Local News Articles

McMinnville Man Sentenced in Recent Burglaries

November 10, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page
Dakota James Stith

A McMinnville man appeared in DeKalb County Criminal Court Tuesday where he entered a plea by criminal information to three counts of aggravated burglary.

Judge Gary McKenzie presided.

24 year old Dakota James Stith of Northgate Drive received a three year sentence in each case. Two counts will run consecutively for a total of six years but concurrently with the third count. The term will also run consecutively with four other counts. He will be furloughed into the DeKalb County Drug Recovery Program and the sentence will be suspended upon his successful completion of it. He must make restitution to the victims in amounts of $1,775, $310, and $370. Stith has been given jail credit of 229 days.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Wednesday, May 11 Stith either committed vandalism or burglary and theft at three separate homes on Cove Hollow Road.

In one case, Stith allegedly cut a back screen door, broke a Samsung surveillance camera system, and broke parts to a Rokon motorcycle causing $370 in damage.

At a second location, Stith allegedly entered the residence by force through the front door and broke a door frame valued at $250. He then allegedly stole $2,125 worth of items including a 20 gauge shotgun, 32 inch flat screen TV, Xbox 360, fishing tackle, jewelry, plastic storage container, food, jump box, and assorted power tools.

At a third residence, Stith allegedly entered through an unlocked door and took $8,310 worth of items including a 20 gauge shotgun, 22 caliber rifle, 38 caliber Derringer pistol, and assorted change. He also took from the property a 2013 Polaris Ranger.

Cookbook Author to be in Smithville for Book Signing

November 10, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page
Cookbook Author to be in Smithville for Book Signing

From two-lane highways and interstates, to dirt roads and quaint downtowns, every road leads to delicious food when traveling across The Volunteer State.

“Tennessee Back Road Restaurant Recipes Cookbook” by Anita Musgrove, is unique in that it serves up a well-researched and charming guide to Tennessee's best back road restaurants plus favorite recipes from restaurant owners, chefs and the best cooks in the state. This is not your usual guide to high-priced, white-tablecloth restaurants. You ll find those hidden gems that most people would never discover unless they lived in these small towns. No time to travel? No problem. Each restaurant shares with you their favorite recipes. Some recipes are signature dishes, others are family favorites, but all are delicious. Here you ll enjoy terrific recipes plus a guide to Tennessee restaurants you won t want to miss while traveling the back roads of Tennessee. So crank up the car and join us.

All recipes in the “Back Road” series are easy to prepare using ingredients most people already have in their pantry..just good old hometown cooking.

Musgrove will be at F.Z. Webb & Sons Gifts on the public square, Smithville for a book signing Friday, November 11 from 2-5 p.m. and Saturday, November 12 from 10 a.m. until noon.

County Clerk Displays License Plates in Honor of Veterans

November 9, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page
County Clerk Displays License Plates in Honor of Veterans

DeKalb County Clerk James L. “Jimmy” Poss has erected three separate display boards in the clerk’s office including one which is made up solely of military and veteran plates in time for Veterans Day

“While erecting these displays I wanted something extra for our veterans and military. To Honor each veteran and military person, our office says "Thank You”!. “We appreciate veterans from the past and active military today,” said Poss.

“As you can see in the photograph shown here, I attached a plaque above the service plates that reads "THANK YOU" VETERANS & MILITARY. WE HONOR AND SALUTE YOU”, added Poss.

Former Smithville Man Bitten by Rattlesnake

November 9, 2016
Kyle Watson

A former Smithville man and Williamson County firefighter is recovering in the hospital after being bitten by a rattlesnake while hiking over the weekend.

According to the Tennessean, Spring Hill Fire Department Engineer Kyle Watson was off duty and with his wife and children hiking on a trail at the Creeks Bend Natural Wildlife Area in Maury County on Sunday when he came across a juvenile timber rattlesnake.

"I decided to cut the head off the snake with a kayak paddle," Watson told Channel 4.

The snake was only a few feet long. After Watson decapitated the snake, he wanted to show his children the head. Unable to pick the snake's head up with the paddle, Watson used his hand.

"The head turned and struck me on the finger. It latched on and I slung it off," Watson said.

"It took about 10 seconds for the burning sensation to start shooting through my arm. Within 60 seconds, I was unconscious. I fell on the trail and hit the back of my head on a rock. I was knocked out. In a remote area, bleeding from the head and bitten by a snake," Watson said.

Following a quick response by Maury County Fire and Emergency Medical Services, Watson was stabilized in the field.

He was flown to Vanderbilt Medical Center, where he was quickly put on an IV drip of anti-venom serum.

Trump Wins Big in DeKalb County; Liquor, wine referendums pass

November 8, 2016
Trump
Weaver
Pody
Black

Republican Donald J. Trump was elected the 45th President of the United States and easily carried DeKalb County by an overwhelming margin over Democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton, in Tuesday's General Election. Trump carried all 15 county precincts plus early voting and absentee ballots for a total of 5,164 votes to 1,566 for Clinton.

Independent candidates for President with DeKalb County votes included “Rocky” Roque De La Fuente- 9, Gary Johnson-117, Alyson Kennedy-6, Mike Smith-29, and Jill Stein-49.

(YOU MAY CLICK ON THE LINK BELOW TO VIEW PRECINCT RESULTS IN DEKALB COUNTY).

http://www.wjle.com/election-results

(CLICK LINK BELOW FOR RETURNS ON CONGRESSIONAL AND STATE HOUSE RACES)

http://elections.tn.gov/results.php

Meanwhile, the referendum for the legal sale of alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premises in City of Smithville (Liquor By The Drink) passed with 665 votes for the sale of alcoholic beverages for consumption, with a total of 597 votes against it. The referendum passed in all four City of Smithville precincts, plus early voting. The vote breakdown is as follows:

Early Voting/Absentees - For: 473 Against: 451
Church of Christ Annex - For: 92 Against: 68
County Complex - For: 8 Against: 7
Courthouse - For: 14 Against: 13
Smithville Church of God - For: 78 Against: 58

In a separate referendum, City of Smithville voters approved the legal sale of wine at retail food stores in the City of Smithville. A total of 691 city voters voted in favor of the referendum, while 515 voters opposed it. The referendum passed in all four City of Smithville precincts, plus early voting. The vote breakdown is as follows:

Early Voting - For: 505 Against: 389
Church of Christ Annex - For: 85 Against: 56
County Complex - For: 8 Against: 5
Courthouse - For: 17 Against: 8
Smithville Church of God - For: 76 Against: 57

Republican incumbent State House of Representatives candidates Terri Lynn Weaver in the 40th District, and Mark Pody in the 46th District, have each won re-election, and each easily carried DeKalb County. Weaver carried all twelve 40th District precincts in DeKalb County plus early voting, for a total of 3,255 votes. Her opponent, Democratic challenger Gayla Colvert Hendrix tallied 1,526 votes in DeKalb County. Weaver also carried vote totals in Smith, Sumner and Trousdale counties.

District-wide Weaver received 20,352 votes to 7,438 for Hendrix:

Here are the totals from each county in the 40th district:
DeKalb: Weaver 3,255, Hendrix 1,526

Smith: Weaver, 5,096, Hendrix 2,031

Sumner: Weaver, 10,065, Hendrix 3,042

Trousdale: Weaver 1,936, Hendrix 839

Pody, meanwhile, won seven of the eight precincts in District 46 within DeKalb County plus early voting, and earned a total of 1,144 votes. His opponent, Amelia Morrison Hipps, carried one DeKalb County precinct and totaled 433 votes. Pody also carried vote totals in Cannon and Wilson counties.

District-wide Pody received 19,752 votes to 6,575 for Hipps

Here are the totals from each county in the 46h district

DeKalb: Pody 1,144, Hipps 433

Cannon: Pody 3,723, Hipps 1,151

Wilson: Pody, 14,885, Hipps 4,991

In the Sixth District U.S. House of Representatives race, Republican incumbent Congressman Diane Black carried all 15 precincts and early voting in DeKalb County to outdistance challengers, Democrat David W. Kent and Independent, David Ross. In DeKalb County, Black earned 4,385 votes; Kent tallied 1,144 votes, while Ross finished with 361 DeKalb County votes.

In the 19 county 6th district, Congressman Black received a total of 202,038 votes to 61,940 for Democrat David Kent and 20,241 for Independent Davis Ross. Black carried every county.

A total of 7,065 people voted in Tuesday's election including 3,073 on election day and 3,992 early votes/absentee.

See the link above for complete county vote breakdowns in the State House and Congressional races.

DeKalb County Experiences 3.8% Tourism Growth (VIEW VIDEO CLIP)

November 8, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page
Suzanne Williams

DeKalb County experienced a 3.8% growth in tourism in 2015 compared to the previous year.

According to the latest statistics from the 2015 Economic Impact of Travel on Tennessee as reported by U.S. Travel Association, Tourism expenditures in DeKalb County were $42.71 million in 2015, up by 3.8% from $41.16 million in 2014. Payroll increased by 6%. State and local tax receipts from tourism in DeKalb County grew by 9.1% and 6.2% respectively from 2014.

Suzanne Williams, Executive Director of the Chamber of Commerce, shared the latest tourism numbers with the Smithville Mayor and Aldermen Monday night and with the county commission last month. Williams also said the city has received approval for a $100,000 Community Development Block Grant from the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development for downtown revitalization projects for building owners who want to participate. A formal announcement of the grant award will be coming soon from the Governor's office.

DeKalb County was second in the fourteen county Upper Cumberland region in tourism growth behind Cumberland which had a 5.3 percent increase

Putnam County led the Upper Cumberland in tourism expenditures at $122.15 million followed by Cumberland County at $112.29 million and then DeKalb at $42.71 million

Tourists are drawn to DeKalb County for attractions including Center Hill Lake, the Smithville Fiddlers Jamboree, and the DeKalb County Fair among others.

(CLICK THE LINK BELOW FOR THE 2015 ECONOMIC IMPACT OF TRAVEL ON TENNESSEE COUNTIES)

https://www.tnvacation.com/industry/sites/default/files/2015_Economic_Im...

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Department of Tourist Development Commissioner Kevin Triplett recently announced that Tennessee tourism’s direct domestic and international travel expenditures reached an all-time high of $18.4 billion in 2015, up 3.7 percent over the previous year, as reported by the U.S. Travel Association. The announcement took place at the Sevier County Courthouse near the iconic Dolly Parton statue. Mountain Rukus from Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede provided music.

For the 10th consecutive year, tourism topped $1 billion in state and local sales tax revenue, reaching $1.6 billion, up 7 percent over 2014. Tourism-generated jobs for Tennesseans reached 157,400, an increase of 2.9 percent.

Top five counties include Davidson ($5.686 billion), Shelby ($3.196 billion), Sevier ($2.031 billion), Hamilton ($1.016 billion), and Knox ($1.014 billion), who were acknowledged during the event for all achieving more than $1 billion in travel expenditures. All 95 counties in Tennessee had more than $1 million in direct travel expenditures; 19 counties saw more than $100 million each.

Tennessee is ranked in the Top 10 destinations in the U.S. for total travel, with more than 105 million in total visitation, a 3.9% increase over 2014, as reported by D.K. Shifflet & Associates.

“The hard work of Tennessee’s tourism industry, strategically led by the Department of Tourist Development and the Tennessee Tourism Committee, continues to produce record results,” Gov. Haslam said. “More travelers from around the world are visiting Tennessee each year, and the $1.6 billion in sales tax revenue and growth in jobs is good news for every Tennessean.”

“It’s appropriate that today’s announcement takes place next to a statue of Sevier County’s own Dolly Parton, who graces the cover of this year’s Tennessee Vacation Guide,” said Commissioner Triplett. “Dolly’s music has played a major role in making Tennessee ‘The Soundtrack of America.’ People come to Tennessee for a variety of reasons including the music, but it’s the authenticity and Southern hospitality that our communities and partners deliver every day that keeps people coming back. The tourism industry’s continued economic impact growth is a result of visitor satisfaction.”

The Tennessee Tourism Committee, appointed in 2011 by Gov. Haslam, is made up of tourism leaders in both the public and private sectors. The Committee is chaired by Colin Reed, Ryman Hospitality Properties, Inc., and co-chaired by Jack Soden, Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc., and Sande Weiss, president of Music Road Resort.

College Street Bridge Repair May Not Begin Until Spring

November 8, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page
College Street Bridge Repair May Not Begin Until Spring

The Veterans Memorial Bridge on College Street in Smithville may be closed for several more months.

According to a spokesperson for the Tennessee Department of Transportation, the state currently plans to bid the project in February but construction may not start until early spring. TDOT had earlier informed city officials to expect the bid letting in December.

“Currently the bridge repair project is tentatively scheduled to be put in the February 10, 2017 bid letting, meaning it won’t be awarded to a contractor until approximately mid-March. The reason that HQ Construction did not put the project in the December 2016 letting was because the project includes asphalt. Asphalt plants usually close in late November and open back up in early spring, so Construction had to coordinate with them so we could make sure the plants were open during the timeframe that the contractors will be given to complete the project,” said Jennifer Flynn, TDOT Community Relations Officer in an email message to WJLE.

“Bridge repair plans have been completed by our Office of Bridge Repair (part of TDOT’s Division of Structures in Nashville). The Bridge Repair Office is responsible for the design and plans preparation of bridge repair projects on state-maintained bridges. Repair projects are let to contract through the normal bid process and administered by the HQ Construction Office. During the construction phase, the Bridge Repair Section assists regional construction personnel in construction inspection and in solving any problems that may arise,” added Flynn.

The bridge was damaged in June when a DeKalb County Landfill truck, driven by 54 year old Roger Chapman, hit the underside of the bridge as it was traveling east on Broad Street. Although the truck carried no dumpster at the time, the lift was up. Chapman received minor injuries and was cited by Smithville Police for speeding.

The scope of the work to be done to the bridge includes repairing damage to beams E&F in span 3 due to collision damage; injecting epoxy into cracks in the deck, sidewalk, and beams in span 3; installing steel channels on beam E in span 3; and performing partial depth repair to the sidewalk in span 3. No existing utility lines are to be affected during the repairs.

A recent TDOT inspection revealed “heavy collision damage” to the bridge and it will remain closed to traffic until repairs are made.

Farm Service Agency County Committee Elections Underway

November 8, 2016
Donny Green

Donny Green, County Executive Director of the DeKalb/Cannon County Farm Service Agency, announces that the 2016 FSA County Committee Election is underway as ballots were mailed to eligible voters in Local Administrative Area (LAA) # 3 of DeKalb County on November 7th.

In LAA # 3 (DeKalb Co.), R.V. Billings, Jr. has been certified as an eligible candidate and his name will appear on the ballot. Write-in candidates can be accepted on ballots. However, the write-in candidate must meet eligibility criteria and attest to their willingness to serve, if elected, by signing a nominating petition.

"The FSA county committee system is unique among government agencies, because it allows producers to make important decisions concerning the local administration of federal farm programs," said Green. "I urge all eligible farmers and ranchers, especially minorities and women, to get involved and make a real difference in their communities by voting in this year's elections."

Committee members apply their knowledge and judgment to make decisions on disaster and conservation payments, establishment of allotments and yields, producer appeals, employing FSA county executive directors and other local issues. FSA committees operate within official regulations designed to carry out federal laws.

To be an eligible voter, farmers and ranchers must participate or cooperate in FSA programs. A person who is not of legal voting age, but supervises and conducts the farming operations of an entire farm, can also vote. Agricultural producers in each county submitted candidate names during the nomination period held last summer.

Eligible voters in DeKalb County LAA # 3 who did not receive a ballot can obtain a ballot at their local USDA Service Center. December 5, 2016 is the last day for voters to submit ballots in person to local USDA Service Centers. Ballots returned by mail must be postmarked no later than December 5, 2016. The newly elected committee member and alternates take office January 1st, 2017.

Couple Charged in Theft and Forgery Case

November 7, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page
Ricky Lane Evans
Sherry May Evans
Samuel Malachi Murphy
Miranda Michelle Murphy
Donald Richard Atnip, Jr.
Shane Michael Downey
Jacob James Damon
Tyrone Lamont Jackson
William Lee Bell, Jr.

A husband and wife were arrested recently after allegedly passing forged checks and using a stolen credit/debit card at local businesses.

46 year old Ricky Lane Evans and 37 year old Sherry May Evans of Gene Vaughn Road, Smithville are each charged in the case.

Ricky Evans is facing two counts of forgery and one count of theft of property under $500. His bond is $7,500. Sherry Evans is charged with theft under $500 (2 counts), forgery, and fraudulent use of a credit or debit card (3 counts). Her bond is $17,500. Both will be in court on November 17.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Monday, October 24 the Evans’ allegedly stole checks while Sherry also took a credit/debit card. The same day Ricky allegedly passed one of the checks with a forged signature at Wilson Bank & Trust in Smithville for $60. On Tuesday, October 25, Sherry Evans allegedly used the stolen credit/debit card in amounts of $25.09 and $67.17 at the Dollar General Store and on Thursday, October 27 at Redbox in the amount of $9.88. The next day, Wednesday, October 26 Ricky and Sherry together passed another forged check for $148.51 at Wal-mart in Smithville.

35 year old Miranda Michelle Murphy and her husband, 40 year old Samuel Malachi Murphy of Payton Lane, Smithville are each charged with aggravated burglary and theft of property over $1,000. Bond for each is $10,000 and they will make a court appearance on November 17. They were arrested on Thursday, November 3. Sheriff Ray said that on September 16, the Murphy’s allegedly broke into a residence on Cookeville Highway. Entry was made by force through the front door. After breaking in, the Murphy’s allegedly stole $1,500 worth of property.

Miranda Murphy is also facing a charge of possession of methamphetamine for resale in a separate case. Murphy’s bond on that charge is $5,000 and her court date is November 17. Sheriff Ray said that on Tuesday, November 1 a deputy responded to an unwanted guest call at a residence on Cookeville Highway. By the time the officer arrived, the unwanted guest (Murphy) had left the residence but she was stopped in her vehicle on Cookeville Highway. According to the caller, Murphy had a loaded weapon on her. A search of Murphy’s vehicle turned up 0.6 grams of a crystal like substance believed to be methamphetamine. She was placed under arrest for the drug offense.

31 year old Donald Richard Atnip, Jr. of Banks Pisgah Road, Smithville is charged with possession with intent to resale a schedule VI drug (marijuana). His bond is $7,500 and his court date is November 10. Sheriff Ray said that on Monday, October 31 a detective spotted Atnip in his truck at the parking lot of Pizza Hut. Knowing that Atnip had two warrants against him, the officer stopped and spoke with Atnip. While placing Atnip under arrest, the detective conducted a search of Atnip’s truck and found sandwich bags, scales, four small individual bags of a green leafy substance believed to be marijuana, and a Mason jar containing 1.06 ounces of a green leafy substance also believed to be marijuana.

40 year old Shane Michael Downey of Jacobs Pillar Road, Smithville is charged with evading arrest. His bond is $1,500 and his court date is November 17. Sheriff Ray said that on Wednesday, November 2 a deputy was dispatched to a residence on Jacobs Pillar Road to pick up Downey, who has active warrants against him. Upon arrival, the officer spotted Downey standing behind the house. When he saw the officer, Downey took off running into the woods and continued running though the deputy ordered him to stop. Downey was subsequently found hiding in the woods and placed under arrest.

23 year old Jacob James Damon of McMinnville is charged with assault. His bond is $2,500. Sheriff Ray said that on Thursday, November 3 Damon, a prisoner at the jail, allegedly assaulted another inmate by repeatedly hitting him with his fist causing a cut near the victim’s left eye. Damon also grabbed the victim and kept him from reaching the cell door.

40 year old Tyrone Lamont Jackson of the Loop, Smithville is charged with driving while suspended or revoked. He was also cited for driving on roadways laned for travel. His bond is $3,000 and his court date is December 1. Sheriff Ray said that on Monday, November 7 a deputy stopped Jackson’s vehicle for failure to maintain lane of travel. Jackson’s automobile allegedly crossed the center line several times. During the traffic stop, the officer discovered that Jackson’s license were suspended on April 19, 2012.

66 year old William Lee Bell, Jr. of Circle Drive, Dowelltown is charged with driving under the influence. His bond is $1,500 and his court date is November 17. Sheriff Ray said that on Thursday, November 3 a deputy was dispatched to the area of Toad Road where a blue Chevrolet Blazer was observed driving recklessly and running vehicles off the road. The officer spotted the vehicle as it turned off of Nashville Highway onto Toad Road. The Blazer came to a stop in the roadway after it turned onto Toad Road. The officer found that Bell was the driver. His speech was slurred and he was very unsteady on his feet. The deputy found two empty beer bottles in the rear floor board of Bell’s vehicle. Bell admitted to having been drinking. He refused to submit to field sobriety tasks.

Morgan Vickers honored with DTC scholarship

November 7, 2016
DTC CEO Chris Townson with Morgan Vickers

The DTC Communications Board of Directors is proud to announce Morgan Vickers as the recipient of the 2016 DTC Scholarship in Memory of McAllen Foutch. The scholarship program recognizes students who excel in both academics and extracurricular activities.

Vickers, of Liberty, Tennessee, achieved much in her high school career at DeKalb County High School. Vickers ranked among the top 10 outstanding seniors, earned honors and was a member of the Junior and Senior Beta clubs; the National Honor Society; Future Farmers of America; Future Business Leaders of America; and Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America. She is currently enrolled as a full-time student at Motlow State Community College seeking a degree in elementary education. Vickers also sings in the choir at Pisgah Methodist Church, is a substitute Sunday school teacher at Grace Baptist Church, and works as a waitress at Kilgore’s Restaurant, all while maintaining a 4.576 GPA. With all of that activity, it’s no surprise Morgan was voted “Most Involved” by her fellow seniors.

“A quality education lays a solid foundation for a young person’s life,” says DTC CEO Chris Townson. “Morgan exemplifies everything that’s so promising about the youth in Middle Tennessee, and we’re happy that DTC can play a small role in getting her started on the way to success.”
Vickers is the daughter of Joseph and Wanda Vickers, also of Liberty.

DTC’s annual scholarship commemorates the life and achievements of McAllen Foutch, who was instrumental in establishing DTC in 1951. This year also marks the 20th year of the scholarship program for DTC, which is celebrating its 65th anniversary this year.

Supporting the education of young people in our communities has been important to DTC’s board for decades, and the cooperative is proud to help area youth succeed.

DTC Communications is a member-owned telephone cooperative established in 1951. The cooperative supplies communication, entertainment, and security products and services to residential and business customers primarily throughout Middle Tennessee.

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