Local News Articles

DeKalb County Schools To Receive $96,880 Grant For After School Programs

January 4, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

Governor Bredesen, Senator Mae Beavers and Representative Frank Buck announced today a $96,880 grant to DeKalb County Schools for after-school programs for the 2006-07 school year funded by unclaimed lottery prize money. The Lottery Education After-school Programs (LEAP) is geared toward public or non-profit agencies to expand or develop after-school programs serving at least 50 percent at-risk students for an average of 15 hours a week. The LEAP program has provided approximately $21.2 million in grants to date.

\"These programs provide quality learning opportunities and a safe haven for thousands of Tennessee students after school hours,\" said Governor Bredesen. \"They provide our schools with additional resources to reach at-risk students and to improve their overall achievement. I am very aware of the high cost and challenge of providing services for at risk students, especially in urban districts, and I intend to work closely with the General Assembly to continue making progress in this area.\"

The General Assembly passed new legislation this year for a second after-school grant program, the Test Preparation Pilot Project. This program is designed to provide ACT/SAT preparation, academic tutoring and study skills for at-risk students. Each site may serve no more than 60 seventh- through ninth-grade students for an average of 15 hours a week. The project will begin with six sites ? one urban and one rural in each of Tennessee?s three grand divisions. Each site will receive $50,000 a year for three years.

?Students need quality programs to engage them after school and help reinforce the learning that goes on during the school day,? Senator Beavers said. ?These grants will have a long term impact of the quality of life in our towns.?

?Not every child has the opportunity to receive extra help and enrichment after school,? Representative Buck said. ?These after school programs will give our children the boost they need to succeed in school and in life.?

Goff Arrested On Drug Charges By Smithville Police

January 5, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

Smithville Police arrested a 25 year old man on drug charges Wednesday.

Chief Thomas J. Stufano says Joshua Goff of 816 Gentry Avenue is charged with sale and delivery of narcotics.

He says \"The case started after concerned citizens notified police that possible illegal drug activity could be occurring at 816 Gentry Avenue. There were reports that numerous cars and people on foot would frequent the residence at all hours of the day staying only for minutes after contacting someone there and then leaving. Smithville Police setup a surveillance of the property for four days validating the information after 40 cars were observed stopping in this fashion. After other investigative information was obtained officers entered the residence during an ongoing drug transaction and arrested Goff for the illegal sale of narcotics. Illegal schedule II narcotics and cash were recovered during the raid. Goff was arrested and transported to the DeKalb County Jail with a Bond of $10,000.\"

Chief Stufano says Smithville Police appreciate the continued support and vigilance the public is providing in helping law enforcement eradicate the selling of illegal narcotics in Smithville. The Police Department is committed to actively investigating all complaints of illegal drugs in our community.

Sparta Man Injured In Saturday Night Accident

January 8, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

A Sparta man was injured in a one vehicle accident Saturday night on Highway 70 east near Sligo Bridge.

Trooper Shannon Brinkley of the Tennessee Highway Patrol says 44 year old Jeffery D. Caldwell was driving east in a Dodge Dakota 4 x 4 when he crossed into the westbound lane, went off the road, and struck a rock bluff.

Caldwell was taken by DeKalb EMS to DeKalb Community Hospital.

Members of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department and Rescue Team were also on the scene.

Man Charged With Forgery and Theft

January 8, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department has charged a 23 year old man with forgery and theft for allegedly trying to pass a forged check at a local bank.

23 year old Jacob Garrett of Old Bildad Road, Smithville is under a $5,000 bond and he will appear in General Sessions Court on January 18th.

Sheriff Ray says Garrett went to the home of a relative, took a check, then went to a local bank where he forged the name of the relative on the check and tried to cash it.

According to Sheriff Ray, Garrett has confessed to the crime.

Father and Son Charged in Recent Burglary and Theft Case

January 8, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

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

Sheriff Patrick Ray says 18 year old Homer Anthony Petty II of Banks Pisgah Road is charged with theft of property and burglary. His bond is set at $25,000 and he will be in General Sessions Court on the charges January 18th.

Petty's father, 35 year old Homer Petty, also of Banks Pisgah Road was charged with burglary and theft of property in the same case last month. His bond is set at $40,000

Sheriff Ray says the Petty's allegedly broke into Young's Nursery and Greenhouses on Highway 56 south last month. 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.

Smithville Woman Charged With Misuse of 911

January 8, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

The Smithville Police Department on Friday charged 46 year old Robin Breden Williams with misusing 911 and, in a separate case on Saturday morning, arrested 24 year old Carlos Luis Mata on drug and alcohol charges

Chief Thomas J. Stufano says on Friday officers responded to the Center Hill Apartments located at 1222 South College Street in answer to a reported disturbance between two neighbors.

Upon arrival officers made contact with the neighbors regarding an apparent assault on one another but neither one wanted to press charges at the time. Police left the scene but returned approximately an hour later as one of the parties had dialed 911 requesting police response.

Officers returned to the residence only to find that the person making the call would not open the door to speak to the officers. After about five minutes, the officers were able to have the occupant open the door briefly enough to satisfy their beliefs that she was alright. However, it was apparent that she was in an intoxicated state. Officers advised her that the 911 Emergency System was only to be used for an extreme emergency and not for general police information. After 8 more 911 calls from the same person,Robin Breden Williams of 1222 South College Street, Apartment B-6 was arrested for Misuse of 911. Her bond was set at $2,500.

In another case Smithville Police came in contact with a vehicle on Highway 70 that was weaving in and out of traffic and driving in an erratic manner at approximately 1:45 am on Saturday morning. The vehicle was eventually stopped at the intersection of Highway 70 and Short Mountain Street when the driver jumped out of the vehicle and ran across the highway. Officers chased the suspect on foot and arrested 24 year old Carlos Luis Mata of a Mexico address. Upon taking Mata into custody officers found on him a bag of white powder suspected of being cocaine. Mata also had a strong smell of alcohol on his breath and was considered DUI based on additional information obtained at the scene. Numerous open cans of beer were found strewn inside the Mata vehicle. Mata was charged with DUI, evading arrest and simple possession of narcotics- (schedule II drug), violation of the open container law, and driving without a license. Bond was set at $6,500.

Gordon Votes For Minimum Wage Increase

January 10, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

U.S. Rep. Bart Gordon voted to increase the
federal minimum wage to $7.25 an hour, providing a benefit to 150,000
Tennessee workers.

\"This bill will make a real difference to working families in
Tennessee,\" said Gordon, a co-sponsor of the legislation. \"While the
minimum wage has been stagnant for ten years, the cost of living has
increased dramatically. Groceries cost 25 percent more now than in 1997,
and tuition, health care and gasoline costs have doubled.\"

The Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2007 was approved by the U.S. House
of Representatives today (Jan. 10). The bill now heads to the Senate for
consideration.

The bill provides for a gradual increase in the federal minimum
wage, beginning with an increase to $5.85 an hour 60 days after the
legislation is enacted. After one year, it would increase to $6.55, and the
final increase to $7.25 would occur after two years.

The minimum wage has stayed at its current level for nine years,
longer than any time in the history of the law. When adjusted for
inflation, the minimum wage is at its lowest level in 50 years.

At $5.15 an hour, a full-time minimum wage worker brings home
just $10,712 a year. In contrast, the average CEO earns more before
lunchtime than a minimum wage worker earns all year.

\"Thirteen million Americans, including 3.4 million parents,
stand to benefit from this legislation,\" said Gordon. \"They deserve a fair
wage for an honest day's work. No American who works full-time all year
should live in poverty.\"

Gordon also said opponents of the minimum wage increase are
incorrect in saying that raising the minimum wage would hurt job growth.

\"Between 1997 and 2003, employment in small businesses actually
grew more in states with a minimum wage that was higher than the federal
minimum wage,\" said Gordon, citing a study released last year by the Center
for American Progress.

\"The years following the 1997 increase were some of our nation's
most prosperous times because those extra dollars were pumped back into the
nation's economy.\"

Two Women Seriously Injured After Being Struck By Four Wheel Drive Pickup

January 11, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

A night around a campfire turned tragic for two women overnight after being struck by a four wheel drive pickup truck, driven by a man, who is the husband of one of the two victims.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says the case is being investigated by the Tennessee Highway Patrol

It occurred around 12:45 a.m. Thursday on property at 3980 Oakley Road.

A group of family and friends had an RV on the property and were apparently sitting around a camp fire when the operator of the truck, William M. Overdorf III, asked another woman in the group, Jewel M. Scott, if she wanted to go mudding in his 1991 GMC Sierra four wheel drive pickup.

The two took off in the truck and later upon returning, the truck failed to stop and struck the two women, Debra Overdorf and Cathy Justice, who were still sitting around the campfire.

Mrs. Overdorf was airlifted from the scene to Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga

Justice was taken by DeKalb EMS to DeKalb Community Hospital.

Officials say alcohol may have been a contributing factor in the incident.

Liberty Office of Liberty State Bank Robbed

January 11, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

Two people pulled off a noon time robbery at the Liberty office of Liberty State Bank Thursday taking an undisclosed amount of cash and making their getaway, possibly in a white colored car.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says the robbers, a male and a female, entered the bank around 12:45 p.m.

Pictures from the bank's surveillance cameras reveal that the female was wearing brown coveralls and a paintball mask that covered her head. The male was wearing blue coveralls and a blue hoodie. He was also wearing a dark colored back pack with an orange colored letter \"T\" on it.

Sheriff Ray says the female first passed a note to a bank teller demanding money, but apparently got no satisfaction so she went to another bank employee and handed her the note.

The male then went behind the counter and helped himself to an undisclosed amount of cash.

The two then left the bank and are believed to have driven away in a white colored car.

Sheriff Ray says neither of the bank robbers produced a weapon during the hold up and none of the bank employees were injured.

After the robbery, one of the clerks called 911 and reported the hold-up and a BOLO was dispatched locally and to surrounding counties for authorities to be on the lookout for the suspects and the white car in which they may have been traveling.

The case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department.

If you have information that could help solve the case, call the Sheriff's Office at 597-4935

Willoughby Updates School Board on Personnel Moves

January 11, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

Director of Schools Mark Willoughby presented his written report on personnel to the Board of Education Thursday night.

Those employed for the 2006-2007 school year since the last meeting include:

Kelly Driver- part time licensed PTA; Mary K. Hearn- substitute teacher; Denise Merriman- cafeteria worker; Marla Beshearse- certified substitute teacher; Kimela Griffith- part time speech/language; and Helen Faye Lohorn- part time cafeteria worker.

Those who have resigned include Mattie Ruth Frazier- custodian at DeKalb West School; Sharon Farler- school nurse; and Jeanette West- cafeteria worker at DeKalb West School.

Karen Pelham, teacher at DeKalb Middle School, was granted a leave of absence as requested.

In other business, the board set May 18th as the date of the DeKalb County High School graduation exercises. The last full day of school for students will be on Wednesday, May 23rd.

The board granted permission for the Junior Class at DCHS to host the 2007 Junior/Senior Prom at Stones River Country Club in Murfreesboro on April 20th.

Permission was granted for 5-8 band students to attend the honor band weekends at the Wind Band Conference at MTSU February 1-3, the Governors Honor Band at Austin Peay State University on February 8-10, and the Festival of Winds and Percussion at Tennessee Tech University February 15-17.

The board opened sealed bids and awarded surplus property to the highest bidders.

Timmy Kalmar of Smithville bid $250 on a 1978 Ford panel van with an engine problem and $401 on a 1986 Blue Bird 84 passenger bus with an engine problem.

Jamie Turner of Smithville bid $528 on a 1991 Blue Bird 72 passenger bus with a bad air compressor gear and $52 on a Jacobson Green King Field Mower that is not functional.

Dean Johnson of Lobelville bid $1,851 on a 1991 Blue Bird 72 passenger bus, $1,851 on a 1991 Blue Bird 78 passenger bus, and $1,851 on another 1991 Blue Bird 78 passenger bus.

Craig Newby of McMinnville bid $110 on a 1991 Blue Bird 66 passenger bus with no engine or transmission.

DCHS Principal Kathy Hendrix, in her brief report to the board, congratulated teachers Judy Fuson and Chris Vance who have been inducted into the National Honor Rolls Outstanding American Teachers. She says this has been established to provide positive recognition to educators who have been identified as the kind of teachers who go beyond and above the call of duty.

The board approved general purpose budget amendment requests for $43,450 from the Microsoft Class Action Settlement Grant and $10,000 from the Family Reunion Grant.

Director Willoughby says money from the Microsoft Class Action Settlement Grant will be used for the upgrade of computer software. The money from the Family Reunion Grant will be used to purchase a computer software program called Reading Academy to help close the achievement gap for some students

The board also voted to contract with the DeKalb County Health Department to provide and administer the Hepatitis B Vaccine at the rate of $45.70 per dose from January 1, 2007 to January 1, 2008.

Director Willoughby, in conjunction with School Board Appreciation Month, commended this board for \"putting students first\". \"They don't do it for the money, they do it to help out our county and to improve education. They are thinking about tommorrow, not just today. I want you to know I appreciate you.\"

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