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Chimney Fire Forces Mother and Infant from their Home

December 11, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page
DeKalb Fire Chief Donny Green

A Dowelltown woman escaped with her infant child after discovering a chimney fire at their home Saturday morning.

“We responded to 578 Frazier Hollow Road in Dowelltown Saturday morning around 8:30 a.m. for a chimney fire at the residence of Catlynn Watt, who was at home with her infant child when she found her chimney on fire,” said DeKalb County Fire Chief Donny Green.

“When firefighters arrived, they found flames shooting from the top of the chimney and that creosote had ignited inside the chimney liner. Firefighters were able to use dry chemical extinguishers to put out the fire before any structural damage occurred,” Chief Green continued.

The Liberty and Main stations of the DeKalb County Fire department responded along with the department’s tanker truck, DeKalb EMS, and DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department.

Chief Green reminds residents who use wood heat to make sure their chimneys are inspected at least annually by a qualified person and cleaned and maintained regularly. “Always use seasoned firewood and never use fire wood high in tar residue such as pine and cedar,” Chief Green advised.

"Christmas on the Square" Thursday Night

December 11, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page
County Mayor Tim Stribling serving refreshments during Courthouse Open House last year
Santa visits children at Justin Potter Library last year

The Christmas season has arrived and you are invited to join in the celebration Thursday evening, December 15 downtown Smithville for “Christmas on the Square”.

The event will be held from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m. on the public square.

Courthouse officials and the Chamber of Commerce will have an Open House. And you can visit the county officials in the courthouse basement where you’ll find lots of goodies to eat!

There will be a Free Photo Booth and Holiday Music in the courthouse compliments of the City of Smithville. And the DeKalb County Board of Education folks will be giving away Free Books and Hot Chocolate on the south side of the square.

Justin Potter Library will have a special program starting at 5 PM. And Santa will be making an appearance, so remember to bring your camera.
And don’t forget about all the great downtown shopping!

Hope you can come for this special night – Thursday, December 15th from 5 to 8 PM - Christmas on the Square!

Due to the extreme cold weather conditions, there will be no outdoor entertainment or tree lighting ceremony this year.

Lewis Indicted for Vehicular Assaults

December 10, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page
Christopher Lee Lewis
Christopher Lee Lewis Indicted for Vehicular Assaults in December 2015 Pickup Truck Crash on Big Rock Road
Christopher Lewis Indicted for Vehicular Assaults in December 2015 Pickup Truck Crash on Big Rock Road

A man believed to be responsible for a pickup truck crash a year ago on Big Rock Road that injured himself and two others has been arrested after being charged in a grand jury sealed indictment for two counts of vehicular assault and one count of driving on a suspended license.

32 year old Christopher Lee Lewis was picked up Friday, December 9 and is under a $20,000 bond. He will be arraigned soon in DeKalb County Criminal Court.

The crash occurred on Monday, December 14 2015.

According to Trooper Bobby Johnson of the Tennessee Highway Patrol, Lewis was traveling north on Big Rock Road in a 1996 Chevy S-10 when he failed to negotiate a curve and went off the right side of the road and struck a tree. After the crash, Lewis got out and apparently tried to flee on foot. He was later spotted lying in the woods several yards from the crash site. According to Trooper Johnson members of the Smithville-DeKalb County Rescue Squad arrived on the scene and brought Lewis back up a steep embankment in a stokes basket. Trooper Johnson said Lewis acted belligerently and appeared to be intoxicated.

34 year old Carol Lewis and 31 year old Johnny Ray, passengers of the pickup, were trapped in the truck. Members of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department used extrication equipment to get them out.

Both Christopher and Carol Lewis were flown by helicopter ambulance from near the scene to Vanderbilt Hospital while Ray was airlifted to Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga.

The grand jury indictments allege that on December 14, 2015 Lewis did recklessly cause serious bodily injury to Johnny Ray and Carol Lewis by the operation of a motor vehicle, and the serious bodily injury was the proximate result of the intoxication of Christopher Lee Lewis, constituting the offense of vehicular assault.

Febus Accused of Assaulting Another with Hammer

December 10, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page
Orlando Rivera Febus

Smithville Police have made an arrest in an aggravated assault in which one man allegedly hit another man in the head with a hammer.

58 year old Orlando Rivera Febus was arrested on Wednesday, December 7.

According to the victim, Febus accused him of being on his (Febus’) property and in his truck the night before. After the victim denied the allegations, Febus reportedly struck the victim in the head with a hammer. The victim defended himself and the two fought. After hearing from witnesses, police determined that Febus was the primary aggressor and warrants were obtained for his arrest. Febus was taken into custody later in the day. His bond is $5,000 and his court date is December 22.

Man Arrested After Threatening Woman with Knife

December 10, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page
Bennie L. Simmons
Benito Saldivar Narvaez

Smithville Police have arrested a man for aggravated assault and evading arrest after allegedly threatening a woman with a knife before fleeing the residence.

38 year old Bennie L. Simmons is under a $15,000 bond and will make a court appearance on December 22.

An officer responded to a 911 hangup call at a residence on Tuesday, December 6 and upon arrival was told by the woman (victim) that a man (Simmons) was in her house and that he had a knife. The man ran out the back door while the officer was there and kept running as he was being ordered to stop. Police caught up with Simmons and took him into custody at the intersection of Hayes Street and Gentry Avenue.

The investigation revealed that Simmons had grabbed a knife out of a kitchen drawer, began to kick around furniture, and held the knife while threatening the victim.

In other city crime news, 20 year old Robert Alan Norrod was cited for criminal impersonation on Monday, December 5. Police responded to a call at Wal-Mart and upon arrival questioned Norrod, who gave the officer his brother's name. As a result, Norrod was cited and he will make a court appearance on December 15.

56 year old Benito Saldivar Narvaez was arrested for driving under the influence on Tuesday, December 6. An officer was dispatched to the area of South College and Vaughn Lane in reference to a gray Ford truck that had been observed setting in the middle of the road for approximately 15 to 20 minutes. Upon arrival, police observed a man slumped over the steering wheel with the truck engine running and the transmission in drive. The officer awoke the driver, Narvaez. He had an odor of a fermented beverage about his person. His eyes were red and glossy and he was unsteady on his feet. Narvaez submitted to but performed poorly on several field sobriety tasks. His bond is $1,500 and his court date is December 22.

Elizabeth Chapel to Present "He Shall be Called"

December 10, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page
Elizabeth Chapel to Present "He Shall be Called"

The Elizabeth Chapel Baptist Church invites you to join in the celebration of His precious name. His glorious birth. His coming!

Don’t miss “He Shall be Called” presented by the Living Christmas Tree at Elizabeth Chapel Baptist Church on Saturday, December 10; Sunday, December 11; and Wednesday, December 14 at 6:30 p.m. each night.

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulders: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6 .

Its a Living Christmas Tree presentation, “He Shall be Called” at the Elizabeth Chapel Baptist Church on Allen Ferry Road. Everyone is welcome.

Other churches in the area also have Christmas programs and services planned including the following:

* “The Christmas Guest” will be performed at the Indian Creek Baptist Church located 967 Hurricane Ridge Road, Smithville on Sunday evening, December 18 at 6:00 p.m. and on Wednesday evening, December 21 at 6:30 p.m. Santa will be present at the latter performance. You will be inspired by this very powerful and meaningful play. Everyone welcome!

*The Mount Pisgah Freewill Baptist Church will have a Christmas Play on Sunday, December 11 at 6:00 p.m. Everyone is welcome.

*You are invited to attend a Christmas Play at the Covenant Baptist Church on Sunday, December 11 at 5:00 p.m. Refreshments will be served following the play.

*Keltonburg United Methodist Church will host it's annual Live Nativity on Sunday, December 11. 2016 from 5:00-6:30pm. Come worship the Holy Christ child with the shepherds, wise men, angels and the Holy family, along with live animals. Enjoy our nativity from your car, or walk among the live scene if you would prefer. Hot chocolate and snacks will be available. The church is located at 5612 Keltonburg Road/Highway 288 Smithville, TN. For more information call 615-597-5682 or 615-597-5835.

*The Brush Creek Baptist Church will present the "Bethlehem Inn Dinner Show" December 10 & 11 starting at 6:00 p.m. The church is located on School House Circle, Brush Creek. Admission is free but reservations are required. Please call or text 615-218-4422.

Motorcycle Operator Arrested in High Speed Pursuit Sentenced in Criminal Court

December 9, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page
Coley Reade Hicks

A motorcycle operator arrested on Memorial Day after a high speed pursuit was recently sentenced in DeKalb County Criminal Court.

21 year old Coley Reade Hicks of Nashville entered a plea by criminal information on Monday, November 28 to aggravated assault, reckless endangerment, and evading arrest. He received a three year sentence for the aggravated assault and two years for the reckless endangerment charge to run concurrently with each other but consecutive to a one year term for the evading arrest offense. His total sentence is four years but all suspended to TDOC probation on judicial diversion

Hicks was arrested after leading a Tennessee Highway Patrol Trooper on a high speed motorcycle chase on Monday, May 30. The incident began when Trooper Sean Tramel of the THP spotted Hicks riding a Suzuki motorcycle on Highway 70 at Snow Hill and clocked his speed at 90 miles per hour in a 55 mile per hour zone. Trooper Tramel activated his emergency equipment (lights and siren) and initiated an eastbound pursuit. The chase continued on Highway 70 through the City of Smithville at speeds of over 120 miles per hour. Hicks ran all the red lights in town and as he crossed over into the opposite lanes to pass vehicles in front of him, oncoming motorists were forced to get out of his way .Although Hicks kept speeding east on Highway 70, Trooper Tramel terminated the pursuit near the Midnight Express. While he lost sight of Hicks, Trooper Tramel continued toward the White County line looking for him. After returning to the parking area of the Midnight Express, Trooper Tramel encountered Hicks again, some seventeen minutes after ending the pursuit. According to Trooper Tramel, he spotted Hicks on his motorcycle approaching from the east on Highway 70 heading west. When Hicks saw Trooper Tramel’s patrol car, he pulled off the highway and stopped. Trooper Tramel activated his emergency equipment and drove up next to Hick’s motorcycle. As Trooper Tramel was getting out of his cruiser, Hicks attempted to drive away but his motorcycle struck the open car door, pushing Trooper Tramel back inside the car. As he tried to flee, Hicks’ bike crashed into a guardrail. Trooper Tramel then held Hicks at gunpoint while placing him under arrest. Neither Trooper Tramel nor Hicks were injured. Trooper Tramel said Hicks told him the reason he was trying to evade was because he had no insurance on the motorcycle.

Convicted Felon with Loaded Weapon Arrested After Scuffle with Police

December 9, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page
Aubrey Glenn Rigsby

A convicted felon, armed with a loaded weapon, got into a scuffle with police in the parking lot of Walmart on Wednesday, December 7.

37 year old Aubrey Glenn Rigsby is charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and illegal carrying or possession of a weapon as a convicted felon.

Smithville Police responded to Wal-Mart in reference to a person armed with a gun. Upon arrival officers confronted the suspect, Rigsby and ordered him to put his hands in the air and step out of his car. As Rigsby got out of his vehicle, one of the officers noticed that he appeared to be reaching for his waistline and warned the assisting officer who began to wrestle with Rigsby and saw that he was gripping a gun while it was still holstered in the front of his pants. As Rigsby was unable to draw the weapon, he stopped resisting and raised his hands in the air. The officer then removed the loaded handgun from Rigsby. A certified criminal history check revealed that Rigsby is a convicted felon. Bond for Rigsby is $60,000 and his court date is December 22.

School Board Holds Brief Meeting

December 8, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page
Director of Schools and Board of Education

The DeKalb County Board of Education met in regular monthly session Thursday night at the Ernest Ray Education Center. The meeting was very brief lasting only about seven minutes.

Director of Schools Patrick Cripps gave his monthly report on personnel. Four employees have been granted a leave of absence as requested since last month including Robbie Frasier, Sara Halliburton, Karen Jacobs, and Sara Young.

The board adopted several proposed policies on first and second reading including one establishing what percentage of student’s performances on End of Course exams will count toward their final grades at DCHS in the year 2018-19.

High school students are tested in core subject areas with End of Course exams as part of the Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program, or TCAP. Their performance on these exams factors into their semester grade for the course.

“For this year of testing, 2016-17 End of Course will count 10% of the student’s average. 2017-18 it will be 15% of the student’s average. We have a range of 15-25% (we can choose) for 2018-19. That is something the board will have to approve. I recommend 15% be counted as the average in their End of Course exam for 2018-19,” said Director Cripps.

The school board approved Cripps’ recommendation.

Two principals, Julie Vincent at Smithville Elementary School and Kathy Bryant at DCHS gave brief updates on school activities.

"At Smithville Elementary School we’re finishing up our winter benchmarks this week and the beginning of next week. December 15 at 6:30 p.m. will be our second grade musical at the county complex. Ms Kelly Jo Birmingham has been working very hard with the second grade students for that and its always a nice event to see when the second graders put that on. December 16th is pajama day which is a big fun day at Smithville Elementary. I would like to give a shout out to my custodians, Pat Milam, Sara Lomas, James Owen, and Cody Pack. The fire marshal came through and did his inspection and said numerous times how clean the school was for such an older building. They couldn’t get over how nice it looked and how clean it is so I want to give them a shout out for how hard they work each day to help keep Smithville Elementary clean,” said Principal Vincent.

“DCHS will have end of course exams for Advanced Honors Geometry starting next week on December 14 and 15th and then our finals will begin on Thursday, December 15 and continue through the following Tuesday. Parents may visit www.dchstigers.com to find the detailed finals schedule if they would like to,” said Principal Bryant.

The board also granted permission for DeKalb Middle to begin fundraising to send students to the National Jr. Beta Convention.

DeKalb Fire Department Recognized for Smoke Detector Installation

December 8, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page
DeKalb Fire Chief Donny Green; Baylie Scott, Community Risk Reduction Coordinator for the Tennessee Fire Marshal’s Office; County Fire Lieutenant Brian Williams; and County Mayor Tim Stribling

The Tennessee State Fire Marshal’s Office (SFMO) has recognized the work of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department in meeting the challenge to install 100 smoke alarms in one day as part of the SFMO’s “100 for 100” initiative.

Baylie Scott, Community Risk Reduction Coordinator for the Tennessee Fire Marshal’s office presented an award Thursday to DeKalb County Fire Chief Donny Green and Lieutenant Brian Williams at the department’s main station on King Ridge Road. County Mayor Tim Stribling was also on hand for the presentation.

The award states “On behalf of the Tennessee State Fire Marshal’s Office this certificate is awarded to the DeKalb County Fire Department for their participation in the 2015 “100 for 100”. A century of saving lives and property. Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance.”

Launched in 2015, the “100 for 100” initiative commemorates the SFMO’s 100th anniversary by challenging fire service organizations to install at least 100 free smoke alarms in just one day.

“We are giving out an award for the 100 for 100 campaign in honor of the 100 years of the State Fire Marshal’s Office. Every department across the state was challenged to put in 100 smoke alarms in one day and the DeKalb County Fire Department did that,” Scott told WJLE.

" The "100 for 100" initiative started in response to Tennessee having an abnormally high fire mortality rate. Since then we have lowered the fire mortality rate 28% and we have installed a little over 130,000 smoke alarms statewide. We have also saved 154 lives. We have 458 organizations statewide that are participating in the program,” added Scott.

Although a group of DeKalb County volunteer firefighters met the 100 for 100 goal last year by installing 152 smoke alarms in one day, Lieutenant Brian Williams has placed or replaced hundreds of home smoke alarms himself over the last few years across the county, sacrificing his personal time and expense to make sure any home owner or resident who wants one has a working smoke alarm.

“We have to thank Brian for his commitment to this program. He has done the bulk of the work by himself. We’re proud that we have as many households in our county that are protected and we certainly want everyone to know that there is no reason for anyone not to have smoke alarms in their house because they are free. We come and install them for you and all you have to do is call 615-464-7176 or 615-330-4066 and let us know you need a smoke alarm. We will have someone get in touch with you," said Chief Green.

Anyone in need of a smoke alarm can also utilize the SFMO’s online alarm form to request a free installation at www.TN.gov/fire.

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