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Local News Articles

"Reeling in the Years" Returns Saturday Night on WJLE

April 6, 2016
Dwayne Page
Shawn and D.S.

The Spring edition of Reeling in the Years with D.S. and Shawn is coming up Saturday (April 9) from 6-10 p.m. on WJLE.

Featuring hits of the 60s, 70s and 80s, the show will also feature hits that were popular this week during various years of the 70s and 80s and the song of the year for both 1971 and 1976.

To coincide with the beginning of Spring, we made this show very upbeat and fast-paced,” the two said. “Like the kids would say on American Bandstand—‘it’s got a good beat and you can dance to it.’”

Again, Reeling in the Years airs this Saturday night from 6-10 on WJLE FM

Former Correctional Officer Indicted for Official Misconduct

April 6, 2016
Dwayne Page
Francisco Rodriguez

A former Correctional Officer at the DeKalb County Jail who allegedly received money from inmates for smuggling tobacco and other items to them inside their cells has been indicted for Official Misconduct and Introduction of Contraband.

24 year old Francisco Rodriguez of Banks Pisgah Road was named in a sealed indictment returned by the DeKalb County Grand Jury on Monday, April 4. His bond is $20,000 . He will be arraigned in Criminal Court on Monday, April 11.

Rodriguez worked for the Sheriff's Department as a Correctional Officer for six months before being terminated by Sheriff Patrick Ray after an internal investigation into the allegations.

Sheriff Ray told WJLE how the story unfolded.

"This last December, I obtained information of one of the Correctional Officers putting small amounts of tobacco and other items into a cell at the DeKalb County Jail. This Correctional Officer was identified as Francisco Rodriguez".

"Rodriguez started with the department approximately six months prior to this investigation. His background check that was conducted on him had positive recommendations from people here in DeKalb County," said Sheriff Ray.

"As soon as the information about Rodriguez was given to me I immediately notified my detectives to start an internal investigation into this matter. I also contacted the District Attorney General's Office and obtained consent for my department to proceed with the internal investigation," he continued.

"During the course of the investigation my detectives did an outstanding job with their investigation work. They conducted surveillance work, obtained four search warrants, and interviewed multiple people in connection with the investigation. The detectives were also able to obtain information that Rodriguez had placed a cell phone into one of the cells where he could have secret conversations with inmates and set up drops of tobacco and other items for this particular cell. The cell phone was recovered in a cell area of the jail. The detectives also found that Rodriguez received money to perform these actions".

"As a result of the internal investigation I terminated Francisco Rodriguez on December 23, 2015", said Sheriff Ray.

"Sometimes people step over the line of the law. This here was a person of trust and authority. I have served in many positions in my 27 years of law enforcement. I personally believe all of us in law enforcement are held to a higher standard. In saying this, let me be clear. I am proud of my department and all of the employees that work here. I will not tolerate this kind of behavior that deflects from the professionalism and trust that we are trying to achieve. I will prosecute this offense to the fullest extent of the law,' Sheriff Ray concluded.

Grand Jury Indicts Man for Aggravated Kidnapping and Assault

April 5, 2016
Dwayne Page
Steven Anthony Nelson

A Smithville man accused of threatening his wife with a knife on two separate occasions was indicted by the Grand Jury Monday with aggravated kidnapping, domestic assault and two counts of aggravated assault.

38 year old Steven Anthony Nelson of Allen Street will be arraigned in DeKalb County Criminal Court on Monday, April 11.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Saturday, December 5, 2015 after becoming concerned for her safety, Nelson's wife called 911. Nelson allegedly held a knife on her and said he would kill her if she made a sound when the deputy arrived.

The indictment alleges that Nelson unlawfully and knowingly removed or confined the victim so as to interfere substantially with her liberty and accomplished this with a deadly weapon, to wit: a knife or by display of any article used or fashioned to lead the victim to reasonably believe it to be a deadly weapon, constituting the offense of aggravated kidnapping.

Less than three months before on September 19, Nelson's wife reported a separate incident to the Sheriff's Department. According to a detective, the woman said that at around 6:00 p.m. that night she and Nelson began arguing and that he grabbed and threw her to the ground. Nelson allegedly hit her several times while she was on the ground, tried to strangle her and then threatened her with a knife. After the assault, the woman left home and went to Mapco Express and got help.

Count one of the indictment in this case alleges that Nelson intentionally or knowingly caused the victim to reasonably fear imminent bodily injury and Nelson attempted or intended to cause bodily injury to her by strangulation, constituting the offense of aggravated assault.

Count two claims that Nelson intentionally or knowingly engaged in conduct which caused the victim to reasonably fear imminent bodily injury, said offense being committed with a deadly weapon, to-wit: a knife, constituting the offense of aggravated assault.

Count three of the indictment alleges that Nelson knowingly caused the victim, a family or household member of Nelson to reasonably fear imminent bodily injury, constituting the offense of domestic assault

Both cases were investigated by Sheriff's Department Detectives.

Wiggins Indicted for Aggravated Child Abuse of a Baby

April 5, 2016
Dwayne Page
Charles Justin Wiggins

The DeKalb County Grand Jury Monday indicted a Smithville man with two counts of the aggravated child abuse of a five week old infant.

27 year old Charles Justin Wiggins of Cooper Street, Smithville will be arraigned in DeKalb County Criminal Court on Monday, April 11.

Wiggins was arrested Monday, October 19, 2015 after a five week old infant was brought to Cookeville Regional Medical Center with serious injuries. According to Smithville Police, Wiggins is an acquaintance of the child's mother. Wiggins was charged with two counts of aggravated child abuse.

According to the arrest warrant, "At approximately 4:00 a.m. on Monday, October 19 at his Cooper Street residence, Wiggins did knowingly treat a five week old boy in a manner as to inflict serious bodily injury. Wiggins stated that he squeezed the child's ribs and bounced the child aggressively enough to cause the child serious injury".

In the second offense involving the same child, the warrant states that "At approximately 3:00 p.m., on Monday, October 19 at his residence, Wiggins did knowingly treat a five week old boy in a manner as to inflict serious bodily injury. Mr. Wiggins did state that he did pick the child up and squeeze his ribs and slammed him down aggressively into the crib causing the child's head to bounce. Mr. Wiggins stated he pressed down on both the child's legs and felt them break".

The child was later taken to Cookeville Regional Medical Center for treatment. Law enforcement authorities were subsequently notified.

In a prepared statement at the time of Wiggins' arrest, 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," said Captain Leffew.

Johnson Named Part Time Airport Manager

April 5, 2016
Dwayne Page
Joe Johnson

The Smithville Aldermen Monday night named Joe Johnson as the new part time manager of the Municipal Airport.

Johnson was recommended for the job by the city's airport board.

Roth Terrell, a member of the airport board, announced the recommendation to the mayor and aldermen. "We would like to present to the city council Joe Johnson as a part time airport manager. We feel that Joe has the experience that we've been looking for. He has the knowledge on many levels of airport operation. He has served as airport manager at that airport once before. He has had many years of experience in aviation. He also has knowledge in construction and electronics. There are many things he has qualifications for so we feel like he would be best suited to fill that position," said Terrell.

The former airport manager, Wes Nokes resigned on July 2, 2015. His last day was July 16.

In November the city's airport board met to discuss the future of the airport and whether to recommend that the city employ another full time manager or have a part time manager or lease the airport to a fixed based operator.

The city later settled on having a part time manager and advertised the position in February. Six candidates were considered for the job. The airport board met and reviewed the applications and resumes on March 3. Four days later the board narrowed the number to two candidates. Johnson then emerged as the board's recommendation for the job.

Grand Jury Indicts 38

April 5, 2016
Dwayne Page

A total of 38 people were indicted by the DeKalb County Grand Jury Monday including four named in sealed indictments.

Arraignment day in criminal court is set for Monday, April 11 at 9:00 a.m.

Those indicted and their charges are as follows:

Donald Richard Atnip, Jr.- aggravated burglary and theft under $500

Tracy Blaylock- domestic assault

Kevin Donald Bogle-theft over $1,000

David Allen Cobb-public intoxication and vandalism over $500

Tasha Marie Cooke- theft over $1,000

Shane Michael Downey-burglary and theft over $1,000

Patsy Estes- tampering with evidence, theft under $500, possession of a schedule VI drug, and criminal trespass

Warren Brandon Glasby- evading arrest and leaving the scene

James Paris Goff- aggravated assault (2 counts) and reckless endangerment (2 counts)

Darlene Frances Grisham- theft under $500

James Johnson-forgery (4 counts)

Scotty Wayne Knowles- driving on a revoked license

Sharon Caldwell Malone- fraudulent use of a credit card (5 counts)

Gregory Allen Mayo- initiation of methamphetamine, possession of a schedule II drug over 0.5 grams, possession of a weapon by a felon, and possession of a schedule VI drug

Jeffery Scott McAlister- theft over $1,000

Steven Anthony Nelson-aggravated kidnapping, aggravated assault (2 counts), and domestic assault

Shannon Lynn Newby-possession of paraphernalia

Heather Perkins-child abuse

Tony Petty, Jr.- possession of a schedule VI drug

Hobert Taylor Price- driving without a license and financial responsibility

Toni Price- possession of paraphernalia

Nicholas Rollings-driving on a suspended license

Charles Self-driving on a suspended license (2nd offense) and registration violation

Jeremy Austin Scruggs-driving on a revoked license

Jerrod Curtis Sims-aggravated assault and domestic assault

Sara South-criminal trespass

Dustin Sullivan and Ernest Dodd-burglary and theft over $10,000

David Michael Teachout-driving on a suspended license (2nd offense) (2 counts) and following too close

Ramiro Torres-driving on a revoked license and financial responsibility

Henry Burt Turner, Jr.-aggravated burglary, theft under $500, and vandalism over $500

Regina Valdez-driving under the influence and light law violation

Albert Dayton West- DUI (3rd offense), DUI per se, driving on a revoked license (2nd offense), leaving the scene, failure to exercise due care, and financial responsibility

Charles Justin Wiggins-aggravated child abuse (2 counts)

Kindergarten Registration Dates Set

April 5, 2016
Dwayne Page

Kindergarten registration for the 2016-17 school year will be Friday, May 6th from 8:30 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. in the gym at Smithville Elementary School and on Monday, May 9th from 8:30 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. at DeKalb West School

Children who plan to attend kindergarten must turn five years old on or before August 15, 2016 in order to enroll for the 2016-17 school year.

Parents, when you come for that registration, you will need to bring with you the following information:

*Original birth certificate (certified copy with the state seal, not the hospital copy or mother's copy)

*Current, up to date, physical examination and immunization record (These must be on a Tennessee Department of Health Certificate of Immunization, which can be obtained from your doctor's office or the Health Department)

*Proof of residency for DeKalb County (i.e. gas/electric bill)

*Your child (they will be tested on registration day)

Chamber Cuts Ribbon for Haven of Hope's New Location

April 5, 2016
Rita Bell, Susan Gray, Isaac Gray, Kay Quintero, John Quintero, Carrie Farmer, County Mayor Tim Stribling, Chamber President Kathy Hendrixson, Chamber Director Suzanne Williams, and Samantha Curtis

The Chamber of Commerce recently had a Ribbon Cutting for Haven of Hope's new location. After 8 years of service to the community, Haven of Hope Counseling has moved to 301 West Main, Smithville.

Kay Quintero, MA, LPC, LSPE states that the bigger space, otherwise known as The Magnolia House, will allow for more community outreach. Currently Haven of Hope Counseling offers individual and family counseling. All of the counselors have been trained in EMDR which is very effective for various trauma. Child-Centered Play Therapy is utilized for children age 3 through elementary school.

In addition to regular parenting classes, they have co-parenting classes for parents who do not live in the same home. Haven of Hope Counseling also offers help with grief issues, addiction issues and much more. They can screen for depression and suicidal thinking for both minors and adults. In fact, they can accommodate most mental health needs with their 3 Masters level counselors in addition to the work of Mrs. Quintero. The other counselors are Samanthia Curtis, Carrie Farmer, and Elisa Allen. All the staff at the Haven are deeply grateful for the community support during the move including Haven volunteers, youth groups, sporting teams, drug court participants and local churches.

Haven of Hope of DeKalb County is led by Board of Directors Thomas Groom, John Quintero, Sandy Harney, Brenda Hooper, Michael Carpenter, and Brenda Prichard. Everyone connected with the Haven invites the public to their open house scheduled for Friday, May 6th from 1 to 6pm. In the meantime, if you feel that they may be of assistance to you or your family, just stop by 301 West Main, Smithville or call 615-597-4673. Rita Bell or Susan Gray will be glad to answer some basic questions about the Haven and schedule you an appointment with one of the professional counselors

Pictured l-r:

Rita Bell, Susan Gray, Isaac Gray, Kay Quintero, John Quintero, Carrie Farmer, County Mayor Tim Stribling, Chamber President Kathy Hendrixson, Chamber Director Suzanne Williams, and Samantha Curtis

Sheriff's Department Nabs Another Fugitive

April 4, 2016
Dwayne Page
Gregory Scott Larue
Russell Cranford Dreyer
Rebecca Jade Andrews

The Sheriff's Department nabs another fugitive from justice during a traffic stop.

51 year old Gregory Scott Larue of Clarkrange is charged with being a fugitive from justice. His bond is $50,000 and he will be in court April 7.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Friday, March 20 Larue was stopped for a traffic violation by the Tennessee Highway Patrol. It was discovered through the National Criminal Information Center (NCIC) that Larue has warrants against him from Catoosa, Georgia. Authorities there were contacted and said they would seek extradition of Larue on the outstanding warrants.

45 year old Russell Cranford Dreyer of Baxter is charged with domestic assault. His bond is $3,500 and he will make a court appearance on April 14.

Sheriff Ray said that on Monday, March 28 a deputy responded to Ford Road in the Austin Bottom area due to a physical domestic in progress. Upon arrival the officer spoke with Dreyer and his wife. She told the deputy that the two of them got in a verbal argument which became physical when Dreyer placed her in a headlock and slung her to the ground. He later grabbed and squeezed her hand causing bruising. Dreyer was determined to have been the primary aggressor and he was placed under arrest for domestic assault.

36 year old Rebecca Jade Andrews of Cookeville Highway, Smithville is charged with domestic assault and resisting arrest. Her bond is $6,500 and she will be in court April 14.

Sheriff Ray said that on Saturday, April 2 a deputy responded to a physical domestic call at a residence on Cookeville Highway. Upon arrival the officer spoke with a man who said that his wife had assaulted him with a closed fist to his left eye causing him to fall. Andrews was determined to have been the primary aggressor during the incident. While she was being placed in custody Andrews pulled away from the arresting officer.

35 year old Samer Abdalla of Morgan Drive, Smithville is cited for violation of the light law, violation of financial responsibility, driving on a revoked license, and possession of drug paraphernalia. He will make a court appearance on April 14.

Sheriff Ray said that on Wednesday, March 30 a Sheriff's Department Detective pulled over Abdalla on Morgan Drive in a 1998 Cadillac. He was stopped for a brake light violation. Abdalla could not provide proof of insurance. A computer check revealed that his driver license were revoked for failure to pay fines in Wilson County in 2013. A search of his vehicle revealed in the passenger side door a spoon containing a white powdery substance.

27 year old Bruce Carlen Cantrell of Bobby Hayes Road, Dowelltown is cited for simple possession of a controlled substance and simple possession of drug paraphernalia. He will be in court April 7.

Sheriff Ray said that on Thursday, March 31 a deputy arrested Cantrell on active warrants. After being placed under arrest, Cantrell was asked if he had anything in his pockets. Cantrell replied that he only had his wallet. But a syringe was found in his right front pocket. Inside his front left jacket pocket was a package believed to contain a 15 milligram oxycodone pill.

51 year old Bobby Duggin of Dale Ridge Road, Dowelltown is cited for driving on a suspended license, violation of the light law, and simple possession of a schedule II drug. He will make a court appearance on April 21.

Sheriff Ray said that on Thursday, March 31 a deputy was patrolling Highway 70 west when he spotted a small white two door car with a head light out. The officer stopped the vehicle and spoke with the driver, Duggin. A computer check revealed that his license were suspended. He was also in possession of a schedule II drug (Hydrodocodone).

"A Day at the Park" Coming April 23

April 4, 2016
Dwayne Page
"A Day in the Park" Coming April 23

The DeKalb Prevention Coalition (DPC) and DeKalb Community Advisory Board (CAB) are hosting “A Day at the Park” on April 23 from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. at Greenbrook Park in Smithville. The day is designed to be a Child Abuse Prevention and Foster Family Recruitment Event. It is a free event for families and individuals designed to educate the community about child abuse prevention and to also provide families with information about becoming Foster Parents. Food, games and activities will be available for children and speakers and vendors will be at the park. The CAB’s mission is to identify, utilize and create resources to help families and the community as a whole. While the DPC works to promote a safe, healthy and productive environment that prevents destructive opportunities among the youth and adults of our community. The DPC and CAB meet together the last Tuesday of each month at 12:00pm in the DeKalb County courthouse basement.

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. This month and throughout the year, the DeKalb Prevention Coalition and DeKalb Community Advisory Board encourage all individuals and organizations to play a role in making DeKalb County a better place for children and families. By ensuring that parents have the knowledge, skills, and resources they need to care for their children, we can help prevent child abuse and neglect by making meaningful connections with children, youth and families in our communities.

Research shows that protective factors are present in healthy families. Promoting these factors is among the most effective ways to reduce the risk of child abuse and neglect. They are:

•Nurturing and attachment
•Knowledge of parenting and of child and youth development
• Parental resilience
•Social connections
• Concrete supports for parents
• Social and emotional competence of children

“April is a time to celebrate the important role that communities play in protecting children and strengthening families,” said Norene Puckett CAB Vice-President. “Everyone’s participation is critical. Focusing on ways to connect with families is the best thing our community can do to strengthen families and prevent child abuse and neglect.”

In support of these efforts, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Children’s Bureau, Office on Child Abuse and Neglect, its Child Welfare Information Gateway, the FRIENDS National Center for Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention and over 30 National Prevention Partners have created 2016 Prevention Resource Guide: Building Community, Building Hope. The resource guide, designed for service providers who work throughout the community to strengthen families, is available online at

For more information about child abuse prevention programs and activities during the month of April and throughout the year, contact Norene Puckett 615-215-8690 or


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