Local News Articles

Foster Named Chairman of County Commission

December 20, 2006
by: 
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Commission Monday night unanimously selected County Mayor Mike Foster as the Chairman of the Commission for the year.

Seventh District Commissioner Larry Summers was named Chairman Pro Temp.

The chairman presides over all county commission meetings. The chairman pro temp fills in for the chairman in his absence.

In other business, the commission adopted two proposed amendments to the Subdivision Regulations on second and final reading upon the recommendation of the Planning Commission.

County Mayor Mike Foster says one of the proposed amendments pertains to the design and construction of new roads in subdivision developments and the other regulates flag lots \" Roads must have a thickness of asphalt binder of two inches. This new regulation would require a wearing surface of another one and a half inches at the final completion for a total of three and a half inches of blacktop.\"

\"Under the flag lot regulations, there must be a minimum of 50 feet road frontage and it cannot exceed 300 feet. Flag lots must not encompass 10% of the total development. This is to prevent someone from having so many flag lots to keep from building a road.\"

Another proposed amendment would revise the \"Hillside Development Standards\".

Foster says the proposed change is primarily meant to stop some lot developments on the lake that are actually too steep for development.

However no action was taken on that amendment Monday night. Foster says the Planning Commission wants to make some changes in the proposal. \"We had a meeting of the planning commission last Monday night and I think we have agreed there are ways to work out the problems we need solved. We will have a work session on that (issue) and we'll invite you (county commissioners) and the planning commission to that meeting to address it.\"

\"The problem of the real steep lots is that they don't provide adequate parking or sewer/septic system capacity. The planning commission will likely recommend that the homeowner be required to have a licensed engineer to lay out the foundation on lots with a 30% or greater slope.\"

Jennings Named Assistant DCHS Lady Tiger Coach

December 31, 1969
by: 
Dwayne Page

If you attended Wednesday night's Lady Tiger basketball game in the Christmas Tournament at Red Boiling Springs, you may have noticed a new coach courtside.

Director of Schools Mark Willoughby says Randy Jennings has been named an assistant to head coach Amy Tobitt for the remainder of this basketball season, upon the recommendation of DCHS Principal Kathy Hendrix.

Willoughby says Jennings was approached by Hendrix to take the assistant coaching position after Coach Tobitt requested some help with the program.

Jennings is a former DeKalb West School basketball player and coach, and a DCHS basketball standout. He played baseball in college and is a former basketball coach at Watertown High School. He is currently Principal of DeKalb Middle School and is former Principal at Smithville Elementary School.

Willoughby says Jennings' new assignment will in no way interfere with his responsibilities as Principal of DeKalb Middle School.

Smithville Police Make Three Arrests In Domestic Assault Investigation

December 22, 2006
by: 
Dwayne Page

Smithville Police have charged three people stemming from a domestic assault investigation on Wednesday.

Police Chief Thomas Stufano says those charged in the case are 34 year old Patsy Estes - McCoy, 40 year old Mark McCoy, and 71 year old Melvin McCormick.

In a prepared news release, Chief Stufano says \"On Wednesday, police responded to a reported domestic assault at 860 Cooper Street. Upon arrival, officers found that a female juvenile had been assaulted by her mother, Patsy Estes - McCoy and her step-father, Mark McCoy leaving numerous bruises and marks on the child's body. The child was also covered in dog food that the step-father had thrown all over the child. After the incident, the parents drove away together from the scene prior to the police response. During the investigation, the grandmother advised the officers that the child suffers from a diminished mental capacity and cerebral palsy.\"

\"On Friday, police detectives were able to track the mother to 701 Fisher Street at a residence owned by Melvin McCormick. Police contacted McCormick there and were advised by him that Ms. McCoy had just left.\"

Chief Stufano says \"during the questioning, it was apparent that McCormick was concealing the truth so officers set up a surveillance of the residence. Approximately 20 minutes passed when McCormick and Ms. McCoy came out of the front door and left in McCormick's truck. Officers followed the vehicle in an attempt to find the husband but due to the erratic driving of the driver, the vehicle was stopped.\"

Ms. McCoy was immediately taken into custody and McCormick was processed for driving under the influence of alcohol. Both were transported to the DeKalb County Jail.

Charges on Ms. McCoy include child abuse and neglect and theft of city water services. It was found that Ms. McCoy and her husband had broken and reconnected a city water meter at their residence when it was shut off for non-payment. Bond was set at $3,500.

McCormick was charged with accessory after the fact and driving under the influence. His bond was set at $6,000.

Meanwhile, Chief Stufano says police arrested Mark McCoy Thursday night when he returned to his residence and was attempting to move his belongings out.

He was subsequently charged with domestic assault, child abuse and neglect, and destruction and theft of city property and services. His bond was set at $6,000.

Chief Stufano says Smithville Police are committed to actively investigating these types of crimes and encourages all residents to report suspicious incidents to the police.

Luther Named Administrator of DeKalb Community Hospital

December 23, 2006
by: 
Dwayne Page

Robert M. Luther of Franklin Tennessee has been appointed by the Cannon
County Hospital, LLC Board, as the new Administrator/Chief Executive Officer
for DeKalb Community Hospital in Smithville and Stones River
Hospital in Woodbury.

Luther is formerly the Senior Vice President for Regional Operations
for Attentus Healthcare, Franklin, Tennessee. He has served as Chief
Executive Officer at hospitals in New Mexico, Arizona, California, and South
Carolina. In addition to healthcare operations, Mr. Luther has extensive
experience in quality improvement, business development and physician
recruitment.

Luther has a master?s in healthcare administration from the Graduate
School of Business at the University of Colorado. He served in the United
States Navy.

He and his wife Patricia have three children and three grandchildren. He
enjoys reading, travel and golf.

Luther assumed duties with both hospitals on December 18th.

The principles in Cannon County Hospital, LLC own DeKalb Community Hospital
and Stones River Hospital in Woodbury.

One Man Injured In Christmas Day Accident.

December 25, 2006
by: 
Dwayne Page

One person was injured in a single vehicle traffic accident Christmas Day on Braswell Lane.

Smithville Police Chief Thomas J. Stufano says 47 year old Jeffery Allen Scheffler of 911 Short Mountain Highway, Smithville was transported to DeKalb Community Hospital where he was treated and released.

The accident occurred at approximately 4:00 p.m. in the 200 block of Braswell Lane. Chief Stufano says Scheffler was traveling too fast for conditions and he over-corrected and fishtailed, which resulted in the vehicle leaving the roadway and ending up in a drainage ditch. The front end of the vehicle had extensive damage after hitting a drainage pipe at the bottom of the ditch.

Rescue workers at the scene rendered first aid to Scheffler who had facial lacerations. Scheffler was wearing his seatbelt which may have prevented him from receiving more serious injuries.

Chief Stufano says the Smithville Police Department would like to remind drivers that this is the time of year when they need to be vigilant about poor driving conditions. Motorists should use caution when driving. Some of the hazards include black ice, standing water, high winds, and driving rain, sleet, and snow.

You are reminded to give yourself plenty of time during inclement weather, and wear your seatbelts, and when making longer trips always let someone know when you are leaving, your route of travel, and your estimated time of arrival.

Christmas Night Crash Claims One And Injures Three Others

December 26, 2006
by: 
Dwayne Page

A 20 year old man lost his life and three others were injured in a Christmas night crash on Highway 56 south at Pine Creek bridge.

Dead is Juan Garcia of Smithville.

Trooper Greg Tramel of the Tennessee Highway Patrol says Garcia was driving north on Highway 56 in a 1990 Honda Accord when he crossed the center line of the road into the path of a southbound 1993 Chevy tow truck, driven by 32 year old Jamie L. Harris of Lebanon. Harris was towing a 1995 Chevy Blazer.

Harris and his wife, 32 year old Stephanie Harris of Lebanon received minor injuries in the crash and were taken by EMS to DeKalb Community Hospital for treatment.

18 year old David Ortiz of Smithville, a passenger of Garcia's vehicle, was taken by DeKalb EMS to DeKalb Community Hospital. He was later transported by ambulance to Vanderbilt Hospital in Nashville with a broken arm, broken leg, and other injuries.

Trooper Tramel says all four people were wearing their seatbelts.

Members of the Smithville Volunteer Fire Department were called to the scene to perform extrication services. Others rendering assistance were members of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department, including the Keltonburg Fire Station, First Responders, DeKalb EMS, officers of the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department, and Trooper Brian Raymond of the Tennessee Highway Patrol.

The crash caused a traffic tie up for more than three hours. Most motorists were re-routed during the investigation and clean-up.

Garcia's death marks the fifth traffic fatality on DeKalb County roads this year.

Cripps Charged With Robbery and Coercion

December 26, 2006
by: 
Dwayne Page

The Smithville Police Department has charged a local man with Robbery and Coercion of a Witness.

Chief Thomas J. Stufano says officers and detectives from the Smithville Police Department arrested 22 year old Joshua Cripps of 541 Hodges Road on Thursday.

He says the case had originally started on Wednesday night when a Smithville Food Lion employee got off work and entered his vehicle to go home. Two vehicles pulled behind and along side the victim's vehicle blocking him from leaving the parking lot. It is reported that Cripps, who was known to the victim and driving one of the vehicles, got out of his automobile and approached the victim demanding $50.00. Cripps continued yelling at the victim as he grabbed the victim's shirt collar and tried to pull him through the window, repeatedly striking the victim's head on the window frame. The victim advised Cripps that he did not have any money due to it being so close to Christmas. The suspect continued roughing up the victim who stated that he felt in fear of his life and finally relinquished a $100.00 bill from his wallet. The two cars then fled the scene. The victim stated that he was fearful that the suspect would retaliate against him if the incident was reported, but he finally decided to make the complaint the following morning.

Chief Stufano says shortly before his arrest, Cripps made repeated calls to the victim stating that the incident should not be reported to the Police or the victim would be harmed. The investigation continues with additional arrests expected.

Cripps was arrested and booked into the DeKalb County Jail with a Bond of $25,000. The Probation Department notified Police that they would also be serving a No Bond Violation of Probation warrant on Cripps at the Jail.

Chief Stufano says the Smithville Police Department is committed to keeping it's citizens safe and actively investigates all crimes of this nature. If you have information to this or any other crime you are encouraged to contact the Smithville Police Department.

Prisoner Caught Trying To Smuggle Drugs and Tobacco Into the Jail

December 27, 2006
by: 
Dwayne Page

A man serving weekends at the DeKalb County Jail on a theft conviction was caught Friday trying to smuggle in tobacco and drugs.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says 19 year old Gary Christopher Ponder of Old Mill Hill Road, Dowelltown is charged with introduction of drugs into a penal institution. His bond is set at $20,000 and he will be in General Sessions Court on the charge January 4th.

Sheriff Ray says when Ponder reported to the jail Friday, he was searched and nine white pills, believed to be seroquel were found along with some tobacco. He says the contraband was wrapped in a condom and covered with black electrical tape. Ponder had the package hidden in a body cavity.

Petty Arrested In Burglary and Theft at Local Nursery

December 27, 2006
by: 
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department has made an arrest in a recent burglary and theft case.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says 35 year old Homer Petty of Banks Pisgah Road is charged with burglary and theft of property. His bond is set at $40,000 and he will be in General Sessions Court on the charges January 4th.

Sheriff Ray says Petty allegedly broke into Young's Nursery and Greenhouses on Highway 56 south last Thursday night. A four wheeler, utility trailer, and rolls of copper wire were stolen from the nursery.

Officers have recovered the four wheeler, utility trailer, and some of the copper.

More arrests are forthcoming in the case.

B. Don James Charged In Federal indictment For Over $1.8 Million In Wire Fraud

December 27, 2006
by: 
Dwayne Page

B. Don James, the man accused of defrauding dozens of people in a so called \"Ponzi scheme\" has been indicted by a federal grand jury charging him with over $1.8 million in wire fraud.

In a prepared news release, United States Attorney Craig S. Morford announced Wednesday that James, an insurance broker from Smithville, was indicted on fifteen counts of wire fraud. James was arrested Wednesday on a warrant issued in connection with the indictment.

The charges stem from James' participation in a scheme to defraud investors in insurance premium financing contracts.

The indictment charges James with representing to investors that their funds would be used to purchase insurance premium financing contracts when, in fact, James knew that he would not use the funds in that manner. In addition, the indictment alleges that James told the investors that the only way for them to lose their money was if he stole it.

The indictment specifically alleges fifteen instances in which James told investors that he would place their funds in insurance premium financing contracts when he had no intention of doing so. The total funds involved in these fifteen instances is over $1.8 million.

As defined in the indictment, insurance premium financing occurs when an individual purchasing an insurance policy elects to pay the premiums over an extended period. When the insured individual makes that election, that individual typically pays an additional amount beyond the cost of the premium that would be due had the insured made the payment in full at the time that insurance coverage went into effect. Because of this payment, there is a market where insurance companies sell the contracts for extended payment policies to third parties. The third party makes the premium payment to the company at the time the coverage policy begins and receives both the premium and the additional amount in payment from the insured individual, thereby permitting the outside investor to profit from the arrangement, the insured individual to pay over an extended period, and the insurance company to receive the full premium payment at the beginning of the coverage.

The investigation into James' conduct was led by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Assistant U.S. Attorney Sam Williamson is leading the prosecution.

An indictment merely represents an accusation, and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless he is proven guilty.

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