Local News Articles

Drug Defendants Sentenced in Criminal Court

November 11, 2017
by: 
Dwayne Page
Jeffery Mark Hatfield
Philando Darnell Fullilove
Stephanie Ann Pierce

Three people were sentenced Tuesday in DeKalb County Criminal Court on drug charges stemming from an undercover investigation by the Sheriff’s Department.

Judge David Patterson presided.

(CLICK LINK BELOW TO VIEW MUG SHOTS OF PERSONS RECENTLY BOOKED AT THE DEKALB COUNTY JAIL- Intakes & Releases From: 11/06/2017 Thru: 11/13/2017)

Seagate Crystal Reports - REPOR_47.pdf (2.7 MB)

27 year old Jeffery Mark Hatfield of Smithville entered a plea to sale of a schedule II drug (oxycodone) and sale of a schedule II drug (methamphetamine). He was sentenced to six years in one case and four years in the other to run consecutive for a ten year TDOC term. Hatfield was granted probation and was fined $4,000. He must make restitution of $200 to the sheriff’s department.

30 year old Philando Darnell Fullilove of Shady Lane, Alexandria entered a plea to sale of methamphetamine over half an ounce and received a ten year TDOC sentence to serve but furloughed to Mission Teens. The term is to run consecutive to two other cases against him. Fullilove was fined $2,000 and given 112 days jail credit.

42 year old Stephanie Ann Pierce of Pea Ridge Road, Elmwood entered a plea to sale of a schedule II drug (methamphetamine) and received a six year TDOC sentence to serve 180 days in the DeKalb County Jail. She must make $200 restitution to the sheriff’s department and was fined $2,000. Pierce was given jail credit from August 28 through November 7.

The DeKalb County Grand Jury met in special session Tuesday, May 30 and returned more than 40 sealed indictments mostly against drug offenders.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said officers of his department appeared before the Grand Jury and presented cases against each offender as the result of an undercover investigation. "A variety of drugs were bought during this operation including Xanax, Hydrocodone, Marijuana, Methamphetamine, Subutex, and others," he said.

"Some of the indictments were for sale and delivery in a drug free zone which is an area 1,000 feet of a school, park, library, and daycare," he added.

Meanwhile, 31 year old Justin L. Murphy entered a plea Tuesday to domestic assault and received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days with six months of supervised probation and five months and 29 days of unsupervised probation. The term is to run consecutive to a DeKalb violation of probation he is currently serving. Murphy allegedly assaulted his victim by punching her in the left shoulder repeatedly leaving a visible bruise.

Local Health Information Professionals Earn Department of the Year

November 11, 2017
Pictured: (L to R: Janice Ham (Regional HIM Consultant), Tabitha Anderson (Health Information Manager), Andrea Puckett (HIM Assistant), Greg Bidwell (SVP, Central Region)

The leaders of the Health Information Department at NHC Smithville were recently recognized as the HIM Department of the Year at the annual NHC Health Information Conference. Accepting the award was Tabitha Anderson, Health Information Manager, and Andrea Puckett, Health Information Assistant. Anderson and Puckett both reside in Smithville. The conference was held September 27-29 in Pigeon Forge, TN. The Award for Health Information Department of the Year is given to the department which performs the best in areas such as Medicare certification, chart analysis, survey deficiencies, physician services, and overall excellence. NHC Smithville’s Health Information team also won the Department of the Year in 2013.

“Ensuring that each patient’s medical record is accurate and complete is of paramount importance at NHC Smithville,” Anderson said. “This recognition is a team accomplishment because it takes each partner: CNA’s, nurses, therapists, and physicians, to assist with health information.” Clint Hall, Administrator, added, “Tabitha and Andrea are a tremendous asset to NHC Smithville. They perform their work in a timely, organized, and skilled manner. They also have a deep commitment to excellence that shows in the professionalism of their work and the way they lead themselves personally. This is a great accomplishment for them and for NHC Smithville.”

For more information about NHC Smithville, visit www.nhcsmithville.com or call (615) 597-4284.

Homeless Man Gets 15 Years for Aggravated Burglaries

November 10, 2017
by: 
Dwayne Page
Joshua Dewayne Brown

A homeless man who allegedly went around stealing from homes, outbuildings, barn, and a church in the Alexandria, Liberty, and Dowelltown areas appeared in DeKalb County Criminal Court Tuesday for sentencing.

Judge David Patterson presided.

32 year old Joshua Dewayne Brown entered a plea by criminal information to three counts of aggravated burglary and received a five year sentence in each case to run consecutively for a total of fifteen years. He will be on TDOC probation after serving one year in the DeKalb County Jail. He has been given jail credit from September 12 through November 11, 2017.

Brown and a co-defendant, 24 year old Ashley Nicole Tittle were recently 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 was also charged with 1 count of evading arrest. Tittle’s case remains pending in court.

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 recovered some of the stolen property.

Under a negotiated settlement with state prosecutors, Brown entered a plea in three of the aggravated burglaries at the same residence on Alexandria to Dismal Road on March 15, September 4, and September 11, 2017.

Billy Hawkins to Speak at Veterans Day Program

November 10, 2017
by: 
Dwayne Page
Billy Hawkins to Speak at Veterans Day Program

Billy Hawkins, retired Brigadiere General of the Tennessee State Guard, will speak at the annual Veteran's Day program sponsored by the American Legion and Ladies' Auxiliary on Saturday, November 11 at 9:30 a.m. at the County Complex.

Preliminary music will begin at 9:30 and the main program begins at 10:00. Music and singing will be part of the program. After the program everyone will go to the courthouse to witness the laying of a wreath at the Veteran's Memorial with "Taps" being played. Afterwards all veterans and their families are invited back to the County Complex for a delicious meal

Graduation Date Set for DCHS Class of 2018

November 10, 2017
by: 
Dwayne Page
Graduation date set for DCHS Class of 2018
Jerry Foster

The commencement for the DCHS Class of 2018 will be on Friday, May 18.

The Board of Education set the date during Thursday night’s regular monthly meeting held at DeKalb County High School. The graduation will be on the high school football field that night starting at 7 p.m.

Meanwhile in his monthly report on personnel, Director of Schools Patrick Cripps said Teresa Steele has been hired as cafeteria manager at Northside Elementary School. She will succeed Pam Baines who has resigned from the position.

“We would like to thank her (Baines) for her time and service and for the love that she showed our children while she served in that capacity,” said Director Cripps.

DCHS Principal Randy Jennings recognized students who excelled on their ACT exams.

“We have had several students take the ACT this fall and we just want to congratulate them. We had 103 students make a 21 or higher on their ACT. We have had seven students who made a 29 or higher. Those students are Madison Cantrell, Jasmine Parker, Kelsey Merriman, Kyle Justice, Ethan Jenkins, Daniel Puckett, and Jacob Frazier. We want to congratulate those students on a good job,” said Principal Jennings.

Those who made a 21 or higher on the ACT are:

Mackenzie Partridge, Maggie Robinson, Abby Evans, Kayla Belk, Hannah Brown, Gage Delape, Emily Burklow, Madison Cripps, Jasmine Parker, Will Stephens,Justin Trapp, Tyree Cripps, Brady Driver, Savannah Belcher, Hunter Jennings, Colter Norris, Emme Colwell, Maddison Parsley, Olivia Fuson, Ethan Jenkins, Trey Fuston, Lance Davis, Hailey Redmon, Savannah West, Jaimie Alexander, Jayla Angaran, Madison Whitehead, Callie Mulloy, Anna Rachel Blair, William Dowling, Ami Patel, Andrew Fuson, Marshall Evins, Seth Pack, Ana Amaya, Laiza Martinez, Allison Maynard, Hannah Evans, Logan Painter, Mark Mace, Nathaniel Snell, Jarad Henry, Kyle Justice, Hunter Speaks, Hannah Willingham, Mya Ruch, Carly Vance, Meghan Brandt, Kelsie Merriman, Zachary Atnip, Griffin Goldstein, Ethan Jennings, Kaitlyn Cantrell, Kyleigh White-Turbeville, Kayli White, Hannah Anderson, Sophie Cripps, Chloe Sykes, Madison Judkins, Lee Randolph, Pablo Juarez-Garcia, Ethan Dies, Lydia Brown, Madi Cantrell, Macy Hedge, Dulce Maciel, Malone Fletcher, Braya Murphy, Derek Young, Isaac Walker, Ethan Cantrell, Bradley Miller, Braxton Linder, Nicholas May, Cody Hale, Holly Evans, Daniel Puckett, Trey Jones, Faith Judkins, Robin Pafford, Austin Johnson, Breanna Gibson, Makayla Cornett-Bain, Santanna Ferrell, Gage Bowman, Adrian Lucci, Billy Carpenter, Jacob Frazier, Ethan Martin, Grace Godowns, Eleonor Atnip, Jaynee Angaran, Dailen Brown, Noah Byrge, Hayle Cantrell, Wesley Carpenter, Kiersten Griffith, Dalton Norrod, Megan Redmon, Taylor Reeder, Nick Staley, Devin Vanatta, and Kaylee Whitefield.

DCHS Principal Jennings is also inviting everyone to support Tuesday night’s fundraiser for former DCHS Lady Tiger Basketball Coach Jerry Foster, who is being treated for a type of lung cancer.

“DeKalb County High School along with the Tiger and Lady Tiger basketball programs are honored to host Boyd Christian High School on Tuesday, November 14 for basketball games to benefit former Lady Tiger Coach Jerry Foster. After our financial obligations to TSSAA, all other proceeds will go to assist Coach Foster’s medical expenses as he continues his fight against cancer. Coach Foster has given so much to the students of DeKalb County through his knowledge and love for the game of basketball and this is one small way that DCHS can hopefully repay him for all his contributions to our school, the community, and especially the boys and girls that love the game of basketball. The girls game starts at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday. We hope to see everyone there,” said Principal Jennings.

Foster was head coach of the DCHS Lady Tiger basketball program from the 1993-94 season to 1999-2000

DeKalb Middle School Principal Amanda Dakas said another benefit basketball event is also planned for Coach Foster.

“DeKalb Middle and DeKalb West Schools will also have benefit basketball games January 6. Its called “Battle on the Hill”. The junior varsity game will start at 3 p.m. followed by the varsity game. It will be a benefit for Coach Jerry Foster. We’d like for everyone to come out and support this as well,” said Principal Dakas.

She also mentioned an upcoming event for the DMS Junior Beta Club.

“Our Junior Beta students, 8th grade students will be going to the Junior Beta Conference at Opryland Hotel November 20-21. They have another really wonderful program with a great message. Please support and encourage those students. I know they would appreciate it,” she said.

DeKalb County to Get New 82 Room Hotel

November 10, 2017
by: 
Dwayne Page
Thomas Sturdivant, Chief of Staff for Tootsie’s Entertainment, and Deanna and Harry Elder, managing partner of Sligo Marina and Restaurant

DeKalb County is getting a new Marriott or Hilton type 82 room hotel.

The announcement was made Thursday by Tom Sturdivant, Chief of Staff for Tootsie’s Entertainment, which owns Pates Ford Resort and Marina and the Fish Lipz Grill and now Sligo Resort and Marina and the Restaurant and Cabins at Sligo.

During the noon luncheon with Chamber leaders and other guests at Sligo Restaurant, Sturdivant said the three story hotel will be constructed within 18-24 months at the former location of Center Hill Restaurant and motel on Highway 70 east which overlooks Center Hill Lake.

“We bought the old Center Hill Restaurant and Motel and we’re going to build an 82 room hotel up there. It will be a Marriott or Hilton or one of the shingles. We have not decided yet. But that’s in the next 18 to 24 months,” Sturdivant told WJLE.

In the meantime, Sturdivant said some renovations will be made at Sligo Marina and the cabins on the hill across from Sligo. “We are going to take care of Sligo right now making it a safer place to come to and be at. When we came in we found some safety issues such as cables and docking that needed to be redone so that is in the process of being done now to make this a safer and better place for our structure outside,” he said.

While Pates Ford Marina has more of a club atmosphere, Sturdivant said plans are to make the restaurant at Sligo more family oriented. “This will be more of a banquet room and steak house. It will be a place where you can bring your family after church on Sunday. We may do a buffet or Sunday brunch. Not that Pates Ford is not family oriented but it has more of a club atmosphere with the bands and everything. Here it will be more steakhouse and more upscale. And while at Pates Ford the restaurant is open seasonally, the restaurant at Sligo will be open all year,” he said

Sturdivant said Pates Ford and Sligo contribute much to the local economy and want to be good neighbors here.

“Between Pates Ford Marina and Sligo Marina we have made a $12 million investment in DeKalb County and Smithville. We employ over 60 people, seasonal and full time and we do about $200,000 a year in sales tax of which $60,000 of that comes back to the county and city. We just want to be good neighbors. We want people to know what we’re doing and we want to be transparent. We’re just glad to be part of the Smithville-DeKalb County family. We want them to know we are here to help make this a better place,” said Sturdivant.

Tenneco Workers Exposed to Cancer Causing Hexavalent Chromium

November 10, 2017
Tenneco Workers Exposed to Cancer Causing Hexavalent Chromium

Workers at Tenneco Automotive in Smithville have been exposed to dangerous levels of Hexavalent Chromium which can cause lung cancer. Supervisors at the plant first notified employees last spring. They told workers exposure may also have impacted their families because they may have taken home cancer causing dust on their uniforms.

Tenneco spokesperson Steven Blow told NewsChannel 5 that the company quickly took action when they discovered high levels of hexavalent chromium at the plant in February.

"We found an issue. When we found that issue we immediately worked to try and rectify the problem and get a safe and secure environment," Blow said.

Employees said they were shocked by the news and remain concerned about their health.

In March, inspectors with the Tennessee Occupational and Safety Administration (TOSHA) found employees overexposed to chromium and cited the plant for 20 serious violations.

Tenneco told NewsChannel5 it had doctors examine employees and tested to see if they were taking contaminated dust home to their families.
"The testing that we did on people leaving the plant did not show any elevated levels thankfully," Blow said.

According to Blow, there have been no reports of medical issues, but some employees have experienced symptoms of chromium exposure such as nose bleeds and dermatitis.

Tenneco told NewsChannel 5 it will install a multi-million dollar ventilation system in the plant to remove the cancer causing welding fumes and is giving welders in affected areas respirators. However TOSHA has reportedly cited Tenneco because some respirators did not fit the employees who were trying to use them.

The Smithville Volunteer Fire Department was summoned to Tenneco early Thursday morning after a small fire began in the ventilation system. Small fires of this type often occur at industries locally. The building was evacuated and no one was injured.

Drive Thru Mobile Food Pantry Set for Saturday, November 11

November 9, 2017
by: 
Dwayne Page
Volunteers place food directly in vehicles in Mobile Food Pantry pickup line
Pick up line for Drive Through Mobile Food Pantry in past events has extended from the Smithville Cumberland Presbyterian Church on College Street to Greenbrook Park

As part of its community outreach ministry, the Smithville Cumberland Presbyterian Church is again sponsoring a drive thru mobile food pantry Saturday morning, November 11 rain or shine.

In partnership with Second Harvest Food Bank, the church plans to prepare enough food boxes to serve up to 300 families regardless of their income status, on a first come, first served basis. Families will receive enough food to last them for a full week. Second Harvest will bring in pallets of food on trucks. The food will then be off loaded and organized in preparation for the distribution.

Registration begins at 8:00 a.m. and the food will be delivered from 9:00 a.m. until noon. Unlike most food distributions, those being served by the mobile pantry will not have to get out of their automobiles. They will drive thru in a pickup line and volunteers will deliver the food directly to their vehicles, placing the food boxes either in the back seat or trunk. Cars will line up facing north on College Street across from the Smithville Cumberland Presbyterian Church.

"It's a mobile food pantry but it's also a drive thru. The recipients will stay in their cars. They will line up starting at 8:00 a.m. on College Street and when we have everything prepared and organized we'll start the line moving, hopefully around 9:00 a.m. Recipients will drive through. As they enter in we'll have a team there to put a box of food in their cars, either in their back seat or trunk," said spokesperson Teresa Trapp Brown.

"We will line up right across from the church (Smithville Cumberland Presbyterian Church) on College Street. We'll start registration at 8:00 a.m. We'll need the name of the recipients and how many families are being served. We're limited to two families per vehicle to make sure we have enough food," added Isaac Gray, Minister of the Smithville Cumberland Presbyterian Church.

Others who wish to volunteer may show up Saturday, November 11 or call for more information at 615-464-7896 or 615-597-4197.

Center Hill Lake levels to remain lowered for spillway gate study

November 9, 2017
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District announces Center Hill lake levels will remain lowered and targeted at elevation 630 mean sea level for 2018, and will likely remain at that level several more years until recently identified main dam spillway gate issues can be fully evaluated. Center Hill Dam is located in Lancaster, Tenn. (Photo by Linda Adcock)
The saddle dam fills a low area in the landscape in order to maintain the lake; it is an integral part of the Center Hill project. The fuse plug, self-eroding section on top acts as an emergency spillway for very extreme, large floods that can't be passed by the eight main dam spillway gates. The saddle dam is visible on the far left of this photo, left of the dam.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District announces Center Hill lake levels will remain lowered and targeted at elevation 630 mean sea level for 2018, and will likely remain at that level several more years until recently identified main dam spillway gate issues can be fully evaluated.

“We fully expected to raise the lake back to normal levels once ongoing work was completed; however, operability issues have recently been identified with the 70-year old main dam spillway gates that add project risk during a large flood event” said Linda Adcock, project manager.

In the early 1990’s a self-eroding structure called a ‘fuse plug’ was built into the top of the saddle dam to add the ability to safely pass a rare, extreme flood downstream.

“If the main dam spillway gates don’t operate as intended, the fuse plug on the saddle dam could operate at a smaller flood than intended,” Adcock explained.

Currently, risk of this occurrence is higher than the Corps deems acceptable. A study is underway to evaluate spillway gate repair alternatives and potential changes to standard gate operations during a large flood. The study will produce a recommended plan to reduce project risk.

Since 2008, the lake operation has been targeted 15-20 feet lower than normal throughout the year as a risk reduction measure while foundation seepage rehabilitation work has been ongoing at the main dam and the auxiliary saddle dam. Significant dam safety work at the main dam foundation is complete yet continues at the saddle dam. A concrete reinforcing berm is being constructed downstream of the saddle dam and is scheduled for completion in 2019.

The spillway gate study will evaluate an array of risk reduction alternatives. The study will take place concurrently with ongoing saddle dam repairs. Implementation of a recommended plan will likely be after 2020. Meanwhile, the lake will continue to be targeted at elevation 630 mean seal level to lower the risk of a high lake level that operates the fuse plug.

To read more on the dam safety project, visit the Nashville District webpage at http://www.lrn.usace.army.mil/Missions/Current-Projects/Construction/Cen....

(For more information about the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District, or visit the district’s website at www.lrn.usace.army.mil., on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/nashvillecorps, and on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/nashvillecorps. The public can also follow Center Hill Lake on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/centerhilllake.)

Arrest Made in Arson Wednesday Night (VIEW VIDEO HERE)

November 9, 2017
by: 
Dwayne Page
Arrest Made in Arson Wednesday Night
Jason Bryan Hale

A man has been charged with arson after setting fire to the home where he lived Wednesday night at 5078 Lower Helton Road near Alexandria.

45 year old Jason Bryan Hale is also charged with assaulting an officer and resisting stop, frisk, halt, arrest, or search. His bond totals $23,000 and his court date is November 30.

Central dispatch received the call at 5:58 p.m. and paged members of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department. The caller alerted 911 that someone was still inside the home and that he refused to leave. It was later reported that the man had gone outside the home and was armed with a shotgun.

Sheriff Patrick Ray and officers of the Sheriff’s Department arrived at the scene and took the man (Hale) into custody. It turns out that Hale had no weapon, but he did hit an officer while being moved to safety prior to his arrest.

The home was destroyed in the blaze. The owner of the residence is Ann Greene.

Sheriff Ray said the arson warrant against Hale alleges that “he did knowingly damage the structure of 5078 Lower Helton Road by setting it on fire. Hale did have the intent to destroy the residence”.

In the warrant for assaulting an officer, Sheriff Ray said “a deputy responded to 5078 Lower Helton Road for a structure fire. Upon arrival he made contact with Hale and while trying to move him to safety Hale intentionally and recklessly struck him in the face with his right hand”.

Sheriff Ray said that in the warrant for resisting stop, frisk, and halt, “ a deputy responded to a structure fire and while on the scene as he was placing Hale under arrest for assault, he actively resisted by pulling his arms and not cooperating with lawful commands to put his hands behind his back. Hale was arrested and brought to the jail for booking,” said Sheriff Ray.

Neither the deputy nor anyone else was injured.

In addition to the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department, Sheriff’s Department, and DeKalb EMS, members of the Alexandria Volunteer Fire Department and Alexandria Police Chief Chris Russell were called to provide mutual aid support.

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