Local News Articles

Chief Warns Against Purported Charitable Fundraising Effort on Behalf of Police Department

October 30, 2010
Dwayne Page
Randy Caplinger

If you are contacted by anyone raising funds for under privileged children or any other cause in the name of the Smithville Police Department, it is not legitimate.

Police Chief Randy Caplinger said several local residents have received calls recently from someone soliciting donations on behalf of the Smithville Police Department for under privileged children. But the department has not authorized any one or group to conduct such a fundraiser

Chief Caplinger said if you should receive such a call, hang up or report it to police. But do not send money.

Meanwhile, in city crime news 27 year old Jason Lynn Knowles of Dry Creek Road is charged with driving on a suspended license Officer James Cornelius stopped Knowles for a traffic violation on Friday, October 22nd at which time a check through central dispatch revealed his driver license were suspended. Bond for Knowles is $1000 and his court date is November 4th.

33 year old Bobby Lee Anderson of Tommy Harold Street was charged on Saturday, October 23rd with hindering a secured creditor. Officer James Cornelius stopped Anderson for a traffic violation. A computer check through dispatch revealed an active warrant against him in DeKalb County. Bond for Anderson is $3,500

34 year old Sharon Kay Skinner of Sparta Highway was arrested on Tuesday, October 26th for criminal impersonation, simple possession of drug paraphernalia and for other active warrants against her in DeKalb County. Skinner was a passenger of a vehicle that was stopped for a traffic violation and when asked for her ID, Skinner said she did not have one. She also gave a false name. Upon further investigation, Officer James Cornelius discovered her real identity and a check through dispatch revealed active warrants against her. Upon search incident to arrest, drug paraphernalia was found inside an overnight bag that she had in her possession. Bond for Skinner is $3,000 and her court date is November 4th.

26 year old Jineane Cristana Wagner of Kendra Drive was arrested by Officer David Phillips on Monday, October 25th for domestic assault. According to the warrant Ms. Wagner assaulted a family member. Bond for Wagner is $2,500 and her court date is November 4th.

19 year old Royce Prater of South 3rd Street was charged with driving on a suspended license on Tuesday, October 26th. Prater was stopped for a traffic violation and a computer check through dispatch revealed that his license were suspended. Officer James Cornelius made the arrest. Bond for Prater is $1,000 and his court date is December 2nd.

34 year old Royce D McCrary of Miller Road was arrested by Sergeant Joey Jones on Thursday, October 28th for violation of probation.

23 year old Virginia Ruth Carrier of Haley Road was arrested by Officer David Phillips on Thursday, October 28th for theft of merchandise and possession of drug paraphernalia. A Food Lion employee saw Carrier allegedly taking items and putting them in her purse, before leaving the store without paying for them. A search incident to arrest revealed a needle in her purse. Bond for Carrier is $3,000 and her court date is November 4th.

26 year old Joshua Rhyan Cripps of Steeple Chase Drive was arrested on Friday, October 29th for simple possession. Officer David Phillips was dispatched to the probation office where a man had reportedly passed out. Cripps was asked by a probation officer to empty his pockets and he produced a schedule II drug. Bond for Cripps is $1000 and his court date is November 18th.

Anyone having any information on a crime 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.

The Inn at Evins Mill Wins Habitat Chili Cook-Off

October 29, 2010
Dwayne Page
Jason Evans of The Inn at Evins Mill
Board of Education Booth Takes Second Place at Chili Cook-Off
MTUD Wins Best Decorated Booth Contest at Chili Cook-Off

A great crowd turned out on Friday to enjoy chili and delicious baked goods at Habitat for Humanity's Seventh Annual Chili Cook-off and Bake Sale, which was held at the 303 Building on the square. Jason Evans of The Inn at Evins Mill won the "Best Chili" award, and "Cauldron of Fire" from the DeKalb County Board of Education followed in second place. In the Best Decorated booth contest, "Hillbilly Chili – It's a Natural Gas" from Middle Tennessee Natural Gas took top honors.

Tecia Puckett Pryor of Habitat for Humanity of DeKalb County said the event raised over $3,000, which will be used toward the building of the fourth Habitat house here. "We had a great turnout today, maybe the best we've ever had. We sold a lot of pies, cakes, and cookies and raised over $3,000 toward the building of our fourth Habitat house. So we are really pleased with the cook-off today and we are thankful to all the teams that participated as well as everyone who brought out baked goods for sale and of course everyone who came out to eat chili today."

Eleven teams participated in the event, including "Blessed and Highly Flavored" from Allen's Chapel Methodist Church; "Cauldron of Fire" from the DeKalb County Board of Education; "Hot Checks Chili" from DeKalb Community Bank; "The Courthouse Gang" from the DeKalb County Officials; "Edgar Evins Chili Peppers" from Edgar Evins State Park; "Hale's Bowls of Fire" from James C. Hale for State Representative; "Hillbilly Chili – It's a Natural Gas" from Middle Tennessee Natural Gas; "The Bean Counters" from Tom Janney, CPA and Associates; "Red Hot Kilowatts" from Smithville Electric System; "Hollywood Corpse Review" from the Smithville Review, and The Inn at Evins Mill.

Habitat for Humanity of DeKalb County is a locally run affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International, a nonprofit, ecumenical Christian housing organization. Habitat for Humanity builds and renovates houses in partnership with volunteers and families in need, regardless of their ethnic or religious background. The houses then are sold to those in need at no profit and with no interest charged. To contact Habitat for Humanity of DeKalb County, please call 215-8181.

(Photos provided by Sharon Evans)

More Blazes Keep Firefighters Busy

October 29, 2010
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department is investigating a suspicious fire Thursday morning at a home under construction at 124 Mountain View Drive in Lakeview Mountain Estates.

Central dispatch was notified at 9:06 a.m.

County Fire Chief Donny Green said neighbors spotted smoke coming from the basement of this home, which belongs to a Murfreesboro couple. The owners were not there.

When firefighters arrived, they found a campfire type blaze in the basement, with rocks placed around a wood pile which had been set on fire. A drink bottle and food wrappers were also found nearby. Chief Green said the entire house was filled with smoke, but there was no structural damage.

According to Chief Green, there was evidence of another fire in the basement, which appeared to have been set days before and had burned out.

Green said the owners of the home recently became concerned after finding a sleeping bag in the basement. They reported the discovery to the sheriff's department.

Members of the Cookeville Highway, Short Mountain Highway, and Main Station of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department responded along with DeKalb EMS and the Sheriff's Department. No one was injured.

Meanwhile, the Smithville Volunteer Fire Department was summoned to a duplex at 370 Smith Road, Friday morning at 2:42 a.m., the residence of Naith Puckett.

According to Chief Charlie Parker, Puckett said when he arrived home and opened the front door he found the residence filled with smoke. The fire had started and caused extensive damage to a back bedroom, but the blaze had already burned itself out by the time firefighters arrived. The fire damage was confined to Puckett's side of the duplex and did not spread to the adjoining residence, although the woman who lives there reported smelling smoke earlier in the morning, but went back to bed after looking around and not finding any fire or smoke.

Chief Parker said city firefighters cleared the smoke, using fans to ventilate Puckett's residence. The cause of the fire is undetermined, but remains under investigation. No one was injured.

Members of the Austin Bottom and Cookeville Highway Stations of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department responded to a barn fire Friday morning at 3:48 a.m. at 9440 Goff Ridge Road in the Austin Bottom community. The barn, which belonged to Dan Bradem, was destroyed. No one was injured but some rabbits in the barn perished in the blaze.

Bradem, whose home is located near the barn, told firefighters that he heard a loud boom, went to check, and discovered the fire.

DeKalb Jobless Rate Drops to 9.1% in September

October 29, 2010
Dwayne Page

DeKalb County's unemployment rate continues to drop, sliding from 9.6% in August to 9.1% in September. That's also down from 10.3% in September 2009.

The local labor force for the month of September was 9,710. A total of 8,820 were employed and 890 were without work that month.

DeKalb County's jobless rate for the month was fourth lowest in the fourteen county Upper Cumberland region. Here's how they rank from highest to lowest:

Pickett County-13%
White- 11.5%
Fentress- 10.8%
Van Buren- 10.7%
Clay- 10.7%
Warren- 10.6%
Jackson- 10.1%
Cannon- 9.5%
Smith- 8.5%
Putnam- 8.4%
Macon- 8.3%

Meanwhile, Tennessee's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for September was 9.4 percent, down two-tenths of a percentage point from the August rate of 9.6 percent. The national unemployment rate for September was unchanged at 9.6 percent.

County non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rates for September 2010 show that the rate decreased in 85 counties, increased in seven counties and remained the same in three counties.

Lincoln County registered the state's lowest county unemployment rate at 6.0 percent, down from the August rate of 6.3 percent. Scott County had the state's highest unemployment rate at 19.9 percent, up from 19.8 percent in the previous month, followed by Marshall County at 15.6 percent, down from the August rate of 15.9 percent.

Knox County had the state's lowest major metropolitan rate of 7.1 percent, down from 7.6 percent in August. Hamilton County was 7.8 percent, down from 8.7 from the previous month. Davidson County was 9.1 percent, down from 9.5 percent, and Shelby County was 9.8 percent, down one-tenth of a percentage point from August.

Almost 2,000 Vote Early in DeKalb County

October 28, 2010
Dwayne Page
Voters Line Up as Polling Place Opens on Last Day of Early Voting

If early voting is an indication, more DeKalb Countians seem to be interested in the November election than either the DeKalb County Democratic Primary in May or the DeKalb County General Election and Tennessee Primaries in August.

A total of 1,989 people took advantage of early voting in DeKalb County from Wednesday, October 13th through Thursday, October 28th. The largest single day turnout in that two week period came yesterday (Thursday, October 28th) when 334 cast ballots, including 329 in person and five by absentee.

In May, a total of 1,148 DeKalb Countians voted early in the local Democratic Primary and in August 1,397 cast ballots early.

The total vote in May(early voting/absentees and election day combined) was 2,907 compared to 3,739 in August (early voting/absentee and election day combined).

In the Presidential election two years ago, a total of 7,190 DeKalb County voters turned out including 4008 early voters and absentees combined and 3,182 on election day.

On Tuesday, November 2nd DeKalb County voters will make their choices for State Representative, State Senator, Congressman, and Governor. Voters will either vote "yes" or "no" on whether the Tennessee Constitution should be amended guaranteeing the right to hunt and fish in this state.

Polls at all sixteen precincts in the county will be open Tuesday, November 2nd from 8:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. WJLE will have LIVE election return coverage starting at 7:00 p.m. on AM 1480/FM 101.7 and at www.wjle.com.

Cantrell Airlifted After Wednesday night Crash

October 28, 2010
Dwayne Page

A 21 year old woman was airlifted to Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga after a one car crash Wednesday night around 7:49 p.m. on Highway 146 near the old Kilgore's store location.

Trooper Allen England of the Tennessee Highway Patrol said that Porsche Cantrell of Smithville was driving north in a 2005 Pontiac Grand AM when she left the roadway on the right (east side) and hit a mailbox. She overcorrected and went back across the highway, struck the end of a driveway culvert and overturned, rolling over sideways several times. Cantrell was ejected.

Cantrell was airlifted from the scene by a helicopter ambulance and flown to Erlanger Hospital

Members of the Short Mountain Highway Station of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department were on site to set up the helicopter landing zone. DeKalb EMS and the Sheriff's Department were also there.

Trooper England said the accident remains under investigation and charges are pending.

DeKalb Property Owners May Now Pay Taxes On-Line

October 27, 2010
Dwayne Page
Sean Driver

DeKalb County property owners may now pay their taxes by debit or credit card either in the Trustee's office or on-line at www.tennesseetrustee.com.

Trustee Sean Driver said many taxpayers have requested the service and he is happy to be able to offer it as an extra convenience. "I was watching as people would come in to the office and it was getting to be one in five people wanting to use that debit or credit card. I knew we would eventually have to go to it so for the 2010 tax year we're up and running. We are now offering credit and debit card processing through the Business Information Systems for the property owners of DeKalb County. You may pay your property taxes using a VISA, MASTERCARD, or DISCOVER card. It can be handled on-line, in the Trustee's Office, or by phone."

Driver explained that a 2.75% convenience fee will be added to your tax bill, if you take advantage of on-line payment, but the county does not collect it. "In no way is that 2.75% fee collected through the county. The Business Information Systems sets this up for us as Trustees throughout the state. Sixty four of the state's ninety five counties take advantage of this. So the convenience fee of 2.75% is added to your bill and collected by the Business Information Systems. You can pay your bill on-line but you can also go on there and select "DEKALB COUNTY" and look up your tax bill and your appraisal values."

"If you want to do those payments on line, it is fast, easy, and secure. On-line payments may be made at www.tennesseetrustee.com. 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You may also pay your taxes in our office at 1 public square, room 206 in the DeKalb County Courthouse. Our phone number is 615-597-5176. Office hours are Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m."

Driver said 2010 DeKalb County property tax notices were mailed out on October 19th and taxes may now be paid without penalty through February 28th, 2011. "We mailed them out on the 19th. We received the cards on September 29th but it takes about two and a half weeks to work those so we mailed them out on the 19th and we have been working steady since."

Seniors, be sure to check with the office on the state property tax relief program. The income limit is $26,830 for single or combined household incomes.

Trustee Driver said Tennessee's tax relief program is state-funded and provides a rebate of credit for all or a portion of the property taxes on residential property owned and occupied by low-income elderly, low-income disabled, and disabled veteran homeowners and their surviving spouses.

"In order for the elderly to apply for tax relief, you must be age 65 on or before December 31st, 2010 to meet the elderly requirements. To be a disabled applicant, you must be 100% disabled as deemed by the Social Security Administration or some administration thereof. Disabled veterans can get a tax relief as well. They do not have to report their income but they have to be 100% disabled as deemed by the Veterans Administration. We can sign you up now through April 5th, 2011. Remember, whenever you get ready to pay your taxes, the taxes must be paid in full before we can ever submit your application to the state (for property tax relief).This year the income limit to apply, using your 2009 income including income from all owners, is $26,830. That's using all sources of income in 2009. You will be applying for 2010 tax relief using 2009 income."

According to Driver, the law now requires applicants to include their spouses income when seeking state property tax relief.

"This is a state property tax relief program through the State of Tennessee and this year, under new legislation passed by the state, if you are legally married and your spouse's name is not on the deed, you are still required to submit your spouse's 2009 income. In the past you did not have to do that but now if your spouse's name is not on the deed, whether living with you or not living with you, you are required this year to submit your spouse's income."

Driver added that all applicants previously approved for state property tax relief will get a little extra relief thanks to the county commission. "All applicants that are state approved will get a $50 county match off of their tax bill. This year all applicants are getting $91 off along with an extra $50 off for a total of $141. "

Property Tax Relief Eligibility requirements for Elderly Homeowners are as follows:

Must be 65 or older on or before December 31st, 2010
Must provide evidence of age (i.e. driver's license, birth certificate, marriage license)
Must own and use the property on which you are applying as your primary residence
Qualified applicants will receive property tax relief on the first $25,000 of their property's market value.
According to the deed of the property, Must have records of the combined 2009 income of all owners of the property not exceeding $26,830. Income (i.e. social security, SSI pension, etc)

Eligibility requirements for Disabled Homeowners are as follows:

Must have been totally and permanently disabled as rated by the Social Security Administration or any other qualified agency on or before December 31st, 2010
Must provide evidence of age (i.e. driver's license, birth certificate, marriage license)
Must own and use the property on which you are applying as your primary residence
Must have records of the combined 2009 income of all owners of the property not exceeding $26,830

Eligibility requirements for Disabled Veteran Homeowners and/or widow or widower:

Must own and use the property on which you are applying as your primary residence.
Your disability must meet one of the following categories:
A service-connected disability that resulted in (1) Paraplegia, (2) Permanent paralysis of both legs and lower part of the body resulting from traumatic injury or disease to the spinal cord or brain, (3) Loss or loss of use of, two or more limbs, and (4) Legal blindness.

A total and permanent disability rating from a service-connected disability

A 100% total and permanent disability rating from being a prisoner of war.

The Veteran's Administration Office determines eligibility from the applicant's information in the Trustee's Office forwarded to the State of Tennessee.

If you meet these requirements you may apply in the Trustee's Office as soon as you receive your property tax bill. The deadline to apply is 35 days after February 28th, 2011 or April 5th, 2011.

If you have any additional questions concerning the tax relief program, come by the Trustee's office in the courthouse or call 597-5176.

Fire Destroys Bobby's Auto Sales Shop

October 27, 2010
Dwayne Page
County Firefighters at Bobby's Auto Sales (Photo by Callie Matthews)
Smoke Billowing from Bobby's Auto Sales (Photo by Callie Matthews)

A fire Wednesday afternoon gutted an auto body shop belonging to Bobby Johnson at 117 Yolanda Hills Road, known as Bobby's Auto Sales.

Central Dispatch received the call at 1:19 p.m.

County Fire Chief Donny Green said Johnson had been in the shop cutting holes in a piece of angle iron with a torch, but had stopped to go into the house to get something. When Johnson came back out, he discovered the fire coming from the area in the shop where he had a stack of papers.

Green said since the bay doors were open at the time, Johnson speculated that high winds blew the hot metal residue or slag from the torch cutting into the papers, igniting the blaze.

The fire spread quickly, destroying the shop and most of the contents including a golf cart, lawnmower, four wheeler, tools, and body shop equipment.

According to Chief Green, Johnson was able to get out a few things including a small four wheeler and a dirt bike.

Members of the Main Station, Short Mountain Highway, Midway and Liberty stations of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department responded along with a tanker truck and the Sheriff's Department and DeKalb EMS. No one was injured.

Chief Green said firefighters consider the shop to be a total loss.

County Commission Honors Girl Scout Troop 1146

October 27, 2010
Dwayne Page
Girl Scout Troop 1146

The DeKalb County Commission Monday night adopted a resolution to honor Girl Scout Troop 1146.

County Mayor Mike Foster read the resolution which states that "Whereas, it is fitting that the DeKalb County Commission and the DeKalb County Mayor should announce their pride, respect, and honor in the young people of our community who so capably fulfill their requirements and duties to reach lofty goals and levels of achievement."

"Whereas, the Girl Scout Bronze Award is the biggest award a Junior Girl Scout (4th and 5th grade girls) can earn. Requirements that Troop 1146 completed for the Bronze award were:

Caring for Children Badge
Choice is Yours Jr. Badge
Sign of the Star Patch
Jr. Aid Patch
Jr. Leadership Pin
Completed a 15 hour service project they named "Kiddie Kases" which consisted of collecting, sorting, and filling 50 tote bags full of basic supplies and comfort items for Foster children that are removed from their homes."

"Whereas, the DeKalb County Commission and the DeKalb County Mayor wish to thank Troop 1146, their families, and others who helped and their leaders for the honors they have brought to themselves and DeKalb County. Members of Troop 1146 are":

Chloe Cantrell
Neely Evans
Peyton Hensley
Makira Johnson
Sara Beth LaFever
Hailey Rowland
Lexy Spry
Emily Wallace

"Now, therefore, be it resolved by the DeKalb County Commission that October 25th, 2010 be officially named Girl Scout Troop 1146 Day."

"Be it further resolved that this accomplishment be spread across the records of the meeting and preserved as a lasting part of our appreciation to the Girl Scout Troop 1146"

Autumn Princess and Fall Fest Pageant Entries Accepted through Saturday

October 27, 2010
Dwayne Page
Victoria Dawn Tatrow
Macy Elizabeth Hedge

Entries are being accepted through Saturday, October 30th for the Third-Annual Autumn Princess Pageant and 56th Annual Fall Fest Pageant to be held Saturday, November 6th at DeKalb County High School.

The Autumn Princess Pageant will be first at 5:00 p.m. featuring girls ages 7-10.
Click here to listen to Dessa Ray's public service announcement about the pageant.

The Fall Fest Pageant will immediately follow at 7:00 p.m.

The retiring Fall Fest Queen is Victoria Dawn Tatrow, the 16 year old daughter of Vickie and Corey Funk and the late Shanna Tatrow.

Macy Elizabeth Hedge, the reigning Autumn Princess, will also crown her successor. She is the 10 year old daughter of David and Trina Hedge of Smithville.

Entry fee is $20 for each pageant. Applications have been distributed to each school and are also available at the Smithville Review. Deadline for entry is Oct. 30. The pageants are sponsored by the Smithville Business & Professional Women¹s Club.


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