Parents, children, and local businesses are invited to join the City of Smithville and the Police Department's "Trick or Treat Halloween Downtown" Tuesday, October 31 from noon until 5:00 p.m.
Some offices in the DeKalb County Courthouse, Smithville City Hall, Smithville Police Department, Justin Potter Library, and participating businesses downtown will have candy and special treats for the children. Look for the stores and offices with a picture of an orange pumpkin on their windows. Maps are available at the police department and Justin Potter Library to show parents which businesses will be taking part in the event.
This event is sponsored by the Smithville Police Department and the Smithville City Hall.
Meanwhile, the Smithville-DeKalb County Chamber of Commerce will sponsor a “Best Costume Contest” for downtown businesses and offices. Take pictures with your phone and send them to Shan Burklow at 615-594-2792 by 1:30 p.m. on October 31. First, second, and third place winners will be presented a “Halloween on the Square Best Costume Award”, media recognition, and bragging rights.
The Smithville Volunteer Fire Department will have special treats for children Tuesday, October 31 from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m. Stop by for a hot dog, candy, and a tour of the Smithville Fire Hall. Meet with Smithville Fire Chief Charlie Parker and the Smithville Fire Department Volunteers.
Other communities and churches in the county will also be observing Halloween events in late October.
A benefit Golf Tournament for Chamber Director Suzanne Williams is set for Saturday, November 4 at River Watch Golf & Resort with a shotgun start at 10:45 a.m. It’s a 4-player team scramble and the cost is $85.00 per player. Enjoy a LIVE auction, food, beverages, and music. To reserve your spot call 931- 761- 8124 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
A total of 28 people have cast ballots during the first three days of early voting for the Special 17th Senatorial District Republican and Democratic primaries set for November 7.
On Wednesday, 11 people voted in person and there were 7 absentees. Four people voted on Thursday. On Friday, 6 people voted including 5 in person and 1 absentee.
Eighteen have voted in the Republican Primary and 10have cast ballots in the Democratic Primary.
The election is the result of a vacancy created in the district when State Senator Mae Beavers resigned to focus on her gubernatorial campaign. The District includes DeKalb, Smith, Macon, Cannon, Clay and Wilson counties.
Only one candidate is on the ballot for both primaries. State Representative Mark Pody is looking to move to the upper chamber and is on the Republican primary ballot. Wilson County attorney Mary Alice Carfi is the lone candidate on the Democratic primary ballot. They will face each other in the General Election set for December 19th.
Early voting hours for the primaries are as follows: Mondays 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.; Tuesdays 9 a.m. until Noon; Wednesdays 9 a.m. until Noon; Thursdays 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.; Fridays 9 a.m. until Noon and Saturdays 9 a.m. until Noon. All early voting will be held on the first floor of the DeKalb County Courthouse.
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day is set for Saturday, October 28. As part of this major health and safety initiative, the DeKalb Prevention Coalition will host a take-back event at Smithville City Hall from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. on October 28. More than 15 tons of drugs were collected statewide on the last National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day in April.
Community members are encouraged to stop by this local take-back location to drop off their unused or expired medications, especially pain relievers and other prescription drugs. Pharmacists and law enforcement officers will be on hand to accept the medications and safely dispose of them, no questions asked.
“Two-thirds of Tennesseans said the main sources of prescription pain pills for those who abuse them are family members or friends,” said Lisa Cripps, Coordinator, DeKalb Prevention Coalition. “Take-back days are a safe and easy way to get these drugs out of your home.”
“Count it! Lock it! Drop it! Is a comprehensive community program for prescription drug abuse prevention. The program’s focus is for all Tennesseans to count their pills, keep them locked away, and safely drop them in an official drop box to prevent others from accessing them, “said Kristina Clark, co-founder of Count It! Lock It! Drop It!”.
“With 52 percent of individuals statewide having concerns about a loved one’s becoming addicted, we want to provide more opportunities for people to safely dispose of their medications. National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day occurs twice a year, so we can better prevent these addictive drugs from getting into the wrong hands.”
DeKalb County members recently finished the Chick-Chain poultry project with the annual show and sale which was held at the Farmers Market. Each participant received 15 Red Sex Link or Barred Rock chicks in early May and raised them throughout the spring and summer. These 4-H’ers are learning responsibility, hard work, patience, and much more all while having fun by raising chickens.
On October 5th, 30 4-H’ers completed the project by bringing 3 chickens back to the 4-H Poultry Show and Sale. The pullets, or young hens, are carefully judged on maturity, egg laying ability, and overall health. A Grand Champion and Reserve Champion is each breed was selected along with other awards. The Grand Champion Red Sex Link went to Clayton Crook, a 10th grader at DCHS, and the Reserve Champion was awarded to Dare Collins, 5th grader at Northside. The Grand Champion Barred Rock went to Luke Magness, 6th grader at DMS, while Reserve Champion went to Cale Brown, 5th grader at Northside.
After awards were handed out, it was time for the auction! The money raised goes back to the 4-H members to refund their original deposit on the chicks and to help fund other 4-H programs. They also received additional prize money. A special thank you goes out to all the bidders, buyers, sponsors, and volunteers who came out to support the 4-H poultry project this year. This is always one of our biggest community events!
4-H members who completed the project should feel proud of all their hard work and accomplishments! If you are interested in the Chick Chain project, or any other 4-H program, please call 615-597-4945. 4-H is a proud part of UT and TSU Extension. UT/TSU Extension provides equal opportunities in programs and employment through the cooperation of county, state, and federal governments.
A man charged twice within ten days for aggravated assault involving a gun has been sentenced in DeKalb County Criminal Court.
35 year old Nathan Trapp entered a plea on Friday, October 6 to two counts of aggravated assault and received a six year sentence in each case on TDOC probation with 120 days to serve in the DeKalb County Jail. The two terms are to run concurrently with each other. Trapp was given jail credit from May 19 to October 6, 2017.
Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Tuesday, May 9 two deputies were dispatched to a residence on Magness Road due to a report of a physical domestic with shots fired. Trapp had already left the home by the time the officers arrived.
The deputies spoke with Trapp’s sister who said that Trapp had called wanting her to bring him some butterfly bandages for his head. Trapp’s sister arrived at the residence and heard a woman screaming. She then opened the door and saw Trapp hitting his girlfriend, 22 year old Taylor Nicole Hensley, in the head with a pistol. After trying to put Taylor in a head lock, Trapp placed the gun to her head and said he was going to shoot her. He then pointed the gun at his sister and said he was going to shoot her too. Trapp’s sister called for him to let Taylor go. Trapp then came at his sister, picked her up by her throat, and carried her out the door. Once outside the door, he shoved his sister down the steps. Trapp’s sister got into her vehicle and drove next door to call 911. As she was leaving, Trapp came out the door, pointed the gun at his sister, and fired several shots at her. She was not hit by the gunfire.Trapp was arrested the following day, Wednesday May 10.
Trapp was arrested days later by Smithville Police after he allegedly pulled a gun on another person during a confrontation outside at Walmart.
Police were called to Walmart on Friday, May 19 after receiving information that Trapp had pulled a gun on someone there. Officers spoke with the victims who stated that Trapp almost hit one of them with his vehicle as they were walking to enter Walmart. One of the victims waited outside the front doors to ask Nathan what his problem was and he made a rude reply. The other victim pushed Trapp back away from the first victim and he (Trapp) reached for a pistol in his waistband. The victims then backed off to avoid escalating the situation and Trapp entered Walmart. Officers found Trapp inside the store and detained him. It was discovered that Trapp didn’t have a license to carry the firearm and he was also under bond conditions barring him from possessing a firearm.
In a separate case, 39 year old Michael Alan Hendrix entered a plea to simple assault and received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days, all suspended. He will be on supervised probation and is seeking judicial diversion. He is under a restraining order to keep away from his victims.
Smithville Police received a 911 call on November 20, 2016 of shots being heard outside a residence. Upon arrival, police were informed that Hendrix had been observed leaving the area in a dark green Ford truck. Seven 9 millimeter shell casings were recovered from the front yard near the road. Police later spoke with Hendrix and determined through an investigation that he had fired rounds into the ground as a warning to one of his victims that he was coming for him.
A Smithville man has been arrested by the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department in several burglaries and thefts which have occurred over the last three months
24 year old Ryan Davis Taylor of Holmes Creek Road, Smithville is charged with one count of aggravated burglary, five counts of burglary, one count of theft of property under $1,000, three counts of theft of property over $1,000, two counts of theft over $10,000, and two counts of vandalism. His bond totals $160,500 and his court date is November 2.
Initially, Taylor was charged in two burglaries and thefts after he allegedly broke into the same shed twice on Hannah’s Branch Road at Liberty.
Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Tuesday, October 3, Taylor entered a shed, cut a padlock and chain secured to a generator, and stole the generator, two log chains, grease gun, tamping bar, an adjustable wrench, and rubber handled pliers all valued at $690. He returned to the same shed on Thursday, October 5 and stole a 22 rifle, 22 pistol, Milwaukee band saw, threading set, Makita angle grinder, Makita drills, Makita saw, laser mark, three chainsaws, floor jack, extension cord, and grease fitting valued at $2,786.
Additional charges were filed against Taylor on Monday, October 16 after Sheriff Ray, detectives, and deputies went to Taylor’s home on Saturday, October 14 to serve a search warrant and found more stolen property from other burglaries.
The other cases against Taylor are as follows:
*On July 14, Taylor entered a barn on Game Ridge Road, Smithville causing damage to it and took several hunting bows, hunting clothes, a computer, bullets, reloading equipment, rods and reels, and lights, valued at $10,000
*On July 18, Taylor assisted in the forcible entry into a mini-storage building on Nashville Highway. Entry was made by removing the lock to a storage container at the mini-storages. He then assisted in the theft of several musical instruments, cameras, cds, video games, and jewelry, valued at $34,276.
*On September 30, Taylor entered a motor vehicle and stole a custom built AR-15, Craftsman tool set, drill, floor jack, Garmin GPS, and boots and glasses, valued at $2,120
*On October 6, Taylor entered a residence on Allen Ferry Road and stole various jewelry, TV, coffee pot, keys, remotes, laptop, and a tablet, valued at $1,300
Students and teachers at Smithville Elementary School will pay tribute to hometown heroes during the school’s annual Veterans Appreciation assembly program on Friday morning, November 3 at 9:30 a.m.
Veterans Day is Saturday, November 11
Last year Kelly Birmingham led students from pre-K to the second grade in singing "God Bless the USA" and other patriotic songs in honor of veterans who have served in each branch of the military.
(NOTE: VIDEOS BELOW ARE FROM LAST YEAR'S VETERANS APPRECIATION PROGRAM)
Smithville Elementary School Students sang for the veterans last year (BELOW)
Adrienne McCormick read the following "Veterans Day" poem by Cheryl Dyson:
"On Veterans Day we honor all,
Who answered to a service call,
Soldiers young, and soldiers old,
Fought for freedom, brave and bold
Some have lived, while others died,
And all of them deserve our pride,
We're proud of all the soldiers who,
Kept thinking of red, white, and blue,
They fought for us and all our rights,
They fought through many days and nights,
And though we may not know each name,
We thank ALL veterans just the same."
Veterans either attending or who were recognized or remembered for their service last year were:
Edsel Frazier, U.S. Army in World War II-
Edward Frazier, U.S. Army in World War II-
Ben Franklin, U.S. Army in Vietnam-
Bethel Golden, U.S. Army in Korean Conflict-
John Washer, U.S. Air Force in Operation Iraqi Freedom-
William Russell, U.S. Marine Corps, Vietnam Era-
Brian Reed, U.S. Air Force in Desert Storm/Euduring Freedom-
Jimmy Sprague, U.S. Army in Operation Just Cause-Panama
Walter Johnson, U.S. Army in the Korean Conflict-
Tommy Webb, U.S. Army in the Korean Conflict-
Barbara Boehm, U.S. Army Nurses Corps in Iraq and Afghanistan-
Clyde Thomas family. He served in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War-
Jerry and Judy Pistole, U.S. Navy in Vietnam
Jack Allen Midgett, Jr., U.S. Navy in Desert Storm, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and the Global War on Terror
Ricky L. Fury, U.S. Marine Corps in Vietnam
James T. Owen, U.S. Army in Vietnam
Vance Walker, U.S. Army in Operation Iraqi Freedom
Wayne Storey, U.S. Air Force, Army, and Navy in Vietnam
Eddie M. Young, U.S. Navy in Vietnam and Desert Storm
Allen Morse, U.S. Army
Jason Moseley, U.S. Marine Corps
Ronald W. Gray, U.S. Army in Desert Storm
Jason Oakley, U.S. Army in the War on Isis
William Heath Phillips, U.S. Navy
Earl Sims, U.S. Army in World War II
Wayne Vanderpool, U.S. Marine Corps in Vietnam
Family of Gene Cripps
Almost two weeks after suffering a serious injury to her throat in a fall leaving her unable to breathe on her own, Chamber Director Suzanne Williams remains hospitalized at the LeConte Medical Center in Sevierville.
If you would like to send Suzanne a card, mail it to LeConte Medical Center, Patient Suzanne Williams, ICU Room 6, Sevierville, TN 37862.
Meanwhile, in appreciation for the prayers and outpouring of community support, the family has sent WJLE the following letter from Suzanne to share with you:
"Dear Community Friends,
I wanted to take a moment to say a very heart-felt thank you for all of the support and prayers during my recent injury. Although I am miles away in Sevierville, TN ICU, I can feel your love from here. I am overcome with emotion as I think about all of the cards, baskets of food, monetary donations, help with travel, and personal visits that I, along with my family, have received over the past 13 days.
After my most recent run of tests, I have been told that I will remain unable to speak for many weeks to come, so I wanted to use this opportunity to share my written voice of gratitude with all of you. First, I would like to thank each one of you that took time out of your busy lives to pray for me upon hearing of my accident. Second, I am humbled and overwhelmed to know that many of you stepped up to volunteer to answer phones and keep the Chamber office open during my absence, and thirdly, for those of you that coordinated and participated in a prayer vigil in my honor at the courthouse, ‘thank you’. It still brings tears to my eyes. In addition, I would like to acknowledge and thank my friends in tourism, across the state of Tennessee, that joined together to offer lodging for my family, and came back to visit multiple times to lend a hand and a smile.
To anyone that had even the smallest part in supporting me through this challenging time, I want you to know that I have prayed for the Lord to bless you and yours. Although I have always known that DeKalb County was one of the finest places on earth to live, I now have an even greater reason to know how right I was. I hope to come home soon, and get back to work promoting the people and place that I love most on this earth.
My deepest thank you until I see you again,
Smithville-DeKalb Chamber of Commerce"
Eleven years after its beginnings in DeKalb County, the Recovery Court program (formerly known as Drug Court) has grown and is making a difference in the lives of more people, juveniles and adults.
Recovery Court for adults, started by DeKalb County General Sessions and Juvenile Court Judge Bratten Cook, II in 2006, provides an alternative to incarceration for eligible non-violent offenders, who are deemed substance dependent. Judge Cook began the recovery court program for juveniles in 2002.
“Our capacity is 25. We have 22 participants today and 8 people waiting. We have 8 people who have applied. We have treated over 150 people with a 65% graduation rate. Seven drug free babies have been born to mothers in our program and our recidivism rate, repeat offenders is only one percent. We track three years out,” said Norene Puckett, Coordinator of the DeKalb County Recovery Court Program.
Mark Young, who is on track to graduate soon, said the DeKalb County Recovery Court Program has been a life changing experience for him.
“I started off and had some charges in DeKalb County. I had a DUI and a violation of probation. Through that I got in contact with Recovery Court, filled out an application, and went in front of Judge Cook and got approved. They sent me to treatment,” said Young.
Although he experienced some setbacks along the way, Young said he is a changed man today because of this program.
“From that time to now I have had multiple setbacks. I have done things wrong along the way but the judge has been just and fair. He has never given up on me. He has always given me the benefit of the doubt in anything I’ve ever done. Even when I wasn’t doing right, he was there for me. About nine months ago, the judge and the panel decided to send me to Savannah Georgia to Mission Teens, a mission Bible training center. That has been a life changing experience,” he said.
Young said he has learned to take control of his life and be more responsible through the Recovery Court Program and would recommend it to others.
“The court panel never gives up on you. They are one of the best support groups to have on your side. They teach you how to hold yourself accountable by them holding you accountable. That’s what it takes to get through this whole addiction process. You’ve got to have lots of support and people who are there for you in a time of need. You’ve got to have somebody to turn to and somebody to call for help. If you are struggling with addiction you just have to be willing to seek change first before change can take place. Humble yourself enough to be able to ask for help. Addiction is a hard battle but if I can change, anyone can change,” said Young.
Recovery courts are a nationwide program which started 28 years ago in Miami, Florida. Today there are more than 3,000 recovery courts across the country.
After Judge Cook learned more about the success of Recovery Courts, he decided to start them here.
“Judge John Hudson of Cookeville and I were the first judges in the state to have a juvenile drug court program. It did so well in about a three year period that we got together and decided to have an adult drug court. We went to three separate one week period trainings in 2005 and then began the adult drug court program in 2006,” he said.
According to Judge Cook, addiction is not a condition but a disease and treating it successfully can make a major difference in the rate of crime.
“Probably 80-90% of the crimes in DeKalb County are some way or another related to drugs or alcohol. Many people who are on drugs or alcohol are stealing to try and get money for more drugs, forging checks on their parents, stealing credit cards and running them up, just things like that. It became the revolving door for jail. Unfortunately, there are still people who think that drug addiction is not a disease. That it is just a condition. They say “why don’t you just quit”? That is not what science has shown us over the years. Not that it is comparable to cancer, but when someone says “ just quit” and don’t take those pills anymore it’s almost like telling someone who has a tumor in their stomach, just reach in there and get it and throw it away and you’ll be okay. That’s just not the way it works. In fact, as the years have clicked by more and more of the science has been that addiction has indeed been a disease affecting the brain in various ways. When drug courts began, generally they were a one year program, divided into four different phases of three months each. We found out early on that one year just gets your toe wet. What science now shows is that it takes the brain at least a year of abstinence from drugs to even have the ability to try and stay abstinent. That’s the struggle these people have, especially when they first begin any type of program. The longer they are in the easier it becomes. But now two to three years is probably an average for our people to be in drug court,” he said..
Judge Cook said the program is an alternative to incarceration.
“The people in our program are non-violent offenders. They are people who are our next door neighbors. After all, spending $20,000 a year putting them in jail as opposed to approximately $5,000 a year treating them is a no brainer. One of my philosophies for many years has been as far as jail, we need to incarcerate the people that we are afraid of and treat the ones we’re mad at. Most of the drug people we all know, our family members that steal our credit cards or our guns and sell them for drugs, we’re not afraid of them. We’re just angry. We’re mad at them and those are the ones we need to treat,” said Judge Cook.
Participants are required to stay drug free and sober, get a job, and meet all other conditions expected of them
“They are drug tested frequently. We see them in drug court once a week. They have to go to probation. They have treatment they go to. There are meetings. There is something every single day. We keep our thumb on them and we have to. But it is so rewarding especially when we see people who have had their children taken by DCS because of their addiction and then they get their kids back. Because one thing I have learned as juvenile judge is it doesn’t matter how sorry a parent is, those kids love them and want to be with them. It is so rewarding when they regain custody. They get a job. They get housing and they become responsible, respectable people. That’s what it’s all about,” he said.
Puckett added that those who do well in the program are rewarded and those who don’t are sanctioned.
“ We as a team get together every week. We staff every person’s case in the program, and we go over what is going on with them. Are they doing good or bad?. If they have messed up some way, missed a meeting, failed a drug screen, or any kind of infraction in our program we issue a sanction that week. There is immediate response to any type of negative behavior. Let’s say someone failed a drug screen. The case manager would explain what’s going on in the person’s life. The treatment provider may talk about what they’re doing in treatment and the progress they are making or barriers they are having, and then the probation officer would say, for example, yes on March 1 he failed for marijuana. We, as a team, would then come up with recommendations to help this person and determine what the sanction should be for the negative behavior, but Judge Cook has ultimate say on the sanctions. We also reward them for positive things such as getting a job, GED or things like that,” said Puckett.
Team members who oversee the program locally in addition to Judge Cook and Recovery Court Coordinator Puckett are Sheriff Patrick Ray, Assistant District Attorney General Stephanie Johnson, John and Kay Quintero from Haven of Hope, primary treatment providers; Assistant Public Defender Scott Grissom, Probation Officer Jay Colton, Juvenile Case Manager Kristy Longmire, and Adult Case Manager Rhonda Harpole.
For more information about the Recovery Court Program call 615-215-8690 or visit the office on the main floor of the courthouse.
Judge Cook, Recovery Court Coordinator Puckett, and Recovery Court participant Mark Young appeared on WJLE's Tech Talk program Thursday morning hosted by Dan Delacruz of Smithville Computer who sponsors the weekly show.