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Local News Articles

DeKalb Jobless Rate Up to 7.4%

November 26, 2008
Dwayne Page

DeKalb County's unemployment rate for October was 7.4%, up from the rate for September of 7% and significantly higher than the 4.6% rate recorded in October, 2007

The local labor force for October was 10,300. A total of 9,540 were employed and 760 were unemployed.

Tennessee's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for October was 7.0 percent, 0.2 percentage point lower than the September rate of 7.2 percent. The United States unemployment rate for the month of October was 6.5 percent.

County non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rates for October show that 53 counties decreased. The rate increased in 27 counties and remained the same in 15 counties.

Williamson County registered the state's lowest county unemployment rate at 4.7 percent, down 0.3 percentage point from the September rate. Perry County had the state's highest at 17.4 percent, up from 16.7 in September, followed by Lauderdale County at 14.5 percent, up from 13.1 percent in September.

Knox County had the state's lowest major metropolitan rate at 5.0 percent, down 0.3 percentage point from the September rate. Davidson County was 5.5 percent, down from 5.8 the previous month. Hamilton County was at 6.1 percent the same as the September rate, and Shelby County was 7.1 percent, down from the September rate of 7.4.

Governor Bredesen Announces Litter Grant for DeKalb County

November 26, 2008

As part of the effort to StopLitter™ in Tennessee, Governor Phil Bredesen and TDOT Commissioner Gerald Nicely today awarded DeKalb County with a litter grant in the amount of $34,237.

"Each year volunteers pick up around 25 million pounds of roadside litter in Tennessee alone," said Bredesen. "Litter is an eye-sore, it's costly to clean up and can be harmful to our environment, but it's totally preventable. These funds will be used by counties across the state to organize their pick-up efforts and conduct educational campaigns to teach children and adults about the importance of keeping Tennessee beautiful."

Litter grant funds are distributed annually by TDOT to all 95 Tennessee counties.
Senator Mae Beavers represents DeKalb County in the Tennessee General Assembly.
"TDOT awards approximately $3 million each year to help local communities in their efforts to stop litter in Tennessee," said Nicely. "These funds are obtained through the collection of a specialty tax on the malt beverage and soft drink industry through the Litter Grant Bill which was enacted by the General Assembly in 1981."

The funds that each county receives are determined by county road miles and county population in order to ensure an equitable distribution statewide. Funds must be used for litter pick-up activities and litter prevention education. Education funding can be used in a variety of ways, such as sharing litter control awareness with schools, citizens and businesses.

Through the litter pick-up program, approximately 25.5 million pounds of roadside litter were picked up on approximately 292,000 miles of county roads, and approximately 45,000 miles of state routes.

To find out more about Tennessee's Litter Grant program, please visit:

Martin Chosen for Leadership Award

November 26, 2008
Zack Martin

DeKalb West School student Zack Martin is one of three students in Tennessee to receive the John W. Harris Leadership Award.

Martin was presented the award Tuesday at this year’s Junior Beta Club State convention. 25 Junior Beta and 25 Senior Beta winners across the nation are chosen for the prestigious honor.

D.W.S. Club Sponsor Bill Conger chose Martin for the M-V-P nomination for his service work with his church, school and the community of Alexandria. Martin is an 8th grade student and is son of Dewayne and Stacey Martin.

Forty DWS students traveled to Gaylord Opryland Hotel for the annual state convention. They participated in a variety of academic, arts and crafts, and talent contests.

County Commission Reappoints Judicial Commissioners

November 25, 2008
Dwayne Page

The County Commission Monday night reappointed Judicial Commissioners Jerry Taylor and Tammy Ashburn to a new one year term, after questions surfaced recently about when they were last appointed and their training.

Apparently under state law, Judicial commissioners are to be appointed for terms of one to four years.

Concerned citizen Jamie Bullard, last week during a committee meeting, said he did some checking and found that Taylor and Ashburn were appointed to one year terms in 1991 but he could not find in the minutes where the county commission had taken action since then on a reappointment.

County Mayor Mike Foster, during Monday night's meeting, said after questions were raised, action was taken to address the issue. "It has come to our attention that the full commission may not have set a term for the judicial commissioners and I think we need to look at that tonight. That (term) can be anywhere from one year to four years and I think probably we ought to appoint the judicial commissioners. The county attorney (Hilton Conger) has researched this and tells us that even if we have failed to do this that the judicial commissioners are serving defacto and are clearly acting under the color of the law as judicial commissioners of DeKalb County as upheld by courts."

"I got a letter today (Monday) at my request from the Secretary of the Judicial Commissioners Association of Tennessee. It's concerning my question about training for judicial commissioners. It says, ‘Dear Mr Foster, at the present time there is no requirement by the State of Tennessee for judicial commissioners to have training. JCAT, which is the Judicial Commissioners Association of Tennessee has presented legislation for judicial commissioners training to State Representative Joe Pitts of Montgomery County. Currently the bill is running through (the legal process). We hope to have it presented this session. There will be a training session in April, 2009 in Williamson County.'

"She (secretary) also sent me a list of trainees (who attended) a two day work session in Cumberland County at Crossville. Those attending from DeKalb County were Judicial Commissioners Jerry Taylor and Tammy Ashburn and DeKalb County Circuit Court Clerk Katherine Pack, who each paid $60 in fees to attend that. Some of the things they talked about during this session were DUI roadblocks, duties of the judicial commissioners, controlled substances, classification of crimes and setting of bonds, how bills become law, legal aid, domestic violence, ethics, criminal procedures, criminal versus civil issues, juvenile law and legislative updates. They were also given a copy of the Tennessee Criminal Justice Handbook, which they paid for. Part of their training has been done by the Assistant Attorney General or local D.A.. They do training and updating."

"To answer some questions that have been raised, any warrant that's issued by a judicial commissioner is looked at by the officer serving or requesting a warrant; the Circuit Court Clerk's officer who enters it into the computer, the General Sessions Judge, and or the District Attorney General; and Circuit Judge, which seems to be a whole lot of oversight to me so I think that's met."

In addition to re-appointing the two judicial commissioners and establishing their salaries at the levels already budgeted, approximately $11,000 each, the county commission also appointed an oversight committee including county commissioners Elmer Ellis, Jr., Jerry Scott, and Wayne Cantrell, Sheriff Patrick Ray, General Sessions Judge Bratten Cook II, Circuit Court Clerk Katherine Pack, and Grand Jury Foreman Steve Officer, in addition to County Mayor Mike Foster.

Madison Man Arrested After High Speed Chase Last Week Remains Incarcerated

November 25, 2008
Dwayne Page
Roger Lee Artz

A 56 year old Madison man who tried to outrun an officer of the Tennessee Highway Patrol from Smithville to Sparta last week remains in the DeKalb County Jail.

Roger Lee Artz of Forest Park Road, Madison is charged with reckless endangerment of a motor vehicle and evading arrest. His bond totals $35,000 and he will be in court on the charges December 11th.

Trooper Dewayne Jennings of the Tennessee Highway Patrol, reports that " On Wednesday, November 19th, while on patrol, I attempted to stop a vehicle on U.S. 70 in front of Smithville Builders Supply. The vehicle was traveling 79 miles per hour in a 40 mile per hour zone. The driver refused to pull his vehicle over and continued east on U.S. 70 at a high rate of speed. The vehicle left DeKalb County and entered White County. Just before we entered the Sparta city limits, the vehicle ran over a set of spike strips which was deployed by the White County Sheriff's Department. The vehicle continued east until it was on it's rims. The vehicle then pulled to the shoulder."

The arrest warrant alleges that "Artz committed the offense of reckless endangerment by fleeing law enforcement in a motor vehicle. Artz did flee at a high rate of speed, passing other vehicles on double yellow lines, and not maintaining his lane of travel. Artz also passed vehicles on hills and curves and met other vehicles head-on forcing them off the road way."

Sheriff Patrick Ray and a detective of the Sheriff's Department, while not directly involved in the pursuit, got enroute to backup Trooper Jennings.

Man Charged with Stealing Road Grader

November 24, 2008
Dwayne Page
Michael Brandon Redmon

A 24 year old man was arrested Sunday night after allegedly stealing his father's road grader and leading officers on low speed pursuit from South Congress Boulevard to Student's Home Road.

Michael Brandon Redmon of 7592 McMinnville Highway is charged with theft of property over $10,000 and evading arrest. His bond totals $60,000 and he will be in court on the charges December 18th.

Officer Bradley C. Tatrow, in his report, states that "On Sunday, November 23rd at 8:41 p.m. I received a call of a theft of a vehicle that had just occurred at Jewel's Market. The caller, Jewel Redmon, advised that his son had just taken his road grader that was parked behind the store and that he did not know what he was going to do with it. Upon arrival in the area, I saw a road grader traveling south on South Congress Boulevard in front of Jewel's Market."

Officer Tatrow says he turned on his emergency equipment but the grader would not stop. The driver turned onto Vaughn Lane and then went to Student's Home Road, where it turned right. The road grader continued on Students Home Road but just before it got to Keltonburg Road, the grader ran out into a field and stopped. The driver, Michael Brandon Redmon, jumped off the grader and tried to flee on foot but was taken into custody by a county officer and charged in the case by city police.

Others involved in trying to get the road grader stopped were constable Mark Milam, two county deputies, Sheriff Patrick Ray, and Sergeant Billy Prater of the Tennessee Highway Patrol.

Meanwhile, in other cases, a fugitive from Iowa was arrested in Smithville on Friday, November 14th at 212 Jennings Lane. Jose Martinez was picked up on a fugitive from justice warrant issued by the Maquoketa, Iowa Police Department. He is wanted there for first degree arson, third degree burglary, and fourth degree theft. Martinez has been sent back to Iowa.

19 year old Jason K. Shepherd of Jacobs Pillar Road was arrested Sunday and charged with aggravated assault and vandalism under $500. His bond totals $6,000 and he will be in court on the charges December 11th.

Detective Sergeant Jerry Hutchins, Jr., in his report, states that "On November 23rd, Shepherd went to Shalet Apartment at 219 West Main Street in an intoxicated state and became belligerant, displaying an open knife, and making threats toward residents (at the apartment). After several minutes, Shepherd started to leave the apartment, at which time, he punched a wall causing damage to the wall."

Shepherd was also charged in a separate case of underage consumption of alcohol on Sunday.

Officer Bradley C. Tatrow, in his report, states that on November 23rd while answering a domestic call at 304 Jacobs Pillar Road, I found Jason Shepherd being held down by another man. He had a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on his person and he was unsteady on his feet."

Shepherd's bond is $2,500 and he will be in court on the charge December 11th.

27 year old Shawn K. Buck was arrested Friday for simple possession and for resisting a stop, frisk, halt, arrest or search.

Police reports say that on Friday, November 21st on J.E. Evins Avenue, Buck jumped out of a moving vehicle and ran about 300 yards before officers could catch him. He was a passenger in a vehicle being pursued by officers. After being taken to the police department, a plastic bag containing 0.6 ounces of marijuana fell out of his pants leg as he got out of a chair.

Buck's bond totals $3,500 and he will be in court on the charges December 18th.

28 year old Christopher Ray Dotson was recently charged with simple possession of a schedule III controlled substance (Suboxone). His bond totals $1,500 and he will be in court January 22nd.

Officer Bradley C. Tatrow reports that he pulled over a vehicle for failure to stop at a stop sign at Midway Road and Smith Road on Friday, November 7th. Upon speaking with the driver, Dotson, Officer Tatrow issued a citation and Dotson gave consent to search. He also advised Officer Tatrow that he had his sisters prescription in his jacket pocket. Inside the bottle were 18 pills, half of another pill, and a piece of a pill. All were peach colored and believed to be suboxone.

Richard Turner was charged with theft of property on Thursday, November 13th. Officer Matt Holmes reports that he responded to Wal-mart to investigate a possible shoplifter complaint. Officer Holmes later made contact with Turner, who allegedly admitted to taking three watches from Wal-mart valued at $36.00 plus tax. The watches were recovered and returned to the store.

Turner's bond is $2,500 and he will be in court December 4th.

Officer Travis Bryant reports that 28 year old Marie E. Biddle was recently charged with theft of property under $500 after allegedly shoplifting a pair of jeans from a local store by concealing them under her coat. Her bond is $1,000 and she will be in court December 11th.

Three Arrested on Drug Charges Monday by DeKalb County Sheriff's Department

November 24, 2008
Dwayne Page
Robert Paul Brawley
Lindsay Lee Stribling
Kevin Donald Bogle

Three people were arrested on drug charges by the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department Monday morning.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says 28 year old Robert Paul Brawley and 26 year old Lindsay Lee Stribling both of Felts Road, Sparta and 34 year old Kevin Donald Bogle of Floyd Drive Smithville were all arrested Monday after a deputy noticed a vehicle in a business parking lot on Highway 70. The headlights were on and the hood had been raised. After stopping and talking with the subjects, the officer noticed a vile in the driver's side door. He asked for consent to search the vehicle and Brawley consented. When the deputy starting searching the vehicle, Brawley turned where the officer could not see his front side and began stuffing something down in his pants. After discovering what Brawley was doing, the deputy then tried to stop him, but Brawley began to resist. After Brawley was cuffed, officers found that Brawley was trying to conceal a bag containing two hypodermic needles, cut straws, alcohol pads, and small baggies. They also found a container in Brawley's pocket with three small baggies of white powder believed to be methamphetamine and half of a small yellow pill believed to be dilaudid. An illegal knife was also confiscated from the floorboard of Brawley's vehicle. When deputies asked Brawley for his name, Brawley told them he was Robert Johnson. Officers later made a positive identification of the man as Brawley. When Deputies placed him into the back of the patrol car he began to hit the doors and windows and caused some damage to the interior of the vehicle. The two passengers in the vehicle were also arrested after deputies found drugs on them. Upon a pat down search, Stribling was found to have marijuana cigarettes, a marijuana roach, and rolling papers in her pockets. Bogle was charged after deputies found two Hydrocodone pills under the seat where he was sitting.

Brawley was charged with possession of a schedule II drug (Methamphetamine) for resale, possession of a prohibited weapon, resisting arrest, criminal impersonation, vandalism, simple possession of a schedule II drug (Dilaudid), and possession of drug paraphernalia. His total bond was set at $34,000.

Stribling was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia and simple possession. Her bond was set at $2,000. Bogle was charged with simple possession and his bond is $2,500.

All three will appear in court on December 11th.

Meanwhile, 22 year old Wayne Lee Parks of Stonefield Way Bardstown, Kentucky was arrested on Sunday for theft of property under $500 after he allegedly took a DVD player from a rental cabin on Highway 56 North.

Sheriff Ray says Parks was stopped on 70 West by Smithville Police and was found to have the DVD player in his possession. Parks was also driving a stolen vehicle out of Kentucky. Parks' bond was set at $2,500 and he will be in court November 26th. He is also wanted by the State of Kentucky for stealing the vehicle.

Gun Season for Deer Hunters Began Saturday

November 22, 2008

Tennessee's first segment of gun season for deer hunters opened Saturday, Nov. 22 in all three of the state's deer hunting units, according to the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA).

For better wildlife management, Tennessee is divided into the three deer units. (A map identifying Units A (DeKalb County), B, and L can be found on pages 22-23 of the 2008 Tennessee Hunting and Trapping Guide). The season for each unit is as follows:

*Unit A - Nov. 22 – Dec. 7 and Dec. 20 – Jan. 11.
*Unit B (East Tennessee) Nov. 22 – 30 and Dec. 20 – Jan. 7.
*Unit L - Nov. 22 – Dec. 7 and Dec. 20 – Jan. 11.

The statewide bag limit for antlered bucks is three, except a hunter may take no more than two antlered bucks from Unit B. No more than one antlered buck may be taken per day.

For antlerless deer hunting in Units A and B during this season, refer to the list of hunts on page 21 of the Hunting and Trapping Guide. There are quota and non-quota hunts listed on that page.

An Annual Sportsman, Lifetime Sportsman, Type 167 Permit, or Type 94 permit is required to harvest antlerless deer during this season on all non-quota hunts in Units A, B, and L.

Antlerless deer are defined as deer with no antlers or deer with antlers less than three inches in length.

TWRA personnel will be collecting data at various check-in stations across the state on Saturday. Antlered bucks will be measured and aged and deer will be checked for evidence of EHD.

Anyone born on or after January 1, 1969 is required to carry proof of satisfactory completion of a hunter education class or be in possession of the Apprentice Hunting License (along with other required licenses) while hunting any species in Tennessee.

For more information about Tennessee's deer hunting seasons, refer to the Hunting and Trapping Guide available at all license agents or on the TWRA website at

Louise Williams-Owen Receives Award

November 22, 2008
Louise Williams-Owen

Louise Williams-Owen, M. Ed., CCC-SLP, was presented the Tennessee Association of Audiologist's and Speech Pathologist's (TAASLP) Public School Incentive Award. The presentation was made at the TAASLP Annual Convention Awards Breakfast, November 7.

This award was presented "In Recognition of Outstanding Dedication and Exemplary Contributions to the Tennessee Association of Audiologists and Speech-Language Pathologists".

Mrs. Owen is employed by DeKalb County, TN school system. She is the wife of Mike Owen of Smithville, TN and mother of Holly and Ashley Owen. She is the sister of Deanie and David Yoest of Statesville, TN. Mrs. Owen is a graduate of the Speech Pathology program of University of Georgia, Athens, GA.

Chamber Prayer Breakfast set for Tuesday Morning

November 21, 2008
Dwayne Page
Suzanne Williams

The annual Chamber of Commerce Prayer Breakfast will be held on Tuesday, November 25th at 7:00 a.m. at the Smithville Church of God Fellowship Center.

Suzanne Williams, Executive Director of the Chamber, says State Representative-elect, Terri Lynn Weaver, will be the keynote speaker. Special music will be performed by Tomomi McDowell, Representative Weaver, and First Baptist Church’s signing group “Signs of Love.”

Prayers for our community, our leaders, and our children will make this a meaningful and memorable experience. A delicious breakfast will be catered by Jason Evans, head chef at The Inn at Evins Mill. Tickets are $12 per person and can be purchased at the Chamber office or from the Chamber Board of Directors. The Leadership DeKalb Class of 2009 will serve the beverages. Doors open at 6:30 a.m.


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