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Local News Articles

Over 700 Vote Early

February 20, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page
Early voting continues through February 23.

Over 700 voters have now cast ballots in the Presidential Preference and DeKalb County Democratic Primaries.

Early voting continues through February 23.

Early voting numbers through Monday, February 22:

Total Voters--757
In Person---710
Absentee—47
Republican Primary---480
Democratic Primaries--277

Local voters are reminded that February 23 is the last day the election commission office can receive a written request for an absentee ballot. The request may be received by mail, by fax or by e-mail with an attached document that includes a scanned signature. A request which contains the required information serves as an application for ballot.

Tuesday February, 23 is the last day for early voting. The primary election day is Tuesday, March 1. Polls in DeKalb County will be open that day from 8:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m.

All Early Voting in DeKalb County will be at the Election Commission Office on the first floor of the courthouse (basement).
Early Voting Hours:
Tuesday 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Voters are urged to take advantage of early voting.

Convicted Felon Charged with Illegal Possession of Firearm

February 20, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page

Smithville Police arrested a convicted felon Thursday for illegal possession of a firearm.

32 year old Daniel R Wilson is charged with being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm. After receiving an anonymous tip and knowing him to be a convicted felon police went to Wilson's residence on Thursday, February 18 where they requested and received consent to search. As officers were searching a futon couch they unfolded the bed and found a .357 Smith & Wesson revolver wrapped up in bandannas. Wilson denied owning the gun but police determined that he knew the firearm was there and the bandannas it was wrapped in belonged to him. Bond for Wilson is $20,000 and he will make a court appearance on March 3.

29 year old Jillian Bridget Atnip was arrested for aggravated assault on Sunday, February 7. Police were called to a residence on Saturday, February 6 in reference to a fight that had just occurred between two females. Upon questioning the victim it was determined that Atnip had walked into the victim's yard and struck her after which a fight ensued. Police discovered upon investigation that a brick was used as a weapon. Both women were transported to the hospital for medical attention. Atnip was determined to have been the primary aggressor and she was arrested the following morning at her residence. Atnip's bond is $3,500 and she will make a court appearance on March 17.

28 year old Jose Benjamin Soto was arrested for aggravated assault on Tuesday, February 9. Police were called to a residence in reference to a domestic assault. According to the victim, an argument turned physical when Soto allegedly pushed the victim on a bed, grabbed her around the neck, and began choking her. The victim had red marks around her neck commonly associated with being choked. Soto's bond is $5,000 and he will make a court appearance on February 25.

52 year old Johnny Martin Parrish was arrested on Sunday, February 14 for public intoxication. Police were called to a business in reference to a male causing a disturbance. Officers noticed that Parrish was unsteady on his feet, had slurred speech and a strong odor of alcohol on his person. For his and the public's safety, Parrish was taken into custody without incident. His bond is $1,000 and he will be in court February 25.

Governor and State Lawmakers Pay Tribute to Clyde Nokes

February 19, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page
State Representative Mark Pody Makes Presentation to Clyde Nokes
Governor Bill Haslam and State Representative Mark Pody with Clyde Nokes and members of his family

A well known local bluegrass musician has been honored by the Governor and Tennessee General Assembly for his outstanding career.

A resolution paying tribute to Clyde Nokes was recently adopted by state lawmakers. Members of the Nokes family joined Clyde for the presentation by Governor Bill Haslam and State Representative Mark Pody on Thursday.

House Joint Resolution 587, sponsored by State Representative Pody states:

"WHEREAS, it is fitting that the members of this General Assembly pay tribute to those icons of Tennessee bluegrass music who have earned the admiration and respect of both their audiences and their fellow musical artists; and

WHEREAS, Clyde Bradley Nokes is most assuredly one such bluegrass icon, who is loved and respected in his community, not only for his musical talent, but also for his random acts of kindness to help those in need; and

WHEREAS, born at his parents' home on December 13, 1928, Clyde Nokes is the second of four children born to Shelah and Gertrude Nokes, who were sharecroppers in the Gassaway community; and

WHEREAS, Mr. Nokes grew up farming and selling produce on the side of the road, before he and his father opened a general store in the Sycamore community; and

WHEREAS, his father bought Clyde his first guitar, a Stella from Sears and Roebuck that arrived by mail in a cardboard box, when he was six, and the Roberson sisters taught him his first guitar chords; and

WHEREAS, before long Mr. Nokes started playing at the general store and pie suppers, and when his brother, Rayburn, began playing banjo, they formed the Nokes Brothers' Band along with David Watts; and

WHEREAS, Clyde Nokes then married a Short Mountain girl, Maxine Hale, and they had four sons, Gerry, Nick, Bill, and Jeff, each of whom learned to play an instrument by the time he reached his teens; and

WHEREAS, Mr. Nokes's singular career spans over seventy years of performing bluegrass music in his community, and he has also played with gifted musicians such as Benny Martin, Billy Womack, Benny Williams, Carl Tipton, Dorris Macon, Graham Williams, Curly Ray Fox, Jim Ed Brown, John Hagger, Johnny Campbell, and Ernie Ashford; and

WHEREAS, he has also jammed with Josh Graves and Lester Flatt's wife, Gladys, and performed on the television series Nashville 99 in the 1970s with fiddle player Mitchell Fuston; and

WHEREAS, generous to a fault, Mr. Nokes helped purchase a mandolin for a legally blind friend as a gift, so that he might be able to fulfill his dream of learning to play; and

WHEREAS, he has been known to deliver food to people in poor health or financial distress, and along with his family and friends, Mr. Nokes has donated his time and musical talents to fundraising concerts to help others with medical and other bills; and

WHEREAS, Clyde Nokes has distinguished himself as an asset to his community, as both a musician and a humanitarian, and he should be specially recognized; now, therefore,
BE IT RESOLVED BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE ONE HUNDRED NINTH GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF TENNESSEE, THE SENATE CONCURRING, that we honor and commend Clyde Bradley Nokes upon his outstanding career as a bluegrass musician, thank him for his many good works to benefit his community, and wish him all the best in his future endeavors.

Austin Bottom Community Included in New Contract on County Lakesite Patrols

February 19, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page
Sheriff Patrick Ray

Residents in the Austin Bottom Community can expect to see law enforcement patrols a little more often this summer.

The Putnam County Access is among the lakesite areas covered in a new agreement between the county and the U.S Army Corps of Engineers for extra patrols this year.

Sheriff Patrick Ray presented the proposed new contract to members of the county commission during an all committees meeting Thursday night. The commissioners may approve the deal during the regular monthly meeting Monday night.

Under the new contract, the Sheriff's Department will provide lakesite patrols at Johnson's Chapel, Ragland Bottom, Floating Mill, Center Hill Dam Area, Hurricane Bridge, and the Putnam County Access (Austin Bottom Community) on Center Hill Lake. The contract runs from May 6 through September 5, 2016.

The total amount of the agreement under which the Corps pays the county is $23,571, which is more than last year. The deal calls for 97 patrol periods with six area patrols per period along with an orientation meeting. The Corps has also included options that would allow the county to make this a two or three year contract with the county to receive $24,057 in 2017 and $23,814 in 2018.

Sheriff Ray plans to hire a part time officer funded by the Corps under this contract to patrol all the sites and he wants the part time officer to have POST certification. According to Sheriff Ray, when the officer patrols the Putnam County Access, he will also check out the Denny Bottom Recreation area to further heighten a law enforcement presence in the community.

In response to a public outcry, the sheriff's department stepped up patrols through the end of the summer boating season last year at Austin Bottom.

In August many residents in the Austin Bottom community of DeKalb County met with several local officials and the Corps of Engineers at the fire station there to vent their frustrations about public nuisance issues at a boat ramp in the area.

Corps Resource Manager Kevin Salvilla took questions and comments from the group. County Mayor Tim Stribling, Sheriff Patrick Ray, County Fire Chief Donny Green, and Fourth District County Commissioners Wayne Cantrell and Jonathon Norris were also there.

While most of the residents at the meeting said they didn't want the Putco Boat Ramp (Austin Bottom Lake Boat Access Area) closed, they did want to see more law enforcement to keep undesirables out.

Complaints ranged from issues of illegal drug activity, public intoxication, excessive noise during the night, using the area as a camp ground, non-boaters parking on the ramp preventing access, littering the area with beer bottles, cans, etc. One person was wounded in a shooting there last year

A contributing factor to the public nuisance issues is that the lake level is lower than normal due to work on the dam which exposes more beach area for patrons to congregate.

Sheriff Ray said his officers patrol the area but residents are concerned about the time it takes DeKalb County law enforcement to respond if called. Because the community is cut off from the rest of the county due to the lake, residents say it could be as much as forty five minutes to an hour before help arrives.

DeKalb County has mutual aid agreements with surrounding counties including Putnam to assist in case of emergencies.

Doug Stephens Qualifies for School Board Race

February 19, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page
Doug Stephens

Another incumbent school board member has qualified for the August Board of Education Election

Doug Stephens of the 6th district will be in the race for re-election.

Three school board members will be elected on August 4 including one from the 4th, 5th, & 6th districts. The terms are for four years except in the 4th district. The 4th district winner will fill an unexpired two year term.

Others who have obtained qualifying petitions to date are:
Kate Miller in the 4th district
Barry Mabe in the 5th district
W.J. (Dub) Evins, III in the 5th district (Evins’ petition has been returned and verified)

The qualifying deadline is Noon April 7

Meanwhile, Ronald D. Stanley of Anthony Avenue has picked up a petition to run for Smithville Alderman.

Three aldermen will be elected on August 4. Each term is for four years.

In addition to Stanley, those who have obtained qualifying petitions to date are Shawn Jacobs, Josh Miller, Danny Washer and Gary Durham (Miller’s petition has been returned and verified)

The qualifying deadline is Noon April 7

Over 500 Vote Early

February 19, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page

Over 500 voters have now cast ballots in the Presidential Preference and DeKalb County Democratic Primaries.

Early voting continues through February 23.

Early voting numbers through Saturday, February 20:

Total Voters--575
In Person---533
Absentee—42
Republican Primary---370
Democratic Primaries--205

Local voters are reminded that February 23 is the last day the election commission office can receive a written request for an absentee ballot. The request may be received by mail, by fax or by e-mail with an attached document that includes a scanned signature. A request which contains the required information serves as an application for ballot.

Early voting runs Monday and Tuesday February 22 & 23. The primary election day is Tuesday, March 1. Polls in DeKalb County will be open that day from 8:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m.

All Early Voting in DeKalb County will be at the Election Commission Office on the first floor of the courthouse (basement).
Early Voting Hours:
Monday 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Tuesday 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Voters are urged to take advantage of early voting.

Hendrixson Resigns as Judicial Commissioner

February 19, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page
Taft Hendrixson

The county is in search of a new judicial commissioner.

The issue is expected to be discussed at Monday night's county commission meeting.

Taft Hendrixson has resigned due to health reasons. The county had advertised the opening and received one applicant but she is a spouse of a Smithville police officer, which could be viewed as a conflict. Members of the judicial committee have apparently asked that the county re-advertise in hopes of getting more applicants for the position.

The county has had three judicial commissioners including Hendrixson, James Harvey Barnes, and Tammy Ashburn. They were appointed to the positions for a one year term last September as recommended by the judicial committee.

The judicial committee is made up of the General Sessions/Juvenile Court Judge, Sheriff, Circuit Court Clerk, County Mayor, and a representative of the District Attorney General's Office.

Judicial commissioners are responsible for the issuance of criminal arrest warrants upon finding probable cause. They are subject to call at all hours of the day and night. Judicial commissioners serve at the pleasure of the county commission and their terms of office can be one year to four years.

County Commissioner Announces Resignation

February 19, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page
Elmer Ellis Jr.

A long time member of the county commission has announced his resignation.

Elmer Ellis, Jr., who has served as a commissioner in the 1st district for more than nine years, is stepping down. He made the announcement during an all committees meeting of the county commission Thursday night.

Ellis said he and his wife are soon moving to Texas to be near their daughter due to his wife's health.

Ellis was first elected to the county commission in August 2006. He was re-elected in 2010 and in 2014. His last meeting with the commission will be Monday night.

Filling the vacancy is expected to be discussed during the regular monthly meeting Monday night. Ellis' term expires August 31, 2018

DeKalb Prevention Coalition Recovery Church Planning Workshop Friday

February 18, 2016
Monty Burks

The DeKalb Prevention Coalition has re-scheduled the Recovery Church planning workshop for Friday, February 19, 2016, at the DeKalb Community Center in the History room at 12:00pm. The event will include lunch and is to help the interested churches fill out the application to become a certified recovery church as well as to answer any questions or overcome any obstacles your church or faith based organization may be facing in this process. Monty Burks, who is the Director of Faith Based Initiatives for The State of Tennessee Department of Mental Health & Substance Abuse Services (TDMHSAS) will be there along with a Certified Recovery Church Pastor to help.

When you successfully complete the certification process, you will be added to the statewide recovery support network, and most importantly, opening your arms to individuals seeking substance abuse services. Church and Faith-Based Organization leadership will be trained in the following areas:

•Providing Spiritual/Pastoral Support.
•Viewing addiction as a treatable disease, not a moral issue.
•Embracing and support people in recovery and walk with them on their journey.
•Providing a visible outreach in the community.
•Sharing recovery information.
•Hosting recovery support groups.

If your church or faith based organization is interested in becoming a Certified Recovery Church please go to http://www.tn.gov/behavioral-health/topic/Faith-Based-Initiatives and fill out the questionnaire or you can contact Norene Puckett at 615-215-8690 or norene.drugcourt@gmail.com.

*An RSVP is not required, but appreciated, please contact Norene Puckett.

Brewer Gets Three Years Probation for Burglary

February 18, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page
Dustin Matthew Brewer
Craig Yarbrough

A 27 year old man charged in a recent burglary and theft investigation entered a plea Friday, February 12 in DeKalb County Criminal Court.

Judge Gary McKenzie presided.

Dustin Matthew Brewer of Barnes Mill Road, Smithville entered a plea by information to burglary and received a three year sentence suspended to probation. He must complete the Safe Harbor Treatment Program and make restitution to victims in the following amounts: $359, $120, and $170. Brewer was given 81 days jail credit.

Brewer's wife, 24 year old Brandi Louise Brewer is charged in the same case with burglary and theft of property over $1,000. Her case remains pending in court.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on or about Monday, November 9, 2015 the Brewers allegedly broke into a building on South Tittsworth Road and stole two chainsaws, an air compressor, an air tank, two wrench sets, an Impact socket, a socket wrench, a hammer drill, a jigsaw, and a 12 volt drill. The total value of the stolen items comes to $1,374. Some of the goods were recovered and identified by the property owner.

The case was investigated by a Sheriff's Department detective.

Meanwhile, a man accused in a suspected theft of approximately 175 credit cards valued at more than $15,000 and other Walmart merchandise almost two years ago was sentenced in DeKalb County Criminal Court Friday, February 12.

54 year old Craig Yarbrough of McDonald, Tennessee entered a plea to two counts of theft under $500 and received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days in each case suspended to probation. The two sentences are to run consecutively with each other for a total of almost two years.

A co-defendant, 44 year old Lorie Denise Maclean entered a plea last June to one count of theft over $500. She received a one year sentence, all suspended to TDOC supervised probation. The term is to run concurrently with a Cumberland County case against her. Maclean was given twelve days of jail credit.

The two were arrested by Smithville Police during a theft investigation on Thursday, April 24, 2014 at Wal-mart.

Corporal Travis Bryant told WJLE that Smithville Police were called to Walmart after a woman (Maclean) tried to leave the store with stolen merchandise. "She (Maclean) was caught trying to push items out of Walmart in a shopping cart. But when a loss prevention officer of the store tried to stop her, she abandoned the cart, ran to her pickup truck and drove away. She also left behind her boyfriend, Yarbrough, who was still inside the store," said Corporal Bryant.

After police were notified, Corporal Bryant and Lieutenant Matt Holmes responded and pulled over Maclean's truck at the intersection of Broad Street and Anthony Avenue. As Maclean was placed under arrest, officers noticed items inside her truck that aroused their suspicion. They executed a search warrant and found around 175 American Express prepaid credit cards totaling $15,525 that had apparently not been activated along with approximately $2,700 worth of other merchandise. Police suspect many of these items may have been stolen from various Walmart stores in Tennessee and in other states.

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