Local News Articles

Three Involved in Thursday Night Wreck

April 26, 2008
Dwayne Page

Three people were involved in a one car crash around 8:00 p.m. Thursday night on Highway 56 south near the DeKalb/Warren County line.

Trooper Brian Raymond of the Tennessee Highway Patrol says 30 year old Lisa Porterfield of Dowelltown was driving south in a 1996 Honda Accord when she ran off the southbound lane and hit a ditch.

Porterfield and a passenger, 24 year old Roxanna Landis of Smithville were airlifted by a Life Force helicopter ambulance and flown to Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga. Another passenger, 48 year old Timothy Stafford of Smithville was not injured.

Trooper Raymond says neither of the three was restrained in the vehicle.

Others on the scene included DeKalb EMS, the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department, DeKalb County Sheriff's Department, and First Responders.

DeKalb County Jobless Rate at 5.7% in March

April 25, 2008
Dwayne Page

DeKalb County's unemployment rate for March was 5.7%, up from the rate of 5.4% in February and 4.4% in March 2007.

The local Labor Force for March was 10,330. A total of 9,750 were employed and 590 were unemployed.

Tennessee's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for March at 5.6 percent, is 0.3 percent higher than the February rate of 5.3 percent. The United States unemployment rate for the month of March was 5.1 percent.

County non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rates for March show that 50 counties increased. The rate decreased in 27 counties and remained the same in 18 counties. County unemployment rates are not seasonally adjusted and therefore reflect seasonal expansions and layoffs that occur during the year. The state and U.S. unemployment rates are seasonally adjusted to eliminate normal seasonal fluctuations and to indicate a more accurate measurement of actual economic change.

Williamson County registered the state's lowest county unemployment rate at 3.9 percent, the same as the February rate. Perry County had the state's highest at 12.1 percent, up from 11.6 in February, followed by Clay County at 11.1 percent, up from 10.3 percent in February.

Knox County had the state's lowest major metropolitan rate at 4.3 percent, the same as the February rate. Davidson County was 4.7 percent, up from 4.5 in February. Hamilton County was at 4.7 percent up 0.1 percent from February, and Shelby County was 6.2 percent, up from the February rate of 5.9.

Middle Tennessee Natural Gas and Tennessee One-Call Remind Homeowners to Call 811 Before They Dig

April 25, 2008

As warmer weather approaches and a new season begins, homeowners start to get the home improvement itch, with outdoor projects at the top of their to-do lists. Weekend warriors have been making plans all winter to build a new deck, plant shrubs and even add that white picket fence or install a new mailbox. Not only do homeowners need the proper tools and materials to successfully complete a project; they also need Tennessee One-Call to ensure that surrounding underground utility lines are safe from excavation.

811, a federally mandated and easy-to-remember national “Call Before You Dig” number, was created to help do-it-yourselfers ensure that utility lines are marked before digging, eliminating unintentional encounters with underground utility lines while they work on projects that require breaking ground.

Here’s how it works. To ensure that all underground utility lines in the work area are marked, call Tennessee One-Call by dialing 811 at least 3 business days before digging. Tennessee One-Call will arrange for member utility operators to have the underground lines at the project site investigated and marked, free of charge, so that homeowners can carefully excavate around them and protect the lines during construction. This simple step can save money, prevent personal and property damage and protect homeowners from legal ramifications. It’s that simple.

It is pertinent that homeowners notify Tennessee One-Call before any digging begins, no matter how large or small the project. Those digging often incorrectly assume that projects such as planting a tree, building a deck and installing a new mailbox or fence don’t break ground deep enough to require a visit from utility line locators. Tennessee One-Call Center is a homeowner’s ultimate partner – a partner that must be included in all outdoor home projects that involve digging.

Natural gas delivered by pipelines is the safest form of energy in the U.S. Day in and day out, all across this country, pipelines safely deliver the efficient, reliable, and environmentally friendly natural gas that brings comfort to our businesses and homes. By utilizing 811 and proper digging techniques you will keep the gas in the pipeline and avoid the hazards of flammable and pressurized materials. Middle Tennessee Natural Gas (MTNG) and Tennessee One Call employees work diligently to keep you safe. MTNG pipelines are designed, tested, operated, and maintained to standards that meet or exceed regulatory requirements. Yellow proximity markers are installed to warn of pipelines in the area and provide Tennessee One Call’s phone number.

Though natural gas incidents are uncommon, especially when utilizing 811, you should know their telltale signs:

Look – Blowing dirt, bubbling water, dry spots in moist areas, or dead vegetation may indicate a gas leak.

Listen – A hissing sound near a natural gas pipeline or appliance may indicate a leak.

Smell –Natural gas has a unique odor added to it so you can be aware of a leak through your sense of smell.

If you suspect a gas leak, take action:

Leave immediately – Do not try to find or stop the leak. Get to a safe area.

Do not smoke, use phones, turn appliances or lights on or off, or operate any equipment that could spark.

Call – Once you are out of the area where a gas leak is suspected

For any additional information regarding Tennessee One-Call Center services, please feel free to call 811 or visit www.tnonecall.com. Further information on natural gas can be obtained at www.mntg.com.

Remember it’s free, it’s easy and safe digging is a shared responsibility – know what’s below, call before you dig.

District Attorney General Bill Gibson Announces Plans to Resign

April 24, 2008
Dwayne Page

Long time District Attorney General Bill Gibson has announced his intention to resign effective, July 10th.

In a letter to Governor Phil Bredesen, dated today (Thursday) Gibson wrote "I am writing to submit to you my resignation from the office of District Attorney General for the 13th Judicial District. My resignation will become effective on Thursday, July 10th, 2008 and I will vacate the office on that date. It is my intention that this letter be irrevocable and offered in anticipation of giving you ample time to select a proper replacement for appointment to this office."

"It has been my great pleasure to serve the people of Tennessee and the Thirteenth Judicial District in this capacity for the past 18 years. Blessed with an exceptional staff great accomplishments have been made in our area. I have told many groups that the District Attorney has the very best job description in the world; to do justice on behalf of the people; to do the right thing under a wide variety of circumstances. My decision today follows through on that notion of doing what I believe is the right thing under difficult and challenging circumstances."

Gibson has been unable to serve as D.A. since his law license was suspended in 2006 over an ethics scandal.

That scandal involved letters he wrote to a convicted murderer and efforts he made to help a woman clear a meth conviction from her record.

Gibson was investigated by the TBI and the case was recently presented to a Putnam County Grand Jury, which failed to indict him for official misconduct.

The D.A. has since has been trying to negotiate with the State Board of Professional Responsibility to get his law license back.

Assistant D.A. Tony Craighead has been serving as acting D.A. in Gibson's absence.

Gibson was re-elected to a new eight year term in 2006. If Governor Bredesen accepts the resignation, he could appoint a replacement to fill out the unexpired term or until an election is held to fill the vacancy.

State law addresses Terms of Office--Filling of Vacancies-- " Except as provided in title 17, chapter 4, the term of each judicial and civil officer shall be computed from September 1st succeeding the election. No appointment or election to fill a vacancy shall be made for a period of time extending beyond the unexpired term. Every officer shall hold office until a successor is elected or appointed and qualified. No special election shall be held to fill a vacancy in the office of judge or district attorney general, but at the time fixed for the biennial election of civil officers; such vacancy shall be filled at the next biennial election occuring more than thirty (30) days after the vacancy occurs."

Mobile Home Destroyed by Fire

April 24, 2008
Dwayne Page

A mobile home at the DeKalb/Warren County line was destroyed by fire last night.

County volunteer firefighters responded to the call at 10:04 p.m. Wednesday night at the residence of Dustin Roberts at 525 R. Arnold Road. Roberts rents the property from David Judkins.

County Fire Chief Donny Green says no one was at home at the time of the blaze and no one was injured but the structure was destroyed and three family dogs inside perished. The cause of the fire is undetermined but under investigation.

Members of the Blue Springs, Belk, and Keltonburg Stations of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department were on the scene along with DeKalb EMS and officers of the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department.

Johnson Arrested After Police Pursuit

April 23, 2008
Dwayne Page

A 45 year old man was arrested after a police pursuit Monday night.

Smithville Police have charged David Ray Johnson of 530 Miller Road with evading arrest, reckless endangerment, possession of a schedule VI and IV drug and he was issued a citation for violation of the light law. His bond totals $11,500 and his court date is May 8th.

K-9 Officer Bradley Tatrow, in his report, states that on Monday night at 9:59 p.m. he stopped a vehicle on East Broad Street at Model City Auto Sales because it had a headlight out. The driver, Johnson, denied Officer Tatrow's request to search the vehicle. Tatrow then deployed Astro, the K-9, and the dog indicated on the trunk of the car. Johnson was asked to get out of the vehicle so it could be searched but he started up the car and sped off, traveling at a high rate of speed. Johnson came to the traffic light at highway's 56 & 70 and then turned left onto highway 56 south. He continued on highway 56 south at a high rate of speed and then turned onto East Bryant Street. Officer Matt Farmer joined Officer Tatrow in the pursuit and Johnson eventually stopped his vehicle at East Bryant and South College Street. Johnson was taken from the vehicle into custody. A search of the vehicle produced a small amount of marijuana, a marijuana roach, and a pill identified as Soma.

Meanwhile, in a separate case, 28 year old Jason William Davis of 939 Grandiose Drive, Cookeville was arrested Tuesday and charged with driving on a revoked license, possession of a schedule IV controlled substance, and violation of the light law. His bond is $3,000 and he will be in court on the charges June 5th.

Officer Matt Farmer, in his report, states that at 2:50 a.m. he observed a vehicle going northbound on South College Street with the right side headlight not working. The vehicle, driven by Davis, was stopped. The officer asked Davis for his driver's license but Davis told him that the license had been suspended in Alabama. A further check of the status of the license revealed that it was revoked for failure to appear in an Alabama court.

Davis was placed under arrest for driving on a revoked license and during a search of the vehicle, incident to arrest, Officer Tatrow, who was assisting Officer Farmer, found two white pills and two prescription bottles in a glove box belonging to another person. One bottle had five small white round pills believed to be diphenoxylate and the other contained four blue capsules believed to be dicyclomine.

Join the Fight Against Cancer through Relay for Life

April 22, 2008

More than three million people in the United States have done it. They've joined the fight against cancer by participating in Relay for Life, the signature event of the American Cancer Society.

Last year, more than 4,580 communities nationwide participated in Relay for Life and raised more than $375 million, making the event the largest fund raiser in the U.S.

Relay for Life is an overnight fund-raising event filled with activities, fun and community spirit. All funds raised at Relay for Life support American Cancer Society programs designed to reduce cancer incidence and mortality through research, education, advocacy, and patient services.

The impact of cancer is clear. More than 10 million cancer survivors are living today. This year in the United States, an estimated 1.3 million people will be diagnosed with cancer. Additionally, more than 1,500 people will die of cancer each day.

On May 9th, the community will gather together as one group to help in the battle against cancer. At Greenbrook Park in Smithville, over 32 teams, volunteers, community leaders, and citizens will enjoy the annual Relay for Life event. This year marks the eleventh year to have a Relay for Life event. Plans are to have lots of entertainment and food available starting at 6:00 p.m. Planning for the Relay is a year round event and the organizers hope that you will enjoy what they have in store for you. Relay is the largest community event held in DeKalb County. Please join in for this special night and have lots of fun helping raise money. We are winning this fight; the finish line is closer than ever. Together, we are making a difference.

For more information about participating in Relay for Life, contact Ivadell Randolph or Casey Midgett.

The American Cancer Society is the nationwide, community-based, voluntary health organization dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem by preventing cancer, saving lives, and diminishing suffering from cancer, through research, education, advocacy, and service.

This year's Relay for Life Teams are as follows:

The DeKalb County Survivor Team
Liberty State Bank
DeKalb Community Bank
Regions Bank
DeKalb Community Hospital
Family Medical Center
The DeKalb County Sheriffs Department
Smithville First Assembly of God “Youth Against Cancer”
First Baptist Church “Youth Against Cancer”
Elizabeth Chapel Baptist Church “Youth Against Cancer”
Elizabeth Chapel Baptist Church
First United Methodist Church Smithville
Whorton Springs Baptist Church
The DeKalb County Elected Officials
DeKalb West School
Smithville Elementary School
Northside Elementary School
DeKalb Middle School
DeKalb County High School FCCLA
Shiroki North America Inc
Federal Mogul Friction Products
DeKalb County Attorney Bar Association
DTC/DTC Wireless
El Mariachi Mexican Store Smithville
Curves Smithville
Wal-Mart # 4414
Smithville Electric System
Movie Gallery “Movie Divas”
K&M Jewelry
The Page Family Team

A special thanks goes to the DeKalb County Sheriffs Department & Sheriff Patrick Ray for their continued support of the event with security.

Silver Event Sponsors 2008 : Smithville Review, The Middle Tennessee Times, & WJLE Radio

If you would like to know more about having a team for Relay for Life please contact Ivadell Randolph at 615 597 5296.

Finley signs baseball scholarship with Martin Methodist

April 22, 2008
Dwayne Page

Another DeKalb County High School student-athlete has signed scholarship papers, and will continue his athletic career on the collegiate level. Trey Finley, a left-handed pitcher for the Tiger baseball team, signed papers, Tuesday morning, with Martin Methodist College, an NAIA school located in Pulaski, TN.

Red Hawks assistant coach, Michael Wallace, was on hand for Tuesday morning's signing, and is excited about having Trey join the Martin Methodist program. "One, he picked up the ball with his left hand, and left-handed pitching is hard to come by," said Wallace. "He has nice velocity for a high school player. He can throw strikes, he has the ability to work and comes from great parents and is a high-character kid."

Finley chose Martin Methodist over Vol State, and feels he made a good choice. "It's a good school for my education and they have a good baseball program," he said. "I know they beat Cumberland, this year, and Cumberland is usually a good team."

Finley said there are things he wants to work on as he prepares to jump to the next level. "Maybe cut down my pitch count and add a little velocity."

Wallace said the Red Hawks program has had some succees, and is hoping for a nice end to this season. "Since 2000, we've had five players drafted or signed (by Major League Baseball teams)," he noted. "We went to the Regional in 2003. Right now, we're sitting at 27-19-1. If we play well this weekend, we have a chance to finish fourth in our conference. Hopefully, we'll make a good run in our upcoming conference tournament and have a shot to get back to Regionals."

Martin Methodist is a member of the TransSouth Athletic Conference, a division of the NAIA. George Ogilve is the team's head coach.

Municipal Swimming Pool Set to Open Memorial Day Unless Delayed by Repairs

April 21, 2008
Dwayne Page

The Smithville Municipal Swimming Pool is scheduled to open by Memorial Day but needed repairs could force a delay.

The issue was discussed during Monday night's city council meeting.

Secretary Treasurer Hunter Hendrixson says Donald Page from the Department of Health met with city officials earlier this month and made some recommendations. "On April 15th, he came out and gave a consultation and had a list of suggestions on what he thought needed to be done before opening the pool. He commented on the interior of the pool being rough as far as the liner goes. We have limited lights. He said only 50% were functional and we need to look at getting those repaired. I'm not sure if it's the wiring or not but I believe that's what it is. There's been some uplifting of some of the concrete around the pool or part of the deck. I'm not sure what all needs to be done there but he had some suggestions. Depth markings. I believe that can be fixed fairly easy but he suggested that as well. And the hand railing needs to be repaired."

Jimmy Lewis, operator of the golf course and swimming pool, said based on Page's advice, he can't open the pool until the repairs are made "He told me not to even get the permits until that was fixed. The liner has cracks in it and our insurance won't cover it. You'll have to re-fiberglass it. The fiberglass has got to be redone. We're supposed to open Memorial Day but it takes two weeks to get it filled up and the water right and people are already calling about booking summer swimming parties."

Alderman Tonya Sullivan says rumors are going around town that the pool is not going to open.

Mayor Taft Hendrixson responded, saying " I don't know where that's coming from. We will do what we can do and what we can't do we'll have to get it done by someone else. We'll let a professional look at it. Whatever has to be done we will do. Our maintenance people can do some things like maybe the concrete, the lights, and the hand rails."

Since the repair costs are unknown at this time, city officials are not certain if there is sufficient funds budgeted to make the repairs, or if a budget amendment will be needed.

In other business during the city council meeting Monday night, the Aldermen voted on first reading to adopt an ordinance changing the zoning classification of two lots from R-1 low density residential to B-2 general business. The lots belong to Phillip W. Cantrell, located in the Trudie Vickers Subdivision on Short Mountain Street between Meadowbrook Drive and Green Acre Drive. Second and final reading action will come following a public hearing at the next meeting on Monday, May 5th at 7:00 p.m.

Regina Wilhite of Woodmen of the World presented new flags of the United States to be flown by the city and county and at Greenbrook Park.

Police Chief Richard Jennings also informed the board that the city is making application for grants on behalf of the department.

Smithville Police Charge Truck Driver with Possession of Drug Paraphernalia

April 21, 2008
Dwayne Page

A 45 year old truck driver, hauling freight to Shiroki North America, Inc.,was arrested Friday after police found him possibly under the influence and with drug paraphernalia in the vehicle.

Smithville Police Chief Richard Jennings says James Martin Ducket of 361 Morgan Branch Road, Weaverville, North Carolina is charged with possession of drug paraphernalia. Ducket's bond is $1,000 and his court date is May 1st.

In his report, Officer Travis Bryant states that on April 18th at 9:00 a.m., he, Officer Randy King, and K-9 Officer Bradley Tatrow responded to SW Manufacturing at 1111 West Broad Street in regard to a truck driver acting strangely and possibly under the influence of an unknown substance. Contact was made with the driver and he identified himself as James M. Ducket.

Officer Bryant states that while the officers were talking to the driver, it became apparent that he was under the influence of an unknown substance. The officers asked for permission to search the truck and they were given consent. The K-9 was brought in and the dog hit on a bag in the vehicle. Upon further investigation, a small leather bag was found containing one glass pipe, two spoons, and several resale baggies that were empty. Several empty straws, other baggies and medicine bottle containers were also found in the truck. The Tennessee Highway Patrol was requested to check the driver's logs and they were found to be inaccurate.

Meanwhile, in another case, 37 year old Michael Edward Brown of 6763 Old Mill Hill Road, Dowelltown is charged with theft of property over $10,000 and theft of property over $500.

Chief Jennings says Brandy Fitts reported to police that she had spent the night last Thursday visiting her cousin at Royal Oak Apartments, 670 Miller Road and that when she awoke the next morning she discovered that someone had dumped the contents from her purse, taken her keys, $500 in cash, and had stolen her 2007 Plymouth van which was parked outside.

Fitts identified Brown as a possible suspect in the theft, since he had also been at her cousin's house Thursday night but was gone Friday morning.

Police recovered the vehicle on Friday in the city and arrested Brown on Monday.

Brown is under a $12,500 bond and his court date is May 29th

The case was investigated by Detective Sergeant Jerry Hutchins, Jr.

In another case, 43 year old David Spencer Vaughn of 714 South College Street is charged with theft of property over $5,000, theft under $500, and 14 counts of fraudulent use of a credit card.

Vaughn is accused of stealing a 2000 Honda Passport SUV and a credit card belonging to his father, Eugene Vaughn of 714 South College Street. The alleged thefts occurred on Monday, April 14th.

Vaughn was arrested Saturday at the home of a friend on Restview Avenue.

His bond is $42,500 and he will be in court on the charges May 29th.

The case was investigated by Detective Sergeant Jerry Hutchins, Jr.

Meanwhile, 26 year old Josh Wayne Goff of 416 Mocking Bird Drive, Dunlap is charged with a third offense of driving on a suspended license

Officer Matt Holmes, in his report, states that he observed Goff driving south on Short Mountain Street in a Honda Accord on Monday morning. Another officer advised Holmes that Goff did not have a valid drivers license. Officer Holmes stopped the vehicle on Odom Street and discovered that Goff's license was suspended for failure to satisfy citations. Goff's bond is $3,000 and his court date is April 30th.


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