Local News Articles

DeKalb County GOP to Host Legislative Update

November 14, 2015
Mingy Bryant

The DeKalb County Republican Party will be hosting a Legislative Update on Saturday, November 21, 2015, at 9:00AM in the downstairs courtroom at the Courthouse. State Senator Mae Beavers, State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver, and State Representative Mark Pody will be the featured speakers. They will be discussing issues that will be addressed in the 2016 Legislative Session. All Dekalb County residents are invited to come and hear from your Republican elected officials. Light refreshments will be available.

“We are fortunate to have three strong leaders advocating for us at the State Capital and I am thankful we have this opportunity to hear from them,” GOP Chair Mingy Bryant said. “2016 is going to be a busy election year, starting with the March 1, 2016 Presidential Primary, so we are organizing early to let Dekalb County citizens know how important it is to elect conservative Republicans to local, state, and federal offices.”

The Dekalb County Republican Party will also be hosting their Caucus on Saturday, December 5, 2015, in the downstairs courtroom in the Courthouse. The purpose of the Caucus will be to select a Republican nominee for Dekalb County Property Assessor and Constables in each of the Constable Districts. Interested candidates will be invited to speak at the Saturday, November 21st event. Interested candidates can contact Republican Party Chair Mingy Bryant at 615-597-2600 or Vice Chair Clint Hall at 931-201-6962.

For more information, go to our Facebook Page at Dekalb County Republican Party.

McCoy Gets Eight Years Probation for Theft and Auto Burglary

November 14, 2015
Dwayne Page

A 43 year old woman received an eight year sentence for auto burglary and theft Tuesday in DeKalb County Criminal Court.

Patsy McCoy entered a plea to theft over $500 and two counts of auto burglary. She received a total sentence of eight years all suspended to supervised probation except for time served. McCoy got a four year sentence in each case. The two auto burglary terms are to run concurrently but consecutive to the theft sentence.

Smithville Police Officer Lance Dillard responded to Wal-Mart in reference to a shoplifter on Saturday, April 4. Upon arrival he spoke with a Loss Prevention Associate who reported that he had witnessed McCoy take several Wal-Mart bags from the front of the store and get a shopping cart. He then saw her pick up several items and remove the price tags before placing them in the bags. The total value of the merchandise was $535.98. McCoy was arrested for Theft of Merchandise.

McCoy was arrested again on Thursday, May 14 for burglary, theft and for resist stop, halt, frisk, arrest, and search. Sergeant Brad Tatrow was called to the emergency room of the hospital in reference to someone burglarizing vehicles in the parking lot. After an investigation McCoy was found to have entered two vehicles in the ER parking lot without the knowledge or consent of the owners and she allegedly took items from each vehicle. Sergeant Tatrow observed McCoy attempting to conceal something in her hand and when he ordered her to produce it she refused. McCoy then pulled away as Sergeant Tatrow tried to retrieve it. Police discovered that McCoy had taken items from the medical floor without the knowledge or consent of hospital personnel.

25 year old Garrett Michael Buckmaster entered a plea by information to three counts of burglary and received a three year sentence in each case to run concurrently with each other but consecutive to a two year sentence he is serving in Putnam County. He was given jail credit of 111 days.

Smithville Police Captain Steven Leffew said Buckmaster and another man, 22 year old Dewayne Watkins were arrested after an investigation into a rash of car burglaries by Lieutenant Matt Holmes, Detective Brandon Donnell, and Officer Lance Dillard. Leffew said many victims came forward within a two week period to report damage to and missing items from their vehicles. Items from some of these thefts were recovered at the home where Watkins and Buckmaster were residing. Detective Donnell made the arrests on Wednesday, July 22. The case against Watkins apparently remains pending in court.

53 year old Keith Dewey Higgins entered a plea to forgery and received a two year sentence on supervised probation. He must make restitution of $197.50 to Wilson Bank and Trust.

50 year old Kenneth Teeples received a two year sentence suspended to supervised probation after pleading guilty to possession of a weapon by a felon. He must also forfeit the firearm.

44 year old Felicia Fullilove entered a plea to sale of a schedule II drug and received a three year TDOC sentence all suspended to supervised probation. She was fined $2,000.

65 year old Jackie Wilkerson pled guilty to attempted delivery of a schedule IV controlled substance and received a one year sentence fully suspended to judicial diversion probation. He was fined $2,000 and must make restitution of $20 to the Alexandria Police Department.

55 year old Cheryl Gotro entered a plea by information to reckless endangerment and received a suspended sentence of 11 months and 29 days on probation.

37 year old Andrew Wilbert pleaded guilty to driving under the influence and received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days to serve 48 hours and then be on supervised probation. He was fined $360. The term is to run concurrent with another sentence against him.

Director Updates School Board on Personnel Moves

November 13, 2015
Dwayne Page
Patrick Cripps

Director of Schools Patrick Cripps updated the Board of Education on personnel moves during Thursday night's regular monthly meeting.

Those employed since the October meeting are:

Josh Melton, Educational Assistant at DeKalb Middle School replacing Deborah Knowles
Cindy Washer, bus driver
Jared West, Teacher in Special Education at Northside Elementary School

Deborah Knowles, DeKalb Middle School, retired
Kaci Miller, Educational Assistant at Smithville Elementary School
Laura McMurray, bus driver
James Storie, custodian at Smithville Elementary School

Former Probation Officer Enters Plea to Forgery

November 13, 2015
Dwayne Page
Ashley Lasser

A probation officer who allegedly used a client's money order to commit forgery and theft was sentenced Tuesday in DeKalb County Criminal Court.

31 year old Ashley Lasser, who worked for CPS Community Probation Service, entered a plea to forgery and received a four year sentence fully suspended to judicial diversion probation. She cannot work in law enforcement during her term of probation. Lasser must also make restitution to CPS in the amount of $585.00. The theft charge against her was dismissed.

According to the warrant, Lasser passed a forged money order in the amount of $50 to the Dollar General Store in Smithville on Thursday, September 18, 2014. The money order was made out by a client of CPS as payment to Life Savers of Tennessee, which is a probation service where Lasser worked. She allegedly marked out the name Life Savers of Tennessee on the money order, wrote in Dollar General Store, and then passed the forged money order to the clerk.

The probation client, a defendant in a criminal case, had made out the money order to life Savers of Tennessee as payment for attending an anger management class.

Lasser allegedly used the money order at the Dollar General Store to purchase a soft drink and then received change back in cash.

Lasser reportedly was terminated from her job as probation officer after this offense came to light..

The case was investigated by Lieutenant Detective Matt Holmes and former Chief Randy Caplinger of the Smithville Police Department.

Morgan Gets Probation for TennCare Fraud

November 13, 2015
Dwayne Page
Ashley Morgan

A DeKalb County woman charged with TennCare fraud involving prescription drugs was sentenced in DeKalb County Criminal Court on Tuesday.

28 year old Ashley Morgan entered a plea to TennCare Fraud and received a two year sentence all suspended to supervised probation. The term is to run concurrently with a Cannon County sentence against her. She must forfeit her TennCare benefits and make restitution of $1,187.71.

Morgan was first charged with doctor shopping in DeKalb County this past April. She was indicted by the DeKalb County Grand Jury on April 6, 2015 for TennCare Fraud. At that time she lived on Gassaway Road, Liberty. According to the DeKalb County indictment, Morgan unlawfully obtained or attempted to obtain on or about June 14, 2014 a prescription from a healthcare provider and failed to disclose to that healthcare provider that she had received a prescription for a controlled substance of similar therapeutic use from another healthcare provider within the previous 30 days, and she did use TennCare to obtain the benefit, constituting the offense TennCare Fraud.

Morgan was indicted for the same crime in Cannon County in October. In that case, the Cannon County Grand Jury indicted her on three counts of fraudulently obtaining controlled substances by doctor shopping for the painkillers Oxycodone and Hydrocodone, using TennCare to pay for the clinical visits.

“When individuals go from doctor to doctor to obtain prescription drugs through TennCare benefits, state dollars are involved in illegal drug sales,” Inspector General Manny Tyndall said. “We appreciate and value the hard work of the healthcare providers and the local law enforcement across the state and their efforts in helping us develop these cases.”

TennCare fraud is a Class E felony carrying a sentence of up to two years in prison per charge. The OIG, which is separate from TennCare, began full operation in February 2005 and has investigated cases leading to more than $3 million being repaid to TennCare, with a total estimated cost avoidance of more than $163.6 million for TennCare, according to latest figures. To date, 2,455 people have been charged with TennCare fraud.

Through the OIG Cash for Tips Program established by the Legislature, Tennesseans can get cash rewards for TennCare fraud tips that lead to convictions. Anyone can report suspected TennCare fraud by calling 1-800-433-3982 toll-free from anywhere in Tennessee, or go to http://www.tn.gov/finance/topic/fa-oig.

Tribute Program Honors Veterans

November 12, 2015
Dwayne Page

Veterans were honored during a special program held on Veterans Day at the county complex.

A good crowd turned out for the tribute.

Speeches from guest speakers paid tribute to our nation's heroes and members of the DCHS Chorus and Band entertained with songs of patriotism.

Veterans boarded a school bus for a ride downtown to the veterans memorial monument at the courthouse where the program concluded in taps and the placement of a wreath to honor veterans

Two Involved in Crash Near Alexandria

November 12, 2015
Dwayne Page

Two people were involved in a crash Wednesday afternoon on Highway 70 near the Wilson County line in DeKalb County.

Trooper Bobby Johnson of the Tennessee Highway Patrol told WJLE that a west bound 1999 Ford Ranger, driven by 61 year old Edwin Beard, Jr. of Dowelltown, crossed the center line and sideswiped an eastbound 2008 Dodge Ram 1500 pickup, driven by 66 year old Roy Myatt of Liberty. Beard's truck then went off the highway, overturned, and struck a rock embankment. The Dodge Ram also ran off the road and hit a rock embankment. Beard was transported to St. Thomas DeKalb Hospital by DeKalb EMS. Myatt was not hurt.

Beard was cited for failure to exercise due care, expired registration, and financial responsibility for no proof of insurance.

Beer Board Schedules Revocation Hearing for Nicole's Market

November 11, 2015
Dwayne Page
Areceli Soto Godinez and her brother appeared before the beer board on a separate matter in October 2009

The owner of Nicole's Market will have to make an appearance before the DeKalb County Beer Board next month for a revocation hearing.

The meeting will be Thursday, December 3 at 6:00 p.m. in the U.T. Extension room of the county complex.

The beer board met in special session Tuesday night on the case after discussing it during a regular monthly meeting last Thursday.

The issue is whether the store's beer license should be suspended for a period of time or revoked due to the illegal sale of alcohol to a person under the age of 21. During an undercover operation in September, a 20 year old operative working for the Sheriff's Department entered the store and allegedly bought beer from the owner of Nicole's Market, 42 year old Areceli Soto Godinez of Smithville.

Godinez appeared in DeKalb County General Sessions Court on Thursday October 29. While she pled not guilty, the case against Godinez was continued for six months after which time the citation will be dismissed provided she pays the court costs of $212 and has no further incidents of this kind. But even though the criminal citation may be dismissed, county attorney Hilton Conger told members of the beer board Tuesday night that they could still impose a civil penalty if they were to have a hearing and find that beer was illegally sold from the business. Such a hearing would require an appearance by Godinez and officers who conducted the undercover operation.

"You could give her notice of a due process hearing because this is a civil proceeding. If the board has the individual who allegedly made a buy to come and testify as to what had happened you could still take action on a revocation. Because a revocation doesn't depend upon being found guilty (in court). That's a criminal charge which requires guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. This would be a civil matter. But you still have to give the permit holder a notice of revocation and conduct a hearing here as to whether the license should be suspended, revoked, or you have the option of a civil penalty of up to $2,500 when it's a sale to a minor," said Conger.

The beer board voted Tuesday night to schedule a revocation hearing for Thursday, December 3 at 6:00 p.m. to give Godinez a chance to be heard. " What we're trying to figure out is if she (Godinez) broke the law. And if she broke the law then we want to respond as a board. In fairness to her and in fairness to the board we need to have her in here. I want to hear her story. Let's hear her side of it," said Beer Board member Jim Stagi.

Members of the board also complained that they were not officially made aware of the case until they heard it in news reports on WJLE. "When somebody does get into this situation we as a board need to know. I don't think that the board liked it that we all got notified by the radio station. That's not the way things should run around here. Somebody has got to notify the board when something like this happens," said Stagi.

Godinez was among four persons cited for the illegal sale of alcohol to a minor as part of an undercover investigation conducted jointly by the Sheriff's Department, Smithville Police Department, and the Alexandria Police Department.

Godinez along with 25 year old Langed Bassem Nabil Samir of the Alexandria Discount Beer and Tobacco store on Nashville Highway and 56 year old Allison Ferguson of Smithville, an employee of Mapco Express on East Broad Street, Smithville appeared in General Sessions Court Thursday, October 29.

Under negotiated settlements with the District Attorney General's Office, each case is to be dismissed provided the defendants pay their court costs and have no further incidents of this kind within a certain period of time. Ferguson's case was dismissed that day. Citations are to be dismissed after 60 days for Samir and after six months in the Godinez case.

The case against 32 year old Jennifer Sims of McMinnville, an employee of the Discount Tobacco Store on West Broad Street, Smithville across from the Dairy Queen was postponed until December 10 to give her time to hire an attorney.

The Alexandria Beer Board Tuesday night, October 27 imposed a $500 fine against the owner of the Alexandria Discount Beer and Tobacco store for the violation of the town's beer ordinance. Samir, the clerk who actually made the sale, was cited by the Alexandria Police Department after he illegally sold beer to an underage operative during an undercover investigation on September 22. Samir admitted to making the illegal sale of beer but claims he made a mistake in reading the birth date on the identification presented to him by the customer (undercover operative) who is 20 years old.

Members of the DeKalb County Beer Board are Chairman Edward Frazier, Robert Rowe, Jim Stagi, Johnny King, Frank Thomas, Leonard Dickens, and Rhonda Caplinger. All were present Tuesday night except for Frazier.

Hoyte Hale Recommended to Become EMS Director

November 10, 2015
Dwayne Page
Hoyte Hale
Jeremy Young
Charles Nokes
Allen O. Mason, II
Jeff Cole

Hoyte Hale may become the next director of the DeKalb County Ambulance Service.

Members of the County's Emergency Services Committee met Tuesday night at the courthouse to interview the five applicants and voted to recommend Hale for the job to the entire county commission who has the final say.

Hale has been serving as interim director for two and a half years since the departure of Chip Cook, the former director. Prior to being named interim, Hale served as assistant EMS director for seven years.

In addition to Hale, those wanting the job are Jeremy Young of Dearman Street, Smithville; Charles Nokes of Short Mountain Road, Smithville; Allen Mason of Lancaster; and Jeff Cole of Spencer.

The committee brought in each applicant one at a time for the interviews. The same set of questions was put to each applicant and they were scored numerically from zero through five based on their responses to each question. Hale scored highest among the five applicants.

Members of the committee are Chairman Joe Johnson, Wayne Cantrell, Jeff Barnes, Anita Puckett, Bradley Hendrix, Elmer Ellis, Jr., and Kevin Robinson.

A paramedic, Hale listed on his resume the following employment history:

DeKalb EMS:
Interim EMS Service Director from April, 2013 to present
Deputy EMS Service Director, A-Shift Supervisor from June 2007 to April 2013

Smith County EMS, Carthage:
Paramedic, CQI Coordinator, First Responder Instructor from March 2004 to June 2007

River View Speedway, Carthage:
Paramedic from June 2004 to June 2007

Trousdale County EMS, Hartsville:
Paramedic from June 2004 to June 2007

Murfreesboro City Fire Department, Murfreesboro:
Firefighter, Paramedic, Rescue/Hazmat, First Responder Instructor from June 2003 to March 2004

Bedford County EMS, Shelbyville:
Paramedic from August 2002 to June 2003

DeKalb County Community Hospital, Smithville:
Paramedic E.R., ICU, Med-Surg from December 2001 to December 2011

DeKalb EMS, Smithville:
EMT, EMT-IV, Paramedic from June 1989 to May 1997
EMS Service Director from May 1997 to March 2002

Smithville Fire Department:
Deputy Fire Chief, Engineer, Rescue/Hazmat, Assistant Training/Safety Officer, Paramedic, First Responder Instructor, AHA Instructor, Vaness K/EVOC Instructor, Fire Prevention Officer from December 1985 to Present

Nashville Super Speedway:
Firefighter, Paramedic, Rescue from March 2001 to March 2011

Wilson County Emergency Management, Lebanon:
Firefighter, Paramedic, Rescue, Hazmat, Acting Captain from January 1990 to May 1997

Jeremy Young currently serves as a supervisor at Star Manufacturing of Smithville. He has worked there since February, 2015. He also serves part time as a Paramedic for the Cannon County EMS in Woodbury, a position he has held since 2001. Young worked for the DeKalb County EMS from 2002 to 2003 as a Shift Supervisor.

Charles Nokes is a licensed Paramedic with 23 years of service in emergency medicine services. He currently serves as the Cannon County Medical Death Investigator, a position he has held since April 1998. Nokes is also a licensed full time Paramedic at the Cannon County EMS, where he has worked since February, 1998. He works part-time at the DeKalb County EMS and has since February, 1998. Prior to that, Nokes was a full time licensed Paramedic at the DeKalb County EMS from March 1992 to February 1998.

Allen Mason has been employed at the DeKalb County EMS since 2012. From 2004 to 2012, Mason worked in Educational Resources at Lewisburg where he oversaw operations and logistics of advanced medical courses and directed course programs to ensure compliance with governing regulations. From 1992 to 2009, Mason was a Resource Manager for the Sumner County EMS in Gallatin. He has 14 years of experience as a professional manager in procurement and personnel management.

Jeff Cole has more than 35 years in the emergency medical field including 15 years in administration. He served as Manager of Life Care EMS in Lebanon from August 2013 to November 2014. Cole was also Manager of Pro Med EMS in Lebanon from September 2006 to August 2014. From November 2002 to August 2006, Cole was Director/Paramedic of the Van Buren County EMS in Spencer.

Atnip Arrested for Aggravated Burglary and Theft

November 10, 2015
Dwayne Page
Donald Richard Atnip, Jr
Michael Patrick Layton
Gary C. Boatwright

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department has made an arrest in a recent burglary and theft.

30 year old Donald Richard Atnip, Jr. of Page Drive, Smithville is charged with aggravated burglary and theft of property under $500. His bond is $25,000 and he will make a court appearance December 17. Sheriff Patrick Ray said that Atnip allegedly broke into a residence on Page Drive on Sunday, November 1 and took a flat screen Visio television valued at $300.. He allegedly admitted to entering the home and taking the TV. The case was investigated by a sheriff's department detective.

51 year old Michael Patrick Layton of Smithville is charged with being a fugitive from justice. His bond is $50,000. Sheriff Ray said Layton has a warrant against him from Lee County, Florida for two counts of possession of a controlled substance for resale (Heroin) and two counts of possession of a controlled substance (Heroin). He is now awaiting extradition back to Florida.

44 year old Gary C. Boatwright of Elmwood, Tennessee is charged with evading arrest and a fourth offense of driving on a revoked license. His bond totals $13,500 and he will be in court on November 12. Sheriff Ray said that on Saturday, November 7 a sheriff's department deputy attempted to stop a vehicle on Highway 70 west for failing to maintain his lane of travel. The driver pulled to the shoulder of the road but did not come to a complete stop. He then took off again. The officer began a pursuit on Highway 70 which continued onto Highway 96. The pursuit was terminated at Cannon County. After an investigation, officers learned that Boatwright was the driver and a computer check of Boatwright's license showed they were revoked for a DUI


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