Local News Articles

Russell Watson Receives Agricultural Educator Outstanding Service Award

December 10, 2008

A local educator has been presented an Outstanding Service Award by the National Association of Agricultural Educators.

Russell Watson of Smithville, an educator in the Warren County School System, was named to receive the award last Friday at an award's luncheon in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Throughout his 41 years of teaching, Watson has been very involved in the curriculum changes for many agriculture courses. Early in his career, he realized the need to incorporate courses that were not all production agriculture into the program. With McMinnville being considered the "nursery capitol of the world," Watson began to incorporate courses such as greenhouse management and agribusiness. These kinds of courses were more relevant to his students' lives, which led to increased learning and improved retention.
Watson has served on state and national curriculum committees, and he served as a reviewer for many textbooks now on the market. He began to incorporate math, science and language into the curriculum, giving agriscience courses the opportunity to count towards core credits.

Along with his service to agricultural education as a whole, Watson has also been very successful in his own classroom. Whether it is because of the changes he has made or simply his passion and dedication to the profession, he is doing something right. His agriculture department and FFA chapter has seen numerous American and state FFA degree recipients, national and state finalists in proficiency award areas, and 40 national gold chapter emblems. His students have also been very motivated in continuing their education, with many of them receiving not only a Bachelor's degree, but masters and doctorates as well. His students are not the only ones that have been influenced by Watson's work; his service has continued into the professional organizations in which he is involved. Watson is someone to whom students and fellow teachers alike can look to for advice.

"Mr. Russell Watson has not only served as an educator and FFA advisor, but as a mentor to his students," said Tracy Risinger, Warren County School System Career and Technical Education Director. "It is easy to see that his accomplishments during his 41 year tenure have definitely made a difference in the lives of his students."

State Senator Mae Beavers Re-elected Treasurer of Senate Majority Caucus

December 10, 2008

State Senator Mae Beavers (R-Mt. Juliet) was unanimously re-elected by her colleagues as Treasurer to the Tennessee Senate Majority Caucus. The election took place as the Republican Caucus met in an organizational meeting of the group on Monday.

“It is an honor to be re-elected by my colleagues as Treasurer of the Caucus and I am looking forward to continuing to serve our members in this capacity,” said Sen. Beavers, who also serves in the State Senate as Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

As Treasurer, Beavers is part of the Republican Leadership team. Beavers has served in various leadership capacities since she was elected as a freshman.

In other positions elected by the Caucus, Senator Mark Norris (R-Collierville) was re-elected Senate Majority Leader, Senator Diane Black (R-Gallatin) as Republican Caucus Chairman, Senator Bill Ketron (R-Murfreesoboro) as floor leader, and Senator Jack Johnson (R-Franklin) as Secretary.

The 106th General Assembly is set to convene on January 13.

Smithville Chapter OES Donates Children's Books

December 9, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page
Order of the Eastern Star Donates Children's Books
Order of the Eastern Star Donates Children Books #2

The Smithville Chapter of The Order of the Eastern Star recently donated children's books for the "Tantalizing Tales" project.

Chapter members Carolyn Williams, Past Worthy Grand Matron, Guylene Atnip, Worthy Matron of the Chapter, Wanda Gard, Grand Representative and Joel Dawes, Project Chairperson visited Smithville Elementary Pre-K and the First United Methodist Day Care.

Pictured are the members and Deanna Adams, Director of the First United Methodist Day Care and Smithville Elementary Pre-K was represented by Jennifer Peak, Christina Ortiveros, Susan Palmer, and Lori Purnell.

Bredesen Announces Grant for Smithville Municipal Airport

December 8, 2008

Governor Phil Bredesen announced today that $150,000 in federal aeronautics grant funds have been approved for the Smithville Municipal Airport in DeKalb County.

“As our communities grow and thrive, it is increasingly important that our airports stay competitive and efficient at meeting the needs of travelers,” said Bredesen. “Smithville Municipal Airport is vital to this region’s economy and travel system. I’m pleased to support its continued growth.”

Funds from the aeronautics grant will be used to purchase and install a new fueling system. Senator Mae Beavers represents DeKalb County in the Tennessee General Assembly. The grant is made available through the Tennessee Department of Transportation’s Aeronautics Division.

“This division administers federal and state funding to assist in the location, design, construction and maintenance of Tennessee's diverse public aviation system,” reported TDOT Commissioner Gerald Nicely. “We are pleased to be able to provide millions of dollars each year for the betterment of our airports through our grant programs.”

Except for routine expenditures, grant applications are reviewed by the Tennessee Aeronautics Commission (TAC), which is a five member board charged with policy planning and with regulating changes in the state airport system plan.

TAC Chair Larry Mullins explained, “Our board examines the applications carefully to ensure that the proper state and local matching funds are in place and that the grants will be put to good use.”

The TDOT Aeronautics Division has the responsibility of inspecting and licensing the state’s 126 heliports and 75 public/general aviation airports. The Division also provides aircraft and related services for state government and staffing for the Tennessee Aeronautics Commission.

Britney Campbell Chosen for Mid-State Band

December 8, 2008
Britney Campbell

For the fourth year in a row, Britney Campbell, a sophomore at DeKalb County High School, has been chosen to represent Middle Tennessee in its most prestigious musical ensemble, Tennessee’s Mid-State Band.

On Saturday, December 6th, Britney traveled to McGavok High School in Nashville to audition for Mid-State, which selects its musicians from the Middle Tennessee area based on the students’ level of musical ability. At the senior high level, any 10th – 12th grade student in Middle Tennessee can audition. During the audition process, each student is tested in three general areas of musicianship. Students are asked to perform a prepared piece of music, which is a song that has been rehearsed prior to the audition date. Students are also required to demonstrate their ability in playing scales, a basic pattern of musical notes. They are also tested on sight-reading skills, which displays the ability to perform a song without having to rehearse it.

Among the hundreds of clarinet players in grades ten through twelve who auditioned for this event, Britney placed nineteenth chair in the Bronze Band, Mid-State’s third ranking band.

In January 2009, all the students who made the Mid-State Bands will rehearse in Murfreesboro. Students will only have a couple days to prepare for a concert, which will be held at Middle Tennessee State University. DeKalb County High School’s Band Director, Jonathan Wright, says, “It is a wonderful experience for all involved students because they get an opportunity to play with the most talented and motivated students from all over the middle Tennessee area.”

In addition to playing clarinet in the high school band, Britney also plays percussion in the DCHS Winter Drumline, DC-1 Percussion. This ensemble is completely extracurricular, and meets twice a week in the band room to prepare for an indoor show to be performed in 2009.

Britney is the daughter of Mike Campbell and Kimberly Houk of Smithville. Britney's dad says, "This was her first year to try out in the senior high division and I am very proud of her. She works really hard for this every year.”

Former 3-D Financial Loan Officer Indicted on Forgery and Theft Charges

December 8, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page
Sari Bailey

A former loan officer at 3-D Financial of Smithville has been named in a sealed indictment charging her with eighteen counts of forgery and one count of theft over $1,000.

53 year old Sari Bailey of Antioch Road, Smithville, who was arrested Friday, is accused of issuing $4,100 in loans, using the names and personal information of previous 3-D Financial customers without their knowledge, and keeping the money for herself. She also allegedly forged a company check and passed it at a local bank for $1,500 and kept the money.

Smithville Police Chief Richard Jennings, who investigated the case, says with each fraudulent loan issued, Bailey would apparently use the funds from it to either pay off or make a payment on the previous loan.

Bailey allegedly forged loan agreements using the names of six different persons in amounts of $100, $200, and $300 on seventeen occasions from April 27th, 2007 to October 30th, 2007.

The investigation began last fall after the office manager of 3-D Financial reported to police that three company checks were missing and that one of them had been cashed for $1,500 but the money was not returned. Chief Jennings says the fraudulent loan scheme was uncovered as a result of that investigation.

The indictment alleges that on and between April, 2007 and October, 2007, Bailey did forge and pass one check and seventeen loan agreements with a total net loss of approximately $2,893 on accounts with the intent to deprive 3-D Financial of said property, constituting the offense of theft over $1,000.

Her bond is $25,000 and she will appear for arraignment in DeKalb County Criminal Court on Monday, December 15th.

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department has arrested two persons since Friday for driving under the influence.

37 year old Thomas Wayne Wallace Jr. of Jamestown was charged Friday with driving under the influence, unlawful possession of a loaded weapon, and possession of a loaded weapon while intoxicated.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says deputes spotted a vehicle that was parked in the roadway on Highway 70 East. Upon inspecting the vehicle, officers found Wallace passed out in a fetal position with the vehicle running and in gear. They determined that Wallace was under the influence of alcohol after he failed field sobriety tasks. Upon taking an inventory of Wallace's vehicle, officers found a loaded handgun under his seat. Wallace's bond was set at $3,000 and he will appear in court on December 18th.

Meanwhile on Saturday a county deputy stopped a vehicle on Highway 70 for weaving from side to side in the roadway. Sheriff Ray says 28 year old Steve Ross Merriman of Snow Hill Road Dowelltown was found to be the driver of the vehicle. Deputies noticed a strong odor of alcohol coming from the vehicle. Merriman was asked to perform field sobriety tasks. He was also asked to give blood to determine any alcohol content in his body. Merriman refused to consent to both the sobriety tasks and blood test. Deputies placed him under arrest for driving under the influence. Merriman's bond was set at $1,000 and he will appear in court on January 8th.. Merriman was also issued a citation for violating the implied consent law.

DCHS Basketball Cheerleaders Win TSSAA State Championship in non-building.

December 8, 2008
DCHS Basketball Cheerleaders- TSSAA State Champs

The DeKalb County High School Basketball Cheerleaders are the 2008 TSSAA State Cheerleading Champions in non-building.

The TSSAA State Cheerleading Championships were held at Murphy Center at MTSU on Saturday.

Coach Walteen Parker says "We started working on our routine in November. This is our third State Championship." The squad members are Rosemary Apple, Captain; Jessica Cook, Captain; Alison Curtis, Captain; Caroline Carter; Kendra Foutch; Amanda Ours; Perri Carter; Camry White; Tiffini Hendrixson; Allyson Judkins; Corabeth Rhody; Sydney Robinson, and Ashlee Whitehead.

Coach Parker was also presented the Coach's Achievement Award, which is awarded to the State Champion.

Town of Liberty Shares Plenty of Christmas Cheer

December 7, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page
Float for DeKalb Fair Little Miss Kacie Malone and Court Win First Place at Liberty
NewsChannel 5 Meteorologist Lelan Statom-Grand Marshal of Liberty Parade

The sights and sounds of Christmas were on display Sunday during the annual Liberty Christmas Parade sponsored by Liberty State Bank and the town of Liberty.

Lelan Statom, meteorologist of NewsChannel 5 served as Grand Marshal. The parade also featured floats, the DCHS band, horseback riders, vintage automobiles, tractors, and Santa Claus among many other attractions.

An entry featuring the DeKalb County Fair Little Miss Kacie Malone and her court, Monica Carlton, Makenzie Brooke Poss, and Graci Starnes won the float competition and the Liberty United Methodist Church float took second place.

Kevin Bandy won first place for best vintage automobile in the parade with his 1925 Ford T model.

Terry and Trisha Bullard won second place

In the tractor category, first place went to W.J. (Dub) White and Joe Vickers, Jr. took second place.

Jared Pyles was awarded first place in the miscellaneous category while Justin Johnson received second place.

Prizes were awarded by the Town of Liberty and Liberty State Bank.

TO VIEW MORE PHOTOS OF THE LIBERTY CHRISTMAS PARADE CLICK THE FOLLOWING LINK.

http://www.wjle.com/christmas2008?filter0=43

Smithville Christmas Parade Ushers in Yuletide Season

December 6, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page
Liberty United Methodist Church-First Place Float Winner
Parade Grand Marshal DCHS Football Team

The town of Smithville was the scene of a yuletide celebration Saturday afternoon.

Hundreds lined the downtown streets for the annual Smithville Christmas Parade.

As always, the parade featured floats, vintage automobiles, motorcycles, local kings and queens, scouts, horseback riders, the DeKalb County High School Fighting Tiger Band, among many other entries. Of course, the highlight of the parade was the appearance of Santa Claus who rode into town on a fire engine tossing candy left and right to everyone along the parade route.

The Grand Marshal of the Smithville parade was the DeKalb County High School Football team. This year's squad finished the season 9-3 and notched the school's first ever state football playoff victory.

The Liberty United Methodist Church won first place in the float competition.

The Smithville Church of God took second place for their float and Girl Scout Troop #343 received third place.

The Spirit Award, presented by the Smithville Business and Professional Women's Club, went to Wal-mart for their float.

The Smithville Parade is sponsored each year by the Smithville Volunteer Fire Department.

CLICK THIS LINK TO SEE MORE PICTURES OF THE SMITHVILLE CHRISTMAS PARADE http://www.wjle.com/christmas2008?filter0=44

Smithville Police Urge Businesses to Check for Counterfeit Bills

December 5, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page

Local business owners and operators are urged to be on the lookout for counterfeit bills, especially $100 and $20 bills that may be circulating.

Smithville Police Chief Richard Jennings says a man went to DeKalb Community Bank Wednesday to change a $100 bill but the teller discovered that it was a counterfeit. The man then asked the teller to check other bills in his wallet and found that he had fourteen $20 bills that were also counterfeit for a total of $380 in fake money.

The man said he had also given a $20 bill to a female relative, which police learned also proved to be counterfeit. The woman tried to pass the bill at Save-A-Lot on Wednesday.

Chief Jennings says police do not believe the man or his female relative knew the bills they had were counterfeit, so no charges have been filed against them.

However, Chief Jennings adds that since neither police nor the man who had the bills knows where they came from, there could be more circulating, so he is urging all business people to beware.

Officers Randy King and Travis Bryant filed reports in the case.

Smithville Police have charged 32 year old Eric James Garner with two counts of simple possession of a schedule IV controlled substance. His bond totals $3,000 and he will be in court on the charges December 18th.

On November 28th, Officer Travis Bryant responded to 2638 Allen Ferry Road to a possible domestic. After speaking to Garner, who said he was having problems with his wife, Officer Bryant obtained consent to search and found in the residence a pill bottle containing five blue pills believed to be Clonazepam. Officer Bryant asked Garner if he had been taking anything and he stated "not today", but that someone had given him some pills. He produced a pill bottle that contained 750 mg of methocarbamol which is a muscle relaxer. The bottle contained 19 pills.

In other cases, 28 year old Heather Starr Trapp is charged with theft of property under $500. Her bond is $1,000 and she was due to appear in court Thursday.

Officer Scott Davis responded to Save-A-Lot on November 24th where Trapp was accused of taking a package of baby wipes and a package of disposable razors. She allegedly hid the items on her person and left the store without paying for them.

34 year old Kyle Russell Hill is charged with filing a false report. His bond is $10,000 and he will be in court December 18th.

Detective Sergeant Jerry Hutchins, Jr. filed the charge stating that Hill falsely reported the theft of several items from his home at 835 Dry Creek Road on November 26th including a class ring, necklace with a horseshoe pendant and a horseshoe ring. Upon further investigation, it was learned that Hill had gone to a pawn shop on October 14th and pawned two items and on October 17th he pawned the other items.

47 year old Alton Ray Hinsley is charged with theft of property under $500 and public intoxication. His bond totals $2,000 and he was to have appeared in court Thursday.

Officer Scott Davis responded to a call at Wal-mart on November 25th where Hinsley allegedly put on a pair of boots and walked out of the store without paying for them. The boots were valued at $59.00. Hinsley was also intoxicated. He had an odor of alcohol on his breath, his speech was slurred, and his eyes were bloodshot and watery. He was unsteady on his feet.

36 year old Ricky Shannon Nokes is charged with theft under $500, possession of drug paraphernalia, and two counts of possession of a schedule II controlled substance. His bond totals $5,500 and he will be in court December 11th.

Officer Scott Davis responded to Wal-mart on November 25th where Nokes was observed putting several items of store merchandise on his person and attempting to leave the store without paying for them. The items were valued at $48.93.

Upon a search incident to arrest, Officer Davis found a straw containing a powdery residue in his front pocket. Nokes also had a pill bottle clutched in his hand containing six hydrocodone pills. He had no prescription for the pills.

Nokes also had a key chain with a silver pill holder and inside the pill holder was a baggie containing an unknown white substance, which later was field tested and shown to be meth.

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