Local News Articles

Student with Airsoft Guns Granted Probation

December 16, 2014
Dwayne Page

A DCHS student who got into trouble after two airsoft guns were found in his automobile at school last month appeared in Juvenile Court Thursday.

Although Judge Bratten Cook, II apparently held a closed hearing in the case, WJLE has learned that the 17 year old boy was granted pre-trial diversion and placed on six months probation. He was charged in a juvenile petition with committing a delinquent act, to wit: carrying or possession of weapons on school property. As part of his probation, the boy must perform 50 hours of community service. If his court costs are paid and all rules of probation are followed, the case against the teen may later be dismissed. His case will be reviewed again during a hearing in juvenile court set for May 20.

After the incident on Friday, November 21, the boy was suspended from school for several days and then remanded to the alternative school for the remainder of the year. The boy's family has appealed the decision with school authorities.

According to Sheriff Patrick Ray, the boy bragged to another student at school that he had a gun in his pocket. When the student said she didn't believe him, the boy claimed he was serious and held his hand inside the pocket of a sweatshirt he wore in a manner that made it appear he had a gun. The teen never displayed a weapon and made no threats toward anyone.

After Assistant principal David Gash was made aware of the incident both he and Principal Patrick Cripps went to the boy's classroom, pulled him out of class and searched him. Finding no weapons on the boy, Gash and Cripps went to his vehicle and found two airsoft pistols, which resembled real guns. One of them was loaded.

When confronted about the airsoft guns, the boy admitted that they belonged to him. He was brought by the School Resource Officer to the Sheriff's Department . After consulting with the District Attorney General, officers filed a juvenile petition against the teen.

Agreement Approved between DeKalb County and Alexandria Fire Departments

December 15, 2014
Dwayne Page
County Mayor Tim Stribling and Alexandria Mayor Tony Tarpley sign agreement. Standing are County Fire Chief Donny Green and Alexandria Fire Chief Brian Partridge and Assistant Chief John Partridge
Map shows areas in blue covered by automatic aid agreement

The DeKalb County and Alexandria Volunteer Fire Departments have formed a partnership to render specific firefighting services to each other as needed through an automatic aid agreement. The effort is meant to improve response times to fires, especially to residents in the county who are within five road miles of the Town of Alexandria's Fire Department.


alexandria map 2.pdf (338.62 KB)

The Alexandria Mayor and Aldermen recently adopted the agreement and the DeKalb County Commission approved it Monday night during the regular monthly meeting. The agreement, effective for five years starting January 1, 2015 was signed following the county commission meeting by County Mayor Tim Stribling and Alexandria Mayor Tony Tarpley. Looking on during the signing were County Fire Chief Donny Green, Alexandria Fire Chief Brian Partridge, and Assistant Alexandria Chief John Partridge.

Chief Green told WJLE prior to the meeting on Monday that the agreement, which has been in the making for several months, will provide better fire protection and added benefits for residents in the Alexandria area. Under the agreement, both the Alexandria and DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Departments will automatically respond to fires in the county that are within five miles of the Alexandria Fire Department and dispatched by the DeKalb County 911 Emergency Communications District. "It basically provides a new area of coverage that will be within five miles of the City of Alexandria's Fire Station that will extend out into the area beyond the city limits of Alexandria including the areas of Lower Helton Road, New Hope Road, and up Nashville Highway back toward Liberty and on the south side of Highway 70 in the Upper Helton area," said Chief Green.

The county already has in place mutual aid agreements with fire departments here and outside DeKalb County which call for them to assist each other with resources and manpower when needed. But this is the county's first "automatic aid agreement" . "The significance of this is that in this five mile area, the City of Alexandria Fire Department will be dispatched out on the initial call of any fire that happens in that five mile area. The result of having this automatic aid agreement will allow us to have quicker response times to structure fires and to other types of fires that happen within that five mile area. Hopefully this will result in less risk for injury and death and minimize property losses by quicker response times. And to those homeowners who have properties in that five mile area beyond the city limits of Alexandria, they will be able to realize savings on their homeowners insurance when up until now they have been unable to because of their being outside the City of Alexandria's jurisdiction and not within five road miles of one of our fire stations out in the county," said Chief Green.

The agreement also calls for the county fire department to automatically respond to structure fires inside Alexandria along with the Alexandria Fire Department. " Alexandria is going to realize some benefits from this as it works both ways. We will be assisting them on structure fires in the city limits of Alexandria. Under this new automatic aid agreement we will be called in initially as they are to assist with structure fires in their jurisdiction," said Chief Green.

Each department will maintain its own jurisdictional authority and if at any time either party wants to opt out of the agreement they may do so by giving a 30 day written notice. The agreement also includes compliance provisions which each party must adhere to including maintaining the proper training. "It is a lengthy legal agreement and in it there are compliance requirements for both departments. We have to maintain training that meets state and ISO requirements as far as training and personnel and they have to maintain the same. These are not individual department policies. These are state laws that both sides have to comply with and failure to comply by either side will result in the agreement becoming void. We certainly don't want that to happen and we're going to work hard to make this agreement work because it is a benefit to our citizens but it does have a lot of legal aspects in it as far as compliance that will have to be closely monitored by both sides," said Chief Green.

Trio Arrested After Discovery of Pipe Bombs and Meth Lab

December 15, 2014
Dwayne Page
James Lee Adcock
Don Diamond Groshon
April Lee Hollingsworth
Harry Charles Vedder
Jeremy James Dalton
Jeremy Austin Scruggs
Richard Allen Chapman
Lesley Ann Lawrence
Ramiro Moreno Anaya, Sr

DeKalb County Sheriff's deputies found a meth lab and two live pipe bombs after arriving on the premises of a residence on Jefferson Road last Monday to serve a violation of probation warrant.

46 year old James Lee Adcock of Jefferson Road, Smithville, 42 year old Don Diamond Groshon of Cookeville Highway, Smithville, and 36 year old April Lee Hollingsworth of West Main Street, Smithville are each charged with initiation of a process to manufacture methamphetamine. Adcock is also charged with having prohibited weapons (pipe bombs); resisting stop, frisk, halt, or arrest; and he has a violation of probation warrant against him. Groshon is further charged with resisting stop, frisk, halt, or arrest and he has a warrant against him for violation of probation. Hollingsworth also has an attachment for child support against her along with warrants for failure to appear and violation of probation. Bonds are $501,500 for Adcock, $201,500 for Groshon, and $200,000 for Hollingsworth. All three are being held without bond for their violation of probation warrants. They will appear in court on January 8.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Monday, December 8th deputies went to Adcock's home to serve a violation of probation warrant on him. Upon arrival, the officers saw two men running from a barn on the premises. During a search, deputies found Adcock and Groshon hiding in the woods. Hollingsworth remained in the barn. After receiving consent from the property owner to search the barn, officers found a live pipe bomb made of PVC pipe containing explosives, a one liter one pot, a Toastmaster burner, 18 ounces of crystal Drano, 16 ounces of Kingford charcoal lighter fluid, digital scales, a turkey baster, an empty ice compress box, an ice compress pack that had been cut open, 10 hypodermic needles, a funnel, a 16.4 ounce propane bottle, an empty lithium battery pack, four stripped lithium batteries, and three cut straws. A search of Adcock's home turned up another live pipe bomb made of galvanized steel and containing explosives. Due to the discovery of the pipe bombs, Sheriff Ray said members of the Tennessee Highway Patrol Special Operations Unit were called to the scene.

75 year old Harry Charles Vedder of Turkey Branch Road, Liberty is charged in a grand jury sealed indictment with possession for resale of a schedule VI drug (marijuana). His bond is $10,000 and he will be arraigned in criminal court on January 21. Vedder was arrested on Wednesday, December 10 .

35 year Jeremy James Dalton of A.B. Frazier Road, Smithville is charged with public intoxication. His bond is $1,500 and he will be in court December 18. Sheriff Ray said that on Monday, December 8 Dalton was found outside his home in a field near Blue Springs Road and A.B. Frazier Road. He appeared to be under the influence of an intoxicant. For his safety and that of the public, Dalton was placed under arrest.

36 year old Jeremy Austin Scruggs of Highland Avenue, Smithville is charged with driving on a revoked license. He was further issued a citation for driving on roadways laned for traffic. His bond is $1,500 and he will be in court on March 5. Sheriff Ray said that on Sunday, December 14 a deputy was patrolling on Midway Road when he saw a red Saturn cross over into the opposite lane of traffic. The officer conducted a traffic stop and spoke with the driver, Scruggs. A computer check revealed his license to be revoked as of January 14, 2009 for driving while intoxicated. He was placed under arrest.

52 year old Richard Allen Chapman of Oakley Hollow Road, Alexandria is charged with violation of bond conditions. His bond is $2,500 and he will be in court January 8. Sheriff Ray said that on Sunday, December 14 a deputy responded to a domestic dispute at a residence on Oakley Hollow Road. Upon arrival, the officer spoke with a woman who said that she and Chapman had gotten into an argument and that he locked her out of the house. Under his bond conditions, Chapman is to have no contact with this woman until they go back to court. He was placed under arrest.

27 year old Lesley Ann Lawrence of Foster Road, Smithville is charged with driving under the influence. Her bond is $2,500 and she will be in court January 8. According to Sheriff Ray, a deputy while on patrol on Short Mountain Highway Sunday, December 14 saw a gray Ford van with its flasher lights on traveling at a very low rate of speed. The woman driving the van, Lawrence, was sounding the horn and yelling out the window at a man who was walking down a sidewalk. The officer conducted a traffic stop and spoke with Lawrence who told him that she and her boyfriend had gotten into an argument at her home. When her boyfriend left the residence, Lawrence said she got in the van and followed trying to get him to return home. The deputy noticed that Lawrence had a strong odor of alcohol coming from her person. He asked if she had been drinking and she replied "yes, I've had a few shots". Lawrence submitted to and perform poorly on field sobriety tasks. Lawrence was placed under arrest and taken to the Smithville Police Department for a breath test. She blew a .142 during the test. Lawrence was then taken to the Sheriff's Department for booking.

49 year old Ramiro Moreno Anaya, Sr. of Winding Way, McMinnville is charged with driving under the influence. His bond is $2,500 and he will be in court March 5. Sheriff Ray said that on Sunday, December 14 a deputy was patrolling on Highway 56 south when he saw a white Chevy van cross the center line several times. He conducted a traffic stop and spoke with the driver, Anaya who had a strong odor of alcohol on his person. The deputy asked Anaya if he had been drinking and he replied "yes I have had a few". Anaya submitted to and performed poorly on field sobriety tasks. He also took a blood test. Anaya was then taken to the sheriff's department for booking.

THP to Conduct Seatbelt Checkpoint

December 14, 2014
Dwayne Page

The Tennessee Highway Patrol will be conducting a seatbelt checkpoint on Friday, December 19 on State Route 56 north in DeKalb County.

Recognizing that an alarmingly high number of vehicle occupants killed in fatal crashes were unrestrained, the Tennessee Highway Patrol has elected to create an enforcement campaign aimed at drastically reducing the number of unrestrained drivers and occupants.

Officers will also be on active patrol observing for unrestrained drivers and occupants of motor vehicles.

The Tennessee Highway Patrol has found seatbelt checkpoints to be an effective means of enforcing seatbelt and child restraint laws of Tennessee while ensuring the protection of all motorists.

School Board Okays Location for Remote Area Medical Visit

December 12, 2014
Dwayne Page

The Remote Area Medical Volunteer Corps is returning to DeKalb County on Saturday and Sunday, March 28 & 29 at DeKalb County High School providing free health care services to people of all ages regardless of income. A similar event took place in DeKalb County at the high school in August 2005 and November 2010.

The DeKalb County Board of Education Thursday night granted a request from County Mayor Tim Stribling for the high school to be the location for the visit, just as on the previous two occasions.

Remote Area Medical (RAM) is a non-profit, volunteer corps dedicated to serving mankind by providing free health care, dental care, eye care, and technical and educational assistance to people in remote areas of the United States and the world.

Founded in 1985, Remote Area Medical is a publicly supported all-volunteer charitable organization. Volunteer doctors, nurses, and support workers participate in expeditions (at their own expense). Medical supplies, medicines, facilities and vehicles are donated.

Meanwhile Director of Schools Mark Willoughby updated the school board on personnel moves since last month.

Those employed are:

Jessie Vanatta, Colton Rhody, and Todd Miller as substitute teachers
Melissa Peranteau, employed as a full time bus driver

Vicki Jeffries, educational assistant at Smithville Elementary School, retired as of December 19
Kim Lawson, bus driver

Amy Lattimore, assistant manager at Northside Elementary School transferred to School Nutrition Supervisor
JoAnn Vanatta, transferred from part-time cafeteria position at Northside Elementary School to full time
Marie Martin, transferred from cafeteria worker to assistant manager at Northside Elementary School
Donna McManus, transferred from substitute cafeteria worker to a four hour part time position at Northside Elementary School.

The board postponed action on a proposal to implement a new pay date for personnel starting in the 2015-16 school year.

Man Gets Eight Year Sentence for Sexual Exploitation of Minor

December 11, 2014
Dwayne Page
Andrew Justin Anderson

A Smithville man has been sentenced to eight years after pleading guilty in criminal court to the sexual exploitation of a minor.

24 year old Andrew Justin Anderson appeared before Judge David Patterson Wednesday in DeKalb County Criminal Court. Although it is intended that Anderson serve 100% of the sentence, he could possibly qualify for a 15% reduction. He will also be classified as a sex offender and will be registered on the state's Sex Offender Registry. Anderson will receive credit for any jail time already served. He is to report to jail by noon on January 12.

The indictment against Anderson alleged that "on or about the 9th day of June, 2010, Anderson did knowingly promote, sell, distribute, transport, or exchange material that included over 100 images of a minor engaging in sexual activity or simulated sexual activity that is patently offensive, constituting the offense of sexual exploitation and aggravated sexual exploitation of a minor".

In a separate case, 52 year old David Ray Johnson pled guilty to two counts of theft under $500 and received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days in each case at 75% and then be on supervised probation. The two cases are to run concurrently. He was given jail credit of 134 days. Johnson must also make restitution.

DeKalb E-911 Awarded Grant for Radio System Upgrades

December 11, 2014
Brad Mullinax
E-911 radio equipment mounted on DUD tower shown here

DeKalb County E-911 was recently awarded over $117,519 in grant reimbursements for radio system upgrades. The money has been used to replace analog radio equipment with new digital equipment.

"While we are not ready to transition to a digital radio network at this time, this equipment prepares the 911 center as well as the agencies we serve to transition to a fully digital radio system in the future. In addition, we have also purchased equipment that will improve paging of emergency responders in areas with poor radio reception. Obviously, the more responders we are able to notify in the event of an emergency, the better chance we have of getting an adequate response from our volunteer responders," said Brad Mullinax, Director of the DeKalb County Emergency Communications District (911 center).

"We have also used the funds to build-out a microwave communications network that connects our radio sites together over a high-speed network. The addition of this technology will save the district thousands of dollars over the coming years in broadband charges. Additionally, this equipment has enabled us to monitor our equipment closely with video and alarm monitoring. Our operators are now immediately aware of any radio problem that is affecting our county," he said.

This grant was secured through the Tennessee Emergency Communications Board at 100% funding with zero local dollars involved in this transaction.

"We would like to thank the DeKalb Utility District as well as the City of Smithville and the Town of Alexandria for allowing us to locate our radio equipment on their existing towers at no charge to the 911 district. Their cooperation will save our district thousands of dollars over the next several years. We are very proud of the inter-local agreements and cooperation that we have with our government partners. This is a great example of how cooperation can improve lives with little to no costs for our citizens," said Mullinax.

City to Establish New Fee Schedule for Building Construction

December 11, 2014
Dwayne Page

The City of Smithville may soon implement a new schedule of fees and fines for building construction.

The Aldermen adopted the ordinance on first reading Monday, December 1 and are set to pass it on second and final reading during a special meeting on Monday, December 15 at 5:00 p.m.

Under the ordinance, the city may charge fees and fines for building construction, require plan reviews and permitting, and create a mechanism for periodic adjustment of fees.

For the purpose of determining construction costs for obtaining a building permit, a minimum square foot cost shall be established, determined by using the Building valuation Data printed semi-annually in the Building Safety Journal published by the International Code Council.

"This is about new construction. The ICC, the International Code Council produce a building evaluation report twice a year, every six months. On this evaluation report, it's got your types of buildings. For example, an R-3 is a commercial building with one and two family dwellings. What they do is take a national average and say this is what it cost per square foot to build this type of building and based on the type of materials being used to build this building with. That doesn't necessarily mean that's what it's going to cost to build that building. It's just something that is an average for you to charge a permit fee on to make this an asset to the city instead of a liability. You don't want your code's department to be a liability," said City Building Codes Inspector Lionel Williams

"What I am trying to do is plan ahead because someday you are going to need a full time code's officer here instead of going through a contractor (as codes inspector) like I am. This (new ordinance) will help you get into that groove where you've already got things in place. We're already required by the state to do plumbing and mechanical inspections, whether it be residential or commercial and since we're already having to do it, you need to charge a fee for it to be compensated for going out and doing the work," said Williams

"This is a step toward making the city get to where it can actually someday put in place its own code's office and have its own code officials out here working with the (police) chief to make sure the city is well kept and well maintained. Some of the things in there (ordinance) clarifies the fines for failing to do something. You guys have great zoning regulations now but you have no enforcement on it. What this does is attach enforcement even on your zoning regulations. It doesn't need to be abused but it does need to be used from time to time. One day every building in your city will be a code compliant building but it will take several years for that to happen," said Williams.

For Residential/ Commercial Construction fees shall be determined by a Fee Schedule as follows:

For construction with a total valuation of $1,000 or less, no fee would be assessed unless an inspection is required. If required, a fee of $15 per inspection will be charged.

For construction valued at $1,001 to $50,000, a $15 charge will be assessed for the first $1,000 plus $5.00 for each additional $1,000 or fraction thereof, up to and including $50,000.

The fee for construction valued at $50,001 to $100,000 would be $260 for the first $50,000, plus $4.00 for each additional $1,000 or fraction thereof, up to and including $100,000.

For construction valued at $100,001 to $500,000, the fee would be $460 for the first $100,000 plus $3.00 for each additional $1,000 or fraction thereof, up to and including $500,000.

The fee for construction valued at $500,001 and up would be $1,660 for the first $500,000 plus $2.00 for each additional $1,000 or fraction thereof.

For all Non-Residential/Commercial Construction such as storage buildings, fences, decks, and wheelchair ramps, etc. the fees shall be determined by a separate fee schedule. The permit fees will be based on building size in square footage.

For example, for buildings 10,000 square feet or less, the permit fee would be 30 cents per square foot.

When the evaluation of the proposed construction exceeds $1,000 and a plan is required to be submitted, a plan review fee would be required at the time of submitting plans and specification for review equal to one half of the building permit fee as determined from the fee schedules. The Plan Review fee would be in addition to the building permit fee but no such fee would be charged for the review of plans for one and two family dwellings.

The ordinance also establishes permit fees for demolition, moving structures, swimming pool construction, plumbing, mechanical, fire code system, etc.

Penalties would be assessed for those found in violation of the ordinance.

In addition to this ordinance, the aldermen Monday night are scheduled to act on second and final reading on ordinances adopting the 2012 edition of the International Existing Building Code and the 2012 International Fire Code.

If approved the ordinances will take effect January 1.

TDOT Alters Plans for Proposed Highway 56 Project

December 10, 2014
Dwayne Page
TDOT unveils new proposal for Highway 56 (blue lines show where passing lanes would be constructed)
Map shows existing road (above) and same location (below) built with two lanes and passing lanes

Several years after first announcing plans to widen and improve Highway 56, the Tennessee Department of Transportation has a new proposal that is expected to save the state money.

Instead of building a four lane divided and five lane road from south of the Warren County line (in Warren County) to near Magness Road in DeKalb County, TDOT now proposes to build a new two lane road (typical section) with twelve foot lanes and ten foot paved shoulders and passing lanes along the 3.30 mile existing alignment. The plans also include adding extra safety features on the new road, such as guardrails, better road signage, pavement markings, and center line rumble stripes. The total projected cost is $7,611,000. That would be a savings to the state of $12,800,000 from TDOT's original plans for this portion of Highway 56, which would have cost $20,411,000.

The highway from near Magness Road to just south of the Warren County line is currently a two lane road with eleven to twelve foot lanes and two to eleven foot shoulder widths.

According to TDOT officials, the rate of severe crashes on this portion of Highway 56 is (0.250) double the state average (0.128) for rural two lane routes but that the decision to scale back the project was out of financial necessity.

"Because of our tenuous and unpredictable financial situation relating to the federally funded Highway Trust Fund, the department took a look at our projects in development that would not have received funding any time soon to see if there was something we could do instead that would address some of the transportation issues in a less expensive, but more easily and quickly funded manner," Jennifer Flynn, TDOT Regional Community Relations Officer recently told the Southern Standard.

The process to make some improvements rather than risk nothing being done is called expedited project delivery and focuses on safety measures. "In the case of this project, our planners came up with recommendations that would include safety improvements to the corridor at an estimated $857,000 and reconstruction of the roadway with two lanes and a total of 1.5 miles of passing lanes at a cost estimate of $6.754 million for a total estimate cost of $7.611 million," said Flynn.

The smaller project has not yet received funding approval for construction but could be let for bids by the fall of 2015.

TDOT has not yet announced a timetable for construction of the proposed project to four lane Highway 56 from Magness Road to the city limits of Smithville.

Convicted Felon Found with Drugs and Weapons

December 8, 2014
Dwayne Page
Convicted Felon Found with Drugs and Weapons
Joshua Lynne Batey
Ralph Edward McIntyre, Jr

A convicted felon has been busted again after he was found with drugs and weapons at his Smithville home last week.

27 year old Joshua Lynne Batey of Juniper Lane, Smithville is charged with possession of schedule IV & VI drugs for resale and possession of a weapon by a felon. His bond is $25,000 and he will be in court December 18.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Friday, December 5 a drug detective and deputy of the sheriff's department went to 415 Juniper Lane to do a probation search (visit) on Batey, who is on probation for previous offenses. Batey was convicted in 2010 for sale and delivery of a schedule II drug, a class C felony and for the sale and delivery of a schedule II drug, a class D felony. Upon arrival, the officers announced the intention of their visit and searched Batey. Found in Batey's pocket were three plastic baggies. One of the baggies held 25 yellow diazepam pills. The other two baggies contained marijuana, totaling .51 ounces. Batey also had $859 in cash on his person, including 31 -twenty dollar bills, 2- one hundred dollar bills, a ten dollar bill, a five dollar bill, and 4-one dollar bills. After making this discovery, the detective left the premises to obtain a search warrant of Batey's home. The other officer remained at the residence until the detective's return. During a search of the dwelling a Weatherby 12 gauge shotgun was found upstairs under a piece of insulation. Batey also had a muzzleloader. He was taken into custody.

Later in the day, another person was arrested at the same residence after the drug detective drove by and found the man acting suspiciously around a vehicle parked there. 25 year old Ralph Edward McIntyre, Jr. of Adams Street, Smithville is charged with resisting stop, frisk, halt, or arrest. His bond is $1,500 and he will be in court on December 18. According to Sheriff Ray, the drug detective saw the man behind a vehicle at Batey's residence, 415 Juniper Lane. When he pulled into the driveway, the man started to run. The detective called for him to stop but he kept running. After a foot pursuit, the man (McIntyre) was stopped and placed under arrest.


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