Local News Articles

County Firefighters Respond to Call in Holiday Haven Area

February 20, 2015
Dwayne Page
Firefighters use chainsaw to open wood casing around flue (Donny Green photo)
Burned insulation from fire inside wood casing around flue(Donny Green photo)

Members of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department quickly snuffed out a fire Tuesday afternoon at 195 Wildwood Drive off Cookeville Highway in the Holiday Haven area.

The home belongs to Teresa Riedley.

According to County Fire Chief Donny Green, the family has a fireplace in the home and noticed smoke coming out around the top of the ceiling. Thinking the flue was on fire, they called 911.

Firefighters arrived and discovered the fire to be coming from inside a wooden casing around the flue on an outside wall of the home. "We inspected the flue but didn't see any flame. We went outside and saw smoke coming from the wood casing around the flue. We used a thermal camera to detect the heat source and a chainsaw to open the wood casing. Flames shot out from inside the casing where some insulation had caught fire," said Chief Green.

The fire was extinguished with no damage to the inside of the home. No one was injured

Members of the Cookeville Highway, Main Station, Short Mountain Highway, and tanker of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department responded along with manpower from the Midway station.

THP Dispatcher Awarded Bethel University Scholarship

February 19, 2015
Dwayne Page
Tonya Hattaway

A DeKalb County woman, who works as a Communications Operator 2 dispatcher for the Cookeville District of the Tennessee Highway Patrol, has been awarded a scholarship to further her education through an online program at Bethel University.

Tonya Hattaway, a resident of the Seven Springs community, said she is honored to have been selected to receive the scholarship as she works toward earning a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration. "Bethel University, through the Department of Safety offered us a chance to get a scholarship. They offered it to Department of Safety employees who were interested in it. We had to submit a resume, three letters of recommendation, and write a five thousand word essay. They went through and picked from that and decided who would get the scholarships for $5,000 to promote and encourage the employees to continue their education in college. I applied and was selected for a $5,000 scholarship. I am already attending Bethel and I am half way through to get my Bachelor's degree in Business Administration so this is going to help me finish my degree. They have an online program and that is what I have been doing for the last eighteen months, attending their online program. With my schedule, working at a job like I have and with a family, it's a really big help to be able to do this online at my pace when I have time to do it," Hattaway told WJLE.

Hattaway has worked for the THP, a division of the Tennessee Department of Safety for almost eleven years. She began as a Communications Operator 1 dispatcher, before advancing to Operator 2 status a year later.

She is one of only two Department of Safety (THP) employees to receive this scholarship in the Cookeville District. Similar scholarships were also made available to employees in the other THP districts across the state.

In addition to her work and studies, Hattaway is active in her community having been a leader in forming a neighborhood watch program in the Seven Springs area. "I am very proud of that. I came up with the idea after coming home from work one night and finding some people in my yard at eleven o'clock. I also knew there are elderly people in our community that live alone so that concern for the safety of my neighbors is what led me to the idea (Neighborhood Watch). Plus I wanted to be involved in the community and have our neighbors know each other," said Hattaway.

Bethel is a private, 4-year institution affiliated with the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. Located in McKenzie, Tennessee, Bethel also has satellite campuses in Jackson, Clarksville, Nashville, Chattanooga, Memphis and Paris.

Little Miss & Mister and Spring Blossom Pageants set for March

February 19, 2015
14 year old Morgan Faith Green was the first ever Teen Miss, a new Spring Blossom Pageant started in 2014 by the Smithville Women's Club

The Little Miss & Mister and Spring Blossom Annual Pageants will be Saturday, March 14, beginning at 12 Noon at the DCHS gymnasium. The Spring Blossom will follow the Little Miss & Mister contests. Participants for the Little Miss & Mister must be between the ages of four and six (not younger or older by the night of pageant) and the Spring Blossom is open for girls only ages seven to eighteen.

An entry fee of $25 is required upon submission of entry form for the pageants. Also, any contestant wishing to enter the photogenic category must send a photocopy with the application. The deadline to turn in applications is Monday, March 9. No entries will be accepted past the deadline due to trophy ordering and program designing.

The pageants are open to DeKalb County residents only and contestants must be registered with the DeKalb County School System or a local day school program. Entry forms may be picked up at all DeKalb County Schools, DeKalb Community Bank, Liberty State Bank, Creative Styles, The Tannery, Savvy Scrubs and Clair’s Consignment. Entry forms are also available by email.

Concessions will be open. There will be a $4 admission fee which will apply to all (excluding contestants and children under 3).

The pageants are sponsored by the Smithville Women’s Club. For more questions or details please call 464-7910 or 464-8643.

DeKalb West Students Take Aim at Archery

February 17, 2015
Dwayne Page
Photo from TWRA Website (Student pictured is not from DeKalb West)

Students at DeKalb West School have a new subject in their physical education classes this year - archery.

The National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP) teaches international-style target archery in physical education classes. It's available for students in grades 4-8 at DeKalb West School.

Students at DeKalb Middle School may soon have the same opportunity.

The course, taught by Coach Ricky Hendrix at DWS, covers archery history, safety, technique, equipment, concentration, core strengthening, physical fitness and self-improvement. Before presenting the archery course to students, Hendrix had to undergo a rigorous eight-hour NASP training to become a certified archery instructor.

Although students are not required to take archery, DWS Principal Sabrina Farler said most students want to participate. "A year ago we let the (school) board know that we had an opportunity from the TWRA to get a $1,000 grant for an archery program. DWS paid the remaining approximately $1,500 to cover the cost. Coach Hendrix had to attend an eight hour training before he could start teaching the classes. He is now introducing it to all DWS 4th-8th graders and the kids are so excited," she said.

Farler said DWS was made aware of the program by TWRA officer Tony Cross. "Really, my and Officer Joe Fortner's involvement was just to help the school systems get set up in the National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP). Both DeKalb West School and DeKalb Middle School last year were able to purchase archery set-up kits to get the program started in the schools. Right now at DeKalb Middle School we're still waiting to get PE instructors certified to be able to teach it at DMS," said Officer Cross.

NASP is a joint venture between state departments of Education and Wildlife. Several archery equipment manufacturers and organizations are also partners. The program promotes student education, physical education and participation in the lifelong sport of Archery. The program’s focus is to provide International Style Target Archery training in physical education classes. "There are hundreds of schools across the state and thousands of schools nationwide involved in this program. It's really a great program. It's not just geared for hunters. There's a lot of kids that maybe this is the first time they've ever picked up a bow. It's actually a compound bow that they shoot which is set up for beginning archers. But it's not just about shooting a bow and arrow. It teaches a lot of different things from discipline, responsibility, and respect for others," said Officer Cross.

The archery course, which normally runs from two to eight weeks, is designed to teach International Style target archery in 4th–12th grades. The students shoot at bulls-eye targets placed in front of an arrow resistant net in their gymnasium. The core content covers archery history, safety, technique, equipment, mental concentration, core strengthening, physical fitness and self improvement which is necessary in order to participate in and enjoy the sport of archery as a lifetime activity. The safety and instructional guidelines were adopted from the National Archery Association (NAA) and the National Field Archery Association (NFAA).

Equipment to get started:
Bows* (Original Genesis) 12 - (10 right / 2 left)
Bow rack
2 boxes of arrows (10 dozen)
5 Targets
1 Arrow Curtain
1 Equipment repair kit*
1 set of Safety rules and posters*
Arrow quivers 12 (made by the school)
Whistle (one is included in the BAI materials)
Blue painter’s tape (purchased by the school)
Clearly defined shooting range (in gym)

Coach Hendrix will be teaching archery during PE classes from 9:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m. or from 1:30 p.m.-2:30 p.m. each day for a few weeks, according to Principal Farler.

Winter Storm Grips DeKalb County

February 17, 2015
Dwayne Page
TDOT Crews Working to Keep State Highways Clear

Traveling in DeKalb County and across Tennessee has been perilous since Monday morning as a winter storm swept through producing mostly freezing rain and sleet in this area and causing layers of ice to form on highways, backroads, trees and power lines. Many customers of Caney Fork Electric Cooperative were without power overnight due to the winter storm. Mid morning problems arose at the sub-station Tuesday causing another power interruption for CFEC customers in DeKalb County. Although that issue has apparently been resolved, still some customers are without power.

"Caney Fork Electric Cooperative is experiencing widespread power outages throughout its service territory," said Angel Wood, Communications Coordinator for CFEC. "All of our employees are working diligently to restore power to our members. Please remember our linemen are working long hours in extreme weather conditions. Due to numerous outages, we are unable to make any guarantees at this time. We are asking any of our members with a medical need for electric power to please consider alternative arrangements or call 911 if you feel you are in a life-threatening situation," she said.

The Tennessee Emergency Management Agency Monday night activated the Tennessee Emergency Management Plan and declared a State of Emergency in Tennessee as road conditions across the state began to deteriorate. "The roads are still extremely slick. We want everybody to stay inside today if you can," said Sheriff Patrick Ray. " TDOT was out all night long. They would come through and do a good job salting and then a couple of hours later the roadways would become slick again. We had a few wrecks throughout the night. Nothing real serious. Most of them had just run off the roadway," he said.

Downed trees overnight became a particular concern."A lot of the southern and eastern end of the county seems to be the worst that we've had as a call volume of trees being in roads," said Sheriff Ray. "Highway 70 east, Keltonburg, Antioch, and Belk Roads have been the worst hit. The Smithville-DeKalb Rescue Squad, DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department, EMS, DeKalb County Highway Department, TDOT, and private citizens and neighbors were all out throughout the night helping cut trees out of the roads trying to make paths where people could get through," he said.

With temperatures expected to remain below freezing, Sheriff Ray there is little chance for a lot of thawing to occur today. "We want to ask people (motorists) to watch for trees that might be half way out in the road and there may be some blocking roads completely. Be very cautious if you have to be out. If anyone sees a tree down across a road, call the central dispatch at 615-215-3000 and we'll try to get somebody out there to clean it up. It's going to take some time for the highway department to get all these trees cleaned up. There's a lot of them down . Another danger is the trees falling. I know school is out and children want to go out and play but it could be dangerous if they were to get under any trees that are loaded down with ice," he said.

Although a few people chose to relocate temporarily overnight because of the winter storm due to power outages, no one had to be evacuated according to DeKalb County Emergency Management Agency Coordinator Charlie Parker. "We've had several people who have relocated to family and friends homes. I know of two or three different families with small children who went to other places but we did not physically evacuate anybody. We did open the Smithville Fire Hall Monday night for a short period of time. We had some people who came up there because their electricity was out all afternoon. Most ended up going to motel rooms to stay the night. Others went to stay with family," said Parker.

It's still a good idea to keep a regular check on family members and others who may be at risk during this winter blast. "We are encouraging everybody to do a welfare check with family, friends, and neighbors. You can call them. I know the sheriff's department was doing several welfare checks yesterday and last night just to make sure everybody was alright. If you do have a medical emergency call the 911 center and they will send the appropriate people," he said.

Parker also encourages you keep a close watch on any alternate heat source you may be using during a power outage. "You need to be extremely careful with kerosene and space heaters along with other live fire burning appliances such as stoves and fireplaces. Be careful with the heat, fire, smoke, and fumes," said Parker.

Cookeville Man Found with Meth

February 16, 2015
Dwayne Page
Anthony Leon Tindle
Neal Bernard Keenan
James Michael Phipps
Billy Douglas Ferrell
Steven Lee Gebhardt
Teesha Nicole Reynolds
David Allen Sloan
John Wesley Curtis

A Cookeville man was found with methamphetamine during a Sheriff's Department traffic stop in Smithville last week.

44 year old Anthony Leon Tindle of North Pine Hill Road, Cookeville is charged with possession of a schedule II drug (methamphetamine). His bond is $25,000 and he will make a court appearance March 12. Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Friday, February 13 a sheriff's department detective spotted an older model Cadillac setting near a convenience store at the intersection of Highway 56 & 70 in Smithville. Another vehicle was parked behind the Cadillac. The driver of the Cadillac appeared to be slumped over the wheel. The detective stopped and spoke with the driver, Tindle. During the conversation Tindle told the officer that he had a pipe in his pocket and produced a plastic container which held a wet rock like substance which field tested positive for methamphetamine and weighed 4.8 grams. Tindle was placed under arrest.

58 year old Neal Bernard Keenan of West Main Street, Dowelltown is charged with driving on a revoked license. He was further issued citations for not wearing a seatbelt and for violation of the responsibility law (no insurance). His bond is $1,500 and he will be in court March 5. Sheriff Ray said that on Monday, February 9 Keenan was operating a motor vehicle and stopped for not wearing a seatbelt. A computer check revealed that his driver's license were revoked for DUI on August 5, 2013. He was arrested and brought to the sheriff's office for booking.

48 year old James Michael Phipps of Cookeville is charged with possession of a schedule II drug (Opana) for resale. His bond is $10,000 and he will make a court appearance on March 12. Sheriff Ray said that on Monday, February 9 a sheriff's department drug detective arrested Phipps, who was a passenger of a vehicle stopped for a traffic violation. Phipps gave the detective consent to search his person and in his coat pocket, six loaded syringes were found. Phipps admitted that the syringes were loaded with the drug Opana. He was arrested and brought to the sheriff's department for booking.

27 year old Billy Douglas Ferrell of Dale Ridge Road, Dowelltown is charged with driving on a suspended license. He was further issued citations for violation of the financial responsibility law, for no license plates on his vehicle, and for not giving immediate notice of an accident. His bond is $1,500 and he will be in court March 26. Sheriff Ray said that on Monday, February 9 a deputy was dispatched to New Home Road in reference to someone hitting a mailbox and then leaving the scene. When the officer arrived, he found a piece of a bumper that had broken off in the accident. The next day, Tuesday February 10 the deputy was informed by central dispatch that someone had witnessed the wreck and followed the vehicle to the home of Ferrell. According to the caller, Ferrell was the driver. The officer went to Ferrell's home and spoke with him. Ferrell admitted to being the driver of the automobile which hit the mailbox on New Home Road. According to Sheriff Ray, Ferrell further admitted to leaving the scene after the mishap and driving to his home. A computer check revealed that Ferrell's license were suspended for failure to maintain proof of insurance on April 2, 2014. The deputy had previously cited Ferrell on January 23, 2015 for a first offense of driving on a suspended license and advised him at that time not to be driving anymore. Ferrell was arrested and brought to the jail for booking.

29 year old Justin Ray Lohorn of Driver Street, Smithville is cited for violation of the light law, simple possession of marijuana, and failure to maintain his lane of travel. He will be in court March 12. Sheriff Ray said that on Thursday, February 12 a sheriff's department detective saw a red pickup truck with no tail lights swerving on Braswell Lane in Smithville. The detective stopped the truck and spoke with the driver, Lohorn. After receiving consent to search, the detective found a marijuana joint inside the vehicle.

41 year old Steven Lee Gebhardt of Hurricane Ridge Road, Smithville is charged with public intoxication. His bond is $3,000 and he will be in court March 12. Sheriff Ray said that on Thursday, February 12 a sheriff's department deputy was dispatched to Turtle's Bar and Grill on Sparta Highway on a complaint of a customer who was trying to start a fight. Upon arrival, the officer spoke with Gebhardt who was unsteady on his feet and he had a strong odor of alcohol on his person. Gebhardt was placed under arrest.

32 year old Teesha Nicole Reynolds of Lovers Lane, Liberty was arrested on Monday, February 9 after an investigation by detectives of both the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department and Smithville Police Department. She is charged with two counts of fraudulent use of a debit card and theft of property under $500. Her bond totals $6,500 and she will be in court February 19. In the sheriff's department case, Reynolds allegedly took a debit card belonging to another on West Main Street, Smithville without the owner's consent and used it at the Dollar General Store at Snow Hill. The purchase amount was for $45.52.

35 year old David Allen Sloan of Tramel Branch Road, Alexandria is charged with public intoxication. His bond is $1,500 and he will make a court appearance May 7. Sheriff Ray said that on Saturday, February 14 Sloan was in the parking lot of Turtle's Bar and Grill and he was asked to leave when he started a disturbance with employees. He was highly intoxicated and acting very belligerently. The arresting officer asked Sloan several times to calm down but he refused to comply. He was placed under arrest.

24 year old John Wesley Curtis of Braswell Lane, Smithville is charged with driving under the influence. He was also issued a citation for violation of the implied consent law and for stopping on the highway. His bond is $1,500 and he will be in court on March 26. Sheriff Ray said that on Monday, February 16 a deputy was dispatched to Highway 70 and Dale Ridge Road due to a car blocking two lanes of travel. Upon arrival the officer spoke with the driver, Curtis who had urinated on himself. Curtis had bloodshot eyes, slurred speech, and a strong odor of alcohol on his person. He allegedly admitted to drinking six- 24 ounce beers. He performed poorly on field sobriety tasks but he refused to submit to a blood test. Curtis was placed under arrest.

Lady Cats Claim National Championship

February 16, 2015
Hayley Martin, Carlee West, and Katherine Clendenon
Lady Cats Junior Level 2 All-Star Competitive Cheer Team from Power Athletics in Cookeville

The Lady Cats Junior Level 2 All-Star Competitive Cheer Team from Power Athletics in Cookeville brought home the gold and winners' jackets from the 2015 Cheersport National Cheer and Dance Championship in Atlanta, Georgia this past weekend in Junior Small Gym 2 Division II. This is one of the largest cheer and dance competitions in the United States with over 1,300 teams and 50,000 cheerleaders in attendance.

Competing on the Lady Cats team from Smithville are Hayley Martin, Carlee West, and Katherine Clendenon. There were 16 teams in The Lady Cats' division, which also included one team from England. Not only did they win their division, but they also had the highest raw score out all 45 teams in the Junior Small Gym 2 category with a score of 96.31, and they had zero deductions from their routine on both days of competition.

This is the second National Championship that this team has won this season after winning the Athletics Platinum Championship in Chattanooga in January. The Lady Cats are coached by Ashley Farris and Jordan Todd.

The Epidemic is Here! Friday, February 20th

February 14, 2015
Dwayne Page
The Epidemic is Here! Friday, February 20th

A workshop on the epidemic of prescription medication abuse will be held in Smithville on Friday, February 20 at the DeKalb County Complex from 8:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m.

"The Epidemic is Here” will offer CME’s for medical professionals but it is also open to all those who want to attend. The goal of this conference is not to alert people to the epidemic, but rather to discuss what can be done as a medical community to combat the problem. It will feature presentations on screening methods for addiction that are being used in medical facilities, better prescribing practices and the latest in treatment methods. It also serves as a fundraiser for the Community Advisory Board of DeKalb County with half the proceeds to benefit the DeKalb Foster Children's Fund

The featured speaker will be Dr. Steven Lloyd, a recovering addict who treats addiction. Angela McKinney Jones, Director of Prevention Services for the state will also speak along with General Sessions/Juvenile Court Judge Bratten Cook, II.

DeKalb Drug Court Coordinator Norene Puckett said the conference should be of interest to everyone. "A group of us from the Drug Court Program as well as some other agencies had gone to this same conference in Cookeville and Dr. Lloyd spoke. He just blew our minds about addiction and changed the whole way that we saw addiction. We came back from that conference and met with our community advisory board and said we need to get this (conference) to DeKalb County," said Puckett.

"As everyone knows we have a drug problem here and we're not really doing much for it so we decided we want to bring this here. It's a conference for our medical community but we also want to encourage anyone to attend. There are CME's being offered for the doctors but it's also open to the public. It's designed not to say that we have a drug problem but more to get the community together to see what we can do to combat the problem. We'll have screenings. A lady will be there to teach about screenings. SBIRT is a screening method for drug abuse and prevention and it is now a billable service so doctors and nurse practitioners can bill that in their offices. Angela McKinney is the Director of Prevention Services for the state and she will be there and actually give them the billing codes they need to make that service available. Dr. Lloyd will speak about the power of the pen and the proper prescribing of narcotics and the latest in treatment methods for Opioid addiction. This is also a fundraiser for the community advisory board. We hope to use at least half of the funds for the DeKalb Foster Children's Fund. We already have a lot of people signed up and we'll have different booths there. The cost is $50 for CME's. For medical professionals who need CME's. It's $20 for general admission," said Puckett.

The agenda is as follows:
8:00 - 8:30 Registration / Welcome
8:30 - 9:45 Angela McKinney Jones - SBIRT
9:45 - 10:00 Break
10:00 - 10:15 Judge Bratten Cook II
10:15 - 11:30 Dr. Stephen Loyd, MD, FACP -
The Power of the Pen
11:30 - 11:45 Break
11:45 - 12:45 Dr. Stephen Loyd, MD, FACP -
Medication Assisted Treatment
for Opioid Dependence
12:45 - 1:00 Closing remarks / Certificates /

This event will be sponsored by The Community Advisory Board of DeKalb County, The DeKalb County Drug Court, The Anti-drug Coalition of DeKalb County, DeKalb Community Hospital, Haven of Hope Counseling, Bradford Health Services, Lifeline of Tennessee, Ten Broeck of Tennessee, Health Connect America, Camelot Care, and The Tennessee Commission of Children and Youth. We have joined together to try help reduce the rates of addiction that are destroying our communities and to also treat those in need of help.

The cost is $50.00 for CME or $20.00 for general admission. A meal will be provided.

All proceeds for this training will go to the Community Advisory Board of DeKalb County.

If you or someone you know does not have available funding for training, there will be a limited amount of scholarships available.
For more information visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-epidemic-is-here-tickets-15042487485 or email jessica.tucker@tn.gov or rvalerio@bradfordhealth.net

New Billboard Sign Helps School System Promote Literacy

February 13, 2015
Dwayne Page
New Billboard Sign Helps School System Promote Literacy

Have you read with a child today?

It's the most important twenty minutes of your day.

Just 20 minutes a day reading aloud with young children strengthens relationships, encourages listening and language skills, promotes attention and curiosity, and establishes a strong reading foundation. These skills are essential for success in school and in life.

The DeKalb County School System seeks to heighten awareness of the importance of reading with a young child so they will be better prepared for school.

Signs are now available for businesses to help spread the word and a new billboard sign is now up on East Broad Street in Smithville facing west near Pizza Hut which promotes the "Read 20" literacy message. The billboard shows Attendance Supervisor Joey Reeder reading to his granddaughter Stella. The billboard sign was funded through a Readiness (State Discretionary) Grant.

Julia Little Named DCHS Class of 2015 Valedictorian

February 13, 2015
Dwayne Page
DCHS Class of 2015 Valedictorian Julia Little
DCHS Class of 2015 Salutatorian Makalee Ruch

DeKalb County High School has released the names of students in the Class of 2015 Top Rank including the Valedictorian Julia Little and the Salutatorian Makalee Ruch. Little is the daughter of Dr. Scott Little and Kristin Raymond. Ruch's parents are Melissa and Joe Ruch.

To be considered for Top Rank, students must take at least 10 honors, dual enrollment, and AP courses. Students must also have a 21 or higher ACT composite score. Forty DCHS students met this qualification, according to DCHS Guidance Counselor Lori Myrick

Students in the Class of 2015 Top Rank (listed in alphabetical order) are as follows:

Shara Adcock, Rachel Adcock, Rayanna Baker, Austin Ball, Jonathon Ball, Isaac Beck, Rebecca Benshoof, Kathryn Blair, Leah Burchfield, William Caplinger, Savannah Driver, Dakoda Eaton, Taylor Ellis, Michael Ferguson, Matthew Foutch, Sydnie Garmer, Bailey Hayes, Kelsey Hedge, Rachel Holcomb, Justin Johnson, Brandon Leiser, Julia Little, Ortega Maciel, Micah Merriman, Kenzie Morris, Cason Oakley, Jacquelyn Overbey, Bethany Poss, Makayla Redmon, Brooke Reffue, Zachary Roberts, Makalee Ruch, Harlli Silcox, Emilee Stephens, Austin Tittle, Lydia Trail, Darrian Turner, Jacob Washer, Bruce Wilson, and Charles Young.


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