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Mason Charged with Especially Aggravated Kidnapping

January 9, 2017
Dwayne Page
John Thomas Mason

A 22 year old Smithville man has been charged with especially aggravated kidnapping after holding another man at gunpoint and taking his car.

Seagate Crystal Reports - REPOR_4.pdf (2.24 MB)

John Thomas Mason of Smithville Highway, Smithville is under a $15,000 bond and his court date is January 19. Mason was previously arrested with a co-defendant, 35 year old Christina Love Johnson and charged with theft of property over $1,000. Mason was also previously charged with possession of contraband in the jail and assault.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Monday, December 19 the Sheriff’s Department received a report of a stolen 2005 Toyota Corolla, valued at $6,000. Two days later, on Wednesday December 21 Mason and Johnson were found in possession of the car in Warren County. A further investigation revealed that Mason held a man at gunpoint in the car forcing him to drive to Midway Road and then he took the car at gunpoint.

On the contraband offense, Sheriff Ray said that while being incarcerated Mason was gathering his jail issued items on Thursday, December 22 when he dropped a round silver container which was found to have 20 blue pills believed to be Xanax, a schedule IV drug, and 10 orange pills thought to be Opana, a schedule II drug.

In the assault case, Sheriff Ray said that on Christmas Eve Correctional officers at the jail witnessed by video surveillance Mason assault another inmate. Mason struck the victim repeatedly causing him bodily injury.

Aldermen Adopts Ordinance Addressing Water Theft

January 9, 2017
Dwayne Page
Mayor and Aldermen

Anyone caught stealing water from the City of Smithville is subject to criminal prosecution and civil penalties under a proposed policy ordinance adopted on first reading in December by the Smithville Board of Aldermen.

The aldermen again adopted the ordinance on second and final reading Monday night, January 9 during the regular monthly meeting.

Although violators have been criminally prosecuted in the past the city has apparently had no formal policy or ordinance spelling out the terms of civil penalties and the state is recommending that it be done according to City Administrator Hunter Hendrixson

“We have had some issues with theft of water, especially this year. We recently prosecuted a gentleman and he has to make restitution on it. This (theft) does go on. Not a whole lot but it does happen. Anyway the state mandates that we have a policy,” said City Administrator Hunter Hendrixson .

Under the new “Water and Sewer Policy and Procedures” ordinance , theft is defined as “tampering with city equipment or stealing service which is grounds for discontinuance of utility service.

If evidence suggests that a theft of services has occurred, a “Notice of Violation” may be mailed or otherwise delivered to the accused at the discretion of the City Administrator or Mayor.

The accused will be subject to a $100 violation payment as well as service call charges and costs of labor and replacement parts as detailed by the city.

If the city determines that theft of services has occurred, it reserves the right to adjust the customer’s current bill and the bills for the past twelve months of usage. If the approximate amount of service that was stolen cannot be reasonably determined, the (accused) customer’s usage will be set at two to four times the minimum bill, as set on a case by case basis by the City Administrator or the Mayor according to the facts of each case.

Service will not be restored until all payments are made including the adjusted payment for water service, violation payment, all service call charges, labor, replacement parts, and reinstatement of service charges.

Service will be reinstated only during regular working hours Monday through Friday except in the case of an emergency.

Discontinuance of service by the city shall not release the customer from liability for payment of services and the city shall not be liable for any loss or damage resulting from the discontinuance of service.

The customer whose name appears on the application for service is the person responsible for payment of all charges.

In the event any customer fails to pay any city fee or charge, the customer shall pay all costs of collection including court costs and reasonable attorney’s fees incurred by the city in collecting such sums.

The city shall have the right to refuse to render service to an applicant or to any member of an applicant’s household who is living at the same address whenever such person is delinquent on any payment to the utility or had his or her service discontinued because of a violation of the regulations or policies of the city.

Under the ordinance, theft of service shall include but not be limited to the following:

*Opening valves at the curb or meter that have been turned off by city personnel

*Breaking, picking, or damaging cut-off locks

*By-passing meters in any way

*Taking unmetered water from hydrants by anyone other than an authorized official of a recognized fire department, fire insurance company, or utility for any purpose other than firefighting, testing or flushing of hydrants.

*Use of sprinkler system water service for any purpose other than fire protection

*Removing, disabling, or adjusting meter registers

*Connecting to or intentionally damaging water lines, valves, etc for the purpose of stealing or damaging city equipment

*Moving the meter or extending service without permission of the City of Smithville Water and Wastewater Department.

*Any other intentional act of defacement, destruction or vandalism to utility property or act that affects city property.

*Any intentional blockage or obstruction of city equipment.

New Crisis Text Line for Students

January 9, 2017

The Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network (TSPN) and Crisis Text Line, a free, 24/7 text-messaging support line for people in crisis, recently announced the launch of a partnership bringing crisis support to anyone in the state. People in Tennessee can text “TN” to 741-741 to connect with a crisis counselor.

Suicide is the second-leading cause of death among youth and young adults ages 15-24 in Tennessee and for the United States at large. According to the Tennessee Department of Health, there were 945 recorded suicide deaths in our state in 2014. Many teens and young adults use their phones for texting instead of talking, so the Crisis Text Line offers an alternative means of contact for people who might not reach out for help otherwise.

Crisis Text Line provides access to a trained crisis counselor who can provide immediate support and referrals not just for suicidal thoughts, but also for anxiety, depression, child and domestic abuse, substance abuse, eating disorders, human trafficking, and beyond. More information about the Crisis Text Line is available via their website. Non-emergency information about suicide and other crisis resources are available on the TSPN website.

In 2014, the latest year for which county-specific figures are available, DeKalb County's age-adjusted suicide rate was 15.6 per 100,000 people, translating into three reported suicide deaths. This number of suicides in DeKalb County for 2014 is the same as the previous year but the local rate is higher than the state average of 14.4 per 100,000 population for 2014 as reported by the Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network

Case Against Alleged Courthouse Arsonist Still Pending in Court

January 6, 2017
Dwayne Page
Gary Wayne Ponder

After almost seven months, the case against a man believed responsible for starting a fire inside the courthouse remains pending in court.

Seagate Crystal Reports - REPOR_4.pdf (2.24 MB)

52 year old Gary Wayne Ponder, charged with aggravated arson, is currently on house arrest meaning he can’t leave home except for his own court appearances or to see a doctor. He is not allowed to be in the courthouse or anywhere else at any other time. His case was recently bound over from General Sessions Court to the DeKalb County Grand Jury, which meets again in April.

Smithville Police charged Ponder on Wednesday, June 15 after he was observed on the courthouse surveillance video system intentionally lighting fire in a newspaper recycling bin on the first floor vestibule. The video showed that on Tuesday, June 14 Ponder grabbed newspapers from the recycling bin and started the fire by lighting them with a cigarette lighter. The fire damaged the wall behind the recycling bin and cracked a window in the vestibule near the first floor entrance of the courthouse.

County Mayor Tim Stribling told WJLE Friday that the total damages to the courthouse caused by the fire came to $120,706.52, which is the amount of the claim paid by the county’s insurance provider.

After the fire smoke had to be cleared from the courthouse, new ceiling tiles and dry wall work were required and a broken glass in the vestibule doorway had to be replaced.

A breakdown of the costs is as follows:

ServPro: $102,212.95.

Matt Stanley Construction:$18,030.75

Martin & Glenn Glass: $463.00

The county is also installing a new fire alarm system in the courthouse provided by FireTeam of Tracy City at a cost of $35,363.81. The system will meet the latest International Fire Codes.

Courthouse Getting New Fire Alarm System

January 6, 2017
Dwayne Page
FireTeam Corporation Installing new Fire Alarm System at Courthouse

The DeKalb County Courthouse is getting a new full coverage fire alarm system.

When a fire was started in the first floor vestibule on Tuesday, June 14, county officials learned something they had not known. The courthouse fire alarm system in place at the time did not work.

To improve fire safety and bring the 47 year old courthouse up to International Fire Codes, the county sought bids to purchase a new fire alarm system. FireTeam Corporation of Tracy City was awarded the bid at $35,363.81.

“Upon viewing the courthouse a bid was placed to meet International Fire Code 2012 and NFPA National Fire Protection Association 72 to provide complete coverage to the building because it does not have a sprinkler system. That complete coverage covers smoke detectors and heat detectors in every room including bathrooms, closets, etc. so that the building is completely covered in the event of any situation. Also included is duct detectors in the HVAC units which in the event that any smoke is detected in the duct system of the air conditioning and heating system it will shut it down and create an alarm so that it does not accentuate the spread of fire. In the event of a fire in any location, it will shut down the HVAC unit so that it does not spread potential smoke throughout the building which allows for a safer egress of the occupants,” said Glen Cockburn of Fire Team Corporation in an interview with WJLE Friday.

“The new alarm system also includes elevator recall which basically provides that if there is a fire on any given floor the elevator will go to the floor that does not have a fire, open its doors, allow egress from the elevator and then shuts down. The only way it can be used after that is firefighters must insert a fire key to activate the elevator system again. There is also protection in that if there is a fire in the elevator pit it will notify the firefighters that there is a fire in the pit so as not to use the elevator with the fire key,” said Cockburn.

“With the complete coverage there has to be a way to notify the occupants so there are horn strobes almost in every office unless it’s a small office that is close to an exterior horn strobe. There are also strobes only. They are in the bathrooms to meet the Americans with Disabilities Act standards so that if there is a person with a given handicap utilizing the restroom then they will know there is a fire,” Cockburn continued.

“The system at the courthouse will be monitored by FireTeam and in the event of a fire 911 will be notified. At the same time that 911 is notified if its during business hours, the county mayor’s office will also be contacted to notify him of the fire,” added Cockburn.

The work is 75% complete and should be finished soon.

Start Times Changed for DCHS Basketball Games Saturday

January 6, 2017
Dwayne Page

The start times for the DCHS basketball games Saturday against White County in Smithville have been changed due to the wintry weather conditions.

The Lady Tigers' game will start at 2:00 p.m. Saturday followed by the Tigers' game at the DCHS Gym.

The games were originally scheduled to start at 6:00 p.m.

Meanwhile the DCHS Tigers vs Trousdale County game, which was cancelled Thursday night, will be played on Thursday, January 26 at 5:30 p.m. That's the boys game only. The girls game has already been played.

Rescue Squad Summoned to Center Hill Lake Thursday

January 6, 2017
Dwayne Page
TWRA at Hurricane Bridge Recreation Area
Smithville-DeKalb County Rescue Squad returning to Hurricane Bridge Recreation Area

The Smithville-DeKalb County Rescue Squad was summoned to Center Hill Lake Thursday morning after someone reported something floating in the water near the mouth of Mine Lick Creek.

Members of the Rescue Squad put in at the Hurricane Bridge Recreation area boat ramp and went to investigate accompanied by the TWRA.

The obstacle found floating turned out to be an overturned small paddle boat that had been in the lake for some time.

More Honors for DCHS Tiger Football Players

January 5, 2017
Dwayne Page
Front Row left to right: Steven Jennings, Riley Sexton, Matthew Poss, Devin Bain, Nick May, Bradley Miller; Back Row: Luke Green, Eli Cross, Christian Pruitt, Tayvian Nokes, Gage Delape, Devin Zaderiko, and Tyler Cantrell

Members of the DCHS Football Team have earned more honors for their accomplishments on the field during the 2016 season.

Two Tigers, Bradley Miller, as defensive back, and Matthew Poss, as punter, were named to the Class 3A All State Team by TNHIGHSCHOOLFOOTBALL.COM

Miller, as defensive back, was also selected by the TN Sports Writers Association to their Class 3A All State Team and to the Tennessean 3rd Team All Mid State.

Tigers selected to the All Herald Citizen Team from the Upper Cumberland Area were:

1st Team Punter Matthew Poss

2nd team Defensive Line Tayvian Nokes and Devin Bain

Honorable Mention Quarterbacks Steven Jennings and Tyler Cantrell

Honorable Mention Wide Receiver Matthew Poss

Honorable Mention Offensive Line Eli Cross, Luke Green, Devin Zaderiko, Gage Delape

Honorable Mention Linebacker Nick May

Honorable Mention Defensive Back Bradley Miller and Riley Sexton.

DCHS Tiger Coach Steve Trapp added that Matthew Poss has also received two offers this past week including one from Cumberland and one from Bethel University to play football next season.

Paislee's Foundation Chili Supper and Cornhole Tournament Set for February 11

January 4, 2017
Dwayne Page

Losing a child is unspeakably painful and perhaps the most devastating ordeal a parent could have to encounter.

Tyler and Jessica Cripps of Alexandria know what that's like. Their daughter Paislee Cheyanne Cripps was stillborn on May 3, 2013. Their hearts were broken. Their world was shattered. But during their grief they received the love and support of family, friends, church, and the community in such a way that it inspired Tyler and Jessica to help other parents mourning infant loss. As a result, Paislee's Foundation was formed by the Cripps' along with their friend Wesley McCubbin.

"It's a non-profit organization that Wesley and my wife and I started. We take up money through donations and fundraisers and we donate that to families who are going through stillbirth and infant loss up to three years of age," Tyler Cripps told WJLE .

The next fundraiser is the 3rd annual Paislee’s Foundation Chili Supper and Corn Hole Tournament on Saturday, February 11 at 4 p.m. at the DeKalb County Fairgrounds in Alexandria. Admission to the chili supper is $5.00 and $20 for the cornhole tournament.

"It started on May 3, 2013. Tyler and I lost our little girl. She was stillborn. Paislee's death was very unexpected and we were completely unprepared to deal with this type of situation. But our family, friends, church, and community lifted us up, supported us, and took care of everything we needed," said Jessica Cripps.

After some time passed, Tyler said he got the idea for starting the foundation. "I was riding through work one day and the idea popped in my head. I talked to Wesley about it and we furthered the idea until it's turned into what it is today," he said.

An approved 501c3 non-profit organization, Paislee's Foundation was formed in October 2013 and the first official fundraiser was held in January 2014.

"We have three main fundraisers which are all held at the Kenneth Sandlin Center at the fairgrounds in Alexandria. A chili supper will be held on February 11 along with a corn hole tournament. We have a 5K in May and a craft show in the fall. They have all generated pretty good amounts of money. At the 5K we have even had some of the parents (served by the Foundation) actually come to help. To see that come full circle has been great. We've had such big responses from the start and we thank our whole community for supporting us," said McCubbin.

There are no paid staff in the Foundation and all money raised is given to parents. "One hundred percent of it goes to the foundation. No money goes to anyone's pocket," said Tyler.

"We got money given to us when we lost Paislee. At the end of it all we had to buy her headstone and that was $400. We had $400 exactly left. So that's what we give people $400. They are welcome to use it for whatever they need including bills, food, groceries, headstone, burial expenses, etc.," said Jessica.

Families needing support may contact Paislee's Foundation through Facebook or at www.paisleesfoundation.org.

"We want to thank everybody who has gotten behind us and given us the push to get to where we are now. That's the main thing about our foundation. It could not run without the support that we have gotten," said Tyler.


January 4, 2017
Dwayne Page
WJLE's Dale Carroll will co-host the RADIO SHOPPER program with Dwayne Page Thursday Morning, January 26

WJLE and participating local businesses are giving you a chance to bid on and buy merchandise at a discount in the RADIO SHOPPER on Thursday, January 26.

Starting at 9:00 a.m. that morning, WJLE will be opening up the phone lines for you to bid on various items from local businesses.

WJLE will set a minimum bid on each item and continue the bidding until the item is sold. The program on Thursday will be limited to around three hours. If we have more items to sell, the program will resume on another day. For bidders, they have a chance to buy merchandise or services at a discount. For the businesses, they get ads on WJLE just for putting items up for bids.

If your business would like to participate, contact Dwayne Page at 615-597-4265.

It’s going to be fun and exciting! Be sure to be by your radio and your telephone on Thursday, January 26 at 9:00 a.m. and call in a bid to RADIO SHOPPER on WJLE. The program will also be streamed LIVE at www.wjle.com.


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