Local News Articles

Is your child ready for kindergarten?

September 11, 2015
Dwayne Page

Is your child ready for kindergarten?

The DeKalb County School System is offering a series of three workshops for parents and caregivers to learn about age-appropriate targets and tools to use at home to ensure children begin kindergarten prepared.

The first workshop will be Tuesday, September 15 from 5:00 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. Others will follow on December 3 and February 5 from 5:15 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. and all parents with children from birth to age 5 are urged to attend. Child care will be offered and snacks will be available for parents and children including pizza, drinks, and fruit/dessert. Free toys and materials will also be provided for children to take home and keep for each session. If you are unable to attend this round of classes but would like to be on the waiting list for future classes please let the school system know.
Space is limited so call ahead to register today at 615-215-2105 and ask for "READY CLASS"

Visit www.readyforkindergarten.org for more information.

One Injured in Head-On Crash

September 11, 2015
Dwayne Page
Chevy pickup driven by 55 year old Darryl Pedigo

One person was injured in a head-on crash Thursday afternoon on the Old Bildad Road.

Trooper Sean Tramel of the Tennessee Highway Patrol told WJLE that 20 year old Dakota Chrestman of Rock Island was traveling west in a 1986 Toyota Camry when he came over into the eastbound lane and struck a 2006 Chevy pickup driven by 55 year old Darryl Pedigo of Smithville. The truck was a company vehicle belonging to Waymon Hale Construction.

Chrestman was taken by DeKalb EMS to Saint Thomas DeKalb Hospital with cuts to his facial area. Pedigo was not injured.

Evins Re-elected Chairman of School Board

September 10, 2015
Dwayne Page
School Board Re-elects Officers: W.J. (Dub) Evins, III (center), Chairman; Doug Stephens (left), Vice Chairman; and Shaun Tubbs (right), Assistant Secretary

Fifth district member W.J. (Dub) Evins, III has been re-elected Chairman of the Board of Education.

Evins was named by his fellow board members to again serve as chairman during Thursday night's regular monthly meeting.

Sixth district member Doug Stephens was re-elected Vice-Chairman and Seventh District member Shaun Tubbs was re-elected Assistant Secretary.

The board re-organizes each September electing officers to serve for the year.

The board consists of Danny Parkerson from the First District, Jerry Wayne Johnson from the Second District, Jim Beshearse from the Third District, Kate Miller from the Fourth District, W.J. (Dub) Evins, III from the Fifth District, Doug Stephens from the Sixth District, and Shaun Tubbs from the Seventh District.

Meanwhile, Director of Schools Patrick Cripps updated the school board on personnel moves since last month.

Seth Willoughby has been hired as a teacher at DCHS, replacing Jenny Norris

Megan Carroll was granted a leave of absence.

Those who have resigned are Katherine Ballard, Psychologist; Elsie Miller, cafeteria employee at Northside Elementary School; Beverly Starnes, cafeteria worker at DeKalb West School; and Amanda Trapp, educational assistant at Smithville Elementary School.

DeKalb County Prevention Coalition Participating in Prescription Drug Take-Back Day

September 10, 2015
Dwayne Page
DeKalb County Prevention Coalition Participating in Prescription Drug Take-Back Day

The DeKalb County Prevention Coalition is participating in the Drug Enforcement Administration's 10th National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day. This event will be at Smithville City Hall on Saturday, September 26 from 10:00am to 2:00pm. It's also being held in every State across the country. The drug take-back box is located inside Smithville City Hall so local residents can return their unwanted, unneeded, or expired prescription drugs for safe disposal.

The National Prescription Drug Take-Back effort addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. Many Americans are not aware that medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse and abuse. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are at alarming rates, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs. Studies show that many abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet. In addition, many Americans do not know how to properly dispose of their unused medicines, often flushing them down the toilet or throwing them away – both potential safety and health hazards.

DEA Acting Administer Chuck Rosenberg states, “Prescription drug abuse is a huge problem and this is a great opportunity for folks around the country to help reduce the threat. Please clean out your medicine cabinet and make your home safe from drug theft and abuse.”

In the previous nine Take-Back events nationwide from 2010-2014, a total of 4 million 823 thousand 251 pounds or 2,411 tons of drugs were collected!

The DeKalb County Prevention Coalition urges DeKalb County residents to come out to this event and drop off any unwanted, unneeded, or expired prescription medication. This is confidential and no names or information will be collected.

International Read an eBook Day set for September 18

September 9, 2015
Dwayne Page
Kathy Hendrixson

Justin Potter Library will take part and celebrate International Read an eBook Day, an annual holiday to celebrate and raise awareness for reading on digital devices on September 18.

In recent years, the popularity of eBooks has soared and readers are taking advantage of the eBook technology and popular titles available at their local library. Through July 2015, public library customers have borrowed 94.7 million eBooks and audiobooks, a 24 percent increase over the same period in 2014.

Readers with a library card can access eBooks from Justin Potter Library on all major computers and devices, including iPhone, iPad, Nook, Android phones and tablets, Chromebook, and Kindle, anytime, anywhere by visiting www.dekalblibraries.net and click on the R.E.A.D.S icon.

Read an eBook Day is a celebration of modern storytelling. Readers around the world are encouraged to take part in the largest digital reading event by choosing from millions of free eBooks from their local library.

Users are encouraged to share what they are reading and how they are celebrating on social media and join the #eBookLove conversation.

Readers can use the hashtag on Facebook and Twitter to tell their story and share their love of eBooks or comment directly at www.readanebookday.com.

“eBooks have proven to be a convenient, beneficial complement to traditional, physical books,” said Kathy Hendrixson, County Library Director. “When physical books are not available or practical – such as when you’d like to carry many at once, or if you can't make it to a store or library– eBooks offer a great alternative for instant access to reading.”

Read an eBook Day falls in the middle of Library Card Sign-up Month, a time when Justin Potter Library joins the American Library Association and public libraries nationwide to make sure that every student has the most important school supply of all – a free library card. To sign up for a library card, bring a picture ID and another form of ID with your name and current location to Justin Potter Library and you can begin checking out digital titles immediately.

For more information, please contact the library at 615-597-4359.

Askins Scheduled for "Change of Plea" Hearing In Federal Court

September 9, 2015
Dwayne Page
Wendy Askins

Wendy Askins, the former Executive Director of the Upper Cumberland Development District will appear in U.S. District Court Monday for a change of plea hearing.

On Tuesday, September 8, U.S. District Judge Aleta A. Trauger signed an order scheduling the hearing for Monday, September 14 at 1:30 p.m.

Askins' plea deal with federal prosecutors has not yet been made public.

Both Askins and the former UCDD Deputy Director Larry Webb were indicted in September 2013 for their participation in a scheme to commit bank fraud and to steal federal and state funds intended to promote economic and housing development.

Webb entered a plea last month to one count of federal bank fraud and will be sentenced November 24 though he apparently faces no fines or prison time.

During his plea hearing, Webb acknowledged that he, along with Askins, defrauded the Bank of Putnam County when applying for a loan on May 27, 2010. To obtain the loan, Webb told bank officers that the UCDD and CRDC boards of directors had approved the loan request to fund a UCDD program called “Living the Dream", which was supposed to be a residential home for seniors. Webb submitted fake CRDC resolutions with the loan application stating that he and Askins were permitted to obtain a $750,000 loan for the “Living the Dream” project. The Bank of Putnam County relied upon the fraudulent documents and funded $731,000 for the “Living the Dream” project. Webb admitted that neither UCDD nor the CRDC had authorized a loan for “Living the Dream” and further admitted that a portion of the loan proceeds had been used to build a luxury, personal residence for Askins.

UCDD is a quasi-governmental agency that receives federal and state funds and is responsible for promoting economic development throughout the 14 counties located in the Upper Cumberland Region of Tennessee. CRDC operates under the UCDD umbrella and assists in the creation of affordable housing.

Had she gone to trial and been convicted on the original charges, Askins faced up to 225 years in prison and a $6,750,000 fine

Woodmen to Hold Remembrance Ceremony

September 9, 2015
Dwayne Page
The 2014 Remembrance was held in Liberty

Local members of Woodmen Life Family Fraternity extend an invitation for you to attend the 14th Annual Community "In Honor and Remembrance" Event on Thursday, September 10 at 7:00 p.m. at the DeKalb County Fire Department at 782 King Ridge Road, Smithville.

Come join as they honor the special people of our community who give of their time, and risk their lives to provide protection for all of us. They will be rededicating the flagpole and they will present the 9/11 Honor Flag to the department.

Please contact Regina Wilhite with any questions you may have at 931-273-6414. Refreshments will follow

Boy Scouts Praised for Work at Edgar Evins State Park

September 9, 2015
Dwayne Page
Left to right:  Andrew Murray, Cory Maes, Bobby Lane, Sam Beal, and John Chesebro.

The Boy Scouts of Troop 875 recently built a new volleyball court and horseshoe pits for the campground at Edgar Evins State Park.

"Edgar Evins State Park would like to thank Eagle Scout Troop 875 for their hard work and dedication to the park. These additions will be valuable to the park and will offer our visitors more outdoor recreational activities to choose from. Troop 875 was also instrumental in the success of this year’s first ever Jr. Ranger Camp. The scouts actually led the land navigation program and worked hard all week assisting with the other programs and helping take care of the children. A big thanks to Troop 875. From the trails, the campfire ring, the campground, recreational and educational programming, the Troop has made and continues to make lasting contributions to the park and its visitors," said Park Ranger Mark Taylor.

National Voter Registration Day is September 22

September 8, 2015

The DeKalb County Election Commission would like to remind everyone that Tuesday, September 22 is National Voter Registration Day. It is the high point of National Voter Registration Month, a time when state and county election officials work to encourage voter participation as well as increase awareness of voting requirements and deadlines.

"National Voter Registration Day is a great time to make sure that your registration is up to date or to register for the first time," said Administrator of Elections Dennis Stanley.

During the month of September, people should have someone take a picture of them holding an "I'm registered to vote. Are you?" sign. Then post it to Twitter, Facebook and Instagram using the hashtag #GoVoteTN.

"I am excited to see so many people using #GoVoteTN to share their enthusiasm about voting," said Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett. "I encourage voters to use this opportunity to ensure they are properly registered."

Anyone can print their own sign at GoVoteTN.com, which can be customized to the colors of many of the state's colleges, universities, or professional sports teams. People can also check their registration status or access a voter registration form.

Snap a photo, use #GoVoteTN and post. It's that easy to show the world Tennesseans care about their right to vote.

Man Charged with Evading After Pursuit, Crash

September 8, 2015
Dwayne Page
Mark Alan Goodson
Jerry Thomas Waggoner
Jose Santos Acuna

A Smithville man who tried to outrun a county deputy before crashing his vehicle last week has been charged with evading arrest.

49 year old Mark Alan Goodson of Dry Creek Road, Smithville will be in General Sessions Court on the charge October 1. He was further issued two traffic citations. His bond is $5,000.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said the incident began on West Main Street in Liberty last Tuesday, September 1 after a deputy spotted Goodson while on patrol. Goodson was driving a beige Jeep Loredo traveling at a high rate of speed and on the opposite side of the road. The officer tried to stop the Loredo by turning on his lights and siren but the vehicle would not stop. The pursuit continued onto Smith Fork Road and then to Lower Helton Road before the Loredo crashed. Goodson, the driver, fled on foot after being told to stop but he was subsequently taken into custody. Due to medical reasons, Goodson was transported to the emergency room of the hospital and a warrant was taken against him.

60 year old Jerry Thomas Waggoner of Winter Drive, Dowelltown is charged with driving under the influence. His bond is $1,500 and he will make a court appearance on October 29.

According to Sheriff Ray, a deputy was dispatched on Friday, September 4 to Highway 56 north in reference to a possible drunk driver. The officer spotted the vehicle and noticed it cross the center line. The deputy followed the vehicle until it stopped on the side of the road. He then spoke with the driver, Waggoner, whose speech was slurred. Waggoner's eyes were bloodshot and he had an odor of alcohol on his person. Waggoner, who admitted to having consumed alcohol, performed poorly on field sobriety tasks.

57 year old Jose Santos Acuna of McMinnville Highway, Smithville is charged with driving under the influence and evading arrest. His bond is $5,000 and he will be in court on October 1.

Sheriff Ray said that on Friday, September 4 a deputy was traveling north on Highway 56 when he spotted a vehicle traveling south in the emergency lane. The officer got behind the vehicle and turned on his blue lights. After the automobile pulled over and the deputy got out of his patrol car, the vehicle began to take off again. The officer followed and activated his blue lights and siren. The pursuit continued south for about half a mile before the fleeing vehicle pulled into the yard of a residence. The driver, Acuna, was found to be unsteady on his feet and he admitted to having consumed beer. After failing a breathalyzer test, Acuna was placed under arrest and taken to the emergency room of the hospital for a blood withdrawal. He was then taken to jail for booking.


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