Local News Articles

Settlement Reportedly Reached in Federal Lawsuit Over Inmate's Death

September 12, 2012
Dwayne Page
Jackie Lee Snider

A settlement has reportedly been reached in a federal court lawsuit against DeKalb County and others over the death of an inmate while in the custody of the Sheriff's Department over two and a half years ago. Terms of the settlement have not been made public.

Doris Hullett filed the lawsuit over a year and a half ago in the death of her son, Jackie Lee Snider, who was arrested December 31, 2009 and died on January 30, 2010 after being taken from the jail to DeKalb Community Hospital. According to the lawsuit, "the medical examiner reported that Snider died of pancreatitis, which is an extremely painful and serious medical condition. If Snider's pancreatitis had been treated on or before the morning of January 30, 2010, Snider would have survived without permanent, long term consequences," according to the lawsuit.

A source confirmed this week for WJLE that the case has been settled but said that all parties involved have been instructed not to discuss it. WJLE placed a call Monday to the office of Cynthia Wilson in Cookeville, Hullett's attorney but she would not comment.

The lawsuit alleged that the defendants violated Snider's constitutional rights when they denied him reasonable medical care for his serious medical condition, thereby causing him extensive pain and suffering and ultimately death

In the latest court filing in the case, Judge John Bryant granted a motion last month filed jointly by the parties to extend
deadlines, for a new trial date, and for order of mediation. As grounds for this motion, the parties stated that they had scheduled a private mediation of this case for August 20, 2012, and sought to defer current pretrial deadlines in the hope that a settlement at this mediation would eliminate the necessity for serving expert witness reports and other related costs.

Judge Bryant granted the motion but said that "the Court, however, notes that if this case does not
settle at the scheduled mediation or soon thereafter, the trial date will need to be rescheduled because of the local rule requiring at least 90 days between completion of briefing of a dispositive motion and the trial date. With a current deadline of December 20, 2012, for the filing of dispositive motions, the time required for filing responses and replies would not leave the required 90 days before the current trial date of March 23, 2012.

Hullett had originally asked for compensatory damages against all defendants, jointly and severally in the amount of $750,000; an award, including loss of consortium in the amount of $750,000; punitive damages in the amount of $1,250,000; attorney fees and litigation expenses in an amount to be determined at trial; and treble damages; plus such other and further legal and or equitable relief to which she may be entitled or the court deems proper.

Earlier this year, Judge Bryant granted a defense motion to dismiss certain claims in the lawsuit. Based upon a finding that the federal court lacked jurisdiction, Judge Bryant dismissed Hullett's claim under the Tennessee Governmental Tort Liability Act, her wrongful death claim, and her claim for medical negligence without prejudice but stated in the order that she could "pursue these claims in Tennessee Circuit Court". Hullett's claim under the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act was also dismissed for lack of standing and failure to state a claim. The Court retained jurisdiction of Hullet's state law claims for civil conspiracy and outrageous conduct as well her claim for punitive damages.

Defendants named in the lawsuit are DeKalb County; Sheriff Patrick Ray, individually and in his official capacity as Sheriff; along with employees of the jail including the jail administrator and correctional officers, Kenneth Ray, Rick Smith, Jim Hendrix, Mark Nichols, Ernie Hargis, Kyle Casper, individually and in their official capacities; John Does 1-4; Renee Riddle, Licensed Practical Nurse, Robert Alan Stultz, Psychian's Assistant, and Southern Health Partners, Inc.

Southern Health Partners, Inc (SHP) is a company which performs the traditional state government function of providing health care to Jail detainees through a contractual relationship with the county.

Police Seek Tips from Public In Reported Robbery of Pizza Hut Employee

September 11, 2012
Dwayne Page
Police Seek Tips from Public In Reported Robbery of Pizza Hut Employee

Smithville Police are asking for your help in solving a robbery of a Pizza Hut employee on Thursday night, August 30.

Chief Randy Caplinger told WJLE that an employee reported to police that after she had closed the restaurant and was locking the doors at around 11:00 p.m. that night, someone came up behind her, grabbed the deposit bag she held, hit her, and then fled on foot. "She was walking away from the building toward her car when she heard someone jump off the concrete wall behind the restaurant," said Chief Caplinger. "When she turned around, the robber grabbed the deposit bag, hit her in the face with his fist, pushed her back, and took off running," he said. She said the person was wearing blue jeans, a dark long sleeved shirt, and a black mask. The robber got away with an undisclosed amount of cash from the days restaurant proceeds.

If you have information that could help solve the crime, call the Smithville Police Department's crime tip line at 464-6046.

Meanwhile, in other city crime news, Michael Teachman was arrested Thursday, August 30 on a sealed indictment returned by the Grand Jury charging him with sale and delivery of a schedule III controlled substance. His court date is September 17.

29 year old Michael Eugene Lattimore was arrested on Monday, August 27 for filing a false report. According to the warrant, Detective Matt Holmes interviewed Lattmore in regards to his vehicle that was reported stolen. Lattimore advised Detective Holmes that he had filed a false report and that the vehicle was loaned to someone instead of it being stolen. His court date is September 13.

44 year old William Andrew Cantrell was arrested on Thursday, September 6 for public intoxication and cited for simple possession and possession of drug paraphernalia. According to the warrant, an officer was at Kwik-N-Ezy and saw Cantrell passed out in a booth there. The officer woke Cantrell and found that he had very slurred speech and was very unsteady on his feet. Cantrell was arrested for his safety and the safety of the public. A search of his possessions incident to arrest revealed a small pill and drug paraphernalia. Cantrell's court date is October 11.

Again, anyone with information on criminal activity is asked to please contact the Smithville Police Department at 597-8210 or the Tip Line at 464-6046.

Any information received that will help the Smithville Police solve any criminal offense will be greatly appreciated. All information is confidential.

Woodmen of World Salute America's Heroes In 911 Ceremony at DCHS

September 11, 2012
Dwayne Page
Woodmen of World Presents Flag of Honor to DCHS
Smithville Fire Dept Honor Guard Participates in 911 Ceremony at DCHS

DCHS Seniors joined the Woodmen of the World in a 911 honor and remembrance ceremony Monday at the high school.

The program paid tribute to the heroes and victims of September 11, 2001 as well as the members of the military, both current and past, who selflessly protect America's freedoms and liberty. And on a local level, the ceremony extended gratitude to those who safeguard our community, the firefighters, law enforcement officers, emergency medical technicians, and other first responders who put their lives on the line for our safety.

M2U00828 from dwayne page on Vimeo.

Wanda Poss, President of the local Woodmen of the World Family Fraternity, opened the ceremony with welcoming remarks followed by an Invocation from David Gash, Assistant DCHS Principal. The Smithville Fire Department's Honor Guard posted a new flag set (colors), presented to them by the local Woodmen members as Victoria Vincent sang the National Anthem.

"Since 2002, Woodmen of the World members across the country have been dedicating flagpoles and presenting flags, not only to honor the heroes and victims of September 11, 2001 but also the men and women of our Armed Forces serving in combat," said Regina Wilhite, Field Representative for Woodmen of the World. "In addition, these ceremonies pay tribute to the men and women in this community who risk their lives daily to keep us safe, police officers, fire fighters, and emergency rescue personnel and other First Responders. They all deserve our thanks and admiration," she said.

M2U00826 from dwayne page on Vimeo.
"Nearly 5,000 dedications to these individuals, in special ceremonies as this, have been held by Woodmen of the World. We can think of no more special way to honor these brave men and women than by the sight of the American flag flying proudly. Since 1947, we have presented more than 2 million American flags to community-based organizations across this nation," said Wilhite.

Rochelle Cordova, Fraternal Coordinator for Woodmen of the World, said the ceremony Monday also served as a rededication of the flagpole outside the school to the memory of the late Sergeant Shannon Taylor and Private First Class Billy Gene Anderson from DeKalb County who lost their lives in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. "It is fitting that we rededicate the flagpole outside your school today to local heroes Sgt, Shannon Taylor and PFC Billy Anderson. Our nation's flag atop the pole serves as a symbol of the enduring spirit of all Americans," she said.

"It is with great pride that we rededicate the flagpole to Billy, Shannon, and to all of America's heroes and victims. The commemorative plaques at the base of the pole bears their names and the other reads: "In Honor and Remembrance of the heroes and victims in the fight against terrorism and to celebrate the enduring spirit of all Americans," said Cordova

A brief flashlight flag ceremony was then held in which bearers of an American Flag passed Old Glory over the heads of the seated senior class. Flashlight bearers in the class turned on flashlights and directed the light toward flag as it passed over them. " What you see here represents the past, present, and future," said Cordova. " The stripes of Old Glory stand for the original thirteen colonies. The stars represent the present 50 states. The light and warmth of the four lights you see shining remind us of the four great freedoms - Freedom of the Press, Freedom of Assembly, Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Religion. Eliminate any one of these freedoms and our world would become darker and colder," she said. All then joined in the pledge of allegiance.

For their participation in the ceremony, Woodmen of the World presented the DCHS Senior class a new American flag for the school. In addition, a Flag of honor was presented to the school by Woodmen of the World, created from the names of those who perished on 911. "Hidden in the red and blue stripes, in tiny print so they would fit on this 3' x 5' flag, are nearly three thousand names of every victim that fell on 911," said Cordova. That day (911) impacted us all and its important that we remember the events of that day and that we continue to have that feeling of patriotism that we've had since 911," she added.

Groundbreaking Ceremony Sunday for Fourth Habitat Home in DeKalb County

September 10, 2012
Dwayne Page
Melba Vinca Family Selected for Next Habitat Home

Another family will soon experience the dream of home ownership thanks to Habitat for Humanity of DeKalb County.

The Melba Vinca family was chosen by the local Habitat board of directors on Tuesday, April 17th for the fourth Habitat for Humanity home in DeKalb County based on a recommendation by the Habitat family selection committee.

The public is invited to attend a groundbreaking ceremony Sunday, September 16 at 2 p.m. at 108 Hayes Street in Smithville.

Construction is scheduled to begin immediately. Everyone is invited to help. Skilled and unskilled volunteers are needed as well as groups to provide lunch for volunteers. Churches, organizations and individuals may leave a message at 615-215-8181 to volunteer.

Marie Blair, Chairman of the Family Selection Committee told WJLE that Vinca was among thirteen who applied to become the latest partner family. The committee, she said, felt that Vinca was the best choice. Some who applied did not meet all the criteria.

To qualify, applicants must be a DeKalb County resident for at least 1 year; be a U.S. Citizen or have permanent resident alien status; have a housing need; have an ability to pay. (applicants must provide proof of income and ability to pay a monthly mortgage); and be willing to partner in the construction of their own home.

Vinca and her three grandsons, 16 year old Bradley Mullican, 15 year old Cayton Lance, and 10 year old Justin Lance, will reside at the home on Hayes Street once its completed.

Vinca told WJLE in April that she is excited to have been selected. "I really felt like I had won a lottery. I just want to thank God for allowing me this opportunity to finally own my own home and to have my own bedroom more than anything. I can't wait to get out there and help,"she said.

"We're very, very happy to have Ms. Vinca as our fourth partner family for this year", said Nolan Turner, President of the local Habitat affiliate. "We're looking forward to getting the house built and getting her in there as soon as we possibly can," he said.

"We really need donations right now for the building. We've got enough to get it underway but we're looking forward to finishing the house and to possibly get enough (donations) to start another one," said Turner.

"This will be between an 1,100 to 1,200 square foot house. It'll be a three bedroom house with a bath and a half. Of course with a kitchen and dining room. It will be similar to the other (partner family) houses. A washer/dryer combination will be furnished with the house. It'll be a frame house. Most of the labor will be volunteer. Nowadays you've got to have a licensed contractor as far as electric and plumbing. We may have to employ someone to do that but most of the labor is going to come from volunteer help," said Turner.

The purpose of Habitat is to build houses and sell them at no profit and no interest to families who could not otherwise afford their own home. This Christian ministry is financed through private donations using volunteer labor and donated materials whenever possible.

(Melba Vinca Family Selected for Next Habitat Home: Left to right: Bradley Mullican, Melba Vinca, Cayton Lance, and Local Habitat President Nolan Turner. In front wearing orange shirt is Justin Lance)

Former Employees Not Eligible For DTC Board Under Proposed Bylaws Changes

September 9, 2012
Dwayne Page

Former employees and close relatives of current employees and directors would not be eligible to serve as a member of the DTC Communications Board of Directors under proposed changes to DeKalb Telephone Cooperative bylaws.

Members will have a chance to vote on the proposed amendments Saturday, September 15 during the annual meeting at the fairgrounds in Alexandria.

The proposed changes, as recommended by the DTC board of directors, were announced in the annual report which was mailed out to members on Thursday, September, 6th.

According to the report, "any former employee of the Cooperative shall be prohibited from being nominated for or becoming a member of the Board."

In addition, the proposal states that no member shall be eligible to be nominated or elected who is a "close relative of a Director or Director's spouse, " or is "a close relative of an employee of DTC or an employee's spouse."

The proposal defines a close relative as a "spouse, parent, in-laws, grandparents, sibling, child, grandchild, uncle, aunt, niece, or nephew, by blood, marriage, or adoption."

Another proposed amendment regarding the annual meeting states that "the meetings shall be held at such location within the service area as the Board of Directors may designate before each and every meeting." Currently, all
annual meetings are held in Alexandria each September.

Members will be asked to approve or reject all three proposed amendments in their entirety as one vote.

Members can read the proposed amendments on pages 8 & 9 of the 2012 annual report, which has been mailed to them from DTC Communications.

In a prepared news release issued last week, DTC CEO, Craig Gates said, "The first bylaw amendment will allow DTC members to attend the annual meeting throughout the DTC territory, if the Board approves a new location each year. The other bylaw amendments have two objectives: one, it helps DTC ensure that all members are treated fairly and second, it ensures that undue influence from interested third parties will not gain influence over the company." Gates went on to say, "the management team supports the board's decision to bring these bylaws forward for a vote," he said.

In addition to voting on bylaw changes, DTC members will be electing three directors. Incumbents Bennie Curtis, Randy Campbell, and Ronnie Garrison are running unopposed in the Alexandria, Liberty, and Smithville exchanges,

The gates to the DeKalb County Fairgrounds in Alexandria will open Saturday 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.

Enjoy special live entertainment beginning at 3 p.m. by DeKalb Idol winner, Josh Isaac

Only DTC members may vote, and each member must present a photo 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.

DeKalb Firefighter Participates In 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb

September 9, 2012
Dwayne Page
DeKalb Firefighter Kevin Cripps Participated In 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb
William R. Snodgrass Tennessee Tower

A local firefighter participated in the 3rd Annual Nashville 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb Sunday at the William R. Snodgrass Tennessee Tower in Downtown, Nashville.

Kevin Cripps represented the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department and carried a photo to HONOR one of the fallen Hero's of 9/11

343 firefighters made the climb in remembrance of the 343 FDNY Firefighters that died 11 years ago at the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001.

The stair climb was chosen for two reasons:

1/ FDNY Firefighters at the Twin Towers on 9/11/01 had to climb the stairs of the 110 story buildings in order to rescue and evacuate people and to reach the fire floors.

2/ A commitment to Firefighter and community safety through physical fitness and training.

The 343 Firefighters participating in the event wore full gear (from 60 to 80 pounds) and climbed for someone specifically. Each climber was given a badge to wear with the name and photograph of one of the FDNY firefighters killed on 9/11/01.

Local Student Receives TSBA's Upper Cumberland District Recognition Award

September 8, 2012
Dwayne Page
Erin Cantrell-Pryor standing next to Mark Willoughby

A local student, Erin Cantrell-Pryor received the Student Recognition Award Thursday during the Tennessee School Boards Association Upper Cumberland Fall District meeting held at Cannon County High School in Woodbury.

Each year TSBA honors one student from each of its nine districts who has achieved distinction in the areas of academics, community leadership, and engagement as part of its Student Recognition Award program. One of those nine students will win the statewide Student Recognition Award to be presented at the TSBA Annual Convention in November, which will include a $2,000 scholarship.

Erin, the 2012 Upper Cumberland District winner, is currently a senior at DeKalb County High School. Erin has been active academically as well as possessing a high degree of volunteerism within her community. Erin is working to attend college and plans to major in Chemical Engineering with a minor in Environmental Engineering. Erin has participated in science fairs since elementary school, winning numerous awards. She continued her interest in science by winning the grand championship of the Tennessee Tech Regional Science Fair and going on to compete at the INTEL international fair in Pittsburg. She was selected to serve as President of the Freshman Class and served on the Student Council and the 4-H congress.

Also during the TSBA Upper Cumberland Fall District Meeting, local boards of education heard updates on education legislation and Common Core State Standards, earned honors for their professional development activities, and recognized a dedicated school volunteer and an outstanding student.

Local school board members attending were John David Foutch, Charles Robinson, Kenny Rhody, Billy Miller, W.J. (Dub) Evins, III, Doug Stephens, and Johnny Lattimore along with Director of Schools Mark Willoughby.

The Upper Cumberland District meeting was one of nine similar sessions held annually in each of TSBA's development districts. The evening's program included an update on this year's session of the Tennessee General Assembly, a discussion of the Common Core State Standards by the Tennessee State Department of Education's Common Core Leadership Council, and a review of the superintendent evaluation. Board members also participated in a legislative survey with their electronic devices via an online/SMS texting program. The meeting included recognition of school board members who have achieved honors over the past year, a local school volunteer who is a finalist for a grant to their school of choice and a local student who is a finalist for a college scholarship given by TSBA.

A statewide, nonprofit organization, the Tennessee School Boards Association is a federation of all the state's school boards. TSBA's mission is to assist school boards in effectively governing school districts. Through the years, TSBA has helped school boards and their members reach their highest potential through Association programs, meetings and services. TSBA also provides school board members a collective voice in matters of legislation and public education concerns. For more information about TSBA, visit our website at: www.tsba.net.

Phillips Throws for Seven Touchdowns in Blowout Win at White County

September 8, 2012
Dwayne Page

Quarterback Lucas Phillips threw for seven touchdowns including four to Will Molander, two to Sonni Fullilove, and one to Jacob Parsley as the DeKalb County Tigers hammered the White County Warriors 58-7 Friday night at Sparta.

With the win, the Tigers are now 4-0 and will face their border rivals from Smith County next Friday night in Smithville.

The Tigers got their first points with 5:38 left in the opening period as quarterback Phillips found Fullilove on a 26 yard pass play for a touchdown. The P.A.T. by Ben Driver was good and DC led 7-0.

The Tiger defense put points on the board next as the White County quarterback turned the ball over. Cody Puckett grabbed the pigskin and rambled 35 yards for the score. The P.A.T. try by Driver was no good but the Tigers led 13-0 with 4:06 left in the second period.

White County got their one and only score of the night as Kane Tollison scored on a 70 yard touchdown run with 3:08 left in the second period. Luke Cantrell converted on the P.A.T. and DeKalb County's lead was cut to 13-7. That was the only touchdown the Tiger defense has given up this season after four games.

DC quickly put two more scores on the board before halftime, as quarterback Phillips tossed a 17 yard touchdown pass to Molander with 1:28 left in the second quarter. The try for the two point conversion failed but the Tigers extended their lead to 19-7. After a Warrior turnover on the ensuing kick-off, the Tigers got the ball back and scored again. With one minute left before the half, Fullilove caught an eight yard touchdown pass from quarterback Phillips. The P.A.T. try was no good but DeKalb County had built a 25-7 advantage.

In the third period, quarterback Phillips hooked up with Molander on a 32 yard pass play for a touchdown. The P.A.T attempt was no good but the Tigers were up 31-7 with 11:16 left.

With 9:41 to go in the third, Molander scored on a 26 yard pass play from quarterback Phillips. The P.A.T. try was no good but DC led 37-7

Jacob Parsley caught a pass for a touchdown from quarterback Phillips with 4:29 left in the third period. The P.A.T. by Driver was good and the Tigers held a commanding 44-7 advantage.

Molander scored on another touchdown throw from quarterback Phillips with 8:59 left in the game. The P.A.T. by Driver was good and the Tigers owned a 51-7 lead.

The last score of the night came on an 11 yard touchdown run by A.J. Mooneyham. Driver's P.A.T. attempt was good and the Tigers notched another blowout win, this time taking out White County 58-7.


DTC Proposes Three Bylaw Amendments Subject to Approval by Members at Sept 15 Meeting

September 7, 2012
Dwayne Page

Along with the election of three directors, members of DTC Communications (DeKalb Telephone Cooperative) will be asked to decide whether to approve three proposed amendments in the current bylaws during the annual meeting next Saturday, September 15 in Alexandria.

A prepared news release from DTC states that "proposed amendments to the cooperative's bylaws will be on the ballot and are included in the 2012 DTC Annual Report that was mailed to our members on September 6th. The specific language in the proposed bylaw amendments will be reported by WJLE once they become available

In the news release, DTC CEO, Craig Gates said, "This year's bylaw amendments and the unopposed races of our board members are a testament to DTC's commitment to our members. The first bylaw amendment will allow DTC members to attend the annual meeting throughout the DTC territory, if the Board approves a new location each year. The other bylaw amendments have two objectives: one, it helps DTC ensure that all members are treated fairly and second, it ensures that undue influence from interested third parties will not gain influence over the company." Gates went on to say, "the management team supports the board's decision to bring these bylaws forward for a vote."

Members will decide the issue during the annual meeting on Saturday, September 15th, at the DeKalb County Fairgrounds in Alexandria. Enjoy special live entertainment beginning at 3 p.m. by DeKalb Idol winner, Josh Isaac.

Incumbents Bennie Curtis, Randy Campbell, and Ronnie Garrison are running unopposed in the Alexandria, Liberty, and Smithville exchanges, respectively.

The 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 photo 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.

DTC Communications is a member-owned telephone cooperative established in 1951. The cooperative supplies communication, entertainment, and security products and services to residential and business customers primarily throughout Middle Tennessee.

Two Busted Operating Meth Lab Near DeKalb County High School

September 6, 2012
Dwayne Page
Smithville Police Detectives Brandon Donnell, Matt Holmes, & Officer Chip Avera
Some of the Alleged Meth Lab Components
Bobby Pinegar, Jr.
Mistey Goff

Smithville Police found two people operating a meth lab inside a shed on private property within a few feet of DeKalb County High School Thursday.

M2U00824 from dwayne page on Vimeo.
Chief Randy Caplinger told WJLE that 36 year old Bobby Pinegar, Jr. and 32 year old Mistey Goff are each charged with initiation of a process intended to manufacture methamphetamine, sale and delivery of a controlled substance in a drug free school zone, and reckless endangerment. Bond for each is $60,000 and they will be in court on September 13.

According to Chief Caplinger, Smithville Police Officer Chip Avera was on patrol in the high school parking lot when he spotted smoke coming from a shed behind a brick home on West Main Street. The property is next to the DeKalb County High School campus.

Officer Avera was joined at the scene by Chief Caplinger and Detectives Matt Holmes and Brandon Donnell of the Smithville Police Department. They approached the shed and knocked on the door. After Pinegar opened the door and came out, officers could see inside the shed a green bottle containing liquid. Smoke was coming from the bottle. Other components were also spotted inside the shed that are commonly used in the manufacture of meth including coffee filters, tubing, bottles of unknown liquids, a 20 ounce bottle of a liquid sludge, among other items. Two cellophane bags were also found containing finished meth, ready for sale.

Both Pinegar and Goff were taken into custody.


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