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EMS Billing Rates to Increase July 1st

May 24, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page

In an effort to shore up revenues to help fund the operation, DeKalb County Commission Monday night voted to raise ambulance service billing rates, effective July 1 based on a recommendation by the budget committee.

The Basic Life Support rate will go from $350 to $500. The rate for Advance Life Support will increase from $450 to $600 and the Advance Life Support 2 fee will jump from $650 to $700.

Mileage charges will also increase from $10.50 per mile to $12.00 per mile.

“The budget committee is recommending this to try and get more revenue for the ambulance service. The reason why we (county commission) are voting now is so we can get this effective July 1 with the billing company. Insurance companies will be billed these rates,” said County Mayor Tim Stribling.

The new rates will also be more in line with what other counties in the area charge. “We got some information on rates in surrounding counties. Smith County’s rate for Advance Life Support is $550, $750 for Life Support Level 2, and $450 for Basic Life Support. Smith County’s mileage charge is $13.50,” said Stribling.

“White County’s Basic Life Support rate is $346.50. Their rate for Advance Life Support Level 1 is $424 and $559 for Advance Support Level 2 and their mileage is $10.50.”

“In Warren County all runs are at a base rate of $500 except specialty runs at $650. Their cost per mile is $11.00.”

“Cannon County’s Basic Life Support is $500. Advance Life Support is $550. Life Support Level 2 is $700. Their charge per mile is $13.00,”

“Macon County’s Basic Life Support is $444. Their Advance Life Support is $527. The Life Support Level 2 is $762 and their cost per mile is $12.80,” Stribling said.

In other business, the commission gave approval for the DeKalb County Young Farmers & Ranchers to use the county complex parking lot on Friday, June 24 to register participants in the annual “Giggin’ for Grads” frog gigging tournament from 5:30 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. Proceeds will benefit the Agricuture Scholarship Fund. The weigh-in will be Saturday morning, June 25 at 1:00 a.m.

The commission granted a lease of two vacant lots owned by the county for use by the Jamboree Committee during the annual Fiddlers Jamboree in July.

A lease renewal was approved with UCHRA for office space in the county complex. The original lease was from July 11, 2011 to June 20, 2016 for $40,545 per year or $3378 per month at $9.00 per square foot. The commission approved a new five year lease at the same rate.

Meanwhile the five member DeKalb County Board of Equalization will convene June 1, 2, 3, 6, & 7 for its yearly session to consider appeals from property owners regarding their assessments. In April the commission reappointed Phillip Hendrix and Carl Dwayne Webb to the Board while the Smithville Aldermen in May reappointed Russell Watson as the city’s representative on the board. The county commission had also appointed Robert Robinson but he later notified County Mayor Tim Stribling that he could not serve. Since then County Mayor Stribling has appointed Doyle Evans and Jimmy Goad to the board.

Butler Charged Twice in Domestic Incidents with his Wife

May 24, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page
 William Boyce Butler
Shirley Ann Gibbs
Agustin Martinez-Gonzalez
Rodrigo Gonzalez-Garduno
Daniel Lee Preston
Roman Lopez

A DeKalb County man was arrested twice last week over domestic incidents with his wife.

49 year old William Boyce Butler of Lee Braswell Road, Smithville is charged with aggravated assault. His bond is $10,000 and he will make a court appearance on May 26.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Wednesday, May 18 a deputy was dispatched to Butler’s residence on Lee Braswell Road in reference to a physical domestic involving a firearm. Upon arrival the officer spoke with Butler’s wife who said that she and her husband got into an argument over him being intoxicated. As she tried to leave home, Butler pushed her down and said she was not going to leave. Butler allegedly grabbed his wife and put a pistol to her head and said he would kill her. Butler was placed under arrest.

Two days later on Friday, May 20 Butler was arrested again, this time for violation of an order of protection or bond conditions. His bond is $1,500 and he will be in court on May 26. After receiving a report that Butler might still be having contact with his wife in violation of his bond conditions, a deputy conducted a welfare check at the Butler residence and saw Butler drive up in a pickup truck with his wife in the passenger seat. Butler was arrested again.

68 year old Shirley Ann Gibbs of Sims Street, Dowelltown is charged with domestic assault. Her bond is $1,500 and she will make a court appearance on May 26. Sheriff Ray said that on Friday, May 20 upon returning home, Gibbs noticed that all her clothes had been splattered with bleach. Also in the home were Gibbs’ daughter and a man. Gibbs became upset and started yelling at her daughter who was on a bed and the back bedroom. Gibbs also shoved the man backwards into the bathroom after observing him standing in a doorway operating a video camera. Gibbs was placed under arrest.

38 year old Agustin Martinez-Gonzalez and 31 year old Rodrigo Gonzalez-Garduno are each charged with public intoxication. Bond for each is $1,500 and they will be in court June 2. Sheriff Ray said that on Saturday, May 21 a deputy was dispatched to Midnight Express on Sparta Highway and upon arrival spoke with Gonzales and Garduno who appeared to be intoxicated. Employees of the club said that Gonzales and Garduno had earlier complied with requests to leave the premises but they later returned to the parking lot of the club. Upon the officer’s arrival, Gonzales and Garduno started walking down Sparta Highway. They were found to have a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on them and they were unsteady on their feet. Both were placed under arrest for public intoxication.

27 year old Daniel Lee Preston of Woodbury is charged with driving under the influence. He was also cited for a violation of the implied consent law. His bond is $1,500 and he will be in court June 16. Sheriff Ray said that on Saturday, May 21 a deputy responded to a wreck at Sligo Marina. Upon arrival the officer spoke with Preston who said he was operating a vehicle which backed into another automobile involved in the wreck. Preston had a strong odor of alcohol on his person. His speech was slurred and he was very unsteady on his feet. Preston told the officer that he had consumed five or six beers within the previous hour or two. Preston refused to submit to field sobriety tasks and a blood test.

24 year old Roman Lopez of Bowling Green, Kentucky is charged with driving under the influence. He was also issued citations for no driver’s license, no vehicle registration, no insurance, driving on roadways laned for traffic, and violation of the implied consent law. His bond is $1,500 and he will make a court appearance on June 16. Sheriff Ray said that on Sunday, May 22 while responding to a call with his lights and siren activated, a deputy started to pass Lopez’s vehicle on Dale Ridge Road when Lopez swerved into the officer’s lane of travel almost forcing him off the road. The deputy pulled over Lopez and noticed that he had a strong odor of alcohol on him. His eyes were also bloodshot. When asked to get out of the automobile, Lopez complied but stumbled onto the roadway and almost walked into oncoming traffic. The officer pulled him to safety. Due to the language barrier Lopez could not understand the deputy’s instructions for administering field sobriety tasks. No tasks were given.

Major Jerry Parker to Speak at Memorial Day Program

May 23, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page
Major Jerry Parker to Speak at Memorial Day Program

The community is encouraged to rally in a show of support for fallen heroes during a Memorial Day program Monday morning, May 30 at the DeKalb County Complex.

The guest speaker will be Major Jerry Parker of Murfreesboro.

Parker is a retired vice president and director of American General Life and Accident Insurance Company in Nashville. He graduated from the University of Tennessee where he received his officer's commission through the Army ROTC program. He served with the Fourth Infantry Division at Fort Lewis, Washington before going to Vietnam where he was awarded the Bronze Star Medal. Following his active duty service, he served in the Army Reserve for ten years and was discharged with the rank of major. He is a member of the American Legion Post 5 in Nashville.

Sponsored by the American Legion #122, the entertainment program will begin at 9:30 a.m. with Susan Hinton and Three Parts Grace performing followed by the main program at 10:00 a.m. featuring the National Anthem, the Pledge of Allegiance led by Edward Frazier, and prayers by Chuck Olsen and Larry Green. Commander William Edmonds will make welcome remarks and Judy Redmon of the American Legion Women’s Auxiliary will remember the fallen. A poem in tribute to veterans will be read followed by a Memorial Day message from Major Parker. Ronnie Redmon of the American Legion will adjourn the program at the complex after which attendees will be asked to gather at the veteran’s memorial monument at the courthouse for the laying of a wreath and taps.

Celebrating National Drug Court Month: Criminal Justice in Action

May 22, 2016
by: 
Norene Puckett
On May 15, 2016 drug court staff along with former graduates, current participants and their families and friends gathered at Greenbrook Park in Smithville for a cook-out and fellowship.

This May, drug courts and other treatment courts throughout Tennessee will join over 2,900 such courts nationwide in celebrating National Drug Court Month. By May 31, thousands of individuals who entered the criminal justice system addicted to drugs and facing incarceration will receive life-saving treatment and the chance to repair their lives, reconnect with their families and find long-term recovery. Treatment courts are now considered the foundation of criminal justice reform and the most effective strategy to reduce substance abuse, crime and recidivism while saving money for taxpayers. The time has come to expand these programs so they can reach every seriously addicted individual who comes into contact with the justice system.

This year’s National Drug Court Month theme is “Criminal Justice Reform in Action.” Since the late 1980’s, drug courts have paved the way for significant criminal justice reform in the US. Without the innovative, evidence-based treatment these programs provide, more than 1.4 million Americans would not be living in recovery from addiction. The expansion of the adult drug court model into other types of treatment courts that serve families, juveniles, repeat driving while impaired (DWI) offenders, and veterans is transforming how the justice system responds to addiction and mental health and proving that treatment is far more effective than punishment.

In 2003, the first drug court in Tennessee opened its doors with a simple premise: rather than continue to allow individuals with long histories of drug abuse and crime to cycle through the criminal justice system at great expense to the public, use the leverage of the court to keep them engaged in treatment long enough to be successful. Today, drug courts and other treatment courts have proven that a combination of accountability and compassion can not only save lives, but save valuable resources and reduce exorbitant criminal justice costs.

More research has been published on the effects of drug courts than virtually all other criminal justice programs combined. In 2012, the US Government Accountability Office submitted a report to Congress confirming drug courts reduce substance abuse and crime and save money. Nationally, drug courts return to the community up to $27 for every $1 invested. Drug courts reduce crime by up to 50%, and the longest study to date shows reductions lasted an astounding 14 years. Moreover, studies show that the more serious an individual’s drug addiction and the longer his or her criminal record, the better treatment courts work. This approach not only diverts individuals from a life of substance abuse and crime, but has been proven to reduce use of jail or prison beds, emergency room admissions, family conflicts associated with domestic violence and child abuse, and foster care placements.

Tennessee is now home to courts in 75 counties and in 28 judicial districts and is setting a national standard for smart-on-crime justice policies that reduce recidivism and save money. These programs keep our roads safe from impaired drivers, intervene before youth embark on a debilitating life of substance abuse and crime, give parents the tools they need to stay clean and maintain custody of their children, and ensure our veterans receive the benefits and treatment they have earned.

The DeKalb County Drug Court is committed to assisting with the intervention, treatment and rehabilitation of non-violent drug offenders who desire to change their lives and break the cycle of drug dependency. The program consists of a minimum of 52 weeks of treatment, which includes inpatient and outpatient treatment. Treatment is holistic and involves not only alcohol and drug treatment but also other activities, living arrangements, educational/vocational requirements, etc. There are 4 phases of treatment designed to help break the pattern of drug dependency and arrest.

Participants must meet weekly with a Probation Officer, Case manager and have a weekly review before the Drug Court Judge. Participants are randomly drug screened at a minimum of 3 times per week, every week. Drug Court participants attend outpatient treatment weekly at Haven of Hope Counseling, attend local NA/AA meetings and undergo individual counseling also through Haven of Hope.

The Drug Court Team meets weekly and is comprised of Judge “Butch” Cook II, Drug Court Coordinator Norene Puckett, Drug Court Case Managers Rhonda Harpole and Kristy Longmire, Asst. District Attorney Stephanie Johnson, Asst. Public Defender Allison West, Haven of Hope Counseling, DeKalb County Sheriff Patrick Ray, and Probation Officer Holly Baugh to oversee each participant’s treatment. Participants are given sanctions for infractions of program rules, but are also recognized and provided incentives for accomplishments in other areas of their lives that promote drug-free, pro-social, law-abiding, behavior.

DeKalb County Drug Court would like to thank local sponsors who have donated goods or services to the program to offer as incentives to participants: DeKalb Florist, Gentlemen’s Barber-Jackie Cantrell, Creative Styles’ Stylists- Jayrah Cooper, Misty Martin, Rhonda Moore and Emily Webb, Wild Thyme, DeKalb County Complex Gym, McDonalds, & Scentsy Consultant Kim Carr. If your business would like more information on sponsoring the program please contact Norene Puckett at 615-215-8690 or norene.drugcourt@gmail.com.

On May 15, 2016 drug court staff along with former graduates, current participants and their families and friends gathered at Greenbrook Park in Smithville for a cook-out and fellowship.

Tigerettes to Face Dyersburg in the State Softball Tournament

May 21, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page

For the third year in a row and the eighth time in program history, the DCHS Tigerettes have punched their ticket to the TSSAA Class AA Softball Tournament. They defeated Red Bank 12-0 in five innings in a Sub-State game Saturday at the Danny Bond Field.

The Tigerettes (33-4-1) will play Dyersburg (39-5) in the first game of the state tournament Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. at McKnight Park #1 in Murfreesboro. WJLE will have LIVE coverage.

In the game Saturday, DeKalb County scored 12 runs on 12 hits and made no errors. Red Bank was held scoreless on 1 hit and made no errors.

The Tigerettes scored 8 runs in the 1st inning and 4 runs in the 4th inning.

Kayley Caplinger was the winning pitcher.

Tyra Graham had a homerun and a double.

Hannah Walker got a double and 2 singles

Lexi Bates, Myranda Bailiff, and Kayley Caplinger each had 2 singles.

Dani Meadows singled.

DeKalb County Fire Department Awarded Assistance to Firefighters Grant

May 20, 2016
County Fire Chief Donny Green

The DeKalb County Fire Department has been contacted by Senator Lamar Alexander’s office notifying Chief Donny Green that the department’s 2015 Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) application, in the amount of $70,895, has been awarded. The AFG Program is administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The funding award will be used to purchase personal protective equipment (turnout gear) and a thermal imaging camera. This equipment will serve all 11 of the department’s stations across the county. The Federal share of this award is $67,520 and the local matching share, to be provided by the DeKalb County Government, is $3,375.

Chief Green says that the personal protective equipment to be purchased with these grant funds will have a huge impact on the department’s daily operations. “We are really fortunate to be able to get federal funding to pay for this essential and expensive equipment. Our grant application aligned perfectly with AFG’s purpose of the grant—‘to protect the health and safety of the public and firefighting personnel against fire and fire-related hazards’—and our county will soon be getting the benefit of $70,895 for a cost to our local government of only $3,375,” said Chief Green. Using a competitive process, grants are awarded to applicants whose requests best address the priorities of the AFG Program.

County Mayor Tim Stribling says he and the DeKalb County Commissioners are thankful for this federal funding that allows the fire department to purchase this personal protective and thermal imaging equipment at a cost of only 5% to our county.

The DeKalb County Fire Department wishes to express its sincere thanks to County Mayor Tim Stribling, the DeKalb County Commission, Senator Lamar Alexander, and the Department of Homeland Security for their loyal support of the department’s application for this grant.

Fire Claims Dowelltown Home

May 20, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page
Ben Close Home on Banks Street in Dowelltown
Fire destroys shed behind home on Keltonburg Road Thursday

A fire Friday morning claimed the home of Ben Close on Banks Street in Dowelltown.

A passerby spotted the fire around 7:12 a.m. and reported it. Close was not home at the time. He had left minutes earlier.

According to County Fire Chief Donny Green, firefighters arrived on the scene within five minutes of the call and found flames coming through the roof. He said the fire apparently started from an upstairs bedroom. The cause is undetermined though not suspicious.

Firefighters were able to salvage some of Close’s antiques, appliances, and other personal items. No one was injured.

Members of the Liberty, Main Station, and Temperance Hall stations responded along with the tanker truck . DeKalb EMS and the DeKalb Sheriff’s Department were also on the scene.

Meanwhile, county firefighters were called Thursday afternoon to a fire at 2666 Keltonburg Road where a shed caught fire. The shed, located behind a residence, was destroyed but it did not spread to the house.

No one was injured.

Lomas Gets Six Year Sentence for Forgeries

May 20, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page
Enrique (Ricky) Adelaido Lomas

A Smithville man charged in a rash of forgeries last summer was sentenced in DeKalb County Criminal Court Friday, May 20.

Judge Gary McKenzie presided.

23 year old Enrique (Ricky) Adelaido Lomas of Bright Hill Road, Smithville entered a plea to three counts of forgery and received a two year TDOC sentence in each case to run consecutively for a total of six years. He must make restitution to four victims totaling $1,349. He will be furloughed to drug court.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Monday, July 6, 2015 Lomas stole a check from the glove box of a truck. He was charged with theft in that case.

Lomas then passed forged checks to another individual for $150 on Tuesday, July 7 and for $130 on Friday, July 10. In at least one case, white out was used as Lomas changed the amount of the check.

Meanwhile on Thursday, July 16, Lomas passed forged checks in amounts of $120 and $80 at Kwik N Ezy.

Five days later on Tuesday, July 21 Lomas passed forged checks in amounts of $100 & $65 to Discotienda Latina, $100 to Kwik N Ezy and $100 to Mercadito Chabelita. In some cases the checks were flagged as stolen and returned to the merchants.

38 year old James Allen Hesson of Big Hurricane Road entered a plea by information to violation of the sex offender registry. He received a two year sentence with one year to serve and the remainder suspended to supervised probation. The sentence is to run concurrently with a DeKalb County General Sessions Court Violation of Probation he is currently serving.

Sheriff Ray said that on Thursday, February 25 two deputies responded to a residence on Big Hurricane Road to do a welfare check on two children who were staying at this home. Upon arrival the officers observed a 13 year old boy coming out of a room where Hesson was sleeping. A two year old and a 14 year old were also staying at this residence. Hesson, a convicted sex offender is not to have minor children living with him. That's a violation of the sex offender registry.

31 year old Sara Nicole South entered a plea to theft over $10,000 and received a six year sentence suspended to supervised probation except for six months to serve. She was given credit for time served and must make restitution of $24, 125 making monthly payments of $350 to the victims as a condition of probation.

Sheriff Ray said that on Monday, August 8, 2014 South allegedly took several pieces of jewelry from a home on Sparta Highway. The jewelry was valued at $24,125. She allegedly admitted to taking a watch and a ring from the residence. Several other pieces of jewelry were recovered from the apartment where South was staying. That jewelry was identified by the victim as being some of the missing items.

54 year old Max Teeples entered a plea to manufacture of a schedule VI drug and possession of a weapon by a felon and received a two year sentence in each case to run concurrently with each other and concurrently with other cases against him in Putnam County.

William Hunter Hendrixson entered a plea by information to reckless endangerment and violation of the implied consent law. He received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days suspended to probation. He will lose his driver license for one year and he must participate in an alcohol and drug assessment program and follow the recommendations.

Pow Wow in the Park at Edgar Evins State Park

May 20, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page
Native American and storyteller Dennis Clause to appear at Pow Wow
Pow Wow in the Park at Edgar Evins State Park Saturday and Sunday

Edgar Evins State Park is hosting a two-day American Indian educational and cultural event tomorrow and Sunday. Pow Wow in the Park will take place on May 21 from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. and May 22 from 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

Attendees can enjoy a drumming and singing exhibition, intertribal dances, storytelling, native foods, artisans and vendors, and more. Presented by Hurricane Marina, Citizens Bank and Indigenous Intertribal Corp and with Boy Scout Troop 875, the event offers an opportunity to learn more about Native American cultures and histories. Guests are invited to sing, dance and drum along with the exhibitors.

Admission is $3. Children five and under, and all active military and first responders, are free. Tennessee Tech University students get in for $2 with valid ID. For more information, call (931) 644-0221.

Edgar Evins State Park is located on the shores of Center Hill Lake in the Eastern Highland Rim. The 6,000 acre park provides many recreational opportunities and acommodations on one of the most beautiful reservoirs in Tennessee. The park features 34 economy suites and 60 tent and trailer campsites. For more information, visit http://tnstateparks.com/parks/about/edgar-evins.

Graduates Say Their Goodbyes to DCHS (VIEW VIDEOS HERE)

May 19, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page
DCHS Principal Kathy Bryant Presents White Rose Awards to Seth Wright and Tyra Graham
DCHS Principal Kathy Bryant Presents Citizenship Award to Morgan Vickers

Graduating seniors are now looking toward the next chapter in their lives after saying their goodbyes to DCHS as students during Thursday night's commencement.

Three of the most outstanding members of the class were singled out for special recognition. This year's White Rose Awards went to Seth Wright and Tyra Graham while the Citizenship Award was presented to Morgan Vickers.

The White Rose is presented to a boy and girl from the senior class with strong academic performance and contribution to the school and community and exemplary moral character. The Citizenship Award is given to a student in the senior class who exemplifies strong academic performance and contribution to the school and community. The honors, distinction, and top rank students were also recognized during the program.

The 152 graduates received their diplomas during the commencement, each one shaking hands and posing for pictures with Director of Schools Patrick Cripps and DCHS Principal Kathy Bryant as their names were called by Assistant Principal Jenny Norris.

In her remarks, Valedictorian Ashli Chew urged her classmates to aspire to make a mark on the world. “ In 1963, mathematician and meteorologist Edward Lorenz hypothesized that a single butterfly could flap its wings and set enough molecules of air into motion that were capable of starting a hurricane on the other side of the world. Naturally, scientists all over the world laughed at his idea. It was mocked and ridiculed for more than thirty years until a collaboration of physicists concluded that his hypothesis was, in fact, valid and viable. Scientists have concluded that the so-called “butterfly effect” is true for all forms of matter, including people,” said Chew.

MAH00042 from dwayne page on Vimeo.

“Each person should aspire to make his or her mark on the world. After all, that is what the butterfly effect is all about, but it is more important to be open to all the different things that are in the world,” she continued.

“I hope that each and every one of you allow yourselves to be changed for the better while also having your own kind of butterfly effect. Rumi once said, Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself,” said Chew.

“Any Andrews said it best. You have been created with the ability to change the world. Every single choice you make, every single action you take, matters. But remember, the converse is also true. Every choice you do not make, every action you do not take, matters just as much. It is my hope that you all choose wisely. Choose happiness. Choose to live a life that is nothing short of your absolute best. Congratulations Class of 2016,” Chew concluded.

Chloe White, Class President, admonished her friends to never forget the many memories of their high school years as they move on to an unknown future. “Graduation is an exciting time. It’s both an ending and a beginning. It’s warm memories of the past and big dreams for the future. Soon we will all be moving on to the unknown. We will be starting our new lives at college, jobs, or in the military. While some will be practically in their own backyards, others will be across the world starting adventures we can only dream about. Although our lives will be vastly changing, we will never forget the many memories we have all made together. I cannot wait to see what the future has in store for all of us. God bless, and congratulations Class of 2016,” said White.

The program featured an Invocation by Alex Rhody of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Music by the DCHS Band and Chorus. DCHS Guidance Counselor Lori Myrick introduced the honors and distinction students. Guidance Counselor Shelly Painter recognized the Top Rank students in the class. The Benediction was delivered by Andrew Cornelius , member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

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