Local News Articles

DeKalb Middle Students Awarded at Tennessee History Day

April 18, 2010
by: 
Dwayne Page

Students from DeKalb Middle School won a third place award at the recent Tennessee History Day competition.

In the category of "Junior Group Performance" a third place award went to Lauren Craig, Josh Davidson, Laura Reed, and Ashley Barnes of DeKalb Middle School in Smithville for their project on "Advancements in Telecommunication." Teacher: Tonya Sullivan.

First place winners are eligible to represent Tennessee at the National History Day competition, which will be held in College Park, Maryland June 13-17.

Tennessee History Day, which was held at the Legislative Plaza, the Tennessee State Museum and the Nashville Public Library, attracted more than 200 students from across the state. The participants were all award winners from district competitions held in Memphis, Murfreesboro, Knoxville and Chattanooga.

The competition was coordinated by the Tennessee Historical Society with sponsorship provided by Humanities Tennessee and the Tennessee Department of State. Additional support is provided by The Memorial Foundation, National History Day, the History Channel and the MTSU Center for Historic Preservation.

"Congratulations to all of our winners and their fellow competitors," Secretary of State Tre Hargett said. "I know Tennesseans will join me in applauding their accomplishments and cheering the winners to even greater success in the National History Day contest."

In the competition, students in grades six through 12 presented history-themed projects in a variety of formats – including museum-style exhibits, research papers, web sites, documentaries and even live performances. This year's theme was Innovation in History: Impact and Change. Students were asked to examine how different innovations have shaped the course of history.

The judges – who included university professors, graduate students, high school teachers, archivists and other public historians – picked the winners from the 118 projects submitted.

Nationwide, more than half a million students participated in some level of History Day competition this year, including about 6,000 from Tennessee.

Since 1974, National History Day has grown from a Cleveland, Ohio competition with about 100 students to a national academic program that engages 2 million people annually.

THP To Conduct Sobriety Roadside Safety Checkpoints

April 17, 2010

The Tennessee Highway Patrol will be conducting sobriety roadside safety
checkpoints during the week of April 30 on State Highway 56 in DeKalb County

Impaired driving is a serious crime that kills more than 16,000 people and injures
305,000 others every year in the United States. Troopers will evaluate drivers for
signs of alcohol or drug impairment. Troopers will target those who operate a
vehicle while impaired and take corrective actions for other violations observed
while ensuring the protection of all motorists.

The Tennessee Highway Patrol recognizes that sobriety checkpoints are highly
visible and effective tools in the battle against impaired driving.

The LOOP- A Legislative Update from State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver

April 17, 2010
State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver

The following is a legislative update from State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver.

Greetings, Folks of the Fortieth! We were successful in moving forward with the “Health Freedom Act” this week, as the bill moved out of the House Commerce Committee by a 19 to 11 vote. The panel approved the measure in a bipartisan manner, which is aimed at protecting the right of an individual to purchase—and the right of doctors to provide—lawful medical services without penalty. The bill would also require the state Attorney General to take the necessary steps to defend these rights.

The bill, which has been debated at length throughout the committee process, hit a snag Thursday morning in the House Calendar and Rules Committee. The committee is responsible for setting the House floor calendars and scheduling legislation for consideration on the House floor. On Thursday morning, opponents attempted to stall the legislation once again, using parliamentary tactics to hold the legislation in the committee indefinitely. Eventually, the bill was referred back to the Finance, Ways and Means Committee despite having an insignificant price tag. The legislation will appear in the Budget Subcommittee next week.

Other states have passed similar legislation, and many are already in the process of filing a lawsuit against the federal government regarding the healthcare overhaul.

Expanding government programs are rarely effective solutions to complex issues. The federal government takeover of healthcare will only prove to balloon the cost of healthcare services to the states.

The bill has been debated at length by both the Industrial Impact Subcommittee and the full House Commerce Committee. Because there is no price tag of significance on the legislation, it is expected to make one more stop in the House Calendar and Rules Committee before a vote on the House floor.

Similar to House Bill 3433 in context, House Joint Resolution 745 cleared another hurdle this week by moving out of the Commerce Committee, but faces Tennessee’s lengthy constitutional amendment approval process, which can take up to four years.

A constitutional amendment must be approved by one General Assembly by a majority, and a subsequent General Assembly by a two-thirds vote. Following its passage by the legislature, the amendment goes on the ballot in the next gubernatorial election, and must receive approval from a majority of those voting in the gubernatorial race.

A related measure also achieved passage this week. House Bill 2681, which aims to keep tax dollars from funding abortions, was passed by us Monday night after a contentious debate by a vote of 70 to 23. The legislation will now move through the State Senate.

The specific language in the legislation states that, “No health care plan required to be established in this state through an exchange pursuant to federal health care reform legislation enacted by the 111th Congress shall offer coverage for abortion services.”

It was necessary to clarify this point because tax dollars are sometimes used to indirectly pay for abortions. The final vote was a bi-partisan one.

The same night, the House considered and passed a resolution that expresses opposition to the federal takeover of healthcare with a vote of 66-29. After nearly two hours of contentious debate, House Joint Resolution 704 also won bipartisan approval. The joint resolution must now make its way through the Senate for approval.

The Transportation Committee moved forward a proposal on Tuesday that places tough restrictions on the controversial traffic surveillance cameras utilized by cities across the state. House Bill 3024 will, among other things, require a law enforcement officer review the video evidence and prohibits the company operating the cameras from sending notices of violations.

The bill also requires cities to determine the crash rate based on the last three years of crash history, to review signal timing, and to calculate the violation rate for motor vehicles running intersection red lights. Certain standards—in addition to those listed above—must be met in order for a city to either keep or install the traffic cameras. The legislation will be heard in the Budget Subcommittee next week.

Numerous bills were filed this year to either ban or lessen the impact of traffic cameras in Tennessee, after public outcry reached a fever pitch. Cities and counties in Tennessee have increasingly turned to the automated systems for surveillance of intersections and roadways. We have studied the use of traffic cameras over the summer and fall. Also, we echoed criticisms from constituents that in addition to a violation of rights, the motivation behind the cameras is money, not safety. Proponents of the cameras argue that safety is the priority in using the cameras. The committee determined if safety is the primary concern, the restrictions in House Bill 3024 are reasonable.

In brief...
House Bill 2349 would require any member of the General Assembly convicted of a felony related to public office to forfeit their state health benefits. The measure would allow family members who may be covered under the plan to continue utilizing it provided they continue paying the premiums. The bill advanced from the Finance, Ways and Means this week and will next face a vote by the full House.

House Bill 2665 will next be heard in the Budget Subcommittee. This is a bill that requires the Department of Veterans’ Affairs to establish a veterans’ honor medal program moved out of the State and Local Government Committee.

2010 U.S. Census can still be turned in. Tennesseans are being given a second chance to return their surveys due to a low return rate. Last week, the U.S. Census Bureau mailed a second form to one of every three households, and even more in certain areas where the return rate was especially low. The U.S. Census Bureau asks that if a household receives a second survey but has already completed the first, to destroy the copy.

In closing, it is always an honor and pleasure to serve you. Please do not hesitate to call my office at 615.741.2192 if you would like to visit, express your opinion, or need assistance. I am always happy to hear from my constituents.

Three Men Looking to Become Next Smithville Police Chief

April 16, 2010
by: 
Dwayne Page
 Randy Caplinger
Larry D. Parsley

Three people, Randy Caplinger of Smithville, Larry D. Parsley of Lenoir City, and Kenneth D. Smith of Watertown have applied for the position of Smithville Police Chief.

Noon today (Friday) was the deadline for persons to apply.

Caplinger is a retired Lieutenant Colonel/Major of the Tennessee Department of Safety/Tennessee Highway Patrol. Parsley is a retired Lieutenant of the Tennessee Department of Safety/Tennessee Highway Patrol. Smith is currently serving as Chief of Police of the Lakewood Police Department at Old Hickory, Tennessee.

Smithville Police Commissioner/Alderman Aaron Meeks told WJLE Friday afternoon that the mayor and aldermen would most likely conduct a workshop soon to interview the applicants individually. No date has yet been set for such workshop.

Each of the applicants submitted resumes with their applications.

Caplinger, since October 2006, has been Transportation/Safety Director for Kitchen Craft of Smithville, where he is responsible for all safety training of approximately 190 employees.

From 2003 to 2006, Caplinger served as Lieutenant Colonel/Major for the Tennessee Department of Safety, where he was in charge of officers in all Tennessee counties including support staff. A total of 322 employees.

Caplinger, who completed officer training at the Tennessee Law Enforcement Academy in 1976, began his career with the Tennessee Department of Safety as a trooper/officer and served in that position for eight years followed by a seven year stint as a THP sergeant and four years as lieutenant. He later became Captain of the Commercial Vehicle Enforcement, in charge of all officers in 14 Tennessee counties. Caplinger held that post for eight years before becoming Lieutenant Colonel/Major.

Caplinger received administration and management training from the University of Tennessee and the University of Phoenix Academy.

Parsley, a 1966 graduate of DeKalb County High School, was in the United States Air Force from 1969 to 1973. He joined the Tennessee Highway Patrol in 1973 and worked as a state trooper in the Knoxville area until 1985, when he became a THP sergeant, supervising three to four counties and ten to fifteen troopers. In 1990, Parsley was promoted to the rank of lieutenant, a position he held until 2003. During those years, he was Trooper Supervisor over three counties, supervising ten to fifteen troopers and two sergeants. Parsley was also UT Football Security Detail Supervisor and bodyguard for then coach Phil Fulmer.

For two years, from 2007 to January, 2009, Parsley was the Assistant Superintendent of Construction for EMJ Corporation in Chattanooga, in charge of time and manpower scheduling, safety and OSHA reporting, and work performance monitoring.

In 1975, Parsley attended Walters State Community College in Morristown where he earned credit hours toward his associate's degree. In 1977, he attended East Tennessee State University at Johnson City where he earned credit hours toward a bachelor's degree; criminal justice major.

Parsley was the Knoxville area Optimist Club Trooper of the Year in 1983 and 1984.

Smith, a certified officer and Tennessee state training instructor, is currently Chief of Police for the Lakewood Police Department in Old Hickory, Tennessee, where his duties include managing the daily functions of the department, conducting training for officers, establishing department budgets, etc.

From 1986 to 2006, Smith was employed as a lieutenant patrol officer, supervisor, and police officer for the Lebanon City Police Department, where he managed training of staff for more than 80 officers.

He joined the Mount Juliet City Police Department in 2006 as a field training officer, and police officer, positions he held until 2008 when he became chief of the Lakewood Police Department.

Smith received his high school education at Mount Juliet High School from 1978 to 1982. He completed officer training at the Tennessee Law Enforcement Academy in 1986.

Smith was named the 2005 Lebanon Police Department Officer of the Year. He also received the 2005 Life Saving Award for a vehicular crash on Interstate 40 and the 2009 Tuition Grant Award from the Tennessee Chief's Association.

More Persons Arrested in Round-Up

April 16, 2010
by: 
Dwayne Page

A total of 48 of the 64 persons named in sealed indictments returned by a special session of the DeKalb County Grand Jury on Monday, April 12th have been arrested. All but three were indicted as the result of undercover drug investigations. The other three were indicted for theft of property (trailers).

(Click here to see pictures of each defendant
http://www.wjle.com/node/10295)

Sheriff Patrick Ray says those indicted and their charges are as follows:

30 year old Amanda Gayle Cains
Wade Subdivision Lane
Gainesboro
1 count of conspiracy to sell and deliver 50 grams or more of a schedule II drug
2 counts violation of drug free zone
Bond- $70,000

20 year old Amanda Lee Keeling
South Grundy Quarles Highway
Gainesboro
1 count of conspiracy to sell and deliver 50 grams or more of a schedule II drug
2 counts violation of drug free zone
Bond- $70,000

31 year old James "Freddy" Summers
1 count sale and delivery of a schedule III drug
Bond- $20,000

22 year old Coty Lynn McCormick
Mohon Drive
McMinnville
2 counts sale and delivery of a schedule II drug
Bond- $60,000

39 year old David Gerald Vanatta
Snow Street
Smithville
1 count sale and delivery of a schedule II drug
2 counts violation of a drug free zone
Bond- $30,000

24 year old Corey Robert Winchester
Bright Hill Road
Smithville
2 counts sale and delivery of a schedule III drug
2 counts violation of drug free zone
Bond- $50,000

42 year old Mark R. Robinson
Dry Creek Road
Smithville
1 count sale and delivery of a schedule III drug
Bond- $20,000

28 year old Garth Wayne Cantrell
Pine Grove Road
Smithville
3 counts of theft over $500
Bond $30,000

30 year old John M. Alsup
Pine Grove Road
Smithville
3 counts of theft over $500
Bond $30,000

32 year old Jason Zeen Cripps
Bethel Road
Smithville
2counts of theft over $500
Bond $20,000

32 year old Jeremy Patrick Bandy
Old Givens Hollow Road
Liberty
2 counts of sale of a schedule II drug
Bond $100,000

36 year old Steve Franklin Mabe Jr
Old Givens Hollow Road
Liberty
3 counts of sale and delivery of a schedule II drug
Bond $75,000

38 year old Rachel Lynn Mabe
Old Givens Hollow Road
Liberty
2 counts sale and delivery of a schedule II drug
Bond $50,000

62 year old Sandra Heath
Lavergne Street
Alexandria
2 counts sale and delivery of a schedule II drug
4 counts violation of drug free act
Bond $70,000

24 year old Danny Ray Prater
Pumpkin Hollow Road
Liberty
1 count sale and delivery of a schedule III drug
1 count sale and delivery of a schedule IV drug
Bond $20,000

20 year old Randall Brett Bullard
North Washington Avenue
Cookeville
2 counts sale and delivery of a schedule VI drug
Bond $20,000

49 year old Nickey Reese Cantrell
Lakeview Drive
Smithville
1 count sale and delivery of a schedule II drug
Bond $30,000

48 year old Dennis C. Ellis
Anthony Avenue
Smithville
2 counts sale and delivery of a schedule II drug
Bond 60,000

43 year old Mark Alan Goodson
Midway Road
Smithville
2 counts sale and delivery of a schedule II drug
Bond 50,000

51 year old James Vernon Vaughn
Gentry Avenue
Smithville
2 counts sale and delivery of a schedule VI drug
1 count possession of a schedule VI drug for resale
4 counts violation of drug free act
Bond $5,000

18 year old Leslie Brooke Bailey
Brush Creek Road
Alexandria
1 count sale and delivery of a schedule II drug
1 count sale and delivery of a schedule III drug
1 count sale and delivery of a schedule IV drug
Bond $60,000

28 year old Robert Lee Prater
Pumpkin Hollow Road
Liberty
1 count sale and delivery of a schedule III drug
Bond $20,000

33 year old Tracie Lyndal Godsey
2 counts sale and delivery of a schedule VI drug
1 count possession of a schedule VI drug for resale
4 counts violation of drug free act
Bond $60,000

20 year old Jerry Donald Johnson
Union Ridge Road
Bloomington Springs
2 counts of conspiracy to sell and deliver 50 grams or more of a schedule II drug
2 counts violation of drug free act
Bond $70,000

34 year old John David Fagan
Bright Hill Road
Smithville
2 counts sale and delivery of a schedule III drug
4 counts violation of drug free act
Bond $50,000

22 year old Joshua Lynne Batey
East Main Street
Smithville
1 count sale and delivery of a schedule II drug
1 count sale and delivery of a schedule III drug
Bond $60,000

21 year old Caleb A. Hendrix
Old Snow Hill Road
Dowelltown
1 count of conspiracy to sell and deliver of a schedule II drug
1 count theft under $500
Bond $20,000

49 year old Marti Compton
Avant Circle
Alexandria
2 counts sale and delivery of a schedule III drug
1 count sale and delivery of a schedule IV drug
6 counts violation of drug free act
Bond $40,000

39 year old Vickie Ann Cantrell
Adcock Cemetery Road
Smithville
2 counts of sale and delivery of a schedule II drug
Bond $50,000
Cantrell was also issued a citation for simple possession of a schedule II drug Dilaudid after a ½ of a Dilaudid pill was found
Bond $50,000

22 year old Julie Marie Prater
Pumpkin Hollow Road
Liberty
1 count sale and delivery of a schedule IV drug
Bond $20,000

21 year old Timothy "Tyler" Patrick
The Loop
Smithville
4 counts of sale and delivery of a schedule II drug
4 counts of violation of the drug free act
Bond $70,000

24 year old Stephen Kennedy
Tami Kay Road
Smithville
1 count of manufacture of a schedule VI drug
Bond $20,000

27 year old Chasity Jeannine Phillips
Shady Drive
Smithville
2 counts sale and delivery of a schedule II drug
1 count of violation of the drug free act
Bond $70,000

Lance Edward Rollings
Earl Ave
Smithville
2 counts of sale and delivery of a schedule VI drug
Bond $20,000

45 year old Marla Adele Turner
Adcock Cemetery Road
Smithville
1 count sale and delivery of a schedule II drug
Bond $60,000

60 year old Harold Gene Blackwell
Jay Hutchins Road
Sparta
2 counts sale and delivery of a schedule III drug
2 counts of violation of the drug free act
Bond $50,000

50 year old Victor W. Jones
Flemming Street
Alexandria
2 counts of sale and delivery of a schedule III drug
3 counts of sale and delivery of a schedule II drug
1 count sale and delivery of a schedule IV drug
12 counts violation of a drug free zone
Bond $100,000

51 year old Tamara Sue Evensen
Flemming Street
Alexandria
1 count sale and delivery of a schedule II drug
1 count sale and delivery of a schedule IV drug 4 counts of violation of a drug free zone
Bond $70,000

34 year old Russell Allen Blackwell
Jay Hutchins Road
Sparta
2 counts sale and delivery of a schedule III drug
2 counts of violation of the drug free act
Bond $50,000

52 year old Billy Joe Rigsby
Adcock Cemetery Road
Smithville
3 counts sale and delivery of a schedule III drug
Bond $60,000

41 year old Sherry Lynn Chandler
Page Drive
Smithville
2 counts sale and delivery of schedule III drug
Bond $30,000

18 year old Lataj K. Bass
Shady Drive
Alexandria
1 count sale and delivery of a schedule VI drug
Bond $10,000

47 year old Virginia Kay Jones
Flemming Street
Alexandria
3 counts sale and delivery of a schedule II drug
6 counts violation of the drug free act
Bond $60,000

40 year old Timothy Edward Lawson
Avant Circle
Alexandria
3 counts sale and delivery of a schedule III drug
6 counts violation of the drug free act
Bond $70,000
Lawson was also issued a citation for drug paraphernalia for being in possession of a pill crusher and 4 straws that contained a white powdery in them.

21 year old Jamie Lee Beising
Old Snow Hill Road
Dowelltown
1 count conspiracy to sell and deliver a schedule II drug
1 count theft under $500
Bond $20,000

41 year old Dana Ledbetter Firth
Midnight Sun Circle
Nashville
2 counts sale and delivery of a schedule III drug
1 count sale and delivery of a schedule IV drug
6 counts violation of the drug free act
Bond $40,000
Firth was also written a citation for simple possession of marijuana after she was found to have marijuana in her possession.

26 year old Tabitha Elaine Wilson
Huddleston Street
Cookeville
1 count of conspiracy to sell and deliver 50 grams or more of a schedule II drug
2 counts of violation of the drug free law
Bond $70,000

On Wednesday, 43 year old Christine Marie Moss of The Loop Smithville was arrested after she was found to have in her possession an unlabeled pill bottle that contained 119 and ½ pills believed to be Seroquel. Moss could not show a valid prescription for the pills. She was charged with possession of a legend drug without a prescription and her bond was set at $1,000. She will appear in court on April 29th. She was present at a drug defendant's house on Flemming Street in Alexandria at the time of their arrest.

State Senator Mae Beavers Legislative Update

April 16, 2010
by: 
Dwayne Page
State Senator Mae Beavers

The following is a legislative update from State Senator Mae Beavers

A flurry of bills began to move through the State Senate this week, including legislation getting tough on crime. Meanwhile, the Senate received an update on the state’s continued declining revenue collections and growth estimates in preparation for its work on the budget.

Lawmakers act on several anti-crime bills

Armed Robbers – A bill to strengthen penalties against armed robbers was debated in the Senate Finance Committee this week. The legislation, Senate Bill 3431, would more than double the minimum amount of time served for aggravated robbery.

Presently, armed robbers convicted on a first offense can receive up to eight years in jail, but the 30 percent requirement places the actual sentence at less than three years. This legislation would increase the mandatory minimum percentage of jail time for these armed offenders from 30 percent to 74 percent.

Meth labs – In other Judiciary Committee action, members approved legislation designed to protect the public from being harmed by the ill effects of entering a house or building that has been used as a meth lab. The bill, Senate Bill 2969, makes it a Class B misdemeanor offense to knowingly inhabit a property quarantined by law enforcement due to the manufacture of methamphetamine within the structure, unless that person is part of the official police investigation.

Child Abductions – Lawmakers gave final approval to legislation that aims to reduce the risk of child abduction in Tennessee. The bill, Senate Bill 3065, would provide courts with guidelines to follow regarding potential child abductions and to provide courts with appropriate measures to prevent these crimes.

Legislation prohibiting taxpayer-funded coverage for abortion arising from federal healthcare bill wins unanimous approval in Senate Commerce Committee

The Senate Commerce Committee approved legislation that would prohibit taxpayer-funded coverage for abortion services in Tennessee associated with the federal healthcare bill passed by Congress last month. The bill, Senate Bill 2686, prohibits any health care plan established pursuant to federal health care reform legislation enacted by the 111th United States Congress from offering coverage for abortion services.

Many experts believe the Executive Order signed by President Obama was part of an agreement to gain the votes of a key block of anti-abortion Democrats as the price for the massive federal health care law. Yet, the order may not stop funding for abortions, as the federal healthcare law left open the option for state-paid abortions, and was ambiguous in terms of allowing federal taxpayer funding for abortions.

Senate passes legislation to help homeowners avoid foreclosure

The Senate has approved legislation that would provide assistance to homeowners who are about to lose their home due to non-payment. The bill, Senate Bill 3519, gives people the opportunity to contact their lender in an effort to avoid foreclosure, as well as requiring that a new simple and easy-to-understand notice be sent to homeowners when they fall behind or become delinquent in their mortgage payments. Such a bill might help them find a resolution or to see if there are any governmental programs available to avoid a foreclosure sale.

The state has consistently ranked among states with the highest number of foreclosures for the past decade. Tennessee ranked 26th in the nation in February according to some reports.

Issues In Brief

Overreaching by Congress – The State Senate gave final approval to Senate Joint Resolution 897 sponsored by Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey and Senator Mae Beavers, which urges Tennessee’s Attorney General to join 19 other states in challenging the unconstitutional provisions in the federal government takeover of the nation’s health care system. The resolution states that the General Assembly shares the concern of other states that mandated insurance coverage for citizens within their boundaries violates the Commerce Clause and the Tenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

Elected Attorney General – The Senate heard two readings this week of a resolution sponsored by Senator Mae Beavers calling for an elected State Attorney General (AG). The resolution, Senate Joint Resolution 698, seeks to amend the state’s Constitution to allow a popular election every four years. Tennessee is the only state in the nation that allows the State Supreme Court to select the attorney general. The amendment process requires three readings before a vote is taken on the resolution. It must be approved by both the 106th General Assembly, currently in session, and the 107th, which will take office in 2011, before going to voters in a statewide referendum in November 2014.

English in the workplace – The Senate Commerce Committee has approved a bill to clarify that Tennessee employers have a right to institute an English-in-the-workplace policy. The bill, SB 2753, clarifies that employers can require that English be spoken on the job as long as it is posted. Many think that requiring English is often a safety precaution. Businesses where employees are continuously handling toxic products or food containers have a need to require English.

College Savings – The Senate Finance Committee has approved legislation to increase the number of college graduates by providing essential education to parents and students about how to save for college. The proposal, Senate Bill 3234, would create an 11-member Tennessee Financial Literacy Commission to establish a state clearinghouse of information, resources, and assistance for improving financial literacy in the area of college savings.

Similarly, a separate measure was approved by the full Senate that authorizes the Board of Trustees of the Tennessee Baccalaureate Education System Trust (BEST) to establish an incentive plan to encourage citizens to participate in any 529 college savings program that the Board has contracted with to assist in these efforts. The proposal, Senate Bill 1142, helps citizens take advantage of the incentive plans, grants and scholarships that could be available to them through individual savings accounts established by or on behalf of residents through BEST.

Medal Program – The full Senate approved Senate Bill 2488 that would create the Veterans' Honor Medal program to recognize and honor distinguished service by Tennessee veterans. The Department of Veterans’ Affairs, under the bill, would commission the design of a medal for the program.

Mammograms – Senator Mae Beavers pushed passage of Senate Joint Resolution 890 through the full Senate this week encouraging women to consult with their doctors and organizations, such as the American Cancer Society, when choosing to have annual mammograms. Beavers, a breast cancer survivor, credits screening and early intervention as a reason for her success in defeating the disease. The resolution takes issue with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ new guidelines increasing the age for baseline mammograms to age 50, and changing the recommendation for annual screenings to having the exams every other year. The resolution instead urges Tennessee women to use the American Cancer Society’s recommended standard for annual screenings beginning at age 40.

DCHS Student In Juvenile Detention After being Found with "Hit List" at School

April 15, 2010
by: 
Dwayne Page

A 14 year old DeKalb County High School student is in trouble with the law after he was allegedly caught with a "hit list" in his possession at school on Monday.

Director of Schools Mark Willoughby told WJLE Thursday that the student allegedly made written threats against seventeen other high school students along with three school employees including the principal of another local school, a supervisor, and a high school teacher. The threats were not carried out.

The School Resource Officer was informed about the "hit list" on Monday and the student was taken into custody. The "hit list" was also confiscated.

A juvenile petition was taken against the boy alleging that he committed a delinquent act. He will appear in juvenile court next week. He is currently in the juvenile detention center at Cookeville.

Sheriff's Department to Post "Flaggers" at Hurricane Bridge Starting Today (Thursday)

April 14, 2010
by: 
Dwayne Page
Flagger Monitoring Traffic over Hurricane Bridge
Flagger Signs Posted Near Hurricane Bridge
Signs Near Hurricane Bridge Warn Motorists to be prepared to Stop

If you're planning to cross Hurricane bridge anytime Monday through Friday from seven a.m. until five p.m., be prepared to stop.

Starting today (Thursday, April 15th), County Mayor Mike Foster says the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department will have a "flagger" on each end of the bridge to monitor traffic across the bridge, which has state posted weight limits. "We're going to start escorting loaded trucks across Hurricane bridge in an effort to try and help our industries and our school buses get across. The way it will work, a loaded truck must stop at each end of the bridge whenever they approach it and it (bridge) will be cleared to where they are the only vehicle on the bridge and then they will proceed across. As soon as they get across, then normal traffic flow will resume across the bridge. If the trucks are not loaded, they will proceed across the bridge like they normally would (without having to stop). This way, instead of having to go by the weight limited posted on the bridge, which are 10 tons for a straight truck and 18 tons for a semi, they can now carry a normal load that they would normally carry across the bridge. However, only one truck at a time will be allowed on the bridge. Other than that, normal traffic flow will be as it has been."

Sheriff Patrick Ray adds that "any vehicle (trucks, school buses, emergency vehicles, etc) above the posted weight limit now will have to stop and we will stop traffic on both ends of the bridge and allow that one truck to come across the bridge. Then we will re-open traffic."

Sheriff Ray says he and his department are proud to be able to provide this service to help our local industries, school buses, emergency vehicles, and others. This, he says, will ease safety concerns and greatly benefit everyone, especially people living in the Silver Point and Rock Castle areas.

In January, the DeKalb County Commission approved a plan to provide the "flaggers" through at least September and to apply for a state grant to help recoup the county's costs.

Under the proposal, County Mayor Foster says the county will appropriate around $20,000 to pay at least a couple of people, through the sheriff's department, with experience in law enforcement or traffic control who would work several hours per week monitoring traffic across Hurricane Bridge.

More than 60 People Indicted in Undercover Drug Investigation

April 14, 2010
by: 
Dwayne Page
Sheriff Patrick Ray
Alexandria Police Chief Mark Collins

A lengthy investigation by the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department, Alexandria Police Department, TBI and other law enforcement agencies into a drug running operation here and in other counties of the Upper Cumberland has resulted in grand jury indictments against sixty one people charged with the illegal sale or conspiracy to sell prescription drugs. Three others were indicted on unrelated charges of theft (stealing trailers).

A special session of the DeKalb County Grand Jury met Monday and returned indictments against people locally and from other counties, who either allegedly sold or conspired to sell drugs to undercover operatives in DeKalb County. According to Sheriff Patrick Ray, authorities believe the drugs were being supplied from a contact in New York.

Sheriff Ray says his department presented to the grand jury cases against forty people from throughout the county on drug charges, plus an additional twelve people in Alexandria, who were indicted as the result of a joint investigation between the sheriff's department and the Alexandria Police Department. The TBI presented cases to the grand jury against nine people, mostly from the Jackson, Overton, and Putnam County area who allegedly conspired to sell drugs in DeKalb County.

Richard Brogan, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge, says defendants in the TBI investigation were facilitating the availability of drugs locally. "The main focus of our investigation was a man by the man of Timmy Young of Gainesboro, who is known as "fat boy" on the street. He had a direct connection with the main suppliers that were bringing them in from Nashville and New York. Those pills were then distributed out to what we call "runners" that would sell to other individuals on the street level."

Agent Brogan says prescription drug abuse is a major problem in this state. "Prescription drug abuse has probably become our fastest growing problem in the State of Tennessee such as dilaudid which is synthetic morphine and oxycontin which is also a highly addictive drug. Oxycontin, for example, is selling for $80 a pill on the streets today. You can see how expensive these pills are just to buy one so you can imagine what other crimes that leads to such as burglaries, shoplifting, robberies, and things like that to take care of their habits."

Sheriff Ray says this was a "three phase drug operation. One of the phases was with the Alexandria Police Department, where we've been focusing on the housing project down there. We have been getting complaints of illegal drug sales and drug use. We've netted twelve defendants out of there", said Sheriff Ray.

Alexandria Police Chief Mark Collins said he is appreciative for the cooperation of the sheriff's department in this investigation. " Several months back we started receiving complaints and actually most of it originated from the housing project about a lot of drug activity. Through our informants we heard that there were illegal drug sales going on at times in the housing project and other places in Alexandria. With ours being a small department, I summoned the help of the Sheriff's Department. Sheriff Patrick Ray and his detectives and I, along with my Sergeant Chris Russell, began an undercover operation to see if we could buy some of these illegal drugs in Alexandria to rid the problem. We were able to make several undercover buys of illegal narcotics in the Alexandria area and outside the Alexandria area, some of them even stemmed, from our sources, out into other counties. We were able to get a total of twelve defendants actually inside the city limits of Alexandria. Most of these people who were arrested came from the housing project. They are living there in assisted living and most of these defendants are on TennCare. The government is supplying them with their medicine and they're bringing that medicine back and selling it to anyone who knocks on their door. I don't agree with that and I think it's my job and duty as a sworn police officer to try to rid that."

In addition to facing possible jail time, Chief Collins says these defendants may also be evicted from their housing project homes. "The way I understand it and speaking with the housing authority in the past is that if someone who lives there gets arrested for violations like we've got, they're subject to losing their home (evicted) and I think they should"

"When I became the police chief about three years ago, I promised the citizens of Alexandria that I would give them the best law enforcement I possibly could and I am still going to commit to that. Alexandria is a great place and we have a lot of good people."

"I just want to extend my gratitude to all the departments who have helped, especially to Sergeant Russell and the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department, Sheriff Ray, and his detectives for making this operation a success."

In addition to the Alexandria investigation, Sheriff Ray says his department worked with the TBI on it's cases and conducted a probe of it's own."We worked probably a nine month to a year long investigation with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. It focused on our local drug dealers here. It also focused on other places within our drug task force region. The investigation led into Nashville and from there to New York, the source of the drugs."

"Our department (sheriff's department) also did an investigation in which we made cases leading to indictments of three defendants charged with theft over $500, where they had taken some trailers. The other forty were drug cases. Altogether, there were sixty one indictments (for drugs), including nine from the TBI, twelve from Alexandria, and forty from the sheriff's department. Those forty came from Alexandria, Liberty, some in Dowelltown, and in the Smithville area. We tried to go all over the county and buy drugs where we could. They've been bought on every end of the county this time."

"We've bought everything from marijuana, oxycontin, dilaudid, suboxone, among other illegal drugs. The agencies involved in this operation were the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, the Drug Task Force, the District Attorney General's Office, the Alexandria Police Department, the Tennessee Highway Patrol, the THP Swat team, DeKalb County constables, federal marshals, and the county fire department for allowing us to use their main station on King Ridge Road (to book the prisoners), and also from concerned citizens who have called and informed us of people who they thought were in the business of selling illegal narcotics. We appreciate every call that we had. We try to check every call we get on our drug tip lines. A lot of people think that they can call in a drug dealer and by morning we'll have them put in jail. That doesn't work that way all the time. It takes a lot of surveillance work. It takes the buys themselves. We have to obtain informants to go in and make the buys. Then all the legal paper work has to be done after that to get our indictments."

Sheriff Ray adds that some of the defendants were also charged with dealing drugs in what the law classifies as a "drug free zone" where children may be present. "We charged people with being in violation of the drug free zone laws, which is being near any school, library, ball parks, or anywhere children could be present. There's a statute for that. We have numerous counts (charges) of those, where either the drug dealer lived in those areas and instructed our informants to come there to buy drugs or, in some cases, they told our informants to meet them at a certain location. Most of what we got (defendants/drugs) has been in those drug free zones where some of them lived."

In order to make room for many of these extra prisoners, Sheriff Ray says some of the state prisoners who were already in jail have been moved to other facilities. "In the last few days, we have tried to prepare for this drug roundup because naturally some of these people are not going to be able to make bond. These sixty four people would overload the jail. Our inmate population is somewhere in the 90's. That's what it's been for the last few months and on the weekends we're running close to 100 with 103 beds in the jail. So yesterday (Tuesday) we sent some state prisoners to the Macon County Sheriff's Department to serve the remainder of their time there to give us some room at the jail to house these inmates here. We also sent some (state prisoners) to the Tennessee Department of Corrections this morning (Wednesday) so that we can hold some of these individuals that can't make bond. Some of them will have violations of parole or probation warrants that will be coming with no bonds on them so naturally they won't be able to get out of jail on those."

Sheriff Ray says he is proud of his department and the teamwork shown throughout this operation. "I want to commend my department. Every correctional officer that I have, every deputy, detective, all my administrative staff, court officers, every employee I have has played a very important role in this operation. Unity is the key to power. I want to stress this. All of our outside law enforcement agencies have come in and helped us. I don't think any one department or any one officer wants to take all the credit for the operation. It's not only our job, but it's our obligation, we're sworn to uphold the law and we want this done as a team effort."

"As sheriff, I would like to dedicate our part of this operation to everyone who has lost friends and loved ones due to suicides or drug related deaths. This is the only way that law enforcement and the community can come together. If we'll bond together we can make things happen, just like it's happened today. We want to stress to everyone, keep calling in, keep working with us, and we'll hope to have another one (roundup) real soon."

As for it's part of the investigation, the TBI, in a prepared news release, states that "Nine defendants were indicted on charges of conspiracy to sell and deliver over 50 grams of a schedule II controlled substance and violations of the drug free school zone act. The operation called "Yellow Dot" centered around the sale and distribution of hydromorphone, also known as Dilaudid."

"In February of 2009, TBI and the 13th Judicial District Drug Task Force received information about a string of home burglaries and shoplifting thefts by subjects who were supporting a Dilaudid habit. That information prompted the drug investigation."

"The defendants were selling Dilaudid ranging from $20 to $30 per pill at various locations in Putnam County and Cookeville, TN. Information received during this investigation prompted the TBI to open a case into the source of the prescription drugs in Smith County and Nashville, TN. That investigation resulted in the arrest of nineteen individuals in December of 2009."

"The following defendants from TBI cases were booked into the DeKalb County Jail. Three currently have active warrants.

Charles Dowis, Cookeville, TN
Lakrisha Willis, Livingston, TN
Ron Stewart, Gainesboro TN
Tabbie Wilson, Cookeville, TN
Ted Hooten, Gainesboro, TN
Tim Young, Gainesboro, TN

Gadberry Sentenced in Aggravated Robbery of Dollar General Store

April 13, 2010
by: 
Dwayne Page
Jacob Gadberry
 Nina Sullivan

A man charged in an armed robbery at the Dollar General Store on South Congress Boulevard on September 15th, 2009 was sentenced in DeKalb County Criminal Court Monday.

29 year old Jacob Gadberry pleaded guilty to aggravated robbery under a negotiated settlement and received an eight year sentence to serve. The term is to run consecutive to another sentence he is now serving in the Tennessee Department of Corrections. Other charges against him including criminal impersonation were dismissed. Gadberry was given jail credit from September 15th, 2009 to April 12th, 2010.

Judge David Patterson presided in court on Monday.

Gadberry's partner in the crime, 20 year old Nina Natasha Sullivan pleaded guilty in March to criminal responsibility for facilitation. She received a six year sentence in the community corrections program. She was given jail credit from September 15th to March 22nd.

According to Smithville Police Officer Scott Davis' report, Sullivan entered the Dollar General store in Smithville around 7:20 p.m. on Tuesday, September 15th and asked to use the restroom. After she left, Gadberry came in the store, opened an office door where the manager was counting money, and ordered her at knife point to open the safe where he took more than three thousand dollars and left the store. No one was injured.

Shortly after the robbery, county deputies Chris McMillen and Steven Barrett stopped a 1991 Nissan at Walnut and North Mountain Street, where the two suspects were taken into custody.

Officer Davis' actual report states as follows:" I was dispatched to 513 South Congress (Dollar General Store) in reference to a robbery. Upon my arrival, I made contact with the witness who advised that the suspects were a white male wearing an orange Tennessee shirt, and a white female who was driving an older model red Nissan."

The defendant (Sullivan) opened the door where management was counting money and asked if she could use the bathroom. The witness, Dawn Allen, stated "yes" and the defendant (Sullivan) went to the bathroom. Ms. Allen stated that a few minutes later the male suspect (Gadberry) yanked open the door and had an open utility tool knife and stated " open the safe, don't hit the alarm or be stupid, get back into the chair". The suspect then took a blue and red money bag from the safe and fled the store."

County deputies McMillen and Barrett, who were apparently at the jail at the time, heard the radio traffic and saw a vehicle fitting the description driving around the public square the wrong way. They pulled the car over at the intersection of Walnut and North Mountain Street

Officer Davis' report states that "the suspects vehicle had money thrown inside the floor board and some of it was stuffed under the passengers seat. Once both suspects were removed from the vehicle, Sullivan was placed into Sergeant Joey Jones' patrol car where she attempted to hide money taken from the robbery. The amount of the money taken in the robbery is estimated at $3,011. The money was recovered in the suspects' vehicle and placed into the evidence room. At 11:59 p.m., I was attempting to locate the money bags that were taken during the robbery. I located the money bags at 201 South Third Street. These items were placed into evidence. "

Meanwhile, in other cases Monday, 25 year old Wallace Rackley pleaded guilty to aggravated burglary and received a three year sentence, all suspended to supervised probation except for 180 days to serve. He was given credit for time served. Rackley must make restitution for the cost of a door damaged during the incident. A vandalism charge against him was dismissed.

Rhonda Perez, charged with worthless check over $1,000, was granted pre-trial diversion. She must perform 30 hours of community service work and abide by all other terms of her probation.

Toby L. Young pleaded guilty to aggravated assault and received a three year sentence. He was given credit for 320 days of time served.

26 year old Jessica Barrett pleaded guilty to promoting the manufacture of methamphetamine. She received a two year sentence all suspended to supervised probation except for time served. She must pay a fine of $2,000. Barrett was given jail credit of 170 days.

44 year old Teresa Beasley pleaded guilty to facilitation to sell a schedule II controlled substance. She received a two year sentence, all suspended to TDOC probation. She is to be considered as a candidate for judicial diversion. Beasley must pay a $2,000 fine and undergo an alcohol and drug assessment.

36 year old Freddy S. Stringer, Jr. pleaded guilty to driving while suspended. He received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days. The term is to run concurrent with a violation of probation against him

42 year old Melissa Kay Walther pleaded guilty by information to violation of the implied consent law. Her license will be suspended for two years. She may apply for a restricted license to help meet her child's medical needs.

36 year old Sharon C. Groshon pleaded guilty to theft under $500 and received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days on supervised probation. She was fined $50 and must perform 25 hours of community service work.

31 year old Jason K. Cline pleaded guilty to a second offense of driving under the influence. He received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days with 45 days to serve. The last 28 days of the sentence may be served in an inpatient rehab program. He will then be on supervised probation. Cline will lose his license for two years and he must pay a fine of $610. He was given jail credit of 48 hours.

35 year old Brad Elliott Johnson pleaded guilty to simple possession of a schedule II controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia. He received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days in each case, all suspended to supervised probation. The sentences are to run consecutively. He was also fined $900.

35 year old Christopher Bush pleaded guilty to one count of theft over $500, three counts of theft under $500, and one count of burglary of a boat. He received a total sentence of four years, suspended to supervised probation after serving 90 days. Bush must pay over $3,000 in restitution to the victims and $375 to the economic crime fund.

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