Local News Articles

Pam Redmon Named Director of Smithville Senior Citizens Center

October 20, 2015
Dwayne Page
Pam Redmon Named Director of Smithville Senior Citizens Center.

Pam Redmon has been named the new Director of the Smithville Senior Citizens Center.

She began her duties there almost a month ago. "I am really excited about the opportunity," said Redmon.

Prior to taking this position, Redmon worked with UCHRA. She is also owner of the Flower Box on Walnut Street. "I worked at Lakeside Resort for four years as the catering manager and then I became a nutrition project director for the Upper Cumberland through UCHRA serving fourteen counties. We did the home delivered meals and the congregate meals at eighteen senior sites. In the process of that, my daughter and her friend got me into the flower business (Flower Box)," said Redmon in an interview with WJLE.

During her four weeks on the job, Redman has seen activity pick up at the center. "They were kind of at a standstill for about a month but we're picking up and moving forward. We have several things scheduled. This week we're going to go to the senior expo in Cookeville. We're taking a group on a UCARTS bus. We have our first dance this Saturday night, October 24. Everybody is welcome. We're having it at the senior complex. We have a covered dish scheduled for the next Thursday night, October 29 and State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver is going to be here. She will be our guest speaker. We're also looking at possibly taking a day trip to Woodbury to the arts center or to the Cumberland Mountain State Park. We'd like to do a fall excursion before the leaves fall and maybe do a day trip to Sequatchie Valley to look at the leaves and have lunch," she said.

The center also features several regular activities. "We have recreation everyday with cards. They put puzzles together. There's a card game they call hand and foot which they are very active with. They play dominoes. I would like to have a weeklong rook tournament. We'd ask that people grab a partner and come in and start practicing for a rook tournament. The seniors walk daily and we have available the exercise equipment that they can use," Redmon continued.

Redmon's goal is to continue improving services at the center. "We are going to try and move our level up. I am new to this job and that's why I am excited because I like a challenge. We're going to move this center up to a higher level. We're at the bottom right now. I'd like to move it up to be in comparison with Cannon County, Jamestown, Cookeville, etc. because I think we have a need and we have lots of seniors who are so active and enjoy getting out so I am going to try and participate in all the requirements that will move us up a level," said Redmon.

In addition to the Smithville Senior Citizens Center, Liberty and Alexandria also have centers. Nancy Goad is the Director of the Liberty Senior Citizens Center and Sandy Brown is Director of the Alexandria Center.

Wiggins Arrested for Aggravated Child Abuse

October 20, 2015
Dwayne Page
Charles J. Wiggins

A Smithville man was arrested for aggravated child abuse Monday night after an infant was brought to Cookeville Regional Medical Center with serious injuries.

Charles J. Wiggins, an acquaintance of the child's mother, is charged with two counts of aggravated child abuse. Wiggins is under a $500,000 bond and he will be in court on October 29.

In a prepared statement, Smithville Police Captain Steven Leffew said, "On Monday, October 19 at approximately 6:07 p.m., Cookeville Regional Medical Center contacted Smithville Police in regards to an infant that was severely injured and had been brought into their facility for treatment. The injury was believed to have occurred in the jurisdiction of the City of Smithville".

"Lieutenant Matt Holmes and Sergeant Brad Tatrow responded and upon arrival spoke with medical staff who advised that the infant had sustained obvious severe injuries. Officers quickly developed Charles J. Wiggins as a suspect and upon investigation Smithville Police arrested Wiggins for two counts of aggravated child abuse. District Attorney Bryant Dunaway and investigators from his office as well as the Department of Children Services responded to the scene. At this time the infant remains in stable condition awaiting possible surgery."

"Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family. Cases like this are very stressful and bothersome. I want to commend all officers involved in this investigation for their professionalism" added Captain Leffew.

Liberty Man Charged with Assaulting his Mother

October 19, 2015
Dwayne Page
Benjamin Theodore Taylor
 Bryce John Beaver

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department arrested a Liberty man Friday for domestic assault.

36 year old Benjamin Theodore Taylor of Troy Cripps Road, Liberty is under a $3,000 bond and he will be in court October 29.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Friday, October 16 a deputy responded to a residence on Troy Cripps Road due to a domestic in progress. Upon arrival the officer spoke with Taylor whose speech was slurred. He admitted to having consumed four or five beers. According to Taylor, his mother got mad at him because he was drinking. Taylor's mother told the deputy that Benjamin slapped her in the face and struck her on the back, hands and legs leaving bruises. Taylor was determined to have been the primary aggressor and he was placed under arrest.

40 year old Bryce John Beaver of Sparta is charged with driving under the influence. He was also issued a citation for having a tail light out on his vehicle. Bond for Beaver is $2,500 and he will be in court October 29.

Sheriff Ray said that on Saturday, October 17 a deputy spotted a Ford car with a tail light out and pulled it over. Beaver was the driver. Upon approaching the vehicle, the officer detected a strong odor of alcohol. Beaver's speech was slurred. He admitted to having consumed several beers.

He performed poorly on field sobriety tasks. He also submitted to a blood/alcohol test.

Smithville Police Make Arrests in Assault Cases

October 19, 2015
Dwayne Page
Captain Steven Leffew

The Smithville Police Department has made several recent arrests for assault.

Captain Steven Leffew reports that 33 year old Lacy Lee West was arrested for domestic assault and violation of bond conditions on Tuesday, October 6. Answering a call for service, Sergeant Brad Tatrow found West sitting on the front porch of the residence. Upon further investigation, Sergeant Tatrow learned that West had thrown a picture frame, striking the victim on the left arm. West is currently under a valid bond condition to have no contact with the victim. Bond for West is $6,000.

25 year old Tracy M Blaylock was arrested for domestic assault on Tuesday, October 6. Officer Will Judkins was dispatched to a residence in reference to a physical domestic. Upon arrival he spoke with Blaylock who was outside trying to leave. While speaking with both Blaylock and the victim, Officer Judkins learned that a verbal argument between them became physical which left marks on the victim. Blaylock's bond is $3,500 and the court date is November 5.

31 year old Andrew A Dillon was arrested for aggravated assault and resisting arrest on Friday, October 9. Dillon allegedly assaulted a family member causing injury about the face and body by punching and throwing the victim on the pavement. When Corporal Chip Avera and Officer Will Judkins arrived on the scene, Dillon charged toward the officers with his fist clinched yelling that he was going to fight them. After refusing to obey verbal commands to calm down and back away, Dillon was tased by Officer Judkins. Bond for Dillon is $7,000 and he will make a court appearance on October 29.

30 year old Amanda Kay Lattimore was arrested by Sergeant Brad Tatrow for domestic assault on Sunday, October 11. Sergeant Tatrow responded to a call of persons fighting in the roadway. Upon arrival he spoke with the parties involved and learned that the fight began when a family member pushed Lattimore away from another relative. Lattimore was determined to have been the primary aggressor and she was taken into custody. Her bond is $2,500.

36 year old Michael L. Young was arrested for domestic assault on Monday, October 12. Officer Will Judkins responded to DeKalb Hospital in reference to an assault and spoke with the victim who had bruising from head to toe. Upon investigation it was determined that Young had hit and shoved the victim into random objects in a hotel room where they had stayed for approximately two hours leaving the victim in pain with bruises. Bond for Young is $3,500 and he will make a court appearance on November 5.

Meanwhile, 31 year old Jessica Marie Brazelton was arrested by Officer Lance Dillard on Sunday, October 4 for violation of an order of protection. According to the warrant, Brazelton sent text messages to the victim in violation of an active order of protection which the victim has against her. Brazelton's bond is $2,500 and she will be in court on November 5.

24 year old Elizabeth Donise Riley was cited for shoplifting on Thursday, October 8. A Dollar General Store employee saw Riley concealing items in her purse in an attempt to deprive the store of its merchandise. Her court date is November 5.

DeKalb Foster Children's Fund Needs Donations for Holidays

October 19, 2015
Dwayne Page
Annette Greek

The Christmas season is drawing near. Remember what Christmas was like when you were young? The family gathered together to give and receive blessings and gifts.

Christmas is a time for love, a time for joy, and a time for family. Not all children this year will take part in a celebration with their own families. Local children who are in foster care need assistance. Children who have been taken out of abusive or neglectful homes or sent away from their family by the Juvenile Court system may be sharing Christmas with a family of strangers. Your help is needed to make sure their needs are met during the holidays.

As in years past, your assistance is requested with Christmas gifts for local children who are in foster care with the Department of Children's Services. This year, there are over 914 children in the Upper Cumberland who are in state's custody and approximately 56 of those children are from DeKalb County. These local children need your help.

If you or your organization is willing to help provide funds, please send them to Annette Greek, Treasurer of the DeKalb County Foster Children Fund. "We are rounding up money for the DeKalb Foster Children's Fund. These are the children who have been removed from our county. We have approximately 56 children and we need money" said Greek.

Since the ages of these foster children vary, a cash donation is preferable to gifts. " We try to do Christmas and birthdays for these kids. It could be $100 to $150 per child. We also do special things if we're made aware of it like graduation gifts. We've bought evening gowns for contests. We've bought football uniforms. I always try to get the money (all collected) by the beginning of December in plenty of time for Christmas," said Greek

You may send your donation to: Annette Greek, in care of F.Z. Webb & Sons Gifts, 400 West Public Square, Smithville TN 37166. For more information call 615-597-4186.

Greek says she will also be glad to accept your cash donation directly at the store

Woodbury Man Involved in Crash After Pursuit

October 17, 2015
Dwayne Page
Woodbury Man Involved in Crash After Pursuit
2010 GMC Terrain driven by Richard Bogle of Woodbury
Richard Bogle, operator of 2010 GMC Terrain, charged with driving under the influence

A 25 year old Woodbury man, who apparently tried to outrun the law in a pursuit, wrecked his automobile Saturday morning on Highway 56 near the intersection with College Street.

Central dispatch received a call about the crash at around 4:30 a.m.

Richard Bogle has been charged by the Tennessee Highway Patrol with driving under the influence and cited for failure to exercise due care, violation of the financial responsibility law, and violation of the registration law.

Trooper Adam Cothorn of the Tennessee Highway Patrol told WJLE that Bogle was traveling north on Highway 56 in a 2010 GMC Terrain when he went off the right side of the road, and rolled several times, knocking over a 45 miles per hour speed zone sign. The vehicle came to rest upright off the highway.

Warren County authorities were reportedly in pursuit of Bogle prior to the crash but had terminated the chase at the county line.

According to Trooper Cothorn, speed was a factor in the wreck. Though not seriously injured, Bogle was treated at the scene by DeKalb EMS. He was placed in custody and taken to the jail for booking. He did submit to a blood/alcohol test.

Warrants against Bogle are reportedly pending in Warren County.

Members of the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department, Smithville Police Department, and the DeKalb County Fire Department were on the scene along with DeKalb EMS and the THP.

Students have until November 2 to apply for Tennessee Promise

October 17, 2015

Governor Bill Haslam is asking all high school seniors to take the time to apply for the state’s one-of-a-kind scholarship program.

Students have until November 2 to apply.

Tennessee Promise is a state sponsored scholarship and mentorship program that provides two years of community and technical college free of tuition and fees.

15,830 students from the 2015 graduating class are taking advantage of this year’s first implementation of Tennessee Promise benefits this fall, according to the Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation (TSAC).

Also, community colleges across state are reporting substantial growth, with the number of students enrolling full time in community college directly after high school increasing by 14% since last fall.

“My message to high school seniors is: this is your Tennessee Promise. This is an opportunity for you to fulfill your potential, and you have an opportunity to change the future for yourself and for our state,” Haslam said.

Proposed by Haslam and passed by the General Assembly in 2014, Tennessee Promise is a key part of Haslam’s Drive to 55 initiative to increase the number of Tennesseans with a postsecondary credential to 55% by the year 2025.

Since the implementation of Tennessee Promise, the state says it leads the nation in the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) completion – comprising 40% of the nation’s growth in FAFSA filings in 2015.

In addition to applying for Tennessee Promise, students are required to file a FAFSA, attend two mandatory meetings and complete eight hours of community service.

The state is also looking for adult mentors to help students complete their training.

“We know that access to college is important, but even more important is success. Not only do we need to get those students into school, they need to finish. That’s why the mentor piece of the Tennessee Promise is so important,” Haslam said. “The process of applying and attending college can seem daunting, especially for first generation college students, and having a caring adult to help guide you can make a big difference.”

The student and mentor applications are available at http://tnpromise.gov

Relics Belonging to Colonel Savage Return to Smithville

October 16, 2015
W. Michael Corley
Swords belonging to Col. John H. Savage returned to Smithville on October 8, 2015

Swords belonging to Col. John H. Savage returned to Smithville on October 8, 2015. McMinnville attorney and Savage family member, Frank Farrar, displayed and described the relics to the members of the Savage-Goodner Camp of the Sons of Confederate Veterans.

Col. Savage was the first commanding officer of the 16th Tennessee Infantry Regiment. He commanded the regiment during battles at Perryville, Kentucky, and Murfreesboro. The men of the regiment came from the Upper Cumberland and many hailed from DeKalb and Warren Counties.
Col. Savage practiced law in DeKalb County prior to the outbreak of the war. He also represented the area in the U.S. Congress.

The relics included swords he carried in both the Mexican War and the War Between the States. Mr. Farrar also displayed a portrait of the Colonel which had not been seen in public in several decades.

The Savage-Goodner Camp of the Sons of Confederate Veterans meets on the second Thursday of each month at the DeKalb County Complex Motlow Section at 7:00 p.m. The Camp is comprised of male descendants of Confederate soldiers. A program concerning General Patrick Cleburne will be presented during the November 12, 2015 meeting. The public is welcome to attend.

"Trick or Treat Halloween Downtown" Set for October 30

October 15, 2015
Dwayne Page
"Trick or Treat Halloween Downtown" Set for October 30

Parents, children, and local businesses are invited to join the City of Smithville and the Police Department's "Trick or Treat Halloween Downtown" Friday, October 30 from noon until 5:00 p.m.

Participating businesses will have candy and special treats for the children. Look for the stores and offices with a picture of an orange pumpkin on their windows. Maps will be available at the police department and Justin Potter Library to show parents which businesses will be taking part in the event.

WJLE has the map posted at the link below.

Map_2015.pdf (38.78 KB)

For more information call Beth Adcock at the Smithville Police Department at 615-597-8210 extension 1 or check out the police department's face book page at https://www.facebook.com/SmithvillePoliceDepartment.

Judge Holds Hearing in Caplinger Case; Ruling Expected within Weeks

October 14, 2015
Dwayne Page
Judge Amy Hollars

Following a 90 minute hearing Wednesday morning in DeKalb County Circuit Court Judge Amy Hollars said she would render an opinion soon in the case of former Smithville Police Chief Randy Caplinger versus the City of Smithville.

Attorneys for both sides presented oral arguments before Judge Hollars in the lawsuit in which Caplinger is seeking a declaratory judgment. No witnesses were called to testify.

Caplinger's attorneys Sarah Cripps and Brandon Cox filed the lawsuit on Thursday, June 4.

At the heart of the case is how many aldermen votes are required to fire the police chief. In May, the council voted by a 3-2 simple majority to uphold Mayor Jimmy Poss' termination of Chief Caplinger.

Cripps and Cox insist that the city charter calls for a super majority (four votes) for such action.

The mayor placed Chief Caplinger on suspension without pay pending termination on Friday, March 13. After Caplinger refused to resign or accept a severance package, the mayor fired Caplinger on March 19 and cited eight reasons for the termination.

Cripps and Cox then requested a due process hearing.

The attorneys for Caplinger said their client was not an "at will" employee as city officials claimed; that he could only be terminated for "just cause"; and that he could only be removed by the mayor with the approval of at least two thirds (not less than four members) majority vote of the council present and voting upon the removal according to the Smithville City Charter.

After a seven hour due process hearing Friday, May 8 the Aldermen voted 3-2 to uphold Mayor Jimmy Poss' termination of Caplinger. Aldermen Gayla Hendrix, Danny Washer, and Jason Murphy voted in favor of the mayor's action. Aldermen Shawn Jacobs and Josh Miller voted against it.

Again, Cripps and Cox insisted that Section 3.01 of the city's charter requires a two thirds majority vote (four out of five) to confirm a mayoral termination.

But during the May 8 hearing City Attorney Vester Parsley cited another section in the charter, which seems to conflict with Section 3.01 in that it allows for only " a majority of the board" to approve removal of employees by the mayor. Parsley recommended that the aldermen follow this section of the charter.

In the lawsuit, Cripps and Cox are asking the court to preserve both sections of the charter but to find that Section 3.01 (requiring a 2/3 super majority vote) controls because it is more specific than Section 3.08.

Cripps and Cox also contend that the aldermen violated section 3.08 of the charter in that they failed to convene for a vote to ratify the mayor's unilateral suspension of Caplinger prior to the May 8 due process hearing. This, they claim renders the suspension of Chief Caplinger null and invalid.

They are further asking that Caplinger be allowed to "receive all accrued back pay from March 13, 2015 until the date of the hearing in this cause

City Attorney Parsley and Nashville lawyer Mark E. McGrady of Farrar & Bates, LLP claim that Caplinger was validly suspended and terminated by the Board of Mayor and Aldermen under terms of the charter and that he is not entitled to back pay from the City.

Judge Hollars said her written ruling is expected soon, possibly after she hears a separate medical malpractice case scheduled for the next two weeks.


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