Local News Articles

New Sligo Bridge Ahead of Schedule

April 29, 2015
by: 
Dwayne Page
New Sligo Bridge Ahead of Schedule
Excavation on the Smithville side of Sligo bridge along side  Highway 70

Almost two years after construction began, the new Sligo bridge project is progressing at a good pace. In fact, it is ahead of schedule, according to the Tennessee Department of Transportation.

"The project is currently ahead of schedule, so the completion date of June 30, 2016 is definitely very attainable. Work is going well on the project, and they should be doing some bridge deck pours in the near future," said Jennifer A. Flynn, TDOT Region 2 Community Relations Officer.

The contractor is Massman Construction Company, Incorporated of Kansas City, Missouri. Work began on May 23, 2013. The cost to build the new bridge is $39.2 million

TDOT To Open Bids in December for Highway 56 Project

April 29, 2015
by: 
Dwayne Page
TDOT to open bids in December on Highway 56 improvement in stretch of road where a fatal crash occurred just last week near Magness Road in DeKalb County

The Tennessee Department of Transportation is scheduled to open bids in December on a project to reconstruct State Route 56 from south of the Warren County line to Magness Road in DeKalb County.

A TDOT official told WJLE Monday that funding for the construction, $6.8 million, is included in the state's 2015-16 budget under the general Expedited Project Delivery (EPD) category of the 2015-17 three year work program. However, the new stretch of highway to be built will look different from TDOT's original, more costly plan.

According to TDOT officials, the rate of severe crashes on this portion of Highway 56 is (0.250) double the state average (0.128) for rural two lane routes but that the decision to scale back the project was out of financial necessity. Just last week, one person was killed and two others injured in a three vehicle crash on the same stretch of highway where TDOT plans to make the improvements.

Instead of building a four lane divided and five lane road, TDOT now proposes to build a new two lane road (typical section) with twelve foot lanes and ten foot paved shoulders and passing lanes along the 3.25 mile existing alignment. The plans also include adding extra safety features on the new road, such as guardrails, better road signage, pavement markings, and center line rumble stripes. The total projected cost is approximately $6.8 million. That would be a savings to the state from TDOT's original plans for this portion of Highway 56, which would have cost $20.4 million.

Original Project

•The original project was for a 3.25 mile rural 4-lane divided roadway.

•Right-of-way was purchased for this design.

•The estimated cost of the construction for this design was approximately $20.4 million

•The original design was not funded for construction

EPD Project (The stretch of highway to be constructed)

•The new Expedited Project Delivery (EPD) project is for a two-lane roadway to be constructed within the ROW purchased for the initial 4-lane design. The design also includes passing lanes in some areas.

•Basically, this new road matches the elevation and vertical profile of one-side of the initial 4-lane design. TDOT went with this design in case the state ever wanted to add the other half in the future to make this a 4-lane divided section. Future expansion would require little if any changes to the EPD design.

•The estimates for the EPD project total approximately $6.8 million.

•TDOT is currently on schedule and working on construction plans.

•The construction funding is in the budget year 2015/2016 under the general the EPD category of the 2015-2017 3-year work program.

•Bids are slated to be opened in December 2015.

Omega Apparel: Growing and Diversifying

April 28, 2015
by: 
Dwayne Page
Omega Employee stands next to new screen printer which can print 1,000 items per hour
Omega Employee operates new machine which can fasten an entire row of buttons at a time
New machine can fasten an entire row of buttons at a time
 Omega Employee operates precise laser cutter
Omega Employee operates machine making precision cuts for shirt pockets
Omega Employee working in sewing department working on military pants
Omega Employee pressing military pants
Omega Employee pressing bridal gown
Among New Apparel being Produced at Omega

Omega Apparel is on the move again.

For twenty years the Smithville based manufacturing company had just one customer, the U.S. Military. Today, in addition to supplying dress trousers, slacks, and skirts for the nation's men and women in uniform , Omega is doing business with thirty six other clients producing almost everything from oxford shirts and satin robes, to bullet proof vests. Recent clients include Nashville bridal designer Olia Zavozina and actress Reese Witherspoon, who will launch a clothing line, Draper James, later this spring.

With the military downsizing in recent years, Dean Wegner, Omega President and CEO, told WJLE Tuesday he knew it was only a matter of time before it affected his operation. " What has been painful over the last eighteen months is the contraction in our business. When I bought Omega three years ago we had one customer. It was a great customer. The military. The Department of Defense. I'm sure you've read about a shrinking military and shrinking contracts. We have not been immune to that. Our military business has been off by fifty percent. And for somebody that loves job creation and is passionate about creating jobs, it has been painful because we've gone from 220 jobs at a peak, down to 128. We saw that coming. We didn't sit idly by and wait for it to happen. We put a strategy in place to expand and diversify beyond just the military. Beyond just dress pants and skirts. That strategy is now starting to come to fruition which is why we're now looking to add more jobs. We are now currently up to 165 jobs. Over the last few months we've added another 30-40 jobs and I believe over the next three to six months we'll add another 50-100 jobs. What is really fueling that growth is the diversification from one to 37 customers," said Wegner.

To meet the demand, Wegner said Omega has added new equipment, much of which has been purchased within the last few months. One machine can fasten an entire row of buttons at a time. Another, a screen printer, can print 1,000 items per hour. There's a massive embroidery machine as well as a precise laser cutter. Another device can digitize any pattern or object and create a pattern. Each machine bears a sticker reading, "Sew it and own it." It's a testament to the pride Wegner wants each employee to take in his or her work.

In addition to expanding his production capabilities, Wegner has incorporated cutting-edge technology and a pod concept that will allow for smaller batches. "We've now added a capability to design and develop prototypes and samples for new customers who are in the middle of that process which usually takes them three to four months to go through that process," said Wegner.

While his previous output averaged 5,000 to 7,000 items of clothing per week for one customer, he now has a couple dozen clients, with runs starting as low as 50 items per week.

Last week, the DeKalb County Industrial Development Board approved new loans through UCDD for Omega totaling $550,000 to purchase more new equipment for the Smithville operation. "They are purchasing $500,000 in new equipment to upgrade and this will allow them to be more productive and profitable. They have two loans with us now, EDA and USDA. Our new loans will be for $250,000 USDA and $300,000 EDA. This is new funds plus their payoffs on their current loans. Our Loans are to the DeKalb Industrial Development Board with guarantees from Omega and Dean Wegner. Our Collateral will be the same as the first loans, first on two buildings owned by the IDB, first on all the equipment with the exception of an automated cutting machine that is leased through US Bank," said Wallace G. Austin, Program Director for the Cumberland Area Investment Corporation.

County Mayor Tim Stribling told the Industrial Board that the UCDD loan committee and CAIC board of directors have also approved the loans.

Wegner said as the Smithville facility continues to grow, he is looking to expand by opening another location in Nashville. "We are looking to max out our facility in Smithville and that will probably be about 200-250 teammates at Omega but we are also looking to open up a second facility in Nashville," he said

Company Overview: Omega Apparel Incorporated is military veteran owned and the #1 supplier of dress trousers, slacks, and skirts for the US Military. Over a 20-year partnership with the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), Omega Apparel earned a reputation as one of the most consistent, dependable, and high quality producing manufacturers for the US Military. Omega has a long history of always delivering on time and with the highest level of quality. Omega’s production facility is located in Smithville, TN, and includes a highly trained workforce of skilled operators and supporting staff. Omega is a principles and values based organization centered on 5 Foundations of Ownership, Customer, Quality, Efficiency, and Teamwork. In 2013, Omega leveraged their depth of knowledge and expertise in the military apparel industry to enter the commercial market and provide a full range of cut and sew manufacturing capabilities to service multiple industries. In 2014, Omega established a Dress Shirt Production Line and an Assembly Division. Omega will continue to be 100% Made in the USA.

Wegner, a resident of Brentwood, TN is a 1993 graduate of West Point and a 7-year Army helicopter pilot and Army Ranger veteran.

County Commission Asks State to Fund Highway 70 Project

April 28, 2015
by: 
Dwayne Page
Highway 70 where the 4 lane ends past Highway 96 at Liberty

It's been several years now since the Tennessee Department of Transportation completed the widening and improvement of Highway 70 from Smithville to Highway 96 at Liberty. But TDOT's plans for extension of the project from Highway 96 to just west of the Wilson County line has apparently been put on hold due to funding.

Although TDOT completed right-of-way (property) acquisition in November 2009, the project is not in the previous or current 3 year work program for construction funding, according to a TDOT spokesman.

In an effort to try and jump start the project, the county commission Monday night adopted a resolution asking members of the Tennessee Congressional delegation and Tennessee State Legislature to appropriate funds for the highway and for TDOT to let bids in its next round of contracts.

According to TDOT, the proposed project entailed reconstruction of State Route 26 (U.S. 70) from west of the Wilson County line to near State Route 96 in DeKalb County

TDOT's description of the project is as follows:
•The project is 6.2 miles in length.

•Right-of-way (property) acquisition was completed in November 2009.

•The project is not in the previous or current 3 year work program for construction funding.

•The design of the project calls for two 12-foot travel lanes in each direction, a 12-foot continuous center turn lane, and 12-foot shoulders.

•Within the city limits of Alexandria, the design calls for two 12-foot travel lanes in each direction, a 12-foot continuous center turn lane, 10-foot shoulders, curb and gutter, and 5-foot sidewalks on each side.

•The original preliminary construction estimate as of July 2014 is approximately $26.3 million.

The resolution, as adopted by the county commission Monday night, is as follows:

"Whereas, the State of Tennessee, Department of Transportation has identified Highway 70 near State Route 96 to a point 2,967 feet west of the Wilson County line as being in need of widening, and

Whereas, the State of Tennessee, Department of Transportation has designed plans and acquired the necessary right-of-way to make the improvements described in the aforementioned roadway project, and

Whereas, many land owners and businesses have been displaced and affected by the acquisition of right-of-way through the power of eminent domain, and

Whereas, the State of Tennessee Department of Transportation has yet to let the construction for the roadway project and has delayed the project for more than 10 years, and

Whereas, the improvements are sorely needed for the safety of the traveling public, and to promote economic development of the region, and

Whereas, funds for highway projects such as this are derived from both state and federal sources.

Now, therefore be it resolved that the Board of County Commissioners, in regular session assembled, hereby requests and implore the Tennessee Congressional Delegation and the Tennessee State Legislature to appropriate funds for the completion of the project and further requests and implore the State of Tennessee Department of Transportation to let the construction for the roadway project in its next round of bid letting," the resolution concluded.

Commission Votes to Grant Holiday Pay to EMS Staff According to Policy

April 28, 2015
by: 
Dwayne Page
Joe Johnson (Older Photo)

Full time employees of the ambulance service will be compensated for holidays under a measure adopted by the county commission Monday night.

Compensation will be for eight hours per holiday.

EMS employees who work on holidays will get their regular wages plus the eight hours of holiday pay or comp time. Those who are off duty on holidays will also get eight hours of holiday pay . The county recognizes twelve holidays per year.

Second district commissioner Joe Johnson raised the issue saying the county has been violating its own personnel policy for years in not providing holiday pay to ambulance service workers, while doing so for other county employees. The sheriff's department has its own policy under which employees get one day of comp time per month to compensate for their having to work holidays.

Since May 1, 2012, the county has operated under a revised Personnel Policy for Employees of the DeKalb County Government. Concerning "Holiday Leave", the policy states that "Holidays for employees are recognized. Holiday leave will be equivalent to a normal schedule workday consisting of the time normally worked, between 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. (8 hours) for Full-time employees. A list of the approved (12) holidays is included in this manual."

"It (policy) says we should pay all our employees holiday pay (8 hours) which can be dollars or comp time. If you work for the ambulance service and that holiday comes and you're not scheduled to work, you don't get anything," said Johnson.

The work schedule for EMS staff is 24 hours on and 48 hours off.

After unsuccessful efforts to get the interim EMS director to act, Johnson said he decided to bring the issue directly to the county commission. According to Johnson, the interim director said he was merely following the practice of the prior director concerning the policy.

"I'm going to make the motion tonight that we direct our temporary ambulance director to pay the employees their holiday pay where they work or not. Whether it be comp time or not. And that it become retroactive to January 1, 2015 which will be for two holidays (this year). And that we direct him (interim director) to continue paying each employee their holiday pay whether they work or not the way the handbook says," said Johnson.

Seventh district member Larry Summers suggested a delay on a vote until next month in order to give the appropriate committees a chance to review it. "We have a process of working with committees. Shouldn't we direct the county executive to call (meetings) of the ambulance or finance (committees) and call anybody from the ambulance service or a spokesman that would like to address us and let us hear their feelings up front? We could bring it back at the next court meeting. That's just four weeks," said Summers.

"We're violating our own policy. We've got a policy that says they should be paid and we're not doing it. I'm wanting the policy to just be enforced," replied Johnson.

Johnson's motion was adopted on an 8-6 vote. Those voting in favor were Anita Puckett, Kevin Robinson, Joe Johnson, Betty Atnip, Bradley Hendrix, Elmer Ellis, Jr., Jimmy Midgett, and Mason Carter. Voting against were Jonathan Norris, Wayne Cantrell, Larry Summers, Jerry Adcock, Jeff Barnes, and Jack Barton. Adcock and Barton said they preferred a committee review before a commission vote.

Board to Consult TSBA on Director Selection Process (VIEW VIDEO HERE)

April 27, 2015
by: 
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Board of Education will seek consultation from the Tennessee School Boards Association is establishing a procedure for selecting the next Director of Schools.

Following an hour long work session, the board held a brief special called meeting Monday evening and voted to move forward with the process. "I make a motion that we consult TSBA for their free service with guidelines on how to proceed with our director selection process," said Fourth district member Kate Miller. Seventh district member Shaun Tubbs offered a second to the motion.

The board's policy states that the board must develop a procedure for selecting a new director before it begins a search. "Prior to conducting a search to fill the position, the Board shall initially develop the following:

* A job description
* A timeline
* A process for accepting and reviewing applications
* Selection procedures

Based on the school board's action Monday night, a TSBA consultant will be asked to meet with the board of education, at no charge or obligation, to discuss options with the Board and to explain the Search Service in detail. Specific items to be covered at that time include planning a tentative timeline; defining the scope of the search; and discussing qualifications, contractual details; community/staff involvement; media relations; and confidentiality.

Election Commission Issues Four Petitions for Alexandria Election

April 27, 2015
by: 
Dwayne Page

Alexandria voters will have a chance to elect a mayor and as many as five aldermen in the town's election on September 3.

Qualifying petitions are now available from the DeKalb County Election Commission. The deadline to get in the race is noon on June 18.

In this year's Alexandria election, three aldermen are to be elected, each to serve a four year term. Meanwhile, a mayor and two other aldermen are to be elected to fill vacancies or the remaining two years of unexpired terms.

The sitting members are Mayor Tony Tarpley and Aldermen Pat Jackson, David Cripps, John Suggs, and Bennett Armstrong. All are serving as appointees except for Jackson, who was elected in 2013 and still has two years remaining in his term.

Those who have picked up petitions from the election commission to date are as follows:

Mayor: Tony Tarpley (4 year term)

Alderman: Bennett Armstrong, David G. Cripps, and John Suggs (all for 4 year terms)

No petitions have yet been issued for the two-2 year terms to fill vacant/unexpired terms.

Man Caught Making Meth

April 27, 2015
by: 
Dwayne Page
Nicholas Alton Hollingsworth
Anthony Joe Hamilton
Glenn Austin Rochefort
Stephanie Renae Miller
Luciano Pascual-Menchu Garcia

The Sheriff's Department apparently caught a Smithville man operating a meth lab last week.

33 year old Nicholas Alton Hollingsworth of West Main Street, Smithville is charged with initiation of a process to manufacture methamphetamine. His bond is $150,000 and he will be in court May 7.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Monday, April 20 a sheriff's department detective and a deputy went to property on Possum Hollow Road where officers believed methamphetamine was being manufactured. Upon arrival, they found components used to manufacture meth stashed under a log in the woods. While there, the officers saw Hollingsworth coming through the woods. Both officers watched as he went straight to the components and began the manufacturing process. The officers approached Hollingsworth and found him holding a one pot bottle. Hollingsworth was then placed under arrest. Found in the area with Hollingsworth were acid, lighter fluid, drain opener, funnels, tubing with two bottle caps on the end, coffee filters, lithium strips, lithium batteries, empty cold packs, three bags, etc.

31 year old Anthony Joe Hamilton is charged with two counts of possession of a schedule II drug (crack cocaine) and a schedule III drug (Hydrocodone) for resale. His bond totals $40,000 and he will be in court June 4.

Sheriff Ray said that on Friday, April 24 a sheriff's department detective pulled into the parking lot of Eastside Inn on Highway 70 east and spoke with Hamilton. When the detective approached him, Hamilton threw a white baggie onto the ground. Inside the baggie was .4 grams of crack cocaine that consisted of two crack rocks. During a search of Hamilton's person, the detective found a cellophane pack in his right small pants pocket containing six Hydrocodone 10 milligram pills. In Hamilton's right large pocket were 2-five dollar bills and 2-twenty dollar bills. He also had in his wallet $151 cash. Hamilton was placed under arrest and the money was seized.

19 year old Glenn Austin Rochefort of Smithville is charged with public intoxication. His bond is $1,500 and he will be in court May 7. Sheriff Ray said that on Friday, April 24 a deputy was dispatched to DeKalb Market where an intoxicated person was reported to be creating a disturbance. Upon arrival, the officer spoke with Rochefort who had a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on his person and he was unsteady on his feet. His eyes were bloodshot and his speech was slurred. Rochefort could not walk on his own without falling. For his safety and that of the public, Rochefort was placed under arrest.

44 year old Stephanie Renae Miller of Dale Ridge Road, Liberty is charged with domestic assault. Her bond is $2,500 and she will be in court May 7. Sheriff Ray said that on Saturday, April 25 a deputy was dispatched to Dale Ridge Road for a reported domestic assault. Upon arrival, the officer spoke with Miller and her boyfriend who had been in an argument. The man had injuries from an assault by Miller, including a bloody nose and small scratches on the left side of his face and left arm. Video surveillance showed the man trying to avoid her hitting him. It was determined that Miller was the primary aggressor and she was placed under arrest.

Luciano Pascual-Menchu Garcia of Murfreesboro is charged with a fourth offense of driving on a suspended license. His bond is $3,000 and he will make a court appearance June 4. Sheriff Ray said that on Sunday, April 26 a deputy stopped a green Honda for crossing over the double yellow line on Highway 56 north. The driver, Garcia could not produce a drivers license. A computer check revealed that Garcia's license were suspended on December 6, 2004 for failure to show proof of insurance in Rutherford County. This is his fourth DSL offense. The prior offenses were on September 25, 2009 in Rutherford County; September 19, 2013 in Wilson County; and February 5, 2015 in Smith County. Garcia was placed under arrest.

May the G-Force Be With You: Community Races in Support of Down syndrome

April 27, 2015
by: 
Bill Conger
Pictured are all the winners in the 5K and Fun Run with Grant Brown (Photo by Bill Conger).
Grant Brown (Photo by Bill Conger)
Racers hitting the road for the RunDown 5K (Photo by Bill Conger)
Brown Family: (Left to Right) Stephen, Grant, Amanda, Lydia, and Austin Brown (Photo by Bill Conger)
Clark Oakley, one of the race organizers, announcers the race winners (Photo by Bill Conger)

Four-year-old Grant Brown holds up a peace sign with two of his fingers as he poses with the winners of the first-ever RunDown 5K & Fun Run. The young to not-so-young, kids to grandmothers, experienced runners to walkers who were challenged to tread the 3.1-mile course, laced up their shoes Saturday morning (April 25) at DeKalb West School for this fundraising event for Down syndrome awareness.

Grant, who was born with Down syndrome was the friendly 2015 “Face of the Race.” He is the third child of Stephen and Amanda Brown, who are the parents to Grant’s two siblings, Austin, a student at D.C.H.S., and Lydia, an 8thgrader at DeKalb West School.

“In the beginning, it’s devastating,” Grant’s mom said of his early newborn days. “You want everything to be perfect. Really, now, looking at him, he is perfect.”

Children born with Down syndrome have an extra copy of chromosome 21. Normally, people are born with 46 chromosomes. An individual with Down’s has 47.

“That extra chromosome is okay,” Brown said. “We wouldn’t change him for a minute.”

Admittedly, raising a child with a genetic disorder took a period of adjustment, but overall, she says it has been a positive experience.

“Fortunately, we’ve not had a lot of the health issues that can come with Down’s,” she said. “He’s very stubborn, but he’s very loving too.”
“We were told a lot that they’re (D.S. children) a little more laid back and maybe not as active,” Brown said. “That’s certainly not the case here. He’s a lot of fun and very energetic.”

Grant’s DWS Pre-Kindergarten teacher Amy Pack-Young echoes his mother’s take on the little boy’s spunk.

“He is stubborn and energetic, but most of all very comical!” she said. “He loves to play in the IPad center, pretend play and dance. His favorite teacher is Holly (Bain, Educational Assistant). She has been awesome to work one-on-one with Grant within the classroom. I'm really his second favorite because I'm as stubborn as him,” Young adds with a laugh.

Grant’s genetic disorder certainly has no bearing on his acceptance at school or anywhere in the community.

“All the preschoolers have overall been great with Grant,” his teacher says. “They have taken him on as younger brother. Everyone at DWS knows Grant. He greets everyone with a hug, big smile and sometimes a kiss,” Young said.

“He’s like a rock star almost,” his mom says laughing. “He’s a celebrity. It’s the same way at church and wherever we go. It’s pretty funny.”
Down syndrome’s affect is different for each child, says Alecia Talbott, Executive Director of the Down Syndrome Association of Middle Tennessee, who was on hand race day to provide additional information about D.S.

“Typically, there will be some cognitive delays and some difficulty with working memory,” explained Talbott, whose third of three children was born with D.S. “Generally, for most kids, they’re going to do everything that their typically developing peers are going to do. They’re going to run and play, jump, ride bikes, and do other things. They’re going to learn a little bit differently, and it might take a little bit longer. They may need some additional support to see those things happen.”

Grant and his family are blessed with an abundance of support from other people including their church home at Salem Baptist Church and many members of the community.

“We’ve always had a lot of people behind us,” Brown said. “That’s why our shirts say G-force. We have such a force behind us. Seeing the community come out like this has been amazing.”

"The faculty and staff at DeKalb West School have played such a huge role in Grant's life this past year,” Brown adds. “From his teachers to the students, everyone treats him so well. All the faculty/staff have made him and us feel so special, and their love for him is evident. We want to thank each of you for everything you do for Grant."

“When you’re raising a child with special needs, you need support,” Talbott adds. “There are hard days. There are challenges. Seeing the support of the community like this makes parents like us feel good. There’s stressful days, and it’s very helpful to have other folks reach out and say we love you too.”

221 people registered for the race with 162 people participating in either the 5K or fun run, according to Clark Oakley, who helped organized the event with Andy West from Smith County who also has a child with D.S., Kelly Pyburn, Amanda Brown, and Joey Agee.

Over $6,000 was raised for Down syndrome awareness. This event would not have come about if not for the founder, Addison Oakley, an 8th grade student at DeKalb West. Oakley, who has a cousin with D.S. and is also best friends with Grant’s sister, Lydia has wanted to do something for several years now for Down syndrome awareness. With the help of her mother, Lisa and father, Clark they created RunDown 5K, a non-profit organization. This will become an annual event to help provide resources for children with DS in DeKalb and Smith County.

“We want to thank everyone who supported this race in any way,” Oakley said. “We couldn’t have done it without the volunteers who gave of their time and the sponsors who supported our cause financially.”

For more information on Down syndrome, check out www.somethingextra.org.

Hunting Privileges Revoked for Several People

April 27, 2015

Several people accused of recent wildlife hunting violations appeared in DeKalb County General Sessions Court on Thursday, April 9.

Eight men and one woman were charged on 113 offenses and eight pled guilty to some of the charges under negotiated settlements. Six adults including Abbey Caldwell, Austin Cook, Daniel Stanley, Evan Cripps and Dustin Cook, along with three unnamed juveniles from DeKalb County and Charles Calvert of Warren County, were charged with multiple accounts including spot-lighting, hunting during a closed season, hunting from a public road and hunting from a motorized vehicle.

According to a prepared TWRA media release, "The case started when TWRA Warren County Officer, Pete Geesling, received a tip regarding illegal spotlighting in late December. He and fellow Warren County TWRA Officer, Jason Ramsey started the investigation. TWRA DeKalb county Officers, Joe Fortner and Tony Cross, joined the case when tips indicating illegal activity in DeKalb County came in from social media around the first of January. After collecting further evidence, TWRA Officers interviewed eight suspects the first weekend in February. Three suspects were interviewed multiple times."

"Those indicted admitted to driving a 20 mile stretch of road and illegally taking 11 deer on different nights. The men surrendered five deer racks, three rifles and one bow. The men also consented to the search of a vehicle. TWRA Officers removed the carpet in the trunk of the vehicle for DNA testing of blood and hair, used to prove the number of deer transported. Officers also found a spotlight, empty cartridges and a knife. The men surrendered and consented to the search of an I Phone, which revealed several incriminating photos."

"Officers worked with the DeKalb County Assistant District Attorney, Greg Strong, to determine 113 charges for the six adults and three juveniles. After determining charges, all suspects involved in the case met with Officers. Officers cited warrants but did not physically arrest any of the men. All pled guilty. Four of the men were offered pretrial diversions from the Assistant District Attorney General. Three pled guilty but were not offered pretrial diversions. Eight of the nine were sentenced. The ninth, an unnamed juvenile is also facing several unrelated violations and that case has not yet been settled in court.

The eight defendants who appeared in court on April 9th were fined a total of $10,329.00, received a combined 22 years of revoked hunting privileges, 16 years of suspended probation and all eight must retake the hunter education course.

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