Local News Articles

DeKalb Middle Students Take a Tour of the Stars

November 24, 2015
Dwayne Page
Motlow College associate professor and STEM program director Billy Hix set up his 24-foot inflatable planetarium dome Tuesday to give DeKalb Middle School students a tour of the stars.

DeKalb Middle School students peered into the night sky over Smithville Tuesday, despite being inside the old DeKalb Middle School gymnasium in the middle of the day.

Motlow College associate professor and STEM program director Billy Hix set up his 24-foot inflatable planetarium dome center court to give students a tour of the stars.

When students entered the planetarium, the experience simulated moving through the solar system and the universe. Hix controlled the projection inside the dome using special software on a laptop. The software simulates different dates, planets and solar systems.

Inside the dome, students immediately identified the constellations as they appear this time of year.

Superimposing images of Greek mythology over the constellations, Hix then introduced students to the most prominent stars. "Usually on a typical planetarium show, I will address some of the outstanding constellations for the current date and a lesson regarding the Greek stories that helped name the constellations."

As part of his tour of the night sky Tuesday, Hix zoomed in on Jupiter and its moon, Io. The atmospheric storm known as Jupiter’s great red spot, Hix said, is three times the size of Earth and Jupiter’s moon, Io, is the most geologically active object in the Solar System with more than 400 active volcanoes.

Further zooming in on the pitted face of Io, Hix explained that Jupiter, the largest planet in our solar system, has such an immense gravitational pull on Io that “it’s pulling its guts out.”

“Soon,” Hix said, Io will fall apart and form rings around Jupiter. However, “soon” is a relative term to astronomers. “Anything less than a million years,” he explained.

Hix also told the students how that our earth's sun is dying and Saturn's rings are disappearing.

Hix made his first STEM presentation in 1986 and added the planetarium about three years ago. Since that time, his nationally recognized program has traveled more than 5,000 miles to bring astronomy to more than 12,000 students in more than 140 schools.

“We target schools that are challenged by their students’ social economic makeup,” said Hix. “Due to that, I am honored to be the first person that takes them on a visit to a real planetarium and it is up to me to open their eyes to a much larger universe.”

“The planetarium is used to hopefully stimulate an excitement about learning in general, and even more so with regards to science or STEM areas.”

Hix, who has worked as an astronomer for NASA, said his passion for visiting schools to teach about space began back when he was in elementary school. "When I was in the fifth grade, we were about to land on the moon, and I was nuts about learning about space, stars, and the space program," said Hix. "At my little four-room country school no one else was interested and I wanted someone to speak to us about space."

The lack of space education in his youth drove Hix to reach out to others. "Well, my teacher told me that we were going to have a speaker, but the speaker was from CO-OP and he talked about fertilizer," added Hix. "I told my mom that I was going to visit schools and find people just like me, and we were going to learn about the space program."

Inspired by his experience as a student who was raised in a rural area, Hix desires to teach students who might not otherwise have any exposure to astronomy.

"I work hard to make sure to visit schools that are rural and higher poverty, but I will visit any school as I see myself as a hungry-to-learn little lad when I visit," he continued. "It is a passion that I have to share science and the night sky with our youth."

In February 2014, the American Astronomical Society awarded Hix with their Master Outreach Award, an award that is given to an individual who has made a difference in the understanding of astronomy science across the nation.

Lomas Indicted in Rash of Forgeries

November 24, 2015
Dwayne Page
Enrique (Ricky) Adelaido Lomas

A Smithville man has been indicted by the Grand Jury in a rash of recent forgeries for passing stolen checks to an individual and at three local businesses.

22 year old Enrique (Ricky) Adelaido Lomas of Bright Hill Road, Smithville was indicted Monday for eight counts of forgery and one count of theft of property under $500. The cases were investigated by a Sheriff's Department Detective.

He will be arraigned in DeKalb County Criminal Court on Monday, December 7.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Monday, July 6 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.

Thirty Seven Indicted by Grand Jury

November 24, 2015
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Grand Jury indicted 37 people Monday including three who were named in sealed indictments.

Arraignment for each defendant is set for Monday, December 7 at 9:00 a.m. in DeKalb County Criminal Court.

Those indicted and their charges are as follows:

Joshua Lynn Batey: driving on a suspended license and failure to maintain lane, theft under $500 and public intoxication

David Lee Bean: driving under the influence (2nd offense), financial responsibility, failure to maintain lane

Melissa Faye Bean: driving under the influence (2nd offense)

Tommye Lou Bell: driving under the influence and financial responsibility

Shanna Bogle: theft over $1,000

Gary Jason Britt: driving under the influence, reckless endangerment, and failure to maintain lane

B.J. Lee Brown: driving on a suspended license, financial responsibility, child restraint, and speeding

Rebecca Dawn Duffield and James Anthony Skinner: theft over $1,000 and vandalism under $500

Therese Kae Herriott: driving under the influence

Rita Gail Houk: theft under $500 and vandalism under $500

Terry Allen King: possession of a schedule II over 0.5 grams for sale

Amail John Land: burglary, theft under $500, and vandalism under $500

Terra Elaine Locklear and Jessie Eugene Thomas: aggravated burglary, theft over $1,000, and vandalism under $500

Enrique Adelaido Lomas: forgery (8 counts) and theft under $500

Brandi Lynn McPheron: obtaining prescription by fraud (6 counts)

Christopher Brian Pack: driving on a revoked license

Christopher Neil Patterson: violation of restraining order

Kimberly Patterson: possession of schedule II for resale

Gregory Wayne Roberts: driving under the influence (2nd offense) and driving on a revoked license (3rd offense)

Tonya Silcox: driving under the influence and possession of paraphernalia

Genevieve Sonnier: driving under the influence, evading arrest, possession of a schedule IV, and failure to maintain lane

Rickey Clifton Stanley: driving under the influence and seatbelt violation

James Freddie Summers: theft under $500

Ramiro Torres: public intoxication

James Grady Warner, Jr.: aggravated assault and domestic assault

John Wayne Warner: driving under the influence (2nd offense), driving on a revoked license (3rd offense), financial responsibility, and violation of implied consent

Dra Dewayne Watkins: auto burglary (3 counts), theft over $1,000, theft over $500, and theft under $500

Destry Wiggins: indecent exposure

Paul Woodcock, Jr. : auto burglary and theft under $500 (3 counts)

Craig Alan Yarbrough: theft over $1,000 and theft under $500

Michelle Renee Yarbro: driving under the influence, possession of a schedule II and IV for resale, possession of schedule II, and possession of paraphernalia

William Stephen Zaderiko: false report and theft over $1,000

DeKalb Democratic Party to Host Holiday Event

November 24, 2015
Dwayne Page
Former Nashville Mayor Karl Dean

The DeKalb County Democratic Party will host its Annual Holiday Event on Thursday, December 10 at 6:30 p.m. at the DeKalb County High School cafeteria.

Former Mayor Karl Dean of Nashville will be the Keynote speaker. Lenda Sherrell, Hillary for America Tennessee Coordinator, will introduce Mayor Dean. Music for the evening will be provided by Tom Duggin performing Elvis’ Christmas Classics.

Join us for food, fun and music. If you have a special holiday food, feel free to share. If you have any questions, call Jordan Wilkins at 615-464-5440.

Power Outage Affects City and County

November 23, 2015
Dwayne Page
Sub-Station on West Main Street

A power outage Monday night affected the entire City of Smithville and a great portion of DeKalb County.

According to Richie Knowles of Smithville Electric System, the problem originated from a feeder line to the airport which shorted out causing a breaker at the sub-station on West Main Street to fail. This activated a circuit switcher resulting in the widespread power outage for all customers of Smithville Electric System and customers of Caney Fork Electric Cooperative throughout the county.

The power was later restored for all customers.

Mark Collins Sworn in as Smithville Police Chief

November 23, 2015
Dwayne Page

Smithville Police Chief Mark Collins was sworn in Monday night at city hall.

With his wife and daughter looking on, Collins took the oath from City Attorney Vester Parsley. Mayor Jimmy Poss was also present along with City Police Commissioner/Alderman Jason Murphy, City Administrator Hunter Hendrixson and members of the police department.

Following the brief ceremony, Chief Collins met with his fellow officers.

Arrest Made in Recent Burglary and Theft

November 23, 2015
Dwayne Page
Brandi Louise Brewer
Travis Fane Reeves
Brent J. Bogle
Glenda Madonna Bogle
Kacy Renee Davenport

The Sheriff's Department has made an arrest in a recent burglary and theft.

24 year old Brandi Louise Brewer of Barnes Mill Road, charged with burglary and theft of property over $1,000, is under a $25,000 bond and she will be in court on December 10.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on or about Monday, November 9 Brewer allegedly broke into a building on South Tittsworth Road and stole two chainsaws, an air compressor, an air tank, two wrench sets, an Impact socket, a socket wrench, a hammer drill, a jigsaw, and a 12 volt drill. The total value of the stolen items comes to $1,374. Some of the goods has been recovered and identified by the property owner.

Meanwhile, 43 year old Travis Fane Reeves of Pine Creek Falls Road, Smithville is charged with domestic assault. His bond is $2,500 and he will make a court appearance on December 10.

Sheriff Ray said that on Monday, November 16 a deputy responded to the emergency room of Saint Thomas DeKalb Hospital to speak with a woman who was injured in an assault by her husband at their home. The woman said Reeves threw boots at her, grabbed her around the neck with his arm, and punched her right thigh with his fist causing bruising. According to the officer, the woman had visible scratches on her neck and left hand. It was determined that Reeves was the primary aggressor and he was placed under arrest.

23 year old Brent J. Bogle and 45 year old Glenda Madonna Bogle both of Young Ridge Road, Sparta are each under a $2,500 bond after being charged in separate assaults on Pine Grove Road last Monday, November 16.

Sheriff Ray said that a deputy, in response to a domestic incident, learned that Brent Bogle had allegedly assaulted his girlfriend's father. Bogle was determined to have been the primary aggressor in that case and he was arrested for domestic assault.

Glenda Bogle allegedly got in a fight with a woman there hitting the victim in the face with her fist. Bogle was charged with assault.

22 year old Kacy Renee Davenport of High Street, Alexandria is charged with domestic assault. She is under a $2,500 bond and she will make a court appearance on December 10.

Sheriff Ray said that on Thursday, November 19 a deputy was dispatched to a residence on High Street in Alexandria in response to an unwanted guest call. Upon arrival the officer spoke with a woman who said she and her daughter, Davenport had gotten into an argument and that Davenport had thrown milk in her face which resulted in a physical altercation. Davenport allegedly hit her mother leaving a knot on the back of her head. Davenport was placed under arrest.

Wheeler Charged in Several Vehicle Burglaries

November 23, 2015
Dwayne Page
Steven Tyler Wheeler
Joshua Jordan
Christina Love Johnson
Neil Bernard Keenan

Smithville Police have apparently solved several recent vehicle burglaries with the arrest of an 18 year old man.

Police Chief Mark Collins said Steven Tyler Wheeler was arrested on Wednesday, November 18 on three counts of burglary and vandalism. Officers took two reports on Walker Drive where someone had entered vehicles and taken items without the owner's permission. A report was also taken on Tuesday, November 17 of someone busting out a window and possibly trying to hot wire a vehicle at Model City Auto Sales in an attempt to steal the automobile. Upon investigation it was determined that all three incidents were related and that Wheeler was a suspect. After questioning, Wheeler was charged and arrested without incident. His bond is $17,500.

Wheeler was charged with another burglary and theft on Friday, November 20. According to police, an officer took a report on Wednesday, November 18 in which a vehicle had been broken into on Walker Drive. Upon investigation, Wheeler was determined to have been involved in this incident in addition to the other break-ins on Walker Drive. His bond in this case is $4,500 and he will be in court on December 10.

Meanwhile, 37 year old Joshua Jordan was arrested on Saturday, November 14 for possession of methamphetamine with intent to manufacture, deliver or sell methamphetamine. An officer responded to East Broad Street in reference to a suspicious person trying to stop traffic. He spoke to the man, Jordan, who was incoherent in speech. Upon questioning Jordan, the officer determined that he may have smoked some marijuana and taken meth. Jordan had in his possession a small plastic container containing a white crystal like substance that field tested positive for methamphetamine. Bond for Jordan is $40,000.

34 year old Christina Love Johnson was arrested on Tuesday, November 17 for domestic assault. Police were dispatched to a residence due to an assault in progress. Upon arrival, an officer spoke with the parties involved and found that they had gotten into a verbal argument that turned physical with Johnson hitting and then biting the victim on the ear. Bond for Johnson is $2,500 and her court date is December 10.

59 year old Neil Bernard Keenan is charged with public intoxication and cited for simple possession. Police received a call on Friday, November 20 of a possible drunk driver that had crashed into a pole in the parking lot of Food Lion. The officer spoke with Keenan in a checkout line inside the store. Keenan was unsteady on his feet. His speech was slurred and he had an odor of an alcoholic beverage about his person. Incident to arrest, a silver pill container with a Schedule IV substance was found in his front pants pocket. Keenan was placed under arrest. His bond is $1,500 and his court date is December 17.

SES First Graders Host "Packing Party"

November 22, 2015
Dwayne Page
SES 1st Graders Pack Supplies for Children Around the World
Smithville Elementary 1st Graders Host Packing Party

Smithville Elementary first grade students are hosting the 1st annual "Packing Party".

Over the past several weeks, students have been bringing in various supplies such as cars, dolls, toothbrushes, toothpaste, wash clothes, soap, hair accessories, toys, combs, socks, tissues, crayons, coloring books, and pencils with sharpeners. The supplies were used to pack a total of 50 boxes for children around the world that do not get a Christmas.

First grade teachers at SES have been talking with their students in recent weeks about the importance of giving, and how important it is to love others. Teachers explained to their students that some kids around the world get nothing, and all the students were eager to do their part to help.

A "shopping area" was set up in the cafeteria at SES for students to shop for a girl or boy around the world. Students worked in groups to choose from supplies that they thought a girl or boy may like. Students wrote letters to stick in their boxes and are hoping for a reply. The 1st grade students, 1st grade teachers, and parents of SES worked hard to make this happen. The students were able to make 50 boxes total that will be mailed off next week!

Republican to Run for Assessor of Property (VIEW VIDEO HERE)

November 21, 2015
Dwayne Page
Shannon A. Cantrell to run for Assessor of Property
Tom Theriaque and Lee Plummer to run for Constable

A Republican has announced his candidacy for the office of DeKalb County Assessor of Property.

Shannon A. Cantrell of Smithville made an appearance at a DeKalb County Republican Party meeting Saturday morning at the courthouse to make the announcement.

Meanwhile Lee Plummer in the 1st district and Tom Theriaque in the 2nd district announced their intentions to seek the Republican nomination for constable.

Republican candidates for Assessor of Property and Constable will seek their party's nomination for those offices during the local GOP caucus set for Saturday, December 5 at 9:00 a.m. at the courthouse. Nominees will run in the August 2016 DeKalb County General Election against Democratic nominees and any Independent candidates.

Cantrell, apparently no relation to the Democratic Incumbent Assessor of Property Scott Cantrell, is married with two children. He is also a local Baptist minister.

"I have been married to my wife Tonya for the last 21 years. We have two children, Kaylee and Levi. Kaylee is in her third year at Cumberland University and Levi is in the seventh grade at DeKalb Middle School," said Cantrell.

"I am a local pastor. I have been since 2003 first with Coopers Chapel Baptist Church in the Dismal community and since 2008 I have been pastor at Temple Baptist Church in Smithville," Cantrell continued.

"I am a lifelong resident and with the exception of a couple of years while I was in my early 20s I've always worked here in town. The last eleven years I worked at DeKalb Utility District. I was there up until September of this year," said Cantrell.

A resident of Liberty, Theriaque and Heather, his wife of 20 years have three children, 17 year old Nathaniel, 15 year old Danielle, and 13 year old Dolton. He is the owner of DND Farm, which grows produce for local restaurants. The family attends the Smithville First United Methodist Church.

"I am looking forward to running in District 2. I plan to be active and I will meet state requirements and work with all other agencies if elected constable," said Theriaque.

Plummer, who resides just outside the city limits of Alexandria, is a retired U.S. Army officer and retired college professor. Plummer said he pledges to be an active constable if elected. "I already have more than 90 hours of in-service training as an associate member of the Tennessee Constables Association and they only require 40 hours of training in your first year as constable so I could go the entire first year without going to a single class and I'm still qualified," said Plummer.

Plummer is the father of six children one of whom is deceased. His wife passed away in 1996.

The deadline to get in these races including Democrats, Republicans, and Independents is NOON, Thursday December 10. Independent candidates, like Democrats, must qualify through the petition process. The local Republican Party will select nominees by caucus.

The DeKalb County Democratic Primary will be held in conjunction with the Tennessee Presidential Preference Primary on March 1.

Incumbent DeKalb County Assessor of Property Scott Cantrell has already picked up and returned his petition to seek re-election. He will be running for his party's nomination in the March 1 primary.

Meanwhile, Incumbent Constables Paul Cantrell in the 4th district, Mark Milam in the 5th district, Carl Lee Webb in the 6th district, and Johnny King in the 7th district have all been issued petitions and have returned them to the election commission. They will be running for their party's nomination in the Democratic Primary on March 1.

Meanwhile Travis Bryant, who was elected constable last year as an Independent to fill an unexpired term in the 3rd district has picked up a petition for the same office but this time he plans to run for nomination as a Democrat in the March Primary. Bryant has not yet returned his petition.

Chad Curtis, a Democrat in the 1st district and Republican Chris Tramel in the 2nd district were elected constable last year to fill vacant positions.


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