Local News Articles

Smithville Police Make Four Arrests Over Jamboree Weekend

July 9, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

Smithville Police made four arrests over the weekend for drugs, DUI, hit and run, public intoxication and disorderly conduct.

Chief Tom Stufano says \"It was a very successful Jamboree and the number of arrests were relatively small based on the large crowds that attended. The safety of the festival was a huge success due to the planning of the Jamboree Committee. The Jamboree atmosphere was very calm, family valued and enjoyed by all. The Tennessee Emergency Management Agency was also on hand coordinating contingency plans just in case emergency conditions were required. Only one significant event occurred , a drunk driver, but with the help of concerned citizens, authorities were able to keep that person from driving onto the crowded streets.\"

On Saturday afternoon, Chief Stufano says numerous 911 calls were placed simultaneously about a vehicle driving in an erratic manner along Church Street and that it had hit two other automobiles parked along the roadway. The vehicle then drove around a barricade and entered a parking lot on Church and 4th Street striking another automobile. The vehicle then drove around a second barricade and entered 4th Street heading toward the public square. Patrons at the festival saw the vehicle trying to enter the crowded area and were able to surround the car and pull the keys out of the ignition. Smithville Police were on the scene immediately and placed into custody 39 year old Robin Howard Russell of 861 Ward Mill Road, Baxter. Further investigation noted that Russell had been drinking from a gallon bottle of whiskey, which police found opened and in his lap at the time of arrest. A computer check disclosed that Russell had just been released from a neighboring county jail the day before for DUI. Additionally, Russell was driving on a Revoked Driver's License. Charges against him included; DUI (3rd) offense, Reckless Endangerment, Leaving the Scene of an Accident (3 times) and Violation of the Open Container law. Russell could not perform a field sobriety test due to his inebriated state. His bond was set at $49,500.

Meanwhile, Smithville Officers responded to the BP Gas Station on Saturday afternoon after the manager reported that a female had locked herself in the facility bathroom for over a half hour. Officers found 37 year old Aimee Jobe of 7694 Holmes Creek Road, Smithville in the bathroom and after some coaxing she opened the door and came out. Jobe, upon opening the door, immediately stated to the officers \"I know it smells like marijuana in there but I didn't do it\". Officers did detect a strong odor of Marijuana emanating from the bathroom. Jobe then tried to push her way through the officers to leave. Upon detainment she became very irate screaming and yelling within the store. She was subsequently arrested for Disorderly Conduct and transported to the DeKalb County Jail for processing. Once there, officers also found that she had a used syringe along with an unmarked bottle of 44 ½ pills known as Flexril and 16 other various pills concealed in her purse. Jobe was charged with Possession of Legend Drugs for sale and Delivery. Her bond was set at $41,000.

Officers working the Jamboree arrested 31 year old Christopher Gibbs of 221 Sims Street, Smithville for Public Intoxication. While directing traffic a Smithville Officer observed Gibbs stumbling into traffic along North College Street. Upon contact with the officers, Gibbs stated that he had just drank 4 beers. Based on the volume of traffic and his condition, he was arrested and transported to the DeKalb County Jail under a $1,000 bond.

Police made a second arrest for public intoxication after receiving numerous complaints that a person camping along Main Street and Highway 56 was highly intoxicated. Officers contacted 47 year old Christopher Barnes of 101 Trebble Lane, Lebanon and found him lying on the ground passed out. He was awakened and found to be under the influence. For his safety and those camping around him he was arrested and transported to the DeKalb County Jail under a $1,000 bond.

Smithville Police Make Arrests in Armed Robbery

July 9, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

The Smithville Police Department has made two arrests in an armed robbery Sunday night at the BP Station on Highway 70.

Chief Tom Stufano says a third person has been identified and another arrest is pending.

Most of the money, including the weapon, have been recovered.

No other details were available.

Chief Stufano says more information will be released Tuesday morning.

Dates Set For Fair Pageant Entries

July 10, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

Entries will soon be accepted for the pageants at the DeKalb County Fair.

The Junior Fair Princess Pageant will be held Monday, July 23 at 6:00 p.m. followed by the Fairest of the Fair at the Lion's Club Pavilion.

Registration for the Junior Fair Princess Pageant will be Saturday, July 21 at 10:00 a.m. followed by rehearsal at 10:30 a.m. Contestants must be 13 through 16 years of age. Participants must not be over age 16 by the date of the pageant. Contestants may wear any type of dress (short or long).

Registration for the Fairest of the Fair will be Saturday, July 21 at 10:30 a.m. followed by rehearsal at 11:00 a.m.. This pageant is only open to DeKalb County residents. Contestants must be age 17 and not over age 20 by December 31, 2007. Participants must not be, nor have ever been married. The winner must also agree to participate in the State Fairest of the Fair Pageant in January, 2008. Contestants should wear any type of dress (short or long). The Fairest of the Fair pageant will be Monday, July 23rd following the Junior Fair Princess Pageant.

The Little Mister and Little Miss contest will be held Tuesday, July 24 at 6:00 p.m. at the Lion's Club Pavilion. Registration will be Saturday, July 21 at 12:00 noon. Little Mister contestants will practice Saturday, July 21st at 12:30 p.m. and the Little Miss participants will rehearse at 12:45 p.m. Contestants in both pageants must be 4 and not over 6 years of age by the pageant date. Girls should wear any type of dress. Boys should wear Sunday attire..

The Little Miss Princess Pageant will be held Wednesday, July 25 at 6:00 p.m. followed by the Miss Sweetheart Contest at the Lion's Club Pavilion. Registration for the Little Miss Princess Pageant will be Saturday, July 21 at 9:00 a.m. followed by rehearsal at 9:30 a.m. Contestants must be 7 and not over 9 years of age by the pageant date. Meanwhile, registration for the Miss Sweetheart Pageant will be Saturday, July 21 at 9:30 a.m. followed by rehearsal at 10:00 a.m. Contestants must be 10 and not over 12 years of age by the pageant date. Contestants may wear any type dress. Contestants for the Miss Sweetheart Pageant are to bring a photo (snapshot) of themselves to registration.

The entry fee for each of these pageants is $15.00 per contestant, (cash only) payable at the time of registration and practice for each category at the Lion's Club Pavilion on the fairgrounds. There will be a queen/king first and second place awarded in each category. Only one contestant per entry. Contestants must be residents of DeKalb, Smith, or Cannon Counties with the exception of the Fairest of the Fair contest which is open only to DeKalb County residents. Previous winners are not eligible in the pageants in which they won. Prizes will be awarded in each pageant.

For more information visit www.dekalbcountyfair.us

Freshman Success Academy Kickoff Set for July 26

July 10, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

All incoming freshman for the 2007-2008 academic year at DeKalb County High School and their parents/guardians must attend the kickoff orientation set for Thursday, July 26, 6:00 pm at the high school.

The Freshman Success Academy teachers will be on hand to meet and greet students and their parents/guardians. Everyone will meet their teachers, be given a class schedule, a campus tour, an information packet, and complete the registration process.

Freshmen who complete the registration process at this time will not be required to attend school on Monday, August 6. The first full day of school for the 2007-2008 school year is on Wednesday, August 8.

The Freshman Success Academy team is excited to share the opportunities available to the incoming class at DeKalb County High School. For further information or questions, contact DeKalb County High School 597-4094.

DeKalb Schools Open August 6th for Registration

July 10, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

DeKalb County Schools will open next month.

Registration for all students will be Monday, August 6th from 7:30 a.m. until 9:30 a.m. That will be an abbreviated school day.

Tuesday, August 7 will be an administrative day at all schools and all teachers must attend from 8:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. Students will not attend.

The first full day of school for all students will be Wednesday, August 8

A system wide professional development day will be Wednesday, August 1 at DCHS and all teachers from all schools must attend from 8:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.

All teachers will report to their individual schools Thursday and Friday, August 2 & 3 from 8:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. each day.

Students will not attend on Monday, Labor Day, September 3rd.

Schools will be closed for the fall break October 12-19

Students will be off for the Thanksgiving holiday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, November 21, 22, & 23 and for the winter break December 20 through January 2, 2008. Wednesday, December 19 will be the last day students attend before winter break and that will be an abbreviated school day. Students will return after the holidays on Thursday, January 3rd to begin the third nine week session.

Schools will be closed for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day on Monday, January 21 and for President's Day, Monday, February 18.

The spring break will be March 21st through 28th

Students will not attend on Thursday, May 22. That will be an administrative day and all teachers must attend.. The last day of school will be Friday, May 23. That will be an abbreviated school day and report cards will be given to the students.

Parent-Teacher Conferences will be held on Tuesday, October 9 and Thursday, March 13 at DeKalb County High School from 3:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m.

Parent-Teacher Conferences will also be held from 3:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. Thursday, October 11 and Thursday, January 31st at DeKalb Middle School, Northside Elementary, Smithville Elementary, and DeKalb West School.

Report cards will be sent home on Thursday, October 4th, Monday, January 7th, and Monday, March 10th.

Competency testing at DCHS will be October 9-11 and February 12-14.

Gateway testing at DCHS will be December 4-6 and May 6-8. Gateway test makeup will be December 7th.

Writing Assessment for the 5th, 8th, and 11th grades will be February 5th. Writing Assessment make-up will be February 6th.

TCAP testing of elementary students will be April 14-18.

(Stockpile Days) Professional Development/Instructional Days will be held from 8:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. on Friday, October 5th; Friday, April 25th; and Friday, May 9th.

Three Charged with Staging Armed Robbery at Convenience Store including Night Manager

July 10, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

In less than 16 hours after a reported Sunday night Armed Robbery in progress at the BP Gas station on Highway 70, Smithville Police Detectives have arrested three individuals for the crime, including the night manager of the store.

Chief Tom Stufano says 20 year old Michael Dirden, Jr. of 437 West Main Street, Smithville has been charged with setting up the robbery and filing a false police report. He was taken to the DeKalb County Jail. His bond is $10,000.

Others charged include a 17 year old juvenile and the gunman, 18 year old James Wilber of 107 West Bryant Street, Smithville.

Chief Stufano says the incident began at 8:30 p.m Sunday night when Dirden, the night manager of the convenience mart, telephoned 911 to advise that a man brandishing a gun forced him to reopen the store as he was locking up. Video surveillance showed that a person dressed in camouflage, wearing a bandana and sunglasses and carrying a black pistol forced the manager into the store, stole the money bags and then hit the manager in the face as he exited the parking lot on foot. Dirden was taken to DeKalb Community Hospital where he was treated and released.

However, Chief Stufano says investigators, after reviewing video footage and crime scene evidence, found inconsistencies in the story. After numerous interviews, Investigators began to suspect possible employee involvement. Police were able to establish that Dirden had been involved with setting up the robbery and had been planning the incident for three months. Dirden had solicited the help of friends and gave them detailed information as to where the surveillance cameras were setup, how to approach and exit the store, staging how the robber would hit him in the face in front of the camera, and the exact script to be used in filing the police report.

According to Chief Stufano, the 17 year old juvenile picked up the gunman, Wilber, a block away from the store. Wilber was identified as the person who entered the store and allegedly pistol whipped and robbed Dirden, which led to a two and a half hour manhunt by local police. It was discovered that Wilber had used a realistic looking CO2 powered pellet pistol during the incident. The investigation revealed that Dirden, Wilbur, and the juvenile met back up together after Dirden returned from his hospital visit and then split up the cash proceeds. Approximately half of the money was spent in a matter of hours after the robbery.

Investigators found hundreds of dollars of stereo equipment in Dirden's car, and identified debt payoffs the three had made. Additionally, the juvenile had made an early morning bank deposit into his personal account. Detectives were able to retrieve the remainder of the cash and the gun from various locations in the city. The bandana Wilber had used was found in the woods next to the BP station. The remaining camouflage clothes, checks and credit card receipts were burned in a fire pit to conceal their evidence value. Wilber was arrested and charged with the crime with bail set at $10,000. The juvenile was released to the custody of his father and will be charged in a Juvenile Court petition.

Chief Stunfao says \"Although the case was lengthy and complex, Smithville Detectives and residents offering information were credited with a speedy resolution of the case. The partnership with the community in detecting illegal activity continues to show that violent crime will not be tolerated by this community. Police are also crediting the merchants in their active participation and security setups.\"

Smithville Police Charge Two with Stealing Folding Chairs from Family Dollar Store

July 11, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

Two people accused of stealing lawn chairs from the Family Dollar Store have been charged with theft by the Smithville Police Department.

Chief Tom Stufano say 38 year old Billy Eugene Cook of 6246 Dry Creek Road, Smithville and Amanda Riley of 514 College Street, Smithville are both charged with theft under $500. Bond for Cook is set at $1,000. Riley was also charged with driving on a revoked driver's license and her bond is $2,000. Both were processed and transported to the DeKalb County Jail.

Chief Stufano says police, responding to a reported theft in progress at the Family Dollar Store, were advised by witnesses that a man and woman were removing chairs that were on sale in front of the store and placing them in their BMW car. The store was not open for business at the time of the incident. Officers contacted the driver and a computer check revealed that her license was revoked for a prior DUI. Further investigation also showed that the lawn chairs recovered still had the Family Dollar tags on them and that Cook and Riley could not produce a receipt for them. The store manager arrived and also advised that the items should not have been removed.

School Board Takes Up Light Agenda

July 12, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

The Board of Education considered a very light agenda Thursday night.

Board Chairman Johnny Lattimore presented Director Mark Willoughby's personnel report. Willoughby was out of town and unable to attend the meeting.

Those employed for the 2007-2008 school year since last month include:

Debra Poteete, a teacher at DeKalb West School
John Shockly, teacher at DeKalb Middle School
Penny Smitty, teacher at DeKalb Middle School
William Jennings, Special Education Teacher at DeKalb County High School
Jenny Norris, teacher at DCHS
Rebecca Purdue, teacher at DCHS
Kristin Reagh, teacher at DCHS
Layra Crook, teacher at Smithville Elementary School
Marla Beshearse,, teacher at Northside Elementary School
Jessica Hale, teacher at Northside Elementary School
Cheryl Vance, teacher at Northside Elementary School
Marlene Cook, teacher at DCHS
Vicky Atnip, Special Education Assistant
Shelly Gibson, Special Education Assistant
Jill Herron, Special Education interim teacher

Those transferred since last month include:
Tena Davison to DeKalb Middle School
Lori Isabell to DCHS
Betty Parris to Smithville Elementary School
David Gash to DCHS as Assistant Principal

Special Education Assistants Tamara Lambert and Johnna Goff have resigned

Amy Fox, Special Education teacher, was granted a leave of absence as requested.

In other business, the board voted to sell some surplus equipment from the Technology Department and deferred action until August on approval of school budgets and fundraiser requests for 2007-2008.

The board granted approval for members Charles Robinson, Linda Fuston, and Kenny Rhody to attend the TSBA 19th annual Summer Law Institute in Gatlinburg July 20th & 21st and for Charles Robinson to attend the Policy Update Workshop at TSBA on August 3rd.

Annual Meeting Date Set for DeKalb Telephone Cooperative

July 13, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

DeKalb Telephone Cooperative (d/b/a DTC Communications) will host its annual meeting on Sept. 15th at the DeKalb County Fairgrounds in Alexandria.

Directors will be elected in four exchanges, including the Auburntown (464), Gordonsville (683), Temperance Hall (548), and Woodland (765) exchanges.

Voting for directors will take place at the cooperative’s annual meeting on Saturday, Sept. 15 and during early voting Monday-Wednesday, Sept. 10-12. Thursday, Sept. 6, will be the last day to make changes to your membership for the 2007 election.

Hours and locations for early voting include:
Early Voting Hours
Mon., Sept. 10 – Noon to 7 p.m.
Tues., Sept. 11 – Noon to 7 p.m.
Wed., Sept. 12 – 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Early Voting Locations
Kenneth Sandlin Building, DeKalb County Fairgrounds, Alexandria
Gordonsville Clinic/DTC Conference Room, 126 JMZ Drive, Gordonsville
DeKalb County Courthouse, Room 100, 1 Public Square, Smithville
DTC Training Center (former Woodbury phone store), located beside the DTC Customer Service Center, Woodbury

On Saturday, Sept. 15, gates to the DeKalb County Fairgrounds in Alexandria will open at 11:45 a.m., with voting from noon until 4 p.m. The business meeting will begin at 4 p.m. or once the last person in line at that time has voted.

Only DTC members may vote, and each member must present identification. For a single membership, only that individual may vote. Either member of a joint membership may vote, but not both. In the case of a business membership, a business affidavit is required.

Individuals interested in becoming a candidate for a director’s position must meet the qualifications as defined in the bylaws and submit a petition by 5 p.m. on August 1, 2007.

For questions regarding membership and voting guidelines, refer to the by-laws section included in the current DTC phone directory.

Mayor and Police Chief Honor Man for Act of Bravery

July 13, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

Smithville Mayor Taft Hendrixson and Police Chief Tom Stufano honored a man Friday afternoon for his bravery in helping stop a drunk driver from plowing into a crowd during last weekend's Fiddler's Jamboree.

The plaque presented to Chris Walls reads \" Special Thanks to Chris Walls. In appreciation of your bravery and consideration for lives of your fellowman, Chris Walls did risk his own life to stop a drunk driver from plowing into thousands of people at the Smithville Fiddler's Jamboree on July 7th, 2007. Your heroic actions did save the lives of many people. On behalf of the Smithville Police Department and all residents of Smithville, we are grateful for your actions.\"

Chief Stufano also commended Walls for his act of bravery. \"Chris, you were able to prevent something that would have been absolutely catastrophic, not only to the residents of this city, but also to the visitors at the Jamboree. I personally appreciate everything you did out there and the many residents and merchants who were in the direct line of this particular car who came to me shortly thereafter and did identify you as the person who was instrumental in doing this. So again, congratulations and thank you very much.\"

Walls explains how he reacted when he saw the drunk driver heading toward downtown. \"We were just sitting around and enjoying the Jamboree when I heard a lady down the street in a panic, screaming out ‘stop that driver'. Once I saw the driver, I didn't have time to think, I just went over toward him and did what I could. It was only maybe thirty seconds, just an instinct reaction. I jumped in front of the car to try to get him to stop but when I saw that he was not going to respond to that, I went to his driver's side window to try and talk to him, but I didn't have much time because he was closing the distance between himself and the crowd. So I reached in the car and threw it (gear) in park. After that, I just opened the door and kept asking him to get out until help arrived.\"

On Saturday afternoon, July 7th, Chief Stufano says numerous 911 calls were placed simultaneously about a vehicle driving in an erratic manner along Church Street and that this vehicle had hit two other automobiles parked along the roadway.

The vehicle then drove around a barricade and entered a parking lot on Church and 4th Street striking another automobile. The vehicle continued to drive around a second barricade and entered 4th Street heading toward the public square.

Walls saw the vehicle trying to enter the crowded area and he was able to get to the car and pull the keys out of the ignition.

Smithville Police were on the scene immediately and placed into custody 39 year old Robin Howard Russell of 861 Ward Mill Road, Baxter.

Further investigation noted that Russell had been drinking from a gallon bottle of whiskey, which police found opened and in his lap at the time of arrest. A computer check disclosed that Russell had just been released from a neighboring county jail the day before for DUI. Additionally, Russell was driving on a Revoked Driver's License. Charges against him included; DUI (3rd) offense, Reckless Endangerment, Leaving the Scene of an Accident (3 times) and Violation of the Open Container law. Russell could not perform a field sobriety test due to his inebriated state. His bond was set at $49,500.

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