Local News Articles

Askins Scheduled for "Change of Plea" Hearing In Federal Court

September 9, 2015
Dwayne Page
Wendy Askins

Wendy Askins, the former Executive Director of the Upper Cumberland Development District will appear in U.S. District Court Monday for a change of plea hearing.

On Tuesday, September 8, U.S. District Judge Aleta A. Trauger signed an order scheduling the hearing for Monday, September 14 at 1:30 p.m.

Askins' plea deal with federal prosecutors has not yet been made public.

Both Askins and the former UCDD Deputy Director Larry Webb were indicted in September 2013 for their participation in a scheme to commit bank fraud and to steal federal and state funds intended to promote economic and housing development.

Webb entered a plea last month to one count of federal bank fraud and will be sentenced November 24 though he apparently faces no fines or prison time.

During his plea hearing, Webb acknowledged that he, along with Askins, defrauded the Bank of Putnam County when applying for a loan on May 27, 2010. To obtain the loan, Webb told bank officers that the UCDD and CRDC boards of directors had approved the loan request to fund a UCDD program called “Living the Dream", which was supposed to be a residential home for seniors. Webb submitted fake CRDC resolutions with the loan application stating that he and Askins were permitted to obtain a $750,000 loan for the “Living the Dream” project. The Bank of Putnam County relied upon the fraudulent documents and funded $731,000 for the “Living the Dream” project. Webb admitted that neither UCDD nor the CRDC had authorized a loan for “Living the Dream” and further admitted that a portion of the loan proceeds had been used to build a luxury, personal residence for Askins.

UCDD is a quasi-governmental agency that receives federal and state funds and is responsible for promoting economic development throughout the 14 counties located in the Upper Cumberland Region of Tennessee. CRDC operates under the UCDD umbrella and assists in the creation of affordable housing.

Had she gone to trial and been convicted on the original charges, Askins faced up to 225 years in prison and a $6,750,000 fine

Woodmen to Hold Remembrance Ceremony

September 9, 2015
Dwayne Page
The 2014 Remembrance was held in Liberty

Local members of Woodmen Life Family Fraternity extend an invitation for you to attend the 14th Annual Community "In Honor and Remembrance" Event on Thursday, September 10 at 7:00 p.m. at the DeKalb County Fire Department at 782 King Ridge Road, Smithville.

Come join as they honor the special people of our community who give of their time, and risk their lives to provide protection for all of us. They will be rededicating the flagpole and they will present the 9/11 Honor Flag to the department.

Please contact Regina Wilhite with any questions you may have at 931-273-6414. Refreshments will follow

Boy Scouts Praised for Work at Edgar Evins State Park

September 9, 2015
Dwayne Page
Left to right:  Andrew Murray, Cory Maes, Bobby Lane, Sam Beal, and John Chesebro.

The Boy Scouts of Troop 875 recently built a new volleyball court and horseshoe pits for the campground at Edgar Evins State Park.

"Edgar Evins State Park would like to thank Eagle Scout Troop 875 for their hard work and dedication to the park. These additions will be valuable to the park and will offer our visitors more outdoor recreational activities to choose from. Troop 875 was also instrumental in the success of this year’s first ever Jr. Ranger Camp. The scouts actually led the land navigation program and worked hard all week assisting with the other programs and helping take care of the children. A big thanks to Troop 875. From the trails, the campfire ring, the campground, recreational and educational programming, the Troop has made and continues to make lasting contributions to the park and its visitors," said Park Ranger Mark Taylor.

National Voter Registration Day is September 22

September 8, 2015

The DeKalb County Election Commission would like to remind everyone that Tuesday, September 22 is National Voter Registration Day. It is the high point of National Voter Registration Month, a time when state and county election officials work to encourage voter participation as well as increase awareness of voting requirements and deadlines.

"National Voter Registration Day is a great time to make sure that your registration is up to date or to register for the first time," said Administrator of Elections Dennis Stanley.

During the month of September, people should have someone take a picture of them holding an "I'm registered to vote. Are you?" sign. Then post it to Twitter, Facebook and Instagram using the hashtag #GoVoteTN.

"I am excited to see so many people using #GoVoteTN to share their enthusiasm about voting," said Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett. "I encourage voters to use this opportunity to ensure they are properly registered."

Anyone can print their own sign at GoVoteTN.com, which can be customized to the colors of many of the state's colleges, universities, or professional sports teams. People can also check their registration status or access a voter registration form.

Snap a photo, use #GoVoteTN and post. It's that easy to show the world Tennesseans care about their right to vote.

Man Charged with Evading After Pursuit, Crash

September 8, 2015
Dwayne Page
Mark Alan Goodson
Jerry Thomas Waggoner
Jose Santos Acuna

A Smithville man who tried to outrun a county deputy before crashing his vehicle last week has been charged with evading arrest.

49 year old Mark Alan Goodson of Dry Creek Road, Smithville will be in General Sessions Court on the charge October 1. He was further issued two traffic citations. His bond is $5,000.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said the incident began on West Main Street in Liberty last Tuesday, September 1 after a deputy spotted Goodson while on patrol. Goodson was driving a beige Jeep Loredo traveling at a high rate of speed and on the opposite side of the road. The officer tried to stop the Loredo by turning on his lights and siren but the vehicle would not stop. The pursuit continued onto Smith Fork Road and then to Lower Helton Road before the Loredo crashed. Goodson, the driver, fled on foot after being told to stop but he was subsequently taken into custody. Due to medical reasons, Goodson was transported to the emergency room of the hospital and a warrant was taken against him.

60 year old Jerry Thomas Waggoner of Winter Drive, Dowelltown is charged with driving under the influence. His bond is $1,500 and he will make a court appearance on October 29.

According to Sheriff Ray, a deputy was dispatched on Friday, September 4 to Highway 56 north in reference to a possible drunk driver. The officer spotted the vehicle and noticed it cross the center line. The deputy followed the vehicle until it stopped on the side of the road. He then spoke with the driver, Waggoner, whose speech was slurred. Waggoner's eyes were bloodshot and he had an odor of alcohol on his person. Waggoner, who admitted to having consumed alcohol, performed poorly on field sobriety tasks.

57 year old Jose Santos Acuna of McMinnville Highway, Smithville is charged with driving under the influence and evading arrest. His bond is $5,000 and he will be in court on October 1.

Sheriff Ray said that on Friday, September 4 a deputy was traveling north on Highway 56 when he spotted a vehicle traveling south in the emergency lane. The officer got behind the vehicle and turned on his blue lights. After the automobile pulled over and the deputy got out of his patrol car, the vehicle began to take off again. The officer followed and activated his blue lights and siren. The pursuit continued south for about half a mile before the fleeing vehicle pulled into the yard of a residence. The driver, Acuna, was found to be unsteady on his feet and he admitted to having consumed beer. After failing a breathalyzer test, Acuna was placed under arrest and taken to the emergency room of the hospital for a blood withdrawal. He was then taken to jail for booking.

DAC Presents Second in Series of Fund-raisers for Animal Shelter

September 8, 2015
DeKalb Animal Coalition's re-sale store at 110 West Walnut (next door to the former location of the White Possum Restaurant) will be open for business on September 10-12

The DeKalb Animal Coalition's re-sale store at 110 West Walnut (next door to the former location of the White Possum Restaurant) will be open for business on September 10-12. The store is the second fund raising effort for the benefit of our community's new animal shelter. The store, which was designed, organized, and to be manned entirely by volunteers, will sell furniture, tools, sporting goods, electronic equipment, toys, books, men and women's clothing, Christmas decorations, and many other items. All the merchandise was donated and every cent raised will go to the DAC to complete the interior of the shelter.

A spokesperson for the Coalition said, "We are very grateful that the City and County have appropriated funds for the construction of a building to house the animal shelter. Now it is up to us, the Coalition, to raise money to equip the interior of the building. We will need a dog washing station, laundry facilities, office equipment, cat cages, a cleaning system, etc. The list goes on and on, but I have no doubt that we will reach our goal. Community support has been phenomenal."

The Coalition has planned a series of fund raisers under the name "DAC Presents...." The first event, which raised $2,000 for the Coalition, was an entertaining lecture by County Historian, Tommy Webb, on the book "Fish on the Steeple." On Sept. 10-12 is the re-sale store. Then On September 26, Mr. Webb will be the guest speaker for "DAC Presents... The Civil War in DeKalb County." In October DAC Presents... will sponsor a walking ghost tour, narrated by Sarah Cripps. If the re-sale store does well, it will be open with different merchandise in November.

Father and Son Involved in Sunday Motorcycle Wrecks

September 7, 2015
Dwayne Page
DeKalb EMS and Fire Dept Tending to John Worley of Lebanon after motorcycle crash
Father and Son Involved in Sunday Motorcycle Wrecks
Two Involved in Motorcycle Accidents

Two people were involved in motorcycle accidents Sunday afternoon on Dale Ridge Road (State Highway 96) about a mile from Highway 70.

46 year old John Worley of Lebanon was traveling south on a 2011 Yamaha motorcycle when he went off the right side of the road and over an embankment while trying to negotiate a curve. He is believed to have suffered a possible broken arm or wrist.

Worley's son, 24 year old Jacob Worley of Lebanon was following behind his father on a motorcycle and lost control due to his father's accident in front of him.

DeKalb EMS arrived on the scene to treat John Worley. Jacob Worley had some minor scratches and road rash.

John Worley's accident was investigated by Trooper Bobby Johnson of the Tennessee Highway Patrol. Trooper Sean Tramel worked Jacob's Worley's crash.

Members of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department and DeKalb Sheriff's Department were also on the scene.

Smithville Police Make Arrest and Recover Stolen Property in Burglary and Theft Investigation

September 5, 2015
Dwayne Page
Captain Steven Leffew shown with property recovered in burglary and theft investigation
Smithville Police Make Arrest and Recover Stolen Property in Burglary and Theft Investigation

Smithville Police have made an arrest in a recent burglary and theft at a local storage unit building.

39 year old Shane Michael Downey is under a $10,000 bond on charges of theft over $500 and burglary and he will be in General Sessions Court on September 24.

Downey was arrested on Thursday, September 3 by Detective Brandon Donnell after an investigation in which some of the stolen items were recovered and returned to the owner.

According to Captain Steven Leffew, the victim told Officer Will Judkins on Sunday, August 30 that she discovered the burglary and theft the next day after moving items into a storage unit on Highway 56. The victim reported items missing from the unit valued at more than $2,000.

Meanwhile, 35 year old Heather R. Perkins was charged with child abuse on Monday, August 31. Her bond is $3,500 and she will be in court on September 24. She was placed under arrest by Officer Will Judkins. According to police, Perkins and the minor victim were in a verbal argument that became physical. Perkins allegedly hit the victim in the face with a closed fist causing swelling and bruising to the eye.

47 year old Lawton Duane Park and 47 year old Maureen Espino Park were each arrested for assault on Thursday, August 27. Ms. Park was also charged with unlawful possession of a firearm. According to police, Detective Brandon Donnell was dispatched to McDonald's due to a fight in progress. Upon investigation and video surveillance it was determined that the Parks allegedly assaulted the victim and that Ms Park had a weapon in her purse for which she had no permit. Bond for Mr. Park is $2,500. Ms. Park's bond is $4,000. They will make a court appearance on September 24.

Hillary Knowles was arrested on Tuesday, August 25 for shoplifting. Her bond is $1,500. According to police, Corporal Chip Avera was dispatched to the Dollar General Store in reference to a shoplifter. While the suspect left the store before the officer's arrival, employees were able to get a tag number from the vehicle. Video surveillance from the store showed Knowles placing items in her purse. After Corporal Avera secured a warrant, he requested that the sheriff's department locate her and make the arrest as Knowles resides in the county. She was subsequently found and placed in custody on the active warrant.

41 year old Darline Frances Grisham was cited by Officer Lance Dillard for shoplifting on Monday, August 17. Grisham was observed by a Dollar General Store employee concealing items in her purse. She will be in court on September 24.

34 year old Eddy Deloyd Farris was arrested on Friday, August 14 for public intoxication. According to police Corporal Chip Avera and Officer Will Judkins responded to a residence on Jackson Street due to a man banging on doors. The officers located the suspect, Farris, and found him to be unsteady on his feet. His speech was slurred. His eyes were red and watery and he was confused of his whereabouts. Farris was placed under arrest for the safety of himself and the public. His bond is $1,500 and he will make a court appearance on September 24.

19 year old Zachary Jacob Poss was arrested for public intoxication on Sunday, August 16. According to police, Sergeant Brad Tatrow was dispatched to J. E. Evans Avenue in reference to an intoxicated man who was causing damage at the residence. Upon arrival Sergeant Tatrow found Poss in the driveway. He was in a very intoxicated state. Upon investigation, police found extensive damage throughout the residence. Poss was placed under arrest. His bond is $1,500 and his court date is August 27.

Beer Board Gives Conditional Approval for Home Brewery

September 4, 2015
Dwayne Page
Beer Board at July Meeting
Alex Seitz

After being denied a beer manufacturing permit in July, Alex Seitz was given conditional approval to start his own in-home research brewery operation by the DeKalb County Beer Board Thursday night.

The vote was 5-2 in favor. Board members Edward Frazier, Jim Stagi, Rhonda Caplinger, Johnny King, and Robert Rowe voted "yes" while Leonard Dickens and Frank Thomas voted "no". The meeting, held at the county complex, was covered exclusively by WJLE.

Seitz will be issued the license once he receives and presents to the county clerk's office the required certificate of registration of his brewery from the Tennessee Department of Revenue. Seitz told the board that he has already made application for the certificate from the state and is expected to receive it soon.

"I checked with the state and they said as far as they were concerned it didn't matter whether he (Seitz) already had his beer permit. He couldn't do anything with it if he had it because he doesn't have this certificate. But he has applied for the certificate. When you apply for the certificate they require a bond. So all he's got to do is show them (state) his bond and they will issue him his certificate. My suggestion to you (beer board) is if you feel he meets the requirements and apparently he does, and if he brings in his certificate to the county clerk from the department of revenue, he ought to be issued a license," said County Attorney Hilton Conger to the Beer Board Thursday night.

The board denied Seitz's first application in July on a 3-2 vote. One member "passed" and another was absent. Dickens and Thomas also voted "no" at that time apparently due to concerns they had about a brewery operating in a residential subdivision. But when he reapplied, Seitz also submitted a petition signed by 39 residents in his neighborhood who were not opposed to his plans.

Seitz, who resides on Floyd Drive in Lakeview Mountain Estates, told the board in July that he would be conducting the brewery primarily for research purposes but small amounts of the byproduct would be bottled and sold to the Calfkiller Brewery in Sparta, a wholesale distributor. Seitz said the brewery would be operated out of his basement and that there would be no retail sales to the public from his home and no signage on the premises. "It technically is a business but it is a research facility. Its science based and will be in incredibly small amounts. It's like a byproduct of the theoretical yeast fermentation process. I will put it (beer) in champagne bottles and then I'll load them in my car and take it away. I just want to be able to work with my yeast so that I can actually sell the yeast because a lot of other home breweries and laboratories would want that yeast," said Seitz in addressing the Beer Board.

Asked by one beer board member Thursday night if his beer would be sold in DeKalb County, Seitz said that would be up to the distributor. "My distributor is out of White County. It will be mostly (sold) in specialty beer stores in like champagne bottles or maybe in one or two little restaurants. It doesn't have to be sold here but the distributor could sell it to anywhere (store licensed to sell beer) it is requested," said Seitz.

As for any neighbor complaints, the permit application form states that "DeKalb County has adopted a rule forbidding the sale of beer and like alcoholic beverages within 300 feet of a residential dwelling, if the owner of the dwelling objects to the issuance of a beer permit". Although a neighbor questioned it at the July meeting, Seitz claims no resident in his neighborhood is within 2,000 feet of his home and no one who may live within 300 feet has yet come forward to voice an objection.

The application form also states that "DeKalb County has adopted a rule forbidding the sale, storage, and manufacture of beer and like beverages within 800 feet of schools, churches, and other places of public gathering". This would not be an issue in Seitz's case since no businesses operate in the area.

Seitz has also passed a criminal background check as required by the county beer board.

Smithville Man Found with Baggies of Methamphetamine

September 4, 2015
Dwayne Page
Terry Allen King
William A. Osborne
Paul Jerome Grizzle
Stephen Hunter Pugh
Jessie Eugene Thomas

A Smithville man was found with baggies of methamphetamine on him by a Sheriff's Department Detective during a recent home probation visit.

37 year old Terry Allen King of West Broad Street, Smithville is charged with possession of methamphetamine for resale (4 grams). His bond is $25,000 and he will be in court September 24.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Thursday, August 27 a detective went to King's residence on West Broad Street with state probation and parole authorities. Upon arrival the detective spoke with King who is on probation. King held in his hand a cigarette pack that contained 10 small baggies. In each baggie was a white substance that field tested positive for methamphetamine. Each baggie weighed . 4 grams. The total weight in all ten baggies combined was 4 grams. King also had $73 cash which was seized. King was then placed under arrest.

46 year old William A. Osborne of Hendersonville is charged with aggravated burglary and theft of property over $1,000. His bond is $75,000.
Sheriff Ray said that on March 19, 2009 Osborne entered a residence on Short Mountain Highway where he gained entry by prying open the back door and took five long guns, a buck knife with a case, a laptop computer, and a jug containing change. The total value of the stolen goods is approximately $3,150. The case was investigated by a sheriff's department detective who took a warrant against Osborne on March 20, 2009. But he was only picked up recently after being incarcerated for a period of time by the Tennessee Department of Corrections for other offenses.

49 year old Paul Jerome Grizzle of Short Mountain Highway, Smithville is charged with aggravated assault. His bond is $5,000. Sheriff Ray said that on Friday, August 28 Grizzle allegedly assaulted his girlfriend by throwing a glass coffee pot at her which broke and cut her leg.

30 year old Stephen Hunter Pugh of Haley Road, Smithville is charged with failure to appear. His bond is $1,500 and he will make a court appearance on September 24. Sheriff Ray said on July 31 Pugh failed to appear at the sheriff's department to serve his court ordered weekend sentence.

37 year old Jessie Eugene Thomas of Dale Ridge Road, Dowelltown is charged with filing a false report. His bond is $5,000 and he will make a court appearance on September 24. Sheriff Ray said on Wednesday, August 26 a deputy went to Thomas' home to serve a warrant on his girlfriend but Thomas told the officer that she was not there. But when she turned herself in on September 1, the woman told the deputy that she had been at Thomas' home the day he arrived to serve the warrant.


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