things from dropping through the cracks."

Mayor Hendrixson said he would include the reports with the agenda.

Rosemary Apple Wins Fairest of the Fair Pageant

July 20, 2009
Dwayne Page
Fairest of the Fair Rosemary Apple-
(Left to Right) Kara Young, Jessie Strickland, Queen Rosemary Apple, and Macy Felts
Clay Edwards Family- Abram, Tena, and Sara

18 year old Rosemary Apple is the 2009 Fairest of the Fair.

Apple, daughter of Nick and Claire Apple of Smithville, was chosen from among ten contestants for the title Monday night in Alexandria. She was also named Miss Photogenic.

Apple succeeds the retiring Fairest of the Fair, 21 year old Nicole Linn of Smithville, daughter of Leo and Doris Linn.

18 year old Jessie Young Strickland of Alexandria was named first runner-up. She is the daughter of Jerry Strickland and the late Melissa Strickland.

18 year old Kara Elizabeth Young, daughter of Ronny and Nancy Young of Smithville was named second runner-up in the pageant.

Third runner-up went to Macy Felts, the 18 year old daughter of Kendra and Rick Guinn of Smithville and the late Chuck Felts.

20 year old Wendy Michelle Scott of Smithville, daughter of Kathy Scott and the late Billy Ray Scott was chosen Miss Congeniality.

Extreme Looks Hair Design awarded the "Extreme Queen" crown to 17 year old Breanna Hendrixson, daughter of Loretta and Tim Hendrixson of Smithville for beauty, sportsmanship, teamwork, and congeniality.

The DeKalb County Fair Board presented a plaque to the family of the late Clay Edwards in remembrance of Mr. Edwards, who was an active member of the fair board for several years. He passed away last fall. The presentation was made by Ron Paschal to Mr. Edwards' wife Tena, and children Sara and Abram Edwards.
Click here to see pictures from the fair on Monday http://www.wjle.com/fair-monday

Click here to view video clip of Off Road Challenge Monday at the Fair.

Katie Sue Haggard Crowned Junior Fair Princess

July 20, 2009
Dwayne Page
Junior Fair Princess Katie Sue Haggard
(Left to Right) Victoria Dawn Tatrow, Chelsie Lewis, Queen Katie Sue Haggard, and Katelyn Goodwin

The 2009 Junior Fair Princess of the DeKalb County Fair is 15 year old Katie Sue Haggard, daughter of David and Vicki Haggard of Smithville.

She succeeds the retiring Junior Fair Princess, 15 year old Kristen LaCole Smartt of Dowelltown, daughter of Aaron and Paula Taylor.

The first runner-up was Chelsie Lewis, the 14 year old daughter of Jimmy and Gina Lewis of Smithville.

Second runner-up was Katelyn Goodwin, the 15 year old daughter of Joey and Kathy Goodwin of Smithville.

15 year old Victoria Dawn Tatrow was the third runner-up. She is the daughter of the late Shanna Tatrow and Corey and Vicki Funk of Smithville.

Martha Alan Webb, the 16 year old daughter of Alan and Lora Webb of Smithville was named Miss Congeniality.

Sara Elizabeth Edwards, 13 year old daughter of Tena Edwards of Liberty and the late Clay Edwards, was chosen Miss Photogenic.

Others in the top ten were Zoe Elaine Whaley, Camry Lou White, Sara Elizabeth Edwards, Cora Beth Rhody, Jasmine Marie Dimas, and Martha Alan Webb.

Extreme Looks Hair Design awarded an "Extreme Queen" based on congeniality, teamwork, sportsmanship, and beauty. The crown went to 13 year old Zoe Elaine Whaley, daughter of Celia and Scott Whaley of Smithville.

The Junior Fair Princess Pageant featured twenty eight young ladies.
Click here to see pictures of the fair on Monday http://www.wjle.com/fair-monday

Arson Investigation Results in Burglary and Theft Charges Against Warren County Man

July 20, 2009
Dwayne Page
Jeffery Smithson
Harold Eugene Cunningham
Melissa Susan Cunningham

An arson investigation by the Sheriff's Department has resulted in the arrest of a Warren County man for aggravated burglary and theft.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says 46 year old Jeffery Smithson of Viola Road McMinnville was arrested Wednesday, July 15th for aggravated burglary and theft of property under $500.00. County detectives were called to investigate a house fire on Stoner Road June 28th. Through that investigation, the detectives learned that Smithson had entered the home before the fire and had taken the owner's cell phone. The residence burned a short time later. After he took the cell phone, Sheriff Ray says Smithson gave the phone number to his friends so they could contact him. Detectives are still investigating the arson case. Smithson's bond was set at $17,500 and he will appear in court on July 23rd..

Meanwhile, on Friday, July 17th, a deputy spotted 39 year old Harold Eugene Cunningham of Johnson Chapel Road, Sparta driving on Highway 70. Having prior knowledge that Cunningham had a revoked driver's license, the officer stopped Cunningham, ran a computer check on Cunningham's license and found it to be revoked for a driving under the influence charge. Cunningham was placed under arrest for driving on a revoked license. Deputies also found three yellow pills believed to be Hydrocodone in Cunningham's pocket and was further charged with possession of a schedule III drug (Hydrocodone). Meanwhile, a passenger, 44 year old Melissa Susan Cunningham also of Johnson Chapel Road Sparta, was arrested after four pink pills and twenty eight blue pills believed to be Hydrocodone were found in her pocket book. Ms. Cunningham said she did not have a legal prescription for the pills. She was charged with possession of a schedule III drug (Hydrocodone). Bond for both was set at $5,000 each and they will appear in court on August 6th.

Deputies responded to a drunk driver call on Dale Ridge road Saturday, July 18th , spotted the described vehicle on Snow Hill Road, and noticed it weaving. The driver, 35 year old Anthony Wayne Cantrell of Snow Hill Road Dowelltown was arrested for a first offense of driving under the influence. After stopping Cantrell's vehicle, Deputies noticed a strong odor of an intoxicant on Cantrell's person. Cantrell also was unsteady on his feet and he refused to submit to all field sobriety tasks. Bond for Cantrell was set at $1,500 and he will appear in court on August 6th..

In another incident on Saturday, deputies observed a vehicle on the south end of the county weaving in the roadway and running off into the ditches. Officers stopped 31 year old Jason Kenneth Cline on Haley Road and detected a strong odor of alcohol on his person. Cline also had red watery eyes and slurred speech. Cline submitted to field sobriety tasks which he failed. Cline was arrested for a second offense of driving under the influence and his bond was set at $3,000 He will appear in court on August 27th.

On Sunday, July 19th, deputies observed a male subject walking on Sparta Highway and stopped to check on him. 32 year old Jimmy Lane Estes of Jacobs Pillar Road was found to be intoxicated. Estes was unsteady on his feet and had slurred speech. Due to the safety of Estes, Deputies arrested him for public intoxication. Bond for Estes was set at $1,000 and he will appear in court on August 6th.

DeKalb All Stars Eliminated from State Tournament

July 20, 2009
William Freddy Curtis

The DeKalb County Junior League All Star 13-14 year old team was eliminated from the Junior League State Tournament Sunday after losing to Clarksville Northwest 11 to 3 at Cumberland Gap High School near Cumberland Gap, Tennessee.

In the tournament opening game on Saturday, the DeKalb All Stars were
defeated by the District 7 All Stars from Murfreesboro by a score
of 6-5. That loss sent the local all stars into the loser's bracket of the double elimination tournament against the 13 -14 year old All Stars from Clarksville Northwest on Sunday.

DeKalb was the visiting team on Sunday and came out in the 1st inning with singles by Stephen Howell and Steven Page and a 1-0 score. Stephen Howell was the starting pitcher
for the DeKalb Team.

In the 3rd Inning Howell then hit a double, followed by Evan Cripps hitting a single bringing in Howell, and Steven Page hit one deep bringing in Cripps, but Page was called out at third base, resulting in the score of 3-0 DeKalb at the bottom of the 3rd Inning.

The 3rd inning saw the tide turn for DeKalb as Pitcher Stephen Howell walked six successive batters allowing Clarksville Northwest to score 4 runs. Evan Curtis came in to relieve Howell and ended the Clarksville streak by striking out a batter.

In the 4th Inning DeKalb saw a batter hit, Seth Stanley, followed by three successive outs.
Clarksville scored no runs in the 4th Inning.

In the 5th inning Devin Summers came in as pitcher and walked three batters and allowed three singles, hit a batter, and two walks and the score was 7-3.

The 6th inning saw DeKalb's bats come alive with a single by Evan Curtis, double by Jordan Huling, but there were three outs at the bottom of the line-up resulting in no score. Clarksville increased their lead to 11-3 in the 6th Inning sealing DeKalb's fate, although in the 7th
inning Evan Cripps and Evan Curtis each added a single.

The final was DeKalb 3 and Clarksville Northwest 11, ending the DeKalb County 13-14 Year Old All Stars' appearance at the State Tournament.

This team would like to thank all individuals and businesses who donated funds to allow the team to travel to the State Tournament.

DeKalb County Fair Opens Monday

July 19, 2009
Dwayne Page
Carnival Workers Setting up Ferris Wheel Sunday at DeKalb County Fair
 Fair Board Secretary Charles Robinson Hanging Sign Sunday in Kenneth Sandlin Center

Carnival workers, members of the DeKalb County Fair Board, and other volunteers spent several hours over the weekend preparing for opening night of the fair Monday.

The DeKalb County Fair in Alexandria kicks off Monday through Saturday.

With the theme "You need a FAIRCATION", the Grandpa Fair of the South will feature a fun filled week of activities.

The following events are scheduled:

Monday, July 20th: National Anthem at 5:45 p.m. at the Lion's Club Pavilion; T-Shirt Preview at 5:50 p.m. at the Lions Club Pavilion; Cattle Show at 6:00 p.m. at the grandstands ; Off-Road Challenge at the T.C. McMillen Arena at 6:30 p.m.; Junior Fair Princess Pageant at 6:00 p.m. followed by the Fairest of the Fair Pageant at the Lions Club Pavilion. $1000 cash giveaway at 9:00 p.m. and announcement of DeKalb Idol winners at the Pavilion.

Tuesday, July 21st: the Little Mr. and Miss Pageant at 6:00 p.m. followed by David Turner and Friends at the Lions Club Pavilion; Go-Cart Racing at 6:00 p.m. at the T.C. McMillen Arena; and a Horse Show at 7:00 p.m. at the Grandstand; $1000 cash giveaway at 9:00 p.m. and announcement of DeKalb Idol winners at the Pavilion.

Wednesday, July 22nd: Little Miss Princess Pageant at 6:00 p.m. followed by the Miss Sweetheart Pageant at the Lions Club Pavilion; Four Wheeler and Motorcycle Racing at 6:00 p.m. at the T.C. McMillen Arena; $1000 cash giveaway at 9:00 p.m. and announcement of DeKalb Idol winners at the Pavilion.

Thursday, July 23rd: Senior Citizen Day activities at 9:00 a.m. at the Lions Club Pavilion; 4-H Chick Chain Show at 5:00 p.m. at the barn; Junior Goat Show at 6:00 p.m. at the barn; a Baby Show at 6:00 p.m. followed by a Vintage Fashion Show at the Lions Club Pavilion; and a Rodeo at the T.C. McMillen Arena at 7:30 p.m.; $1000 cash giveaway at 9:00 p.m. and announcement of DeKalb Idol winners at the Pavilion.

Friday, July 24th: WSMV Channel 4 Snow Bird from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.; Doug Collins in concert at 5:30 p.m. at the Granstand; Toddler Show at 6:00 p.m. followed by DeKalb Idol Final Competition at the Lions Club Pavilion; an Antique Tractor Pull at 6:00 p.m. at the T.C. McMillen Arena; and a Demolition Derby at 7:00 p.m. at the Grandstand; $1000 cash giveaway at 9:00 p.m.

Saturday, July 25th: A Horse Shoe Tournament at 3:00 p.m. at the barn; Gospel Singing at the Lion's Club Pavilion at 6:00 p.m. and a Super Tractor and Truck Pull at 6:00 p.m. at the T.C. McMillen Arena: and a $1000 cash giveaway at 9:00 p.m.

Fair Manager Jeff McMillen urges fair goers to take the time to enjoy lots of delicious foods from the food booths and stop by to see the many commercial, agricultural, and women's exhibits.

The Kenneth Sandlin Center will be open Monday through Friday from 5:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. and Saturday from 4:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m.

Enjoy nightly entertainment at the Memory Lane Stage in Memory Village. The line-up is as follows:

Monday night, July 20th:
7:15-7:35 p.m. Kevin Roberts (Elvis Impersonator)
8:15 p.m.- until? Jubal's Cry-CD Release Party

Tuesday night, July 21st:
6:00 p.m.- 7:00 p.m.- Suzanne Slager and Friends
7:15-8:15 p.m.- Terri Lynn Weaver
8:15-9:15 p.m.- Unfinished

Wednesday night, July 22nd
6:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m.- Broken Vessels
7:15 p.m.-8:15 p.m.- Krystal Marie

Thursday night, July 23rd
7:00 p.m.-? Karaoke Night

Friday night, July 24th
6:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m.- Bryan Keith
7:15-8:15 p.m.- Pickin' Friends

Saturday night, July 25th
6:00 p.m.-7:45 p.m.- Country Pride
7:45 p.m.-until Lakside Drive

One thousand dollars in cash will be given away each night, Monday through Saturday and you must be present to win. If no one presents the winning ticket within three minutes, the money will be saved and given away on Saturday night in increments of $1,000. Your fair admission ticket is your ticket for the cash drawing.

Rides on the Midway will be provided by the Family Attractions Amusement Company. Unlimited rides will be available each night for $16.00.

Admission to the fair is $3.00 per person. Children age four and younger will be admitted free! Gates open at 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and at 4:00 p.m. on Saturday. Parking is Free!

For more information, call 529-FAIR or visit on-line at www.dekalbcountyfair.us or www. dekalbtn.com.

DeKalb All Stars Drop First Game In State Tournament

July 19, 2009
William Freddy Curtis
DeKalb All Star Pitcher Steven Page
Coach Steve Page Confers with Members of his All Star Team

The DeKalb County Junior League All Star 13-14 Year Old Team participated in the State Tournament on Saturday, July 18th at Cumberland Gap High School near Cumberland Gap, Tennessee. In the tournament opening game, the DeKalb All Stars faced the District 7 All Stars
from Murfreesboro.

The DeKalb All Stars were defeated 6-5. DeKalb started out with a 4-0 lead. A series of pop flies followed with two errors and the game was tied in the top of the 4th Inning. At the bottom of the 4th Inning DeKalb had three up and three down, which resulted in no runs.

Murfreesboro gained the lead in the 5th Inning.

DeKalb rallied in the 7th Inning with singles from Stephen Howell, Evan Cripps, Evan Curtis, and Jordan Huling. A questionable call occurred as Steven Howell attempted to steal at third base, but was ruled out. The game concluded when Devin Summers had a ball hit just over first base and snagged by Murfreesboro.

Steven Page had the loss on the mound for DeKalb. Those having singles included: Stephen Howell; Evan Cripps (2); Steven Page; Evan Curtis (2); Jordan Huling; Dustin Cook; and Devin Summers had two doubles.

DeKalb will enter the Loser Bracket in a game scheduled for Sunday, July
19th at 2:00 p.m. E.D.T. or 1:00 p.m. Smithville time.

(Top Picture) DeKalb 13-14 Year Old All Star Pitcher Steven Page

(Bottom Picture) - Coach Steve Page confers with the team in the 5th Inning

(Special thanks to Freddy Curtis for providing pictures and story)

DeKalb County Fire Department Named to Elite List

July 18, 2009
Donny Green

For the second consecutive year, DeKalb County Fire Department has been named, by the Tennessee Fire and Codes Academy (TFACA), as one of the Elite Club members that attained over 1,000 student contact training hours. For FY 2008-09, there are 42 of the state’s approximately 700 fire departments that met the requirements to join the “Elite Club” and DeKalb County Fire Department ranked # 28, with 1,288 student contact hours.

According to DeKalb County Fire Chief Donny Green, “the 1,288 hours only includes a portion of the larger amount of training hours that our firefighters have attended. We have specialized training courses, such as vehicle extrication/rescue, wild land firefighting, CPR, medical first responder, and monthly training drills, that our firefighters complete which accounts for over 3,000 department training hours annually.”

Chief Green says that he credits much of the department’s training program success to Asst. Chief Roy Merriman who coordinates and manages the training activities for the department’s 11 stations and 70 volunteer firefighters. “The fact that we are ranked # 28 on this list, which is mostly full-time paid fire departments, speaks volumes about our training program and the commitment our volunteer firefighters have; especially when you consider that 19 of the 27 departments ranked above DeKalb County Fire Department are full-time paid departments whose firefighters are actually on the clock when they are training. Our volunteer firefighters are doing their training on their own time, on nights and weekends when they are not at their paying jobs”, says Chief Green.

DeKalb County Fire Department continues to seek committed volunteers who are willing to serve their communities. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer firefighter, contact the department at 615-464-7176, or visit the department’s website at www.dekalbfire.com to submit an online application.

Smithville Police Make Arrests

July 18, 2009
Dwayne Page

Smithville Police recently charged two men with drug offenses after making a traffic stop.

33 year old Bobby Wayne Pinegar of 3650 McMinnville Highway, Smithville is charged with possession of a schedule III and IV controlled substance. His bond is $2,000 and he will be in court July 30th. 31 year old Andrew Wesley Wilbert of 2310 Vandergriff Hollow Road, Dowelltown is charged with possession of a schedule VI controlled substance. His bond is $1,000 and he will be in court July 30th.

Smithville K-9 Officer Bradley Tatrow was patrolling on East Broad Street on July 9th at approximately 10:00 p.m. when he witnessed a vehicle commit a traffic violation. Officer Tatrow stopped the vehicle and the driver gave him permission to search the automobile for weapons, alcohol, and narcotics. Pinegar was a passenger in the vehicle. He had on his person a cigarette pack containing twelve hydrocodone pills, a schedule III drug, and eleven xanax pills, a schedule IV drug. Wilbert, another passenger in the vehicle, had on his person a baggie containing a green leafy substance believed to be marijuana.

39 year old Tracey Lee Vashist of 622 Short Mountain Highway, Smithville is charged with child abuse and neglect. Her bond is $5,000 and she will be in court July 23rd.

Smithville Police Officer Matt Holmes was dispatched to the residence of Vashist on July 11th at approximately 9:55 a.m. on a missing child call. The mother, Vashist, reported that she could not locate her four year old son and had last seen him about forty five minutes earlier. A five year old female was outside the residence unattended. The Smithville Fire Department was called in to assist in the search for the missing child. The Department of Children Services was also notified. The four year old boy was later located by Officer Holmes at the intersection of Fisher and Bryant Street. An investigation was conducted by Officer Holmes. The five year old female told the officer that after the boy left, she went inside the residence and awoke her mother to tell her the boy was gone. Other witnesses were interviewed. DCS removed the two children from the custody of Vashist. They were placed with the grandparents.

32 year old Stephanie L. Vanatta of 691 Snow Hill Road, Dowelltown is charged with two counts of passing a forged check at Food Lion. Her bond is $20,000. 37 year old Craig Anthony Hill of 8741 Holmes Creek Road, Smithville is charged with passing a forged check. His bond is $25,000.

Officers report that Penny Adams came to the Smithville Police Department on June 21st at approximately 9:35 a.m. to report her billfold and some checks were stolen. Adams was at a business in Smithville and while she was inside, these articles were taken from her vehicle. Adams gave the officer the name of a possible suspect she saw close to the vehicle while it was parked. Detective Jerry Hutchins conducted an investigation which revealed that two persons had passed forged checks on the Adams bank account. Vanatta was arrested on July 8th and charged with passing the two forged checks at Food Lion on the Adams bank account. Vanatta allegedly passed one forged check on June 22nd for $92.61 and the other on June 23rd for $110.15. Meanwhile, on June 23rd, police say Hill passed a forged check in the amount of $211 on the Adams account at DeKalb Community Bank in Smithville.

In an unrelated crime, Hill was also arrested for theft of property. Police say on July 8th, a man entered the BP service station at 736 South Congress Boulevard in Smithville. The man asked the clerk for cigarettes. The clerk placed the cigarettes on the counter. The man swiped a bogus credit card through the machine. When the clerk turned to the cash register, the man grabbed the cigarettes and ran out of the door. Detective Jerry Hutchins conducted an investigation and arrested Hill, charging him with the theft of the cigarettes. His bond is $5,000.

44 year old David Ray Redmond of 740 Walker Drive Smithville is charged with a first offense of driving under the influence. His bond is $1,500 and he will be in court July 23rd.

Smithville Police Officer Travis Bryant was dispatched to Highway 56 South on a possible impaired driver on July 19th. He was given a description of the vehicle and driver. Officer Bryant observed the suspect drive around behind Jewel's Market. Officer Bryant made contact with the driver. During the conversation, Officer Bryant noticed Redmond's speech to be very slurred and he was unsteady on his feet. Redmond submitted to and performed poorly on field sobriety tasks.

Meanwhile, Smithville Police are asking for your help in solving other recent crimes.

Chief Jennings says Chad Hale, owner of Chad's Auto Sales in Smithville had four tires and wheels taken from a 2001 Pontiac Grand Prix parked on his car lot. The tires and wheels were stolen sometime between 6:00 p.m. on July 8th and 10:00 a.m. on July 9th. They are valued at $500.

Lynn Ferrell of 823 Dry Creek Road, Smithville had the following property taken from his business, Lynn's Auto Salvage sometime during the night of July 12th, two tie down straps, two radios, two tow chains, and a set of booster cables. The value of the property is approximately $500.

A CD player was taken from the automobile of Hector Cernantez Rivas of 1222 South College Street, Smithville sometime between July 7th and July 13th. The value of the CD player is $75.00

Chief Jennings is asking anyone with information on these thefts or other criminal activity to contact the Smithville Police Department at 615-597-8210. All information received will be kept confidential.

Police Working to Improve Public Relations

July 17, 2009
Dwayne Page

Members of the Smithville Police Department want the community to get to know them better, and according to at least one officer, the effort has paid off.

Chief Richard Jennings says Officer Nathan Estes recently came up with the idea of handing out police department stickers to children in the housing project, in a get acquainted campaign.

Officer Estes says children should not be afraid of the police. "What it consisted of is a particular officer going through the housing authority on foot patrol when we had time and handing out these stickers. Basically what this is doing, when we hand out these stickers, is we're interacting with the children and letting them know that they shouldn't be afraid of us."

According to Officer Estes, the effort has not only had a positive impact on the children, but their families have become more open in providing valuable information to the police. " I saw this as something positive and I originally started it for the children but it wound up going further than that, because we wound up getting a lot of information we needed for investigations for the police department, through the moms and dads, aunts, uncles, grandmothers, and grandfathers. We had two fugitive from justice people that I helped locate from the housing authority. There were two or three drug deals we got interested in while we were over there, things of that nature. But the main thing I wanted to prove with this was that the housing authority people and their kids are just as important to us as anybody else in the city or the county."

Officer Estes says he hopes to continue the campaign in other parts of the city. "Now that I'm back on nights, I'm going to start at a different place, such as Village Place subdivision, Morgan Avenue, and places like that while still keeping up the same streets such as Andrews and others where I have been going to let everyone know that just because we're the police does not mean we don't care about them or their kids. We're not in this just to take people to jail and write tickets. We're supposed to be a role model to the public and set an example for the public."


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