NHC Smithville recently honored two local nurses for 15 years of service to NHC Smithville. Sabra Murphy and Monica Baker are both Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN) and serve as Unit Managers at NHC Smithville. They received their 15 year service pin, along with other special gifts during the monthly partner (employee) meeting on December 13, 2016.
Local News Articles
Holidays are supposed to be a time of joy and celebration, but for some people they are anything but.
Depression may occur at any time of the year, but the stress and anxiety this time of year may cause even those who are usually content to experience loneliness and a lack of fulfillment. For some, it may even lead to thoughts of suicide.
If you need help there is a “Haven of Hope” of DeKalb County
“We’re hoping everybody has a merry Christmas but we do understand that for some people the holidays bring up some sadness, maybe they’re missing family members or due to some other life changing situation which creates some depression, anxiety and for some, suicidal thoughts,” said Samantha Curtis, one of four counselors at Haven of Hope.
“Haven of Hope is a mental health service provider for the state. We are state licensed and we help people with all kinds of different emotional and mental issues. We help children and adults with depression, anxiety, past trauma, adjustments to life problems/issues and many other areas. All 4 of our Masters level counselors are trained in EMDR & other methods. Our mission is to enhance our client's lives, their families, and the community by providing professional counseling, support groups, classes and programs to residents of DeKalb County and the surrounding communities,” she said.
In Tennessee, an estimated 950 men, women, and children die by suicide each year. In 2014, the latest year for which county-specific figures are available, DeKalb County's age-adjusted suicide rate was 15.6 per 100,000 people, translating into three reported suicide deaths. This number of suicides in DeKalb County for 2014 is the same as the previous year but the local rate is higher than the state average of 14.4 per 100,000 population for 2014 as reported by the Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network.
“We are offering a free depression screening for anybody who feels like they need that. If you will just come in we will get that done for you and get some help for you if you need it. We accept most kinds of insurance but if your deductible is too high we are willing to work with anybody who is unable to afford it. We can serve you through private counseling in the office and if its a matter that requires a higher level of care we have resources we can refer you to. For example, there is an Adult Crisis Stabilization Unit, a walk in service located in Cookeville. And the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides a service at 1-800-273-TALK or visit www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org. That’s a service where you can call in and talk to them about whatever is going on in your life or just to have somebody to talk to sometimes. It doesn’t necessarily have to be related to suicide but they will get you help if needed,” said Curtis.
“We want to get the word out that Haven of Hope of DeKalb County is here and we are local. We are located at 301 West Main Street in the old Magnolia House at the four way stop. You may contact us at 615-597-4673. Our office hours are 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday through Friday but we have an emergency phone number there you can call and it will contact one of our counselors. We have four counselors. A couple of us work with children and we have counselors who work with teens and adults”.
“We’ve had people even this holiday season in DeKalb County that have been lost to suicide so if we can prevent even one that would be wonderful,” said Curtis.
Sentencing for Larry Webb, the former deputy director of the Upper Cumberland Development District, has been postponed until next month after a federal judge last week rejected a plea deal.
Webb, who entered a voluntary guilty plea on August 17, 2015 to one count of bank fraud in the “Living the Dream” investigation, was to have been sentenced Thursday, December 8 but that has been postponed until January 9.
Under terms of his plea agreement, Webb was to have avoided paying a fine in the case. However, a court order signed last Friday, December 9 by U.S. District Judge Waverly D. Crenshaw, Jr. stated that “the court believes a fine in the $6,000 range may be appropriate, considering Defendant (Webb’s) cooperation with the Government, his offense conduct, and ability to pay".
Webb was indicted with former UCDD director Wendy Askins in 2013 on various federal bank charges, including conspiracy, theft of government money, bank fraud, money laundering, and making a false statement.
Askins was accused of diverting hundreds of thousands of dollars of agency money into a million-dollar luxury home in rural Putnam County called "Living the Dream". What was intended to become a home for needy seniors also became Askins' home.
Although Webb's attorney Ed Yarbrough said he never profited from the scheme, Webb admitted that he was guilty of Count Eight of the federal indictment, which accused him and Askins of securing a $250,000 loan from the Bank of Putnam County "for their own use and benefit" and "falsely representing" that it was for a project that had been approved by the UCDD board of directors."
Askins entered a plea on August 31 to two counts of theft from a federally-funded entity stemming from the “Living the Dream investigation and was sentenced on October 28 to 18 months in federal prison. The sentence will run concurrently with a state sentence after her plea in Putnam County Criminal Court on October 31 to forgery over $60,000. After her release, Askins will be on supervised probation for two years. She must also pay restitution of $233,000 to the UCDD.
In recently filed court documents, Webb’s attorney is asking the court to adopt the plea agreement. “This plea was entered pursuant to extensive negotiations between Webb and the Government which resulted in a decision by Webb to offer testimony against his co defendant Askins. Webb submitted to numerous debriefing sessions by the Government and was prepared to testify at trial. However, Askins entered a plea of guilty and has now been sentenced as a result of that plea," stated Yarbrough.
“Webb would submit to the Court that he has never before been convicted of a criminal offense and, indeed, has never been charged with one. His lack of a previous record and good background result in a guideline offense level of seven (7), which carries a range of punishment of zero to six months. As a result of the plea agreement in this case the Government is recommending that Webb be sentenced to time served and receive three years of supervised release. The Government is further recommending that there be no fine or restitution ordered in this case. The remaining counts of the Indictment should be dismissed at sentencing,” Yarbrough said.
“As noted in the Government’s memorandum, the original presentence report filed in this case recommended a fine in the amount of $2,000. Inasmuch as this would violate the plea agreement in the case and is opposed by the Government, Webb submits that this recommendation should not be followed and that no fine should be imposed in this case”.
“Webb has fully disclosed all of his conduct in this matter and has assisted the Government extensively in their preparation for the trial of Wendy Askins. Webb was fully prepared to testify as a prosecution witness had that case gone to trial.”
“Webb agrees with the analysis contained in the Government’s memorandum that all appropriate sentencing guidelines and policies dictate that the plea agreement should be approved in this case.”
“Therefore, Webb respectfully submits that he should be sentenced to time served in this case and that a three year period of supervised release be imposed according to the agreement previously submitted to the Court,” Yarbrough concluded.
Court documents relating to Webb's plea agreement state that, “On February 2, 2010, Webb incorporated “Living the Dream/Independent Living for Seniors, Inc.” While “Living the Dream” had the appearance of being a project approved by the Cumberland Regional Development District, of which Webb was a director, it was in fact owned and operated by Webb and Askins. A portion of the property was intended to be used as an independent living facility, while another portion was used as a luxury home for co-defendant Askins.”
“In order to partially fund the purchase of the “Living the Dream facility, Webb and Askins obtained a loan from the Bank of Putnam County. To obtain this loan, Webb made false statements to loan officers relating to the true nature of “Living the Dream”. Specifically, Webb told the loan officers that “Living the Dream” was an approved UCDD/CRDC project. Additionally, Webb presented false documents, including CRDC resolutions dated May 7, 2010 purportedly authorizing a loan application for “Living the Dream” in the amount of $750,000. As Webb very well knew, the CRDC had not approved the “Living the Dream” project, and had not authorized a $750,000 loan application,” the court documents state.
“In reliance upon these false statements and representations, the Bank of Putnam County on May 27, 2010 approved a loan in the amount of $250,000 for “Living the Dream”. Webb and Askins applied the loan proceeds to the purchase of “Living the Dream”. The bank would not have approved the loan or disbursed funds had it known UCDD and/or CRDC did not approve of the project or the loan application”, the court documents continued
“The bank eventually foreclosed on the property and subsequently recovered all of its loan proceeds”.
Askins reportedly will serve her sentence in the Federal Correctional Institution in Aliceville, Alabama, a medium-security United States federal prison for female inmates. She is to report January 9. Askins originally was scheduled to be housed at a federal facility in Alderson, West Virginia.
If you never completed high school and would like to obtain an equivalency diploma you have that opportunity.
Free High School Equivalency (Hi-Set) Classes are held on Monday and Thursday evenings and Friday mornings at the County Complex at 722 South Congress Boulevard. Enter through the UT Extension/Motlow College Doors. Mary Anne Carpenter is the class instructor.. On-line classes are also available.
Prior to April 1, 2016, adult learners in Tennessee had the option to choose between the HiSet test and the GED Testing Service product. However as of April 1, new test takers are no longer able to sign up for the GED test. HiSet is now the sole provider of high school equivalency testing in Tennessee.
Effective July 1, 2016, HiSet became the only test available to students in Tennessee who wish to obtain their high school equivalency diploma.
The change to HiSet testing is meant to ensure the new curriculum is aligned with the test students take to earn the high school equivalency diploma.
The HiSet test provides other benefits to adult learners in Tennessee. The cost of the HiSet test is $75, compared to the $120 fee to take the GED test. HiSet is also more convenient for students, and it offers the option of on-line testing, as well as a standard paper test.
According to Carol Pritchard, Counselor and Recruiter for the Adult Education Program , between 1,700 and 2,000 people in DeKalb County currently lack a high school diploma.
"We offer high school equivalency (Hi-Set) classes free to anybody 18 years of age and older who may lack a high school diploma. In this day and age a high school diploma is needed for anyone to go on to further training, college, university, or any kind of vocational certification. This is a pathway that many can use to finish what they once started. It (diploma) can be used to get promotions or apply for jobs. It opens a lot of doors that have never been an opportunity before for those folks who lack a diploma," said Pritchard.
"We serve people from 18 to 70 years old. Some people come back just for the fulfillment of it. Something they didn't have a chance to do before but it's been a lifelong dream. Some people do it as an example for their kids. They know how important education is. They've lived it and they want to make sure their kids know how important it is that they finish. They want a better way to make a living. They want a family sustaining wage. That's really our goal is to help them to get to that point," she said.
“Anyone interested is asked to participate in the orientation process which gets them registered. It also gets them a placement test and lets us know how to begin to help them. We want to fill in the gaps so we don't try to spend a lot of time teaching what people already know. We look for what people need and focus our instruction that way. We monitor their progress and when they are ready, we will get them out as quickly as we can so they can test as soon as possible," said Pritchard.
"We send them to a testing site once they're ready and we help them get registered. They take the exam and then the company that makes the exam sends in the results. The state will then issue the high school equivalency diploma," she said.
"The two closest testing sites are the Tennessee College of Applied Technology in McMinnville and the Applied Technology Center in Crossville but there are locations all across the state. Most of the people from DeKalb County go to McMinnville," said Pritchard.
"There is a cost to take the test but there is no cost for any of our services or instruction. For the Hi-Set test right now the cost is $75.00 which includes a sitting fee for the testing site. But the state of Tennessee has appropriated money and if you qualify under certain predictor tests criteria then the state will pay for your test at no cost to you,” said Pritchard.
For more information call 1-855-516-0160
A couple who fled to Michigan with their 8 month old child last month prompting an Endangered Child Alert by the TBI has been returned to DeKalb County.
29 year old Andrew Billings and 19 year old Adriana Billings arrived at the DeKalb County Jail Tuesday morning, December 13 at 6:30 a.m. They were brought by a transport service.
The Billings' are each charged with aggravated child abuse and initiation of a process to manufacture methamphetamine. Bond for each is $17,000 and they will appear in DeKalb County General Sessions Court on January 5. Adriana has posted bond and has been released. Andrew remains incarcerated.
An Endangered Child Alert was issued for 8 month old Xavier Billings on Thursday, November 17 after his parents took him and fled the scene of a wreck investigation a week earlier in which a meth lab was found in their vehicle.
“On Thursday November, 10th, the Tennessee Highway Patrol worked a two vehicle accident on Highway 70 east (Sparta Highway). After 3 occupants in one of the vehicles, including the child, had been examined by EMS, the adults fled the scene with the child. During the inventory of the vehicle, the Trooper found what he believed to be a methamphetamine lab. The Trooper took criminal warrants in the case on both of the adults for manufacturing meth and aggravated child abuse,” said Sheriff Patrick Ray.
After the accident, the Trooper obtained information that the child might have had a medical condition and notified the Department of Children Services.
Sheriff Ray said that at 11:19 p.m. Wednesday night, November 16, the Department of Children Services came to his office and filed a missing/endangered child report. The Sheriff said his department immediately entered the child into the National Crime Information System which prompted the TBI Endangered Child Alert System.
The Billings’ were found with the child at a residence in Flint, Michigan on Friday, November 18. They were arrested by the City of Flint Police Department and Xavier was placed in protective custody by the Michigan Department of Children Services.
The warrants against the Billings’ allege that on November 10, Trooper Sean Tramel of the Tennessee Highway Patrol was working an accident on Sparta Highway and found that Andrew and Adriana Billings knowingly initiated the process of manufacturing methamphetamine inside of their white Nissan Sentra which was involved in the accident while their 8 month old son was present in the vehicle.
While doing a post crash inventory of the car, Trooper Tramel discovered a meth lab in a black nylon bag and in a 40 millimeter ammo can in the back seat. Items discovered were a Visine bottle containing muriatic acid, spa test strips, an open container of Drano, four bottles including three with residue and one with sediment, a quart Mason jar with a clear liquid believed to be Coleman fuel and methamphetamine mix which field tested positive for meth.
A man convicted of breaking into Center Hill Wine and Spirits and taking two bottles of vodka last year appeared for sentencing in DeKalb County Criminal Court on Monday, December 12.
Judge David Patterson presided.
51 year old Amail John Land received a 12 year sentence as a career offender and must serve at least 60% of the term before parole eligibility.
Land stood trial and was found guilty in DeKalb County Criminal Court Tuesday, September 6.
After deliberating for less than an hour a jury of ten men and two women convicted Land of burglary, vandalism, and theft and imposed a total fine of $3,250.
Following the verdict, Judge Patterson scheduled a sentencing hearing of December 12 for Land and revoked his bond. He has been incarcerated at the DeKalb County jail since the trial.
According to Stephanie Johnson, Assistant District Attorney General, Land has eleven prior felony convictions, including ten for burglary and that is the reason why the state sought the maximum sentence for Land as a career offender.
“The proof the jury heard on September 6, 2016 was that on September 25, 2015 the defendant (Land) threw a rock through the door of Center Hill Wine and Spirits on South Congress Boulevard at around 5:00 a.m. The victim (owner) received notification from his alarm company that morning that his business had been broken into. He immediately responded as did law enforcement. They viewed some surveillance footage from a store security camera. Law enforcement officers recognized the defendant (Land) as being depicted on that footage and attempted to make contact with him. Later that afternoon the defendant (Land) came back in the store and the owner immediately recognized him from the security footage and notified law enforcement that he was back in the store. Law enforcement conducted an interview and the defendant (Land) made the admission to breaking the door and taking two bottles of vodka from the business,” said Assistant D.A. Johnson.
However in her closing remarks to the jury on September 6, Assistant Public Defender Allison West took issue with the police investigation in this case, saying the detectives failed to preserve evidence and produce recordings of interviews with the defendant and that they had not presented sufficient proof to convict Land.
The case was investigated by the Smithville Police Department.
In other cases, 23 year old Jasmin Renae Rowland entered a plea by criminal information to attempted possession of 0.5 grams or more of methamphetamine for resale. She is facing a six year sentence to serve 180 days but she has applied for judicial diversion probation. Rowland has been fined $2,000. She was given jail credit from August 26 to December 12.
On Friday August 26, Smithville Police were called to a residence to investigate a possible physical domestic. Upon arrival, they spoke with 30 year old Michael George Rowland and Jasmin Rowland and asked Michael to step outside. During a safety pat down, an unloaded 38 Smith & Wesson hand gun was found on Michael and he removed four live rounds and one spent round from his pocket and turned them over to the officer.
After receiving consent from Jasmin to search, other officers inside the home noticed a small box wrapped in duct tape lying on the kitchen floor. They pulled back the tape and discovered it was a Marlboro cigarette box. Inside the box was a plastic bag containing approximately 1.6 ounces of a crystal like substance that tested positive for Methamphetamine. Also on the living room floor were two more handguns.
The Rowlands were each charged with Possession of a Schedule II drug with intent to sell. Michael Rowland was also charged with Felony Possession of a Firearm. He is a convicted felon out of Ohio. His case remains pending in court.
46 year old Ricky Evans entered a plea by information to theft over $500 and forgery. He received a two year sentence in each case to run consecutively for a total of four years but all suspended to supervised probation. He is requesting judicial diversion probation. Evans must make restitution in amounts of $310.65 and $985 to the victims in the case.
A co-defendant, 37 year old Sherry May Evans entered a plea by criminal information in October to theft over $500 and received a two year suspended sentence on judicial diversion probation. She must make restitution of $985 to the victim.
Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Saturday, September 17 both Ricky and Sherry Evans allegedly took items from a houseboat at Pates Ford Marina including several silver coins, a Kel-Tec 9 millimeter rifle, a Smith & Wesson 380 handgun, a Winchester 410 shotgun, clothing, jewelry, a spotlight, candles and other items. The owner of the houseboat discovered the theft and reported it. The case was investigated by a detective and deputies of the Sheriff’s Department and as a result some of the stolen weapons and other items have been recovered. Sheriff Ray said that some of the silver coins and jewelry were recovered in a purse belonging to Sherry Evans.
Meanwhile in the forgery case , Sheriff 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. Again Ricky Evans entered a plea and was sentenced in the forgery case and must make restitution to Wilson Bank & Trust in the amount of $310.65.
44 year old Patsy McCoy entered a plea to tampering with evidence and is facing a three year sentence as a range I offender to run concurrently with a violation of probation against her. McCoy was given jail credit from December 4, 2015 to December 12, 2016.
McCoy was arrested by Smithville Police on Friday, December 4, 2015 for theft of property, criminal trespass, simple possession of Schedule IV & VI drugs and tampering with evidence. Police were dispatched to Wal-Mart in reference to a shoplifter. Upon arrival officers saw McCoy placing items in plastic bags. She had previously been ordered by store management to keep away from Walmart through a "Notification of Restriction from Property". As she was being taken into custody and placed in the patrol car, McCoy was observed with a bag in her hand which contained a leafy green substance which was later determined to be marijuana. Also in the bag was a prescription bottle containing two pills which didn't match the prescription. While in custody, McCoy removed a pill from her person and crushed it before it was checked into evidence.
33 year old Brandi Lynn Dorris entered a plea to possession of a schedule III drug with intent to sell and received a four year sentence all suspended to TDOC probation. She was fined $2,000 and was given one day of jail credit. Dorris was named in an August grand jury sealed indictment for possession of a schedule III controlled substance ( 4-Suboxone) with the intent to sell or deliver on or about December 21, 2015. Dorris was arrested on Tuesday, July 26.
33 year old David Lee Bean entered a plea to driving under the influence and received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days all suspended to CPS probation except for 48 hours to serve. He was fined $350. Sheriff Ray said that on Sunday, April 12, 2015 a deputy received a call about a wreck on Highway 70 east at Sligo bridge. The officer observed a 1999 Saturn in a ditch and spoke to the driver, Bean who said he had been on his way to get his wife. Bean's speech was slurred and he was unsteady on his feet. Bean performed poorly on field sobriety tasks. He also submitted to a blood alcohol test. Bean was placed under arrest.
A 26 year old Cookeville man escaped serious injury in a rollover accident on Highway 56 (Cookeville Highway) near Floating Mill Road Monday morning.
Trooper Chris Delong of the Tennessee Highway Patrol told WJLE that Emmanuel R. Rosas was driving south in a 2007 Honda Civic when he lost control while negotiating a curve, overcorrected, and went off the highway. The car overturned coming to rest on its side near an embankment.
Rosas got out of the car under his own power and suffered only minor injuries. He was treated at the scene by DeKalb EMS but refused transport to the hospital.
The DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department and DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department also rendered assistance at the scene.
Two prisoners in the DeKalb County Jail got into a fight last week and each has been charged with assault. Bond for 24 year old Dakota James Stith and 31 year old Jordan Thomas Adams is $3,500 each and they will make a court appearance on December 15. The fight occurred on Monday, December 5.
(CLICK LINK BELOW TO VIEW MUG SHOTS OF PERSONS RECENTLY BOOKED AT THE DEKALB COUNTY JAIL)
Another prisoner, 32 year old Michael Brandon Redmon is charged with vandalism after causing damage to a patrol car while being taken from a dentist office in DeKalb County to the Fentress County Jail where he is being housed for DeKalb County. Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on October 28 while an officer was transporting him back to Fentress County from the dentist office, Redmon got mad and broke the glass on the passenger side back door of a DeKalb County Patrol car. The repair cost to fix the vehicle was $745. Redmon was charged on Friday, December 9.
45 year old Richard Manuel Standridge of Laverne Street, Alexandria is charged with a 4th offense of driving on a suspended license. He was further cited for failure to display a license plate on his vehicle and for driving on roadways laned for travel. His bond is $6,000 and his court date is January 5th. Sheriff Ray said that on Sunday, December 11 a deputy was patrolling Banks Pisgah Road when he spotted a vehicle, which had no license plate, traveling over the center line. The officer stopped the vehicle which was being driven by Standridge. A computer check revealed that Standridge’s license had been suspended in Athens Tennessee for failure to appear.
20 year old Katelin Nicole Spivey of Liberty is charged with domestic assault. Her bond is $1,500 and her court date is January 5. Sheriff Ray said that on Sunday, December 11 a man came to the Sheriff’s Office stating he had been assaulted by his ex fiancé, Spivey. The man was found to have multiple scratches and bruises around his neck and chest area. He also had a scratch and bruise on his head. The victim told officers he feared for his life.
Smithville Police, answering a routine call last week, found a convicted felon in possession of pills, methamphetamine, hypodermic needles and a gun.
40 year old Brandon Lee Starnes is charged with possession of a schedule II drug with intent to resale, illegal carrying or possession of a weapon as a convicted felon, and he was cited for simple possession, drug paraphernalia possession, a driver license violation, registration violation, and violation of financial responsibility.
Police were called Wednesday, December 7 to check on someone passed out at the steering wheel of a 2001 Chevy Monte Carlo. Upon arrival, the officer spotted a bag of pills in plain view on the passenger seat. As Starnes, the driver, got out of the car, police observed a handgun between the driver seat. Starnes was then placed into custody. After Starnes gave consent to search the vehicle, police found two black bags and two scales in the center console. Inside one bag were smaller bags which contained a white powdery substance. Two of the smaller bags held a clear crystal substance and there were several empty plastic bags. The substances found are believed to be methamphetamine which weighed 1.5 ounces. A total of 12 pills were recovered including two believed to be 30mg morphine and ten believed to be 10mg oxymorphone. Twelve hypodermic needles were also found in the automobile. Police are in the process of seizing Starnes car and the cash found on him. Bond for Starnes is $20,000 and his court date is December 22
The congregation of Sycamore Baptist Church recently gathered with Pastor Richard Williams, past members, and local community supporters to ask a prayer of blessing and dedication on their new fellowship building.
The little white church on the hill, located on the DeKalb/Cannon County line, was founded in 1871. The church celebrated with a ribbon cutting followed by a fellowship dinner in the new facility
2606 McMinnville Hwy
Smithville, TN 37166
Phone: 615 597-4265
FAX: 615 597-6025