Local News Articles

Fire Destroys Home In Temperance Hall Area

March 21, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

A fire Wednesday morning destroyed the home of Jimmy Sprague at 310 Jackson Hollow Road in the Temperance Hall community.

County Fire Chief Donny Green says a neighbor coming home from work first saw the smoke and then discovered the fire at around 8:20 a.m. He says by that time, the roof had already collapsed.

Members of the Temperance Hall, Liberty, and Short Mountain Highway Stations responded along with a tanker truck but firefighters were unable to save the home and contents.

Sprague, who works for the county road department, was not at home at the time but saw the smoke and returned home. Sprague told firefighters he left home around 6:20 a.m. to take his children to school.

Sprague's 1996 Chevy Tahoe, parked in the driveway only a few feet away from the garage, was damaged but not destroyed. Sprague arrived in time to move the vehicle further away from the fire.

No one was injured.

Firefighters and members of the Tennessee Division of Forestry were later recalled to the scene after the fire rekindled and spread to the woods.

Search Underway On Center Hill Lake For Missing Cookeville Man

March 23, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

A search effort has been underway since Tuesday on Center Hill Lake for a man believed to have jumped off Hurricane Bridge and drowned.

43 year old Bobby Joe Cosgrove of Cook Street, Cookeville is missing.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says Cosgrove's vehicle was found parked by the side of the road at Hurricane Bridge on Highway 56 north early Tuesday morning and the car contained some of his personal belongings. Based on what was found in the car, Sheriff Ray says authorities believe Cosgrove may have jumped off the bridge.

Cosgrove is a white male with brown hair, brown eyes, and a brown beard. He was last seen wearing a jogging outfit. He is six feet tall and weighs about 200 pounds.

Sheriff Ray says members of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the TWRA, the DeKalb County Rescue Squad, and the Putnam County K-9 Tracking Unit have all been involved in the search for Cosgrove by land and water, but the depth of the lake as well as the huge rocks, metal, and parts of the old bridge at the bottom of the lake make dragging operations difficult.

He says if Cosgrove isn't found by the weekend, rescue squads from other counties will be called upon to aid in the search, and underwater cameras may be used.

Stranded Motorist Arrested By Sheriff's Department For Possession of Drugs

March 23, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

A woman who ran out of gas in her vehicle on Ferrell Road Wednesday was arrested by the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department after an officer found pills and drug paraphernalia in her vehicle.

Roxanne Hendrixson of McMinnville Highway is charged with possession of a schedule II controlled substance (methodone) for sale and delivery and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says a concerned citizen called the department on Wednesday stating that a vehicle was parked on Ferrell Road. After the officer arrived at the scene to check on the vehicle, he noticed that Hendrixson had a white powdery substance on her nose. He requested and received consent to search the vehicle and found a bottle containing 77 methodone pills. Sheriff Ray says the label on the prescription bottle was partially torn off so the officer couldn't determine to whom the pills were prescribed, but the remaining portion of the label on the bottle revealed that the prescription was filled Tuesday for 160 pills. In addition to the pills, the officer found a pill crusher and a straw containing a white powdery residue .

Hendrixson will be in General Sessions Court on the charges March 29th.

Hughes Named Junior Miss

April 1, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

13 year old Heather Marie Hughes was chosen from a group of twenty eight girls as the 2007 Junior Miss DeKalb County at Saturday night's Spring Blossom Pageant, sponsored by the Smithville Women's Club.

Hughes is the daughter of Shawnn Meadows and Mike Hughes of Smithville.

She succeeds the retiring Junior Miss, Kristen LaCole Smartt, the 13 year old daughter of Paula and Aaron Taylor and Leslie and Diedre Smartt.

Meanwhile, 14 year old Chris Byrd, son of Rhonda Perez and Lee Byrd, was selected from a field of eight boys as the Junior Mister DeKalb County.

Byrd succeeds the retiring Junior Mister, 13 year old Jake Odom, son of Lisa Barnes and Shayne Odom.

First runner-up in the Junior Miss pageant was 14 year old Felicia Marie Ingram, daughter of Mary and Virgilo Verhelio. Second runner-up was 12 year old Victoria Dawn Tatrow, daughter of the late Shanna Tatrow and James and Vicky Funk. Third runner-up was 14 year old Camry Lou Colvert White, daughter of Steve and Lou Ann White. Fourth runner-up was 13 year old Ashlee Michelle Whitehead, daughter of Kenneth and Tina Whitehead. Fifth runner-up was 12 year old Sydney Jay-Ann Robinson, daughter of Charles and Rita Robinson.

14 year old Martha Allen Webb was chosen Miss Congeniality. She is the daughter of Alan and Lora Webb.

First runner-up in the Junior Mister pageant was 13 year old Daniel Young, son of Chris and Ami Fults and Brian and Mary Young.

Justin Allen France was selected as Mister Congeniality. He is the 14 year old son of Danny and Debbie France.

Woman Posing as Cookie Salesperson For High School Fund Raiser Charged with Theft

March 27, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

A 32 year old woman posing as a cookie sales person for the DCHS Cheerleader program has been charged with theft under $500 and driving on a revoked license.

Mary Jo Stanley of Old Blue Springs Road, Smithville may also face a fraud charge for using her food stamp card to buy the cookies from a local grocery store in order to resell them.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says his department received a call Wednesday night from a resident on King Ridge Road, complaining that a woman had come to her house trying to sell cookies as a fundraiser for the DCHS Cheerleader Program to buy uniforms. The resident says she agreed to buy some cookies and got some money from her billfold to pay for them. While the visitor (Stanley) was still in the house, the resident says she received a phone call and turned her back on the woman. After taking the call she turned back around to find that the woman (Stanley) had left the home. When the resident later discovered that some money was missing from her billfold, she called the sheriff's department with a description of the woman and her vehicle.

A county deputy later pulled over Stanley's vehicle on the Old Blue Springs Road and subsequently charged her in the case. Some of the victim' stolen money has also been recovered.

Sheriff Ray says Stanley allegedly went to Smithville Food Store and bought the cookies with her food stamp card, before trying to sell him as a fundraiser. According to Sheriff Ray, the DCHS Cheerleaders are not conducting a cookie fundraiser.

Bond for Stanley is set at $6,000 and she will be in General Sessions Court on the charges March 29th.

Special Election on Sales Tax Referendum set for May 17th

March 24, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Legislative Body has called a special election to let the voters decide whether to increase the local option sales tax rate in DeKalb County from 1.5% to 2.75%

The DeKalb County Election Commission has set the date of the election for Thursday, May 17th.

This will be a county wide election. Early voting will begin Friday, April 27th and end Saturday, May 12th.

On election day, May 17th, the polling places will open at 8 a.m. and close at 7 p.m.

The DeKalb County Commission will have a public hearing on the proposed sales tax refendum Monday, March 26th at 5:00 p.m. in the basement courtroom of the courthouse. Everyone is invited to attend to ask questions or make comments. The public hearing will be followed by the regular monthly meeting of the county commission at 6:30 p.m.

The wording on the ballot will read:

\"SHALL RESOLUTION 21-2-2007-1 PASSED BY THE DEKALB COUNTY COMMISSION ON FEBRUARY 26, 2007 PROVIDING FOR AN INCREASE IN THE LOCAL SALES TAX FROM 1.5% TO 2.75% WITH ONE-HALF (1/2) REQUIRED BY LAW AND THE REMAINDER AS PER AGREEMENT CONTRACTS, BE APPROVED?\"

Body Recovered From Center Hill Lake

March 25, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

The body of a man surfaced on Center Hill Lake Saturday afternoon, believed to be that of 43 year old Bobby Joe Cosgrove of Cook Street, Cookeville who has been missing since Tuesday.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says a fisherman on the lake spotted the body in the water in the Coconut Ridge area, downstream a long distance from where the search effort was being conducted around Hurricane Bridge. The fisherman then called 911 to report the discovery around 4:19 p.m.

An autopsy is being performed on the body to help determine the cause of death.

Sheriff Ray says Cosgrove's vehicle was found parked by the side of the road at Hurricane Bridge on Highway 56 north early Tuesday morning and the car contained some of his personal belongings. Based on what was found in the car, Sheriff Ray says authorities believe Cosgrove may have jumped off the bridge and drowned.

In addition to the Sheriff's Department, others who aided in the search this week for Cosgrove were members of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the TWRA, the DeKalb County and Putnam County Rescue Squads, and the Putnam County K-9 Tracking Unit.

Another Home Healthcare Worker In Trouble with the Law

March 26, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

Another home healthcare worker is in trouble with the law.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says 36 year old Tammi Kelsor of Miller Road, Smithville was charged Saturday with theft of property under $500 after she allegedly stole a bottle of prescription pills from a lady in her care on the Old West Point Road.

Sheriff Ray says Kelsor allegedly took the woman's prescription for a muscle relaxer to the Family Medical Center Pharmacy where she had it filled. She then kept the medication and even ingested some of the pills.

Her bond is set at $1,000 and she will be in court on the charge April 5th.

Meanwhile on Friday, 44 year old Bobbie Andrews of Jackson Street, Smithville was arrested and charged with driving under the influence while 35 year old Rhonda Lucci of Cookeville Highway was charged with driving under the influence by allowance (allowing someone to drive her truck knowing the driver was intoxicated).

Sheriff Ray says a county deputy pulled over the truck on Highway 70 east after he saw it weaving along the road. Andrews was driving but the truck belongs to Lucci.

Bond for both women is $1,000 each and they will be in court on the charges April 19th

County Commission Renews Pledge To Cut Property Tax Rate If Voters Increase Sales Tax

March 26, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

The county commission Monday night, following a public hearing, again went on record pledging to reduce the property tax rate by a minimum of nineteen and a half cents, if the people of DeKalb County will vote to increase the local option sales tax from 1.5% to the maximum of 2.75% in a public referendum set for May 17th.

Last September, the commission raised the property tax rate by 39 cents to $1.90 per $100 of assessed value, after a public referendum to increase the sales tax rate failed at the polls in August. A reduction of nineteen and a half cents would roll the property tax rate back to a little over $1.70 cents per $100 of assessed value.

The commission, in February, authorized a second public referendum on the proposed sales tax hike and voted unanimously to go on record pledging to cut the property tax rate by nineteen and a half cents, if the referendum is approved. Monday night's vote by the commission was a renewal of that committment.

All county commissioners present for the meeting voted to make that pledge including Elmer Ellis, Jr., Mason Carter, Jack Barton, Bobby Joines, Jerry Scott, Randy Caplinger, Wayne Cantrell, Jeff Barrett, John Green, Jeff Barnes, Marshall Ferrell, Larry Summers, and Willie Thomas. Chris Smithson was absent.

The DeKalb County Election Commission has set the date of the election for Thursday, May 17th.

This will be a county wide election. Early voting will begin Friday, April 27th and end Saturday, May 12th.

On election day, May 17th, the polling places will open at 8 a.m. and close at 7 p.m.

The wording on the ballot will read:

\"SHALL RESOLUTION 21-2-2007-1 PASSED BY THE DEKALB COUNTY COMMISSION ON FEBRUARY 26, 2007 PROVIDING FOR AN INCREASE IN THE LOCAL SALES TAX FROM 1.5% TO 2.75% WITH ONE-HALF (1/2) REQUIRED BY LAW AND THE REMAINDER AS PER AGREEMENT CONTRACTS, BE APPROVED?\"

County Mayor Mike Foster says under the proposal, a greater number of people, particularly tourists, would shoulder the tax burden while giving property owners a tax break. \"If tourists spend their money here, and we increase the sales tax, it would benefit us tremendously, and you let those people and those who work here but are not residents of DeKalb County pay their share. We would have to pay the sales tax too but if you look at the average homeowner and they get a $100 tax break, they would have to spend an extra $10,000 on something that pays sales tax to get back to being where they are now. We feel like the property owners are paying their share, and to give them a tax cut, we think is fair.\"

Foster says overall the plan is actually more of a tax swap than a tax increase, with the proposed extra sales tax revenue to offset the proposed cut in the property tax rate, but it would provide sufficient funding to meet county needs for four to five years without any additional tax increases. \"We're estimating around $700,000 to $750,000 in new sales tax revenue under the proposal. We were estimating about $260,000 from Wal-Mart, but we are also realistic in that we know other businesses are going to lose some revenue, and that's the unknown. I've talked to some business people, whose revenue is off considerably. So if we estimate that Wal-Mart will generate $260,000, there will probably be somewhere between $75,000 and $100,000 lost in other businesses, so we've taken that into consideration. But we still feel like that it will conservatively bring in about $700,000.\"

Foster added that the proposed new revenue would not be enough to absorb the entire 39 cent property tax increase adopted last September

Only two people spoke during the public hearing.

George Davis said he favors the sales tax hike as a means of giving property owners some tax relief, but Joe Collins strongly voiced his opposition to both the proposed sales tax increase as well as the 39 cent property tax hike. Collins blamed Foster for supporting a 36 cent tax increase during his first term in 2003 and the 39 cent tax hike last year, after he was re-elected. Collins said the tax increase was not needed.

Foster says despite the tax increases, DeKalb County is still among the lowest taxed counties in the state. \"There are no free lunches. It's got to come from somewhere. Fentress, Macon, Overton, and Smith Counties which are of similar size to DeKalb County, are getting an average of over $1.2 million more in sales tax revenue than DeKalb County and their property tax rates are considerably higher than ours and several of them have wheel taxes. We have no wheel tax. I am proud of the job the county commission does in managing things. Is it a perfect world? No. Is there some waste? Absolutely. Where can you cut it (budget)? Cut positions. We've got the same number of positions we had eight years ago. We've added zero positions. In fact we've cut two positions this year. I don't know how we stop inflation nor how we deal with anything except reality and that's what these people(county commissioners) have tried to do.\"

Smithville Fire Fighters Respond To Early Morning Alarm at Walker Manufacturing

April 3, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

Members of the Smithville Volunteer Fire Department responded to a fire alarm after 3:00 a.m. today (Tuesday) at Walker Manufacturing on East Broad Street.

Fire Chief Charlie Parker says the blaze started in the industry's air filtering system. \"The system that filters the air out got some sparks or something in it which caused the fire. There's about sixty filters in that particular unit and that's where the fire was located just outside the building.\"

\"Smoke from the fire was forced inside through the vents and duct system. We did have to evacuate the building because there was a lot of smoke in there for a little while. We got everybody out and no one was hurt. We got all the burning filters pulled out and wet down to extinguish the fire and pressure fans inside the building were turned on to clear the smoke.\"

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