Local News Articles

DeKalb County Jobless Rate 5.2% in January

March 10, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

DeKalb County's non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for January was 5.2%, up from the revised rate for December of 4.7%

The DeKalb County Labor Force for January was 10,080. A total of 9,560 were employed and 520 were unemployed.

Meanwhile, Tennessee's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for January was 4.8 percent, 0.1 percent lower than the December rate of 4.9 percent. The United States unemployment rate for the month of January was 4.6 percent.

County non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rates for January show that all 95 counties increased. County unemployment rates cannot be seasonally adjusted and therefore reflect seasonal expansions and layoffs that occur during the year. The state and U.S. unemployment rates are seasonally adjusted to eliminate normal seasonal fluctuations and to indicate a more accurate measurement of actual economic change.

Williamson County registered the state's lowest county unemployment rate at 3.4 percent, up from 3.0 percent in December. Pickett County was the states highest at 11.3 percent, up from 9.3 in December, followed by Lawrence County at 9.8 percent, up from 8.8 in December.

Knox County had the state's lowest major metropolitan rate at 3.9 percent, up from 3.3 in December. Davidson County is 4.1 percent, up from 3.6 in December. Hamilton County is at 4.4 percent, up from 3.8 in December, and Shelby County is 5.7 percent, up from the December rate of 5.0.

Seven Candidates Qualify For Smithville Election With Deadline Looming

March 10, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

Seven candidates have qualified to run for alderman in the Smithville Municipal Election this summer with a few more days left until the qualifying deadline.

Those who have qualified to be on the ballot for the June 19th city election include Jerry W. Hutchins' Sr, Tonya Sullivan, Willie Thomas, Todd VanDyne, W.J. (Dub) White, Paul Young, and Aaron Meeks.

Three will be elected.

White, Meeks, and Young are incumbents seeking re-election.

The election commission reports that a qualifying petition has been picked up for one more potential candidate, but it has not yet been returned.

The qualifying deadline is 12 noon on Thursday, March 15th

Home Health Care Employee Charged With Defrauding Elderly Woman In Her Care

March 19, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

A 19 year old Home Health Care employee has been charged with fraudulent use of a credit card belonging to an 81 year old woman with whom she was sitting.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says Cynthia Kirby of Bell Street Apartments has posted a $1,000 bond and she will be in General Sessions Court on the charge March 29th.

According to Sheriff Ray, the elderly woman gave Kirby her debit card to withdraw some money to buy some supplies. While Kirby was at Region's Bank in Smithville on Thursday, March 8th, she made an unauthorized debit for $200.

Sheriff Ray says Kirby implicated herself in a statement she gave to authorities. In addition to the criminal charge against her, Kirby has been terminated from her employment.

In a separate case, 18 year old Terry Barnes of West Maple Street, Morrison is charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor. His bond is $1,000 and he will be in court on the charge March 22nd.

Barnes is accused of being with a 17 year old female who was reported missing by her mother. The girl's mother took out a runaway petition on the juvenile after discovering that her daughter was gone.

Sheriff Ray says officers confronted Barnes about the girl but he denied knowing her whereabouts. She was found with Barnes at the home of Barnes' sister on Corinth Church Road on Friday, March 16th.

In other cases, Sheriff Ray says 24 year old Jamie Reyes of Short Mountain Highway, Smithville was arrested on Saturday, March 17th and charged with a second offense of driving under the influence and violation of probation. His bond is set at $6,000 and he will be in court on the charges March 29th.

Sheriff Ray says an officer, while on patrol, found Reyes sitting in a vehicle on Whorton Springs Road. The car was running but Reyes was passed out. Reyes was awakened and asked to perform a field sobriety task, which he failed. He was then taken into custody.

48 year old Ricky Devault of Talphia Road, Dowelltown was also arrested Saturday and charged with driving on a revoked license. Sheriff Ray says a deputy, while on patrol spotted Devault driving on the Old Snow Hill Road. The officer knew Devault didn't have a driver's license so he pulled him over. DeVault already has two cases of the same offense pending against him in General Sessions Court. He is under a $3,000 bond and he will be in court on this charge April 19th.

On Sunday, March 18th, 35 year old Alfonso Hernandez Bluff Springs Road, McMinnville, was arrested and charged with a third offense of driving under the influence and driving on a revoked license. A deputy, while on patrol, stopped Hernandez for weaving on Highway 56. He failed a field sobriety task and was charged. He is under a $6,000 bond and will appear in General Sessions Court April 19th.

39 year old Carlos Reyes of Skyline Drive, McMinnville was also arrested for driving under the influence over the weekend after a deputy stopped him for weaving on Highway 56. He failed a field sobriety task and was charged. His bond is $1,000 and his court date is May 10th.

Smithville Police Continue Crackdown on Drug Trafficking and Traffic Offenses

March 17, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

Smithville Police continued their crackdown on DUI, Drug trafficking and traffic enforcement in the city with numerous investigations and arrests this week.

Chief Thomas Stufano says \"Smithville Police observed a vehicle with an improper tag being driven on Congress Boulevard.. Upon stopping and contacting the driver, Officers found that the driver 28 year old Jamie Carroll of 834 Gentry Avenue was driving on a Suspended License 3rd offense. Carroll was subsequently arrested and transported to the DeKalb County Jail. He is under a $3,000 bond.\"

Investigators working an undercover narcotics investigation arrested 26 year old Danny Ray Murphy of 335 Shady Drive for Sale and Distribution of a Schedule II Drug and driving a vehicle with no Driver's License. Also arrested was 26 year old Amy Vandercamp of McMinnville. A citizen complaint led police to the Food Lion parking lot where the two were actively engaged in a drug transaction. Upon contact Investigators found Murphy in possession of K-4 Dilaudid and a large amount of cash. Vandercamp was also in possession of K-4 Dilaudid. The pair was arrested and transported to the DeKalb County Jail. Bond was set at $40,000 for them. The vehicles were impounded under the state's Drug Forfeiture Act and the Revenue Department was contacted for tax administrative action.

Smithville Officers arrested 53 year old Steven William Palmer of 224 Garfield Street, McMinnville for Driving under the Influence. Officer's responded to the area of McMinnville Highway in answer to a suspected drunk driving complaint. Upon arrival Smithville Officer's made contact with Palmer who was given standardized field sobriety tests for intoxication. Chief Stufano says \"It was apparent that Palmer was heavily intoxicated as he was unable to perform these tests. He was arrested for DUI and transported to the DeKalb County Jail under a $1,000 bond. A computer check showed that Palmer also had a current warrant for his arrest for DUI from another county.\"

Officers also responded to a complaint of a reckless driver on East Broad Street where they came in contact with 33 year old Federico Torres of 1383 Blue Springs Road. A concerned citizen who had been following the erratic driver called the Smithville Police to report that the driver had multiple near crashes. Officers who responded stated that Federico was too intoxicated to stand or perform any of the sobriety tests. The investigation also noted open containers of alcohol in the vehicle. He was arrested for DUI 2nd offense and driving on a revoked license. He was transported to the DeKalb County Jail. His bond is $2,000.

Smithville Police Investigators arrested 34 year old Katherine Michelle Carr of 628 Restview in Smithville and 34 year old Sharon Barnwell of Smithville for Sale and Delivery of a Controlled Substance and Possession of Paraphernalia. Chief Stufano says the two were engaged in an illegal drug transaction in the Walmart parking lot as reported by a concerned citizen. Smithville Investigators were able to quickly setup surveillance and arrested the parties as they exited the parking area. Further investigation noted that the drug transaction involved rock cocaine. At the time of the arrest Carr had (5) minor children in her car who were turned over to a family member who was called to the scene. The two adults were arrested and transported to the DeKalb County Jail and charged. Bond was set at $101,000. Their vehicles were seized under the State's Drug Forfeiture Act and the State Revenue authorities were contacted.

Chief Stufano says \"Smithville Police have been increasing their enforcement efforts in the areas of DUI, Drugs and Speeding within the city limits. Residents are encouraged to report to the Police any suspicious activity in their neighborhoods. Remember to contact 615-215-3000 for normal reporting of events and 911in the event of an emergency.\"

Man In Domestic Dispute With Ex-Girlfriend Seriously Injured After Falling From Moving Vehicle

March 12, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

A 28 year old man was seriously injured Saturday afternoon and airlifted to Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga after a domestic dispute with his ex-girlfriend.

Trooper Allen England of the Tennessee Highway Patrol says Amador Zetina Gomez of 1105 Vaughn Lane, an employee of Zelenka Nursery, suffered serious facial injuries and possibly others after he fell from a 1996 Jeep Grand Cherokee, driven by 40 year old Rhonda Jo Suarez of Banks Pisgah Road.

Trooper England says he was dispatched to 1105 Vaughn Lane Saturday around 3:27 p.m. to investigate a non-injury traffic accident involving a pedestrian. Upon further investigation, it was determined to be a domestic dispute between Gomez and Suarez.

According to Trooper England, Suarez, the driver of the Jeep Cherokee, was sitting in the vehicle talking to Gomez. The conversation erupted into an argument and Gomez reached into the driver's side window and grabbed Suarez by her shirt. She then accelerated the vehicle and traveled across the parking lot with Gomez still holding on to her through the window. Gomez then fell from the window of the vehicle and hit the ground. Suarez made a U-turn, came back, and then stopped beside Gomez to check on him.

Gomez was airlifted from the scene by a Life Force helicopter ambulance and flown to Erlanger Hospital.

According to Suarez and other witnesses, Gomez had been drinking but it could not be verified how much or how long he had been drinking leading up to this incident.

Witnesses say both Gomez and Suarez have been involved in domestic disputes with each other before on several occasions.

Suarez is a former employee of Zelenka Nursery and according to Trooper England, company officials have asked her on numerous occasions before not to be on the property.

Suarez was cited for improper vehicle registration and violation of the financial responsibility law (no insurance). The case is under review by the District Attorney General's Office to determine if further charges should be filed in the case.

Smithville Police Stay Busy Over Weekend

March 12, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

Smithville Police had a busy weekend making numerous arrests for Aggravated Burglary, Theft, DUI, Drugs Criminal and Public Intoxication.

Chief Thomas J. Stufano says on Friday Smithville Police arrested 47 year old Jarvis Trapp of Bell Street Apartments in Smithville for Public Intoxication. \"Officers were summoned to Duncan Street after a concerned citizen called stating that a white male was stumbling into traffic near the Tannery on Highway 70. Upon arrival officers found Jarvis lying a drainage ditch on Duncan Street. At first Smithville Officer's starting working the find as a potential accident scene as Jarvis was unconscious. Further investigation disclosed that he had passed out due to being highly intoxicated. He was arrested and transported to the DeKalb County Jail with a bond set at $1,500.\"

On Saturday Smithville Officers arrested 36 year old Richard Turner of 637 Restview Avnue for Criminal Trespassing. Chief Stufano says \"Officers were dispatched to 637 Crestlawn Avenue when a resident called to advise that there was an unwanted guest in their house. Upon arrival officers found Turner passed out on the living room sofa. The resident advised that they had told Turner to leave but he ignored their requests and fell asleep on the couch. Officer's escorted Turner from the property with a warning not to return. Approximately two hours later Officers were again summoned back to the residence where they found Turner again sitting on the couch. He was arrested for Criminal Trespass and Public Intoxication. Turner was transported to the DeKalb County Jail under a $3,000 bond. Turner had also been arrested for the same offense on March 5th after he violated a restraining order to stay off of Housing Authority property.\"

Also on Saturday, Smithville Police arrested 30 year old Amy Jeanette Lawson of 1243 Haley Road, Smithville for Simple Possession and Drug Paraphernalia. Chief Stufano says \"A concerned citizen called police to report a possible drug sale in progress outside of the City Caf?' located on Highway 70. As officer's arrived they could see parties exchanging something and then quickly dispersing. Two subjects were detained and a third unknown white female walked into the Caf?'. Upon entry into the restaurant, police made contact with the woman as she exited a backroom. The investigation disclosed that Lawson had in her possession K-4 Dilaudid and had just disposed of a syringe, 2 straws and a metal container with an additional 5 pills that she had just hidden in a back room in the restaurant. Lawson was subsequently arrested and transported to the DeKalb County Jail under a $3,500 bond.\"

On Sunday, Smithville Officers arrested 49 year old Roy D. Mathis and 45 year old Rhonda Cains of 627 Crestlawn Avenue in Smithville for Aggravated Burglary and Theft over $500.00. Chief Stufano says \"Investigators determined that the two had burglarized a garage located at 118 Steeple Chase Drive in Smithville and stole thousands of dollars worth of tools. The victim who saw the pair stealing the items was hurt while trying to stop the theft. The two subjects were eventually arrested. Bond for Mathis is $10,000 and Cains' bond is $3,500.\"

Also on Sunday afternoon Smithville Officers arrested 49 year old Ricky Devault of 330 Talphia Road in Dowelltown for DUI and Driving on a Suspended License. According to Chief Stufano, officers responded to a 2 car motor vehicle accident in the Hardees parking lot and found that Devault had run into the rear of another vehicle. He was suspected of DUI and the standard field sobriety tests confirmed his intoxication. A computer check also noted that his license was suspended (2nd offense). He was arrested and transported to the DeKalb County Jail with a $1,500 bond.\"

On Monday, Smithville Officers responded to a county mutual aid request. It was reported that an unknown Latin male was walking along Highway 70 and appeared to be intoxicated. Upon arrival Smithville Officers found 30 year old Gilberto Godinez of 6416 Short Mountain Road in Smithville banging on neighborhood doors wanting to use their phone. It was apparent that Godinez was intoxicated and did have cuts and scrapes about his face from falling into ditches as he walked. He was eventually arrested and transported to the DeKalb County Jail for Public Intoxication. Bond was set at $1,000. Godinez advised that he is an illegal alien from Mexico.\"

Also on Monday morning Smithville Police responded to 428 Morgan Avenue on a reported vandalism call. Chief Stufano says \" Further investigation showed that vandals had spray painted suspected \"gang signs\" on the street. 26 year old Ricky Murphy of 7301 McMinnville Highway, Smithville was arrested for vandalism. He was brought to the DeKalb County Jail under a $1,000 bond.\"

Chief Stufano says \"Local law enforcement has started to notice an increase in gang graffiti throughout the region. The recent rash of signage displayed locally is known as \"BK\" or Blood Killer's\" which originates back to west coast gang organizations. Law enforcement has been actively gauging the gang concept in the area with intelligence sharing meetings among the agencies. Also noted is the influx of Latin gangs which are moving operations from the mid-west. Smithville Police has assigned an officer to stay current with gang activity in our area.\"

Again, Chief Stufano says the Smithville Police Department would like to thank our citizens for staying vigilant to their surroundings and calling to report suspicious activity in your neighborhood. \"Crime Watch is effective and does work! The Smithville Police ask for our residents to just make a phone call to the Police and not try to stop the illegal activity themselves. \"

Four Arrested By Sheriff's Department In Undercover Drug Investigation

March 12, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

An undercover drug investigation by the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department resulted in the arrest of four people on Midway Road Friday night.

30 year old Ronald Jacobsen, his wife 30 year old Tammy Jacobsen, and Kristopher Davis all of 2259 Midway Road, and 25 year old Christina Johnson of Old Stone Court, Lavergne were arrested at the Jacobsen and Davis residence.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says a search warrant was executed and served at the residence on Friday night, about 72 hours after an undercover drug buy was made there.

Jacobsen is charged with sale and delivery of a schedule II controlled substance (Dilaudid), sale and delivery of a schedule III controlled substance (Hydrocodone), simple possession of a schedule VI controlled substance (Marijuana), and unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia including scales, pipes, hemostats, straws, bongs, pill crushers, marijuana grinders, and rolling papers. Bond for Jacobsen is set at $43,000 and he will appear in General Sessions Court March 29th.

Mrs. Jacobsen is charged with criminal conspiracy to sell and deliver a schedule II controlled substance (Dilaudid), simple possession of a schedule VI controlled substance (Marijuana), and unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia. Her bond is set at $23,000 and she will be in court on the charges March 29th. Sheriff Ray says the conspiracy charge against Mrs. Jacobsen is because she witnessed the dilaudid drug transaction between her husband and the undercover agent.

Johnson is charged with unlawful possession of a schedule III controlled substance (Loratab). Her bond is $3,500 and she will be in court March 29th. Sheriff Ray says Johnson had pills on her person believed to have been Loratab.

Davis was cited for unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia. Sheriff Ray says Davis had paraphernalia on him including pipes and a marijuana grinder.

Five children were also in the home from toddler age to pre-teens. Sheriff Ray says because children were present where illegal activity was taking place, the Department of Children's Services was notified.

Sheriff Ray adds that the Jacobsen's are already convicted felons and are not supposed to possess any firearms, but officers found a loaded handgun and two shotguns in the house. He says the Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms will be contacted and possible federal charges could be placed against the Jacobsen's for illegal possession of guns.

Eight Candidates In The Race To Fill Three Smithville Alderman Seats

March 15, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

Eight candidates have qualified to run for alderman in the Smithville Municipal Election on Tuesday, June 19th.

Thursday at noon was the qualifying deadline

Those who have qualified to be on the ballot include Shawn Jacobs, Jerry W. Hutchins' Sr, Tonya Sullivan, Willie Thomas, Todd VanDyne, W.J. (Dub) White, Paul Young, and Aaron Meeks.

Three will be elected.

White, Meeks, and Young are incumbents seeking re-election.

The last day to register to vote in the Smithville election is May 20th.

To vote in the city election, voters must live inside the city limits or they may live elsewhere in DeKalb County and own property within the city limits. The Smithville Charter states the property must be 7500 square feet. Property rights voters must register at the Election Commission office by the registration deadline. Proof of ownership is required.

For more information please contact the Election Commission office.

School Board Names DCHS Theater in honor of Ina Ruth Bess

March 15, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

The Board of Education Thursday night voted unanimously to name the Theater at DeKalb County High School in honor of Ina Ruth Bess, who will be retiring at the end of this school year.

Ms. Bess has been an educator since 1948 and much of her career has been at DeKalb County High School, where she has taught and directed class plays over the years.

Meanwhile, DCHS Principal Kathy Hendrix has announced that Monday through Friday, March 19th-23rd will be \"Ina Ruth Bess Week\" at DeKalb County High School.

The administration, faculty and staff at the school are planning several special events in honor of Ms. Bess' retirement and are asking for the public to participate.

School officials are planning to put together a book containing notes, cards, pictures, congratulations, etc. for Ms. Bess to enjoy after her retirement. If you would like to send something, please do so in advance and send it to: Mrs. Harriett Cantrell or Dixie Crook, DCHS, 1130 West Broad Street, Smithville, TN 37166. You may also leave it with Ms. Crook at Smithville Food Store, after school hours.

Monday, March 19?Former teachers/retired teachers are urged to visit with Ms. Bess from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Tuesday, March 20?Former Tigerette members are to visit with Ms. Bess from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Wednesday, March 21?Former students can visit with her from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m.

Thursday, March 22?A reception for DeKalb County teachers, staff, and central office staff will be held in the DCHS cafeteria from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Friday, March 23?An assembly program will be held in the DCHS gym at 9 a.m. and is open to all who would like to attend.

If your schedule will not allow you to visit on a specific day, you may stop by any day during the week to visit with Ms. Bess. When you enter the school, you must sign in at the office. There will be a signature book for you to sign and someone will be there to direct you.

The front row parking spaces near the sidewalk of the school will also be open to the general public next week.

In other school board news from Thursday night, the board approved the Licensure Advancement of Ashley Barnes, David Gash, and Amanda Rhoady and the Tenure status of Ashley Barnes, Tena Davidson, David Gash, Amanda Rhoady, and Melissa Ruch

Director Mark Willoughby presented his monthly report on personnel.

Those employed since last month include Penny Smitty, certified substitute teacher and Kenneth Allen, Rachel Church, Betty Fisk, Clayton Moore, Lori Page, Shaundra Smith, Tammy Vanatta, Susan West, Thomas Werling, and Julie Young as substitute teachers.

Those resigning are Deona Thomas, certified substitute teacher, Tracey Baker, educational assistant at Northside Elementary School, Vickey Atnip, educational assistant at Northside Elementary School, and Rachel Bandy, cafeteria worker at DCHS. Ina Ruth Bess, teacher at DCHS, has announced her retirement.

Martha Damon, teacher at DeKalb West School, has been granted a leave of absence as requested.

Those who have been transferred include Angela Lawson, transferred to a full time bus position, Jerry Lawson, transferred to a substitute bus position, Helen Lafever, transferred to a full time cafeteria position, and Cynthia Armour, transferred to a full time cafeteria position.

Honor Students Named at DCHS

March 17, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

DeKalb County High School has released the names of this year's Honor Students including the 2007 Valedictorian Courtney Rhody and the Salutatorian Kendra Adcock.

Both Rhody and Adcock have compiled a 4.0 grade point average.

Other students earning \"Highest Distinction\" with a grade point average of 3.8 to 4.0 include Andrew Moore, Kristen James, Nickole Macy, and Jordan Atnip each with a 4.0; Annica Vettraino 3.9286, Angel Lindsay 3.9259, Zach Davidson 3.9231, Ashleigh Wright 3.9216, Justin Nokes 3.8571, Chris Young 3.8571, Tera Menix 3.8519, and Ashley Rowland 3.8148.

Students earning \"High Distinction\" with a grade point average of 3.6 to 3.7999 include Heather Cantrell 3.7778, Joey Driver 3.75, Sarah Fury 3.7083, Thomas Hale 3.7407, Brandon Shaw 3.7308, Rebecca Hendrixson 3.6667, Gwenevere Michaels 3.6607, Chase Tramel 3.6154, Colby Kilgore 3.6111, Brittney Bell 3.6071, Josh Nokes 3.6071, Danny Pirtle 3.6071, and Josh Howe 3.6.

Those earning \"Distinction\" with a grade point average of 3.2 to 3.5999 include Amy Ashford 3.5556, Tera Campbell 3.5556, Kristina Heriott 3.5357, Kelli Bess 3.52, Kelli Twilla 3.5, Mikey O'Conner 3.5, Tiffany Walls 3.5, Holly Hughes 3.4615, Anna Trapp 3.4444, Billy Fuson 3.3913, Sarah Nunley 3.3750, Roberta Applegate 3.3571, Ashley Burchfield 3.3571, Richard Schilt 3.3571, Ashley McCormick 3.3333, Carolina Noyola 3.3333, Claire Garrett 3.3077, Whitney Maples 3.2857, Kayla Kilgore 3.2593, Jessica Berry 3.2407, Martha Robertson 3.2292, and Jimbo Williams 3.2143.

The Class of 2007 at DeKalb County High School will graduate on Friday, May 18th.

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