Local News Articles

County Names Architect to Oversee Shopping Center Building Renovation

September 30, 2010
Dwayne Page

The county commission Monday night selected J. Mark Rodgers Architect of Cookeville as a third party consultant on the renovation of the 61,000 square foot shopping center building.

According to terms of the deal, Rodgers will receive a one percent consultation service fee, which is to be included as an allowance with each potential bidder. However, this fee will be paid directly from the county to Rodgers to assure an arms-length relationship with the successful team builder.

County Mayor Mike Foster said by providing third party consultation, the county will be given an objective evaluation and progress of the work.

Foster says bids could be advertised as early as next week for the renovation of the shopping center complex, half of which will be for county administration and half for recreation.

Trooper Eric McCormick Nabs Prison Escapee

September 29, 2010
Dwayne Page
Trooper Eric McCormick

A Cookeville Tennessee Highway Patrolman originally from Smithville captured a male inmate Wednesday who escaped from a prison work detail at Roane Mountain State Park.

Brian D. Knighton, 34, a prisoner from the Northeast Correctional Complex-Annex in Mountain City, stole a state-registered 2007 Dodge Caravan, changed the license plates, and fled the upper East Tennessee state park just after 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday, September 28.

All THP units in the Cookeville District were instructed to “be on the lookout”, and by Wednesday morning, Trooper Eric McCormick noticed the vehicle at the Marathon Gas station located on South Jefferson Avenue in Cookeville. Trooper McCormick, who was assisted by additional State Troopers, took the subject into custody just before 11 a.m.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) and the Tennessee Department of Correction (DOC) are investigating.

McCormick is the son of Jim and Becky McCormick of Smithville.

Walmart Supports DeKalb West School through Teacher Rewards Program

September 29, 2010
Walmart Supports DeKalb West School

Walmart is helping 10 teachers at DeKalb West School to purchase much-needed classroom supplies this back-to-school season as part of its Teacher Rewards program. Nationally, Walmart and Sam's Club locations are awarding more than 45,000 educators with $100 infusing $4.5 million to schools across America.

It's estimated that educators spend approximately $500 out of their own pockets each year for classroom supplies, including snacks for students who may not have regular access to food. The Teacher Rewards program helps offset those costs.

"Walmart is committed to supporting the local community and addressing unmet needs," said John White, Store Manager. "We know teachers are on tight budgets to provide supplies for their classrooms and Teacher Rewards helps offset those costs."

Picture from Left to Right front row are Pam Cunningham, Walmart ZMS and Jennifer Cantrell, Walmart Personnel Manager, who presented the rewards to teachers today (September 28) at DeKalb West School
Back row left to right are teachers Deb Poteete, Regina Kent, Susan Robinson, Cindy Pulley, Vicki Wilson, Jenny Cantrell, Jeanna Caplinger, Cynthia Preston, and librarian Genrose Davis.

DeKalb County Earns Three-Star Certification

September 29, 2010
Dwayne Page
DeKalb County Earns Three-Star Certification

Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner Matt Kisber announced that DeKalb County has achieved certification under the state's Three-Star program for excellence in economic development.

"Solid community development provides the foundation for successful economic development," said Commissioner Kisber. "Our Three-Star communities play an integral role in the overall economic health of the state, and I congratulate DeKalb County for its commitment to excellence and dedication to long-term economic growth and success."

DeKalb County and the Town of Alexandria, Town of Dowelltown, Town of Liberty and City of Smithville are now eligible to receive additional incentives under the guidelines of the Tennessee Three-Star program.

"ECD is proud to support DeKalb County in its dedication to long-term economic growth and success," said ECD Assistant Commissioner of Community Development Rick Meredith. "The community has emphasized essential foundational steps and targeted its strengths that will improve quality of life and grow jobs."

The Three-Star program has set high standards like no other state-run program in the nation. Governor Phil Bredesen's five-year asset-based economic development strategic plan is the cornerstone of Three-Star. The strategic plan addresses development issues and challenges a community is facing in an ever changing economic environment. Additionally, it helps communities preserve existing employment, create new employment opportunities, improve family income and develop a strong leadership base for economic development.

In 2005, the Southern Growth Policies Board, a bipartisan public policy think tank devoted to strengthening the South's economy, recognized the Three-Star program as a best practices program and a Southern leader in community certification programs. The Southern Growth Policies Board honored the Three-Star program again in 2010 with an Innovator Award for its unique partnership with the Tennessee Center for Performance Excellence. TNCPE provides services to the communities that participate in the Three-Star program based on the Baldrige National Quality Program and provides feedback to help communities implement and improve their plans.

The Three-Star program is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year after beginning in 1980 as the "Three-Star Award for Successful Completion of the Community Economic Preparedness Program." Under Governor Bredesen, the Three-Star program has been revamped to include a benchmarking system for community excellence which raised the bar for performance. The program has now grown to 89 programs certified, representing more than 340 cities and towns.

In order to receive the certification, communities are required to meet criteria in planning, leadership, community, business and education and work force development categories. Incentives for receiving the certification include identification on all FastTrack infrastructure and job training applications; eligibility for matching grants, if criteria set by ECD are met; earning points in the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program; assistance from ECD's Regional Economic Development Specialists and the sharing of "best practices" in community development; and the establishment of a strategic plan that is updated annually with measurable goals, specific actions, responsible parties and a timeline.

(Pictured L to R:
Chamber Director Suzanne Williams, Commissioner of Economic and Community Development Matt Kisber, Governor Phil Bredesen, ECD Assistant Commissioner of Community Development Rick Meredith, State Senator Mae Beavers)

Smithville Police Department to Conduct Child Safety Seat Inspections

September 29, 2010
Dwayne Page
Police Chief Randy Caplinger

The Smithville Police Department is urging parents and caregivers to make sure their child safety seats are properly installed. The police department will have certified technicians available to provide free hands-on child safety seat inspections and advice from 10:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. on Thursday, September 30th in the Wal-mart parking lot in Smithville.

Police Chief Randy Caplinger says "It's the responsibility of every single parent and caregiver out there to make sure their children are safely restrained, every trip, every time. We are urging everyone to get their child safety seats inspected. When it comes to the safety of a child, there is no room for mistakes."

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration research, 8,959 lives have been saved from 1975 to 2008 by the proper use of child restraints. In 2008, among children under age 5 in passenger vehicles, an estimated 244 lives were saved by child restraint use (child safety seats and adult seat belts). Research shows that child restraints provide the best protection for all children up to age eight.

For maximum child passenger safety, parents and caregivers can visit their local inspection stations and refer to the following 4 Steps for Kids guidelines that determine which restraint system is best suited to protect children based on age and size:

1. For the best possible protection keep infants in the back seat, in rear-facing child safety seats, as long as possible up to the height or weight limit of the particular seat. At a minimum, keep infants rear-facing until a minimum of age 1 and at least 20 pounds.

2. When children outgrow their rear-facing seats (at a minimum age 1 and at least 20 pounds) they should ride in forward-facing child safety seats, in the back seat, until they reach the upper weight or height limit of the particular seat (usually around age 4 and 40 pounds)

3. Once children outgrow their forward-facing seats (usually around age 4 and 40 pounds), they should ride in booster seats, in the back seat, until the vehicle seat belts fit properly. Seat belts fit properly when the lap belt lays across the upper thighs and the shoulder belt fits across the chest (usually at age 8 or when they are 4'9" tall)

4. When children outgrow their booster seats (usually at age 8 or when they are 4'9" tall) they can use the adult seat belt in the back seat, if it fits properly (lap belt lays across the upper thighs and the shoulder belt fits across the chest).

Remember: All children younger than 13 should ride in the back seat.

County Yields to State in Enforcing Building Codes

September 28, 2010
Dwayne Page
Mike Foster

DeKalb County currently does not require homebuilders to adhere to any residential building codes, but that will change soon under the Tennessee Clean Energy Future Act.

County Mayor Mike Foster said DeKalb County had three options: to adopt the state requirements for enforcement of residential building codes; to adopt a plan of it's own and hire a building codes inspector; or to opt out altogether. The county commission, Monday night, voted to let the state enforce the codes. "We have the building codes on file, but we feel like we should let the state do it (enforce state required building codes) for a while and if building (construction) picks back up later we can look at it. But for now, we don't want to be in the building codes business. We'll let the state go ahead and initiate theirs", said Foster.

"I think it's (building codes) a good thing, especially around the lake. If you see the horror stories of some contractors, the things they have done to some people, I think you'd agree it's a good thing to have some oversight to make sure the house is structurally correct. They'll tell them about things they can do to make homes more energy efficient and it will generally make the house be built to a certain level so that the person having the house built doesn't get ripped off. It'll be safer, more economical, and it will be a better built house", Foster added

This new state law calls for the adoption and enforcement of a residential building code to one-and two-family residences across the state. The State Fire Marshal Office's code enforcement program will begin in October. In the interim, the State will contract with code inspectors, establish a network of issuing agents where the construction permits can be obtained and finalize the process for payments.

Effective October 1st, the State Fire Marshal's Office will issue residential building permits using a system similar to the electrical inspection program that it presently operates. Owners and licensed contractors will obtain a construction permit from the local issuing agents. Inspectors will then inspect residences during construction to ensure code compliance.

Cities and counties that presently enforce a building code that is current within seven years (the 2003 or 2006 edition of the International Residential Code will qualify) can notify the State Fire Marshal's Office and continue local enforcement. Local codes may be more stringent than the state adopted code. Cities and counties may also choose to have no minimum one- and two-family residential building code and no inspections to ensure quality home construction by a two-thirds opt-out vote of their governing bodies (county commissions).

New State Fire Marshal's Office regulations adopt the 2009 International Residential Code and the 2006 International Energy Code. These building codes will only apply to new construction of residential structures. Nonresidential structures, such as out buildings and unattached garages, are not covered. Renovation of existing structures, no matter how extensive, is also not covered. Sprinkler requirements have not been adopted, although a city or county is free to adopt a sprinkler requirement.

Two DCHS Golfers Advance to State Tournament

September 28, 2010
Dwayne Page
Logan Clark, Mallory Sullivan, Coach Joe Pat Cope

Two DeKalb County High School golfers will be participating in the State Tournament after outstanding regional tournament play at Chattanooga Monday.

In the Region, Logan Clark shot a 77 and earned 4th Medalist honors while Mallory Sullivan shot an 87. The DCHS boys golf team finished in third place out of sixteen teams competing in the region while the DCHS girls team tied for third place with Monterey out of fourteen teams.

Click here to listen to Coach Joe Pat Cope's comments about the Region Tournament

County to Share in Cost of Directing Traffic at Northside Elementary School Zone

September 28, 2010
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Commission Monday night voted 12-2 to participate in a partnership with the City of Smithville and the school system to appropriate up to three thousand dollars a year toward the cost of hiring someone to direct traffic in the school zone at Northside Elementary. First district commissioners Elmer Ellis, Jr. and Mason Carter voted against the proposal

The Smithville Aldermen voted to make the same $3,000 appropriation earlier this month with the understanding that the county and school board would each fund one third of the costs as well.

Several county and city officials held an informal meeting at the courthouse a few weeks ago to discuss the plan which calls for the County, the City of Smithville, and the Board of Education to share in the cost of funding the position of one crossing guard or officer to direct traffic in the mornings and afternoons for a total of approximately four hours a day, Monday through Friday, in the school zone at Northside Elementary School. County Mayor Mike Foster said the cost is estimated to be eight to nine thousand dollars per year, which could be split equally between the county, city, and school system.

During Monday night's county commission meeting, seventh district member Jimmy Poss said he recently discussed the issue with Smithville Police Chief Randy Caplinger who mentioned that
a plan could be worked out to have someone directing traffic at both Northside Elementary and at DeKalb County High School each day, using the same amount of time and money. According to Chief Caplinger, Poss said instead of paying one person to spend four hours per day at Northside Elementary School (two hours in the morning and two hours in the afternoon), two people could be hired, one for Northside Elementary and one for DeKalb County High School each to direct traffic for two hours per day (one hour in the morning and one hour in the afternoon).

The school board has not yet taken up the proposal.

Wilbur Charged with Burglary and Theft

September 27, 2010
Dwayne Page
Matthew James Wilbur
Jenna Sue Murphy
Timothy Wade Ford
Jimmy Dwayne Evans

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department has charged a 21 year old Smithville man in a recent burglary and theft.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says Matthew James Wilbur of West Main Street is charged with one count of burglary and one count of theft of property over $500. Wilbur is under a $10,000 bond and he will be in court on September 30th.

Wilbur allegedly broke into a home July 14th on Old Hickory Place. Sheriff Ray says he entered through a back window and took from the home a hammock, exercise machine, a play house, and a trash can all valued at over $500.

40 year old Jenna Sue Murphy of Restview Avenue, Smithville was arrested on Wednesday, September 22nd and charged with simple possession of a schedule II drug (morphine), simple possession of a schedule II drug (oxycodone), and simple possession of a schedule IV drug (Xanax) Total bond for Murphy is $4,500 and her court date is October 7th.

Sheriff Ray says a deputy, along with Murphy's probation officer, went to her home to do a home check. While there, the deputy noticed Murphy putting a pill bottle behind her back as she sat down. The officer obtained the pill bottle and searched both the bottle and Murphy's pocket book. He found two and a half xanax pills, eight oxycodone pills, and two morphine pills.

39 year old Timothy Wade Ford of Brush Creek, an inmate at the jail, has been charged again with possession of a weapon in a penal institution, after correctional officers for a second time in recent weeks, found shanks or makeshift knives while searching his cell.

Sheriff Ray says the shanks were found under Ford's mattress. The shanks were made in jail from items he gathered around the cell, mostly wooden pieces stripped from mop and broom handles

Ford has taken responsibility for the shanks. His bond on this charge is $5,000 and he will be in court on October 21st.

26 year old Amy Leigh Estes of Vinewood Road, McMinnville was arrested on Tuesday, September 21st and charged with driving on a suspended license.

Sheriff Ray says Estes was operating a motor vehicle on Highway 146 and stopped for failure to drive in her lane of travel. A computer check revealed her license were suspended for failure to satisfy a citation on August 28th, 2006 in Cannon County. Estes is under a $1,000 bond and will be in court on October 6th.

49 year old Jimmy Dwayne Evans of Anthony Avenue, Smithville was arrested on Friday, September 24th and charged with driving under the influence. His bond is $1,000and he will be in court on October 7th.

While at Mapco, an officer saw a blue Nissan drive across the parking lot and almost hit the side of a deputy's patrol car. The driver of the Nissan stopped. The deputy got out to speak to the driver and noticed that the man (Evans) had a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on his person and very slurred speech. There was also an odor of marijuana coming from the vehicle. The deputy asked Evans to perform field sobriety tasks which he failed. He was unsteady on his feet. He refused to submit to a blood alcohol test.

Liberty Man Charged with Vandalism and Leaving the Scene after Car Crash at DCHS

September 26, 2010
Dwayne Page
Car Crashes into Walkway Canopy at DCHS
Car cuts down small tree before stopping at brick wall
Deputy  Roger Whitehead and Assistant DCHS Principal Patrick Cripps

A 38 year old Liberty man has been charged with leaving the scene of an accident and felony vandalism after his car crashed into posts supporting a walkway canopy, cut down a small tree, and then hit the brick exterior of the cafeteria's outdoor dining area at DCHS early Sunday morning

Lieutenant Steven Leffew of the Smithville Police Department says Steven Blake Goad is under a $6,500 bond and his court date is October 7th.

According to police, Goad called 911 early Sunday morning to report that his car, which he said was stolen, had been wrecked at the high school. Goad later changed his story, telling police that he had been driving west on Highway 70 when he went to sleep and hit the high school. When Smithville Police Officer Matt Farmer arrived at the school at 4:49 a.m. he found the car, a 2002 Buick, abandoned at the scene of the crash. There was front end damage to the car, including the hood, fenders, and windshield.

According to Officer Farmer's report, it appeared "the angle the car hit the school was in line from the main entrance from the football field. The vehicle hit two posts holding up the terrace (canopy), then hit a brick wall, stopping the vehicle. Extensive damage was done to the terrace (canopy). There was no other noticeable damage to the school."

Goad was picked up in Liberty by a county deputy and returned to the scene to give a statement to police. According to Officer Farmer's report, Goad said that "he fell asleep and did not remember how he crashed, but when he did he called his wife to come get him. Goad's wife, Cindy, stated that he (Goad) called her at 4:07 a.m. asking her to come get him at the high school because he had crashed the car."

Goad then placed his first call to 911 reporting the crash at 4:38 a.m.

Meanwhile in other recent city crime news, an off duty state trooper helped nab a would be thief at a local restaurant on Friday, September 17th.

Smithville Police say 38 year old Phillip John Carroll of Possum Hollow, accused of taking money from an unattended cash register at Peking Restaurant, was apprehended on site, thanks to Trooper Darrell Knowles, who was in the restaurant eating dinner at the time.

Carroll is charged with public intoxication, disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, stop frisk and halt and theft over $500.

Officer Scott Davis was dispatched to Peking Restaurant and upon arrival he made contact with Trooper Knowles who had Carroll restrained on the ground outside the restaurant. Officer Davis assisted Trooper Knowles in placing Carroll under arrest. Carroll kept pulling his hands underneath his body in an attempt to keep the officers from placing handcuffs on him. Once Carroll was arrested Officer Davis spoke to Trooper Knowles who stated that he was eating when he saw Carroll open the cash register and start removing money from the till. Trooper Knowles stated that Carroll covered the register with a menu as he took the money and placed it in his front pockets. Trooper Knowles stated that he identified himself, showing Carroll his state issued identification and then asked Carroll if he worked there. Carroll replied "yea" or words to that effect. Trooper Knowles asked Carroll to wait but he took off out the door. Trooper Knowles followed him out the door and took him to the ground, holding him there until police arrived. Carroll had an odor of an alcoholic beverage about his breath at the time of his arrest. Bond for Carroll is $8500 and his court date is September 30th.

29 year old Corey Wade Thomas of Sparta Highway was arrested on Saturday, September 18th for simple possession of a schedule IV controlled substance. Corporal Travis Bryant was called to a location on East Main Street where a man had reportedly entered someone's house at random. After speaking to the homeowner and getting a description of the man, Corporal Bryant found him walking on Smith Road. While talking with the man, Thomas, Corporal Bryant saw him remove a pill from his left pocket and drop it to the ground. The pill was recovered and Thomas was placed under arrest. Bond for Thomas is $1,500 and his court date is September 30th.

48 year old James Allen Hargrave of Old Bildad Road was arrested on Monday, September 20th for a second offense of driving under the influence and a second offense of driving on a suspended license. Corporal Travis Bryant was going home when he got behind a vehicle on Bright Hill Road which was traveling in and out of his lane, almost striking another vehicle head on. While following the vehicle, Corporal Bryant began flashing his headlights signaling the driver to pull over. After making the traffic stop, Corporal Bryant discovered that the driver, Hargrave, had a revoked license. He also noticed Hargrave had a strong odor of alcohol on his person. Hargrave, who refused to submit to field sobriety tests, stated that he was drunk and that he had consumed over twelve beers.

50 year old Victor G Gingerich of Liberty was arrested on Wednesday, September 22nd for a third offense of driving on a suspended license. Corporal Travis Bryant reports that Gingerich was operating a motor vehicle and he was stopped for having the wrong tags on his vehicle. A computer check by central dispatch revealed his license to be suspended. Bond for Gingerich is $3000 and his court date is September 29th.

25 year old Jordan Thomas Adams and 20 year old Leah Marie Grandstaff both of Game Ridge Road were arrested on Thursday, September 23rd for public intoxication. Corporal Travis Bryant, Officer Brad Tatrow, and Deputy Jeremy Taylor were called to McDonald's restaurant in response to a complaint of two intoxicated persons there. Upon arrival the officers made contact with Adams and Grandstaff who appeared to be unsteady on their feet and had slurred speech. Bond for each is $1000 and they will be in court October 14th.


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