Local News Articles

McMinnville Man Arrested on Drug Charges

March 8, 2010
Dwayne Page
Brian Earl White
Coty Lynn McCormick
Ryan Lee Walden
Billy Huddleston

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department arrested a 37 year old McMinnville man Saturday after finding components of a meth lab in his car.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says Brian Earl White of Old Shellsford Road McMinnville is charged with possession of drug paraphernalia, simple possession of schedule VI drug (marijuana), and simple possession of a schedule II drug (methamphetamine). White's bond is $4,000 and he will appear in court on March 11th. On Saturday, March 6th while on a patrol, a deputy stopped a vehicle on Highway 56 south for a traffic violation. Upon approaching the automobile, the officer saw the driver putting something in a CD case that was positioned above his sun visor. The deputy asked White for his vehicle registration and insurance card. White replied that it was in the trunk. When White opened the trunk, the deputy saw a small propane tank, a small stove, and a container of liquid in the trunk. Also found in the vehicle's floorboard area were two coffee filters that contained a white powdery substance. During a pat down search, the officer found two more coffee filters in one of White's sock and a small bag of a green leafy substance believed to be marijuana in White's other sock. Upon an inspection of the CD case, the officer found a coffee filter that contained a white powder that is believed to be methamphetamine. A set of scales was also found in a jacket that was lying in the passenger side seat of White's vehicle.

22 year old Coty Lynn McCormick of Mohan Drive McMinnville is charged with simple possession of a schedule VI drug (marijuana) and simple possession of a schedule II drug (Oxycontin). Bond for him was set at $3,000 and will he appear in court on March 11th. On Monday, March 1st a deputy stopped McCormick's vehicle on Midway Road for weaving. After the stop, the officer asked McCormick, who was the driver, for consent to search. He gave consent and the deputy found in McCormick's pocket ½ of a pill that is believed to be Oxycontin. While searching McCormick's vehicle, the officer found a small bag of a green leafy substance believed to be marijuana.

26 year old Ryan Lee Walden of Dale Ridge Road, Dowelltown is charged with theft of property over $1,000. He was arrested by detectives on Monday, March 1st. Sheriff Ray says on February 23rd, Walden took two diamond rings from a home on Dale Ridge Road, Dowelltown valued at over $1,000 without the owners consent. Bond for Walden was set at $25,000 and he will appear in court on March 25th. Detectives recovered the rings.

42 year old Carlos Reyes of Skyline Apartments McMinnville is charged with a second offense of driving on a revoked license. His bond is set at $2,000 and he will appear in court on March 11th. On Tuesday, March 2nd deputies received a complaint that Reyes, who has a revoked driver's license, was operating a motor vehicle. The officer spotted Reyes on Highway 56 South and stopped him.

27 year old Bradley Shane Redmon of Sparta Highway is charged with a first offense of driving on a revoked license. On Wednesday, March 3rd, a deputy stopped Redmon after spotting him driving on Highway 70 East. The officer had prior knowledge of his license being revoked. Redmon's bond was set at $1,000 and he will appear in court on March 17th.

51 year old Billy R. Huddleston of Adcock Cemetery Road Smithville is charged with driving under the influence and possession of a schedule III drug (Hydocodone). On Thursday, March 4th, an officer spotted a vehicle weaving in the roadway on Highway 70 east. After stopping the vehicle, the deputy placed Huddleston, the driver, under arrest. The officer noticed a strong odor of alcohol on Huddleston's person and he had slurred speech. Huddleston submitted to field sobriety tasks which he failed. Huddleston was also found to be in possession of two Hydrocodone pills. Bond for Huddleston was set at $3,500 and he will appear in court on March 25th..

48 year old Roy Douglas Atnip of Pea Ridge Road, Liberty is charged with public intoxication. On Wednesday, March 3rd, a deputy arrested Atnip on Highway 70 west for his own safety after he was found to be crossing the roadway in an intoxicated state. Atnip had an odor of alcohol on his person. He was belligerent and unsteady on his feet. Atnip admitted that he had been drinking beer. Bond for Atnip was set at $1,000 and he will appear in court on March 18th.

21 year old Christopher Allen Summers of Dale Ridge Road Dowelltown was arrested on Sunday, March 7th after a deputy found him lying in a ditch on Dale Ridge Road. Summers had a smell of alcohol on his person. He was unsteady on his feet and he had slurred speech. When asked how much he had drunk, Summers replied "no more than normal." Summers was charged with public intoxication and bond for him was set at $1,000. He will appear in court on March 18th.

State Senator Mae Beavers Legislative Update

March 6, 2010
State Senator Mae Beavers

The following is a legislative update from State Senator Mae Beavers

Throughout my fifteen-year career as a Tennessee State Representative and Senator, I have prided myself on serving the people of Wilson, Cannon, Clay, DeKalb, Macon, Smith, Sumner, and Trousdale counties. I have fought to preserve both the national and state Constitutions, in addition to fighting for limited government and individual rights. Yet, in my years of service, there has been another area that I have always been passionate about: reducing drunk driving in Tennessee.

Driving on public roads paid for by the state or federal government is not a right afforded by the Constitution; driving on such roads is a privilege, and a privilege I have no problem with restricting if that privilege is not respected. When it comes to a drunk Tennessean choosing to drive a deadly vehicle on a public road, a road where your and my children and grandchildren are driving, my “mom” instincts come out.

During my years in the state legislature, I have filed numerous bills to help keep our public roads safe and to protect the thousands of lives that are lost or injured as a result of drunk driving every year. Upon first arriving to the State House in January 1995, I carried the bill that lowered the legal intoxication level while driving to .08 BAC. I carried that bill every year until the legislature eventually passed it in 1998, in large part because the federal government required it. In addition, I have tried unsuccessfully almost every year to get the legislature to adopt a “pass the bottle bill,” legislation that says that a driver cannot simply pass an alcoholic beverage to a passenger whenever he or she is pulled over. Tennessee is one of only eleven states in the country who allow passengers to consume alcohol in a moving vehicle, and out of those eleven states nine are among the most deadly when it comes to alcohol-related deaths. In fact, Tennessee has been ranked by Forbes magazine last year as the 11th most deadly in the nation.

I have never been able to understand why legislators will bow to the liquor lobby rather than protect law abiding Tennesseans, as one man woman or child is killed every thirty minutes in the United States. Think about that: one person is killed every thirty minutes in the United States due to an alcohol-related death. And if you think you or a family member is not at risk of such an incident, it is estimated that three out of every ten Americans will be involved in an alcohol-related traffic crash at some point in their lives.

With these statistics in mind, I have filed a bill for the past three years that incorporates a device that statistics show can be the number one source of protection from drunk drivers: ignition interlock. An alcohol ignition interlock is a small and sophisticated device with a breathalyzer tube that is installed into a vehicle that prevents the vehicle from being started until the driver blows into it and has no alcohol in his or her system. Currently, ignition interlocks are required for repeat offenders, those drunk drivers who have statistically driven hundreds of times before they are ever caught. My bill, SB 2965, is currently being debated in the state legislature, and would require interlock devices to be installed for a year in cases of aggravated first offenders (those who blow a 0.15 BAC which is almost twice the legal limit), people driving with children in the car, or those involved in accidents caused by alcohol impairment.

A TBI study shows that among the 137,183 people arrested in Tennessee for DUI between 2002 and 2007, nearly 21 percent of those were eventually arrested a second time for DUI. Out of those repeat offenders, approximately 50 percent were arrested within a year after their first conviction. Such statistics point to the fact that an ignition interlock device installed during that year for those most serious first offenders will do the most to keep those people from reoffending, and allow an innocent life that otherwise might have been killed in an alcohol-related crash to live another day.

In closing, I urge you to call your State Representative and Senator and ask them to support this life-saving technology. Such technology has been implemented in various other states, and the statistics overwhelmingly indicate a reduction of repeat drunk driving incidents. I often complain about the federal and state government encroaching on individuals’ rights, but I do so when a personal or Constitutional freedom is being violated. Driving on public roads is not a right; it is a privilege – and adopting this legislation will help ensure such privileges are afforded to more Tennesseans who might otherwise be killed by drunk drivers.

The LOOP- A Legislative Update from State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver

March 6, 2010
State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver

The following is a legislative update from State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver

Greetings! Tennessee was named a “Race to the Top” finalist this week. We are one of the 15 states that will move forward in the process. Final winners will receive a boost in education funding from the federal government. Tennessee is considered a top tier candidate for the funds.

Tennessee submitted its application to compete for up to $501.8 million in funds back in January. The program currently has $4.3 billion allocated to reward states which are implementing significant reforms in four education areas: enhancing standards and assessments; improving the collection and use of data; increasing teacher effectiveness and achieving equity in teacher distribution; and turning around struggling schools.

House Bill 2685 moved out of the Employee Affairs Subcommittee, and will next face the House Consumer and Employee Affairs Committee. This bill clarifies that it is not illegal for businesses to require English be spoken on the job moved forward this week. The proposed law is designed to protect businesses from frivolous lawsuits that emerge when private business policies are legitimately set.

This bill also serves as a safety precaution for workers. Businesses where employees continuously handle toxic products or food containers need to require English. Other businesses, such as most factories, have signs displayed in English that communicate critical safety information. The bill is designed to protect these business practices. To me it is a no brainer! You do not go to live in another country to be a citizen and then expect the citizens of that country to speak your language and not their own. Hopefully, more immigration bills will follow such as: requiring photo identification to vote or verifying citizenship before any benefits are distributed as my House Bill would require (House Bill 0841). We must continue to bring more immigration reform to Tennessee.

Representative Bill Dunn’s House Bill 2625, which passed out of the House Judiciary Committee this week, helps protect consumers from fraudulent contractors. This bill creates a criminal offense for a home contractor who defrauds a homeowner by not making substantial progress on a home improvement project within 90 days and then fails to refund money paid under a contract within 10 days of a written request. Consumers will be able to file complaints with the state’s Consumer Protection Division.

Violators will be punished based upon the value of the property or services and will be subject to punishment from a Class A misdemeanor to a Class B felony. Within 30 days of a conviction, the Board of Licensing Contractors will be required to revoke a contractor’s license and to post their name, license number, and violation on the state’s website for three years. This will serve as a resource for consumers to check when selecting a contractor. Furthermore, the legislation will prohibit a contractor from receiving a new license during the term of their imposed sentence.

In brief...
House Bill 3063 prohibits physicians on the sexual offender registry from treating children.
House Bill 2438 will be heard in Judiciary Committee next week. This bill adds aggravated rape of a child to the list of offenses for which a juvenile may be transferred from juvenile to adult court.

House Bill 2552 clarifies the law on the purchase of used or secondhand items purchased by local government. As the law is currently written, local governments could not purchase equipment that is more than 10 percent above or below market value. This bill will mean that there is no floor on how much a local government may pay or save.

House Bill 3495 specifies that when someone commits a homicide or assault against a pregnant woman, the woman's fetus, regardless of viability, is also considered a victim of the offense. The legislation passed out of the Public Health and Family Assistance Subcommittee and will next be heard by the House Health and Human Resources Committee.

In closing, this week my office was busy with fabulous folks from the Fortieth District: Air-E-Vac Life Teams, the Upper Cumberland Tennessee Electric Co-op, and Girl Scout Troop1623 who spent Monday night on the House Floor during session assisting fellow House member as pages. Anyone from the 40th district is welcome to call my office or come to visit. I am honored to serve you and remain faithful to our values.

Smithville Police Department Crime News

March 6, 2010
Dwayne Page

In Smithville Police Department crime news this week, 44 year old Terri Lynna Hooper of McMinnville was issued a citation by Officer Scott Davis for shoplifting and criminal trespassing at Wal-Mart on Thursday, February 25th. She will appear in court April 1st

47 year old Berna D Barnes of New Home Road was arrested for public intoxication on Tuesday, March 2nd. Corporal Travis Bryant was advised that an intoxicated female was walking out of the courthouse and going to get in her car and drive off. After arriving on the square, Corporal Bryant saw the woman walking to the driver's side of her car with the keys in hand. It was at that point, that Corporal Bryant stopped the woman, identified as Berna Barnes and noticed she had slurred speech and she was unsteady on her feet.. Barnes was arrested. Her bond is $1,000 and her court date is March 18th.

23 year old Brandi Nichole Hale of 114 Highland Drive was cited by Detective Jerry Hutchins on Wednesday, March 3rd with shoplifting and criminal trespasssing at Wal-Mart. Her court date is March 11th.

51 year old Robert Morris Turner of 446 West Main Street was arrested by Sergeant Randy King on Thursday, March 4th for aggravated rape. Bond is set at $75,000. His court date is March 18th..

32 year old Stephanie Toi Williams of 1315 Buckner Road, Monterey was arrested on Thursday, March 4th by Detective Jerry Hutchins for a failure to appear warrant in Putnam County. Ms. Williams is to be held without bond pending her court date.

Meanwhile anyone having any information on the following offense is asked to please contact the Smithville Police Department at 597-8210 or the Tip Line at 464-6046.

On Monday, March 1st Officer Matt Holmes took a report at the DeKalb County 911 Center where someone had vandalized a 1996 Jeep Cherokee. The damage appeared to have been caused by rocks striking the windshield.

Any information received that will help Smithville Police solve any criminal offense will be greatly appreciated. All information is confidential

Curtis Wins State Award

March 6, 2010
William Freddy Curtis

The Tennessee Council for the Social Studies has named Smithville resident and Cannon County High School Teacher, Mr. William Freddy Curtis, as one of the Tennessee Outstanding Social Studies Teachers of the Year for 2010. Mr. Curtis will be honored at a luncheon and recognition at the Tennessee Council for the Social Studies Conference on Friday, March 12, 2010 in Memphis, Tennessee.

Mr. Curtis was nominated by CCHS Principal Tim Knox and Assistant Principal Bonnie Patterson, which consisted of a detailed application. The application included: letters of support, a professional resume’, current teaching assignment, and a narrative describing the organization’s criteria requirements. The narrative demonstrated academic excellence, utilization of the National Council of Social Studies curriculum standards, inquiry based skill development, democratic beliefs and values, citizen and community participation by students, and evidence of professional involvement in education activities.

Curtis stated, “I am honored and truly humbled to be nominated for this prestigious award. My superiors and colleagues have encouraged me in this endeavor. I am truly “blessed” to be doing something that I deeply love to do – teaching students about US Government and Sociology!”

Mr. Curtis is a 24 year veteran of the Cannon County School System serving as a teacher and principal at West Side Elementary School from 1986 to 2008, and currently serving as US Government & Sociology Teacher at Cannon County High School. He is married to Trena Braswell Curtis, 2nd Grade Teacher at Smithville Elementary School, and has four sons – Matt, Trent, Casey, and Evan Curtis. They reside at 288 Dogwood Circle in Smithville, TN.

The Tennessee Council for the Social Studies is an association devoted to providing information, resources, and support for all those involved in social studies education. This includes K-12 teachers, supervisors of instruction, and college professors, in the various disciplines interested in and involved in the social studies.

DeKalb County Farmers Eligible for USDA Disaster Assistance

March 5, 2010
Dwayne Page
Congressman Bart Gordon

This week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture issued a disaster designation for several Middle Tennessee counties in recognition of losses incurred by farmers due to the excessive rainfall in 2009. These declarations will allow farmers to apply for federal assistance and loans to help recover from losses related to heavy rainfall and flooding.

“This disaster designation will offer a boost to farmers whose crop yields took a hit from the heavy rainfall of the past year,” Gordon said. “Federal assistance will help many affected farmers begin to rebuild and prepare for the start of the next season.”

The USDA listed Putnam County as primary disaster area. It also designated several other counties as contiguous disaster counties, including DeKalb, Jackson, Marshall and Overton. Farm operators in affected counties will be eligible to apply for assistance from the Farm Service Agency, including emergency loans and the Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments Program.

“Middle Tennessee depends on its strong farming community,” Gordon said. “This assistance will help not only farmers and their families, but also the local county economies.”

Farmers in DeKalb County are encouraged to contact the county’s Farm Service Agency office in Smithville for more information about the assistance they might be eligible for. The office’s phone number is (615) 597-8225.

Support Project Graduation by Bidding on Opportunity to have a Quilt Top Put Together for your Senior

March 5, 2010
Quilt Made for High School Senior

You can help Project Graduation and give your high school senior the gift of a lifetime.

If you have the winning bid, you can have a quilt top put together that represents your senior's life. Using old t-shirts or other items, you will have a gift your senior will have forever that truly belongs to him or her.

You provide all of the materials for the quilt and Bessie Jones, grandmother of Layne Mathis, will put it together. Then you have it quilted to give to your senior.

The minimum bid is $110

Contact Kelly Garrett at 215-4455 to place your bid. You have until March 12th at 5:00 p.m. to place your bid.

Project Graduation Radiothon Raises $5,300

March 5, 2010
Dwayne Page
DCHS Teacher Chris Vance Interviews Senior Caroline Carter during WJLE Radiothon
DCHS Teacher Chris Vance Interviews School Board member Kenny Rhody-
DCHS Teacher Chris Vance Interviews Senior Whitney Gann
Inga Johnson Takes a Pledge during WJLE Project Graduation Radiothon
DCHS Senior Layne Mathis Takes a Pledge during WJLE Project Graduation Radiothon
Senior Class President Amanda Ours (left) and Vice President Kendra Foutch
Parents Donna Mathis, Kelly Garrett, Melinda Willoughby, and Teacher Chris Vance Organize Project Graduation Radiothon

More than $5,300 was raised during a three hour radiothon Friday morning on WJLE for the DCHS Class of 2010 Project Graduation.

DCHS teacher Chris Vance hosted the program and parents of high school seniors who serve on the Project Graduation committee answered phones, taking pledges during the drive. Several seniors were also permitted to leave school long enough to make a brief appearance on the radiothon to talk about their school activities and future plans and to answer phones.

Parents and students wish to thank everyone who supported the radiothon.

Project Graduation is an all night drug-free, alcohol-free graduation party for members of the DCHS Class of 2010 committed to having a safe, wholesome, yet entertaining celebration together for the last time as a class.

Amanda Ours, Senior Class President, says she is pleased with the results. "I'm very proud of the radiothon. I think we did an awesome job. We didn't reach our goal but we still made an awesome profit. I'm really looking forward to project graduation. It's the last time the senior class will be together as a whole so it's very important to us and we're very glad that DeKalb County has offered their support."

Kendra Foutch, Class Vice President, says the support of the community is greatly appreciated. "It means a whole lot to us that so many have given to project graduation. It will keep all of the students who are graduating off of the streets. It will also keep us all together and have one last memory all together. Again, I want to thank everyone for supporting us today, pledging their donations, and helping us reach more than half of our goal."

Donna Mathis, one of the parents, also expressed her appreciation. "We really appreciate everyone chipping in to help our seniors. As one grandmother put it, she just wanted us to keep her baby safe. That's what our goal is, to make sure they have a safe place and a fun time while they're there."

Caroline Carter, secretary of the senior class, says the money will be put to good use. "It's our last time to get together as seniors as a class. Sometimes when seniors get excited, their judgment can be clouded by excitement and that can lead to reckless decisions but our Project Graduation is drug free and alcohol free."

" Each of our attending graduates, they're going to receive a graduation goody bag and each one of the bags has the exact same thing in it. In the bags, there will be gift cards, gas cards, gift cards from clothing stores, restaurants, etc. Last year we had 110 attend (Project Graduation). This year we have 172 graduating seniors so we hope to get that number (attendees) up a little bit."

"We'll have drawings including one for seniors who have attended Project Graduation meetings. However many times you have attended the meetings, that's how many times your name is put in the drawings."

"The seniors will gather right after the commencement the night of May 21st and we will stay there (at the high school) from 11:00 p.m. until a certain time the next morning. Our theme this year is Mardi Gras. We're going to design a tee shirt. The senior class will design it themselves and each attendee of Project Graduation will receive one."

"We've asked to get some activities such as blow up rock climbing, the blow up slides, karaoke, a LIVE band or LIVE dee jay. We'll probably have games like volley ball, basketball, and stuff that everyone likes."

"I hope we have a good turn out because this is our last time together."

President Extends Unemployment Insurance Deadline

March 4, 2010

An emergency act signed into law Tuesday night by President Obama will allow many of Tennessee's unemployed more time to receive unemployment benefits. The measure extends the eligibility period from February 28 to March 30 to transition into existing extended benefit programs. The new law; however, does not add additional weeks of benefits to any of the existing federal extensions of unemployment insurance.

Beyond the first 26 weeks of Tennessee Unemployment Compensation, a claimant must complete each tier of extended benefits before moving on to the next. There were five extensions of benefits, and the deadline to transition into any new tier expired at the end of February. If the deadline delay had not been approved, approximately 14,000 claimants would have only been able to complete their current tier of benefits. All Federal extensions, including Emergency Unemployment Compensation (Tier 1-4) and the state Extended Benefits Program are paid by the U.S. Department of Labor.

“This is very good news for a great number of claimants who were approaching the end of their benefit period,” said Labor Commissioner James Neeley. “These individuals should know they’ll continue to receive their weekly checks without a break, and they won’t have to apply for anything to continue receiving benefits. The bottom line is this gives Tennesseans more time to ramp up their job search.”

Claimants drawing unemployment will continue to certify to the Tennessee Department of Labor and will receive a letter when their benefits are transitioning from one tier to the next. Claimants exhausting their benefits before March 30 will automatically transition and will not need to contact the Tennessee Department of Labor to apply for new tiers of unemployment benefits.

In addition to extending the transition deadline for all tiers of benefits, the deadline to apply for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act’s Federal Additional Compensation program (FAC) was also extended to March 30. This program adds $25 per week to all unemployment benefits. Beneficiaries who enroll prior to March 30 will continue to receive the FAC payments until October 9, 2010.

Grant for DeKalb County Fire Department Will Help Lower Local Homeowner Insurance Rates

March 3, 2010
Congressman Bart Gordon

Congressman Bart Gordon announced the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Assistance to Firefighters Grant program will award $100,000 to the DeKalb County Fire Department for new firefighting equipment, which will help improve the county’s fire safety ratings and lower homeowner insurance premiums.

The grant totals $107,188 funded 95% ($101,829) in federal and 5% ($5,359) in local monies.

“Every day, countless lives are saved by the courageous efforts of Tennessee’s firefighters,” Gordon said. “Programs like the Assistance to Firefighters Grant program ensure our first responders have the equipment to work as quickly and safely as possible.”

The DeKalb County Fire Department will put the funds toward the purchase of new fire hose that will allow each truck to carry the required 1,000 feet of supply hose to improve the department’s ability to reach houses set far back from hydrants. The funding will also allow the department to purchase new nozzles, hand tools and an automatic hose washer to better maintain fire hoses.

The new package of equipment will help the county move toward lowering homeowner insurance premiums for DeKalb residents by improving its grade with the Insurance Services Office, which evaluates fire protection levels, according to County Fire Chief Donny Green.

“We’re very appreciative of Congressman Gordon’s help. He’s visited us at our department and come to our functions, and his support over the years has meant a lot,” Green said. “Without this funding, we wouldn’t be able to make these improvements and lower premiums for DeKalb County homeowners. With the economy being like it is, every little bit helps.”

Gordon has been a strong supporter of the Assistance to Firefighters Grant program, which has awarded more than 1,300 grants to Tennessee first responders since 2000, totaling more than $108 million. In November, Gordon, chairman of the House Committee on Science and Technology, helped to pass the Fire Grants Reauthorization Act, which strengthens the AFG program and makes it more accessible to stations and departments suffering economic hardship.


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