Local News Articles

Temperance Hall Community Home Destroyed by Fire

December 7, 2010
Dwayne Page
Carl Montgomery Home Destroyed by Fire

A man and his grandson were left homeless after a fire destroyed their residence at 138 Old Temperance Hall Road Monday night.

DeKalb County Volunteer Firefighters were called to the home of Carl Montgomery around 6:00 p.m. after a passerby spotted flames coming from the residence and called 911 to report it. Neither Montgomery nor his grandson were at home at the time and no one was injured.

County Fire Chief Donny Green said when firefighters arrived they found flames coming through the roof and back side of the house. The home could not be saved. Firefighters kept the blaze from spreading to other structures nearby.

The home and all contents were destroyed.

Chief Green said it appeared the fire started from a back bedroom. The cause is undetermined.

Members of the Temperance Hall, Liberty, Main Station, and tanker truck responded along with DeKalb EMS and the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department.

DMS Students Participate in Jr. Beta Convention

December 7, 2010
Kesley Hedge Ran Unsuccessfully for State Chaplain at Jr Beta Convention

Jr. Beta Convention is a time for Beta students to compete in numerous activities that explore the arts and the academics. It also allows students to campaign and run for state office. Kelsey Hedge, and 8th grader at DeKalb Middle School and daughter of David and Trina Hedge, followed her predecessors as she ran for office of State Chaplain.

In previous years, Jonathon Craig, Mason Merriman, and Jordan Wilkins vied for state office. Kelsey spoke in front of a crowd of approximately 7,000 youth and adults. Kelsey was confident and sure of herself as she delivered an outstanding speech that honored DeKalb Middle School, as well as her parents, friends and family that offered up support, as she braved the waters. Kelsey was clear that God was first in her life and that she would lead well in their endeavor. When the votes were counted, Kelsey came up short and was defeated. The experience was life changing and will give her a boost as she continues to lead and represent her fellow students. Hats off to Kelsey and the campaign team that followed her campaign speech with a skit in Kelsey's support. The skit was flawless. This team of students put forth great effort and exhibited dedicated and skill in bringing Kelsey's campaign to life. Great job!

Running for State Chaplain: Kelsey Hedge
Campaign skit: Ale Maciel, Savannah Driver, Bethany Poss, Harlli Silcox, Kathryn Blair, Michael Caplinger, Mariah Jones, Destiny McCardell, Kristen Hale, Julia Little, Emilee Stephens, Amanda Blanco, Loren Cripps, and Makalee Ruch.

Other competitions that DMS competed in:

Talent: Darrian Turner sang "It Happens" by Sugarland
Tower of Power: Jailyn Bolding, Katie Parker, Tyra Graham, Loren Cripps, and Ale Maciel
Spelling: Chase Bryant
Speech: Julia Little
Photography: Caitlin Jacobs
Banner: Brooke Reffue, Kaylene Ferguson, Jennifer Caplinger, Kyra Trapp, Rachel Gash, Caitlin Jacobs, Caitlin Turner, Christian Turner, Clara Knowles, Chloe White, Hannah James
Scrapbook: Katie Parker, Mariah Jones, Lenzi Dickens, Lexi Barnwell, Kelsey Braswell.
Arts with Acrylic Painting: Erin Perry
Math: Corey Ferrell
Battle of the Books: Ashli Chew, Erin Perry, Makalee Ruch, Hannah Lasser
Poster: Harlli Silcox, Lance Ball
Quiz Bowl: Michael Caplinger, Amanda Blanco, Savannah Driver, and Kristen Hale
T-shirt design: Hannah Walker
Social Studies: Lane Ball
Science: Dylan Cantrell
T-shirt design: Hannah Walker, Carlee White

Meanwhile, Chase Bryant, an outstanding seventh grader at DeKalb Middle School, recently placed fourth in the Division I Spelling Competition. Bryant is the son of Don and Teresa Bryant. He competed against 51 other Beta members from across the state of Tennessee. Chase was given words like "subterfuge". He ended his spelling streak on the word "eulogy". Chase watched numerous members be seated as he remained standing. Chase placed fourth out of 51.

Watertown Man Indicted in October, 2009 Death of Robert Senick

December 6, 2010
Dwayne Page
Richard J. Mooney
Senick Mobile Home After the Fire in October 2009

A 32 year old Watertown man has been indicted in the October, 2009 death of 63 year old Robert "Bob" Senick, whose remains were found in the rubble of his mobile home near Liberty, which had been burned to the ground.

Richard J. Mooney of Armstrong Road, Watertown was named in a sealed indictment returned by the DeKalb County Grand Jury last Monday, November 29th, charging him with felony murder and theft of property over $1,000. Mooney is currently incarcerated in Rutherford County on unrelated charges.

The indictment alleges that on or about October 7th, 2009, Mooney killed Senick during the perpetration of theft of property and that he did obtain or exercise control over property, to wit: cash and drugs with a value of over $1,000, being the property of Senick.

Mooney is under a $100,000 bond and will be arraigned on the charges in DeKalb County Criminal Court on December 13th.

The charges against Mooney come as the result of an investigation by the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, the Tennessee Department of Bomb and Arson, and District Attorney General Randy York and members of his staff.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said Mooney is believed to have gone to the Senick home sometime either Tuesday night, October 6th or Wednesday morning, October 7th, 2009; shot Senick in the head; committed the theft; and then set fire to the mobile home.

According to Sheriff Ray, authorities recovered evidence that links Mooney to the crime scene.

The mobile home, which belonged to Senick, was located in an isolated area about a mile off the Liberty to Dismal Road.

According to Sheriff Ray, the mobile home had already burned to the ground by the time it was discovered and reported Wednesday morning, October 7th, 2009 at around 9:13 a.m.

Senick's body was later sent to the State Medical Examiner's Office for an autopsy. Dental records confirmed the identity of Senick, whose body was burned beyond recognition during the fire. The autopsy also confirmed that Senick had a gunshot wound to the head.

Brief Snowfall adds to Excitement of Liberty Christmas Parade

December 6, 2010
Dwayne Page
Steve Hayslip of NewsChannel5 -Grand Marshal
Randy Campbell Garage Wins Float Competition

The Town of Liberty and Liberty State Bank hosted their annual Christmas Parade Sunday and all those there shared in the fun. Some won cash and other prizes. A brief snowfall added to the excitement.

Steve Hayslip of NewsChannel5 in Nashville was the Grand Marshal. The parade also featured floats, the DCHS band, horseback riders, vintage automobiles, ATV's, and Santa Claus among other attractions.

Click here to see more pictures


Randy Campbell's Garage entry won the float competition and the Calvary Baptist Church took second place.

W.J. White won first place in the best vintage automobile category for his 1965 Chevy Nova. Don Hawkins took second place for his 1956 Chevy, and Danny and Wanda Cowan received third place for their 1969 Chevy Impala.

Among the miscellaneous entries, Eli Johnson won first place while Nathaniel and Caroline Crook received second place.

Melton Charged with Theft

December 6, 2010
Dwayne Page
Travis Mark Melton
Darrell Wayne Malcolm

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department has charged 18 year old Travis Mark Melton of Johnson's Chapel Road, Sparta with theft of property over $1,000

Sheriff Patrick Ray said Melton, on or about November 23rd, allegedly took from a residence on the Old Sparta Highway without the owner's consent, a dirt tamper, a gas engine, spot welder, air compressor, and tractor weights all valued at over $1,000. Melton was arrested on November 29th. His bond is $5,000 and he will be in court December 16th.

Meanwhile, 56 year old Darrell Wayne Malcolm of Kendra Drive, Smithville is charged with a first offense of driving under the influence. His bond is $1,500 and he will be in court December 16th.

According to Sheriff Ray, On November 30th, a deputy responded to a one car accident on the Old Mill Hill Road. Upon arrival and speaking with the driver, Malcolm, the deputy noticed a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on his person. Malcolm was unsteady on his feet. He was asked to submit to several field sobriety tasks, which he performed poorly. Malcolm admitted to drinking one quart of beer. He also refused to submit to a blood alcohol test. Malcolm was issued a citation for violation of the implied consent law, for refusing to give blood.

Local Teenager Dies from Injuries in Car Crash

December 6, 2010
Dwayne Page
Photo provided courtesy of Daily News Journal of Murfreesboro

A 16 year old Lebanon boy, formerly of Smithville, died Sunday at Vanderbilt University Medical Center from injuries in a car crash Friday morning on U.S. Highway 231 near the Wilson County line in Rutherford County.

Dead is Dylan Petty.

According to reports, 18 year old Joshua Orcutt of Smithville was traveling southbound toward Murfreesboro around 8:15 a.m. Friday when his Chrysler Sebring crossed the center line, went off the highway, and rolled down a 24 foot embankment. The vehicle overturned and came to rest in a cluster of cedar trees.

Orcutt was taken by ambulance to Vanderbilt Medical Center. Petty, a passenger, was thrown from the vehicle and later airlifted by LifeFlight helicopter to the Trauma Center at Vanderbilt, where he later died. Orcutt has reportedly been discharged from the hospital.

The highway was closed to traffic for about an hour and a half to allow troopers to complete their crash investigation and for the clean-up crews to remove the debris and make the roadway safe

Petty's body is at DeKalb Funeral Chapel.

Holiday Celebration

December 4, 2010
Dwayne Page
Whorton Springs Baptist Church Wins Float Competition
Dailey & Vincent-Grand Marshals of Parade
Santa Arrives in Smithville

The town of Smithville was the scene of a holiday celebration Saturday afternoon.

Hundreds lined the downtown streets for the annual Smithville Christmas Parade.

Click here to see more pictures


As always, the parade featured floats, vintage automobiles, local royalty, scouts, horseback riders and horsedrawn wagons, the DeKalb County High School Fighting Tiger Band, among many other entries. Of course, the highlight of the parade was the appearance of Santa Claus who rode into town on a fire engine tossing candy left and right to everyone along the parade route.

The Grand Marshals of the Smithville parade were the popular bluegrass group "Dailey and Vincent", who have just been nominated for a grammy award.

The Whorton Springs Baptist Church won first place in the float competition.

The Calvary Baptist Church took second place for their float and DeKalb Community Bank received third place as well as the Spirit Award, presented by the Smithville Business and Professional Women's Club.

The Smithville Parade is sponsored each year by the Smithville Volunteer Fire Department.

Former DeKalb County Man Charged with Sales Tax Evasion

December 4, 2010
Dwayne Page
Michael G. Cantrell

The Special Investigations Section of the Tennessee Department of Revenue conducted the investigation that led to the arrest of 54 year old Michael Gene Cantrell on charges of sales tax evasion by filing false and fraudulent documents with the DeKalb County Clerk’s Office.

Cantrell, a former resident of DeKalb County, now resides in Jamestown.

On Nov. 29, 2010, Cantrell was indicted by a DeKalb County Grand Jury on three Class E felony counts of Sales Tax Evasion in violation of Tenn. Code Ann. Section 67-1-1440. The indictment charges that between July 2003 and May 2007, Cantrell submitted false and fraudulent documents to the DeKalb County Clerk’s Office for the purpose of registering two vehicles and a boat. On Dec 3, 2010, Cantrell surrendered to Special Agents at the Dekalb County Sheriff’s Office. If convicted, Cantrell could be sentenced to a maximum of two years in the state penitentiary
and fined $3,000 for each of the three Class E felony counts.

“The Department of Revenue promotes voluntary taxpayer compliance by educating taxpayers, aggressively pursuing criminal sanctions and demanding accountability when taxpayers engage in fraudulent activity,"
said Revenue Commissioner Charles Trost. "This investigation underscores the department's ongoing efforts to enforce Tennessee's tax laws."

This case was pursued criminally by the department in cooperation with the District Attorney General Randy York. Commissioner Trost expressed his appreciation for the excellent cooperation the department has enjoyed with General York. Citizens who suspect violations of the Tennessee revenue laws should call the toll-free tax fraud hot line at (800) FRAUDTX (372-8389).

The Department of Revenue is responsible for the administration of state tax laws and motor vehicle title and registration laws established by the legislature and the collection of taxes and fees associated with
those laws. The Department of Revenue collects approximately 91 percent of total state tax revenue. During the 2009-2010 fiscal year, the department collected $10.1 billion in state taxes and fees. In addition to collecting state taxes, $1.9 billion of local sales tax was collected by the department for local governments during the 2009-2010 fiscal
year. In collecting taxes, the department enforces the revenue laws fairly and impartially in an effort to encourage voluntary taxpayer compliance. The department also apportions revenue collections for distribution to the various state funds and local units of government. To learn more about the department, log on to www.TN.gov/revenue.

Smithville Police Make Arrest in Rash of Automobile Burglaries

December 3, 2010
Dwayne Page
Brian Thomason

The Smithville Police Department has apparently solved a rash of recent car burglaries with the arrest of a local man.

Detective Matt Holmes said Brian Thomason has been charged with seven counts of burglary, one count of felony theft, six counts of misdemeanor theft, and one count of felony vandalism in connection with several car burglaries on Whaley and Cill Street.

According to Detective Holmes, Thomason is believed to have broken into and stolen items from vehicles parked at homes on 420 Whaley Street, 407 Whaley Street, 613 Cill Street, 620 Cill Street, and 701 Cill Street. The break-ins are believed to have occurred during the early morning hours of Tuesday, November 23rd before daylight.

The residents at all these addresses called police to report the break-ins and thefts later that morning after making the discoveries. Some people in the neighborhood also reported seeing a suspicious man on foot walking through the area that day carrying several bags.

Detective Holmes said that on November 23rd at 7:59 a.m. Officer Travis Bryant took a report from Oscar Boyd at 420 Whaley Street who stated that someone had burglarized two vehicles at his residence. Stolen from the automobiles were a laptop computer with a leather case, money bags containing some cash, a set of keys, checkbook, and two large cd cases with multiple cd's.

On November 23rd at 7:30 a.m., Officer Bryant took a report from Paul Cantrell at 407 Whaley Street who stated that his vehicle had been burglarized and that a black bag was stolen. The vehicle was also vandalized with damage to the dash and radio, where an unsuccessful attempt was made to steal the radio.

On November 23rd at 7:45 a.m., Officer Brad Tatrow took a report from David Gash at 613 Cill Street who stated that two vehicles were burglarized at his home and that a Garmin GPS unit was stolen along with multiple Mag flashlights, car chargers, and ten dollars in change.

On November 23rd at 8:00 a.m. Officer Tatrow took a report from Robert Hale at 620 Cill Street who stated that his automobile was burglarized and that a six inch Pakistan knife, book, and a boxcutter were stolen.

Officer Tatrow also took a report at 11:00 a.m. that day from Tim Woodward at 701 Cill Street who stated that his vehicle was burglarized and that a phone charger, a Craftsman wrench, and six dollars in change were stolen.

After an investigation, Detective Holmes said Thomason was identified as a suspect in the case and that he was staying at a rent home on Dry Creek Road, which was supposed to be unoccupied at that time. Police were told by the owner that no one was to be in the residence and he assisted the officers in obtaining access to the home. Thomason and his girlfriend were found there along with all the items reported stolen from the car burglaries on Whaley and Cill Streets, except for the laptop computer.

Detective Holmes said Thomason admitted to committing the burglaries and added that he had thrown the laptop in a nearby pond after dropping and breaking it.

Thomason is under a $150,000 bond and he will be in court on December 16th.

In other city crime news, 24 year old Charlie C Barnes of Cecil Hale Road was arrested on Saturday, November 27th for driving on a suspended license. Officer Scott Davis stopped a vehicle driven by Charlie Barnes for a traffic violation. A computer check of Barnes' license through central dispatch revealed them to be suspended. Bond for Barnes is $1,000 and his court date is January 5th.

36 year old Earnest Paul Barnwell of Poss Street was cited for shoplifting on Sunday, November 28th. Barnwell allegedly took items from Rite Aid Pharmacy without paying for them. K-9 Officer Brad Tatrow issued the citation. Barnwell's court date is December 16th.

42 year old Kimberly Denise Simmons of North 4th Street was cited for shoplifting on Sunday, November 28th by officer Scott Davis. Simmons was observed by Dollar General Store employees placing several items of merchandise in her purse and attempting to leave the store. Her court date is January 6th.

31 year old Lisa Rena Taylor of Poss Street was arrested Sunday, November 28th for simple possession of a schedule II drug, possession of drug paraphernalia, and driving on a revoked license. While investigating a shoplifting complaint against another person, Corporal Bryant was advised that Taylor had been waiting in the parking lot of Rite Aid for the shoplifting suspect. Corporal Bryant later saw her traveling on East Bryant and turn into City Walk Apartments where she got out of her car and ran back to the intersection of South Congress and East Bryant where she could see Officer Tatrow across the street. Corporal Bryant made contact with Taylor and knew from a prior encounter that her drivers license were revoked. Taylor was placed under arrest and transported to her car where K-9 Leo indicated on the vehicle. Drug paraphernalia was found in her jacket inside the car and in the glove compartment was a schedule II drug. Bond for Taylor is $3,500 and her court date is January 6th.

Meanwhile, anyone with information on any 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 Smithville Police solve any criminal offense will be greatly appreciated. All information is confidential.

Grand Jury Issues Good Report on Condition of DeKalb County Jail

December 3, 2010
Dwayne Page

The Grand Jury has given the DeKalb County Jail another good report.

After touring the facility Monday, the grand jurors prepared a brief report on their findings. The report states that "We, the members of the Grand Jury have found the DeKalb County Jail to be very clean, organized, well kept, and the facility is well maintained with top- notch security and a system of rewards for good behavior and stout discipline for those who do not cooperate within the system. Overall, the department has done an outstanding job operating within the budget. Prisoners are treated humanely with medical services readily available around the clock."

Bonds were also inspected and found to be in good shape.


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