Local News Articles

Man and Woman Arrested for Six Counts of Forgery

September 18, 2017
Dwayne Page
Blake Lydell Brown-Nichols
Courtney Danielle Decker
Shannon Ray Herman
Gregory Eugene Neal
Christopher Tyler Young

A man and woman have been arrested for passing six forged checks at two local businesses.


Seagate Crystal Reports - REPOR_39.pdf (3.07 MB)

23 year old Blake Lydell Brown-Nichols of Piney Woods Road, Smithville and Courtney Danielle Decker of South Tittsworth Road, Smithville are each charged with six counts of forgery. Bond for each is $15,000 and their court date is September 28.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that Nichols and Decker passed forged checks on the same victim six times at the following places:

*Forgery: On April 17, Nichols and Decker passed a forged check at Walmart in the amount of $282.56

*Forgery: On April 17, Nichols and Decker passed a forged check at Wilson Bank & Trust in the amount of $200

*Forgery: On April 17, Nichols and Decker passed a forged check at Wilson & Bank & Trust in the amount of $100.

*Forgery: On June 8, Nichols and Decker passed a forged check at Wilson Bank & Trust in the amount of $100

*Forgery: On June 9, Nichols and Decker passed a forged check at Wilson Bank & Trust in the amount of $200.

*Forgery: On June 13, Nichols and Decker passed a forged check at Wilson Bank & Trust in the amount of $150

The cases were investigated by a Sheriff’s Department Detective.

33 year old Shannon Ray Herman of McMinnville Highway, Smithville is charged with theft of property over $1,000 (having possession). His bond is $5,000 and his court date is October 5. Sheriff Ray said that on Saturday, September 16 Herman was found to be in possession of a stolen 1987 Dodge pickup truck, which was reported stolen in Smith County on Sunday, September 10. When questioned about the vehicle, Herman admitted to the deputy to having possession of the truck but he wouldn’t say where he got it.

47 year old Gregory Eugene Neal of Andrew Street, Smithville is charged with vandalism. His bond is $2,500 and his court date is September 28.
Sheriff Ray said that on August 24, Neal cut wires, headliner, and other parts of a vehicle on Adcock Cemetery Road with the intent to damage and destroy the automobile causing $725.69 worth of damages.

The case was investigated by a Sheriff’s Department Detective.

31 year old Christopher Tyler Young of Old Smithville Highway, McMinnville was arrested on Tuesday, September 12 and charged with driving while licensed revoked. He was also cited for no insurance, violation of the light law, leaving the scene of an accident, and failing to give immediate notification of an accident. His bond is $1,500 and his court date is September 28. Sheriff Ray said that on July 25 a deputy was patrolling on McMinnville Highway when he passed a green Honda Accord traveling northbound committing a traffic violation. The officer tried to make a traffic stop but he lost sight of the automobile after it turned onto South Tittsworth Road in Smithville. He later found it wrecked at the intersection of South Tittsworth and Cantrell Cemetery Road but the driver had left the scene. After an investigation it was discovered that Young was the driver and that his license are revoked for driving under the influence on November 3, 2011.

Homeless Couple Charged in Rash of Burglaries and Thefts

September 18, 2017
Dwayne Page
Joshua Dewayne Brown
Ashley Nichole Tittle

A homeless couple who went around stealing from homes, outbuildings, barn, and a church in the Alexandria, Liberty, and Dowelltown areas has been arrested by the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department.



31 year old Joshua Dewayne Brown and 24 year old Ashley Nichole Tittle are charged with 10 counts of burglary, 3 counts of aggravated burglary, 4 counts of vandalism, 10 counts of theft under $1,000, and 3 counts of theft over $1,000. Brown is also charged with 1 count of evading arrest.

Brown is under a $126,000 bond. Tittle’s bond is $122,500. Both will make an appearance in DeKalb County General Sessions Court on September 28.

According to Sheriff Patrick Ray, Brown and Tittle were found living under a tent in an old outbuilding on Wilson Hollow Road at Liberty. They had targeted 11 victims in their crime spree including one who was victimized three times.

Sheriff’s Department Detectives have recovered some of the stolen property. “I commend my detectives. They have been busy working on these and other break-ins. It has taken a long time and many hours during the past few weeks getting these suspects into custody but I want to commend my detectives on a job well done,” said Sheriff Ray.

The crimes against the two are as follows:

*Aggravated Burglary and theft under $1,000: On March 15, Brown and Tittle entered a residence on Alexandria to Dismal Road and took $1,000 in change.

*Burglary and theft under $1,000: On August 5, Brown and Tittle entered a building on Eckles Heights in Liberty and stole a weed eater and air compressor valued at $600.

*Burglary, vandalism, and theft under $1,000: On August 8, Brown and Tittle entered an outbuilding on Johnson Erwin Drive by forcibly prying open a door and took a Stihl chainsaw and Husqvarna chainsaw valued at $700. Damage to the building was less than $500.

*Burglary and theft under $1,000: On August 15, Brown and Tittle entered a vehicle on New Hope Road in Alexandria and took a Rock Island Armory 45 caliber handgun, a box of ammo, and extra magazines to the handgun valued at $539.

*Burglary and theft under $1,000: On August 15, Brown and Tittle entered a vehicle on New Hope Road in Alexandria and took a green purse, cash, and a check book valued at $230.

*Burglary and theft over $1,000: On August 20, Brown and Tittle entered the Mount Calvary Baptist Church on Lower Helton and took 2- 32 inch Sanyo LCD TVS, A 50 inch Sanyo LCD TV, 2 mounting brackets, and a flat top guitar valued at $1,330.

*Burglary, vandalism, and theft under $1,000: On August 29, Brown and Tittle entered a building on East Main Street in Dowelltown and stole various medications valued at $60. They caused $100 in damage to a window and window frame

*Burglary and theft under $1,000: On August 29, Brown and Tittle entered an outbuilding on Maulden Street in Liberty and stole a Poulan chainsaw valued at $150.

*Burglary and theft over $1,000: On August 30, Brown and Tittle entered an outbuilding on Lower Helton Road and stole a Stihl farm boss chainsaw, Stihl HS-46C hedge trimmer, a Dewalt saw, Milwaukee drill set, and Ruger 22 caliber rifle valued at $1,290.

*Aggravated burglary and theft under $1,000: On September 4, Brown and Tittle entered a residence on Alexandria to Dismal Road and took a 12 gauge double barrel shotgun valued at $175.

*Burglary (2 counts) and theft under $1,000: On September 9, Brown and Tittle entered a barn and a shed on the same property at Liberty to Dismal Road and stole a compound bow (from the barn) and Stihl chainsaw (from the shed) valued at $600.

*Theft over $1,000 and vandalism: On September 10, Brown and Tittle took a 2006 Honda recon 250 cc 4 wheeler from East Main Street in Dowelltown and damaged the ignition switch. Total damage less than $1,000.

*Aggravated burglary, vandalism, and theft under $1,000: On September 11, Brown and Tittle entered a residence on the Alexandria to Dismal Road and stole a laptop computer, cigarettes, and pellet gun valued at $710. They caused $100 in damage to the back door of the home during the burglary.

* Evading Arrest: On September 12, Brown attempted to flee by failing to obey law enforcement commands to stop.

Juveniles Sentenced for Joyriding on Nursery Golf Carts

September 18, 2017
Dwayne Page

Six minors made an appearance in Juvenile Court last Thursday after recently taking golf carts from a local nursery for the purpose of joy riding.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that detectives at the Sheriff’s Department received reports on July 15 and July 17 that two golf carts had been taken from a nursery off Four Seasons. Another golf cart was taken from there on September 4.

Through an investigation, a detective learned that five of the juveniles were involved in taking two of the carts on July 15. Four participated in taking two carts on July 17, and three of the kids took one of the golf carts from the nursery on September 4.

Sheriff's Department Detectives took petitions against all six of the kids on Wednesday, September 6 charging them with the delinquent act of joyriding

All six juveniles entered a plea to the offenses. Each is required to perform hours of community service, send an apology note to the victim and is under a restraining order to keep away from the victim's nursery.

Local Law Enforcement Agencies to Receive Federal Grants

September 18, 2017
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department as well as the Smithville and Alexandria Police Departments are each getting a $5,000 federal grant from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to support local highway safety initiatives.

The announcement was made today (Monday) by the Tennessee Department of Safety & Homeland Security (TDOSHS) in partnership with the Tennessee Highway Safety Office (THSO). Approximately 400 grants exceeding $18 million will be distributed statewide from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) through the THSO for the 2017-2018 Federal Fiscal Year (FFY).

“Highway safety enforcement and education initiatives are critical components to preventing highway fatalities,” said Commissioner David W. Purkey of the TDOSHS. “We cannot lower statewide fatality numbers without strong partnerships within our local communities. That is why these funds are so important.”

Every year, traffic safety advocates, non-profit organizations, emergency response personnel, law enforcement, District Attorneys’ offices, and other state agencies across Tennessee seek funding through grant applications offered by the THSO. Applicants who meet the required data-driven criteria and highway safety standards are awarded grant funds to support the THSO’s mission to reduce traffic crashes, injuries and fatalities.

“Our highway safety partners are dedicated men and women who work tirelessly to protect Tennessee roadways every day,” said THSO Director Vic Donoho. “The THSO grant funding provides essential highway safety training and equipment for law enforcement agencies, sophisticated crash data collection analysis technology, specialized DUI prosecutors, resources for emergency response personnel, and educational tools to help improve driver behavior.”

Folk Artist Matt Butler to Perform Free Concert in Smithville as Part of National Recovery Month

September 18, 2017
Norene Puckett
In honor of National Recovery Month the DeKalb County Recovery Court has partnered with Sober Living Services and Lifeline of TN to bring a FREE Matt Butler concert to Smithville, Friday, September 22 at 6:00pm at the DeKalb County Complex

In honor of National Recovery Month the DeKalb County Recovery Court has partnered with Sober Living Services and Lifeline of TN to bring a FREE concert to Smithville, TN! This Friday, September 22 at 6:00pm at the DeKalb County Complex (712 S Congress Blvd.) in the Auditorium, all aboard the Matt Butler #recoverymonth tour train for a recovery month celebration! It was just announced by NAMI that Matt will be honored as a Leader In Mental Health Awareness for his album Reckless Son at this year’s annual conference in Albany, NY!

Matt Butler is a folk artist, a rock’n roller, and a storyteller. Weaving personal experience with a timeless style, Butler brings honesty and openness to his classic approach to songwriting.

Matt Butler first gained notoriety as the lead singer of the New York based band Reckless Sons, who released two EPs, the latter with legendary record producer David Kahne (Lana Del Ray, The Strokes, Sublime, Paul McCartney). The turning point in Butler’s career came, however, when he confronted his lifelong struggle with alcoholism and substance abuse. After getting sober, Butler recorded his debut solo album Reckless Son, a poignant confession of his battle with addiction and his inspiring path to recovery. Right from the start, Butler was able to pull together a community around his message and crowd fund the entire project through a successful Pledge Music Campaign. Released to critical acclaim in September of 2016, Reckless Son drew comparisons to heroes of Butler’s like Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan as well as contemporary Americana icons Jason Isbell and Sturgill Simpson.

Immediately following the release, Butler wrote and performed ‘Just One’, the original song for the feature length and nationally distributed documentary Generation Found. The film portrays the devastating effect the current drug and opiate epidemic has had on adolescents in and around Houston, TX, and the unprecedented way in which the community has rallied to support them.

With the simultaneous release of both Generation Found and Reckless Son, Butler found himself center stage in America’s recovery community. Butler has since performed at rallies, conferences and fundraisers across the country including The Caron Foundation’s annual gala in New York City and the Facing Addiction In America Summit in Los Angeles where the Surgeon General gave his historic address on the current addiction epidemic. Butler has performed alongside senators, congressmen and judges at state capitals across the country, including a performance on the steps of the Columbus State House alongside Senator Rob Portman. A sought after public speaker as well as performer, Butler has spoken at numerous high profile events including The David Lynch Foundation’s ‘Recovery, Meditation, and The Brain’ Summit at New York’s Paley Center. Dedicated to service, Butler has performed for incarcerated populations in jails and prisons in numerous states, most recently completing his first ever ‘Behind The Walls Tour’, where he performed exclusively in state prisons across Ohio. In November of 2017, Butler will be honored in Albany by the National Alliance On Mental Illness (NAMI) alongside Pulitzer Prize winner Ron Powers and Super Bowl Champion Keith O’Neil as a Leader In Mental Health Awareness.

During his relatively short professional career, Butler signed a development deal with Mercury Records (Island Def Jam), toured the United Kingdom (including main stage appearance at the Brighton Beachdown Festival), was a featured performer for TEDx San Francisco, recorded a single with Jeff Saltzman (The Killers), appeared in The LA Times, Nylon, Vanity Fair, Spin Magazine, and New York Times, as well as being the face of John Varvatos STAR USA ad campaign with Converse. As a solo artist, he has shared bills with the likes of Neil Young, Norah Jones, and Willie Nile.
A gifted singer/songwriter on the rise, he has co-writes with Angelo Petraglia (Kings Of Leon), Bobby Huff (Shinedown), Ted Hutt (Gaslight Anthem, Flogging Molly), Scott Stevens (The Exies), Mike Viola (Candy Butchers) and Raine Maida (Our Lady Peace).

Songs of Butler’s have been licensed to numerous films and television shows including American Pickers (Main theme song), NBC’s The Voice, A&E’s Biography of Bruce Springsteen, Pawn Stars, NY Ink, STARZ Network series Crash, Ax Men and Burn Notice.

Deer Archery Hunting Season Opens Saturday

September 18, 2017
Dwayne Page
Deer Archery Hunting Season Opens Saturday

The 2017 deer archery-only hunting season opens statewide in Tennessee on Saturday, Sept. 23. The archery season dates in all five of the state’s deer hunting units are the same. The dates are Sept. 23-Oct. 27 and Oct. 30-Nov. 3.

Tennessee is divided into five deer units for better management, A, B, C, D, and L. The antlerless deer bag limits are four in Units A-D management areas and three per day in Unit L areas. The antlered deer bag limit is a total of two for the entire deer season. DeKalb County is in Unit B.

In addition to deer, archers may harvest wild turkeys of either sex during the archery-only deer season in counties that have a fall turkey hunt. Turkeys harvested during the archery-only deer season count toward the fall turkey county bag limits.

The TWRA makes the recommendation that all archery hunters obtain a 2017-18 Tennessee Hunting and Trapping Guide. The guide lists the counties and bag limits for each of the different deer management units. The guides are available where hunting and fishing licenses are sold and on the TWRA website, www.tnwildlife.org.

Hunters are reminded that they must possess the appropriate licenses and permits. Any hunter born on or after Jan. 1, 1969 is required to carry proof of satisfactory completion of a hunter education class or be in possession of the Apprentice Hunting License (along with other required licenses), while hunting any species in Tennessee.

Driver Flees Scene on Foot After Serious Saturday Night Crash

September 18, 2017
Dwayne Page

The Tennessee Highway Patrol is investigating a two vehicle crash Saturday night involving five people in which the driver of one automobile fled the scene on foot.

Names have not yet been released.

According to the THP, the crash occurred at 9:20 p.m. on Highway 70 east near Howard Redmon Road as the driver of a 1994 Nissan pickup truck, traveling east on U.S. 70, was passing another vehicle in a no passing zone. A 1998 Toyota Tacoma was approaching traveling west on U.S. 70. The left front of the Nissan pickup struck the left front of the Toyota Tacoma.

The driver of the Nissan pickup fled the scene on foot. He had three passengers, two of whom were transported to St. Thomas DeKalb Hospital. One was flown to Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga.

The driver of the Toyota Tacoma, the lone occupant of that vehicle, was not injured.

This accident remains under investigation. Additional information will be released when the investigation is complete.

D.C.H.S. Band is Excellent

September 18, 2017
Bill Conger
Drum Major Junior Ingram Receives Award (Bill Conger photo)
DCHS Band in action at Crossville Exhibition (Bill Conger photo)

Judges at the Upper Cumberland Marching Band Festival confirmed what many people already thought. The DeKalb County High School Band is “Excellent.” That was the overall rating the 48-member Division II band scored at the annual exhibition in Crossville on September 16.

“I thought the kids did great,” said Band Director Tracy Luna. “It was a real good first performance. I think they're right on track for Division II, our state championship on November 4th. I think we'll be ready.”

The band scored the top rating of Superior with its visual element, Superior for the percussion section, Superior for Drum Major Junior Ingram, and Superior for Auxiliary. Ingram tied for second place overall, and the percussion was overall third place in scoring.

“They [judges] look at different components of the marching and playing,” explained Luna. “They look at marching style, whether the band marches in step, and how good the forms look. The forms are the pictures we make from the perspective of the press box. They also look at music. Music has to be mostly in tune, the rhythm has to be pretty good and right, and they have to be balanced pretty well to get a good score.”

“The color guard is coming along. It adds a visual element to our repertoire that judges look for in the auxiliary section. They're right on pace to become a Superior ensemble as well.”

Bands did not compete for placement. Basically, each squad competes against itself to demonstrate where their skill level stands at this point in the marching season.

“I think they did terrific,” said Luna. “They're on the right track to being a superior band.

Bands hone in on particular musical themes for their performances, and for D.C.H.S, that focus is on Mangione Magic.

“Chuck Mangione was a terrific jazz flugelhorn player and jazz musician band leader from the 1970s, and some of his music carries over very well into today. The kids really dig the jazz we put out there and the Latin feel. “

“We open up with a piece that includes part of the "Children of Sanchez." Our second song is the "Land of Make Believe." The third song will be called "Echano" when we put it on the field in coming weeks.”

Along with the new Assistant Band Director Dalton Hawkins, Luna is making great strides with the band, improving in size and quality from the previous year.

“Quality wise the kids are learning and growing and developing better this year,” says Luna. “They're probably a good month ahead of where they were last year at this point. “

Students in 7th and 8th grades from DeKalb Middle and DeKalb West join with the high schoolers to perform at all football games, and for the two remaining competitions. Students in the band are Lauren Clark, Kyle Holmbeck, Abby Ludwig, Darrell Ludwig, Hannah Swoape, Maggie Felton, Brecken Gammons, Raiden Griffin, Javontae Martin, Skyler Southard, Kristopher Stansberry, Cheyenne Sutton, Savanna Warren, Sophia Amaya, Ana Amaya, Jaynee Angaran, Karleigh Atnip, Breanna Beaty, Brisa Brown, Molly Carrier, Alex Cowan, Hunter Davis, Brittney Edwards, Emily Glass, Natalie Gopar Torres, Junior Ingram, Savannah Jackson, Emma Johnson, Tori Linder, Liberty Mildner, Joshua Moon, Megan Mooneyham, Christian Owen, Haylea Owen, Seth Patterson, Zachary Pettit, Axel Rico, Elisabeth Saylors, Blaine Sexton, Edith Silva Godinez, Harley Sloan, Nathaniel Snell, James Tramel, Linda West, Gavin Conger, and Harmony Patterson.

Grand Opening Soon for DeKalb Animal Coalition Shelter

September 17, 2017
Dwayne Page
Grand Opening Soon for DeKalb Animal  Coalition Shelter

Although a date is not yet set, a grand opening for the new DeKalb Animal Coalition Shelter is coming soon.

Finishing touches are being made to the building located on a four acre site near the solid waste transfer station, behind Tenneco off of Highway 70 east.

During last Monday night’s meeting, the Smithville aldermen voted to set the pay of Megan Moore, the new director for the animal shelter at $15.00 per hour. Moore was hired by the aldermen in August but they had not officially set her pay at that time.

Moore was recommended for the job by the board of directors for the DeKalb Coalition for the Humane Treatment of Animals, which will oversee the operation of the shelter.

A city employee, Moore will have a part time assistant, although that position has not yet been filled.

Speaking with WJLE last week, Moore said volunteers and donations are needed to support the animal shelter.

“As always, we appreciate your donations. We accept monetary donations as well and encourage you to sign up as a volunteer. Thank you for supporting the DeKalb Animal Coalition Shelter”, she said

“All items may be dropped off at 129 Braswell Lane in Smithville or you may call 615-464-8701 or 615-464-5931 and we will make arrangements to meet you at the shelter,” added Moore.

If you would like to sign up to volunteer, please contact Megan at 615-464-5931.

Donation Supply List Needed:

Dog Food** Dry, Canned, Adult, Puppy
Cat Food** Dry, Canned, Adult, Kitten
Cat Litter
Litter Boxes (not large ones)
Cloth Towels
New / Gently Used Toys
New / Gently Used Leashes & Collars
Paper Towels
Laundry Detergent
Dryer Sheets
TWO 100ft Garden Hoses with Nozzles
**Preferred Brands- Purina, Eukanuba, Beneful, Pedigree, Iams, Hills Science Diet

The shelter will serve as a permanent and safe location for neglected, abandoned and abused animals; to provide an alternative low-kill policy so these animals receive medical attention, reduce overpopulation, and be cared for until they can be placed in permanent homes.

New Member Elected to DTC Board of Directors

September 17, 2017
Dwayne Page
DTC Directors Elected Saturday: Jim Vinson of Milton, Michael Alexander of Woodbury, and Terry McPeak of Norene. Alexander defeated Incumbent Jean Chumbley Ferrell
DTC Board of Directors prior to Saturday’s Election as pictured in the DTC Annual Report. Photo by Kathleen Ann Slamkowski

Members of DeKalb Telephone Cooperative (DTC Communications) have elected a new member to the Board of Directors.

Michael Alexander defeated Incumbent Jean Chumbley Ferrell from the Woodbury Exchange in the director election. The results of the voting were announced Saturday during the annual membership meeting held at the fairgrounds in Alexandria.

Two other incumbent members, Jim Vinson of the Milton Exchange and Terry McPeak of the Norene Exchange ran unopposed.

Alexander was elected in the Woodbury Exchange with 233 votes over Ferrell who received 179 votes.

In the Milton Exchange, Vinson received 303 complimentary votes and McPeak, from the Norene Exchange had 289 votes.

Vinson was appointed by the board in June 2016 to fill the unexpired term of his father, Charles Dwight Vinson, who passed away in May, 2016. Dwight Vinson had served on the board for almost three decades.

Also serving on the DTC board are Bennie Curtis of Alexandria, Roy N. Pugh of Auburntown, James H. Dillard, Jr. of Gordonsville, Randy Campbell of Liberty, Ronnie Garrison of Smithville, Jimmy Oakley of Temperance Hall, and David Parker of Woodland.

A total of 418 members cast votes in the DTC election this year. Of those, 235 took advantage of early voting.

Following the annual meeting, the board of directors met to elect officers including Roy N. Pugh, president; Bennie Curtis, vice president; Terry McPeak, secretary; and Randy Campbell, treasurer.


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