Local News Articles

Good Crowd Turns Out for Memorial Day Celebration

May 27, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

A good crowd turned out Monday morning for a special Memorial Day Celebration at the Veterans Memorial Monument outside at the courthouse.

Chase Ferrell gave a stirring rendition of the patriotic song \"God Bless the USA\" accompanied by pianist Susan Hinton and Dan Gulley, minister of the Smithville Church of Christ, delivered the Memorial Day address.

Gulley says the public's observance of Memorial Day has become rather nonchalant, but he is glad that there are citizens of our town who care enough to organize and carry on a special public ceremony. \" Since the birth of the United States of America on July 4th, 1776, no single generation of Americans has been spared the responsibility of defending freedom by force of arms. More than 42 million men and women have served in time of war and more than a million have helped purchase and maintain our freedom at the price of their lives. Also, of course, millions have served and continue to serve to preserve peace and freedom.\"

\"America's first President, George Washington said, ‘If we desire peace, it must be known that we are at all times ready for war'. Memorial Day is an opportunity for us to remember and pay respect and honor to the memory of the countless men and women who, while desiring peace, proved their full devotion to our democratic ideals, not only being ready for war, but by sacrificing their lives on the altar of freedom. The freedoms and values and way of life we hold so dear in our beloved land have been purchased and preserved literally by the blood, sweat, tears, and lives of those whom we seek to honor on this Memorial Day.\"

\"Traditional observance of Memorial Day has diminished over the years. The point is certainly not to knock family picnics, fun seeking and getting away from the stress and strain of a fast paced world. The point is our nation needs more, not less, events that enable us to celebrate shared values and express support for the ideals and virtues that have made our nation strong and free for 231 years.\"

Sheriff's Department Makes Four Drug Cases and One DUI Arrest

May 28, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

Five people have been arrested by the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department in recent days, four of them on drug charges and one for DUI.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says 38 year old Tina Dorton of Luttrell Avenue was charged with sale and delivery of a schedule II controlled substance (Dilaudid) after selling two pills believed to be Dilaudid to an undercover informant.

In another case, 22 year old Shawn Owens of Sparta was charged with simple possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia after a deputy checked the Johnson's Chapel boat ramp site and found Owens lying near the water. The officer also discovered a box containing some marijuana, rolling papers, a pill crusher, and a glass pipe.

Meanwhile, 21 year old Jordan Adams of Game Ridge Road was charged with simple possession of a schedule VI controlled substance (marijuana) and unlawful possession of a schedule IV controlled substance (Xanax) for sale and delivery, after being stopped in his vehicle by an officer on Allen's Ferry Road.

Sheriff Ray says after the drug dog hit on the vehicle, officers conducted a search and found nineteen Xanax pills hidden in a secret compartment of a 24 ounce water bottle.

18 year old Chase Scharff of Colorado, a passenger of Adams' vehicle, was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia for having a battery operated pipe.

Officers seized Adams' vehicle and contacted the Tennessee Department of Revenue for collection of the drug tax.

Finally, 40 year old Terry Cummings of Spencer was arrested for a fifth offense of driving under the influence after he was seen weaving on Highway 70 in his vehicle by a deputy who stopped him and administered a field sobriety test.

VFW Hosts Memorial Day Weekend Breakfast

May 27, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

The VFW POST 7623 held a Memorial Day weekend breakfast service Sunday morning and honored Gold Star Mother Norene Anderson, whose son, Ronnie Reeder, was killed during the Vietnam War.

Other Gold Star Mothers were invited to attend, but apparently could not be present.

Ms. Anderson says she is thankful that there are still some people who recognize the sacrifices of those who have served their country. \"I appreciate the VFW for all they do to remember those people who gave their lives.\"

County Mayor Mike Foster, the guest speaker, says all veterans and those who died in action, should be remembered and those who have survived since World War II should be interviewed and their stories recorded on videotape for posterity. He says the county plans to do that with the help of Historians and local veterans groups.

At the conclusion of the program, a wreath was laid at the monument outside the VFW building, which bears the names of local servicemen who died during the nations wars.

Smithville Police Make Another Arrest in Recent Theft Investigation

May 28, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

Smithville Police Investigators assigned to investigate a lost purse last week ended up charging two people who used the victim's credit card to purchase and outfit their house with a big screen TV, Surround Sound Stereo System, curtains and a variety of other items.

Detectives initially charged Nicholas Mongello with the theft of the purse.

Chief Tom Stufano says \" Further investigation discovered that Montgello's roommate was also involved. 23 year old Daniel Rose of 1222 South College Street in Smithville was charged with Criminal Conspiracy after he admitted to escorting Mongello to other area merchants with the intent to defraud. Items were eventually recovered. Mongello was additionally charged with Fraudulent Use of a credit card. Both were taken to the DeKalb County Jail under a $3,500 bond.\"

On Sunday May 27th , Smithville Detectives were contacted by the US Secret Service to accompany them to 620 Short Mountain Highway.

Chief Stufano says \"Federal agents had received information that a resident of that address had made threats against the President. Further information disclosed that the 62 year old woman being investigated had recently received notification that she would be allowed to visit the White House with other family members. After an hour and a half interview, Federal Agents and Smithville Police concluded that the woman was not a threat, although she had admitted that she had made the verbal threat against the President and had weapons in her house. A family member had phoned the information to the US Secret Service.\"

In another investigation, Chief Stufano says a flim-flam may have occurred recently at the Smithville Post Office. A female victim reported that she had run into the Post Office for just a few minutes and upon leaving she was distracted by an unknown white male in his 40's approximately 6'1\" with a slender build and sporting medium length dirty blonde hair. The subject was wearing a green tee shirt with blue jeans and driving a green Chevy pickup. During the course of the investigation she stated that the conversation was odd as it did not have any specific content. Upon returning to her vehicle the woman found her purse missing. Police are advising that these types of crimes do occur and usually involve 2 to 3 people with distraction techniques.

Chief Stufano says \"The Police Department is advising our residents to remain vigilant to suspicious activity and call when they feel something just doesn't seem right. Smithville Police are committed to investigating any and all crimes committed against our residents and guests.\"

Two Injured In Monday Afternoon Wreck

May 29, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

Two people were injured in a one car accident Monday afternoon on Short Mountain Highway.

Trooper Jimmy Tisdale of the Tennessee Highway Patrol says 33 year old Rodney Gora II of 1031 Short Mountain Street, Smithville was driving north when he went off the right side of the road into a ditch.

Both Gora and his wife, 23 year old Tiffany C. Gora, a passenger of the car, were injured and airlifted from the scene by a Life Force helicopter ambulance and flown to Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga.

Trooper Tisdale was assisted by members of the Tennessee Highway Patrol's Critical Incident Response Team (CERT) made up of Lieutenant Brian Lawson and Troopers Johnny Farley and Shannon Brinkley.

Others on the scene were members of the DeKalb EMS, DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department, and DeKalb County Sheriff's Department.

Trooper Tisdale says traffic was tied up for a period of time while the accident was being investigated.

Police Make Arrest In Child Assault Case

May 30, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

Smithville Police recently investigated a Domestic Assault and found that the victim was a 4 year old female child.

Chief Tom Stufano says police arrested the 28 year old father of the child who lived in the 100 Block of Village Place in Smithville. Investigators were summoned to the complainant's sister's address to be advised of the assault. Once at the scene, Police found that the child had a number of bruises and marks. Contact was made with the father at his address and he was intoxicated. Investigators also discovered that the father had been assaulted by 2-3 other individuals who had left the scene just prior to police response. The subjects were identified and contacted but the father refused to prosecute. The father was subsequently arrested and transported to the DeKalb County Jail under a $5,000 bond.

Chief Stufano did not identify the man charged in the case.

Meanwhile, Chief Stufano says on Saturday, May 26th, Smithville Police arrested 31 year old Christopher Gibbs of 221 Sims Street in Dowelltown for DUI, Driving on a Revoked License 2nd Offense and Sale and Delivery of a Schedule III Drug. Officers responded to a citizen complaint of a possible intoxicated driver at State Route 56 and North Congress Boulevard. Upon contact, Smithville Police observed Gibbs in an intoxicated state and found an open container of beer in the front console. Field sobriety tests were administered and he performed poorly. Gibbs also had (14) Lortabs Pills concealed in cellophane in his pocket. Gibbs was arrested and transported to the DeKalb County Jail under a $9,500 bond.

Chief Stufano says \"Smithville Police are ever vigilant for drunk drivers and actively patrol our streets in an effort to identify suspicious activity. The interest and support the community has shown in helping deter crime has shown to make a significant difference in the safety of our neighborhoods.\"

Smithville Man Charged with Rape

May 30, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

Smithville Police investigating a complaint of rape have arrested 50 year old Marc Jenkins of 612 South Mountain Street in Smithville for the crime.

Chief Tom Stufano says \" the 30 year old victim, along with another female friend, had gone over to the Jenkins residence on May 25. Shortly after arriving, the victim relayed to her friend and Jenkins that she was not feeling well due to seizures and needed to leave. Jenkins advised the victim that she could lie down in a bedroom and would not be disturbed. The victim awoke in the early morning hours and began screaming, noticing her pants had been removed and finding someone sexually assaulting her.

The victim went to the DeKalb Community Hospital and was then transferred to Cookeville for a further Rape examination.

Investigators arrested Jenkins after he admitted to the sexual assault. He was taken to the DeKalb County Jail. His bond was set at $10,000.

WJLE Radiothon to Benefit Habitat For Humanity Of DeKalb County Set For June 15th

May 31, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

Habitat for Humanity of DeKalb County recently selected Felicia Gibbs and her children, as its second partner family.

The Gibbs family's Habitat house will be built on Adams Street in Smithville.

Habitat will be conducting a RadioThon on WJLE on Friday, June 15th from 9:00 a.m. to Noon to raise funds for the construction of this house. Your support is needed to help make the Radiothon successful.

Habitat for Humanity is an ecumenical Christian housing ministry, providing families in need with the opportunity for affordable home ownership.

Volunteers and donors assist in building the homes and Habitat for Humanity sells the homes to the Partner Families at cost with no-interest mortgages.

Anyone wishing to make a donation can call any of these numbers during the radiothon: 597-4265, 215-5316 and 235-5317

WJLE Radiothon Planned To Raise Funds for Second Habitat for Humanity Home Here

June 1, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

DeKalb County residents can help make home ownership a reality for a local family with donations to the second Habitat for Humanity Radiothon Fundraiser on WJLE Friday, June 15th from 9 until 12.

Monies raised will be applied toward lot purchase, materials and construction of the second Habitat home on Adams St. in Smithville. “Our goal is to begin construction of a three-bedroom house later this summer,” says Nolan Turner, president of the local Habitat chapter. “In 2005, we raised over $25,000, and we hope to exceed that this year.”

The home will be built for Felicia Gibbs, a divorced single mother, and her children Dasia, 4, and Trystan Seth, 9 months old. Felicia grew up in Alexandria, attended DeKalb West Elementary School, and graduated from DeKalb County High School in 2001. She has been working since she was 15 and is raising her children on her own. They currently reside in Smithville where she is employed by Bumper’s Drive-In Restaurant.

“Felicia and her children have all the qualities we look for in partner families. She is cooperative, humble and eager to work,” says Turner. “I hope everyone who shares our commitment to help those who are less fortunate will support our efforts by contributing to this fundraiser.”

The Gibbs family met criteria used by Habitat to identify the best candidates for successful home ownership: demonstration of need, ability to pay, and willingness to partner with Habitat. Recipients of Habitat-built homes must make a downpayment and put in hours of “sweat equity” before construction can begin. After the house is built, they assume a 20-year interest-free mortgage for the purchase price, based solely on the price of materials and related services. These costs are projected to be in the $40,000 to $45,000 range, with monthly payments ranging between $200 and $300.

Gibbs says this opportunity represents “a dream come true. This is the kind of blessing I’ve prayed for...I am so grateful, excited and eager to get started.”

“Knowing I will own a home provides a feeling of security for me and my children,” she adds. “When I signed the agreement, I felt I was signing for the beginning of my life. I am so thankful to Habitat, everyone who will help make this dream come true and to God. He has been so good to me and my family.”

Radio listeners can phone in a pledge and challenge other members of the community to make a donation by calling 597-4265, 215-5316 and 215-5317 during the Friday morning event. Donations of any amount will be appreciated.

For information on making a pledge or donation, please contact these officers of the Habitat Board of Directors: Nolan Turner, president; Tecia Pryor, vice president and chairperson of the Development Committee, 597-7370; Nancy Lewis, secretary; or Glenda Davis, treasurer. You may also leave a message on the Habitat voicemail at 215-8181 and a board member will return your call.

Several Goats Perish In Saturday Morning Barn Fire

January 20, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

Several goats perished in an early morning barn fire Saturday on Dobbs Cemetery Road in the Austin Bottom community of DeKalb County.

Captain Jeff Williams of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department says the fire was reported around 3:30 a.m. Saturday and members of the Johnson's Chapel Station responded.

Williams says the fire was well underway by the time it was discovered and reported and firefighters could not save the barn nor the goats. Some equipment, tools, and a four wheeler were also destroyed in the blaze.

The 50 x 50 foot two story barn belonged to Keith Thorpe. The cause of the fire is undetermined.

Meanwhile Assistant Fire Chief Roy Merriman says firefighters responded Thursday night to the residence of Jack Sharp at 688 Saw Mill Road in the Temperance Hall community. The home was a rental belonging to Tammy Robinson.

The fire was reported at 6:11 p.m. and members of the Temperance Hall, Liberty, and Short Mountain Highway Stations responded.

Firefighters were unable to save the home. No one was injured.

The cause of the fire is undetermined.

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