Local News Articles

DeKalb County Voters To Decide Sales Tax Referendum Today

May 17, 2007
Dwayne Page

DeKalb County voters today will decide whether to increase the local option sales tax from 1.5% to 2.75%.

The special election on the sales tax referendum is being held today and voting will take place at all sixteen precincts in the county from eight a.m. until seven p.m.

A total of 562 cast ballots during early voting April 27th through May 12th.

If approved, the overall state sales tax rate in DeKalb County would go from 8.5% to 9.75%, however the county commission has pledged to reduce the property tax rate by nineteen and a half cents.

The rate was increased by 39 cents last September.

Lisa Peterson, Administrator of Elections reminds you that the polling place for Temperance Hall has been moved from the Temperance Hall Community Center. The new polling place is the Temperance Hall Methodist Church located at 113 Hayes Ridge Road.

Peterson adds that all voters should present some form of identification when they arrive at the polls to vote.

WJLE will have LIVE coverage of the election returns Thursday night at 7:00 p.m. on AM 1480 and FM 101.7 and LIVE audio streaming at www.wjle.com

The wording on the ballot will read:


Scholarships Awarded To Members of DCHS Class of 2007

May 17, 2007
Dwayne Page

Several members of the Class of 2007 at DeKalb County High School received scholarship awards during Thursday's annual Senior Awards Day program.

Colleges, universities, businesses, civic groups, and other organizations presenting awards and their recipients are as follows:

Middle Tennessee State University:
$5,000 Neill Sandler Scholarship- Jessica Berry
$2,500 Sydney & Elizabeth McPhee Scholarship- Jessica Berry
$12,000 Academic Service Scholarship- Kendra Adcock
$6,000 Academic Service Scholarship- Gwen Michaels
$2,400 per year Dream Scholarship- Brittney Bell

Tennessee Tech University:
$4,000 per year Academic Scholarships- Andrew Moore and Zach Davidson
$1,000 Engineering Scholarship- Chris Young
$20,000 Education Scholar Scholarship- Ashleigh Wright

University of Tennessee:
$3,000 per year Academic Service Scholarship- Courtney Rhody
$1,000 Valedictorian Alumni Scholarship- Courtney Rhody

Tusculum College:
$2,941 per year- Josh Stone

$1,000 NADC- High School Select Scholarship- Thomas Hale

Tennessee Temple University:
$5,500 Scholarship- Kayla Ottinger
$7,000 Scholarship- Heather Cantrell

U.S. Army Reserve National Scholar/Athlete Awards- Kristen James & Josh Howe

U.S. Marine Corps Distinguished Athlete Awards- Josh Stone & Kelsey Foutch

U.S. Marine Corps Scholastic Excellence Awards- Andrew Moore & Courtney Rhody

Semper Fidelis Music Award- Kendra Adcock

DeKalb Community Hospital:
$1,000 Scholarship- Courtney Rhody

Smithville Women's Club:
$500 Scholarship- Samantha Daniel

Lucille Stewart Memorial:
$2,000 Scholarships- Kelli Bess and Nathan Thomason

Matthew McAfee Memorial:
$2,000 Scholarship- Claire Garrett

$1,000 Scholarship- Rebecca Hendrixson

Charlene Morrison Johns Memorial:
$500 Scholarships- Kayla Kilgore and Andrew Moore

Agee Oil Company:
$1,200 Scholarship- Kristen James

$1,000 Scholarships- Kristen James & Brandon Shaw

DeKalb County Scottish Rite Club:
$1,000 Scholarship- Ashleigh Wright

Eddie Crips Memorial:
$1,000 Scholarship- Justin Nokes

Liberty State Bank;
$1,000 Scholarships- Rachel Garrison & Nicole Macy

Kenny and Kyle Robinson Memorial:
$1,000 Scholarship- Justin Nokes

Jolly Angels:
$1,000 Scholarships- Tera Campbell & Martha Robertson

Jeff Garrett Memorial:
$500 Scholarship- Claire Garrett

$1,000 Scholarship- Brandon Shaw

DeKalb Funeral Chapel:
$500 Scholarships- Corey Bradford, Amy Ashford, & Kayla Kilgore

Love-Cantrell Funeral Home:
$500 Scholarships- Cheslie Ford & Jessica Bain

Allen Hooper Memorial:
$500 Scholarship- Ryan Childers

DeKalb Farmers Coop:
$500 Scholarship- Danny Pirtle

DCHS Class of 1966:
$500 Scholarship- Chase Tramel

DeKalb County Soil Conservation:
$500 Scholarship- Ryan Childers

First Bank:
$500 Scholarship-Ashley Rowland

Smithville Rotary Club:
$500 Scholarships- Brandon Shaw & Anna Trapp
$100 Math Award- Kristen James
$100 Vocational Award- Thomas Hale

DeKalb Retired Teachers Association:
$500 Scholarships- Heather Cantrell & Justin Nokes

Smithville Business & Professional Women's Club:
$500 Scholarships- Michelle Scott & Kendra Adcock

Leadership DeKalb:
$500 Scholarship- Rachel Garrison

Leadership DeKalb Alumni Association:
$750 Scholarship- Rachel Garrison

DeKalb Foundation:
$500 Scholarship- Martha Robertson

DeKalb Republican Women:
$500 Scholarships- Sarah Nunley & Kelli Twilla

Ken Johnson Scholarship:
$1,000 Scholarship- Michelle Scott

Amvets Post #101:
$250 Scholarship- Claire Garrett

Amvets Post #101 Ladies Auxiliary:
$250 Scholarship- Jamie Johnson

DeKalb County Fire Fighters Association:
$750 Scholarship- Josh Tramel

DCHS Class of 1969:
$250 Scholarship- Tera Campbell

Elzie & Nell McBride Memorial:
$500 Scholarship- Ashley Rowland

DCHS Student Council:
$250 Scholarship- Rachel Garrison

Studio Six Photography:
$150 Scholarships- Courtney Rhody & Jessica Berry

$500 Scholarship- Tiffany Walls

DeKalb County Voters Overwhelmingly Approve Sales Tax Hike

May 17, 2007
Dwayne Page

Despite a very light turnout, DeKalb County voters Thursday overwhelmingly voted in favor of raising the local option sales tax rate in DeKalb County from 1.5% to 2.75% .

The sales tax referendum passed 1,011 votes (71%) to 409 votes (29%)

A majority of voters in all sixteen precincts cast ballots in favor of the sales tax hike.

Here's a breakdown by precinct:

Alexandria: 47 For, 15 Against
Temperance Hall: 22 For, 6 Against
Edgar Evins State Park: 8 For, 0 Against
Liberty: 56 For, 19 Against
Dowelltown: 31 For, 10 Against
Snow Hill: 30 For, 19 Against
Middle School: 86 For, 33 Against
Cherry Hill: 16 For, 7 Against
Rock Castle: 46 For, 4 Against
Courthouse: 57 For, 23 Against
Johnson's Chapel: 20 For, 9 Against
Elementary School: 52 For, 26 Against
Belk: 36 For, 13 Against
Keltonburg: 38 For, 18 Against
Blue Springs: 27 For, 7 Against
Church of Christ Annex: 54 For, 21 Against
Absentee/Early Voting: 385 For, 179 Against

County Mayor Mike Foster says the sales tax increase will go in effect with the new fiscal year starting July 1st. The overall state sales tax rate in DeKalb County will increase from 8.5% to the maximum of 9.75%

The County Commission has also pledged to reduce the property tax rate by at least nineteen and a half cents per $100 of assessed value in the new budget year, which begins July 1st.

Thirty Six Students Graduate from DARE Program at DeKalb West School

May 18, 2007
Dwayne Page

Thirty six fifth graders at DeKalb West School participated in a DARE graduation ceremony Thursday.

The Drug Abuse Resistance Education program was conducted by DARE Officer Tim Hearn of the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department.

Each student prepares an essay during the course and those with the best essays from each class are recognized and awarded.

This year's essay winners at DeKalb West were Cassie Cain and McKenzie Poteete

Judge Bratten Cook II presented checks for $50 to both Cain and Poteete.

DARE Officer Tim Hearn, during his remarks, told the students that he too was once a student in the DARE program. \"This day is special for me because this is my first DARE graduation at the West School as a DARE officer and because twelve years ago, I sat in this same gym and graduated from the DARE program myself. I want you to take the knowledge and skills you have learned and use it to remain true to your commitment to avoid drugs and violence.\"

Sheriff Patrick Ray, who also spoke during the DARE graduation, congratulated the students on their accomplishments. \" Over the last few weeks, Deputy Tim has taught you lesson plans and how to focus on four major areas. He has provided you accurate information about drugs, alcohol, and tobacco. He has taught you good decision making skills. He has shown you how to recognize and resist peer pressure, and he has given you ideas for positive alternatives to drug use.\"

\"Deputy Tim has also shown you ways for positive self esteem and how to make positive decisions on your own. Through role-playing, lectures, question and answer, and use of the specialized DARE workbooks, you have been taught the negative consequences of drug use.\"

\"If the need ever arises that you need someone to talk to, someone to cry on, or just to talk to in general, you will always be welcomed to talk to Deputy Tim or me. Thank you and congratulations on this special day.\"

With the help of the DeKalb County Mayor, Mike Foster, and the DeKalb County Commission, money from the Sheriff's Department drug fund account was used to fund this year's DARE Program at Northside Elementary School and DeKalb West School, after the state cut funding for DARE.

Other elected public officials on hand for the DARE graduation program, in addition to Sheriff Ray and Judge Cook, were Circuit Court Clerk Katherine Pack, Register of Deeds Jeff McMillen, Trustee Sean Driver, County Mayor Mike Foster, Assessor of Property Timothy \"Fud\" Banks, and Constable Wayne Vanderpool.

Kristen James & Andrew Moore Receive White Rose Awards At DCHS Graduation

May 18, 2007
Dwayne Page

Members of the Class of 2007 said their goodbyes to DeKalb County High School on the occasion of their graduation Friday night.

Three of the most outstanding members of the class were singled out for special recognition. This year's White Rose Awards went to Kristen James and Andrew Moore while the Citizenship Award was presented to Brandon Shaw.

The White Rose is presented to a boy and girl from the class for outstanding achievement and leadership, academics, and other activities. The Citizenship Award is given to the senior who has demonstrated outstanding service, devotion and loyalty to DeKalb County High School.

A total of 146 students received diplomas during the commencement, each one shaking hands with Director of Schools Mark Willoughby as their names were called by Principal Kathy Hendrix.

In remarks to the Class, Valedictorian Courtney Rhody admonished her fellow graduates to appreciate the journey as they focus on their destination. \" I can vividly remember as a kid riding in the car, strapped in the backseat and literally every two minutes asking ARE WE THERE YET? HOW MUCH FURTHER? And I can remember my granny telling me, look out the window, Honey,look at all the pretty trees and flowers and horses and cows, enjoy the view. I'm just now beginning to realize exactly what she meant. It's all about appreciating the journey and not getting overly focused on the destination. We can all benefit from that philosophy, take the time to enjoy the view. Think of life as a terminal condition because if you do, you will live it with joy and passion, as it ought to be lived. Laugh at most things in life, cry at a few, and be neutral at hardly anything. And most importantly, enjoy the journey.\"

Salutatorian Kendra Adcock urged the class to treasure the memories of their years at DeKalb County High School. \" As you look back on the last four years, I'm sure you will all remember them differently. Some of you will think of them as the best four years of your life and others, the worst. Some of you will think of them as the most fun you ever had. Some of you will remember the friendships you created, or all the things you have learned and will carry them with you wherever you go. As you all leave tonight, you will each embark on your own journeys. You will visit many new places and meet a lot of new people, but through it all, I hope you will not forget what you have learned here at DeKalb County High School. Do not look at this as just the end of four high school years, look at today as the beginning of the rest of your life.\"

Class President Ashlee Moss encouraged the seniors to trust in the Lord. \" As we cross the stage tonight, we are beginning a new journey, the journey of the rest of our lives. Always remember to ?Trust in the Lord with all your heart, do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will direct your paths' (Proverbs 3:5-6). God bless each and every one of you and know that you will always be in my thoughts and prayers.\"

Principal Kathy Hendrix, in her remarks to the class, admonished the graduates to not be discouraged on the path toward their goals. \"Life offers many challenges and opportunities. It is the same with people who succeed in anything. Rarely is the first effort a great success. You are standing on the shoulders of your ancestors. If you really look, you can profit by the successes and the failures of older people. Let us hope that you will do this. Hold fast to the principles that you have been living by. Honesty, goodness, humility, perseverance, hard work, patience, and faith are important attributes for anyone to have and I encourage you to continue to develop these characteristics. These will enable you to take full advantage of offers that may come your way. The faculty and staff at DeKalb County High School join with your relatives and many other friends in wishing you success and happiness. I encourage each of you to be good citizens and to be life long learners.\"

Smithville Police Step up Patrols on Graduation Night

May 19, 2007
Dwayne Page

Smithville Police were out in force remaining vigilant for drunk drivers during high school graduation night.

Smithville Police Chief Thomas J. Stufano says numerous members of the department worked in two teams on opposite ends of the city running radar and watching for drunk driving. The overtime was covered by a Governor's Highway Safety Grant obtained earlier in the year. Officers made numerous arrests for Driving Under the Influence, Revoked Driver's License, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, and Under Age Drinking.

40 year old Marilyn Strayn of 1600 Kingridge Road, Smithville was arrested for DUI and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. Strayn was initially stopped for traveling over the centerline numerous times while driving. During the course of the investigation it was found that she was DUI and also had syringes tucked in her clothing. She was arrested and booked into the DeKalb County Jail under a $3,000 bond.

20 year old Oscar Carreon of 402 Wade Street, Smithville was arrested for Driving on a Revoked License and Underage Drinking. During the traffic stop officers found numerous empty beer bottles in the console. Carreon was arrested just a few months ago for the same offense. A second person, a 17 year old juvenile, was also found to be intoxicated and arrested. Carreon was transported to the DeKalb County Jail on a $2,000 Bond.

Smithville Police also arrested 46 year old Jackie Mullican of 322 Petty Road, in Smithville for Driving Under the Influence 2nd Offense and Driving on a Revoked License. Chief Stufano says officers responded to a motor vehicle accident on West Bryant Street and found that Mullican was very unsteady on his feet during the interview and had a heavy odor of alcohol on his breath. He says Mullican admitted to drinking 15 to 20 beers prior to getting into his vehicle to drive. He was arrested and transported to the DeKalb County Jail on a $2,000 bond.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday, May 15th Smithville Officers arrested 24 year old Jonathon Roberts of Whindom Street, Hendersonville for DUI 2nd Offense and Driving on a Revoked Driver's License. Chief Stufano says Smithville Police had been alerted by a DeKalb County Officer who had the vehicle stopped on Kendra Drive. Further investigation showed that the driver was intoxicated and had been driving in a reckless manner as observed by the Deputy. Smithville Police arrested Roberts and transported him to the DeKalb County Jail under a $2,000 bond.

Chief Stufano says \"The Smithville Police Department appreciates the vested interest residents are taking in reporting crime in the neighborhoods. This partnership is making a significant difference in detouring crime and drugs in our city.\"

Sheriff's Department Conducts Graduation Night Road Blocks and Makes Several Arrests

May 21, 2007
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department made several arrests during Graduation Night road blocks on Friday evening.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says a total of 444 vehicles were stopped and checked on Highway 70 west between Liberty and Smithville and one arrest was made, 39 year old Napoleon Wainwright of Sassafrass Lane, Woodbury.

Sheriff Ray says Wainwright was charged with simple possession of marijuana after the county drug dog Banshee hit on Wainwright's vehicle.

Wainwright was also charged with criminal impersonation after he gave officers a name other than his own, when identifying himself.

Sheriff Ray speculated that Wainwright may have given the false name because he currently has outstanding warrants against him in Cannon County.

Wainwright's bond on the local charges is $3,000. His court date is June 21st.

Sheriff Ray says a total of 466 vehicles were stopped on Highway 56 south near WJLE and two arrests were made, 22 year old Nayeli Herrera of Bell Street, Smithville and 19 year old Jerardo Perez of Luttrell Avenue, Smithville.

Herrera was charged with no drivers license. Her bond was set at $1,000 and her court date is May 31st.

Perez is charged with underage consumption of an alcoholic beverage. Bond for Perez is $1,000.

In a roadblock on Highway 70 east, 134 vehicles were stopped and Sheriff Ray says two citations were issued for no drivers license and no insurance.

26 year old Garth Cantrell of Pine Grove Road, Smithville was also arrested at the road block for simple possession of marijuana and possession with intent to sell or deliver over 22 grams of crack cocaine after the county drug dog Banshee hit on his vehicle.

Sheriff Ray says while Cantrell was being detained, he took a set of handcuffs and scraped them down the hood of a county patrol car, causing damage to the hood. For that, Cantrell was charged with vandalism.

Cantrell's bond is set at $57,500 and his court date is May 31st. Cantrell's 1997 Chevy Tahoe was also seized.

Later that night, 49 year old Johnny Whiteaker of Dibrell Lucky Road, McMinnville was arrested and charged with DUI. His court date is June 21st.

Meanwhile, 24 year old Jeremy Loader of Bethel Road was arrested on May 15th, after being involved in a one car motor vehicle accident on Holmes Creek Road. Loader was charged with DUI and his bond was set at $1,000. His court date is June 21st.

43 year old Sandi Fults of Pea Ridge Road Liberty was also arrested recently on two counts of forgery. Her bond is set at $2,000 and her court date is June 21st.

Sheriff Ray says Fults found a check book at a gas station in Liberty, removed two of the checks from the book, forged them and cashed them locally for $85.00 each. She went to Cannon County and cashed at least one check there. Charges are pending against her in Cannon County.

Three Arrested Tuesday by Smithville Police on Various Charges

May 23, 2007
Dwayne Page

Smithville Police were busy Tuesday with numerous investigations leading to multiple arrests and the recovery of items taken form local merchants. The arrests included Theft Under and Over $500.00, extensive Credit Card Fraud, Sales and Delivery of Narcotics, DUI and Child Endangerment.

Chief Thomas J. Stufano says Smithville Police, working in cooperation with area merchants and corporate security from a credit card company, were able to positively identify 20 year old Nicholas Mongello of 1222 College Street, in Smithville as the person responsible for stealing a victim's purse from the Walmart Shopping Center.

Chief Stufano says Mongello, who worked for Walmart, had taken the purse from the victim while she placed bags of groceries in her car in the parking lot. Walmart corporate security, with the assistance of the Store Manager Matt Ciramella, was able to review closed circuit video showing the incident which aided in the investigation. The case then snowballed as Investigators and auditors found that Mongello had been stealing large denominations of cash from the store's cash drawers and concealing the money in his clothing. Contact was also made with the victim's Credit Card Company and a review of account activity disclosed that Mongello had made numerous purchases from other area merchants with the stolen credit card. The merchandise was then taken to Mongello's apartment.

Chief Stufano says investigators learned that Mongello and his roommate had tried to conceal the thefts by returning some of the items purchased and obtaining cash back instead of crediting back the card account.

Investigators were able to recover a large amount of stolen items at Mongello's apartment which included the victim's purse and ID, a new large screen HD TV, Surround Sound Stereo System, lamps, pots/pans, dishes etc. The stolen credit card was found in Mongello's wallet at the time of arrest. Mongello was transported to the DeKalb County Jail on a $7,500 bond. The investigation is continuing and additional charges are pending upon notification of the numerous victims in the case.

Meanwhile 39 year old Troy Bain of 420 Hayes Street in Smithville was arrested Tuesday. Chief Stufano says Bain had been cutting across a field near Hayes Street and Gentry Avenue and acting suspicious by trying to conceal his face and then looking back to see if officers, who were on patrol in the area, had spotted him. As the officers approached Bain, he attempted to run and threw a clear plastic baggy onto the ground. He was quickly stopped and officers found in the baggy over (20) Hydrocodone pills. Due to the amount and type of pills, Bain was arrested for Sale and Delivery of Narcotics and transported to the DeKalb County Jail under a $10,000 bond.

25 year old Chasity Phillips of 350 Shady Lane in Smithville was arrested Tuesday for DUI and Reckless Endangerment. Officers stopped Phillips due to her driving erratically and crossing the centerline numerous times. Sobriety tests were administered but Phillips was unable to stand due to her intoxication. Her five month old baby, who was also in the vehicle, was subsequently released to a family member. Phillips was arrested for DUI and Child Endangerment and transported to the DeKalb County Jail under a $5,000 bond.

Chief Stufano says \"Smithville Police are actively investigating all crimes committed in the city and value the support and response the community is lending in helping develop leads and identify criminal activity in the neighborhoods. If you have information that may help identify suspicious activity please call us at 615-597-8210. As always your information will be treated confidentially.\"

Governor Bredesen Announces Grant for Smithville Municipal Airport

May 23, 2007
Dwayne Page

Governor Phil Bredesen announced today an Aeronautics Grant in the amount of $800,000 has been awarded to the Smithville Municipal Airport in Dekalb County to assist with improvements to that facility.

General aviation airports are critical to the economic development of communities across the state, said Governor Bredesen. These airports provide quick access for businesses, serve as reliever airports for local flight centers and are important shipping hubs. In order to stay competitive these airports must be kept up to date.

The grant funds will be used for the construction of a new T-hangar, taxiway and apron.

This grant will help this airport meet the growing needs of the community it serves, added enator Mae Beavers. I'm pleased the state could assist with this project.

This is exactly the kind of investment I hope the state continues to make in our general aviation transportation system, commented Representative Frank Buck. It is extremely important to this area's economy.

Tennessee Department of Transportation Commissioner Gerald Nicely explained that the grants are made available through the department's Aeronautics Division.

This Division administers federal and state funding to assist in the location, design, construction and maintenance of Tennessee's diverse public aviation system, reported Nicely. We are pleased to be able to provide millions of dollars each year for the betterment of our airports through our grant programs.

Grant applications are reviewed by the Tennessee Aeronautics Commission (TAC), which is a five member board charged with policy planning and with regulating changes in the state airport system plan.

These grants can have a significant impact on the future of a general aviation airport and its economic contributions to our state," said TAC Chairman Lonnie Strunk. "Our board examines the applications carefully to ensure that the funds will be put to good use."

The TDOT Aeronautics Division also has the responsibility of inspecting and licensing the state's 126 heliports and 75 public/general aviation airports. General aviation includes all aircraft not flown by commercial airlines or the military. The Aeronautics Division also provides aircraft and related services for state government executives, staffing for the Tennessee Aeronautics Commission, and numerous educational support programs. The division's offices include Administration, Finance & Grant Management, Engineering & Program Development, Flight Services, and Planning & Programming.

Shockley Named DCHS Girls Basketball Coach

May 24, 2007
Dwayne Page

DeKalb County High School has a new girls basketball coach.

Director of Schools Mark Willoughby and DCHS Principal Kathy Hendrix confirm that John Michael Shockley will sign a contract to take over the program from Amy Tobitt, who has resigned as coach after two seasons.

Shockley, who is from Winchester, comes to DeKalb County from Loretto High School where he served as girls basketball coach.

Shockley will also be taking over as head coach of the DeKalb Saints Football Program.

Shockley graduated from White County High School in 1975. He then attended the Aquinas Junior College in Nashville for one year followed by three years at Tennessee Tech, where he earned a Bachelor's Degree in Secondary Education-Social Sciences and did M.S. work with 24 semester hours toward his ASED Degree and one semester hour toward certificate renewal.

His coaching experience includes sixteen years as a high school head girls and boys basketball coach, six years as a head middle school boys basketball coach, six years as an assistant boys basketball coach at White County High School, ten years as a high school head baseball coach, two years as a high school head softball coach, six years as a middle school football assistant, and two years as a high school head golf coach.

His achievements are as follows:
1975- Earned a basketball coach to Aquinas Junior College
1987- Won the Middle School State Basketball Tournament
1979-80 and 1980-81- assisted the White County Boys to the State Tournament
1991- Girls State Runner-Up in the State Tournament as Head Coach at White County High School
1992- Coached the Tennessee Girls All Stars versus Georgia
1992-93- Won 30 plus games and went back to the State Tournament
1993- Won the school's first Regional Tournament in any sport in Triple-A

Shockley's basketball record is 402 wins and 253 losses.


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