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Sheriff's Department Finds Drugs while serving State Warrant-Two People Arrested

February 16, 2009
Dwayne Page
Bridgett Nicole Cantrell
Franklin Allan Knowles
Chadwick Buchanon

Two people were charged last Tuesday after authorities of the Sheriff's Department found drugs in the home while serving a state warrant.

31 year old Bridgett Nicole Cantrell of Piney Woods Road, Dowelltown and 36 year old Franklin Allan Knowles of Young-Green Road, Smithville are charged with simple possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia. Bond for both is set at $2,500 each and they will appear in court February 19th.

According to Sheriff Patrick Ray, deputies and detectives from the department served a state warrant at Knowles' residence and noticed a strong smell of marijuana coming from inside the home. Detectives obtained consent to search and found drugs and drug paraphernalia in two of the bedrooms.

Sheriff Ray says marijuana, marijuana seeds, rolling papers, and a marijuana cigarette roller were found in a bedroom occupied by Cantrell. In Knowles' room, officers found marijuana, several bags of marijuana seeds, a marijuana pipe, rolling papers, hemostats, and a marijuana cigarette roller.

Meanwhile, 33 year old Chadwick L Buchanon of West Main Street in Alexandria was arrested Monday (February 16th) for theft of property over $1,000.. Buchanon was charged after detectives discovered that on June 1st 2007, he had gone to a residence on Lower Helton Road and took a 2001 Yamaha ATV, valued at over $1,000 without the owner's consent. The ATV has since been recovered. Buchanon's bond was set at $5,000 and he will appear in court on February 26th.

In another case, deputies received a call Thursday to go to Short Mountain Highway where a strange man was seen walking down the road.

Officers found 47 year old James Donald Hale of Big Hill Road, Liberty kneeling beside of the roadway on Short Mountain Road and they detected a strong odor of alcohol on Hale's person. After being placed under arrest, a search of Hale revealed marijuana in his wallet and two half smoked marijuana joints in Hale's shirt pocket. He was charged with public intoxication and simple possession of marijuana. Hale's bond was set at $2,500 and he will appear in court on February 19th.

On Saturday, deputies stopped 39 year old Paul E. Stanley of Campbell Road, Smithville for a traffic violation on Highway 70 West. Upon speaking with Stanley, officers noticed a strong odor of alcohol on his person. Stanley submitted to field sobriety tasks which he failed. Stanley was arrested and charged with driving under the influence of alcohol. His bond was set at $1,500 and he will appear in court on February 26th.

On Sunday, deputies stopped 34 year old Sonya Kaye Edge of Davis Road, Dowelltown for weaving from the center line to the shoulder of the roadway several times. Upon talking to Edge, officers detected a strong odor of alcohol coming from within the vehicle. Edge had red watery eyes and a smell of alcohol on her person. She submitted to field sobriety tasks which she failed. Sheriff Ray says Edge admitted to drinking alcohol. She was charged with driving under the influence and her bond was set at $1,500. She will appear in court on March 19th.

Sheriff Ray asks that if you have any information on any thefts or any information on any drug activities, to call him at 597-4935 or call the crime tip line at 464-6400. All calls are kept confidential.

DeKalb Farm Bureau and 4-H'ers Observe Food Check-Out Week

February 16, 2009

DeKalb Farm Bureau & local 4-H'ers are observing Food Check-Out week through February 21st.

It's the 11th year of this observance.

DeKalb County 4-H'ers will be at Food Lion in Smithville and Prichard's in Alexandria, on Thursday to hand out information on healthy snacks such as apples (healthy food) and comparing their cost (.18 cents) with candy bars (85 cents or two for $1), Twinkies ($1), Animal Crackers ($1.39), Lunchables ($2.89), and chips ($1).

The cost of most things increases on an annual basis. It is frequently necessity items, such as food, clothing and shelter, that draw the attention of most shoppers in regards to the monetary cost and the devaluation of the dollar.

The Agriculture Department's Economic Research Service charts food expenditures by Americans.

According to their recent findings, the average U.S. consumer spends 10 percent of their disposable income on food each year. That equates to each household working five weeks out of 52 to provide necessary food staples annually.

In comparison, it takes Americans a considerably longer period of time to earn enough disposable income to pay for health and medical care. The average household must work nearly two months (52 days) annually in order to provide health and medical care, 62 days to pay for household operation, and 77 days annually to pay federal taxes.

Americans enjoy the safest, most abundant and most affordable food supply on earth. As a comparison, residents of Japan spend 14 percent of their income on food; China, 26 percent; and Indonesia, 55 percent.

The fist national commemoration of Food Check Out Day was held 11 years ago and was born from an idea through Farm Bureau Woman's Leadership Committee.

The annual program provides a means for shoppers to celebrate the bounty from America's farms and is shared by consumers through affordable food prices.

The average American's annual consumption of food includes 118.4 pounds of red meat, 31.25 pounds of cheese, 84.5 pounds of poultry, 204.6 pounds of fresh vegetables, 21 gallons of milk and 127.1 pounds of fresh fruit.

The majority of food produced in the United States comes from family owned and operated operations with 98 percent of all farms owned by individuals and families, while just 2 percent are non-family owned or operated.

Knowing your food budget and planning balanced meals by making a grocery list and sticking to it is a good way to provide for a healthy diet.

Wreck Claims Life of Liberty Man

February 14, 2009
Dwayne Page
Gary Wayne Cantrell

A pickup truck crash Friday night claimed the life of a 28 year old Liberty man and DeKalb County Volunteer Firefighter.

Dead is Gary Wayne Cantrell

The Tennessee Highway Patrol reports that Cantrell was traveling on Highway 53 in a 1995 GMC pickup truck when he came around a curve, lost control, struck a bridge abutment, and overturned, coming to rest in a creek bed. The truck caught fire and burned.

Cantrell died at the scene.

The accident, investigated by Sergeant Mark Dial of the Tennessee Highway Patrol, occurred around 6:40 p.m. in DeKalb County but only two tenths of a mile from the Cannon County Line.

Members of the Liberty Station of the DeKalb County Fire Department responded along with the department's rescue and extrication unit, DeKalb EMS, DeKalb County Sheriff's Department, and the Rescue Squad, Sheriff's Department, and fire departments from Cannon County.

Chief Donny Green says Cantrell had been a member of the DeKalb County Fire Department's Liberty Station for three and a half years.

Kelly Services has over 100 jobs available at Federal Mogul

February 13, 2009
Dwayne Page

Kelly Services has over 100 jobs available at Federal Mogul

They’re taking applications on Tuesday, and Wednesday, February 17th &18th at the First United Methodist Church located at 102 West Church Street, in Smithville, in the Christian Fellowship Center.

Jobs pay $8-10.17/hour. If you are at least 18 and have some manufacturing
experience, you are encouraged to apply. Bring a friend and you may be eligible to earn a referral bonus to boot!

Be sure to bring 2 forms of ID. Remember, you can apply in person on Tuesday and Wednesday at the CFC at the First United Methodist Church from 9am until 6:00pm.

Thirty Seven Students to Compete in County Spelling Bee

February 13, 2009
Dwayne Page

A total of thirty seven students will be competing during the Sixth Annual DeKalb County Spelling Bee Friday night, February 20th at 6:30 p.m. at DeKalb County High School.

WJLE plans LIVE coverage

Students from DeKalb Middle School, DeKalb West School, and Northside Elementary School recently competed at the school level to become eligible for the county competition.

Along with students from twenty nine other counties, the first and second place winners in the DeKalb County Spelling Bee will compete in the Tennessean Regional Spelling Bee on March 4th at Belmont University in Nashville.

The winner of the Regional Spelling Bee will compete in the Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee in Washington D.C. May 26th through May 28th with all expenses paid by the Tennessean Newspaper.

The purpose of the County Wide Spelling Bee is to help students improve spelling skills, increase vocabularies, learn concepts, and develop correct English usage that will help them all their lives.

Participants in this year's County Wide Spelling Bee are:

Northside Elementary School:

Fourth Grade- Sara LeFever and Baylee Phillips

Fifth Grade-Chase Bryant, Hailey Cannon, Caleb Fox, Morgan Cross, Kaitlin Rhea, and Kyra Trapp

DeKalb Middle School:

Sixth Grade- Peter Antoniak, Amber Baute, Brandon Chapman, Haley Davis, Lenzi Dickens, Justin Johnson, Julie Little, Makalee Ruch, Makayla Starnes, Alex Thompson, and Jacob Washer.

Eighth Grade-Jessica Acuna, Kyra Dickens, and Martelia Tallent

DeKalb West School:

Fifth Grade- Morgan Vickers and Hailey Walker

Sixth Grade- Leah Burchfield, McKenzie Gann, and Bruce Wilson

Seventh Grade- Cara Mosely, McKenzie Poteete, Crystal Vickers, Evan Ward, and Dylan Young

Eighth Grade- Nathan Gohs, Amy Hastings, Taylor Leach, Justin Manley, and Austin Miller

Three Educators Named in Teacher of the Year Program

February 12, 2009
Dwayne Page
Kathy Lawrence
Carrie Gottlied
Linda Parris

The DeKalb County School System has announced that three educators, Kathy Lawrence, Carrie Gottlied and Linda Paris have been selected "Teachers of the Year" locally and will compete for regional honors in the Tennessee Teacher of the Year Program.

Dr. Carol Hendrix, Supervisor of Instruction for grades 7-12, made the announcement during Thursday night's school board meeting. "Again this year, we're going to participate in the Teacher of the Year process, which begins on the school level, moves to the system level, the regional level, and finally to the state level. As we did last year, we had an individual from out of the county to select the Teachers of the Year at the system wide level."

"In pre-kindergarten through fourth grade, we have Karen Knowles from Smithville Elementary, Crystal Young from Smithville Elementary, Kathy Lawrence from DeKalb West School, and Kathy Bryant from Northside Elementary School. Kathy Lawrence was chosen on the system wide level and will go on to the regional level."

"In grades 5 through 8, Carrie Gottlied from Northside Elementary, Pat Allen from DeKalb West School, Pat Barnes from DeKalb Middle School, and Vicky Terrell from DeKalb Middle School were chosen and Carrie Gottlied will be going on to the regional level."

"In the 9th through 12th grade, which is DeKalb County High School, we have two teachers, Leslie Rice and Linda Paris and Linda Paris was chosen to go on to the regional competition which will be February 27th. Should they win there, they will go on to the state level in March. Last year we had a teacher who was Teacher of the Year at the regional level, Lisa Cripps. She did go to the state and did very well there."

The Tennessee Teacher of the Year Program is designed to promote recognition, respect and appreciation for teachers; to stimulate interest in teaching as a career; and to encourage public involvement in education.

This program is sponsored annually by the Tennessee Department of Education and the Niswonger Foundation.

The Tennessee Teacher of the Year represents Tennessee at the National Teacher of the Year competition, which is sponsored by the Council of Chief State School Officers and Scholastic, Inc.

Teachers of the Year are selected competitively through five cycles: Building, System, Field Service Center Region, Grand Division and State; and from three categories (levels of teaching); Grades Pre K-4, 5-8, 9-12.

Teachers selected at each cycle receive local recognition and awards underwritten by local sources. State recognition/awards include a banquet honoring the nine State Teacher of the Year finalists and certificates of appreciation from the Governor. In addition, the State Finalists and the State Teacher of the Year receive cash awards from the Niswonger Foundation.

Meanwhile, the local school system has been approved for a $6,000 Model Dropout Prevention Program grant.

The announcement was made by Dr. Danielle Collins, Federal Programs Supervisor, during Thursday night's school board meeting.

Under the program the school system plans to initiate a Family Math Night for parents and students who attend the fourth grade at Northside Elementary School. Officials say they are concerned about consistently low math scores in fourth grade and the probable history of these students' parents who dropped out of school. A Math Night for parents and students would provide an opportunity for parents and students to learn grade appropriate math skills together in an effort to promote positive learning and parental involvement. First Bank will partner with the school system in offering this program. Skills such as addition, subtraction, division, and multiplication in conjunction with balancing a checkbook will be taught to parents and students. Other standards such as percentages, place value, and ratios will be covered in real world scenarios.

Director of Schools Mark Willoughby presented his monthly update on personnel.

Those employed for the 2008-09 school year since last month include Charles Rodgers, a teacher at DeKalb County High School and Charles L. Cantrell, a substitute custodian.

Matthew Carpenter, Sara Jared, and Jalene Vanatta have been named substitute teachers.

Elizabeth Redmon has been transferred to DeKalb West School as an educational assistant and Tena Edwards has been transferred from Federal educational assistant to General Purpose..

Wendy Bowling, a Smithville Elementary School Educational Assistant has been granted a leave; Kitty Thomas, teacher at DeKalb Middle School; Truitt Hale, custodian at DeKalb Middle School, Sabrina Kirksey, teacher at Northside Elementary; and Mary Joines, a bus assistant have all been granted a leave of absence as requested.

Alisha Cheatham, part-time speech pathologist has resigned.

In other action, the board voted to ask permission from the county commission to bid three new school buses for delivery in August 2009 including one 72 passenger and two 78 passenger buses to be funded in the 2009-2010 general purpose school budget. Plans are to have the buses seat belt ready along with installation of a three way camera system for better viewing of students in the front, middle, and back of the buses.

Brad Leach, CTE Director requested the board to approve programs of study for career and technical education. The state is requiring that all career and technical education programs have a program of study in place for the 2009-2010 school year. Under the program, students in career and technical education must choose a career cluster and complete at least three course offerings (credits) in a program of study. For example, if a student chooses the career cluster- Transportation, Distribution, and Logistics, he or she must complete three of the following course offerings in the Automotive Technology program of study: Transportation Core, Brake Systems, Steering and Suspension, and Engine Performance.

Leach says students will declare a program of study during the eighth grade registration for high school and begin by taking the introductory course in their freshman year. "All eighth graders coming in will have to declare some type of program of study. The one thing about putting this in the freshman academy again is that a 10th, 11th or 12th grader who is wanting to take an introductory course will not be mixed in with those freshmen. The freshmen will be by themselves in this introductory course. If a student wants to take an introductory course, we will have to create a class for them. We'll probably have to do this the first year to pick up the 10th graders that are in the freshman academy now. We do have some dual credit/post secondary college offerings for students. Hopefully, by this fall every program of study will have some type of post secondary/articulation or dual credit agreements that students will be able to use their credits in high school in order to go onto college and it will satisfy some of those requirements for college credit."

The board granted Leach's request.

Dr. Bill Tanner, Principal at Smithville Elementary School, updated the board on the new computer lab at the school. "At the elementary school our computer lab is used daily on the fast forward reading program and also with intervention programs with our children who are not reaching the levels they need to reach in reading. Our computers had gotten to the point where they couldn't be fixed anymore so I talked to Brad Mullinax (Technology Coordinator) and Mr. (Mark) Willoughby (Director of Schools) and we decided we would replace the towers. It was going to cost around $30,000 to replace everything so we decided we would go ahead and replace the towers. I talked to the PTO people and they agreed to replace the monitors with flat screen monitors. We also got some new headphones. So I'd like to thank the school board, Mr. Willoughby, and the PTO. We have a new computer lab at the elementary school and I'd like to invite each and everyone of you to come and visit it and see our new computer lab."

In routines business, the board granted approval for an overnight trip for members of the Health Occupations Students of America Club to attend a state conference in Chattanooga March 23rd through 25th .

An overnight trip request was approved for the DCHS boys soccer team to attend an invitational soccer tournament at Franklin County High School in Winchester on Saturday, March 21st through Sunday, March 22nd.

The DCHS boys soccer team was granted permission to play a soccer match at Jackson County during school hours on Monday, March 30th. Permission was also granted for an in school match to be played at home on Tuesday, March 24th with Jackson County.

The board approved a request for members of the FCCLA club to attend a state leadership meeting April 7th-9th at the Opryland Hotel.

Members of the FFA were granted permission to attend the state convention in Gatlinburg March 29th through April 2nd.

The board granted permission for a fundraiser at DeKalb Middle School. All proceeds from the candy sale February 23rd through March 27th will be for the general account.

The board also authorized a trip for board members to attend the "Day on the Hill" Legislative Conference February 24th.

The school board meeting next month will be held at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, March 10th instead of Thursday, March 12th.

Tourism Growth Noted in Chamber Chat Update

February 12, 2009
Suzanne Williams
Suzanne Williams

According to the U.S. Travel Industry Association, tourism spending in DeKalb County is continuing to grow at a good pace. The most current data report (2007) shows travel-related expenditures brought $34,360,000 to DeKalb County, which is a 7.3% increase from the previous year.

DeKalb County Tourism Fast Facts:
• In the 14-county Upper Cumberland region, DeKalb County received the third highest amount of tourism dollars & was first in increased percent change (7.3% increase).
• Tourism activity in DeKalb County produced $7.17 million in worker income/paychecks (a 7.6% increase from the previous year), $4.46 million in local county tax revenues (7.3% increase), $1.92 million in state tax revenue (6.7% increase), & 270 jobs (2.8% increase).
• Tourists spending in the county created $12,219 daily in local county tax revenues, $5,260 daily in state tax revenues, and $19,644 daily in worker paychecks.
• On an average day in DeKalb County, visitors spend over $94,000.
• The tax relief per household in DeKalb County due to tourism dollars is $913.52.
Sources: TN Dept. of Tourism, U.S. Travel Industry Assoc. & the University of Tennessee’s Tourism Institute

Thanks to everyone who attended the Chamber Annual Membership Banquet. We had over 200 in attendance. Our appreciation goes to the 2009 Leadership DeKalb Class for serving the food, Dan & Layna McCorkle for sharing their musical talents, and Boy Scout Troop #347 for the flag presentation. We are so grateful for our corporate, silent auction, and door prize sponsors who make our banquet possible. We appreciate FirstBank for sponsoring our incredible keynote speaker, Micheal Burt & express our deepest gratitude to our Corporate Sponsors -- Center Hill Realty, DTC Communications / DTC Wireless, DeKalb Community Bank, Liberty State Bank, Middle Tennessee Natural Gas, & Tenneco. Congratulations to Charlie Parker for receiving the Leadership Alumni’s “Community Leader of the Year” Award & to Ben Chapman of Lighthouse Christian Camp for being presented with the “Legacy Award.”

This year’s Leadership DeKalb class, Leadership Director Jen Sherwood, and I will be traveling overnight to Nashville for an in-depth and practical hands-on experience at the Capitol during the State Government session in March. Our many thanks go out to Middle Tennessee Natural Gas and The Inn at Evins Mill for sponsoring February’s Economic and Community Development Session.

One of the top priorities of the Chamber is to help promote local events. Help us keep our 2009 Community Calendar of Events up-to-date. Please email us at or call 597-4163 to let us know of any events, programs, or opportunities you have coming this year.
Mark Your Calendars for all the great upcoming opportunities:
• WJLE Chamber Radio Program - 1st Wednesday of every month at 8:30 AM
• Feb 19th – Justin Potter Library’s “Teen Writers' Program” (teen 13-18) at 3:30 PM
• Feb 20th - Cub Scouts Pack 347’s second annual “Friday Nite Open” - Pinewood Derby race open to the community: cub scouts, former cub scouts, family members, etc. Weigh-in begins at 5:30 p.m. Race will begin at 7 p.m. Location - First United Methodist Fellowship Building. Entry fee - $5. For more information contact Jen Sherwood at 597-4851 or Richard Judkins at 597-4213
• Feb 21st – The 2nd Annual Father/Daughter Date Night sponsored by the DCHS Football Cheerleaders from 6:30 to 9:30 PM at Smithville Church of God - Tickets: $25 includes dinner, dance, & photo. For more info or to purchase tickets, call Judith Hale at 464-7810 or Vanessa Winchester at 615-948-9543
• Feb 24th – DeKalb County “Spay Day” – For appt. or more info, call 464-1196 or 464-6104
• Feb 28th – Justin Potter Library’s Story hour (for children 3-10) at 10:00 AM with FCCLA Club and author Barbara Ebel, MD. Doctor Barbara will read her non-fiction children's book about Chester, the therapy dog, who will be at her side. Activities and book signing to follow.
• March 4th – Re-Opening of Stella Luna Art Gallery
• DeKalb Community’s Bank’s Financial Solutions Education Series – FREE & open to the public
o February 23 - Budgeting Solutions
o March 2 - Saving Solutions
o March 9 - Credit Use & Fraud Solutions
o March 16 - Investing Solutions
o March 23 - Smart Spending Solutions
o Times: 6:30 to 7:30 PM at their Smithville office
o To register or for more info, call April Martin at 597-4945.

• The Appalachian Center for Craft is taking registrations for all of their 2009 Workshop Sessions – For more info, go to: or stop by the Chamber for a Workshop Catalog.

Join our efforts in working together to promote our great county and its businesses. For a membership application or community improvement nomination form, call the Chamber at 597-4163 or visit us at 301 North Public Square, Smithville.

Smithville Police Department to Conduct Sobriety Checkpoints

February 11, 2009
Dwayne Page

The Smithville Police Department will be conducting sobriety checkpoints and enhanced traffic enforcement on Friday in an ongoing effort to provide safer roadways for the public. The Smithville Police Department will continue to work with the Governors Highway Safety Office in an effort to keep our roadways safe.

The Governor's Highway Safety Office is Tennessee's advocate for highway safety. This office works with law enforcement, judicial personnel, and community advocates to coordinate activities and initiatives relating to the human behavorial aspects of highway safety.

The GHSO's mission is to develop, execute, and evaluate programs to reduce the number of fatalities, injuries, and related economic losses resulting from traffic crashes on Tennessee's roadways. The office works in tandem with the National Highway Safety Administration to implement programs focusing on occupant protection, impaired driving, speed enforcement, truck and school bus safety, pedestrian and bicycle safety and crash data collection and analysis. Programs administered by the Governor's Highway Safety Office are 100% federally funded.

Crop Disaster Program Sign-up Ends February 27th

February 11, 2009
Donny Green

Donny Green, County Executive Director for DeKalb County Farm Service Agency alerts producers that sign-up ends February 27, 2009, for the Crop Disaster Program (CDP), which provides payments for 2005, 2006, or 2007 crop-year losses due to a natural disaster.

“DeKalb County Farm Service Agency has issued over $750,000 for 2005-2007 crop losses in DeKalb County,” said Green. “We encourage qualified farmers to take advantage of this assistance.”

Crop producers who did not have crop insurance or Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program coverage during the year of the disaster are not eligible for compensation.

The ending date of February 27 applies to the receipt of a signed and completed FSA-840 application along with supporting documentation and required forms available at your county FSA office. No late filed applications will be approved.

More information on CDP and other USDA disaster assistance programs is available at the DeKalb County Farm Service Agency (FSA) office by calling 597-8225, extension 2, or visiting the office at 647 Bright Hill Road in Smithville. Information can also be found on FSA’s Web site at

Three Charged with Child Neglect after Children Found in Unsanitary Conditions

February 9, 2009
Dwayne Page
Michael Eugene Evans
Steven Scott Wheeler
Kimberly Diane Wheeler

Children found living in unsanitary conditions at two separate homes has resulted in child neglect charges against three people.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says 34 year old Michael Eugene Evans is charged with two counts of child neglect. Bond for him is set at $15,000 and he will be in court February 19th.

According to Sheriff Ray, deputies responded to a residence on Colvert Lake Road Thursday to do a welfare check on children living at the residence. There, officers found Evans passed out on a couch leaving two children unattended. Upon entering the home, deputies found the children, a 10 year old and a 9 month old, living amidst dog feces. Cockroaches could be seen throughout the residence including the baby's play pen. Strong fumes from a kerosene heater were also detected in the home. Deputies contacted authorities at Children Services who investigated and found the baby's bottom to be red and raw because the child's diaper had not been changed regularly.

The next day, Friday, 43 year old Steven Scott Wheeler and 37 year old Kimberly Diane Wheeler were charged with two counts of child neglect after deputies responded to a call on The Loop Road in Smithville

According to the complaint, an intoxicated man was trying to administer medication to children.

Upon arrival, officers found Steven Scott Wheeler passed out on the couch. They also found four small children in the home. In a bedroom where a four year old and a five year old were staying, officers found a full beer that was open and a pill bottle of Xanax. In addition, a bag of marijuana was recovered from a child's bedroom closet.

According to Sheriff Ray, the home was unsanitary with cigarette butts on the floor and trash thrown all over the residence. While there, deputies interviewed Kimberly Diane Wheeler who also lives at the residence. She allegedly admitted that the home was unsanitary.

In addition to the child neglect charges, Steven Scott Wheeler was also charged with simple possession. Bond for Kimberly Diane Wheeler was set at $10,000 and $11,500 for Steven Scott Wheeler. Both will appear in court on February 19th.


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