Local News Articles

Vacant Mobile Home Destroyed by Fire

January 29, 2008
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Fire Department responded to a vacant mobile home fire Monday evening around. 7:45 p.m. on Bright Hill Road.

Chief Donny Green says according to neighbors, the structure was in the process of being torn down. The mobile home reportedly belonged to Brian Harriot and was situated on the property of Dr. J.C. Wall.

Neighbors discovered the fire and reported it to DeKalb County 911. The mobile home was fully involved upon the fire department's arrival and the firefighters quickly extinguished the blaze that was beginning to spread into a surrounding field.

The Short Mountain Highway, Midway, and Cookeville Highway Stations of the DeKalb County Fire Department responded along with THP and DeKalb County Sheriff's Department. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Robinson's Indicted in Cannon County Prescription Drug Scheme

January 28, 2008
Dwayne Page

The arrest of a Smithville man last month by the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department has led to more charges against him and his wife in Cannon County.

40 year old Mark (Truck) Robinson has been indicted by a Cannon County Grand Jury on charges of theft and conspiracy to commit theft over $10,000. He is free on a $10,000 bond.

Robinson's wife, 37 year old Kyra Robinson, is indicted on 268 counts of obtaining a controlled substance by fraud (xanax) prescriptions and one count of theft and one count of conspiracy to commit theft over $10,000. She is free on a $200,000 bond.

The Robinson's will be arraigned on February 15th.

Kyra Robinson, who was working as a nurse for the Cannon County Jail, is charged with obtaining prescriptions in the name of Cannon County inmates, and then bringing the prescriptions home to her husband in Smithville, who allegedly sold them.

The case stemmed from a local investigation.

In December, the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department executed a search warrant at the home of the Robinson's on Anthony Avenue in Smithville.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says officers made at least one drug buy from Robinson's residence and during the search, they found 193 Xanax pills, 203 empty prescription bottles with numerous individuals' names on them, hemostats, rolling papers, roach clips, syringes, and a pill grinder.

In the December case, Mark Robinson was charged with possession of a schedule IV drug (Xanax) for sale and delivery and possession of drug paraphernalia. His bond was set at $26,500

Officers seized the cash from Robinson.

Sheriff Ray says it was during the December investigation that he learned that the empty prescription bottles found at Robinson's home had the names of several Cannon County inmates on them.

He then contacted the TBI and the Cannon County Sheriff's Department with this discovery.

The following prepared statement was released to WBRY by Cannon County Sheriff Billy Nichols. " During the week of December 14, 2007 I (Sheriff Nichols) started an internal investigation on my jail nurse, Kyra Robinson. It was brought to my attention that she was possibly obtaining narcotics under the authority of a doctor and Cannon County (but apparently unbeknown to the doctor and Cannon County officials).

With the assistance of DeKalb County Sheriff Patrick Ray and the T.B.I. (Tennessee Bureau of Investigation), I discovered that she was in-fact obtaining narcotics at Woodson's Pharmacy here in Cannon County. These narcotics turned out to be Xanax. My investigation revealed that Ms. Robinson has been obtaining these drugs and charging them to the county. I was able to stop her illegal activity and determined that she defrauded the county out of thousands of dollars this fiscal year and stopped the account before any further funds could be depleted from my budget.

On January 24th, the Cannon County Grand Jury returned a sealed indictment charging her with 268 counts of fraud, one count of theft and one count of conspiracy to commit theft. She was arrested on January 25th and was released on a $200,000.00 bond. She is scheduled to be arraigned on 15 February 2008.

Kyra Robinson resigned her position as an employee of the Cannon County Sheriff's Department after she was confronted with the evidence against her.

This incident is still under investigation by T.B.I.

Senator Beavers Presents Community Enhancement Grant to County Fire Department

January 27, 2008
Dwayne Page

State Senator Mae Beavers presented the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department a check for more than $24,000 Saturday night during the annual banquet of the firefighters.

Senator Beavers says this is money from the state's allocation of community enhancement grants. "Last year as many of you know we had a $1.3 billion dollar surplus in the state. One of the things I have been pushing for a long time is the half cent off on the sales tax on food. I was able to get that plus a sales tax holiday in March. The other legislators, instead of giving me the other half cent (reduction), thought that we should have community enhancement grants to give out. So Donny applied for a community enhancement grant and tonight I have a check to present to the Fire Department for $24,555."

County Fire Chief Donny Green says this money will be put to good use to help complete a training room at the fire department's main station on King Ridge Road. "This building project we're on, we've got money allocated to put the walls up but we've got a lot of work to do inside and this is what this money (grant) is going to be for, building our training room and finishing out the project. It's not just something for the fire department, we use it (building) for community projects. The boy scouts actually use it to have their den meetings. We do the CPR courses there and the sheriff's department is always welcome to us it along with any other agency. The ambulance service also uses it so it's an emergency facility and community facility. We're going to use this (grant) to make it a nice place that we all can use and our community can be proud of."

Green also thanked Senator Beavers for helping the county obtain the deed for the property where the main station is located. The property, for many years, belonged to the state and formerly served as the TDOT state highway garage in DeKalb County.

Young Named DeKalb County Firefighter of the Year

January 27, 2008
Dwayne Page

Lieutenant Mark Young was named "County Fire Fighter of the Year" Saturday night during the department's annual award's banquet held at the Smithville Church of God annex.

County Fire Chief Donny Green, who presided over the ceremony, said Young earned the award for having put in 110 hours of training, the most of any firefighter except the "Rookie Fire Fighter of the Year".

Shawn Puckett of the Midway Station received the "Rookie" award which goes to the fire fighter with the most hours of training during their first year as a member of the department. Green says Puckett, in his first year, put in 132 hours of training.

Roy Merriman, Assistant Fire Chief presented the Git R Done Award to Lieutenant Anthony Boyd. This award is given to the firefighter who performs services above and beyond the call of duty for the fire department.

Merriman also presented several "Years of Service Awards"

Those earning five year service pins are Billy Crymes, Calvin Martin, Jimmy Martin, Billy Parker, James Pennington, Tim Reynolds, Kenneth Waggoner, and Philip Waggoner.

Ronald Merriman received his ten year service pin.

A fifteen year service pin was presented to Wayne Adcock

Bob Rice accepted his twenty year service pin

A thirty year service pin will be presented to Hugh Washer.

Honorary Lifetime Membership Awards were presented for exemplary service to Larry Evans, a former County Fire Chief; to County Mayor Mike Foster; and to the current County Fire Chief Donny Green.

Teen Dies in Fiery Crash on Blue Springs Road

January 27, 2008
Dwayne Page

A teenage boy lost his life when the pickup truck he was driving left the road, crashed into a tree, and caught fire on the Blue Springs Road Saturday night.

Dead is 16 year old Hunter Loren Davis.

The accident was investigated by Trooper Jeremy Wilhite and Sergeant Ashley Mercer of the Tennessee Highway Patrol.

According to their report, the boy was driving a 1970 Chevy pickup truck east on the Blue Springs Road when he failed to maintain the lane of travel, crossed the westbound lane, exited the northside of the roadway and struck a tree.

A passerby reportedly spotted the truck on fire and called 911 at 8:49 p.m. The boy was later found dead inside the vehicle.

Members of the Blue Springs and Keltonburg Stations of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department rushed to the scene and extinguished the blaze. The department's extrication team later arrived and removed the driver's side door of the truck so that the body could be removed after earlier attempts to pry open the door with a crow bar proved unsuccessful.

Davis' death marks the second traffic fatality this month in DeKalb County.

New Location Named for Rock Castle Voting Precinct

January 25, 2008
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Election Commission has announced that the polling place for the Rock Castle precinct has changed.

The new voting location is the Austin Bottom Fire Hall which is located at 9430 Goff Ridge Road, Baxter. Each voter has been mailed a notice of the change and a new voter registration card.

On Election Day, February 5th, voting will begin at the Fire Hall at 8:00 a.m. and end at 7:00 p.m.

Voters should take the voter registration card or some other form of identification with them when they go to vote.

If anyone has any questions please contact the Election Commission office at 597-4146.

DeKalb Jobless Rate Increases to 5.1% in December

January 25, 2008
Dwayne Page

DeKalb County's unemployment rate for December was 5.1%, up from 4.8% in November and 4.7% in December 2006.

The DeKalb County Labor Force for December was 10,220. A total of 9,700 were employed and 520 were unemployed.

Meanwhile, Tennessee's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for December was 5.3 percent, up from the November rate of 4.9 percent. The United States' unemployment rate went up to 5.0 percent for December from 4.7 percent in November.

County non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rates for December show 10 counties decreased, 76 counties increased and 9 counties remained the same.

Williamson County registered the state's lowest county unemployment rate at 3.6 percent. Knox County followed at 3.7 percent. Pickett County had the state's highest at 9.9 percent, followed by Marshall County at 9.1 percent.

Knoxville had the state's lowest major metropolitan statistical area (MSA) rate at 4.0 percent, . The Nashville-Murfreesboro MSA remained unchanged from November's 4.2 percent. The Chattanooga MSA was 4.3 percent and the Memphis MSA went up to 5.5 percent from 5.2 percent in November.

Missing Elderly Man Returns Home Safely

January 24, 2008
Dwayne Page

An 82 year old man who apparently wandered away from home in the Blue Springs area shortly after noon today (Thursday) after visiting a neighbor returned home safely just before dark.

Austin Eugene Underwood, who apparently has Alzheimer's Disease, had not been seen or heard from since around 12:15 p.m. but he emerged from the woods near his home around 5:00 p.m.

He and his wife Evelyn reside at 693 Lassiter Road.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says Underwood was cold and appeared to be somewhat confused but other than some scratches where he had been in the woods, he appeared to be okay. First responders from the fire department were on the scene to evaluate his condition.

Underwood, who is about 5 feet, 7 inches tall and weighs approximately 130 pounds, was wearing a black fur hat, a thin blue flannel jacket, and a pair of blue Docker pants and dress shoes when he went missing.

Underwood, a retired minister, apparently left home around noon to go across the road to visit a neighbor. According to the neighbor, Underwood stayed about fifteen minutes and then left to go back home.

Underwood's wife, who was not at home at the time, called the house to check on him around 12:45 p.m. but no one answered the phone.

She returned home and discovered he was gone.

Sheriff Ray says he wants to express his appreciation to all those who helped in the search effort including members of the Sheriff's Department, DeKalb County Rescue Squad, First Responders from the Fire Department, concerned citizens, friends and family of the Underwoods, and members of the Smithville Church of God, where Underwood and his wife attend church.

Sheriff Ray also wishes to thank the Tennessee Highway Patrol Special Unit, who was enroute by helicopter to conduct an aerial search when Underwood returned; local troopers of the Tennessee Highway Patrol, who conducted a road search; and the Putnam County K-9 and THP STRIKE Unit, who were enroute to help locate Underwood.

In addition, Sheriff Ray would also like to say thanks to the team at Central Dispatch for their help in organizing the search and to constable Mark Milam, who went door to door in the neighborhood, asking residents if they had seen or knew of Underwood's whereabouts.

Slippery Road Blamed for Unusual Crash

January 23, 2008
Dwayne Page

A 28 year old woman, who is also pregnant, apparently escaped serious injury early Tuesday morning after the truck she was driving went out of control and crashed into the garage side of a house at 625 Bethel Road.

The three people inside the house at the time of the accident were not hurt.

Trooper Dewaine Jennings of the Tennessee Highway Patrol says Shalyn Eaton was traveling west in a 1996 Ford F-150 around 5:30 a.m. when she went off the left side of the road, overcorrected and then came back across the road. The truck then exited the road to the right into a yard and then traveled some 1,200 feet before crashing into the side of the garage at the residence of Bridgette Ribble. The house is a rent home belonging to Wilburn Winnette.

According to Trooper Jennings, Ribble had just returned home after taking her husband to work, but she wasn't injured. Another woman and her son, also at the residence, were apparently asleep on a bunk bed in the garage where the crash occurred, but they too were uninjured.

Eaton was transported by DeKalb EMS to DeKalb Community Hospital where she was expected to have been treated and released.

Trooper Jennings says the slippery road conditions are believed to have contributed to the crash.

Gordon Wants To Close Loophole In Sex Offender Registration

January 23, 2008

U.S. Rep. Bart Gordon is supporting legislation to close a loophole in a federal law requiring convicted child predators to register as sex offenders.

"As a parent, I take the job of protecting children against sex offenders and online predators very seriously," said Gordon. "When Congress passed a law requiring a national sex offender registry, we wanted to give law enforcement agencies and parents the tools they need
to safeguard children against these criminals."

Gordon is co-sponsoring the Sex Offender Mandatory Registration Act to make technical corrections that would close a loophole in the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act, which became law in 2006.

While the intent of Congress was to require all sex offenders to register with authorities, the loophole resulted in the release of a man who failed to register as a sex offender when he moved
from Iowa to Missouri. The loophole led a federal judge to rule in favor of the man, who had been convicted on seven accounts of acting as a sexual predator.

"This loophole shouldn't be allowed to jeopardize the safety of one more young person in America," said Gordon. "Congress should act swiftly to close it and make our original intentions clear."

The Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act is named after a six-year old boy who was abducted in 1981 and later found murdered. Adam was the son of Reva and John Walsh, who became a victims' rights advocate and host of the "America's Most Wanted"
television show.

The law established a National Sex Offender Registry, increased penalties for crimes against children and allowed the Department of Justice to provide background checks to screen teachers, employees and prospective foster or adoptive parents. It also authorized grants to promote Internet safety and to help local law enforcement agencies integrate their sex offender registry systems.


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