Local News Articles

Parsley Welcomes New Law Partner

September 6, 2013
Dwayne Page
Vester Parsley Welcomes New Law Partner Brad Hannah and wife Jennifer
Local attorneys join Vester Parsley in Welcoming Brad Hannah

Local attorney Brad Hannah is joining the office of Vester Parsley, Jr. Attorney at Law.

Parsley made the announcement in his downtown Smithville office Friday afternoon. Other members of the local bar were present for the occasion.

Hannah is a graduate of DeKalb County High School, Tennessee Tech University, and the Nashville School of Law.

He has been in practice for two years working with the Morrison Law Firm in Tullahoma.

Hannah and his wife Jennifer reside in Smithville. Their five year old son Isaac has just started kindergarten.

Born and raised in DeKalb County, Hannah is the son of Pam Dolan and the late Cliff Hannah. His grandfather was the late Edd Poss, affectionately known for many years as the "Suit Man".

Hannah, who plans to begin working with Parsley around the middle of September, said he is very appreciative of this opportunity.

"I'm proud to have him here," said Parsley. "I'm anxious to get him to work so I can take it a little easier and he can take over some of that load that I've been having to do at nine and ten o'clock at night," he said.

Parsley, a former DeKalb County General Sessions and Juvenile Court Judge, has been in practice here for almost 37 years. Over the years he has partnered with attorneys including the late George LeFevre, Hilton Conger, the late McAllen Foutch, Mike Corley, and more recently Jeremy Trapp.

Parsley currently serves as city attorney for both the Cities of Smithville and Alexandria.

(Bottom Picture: left to right- Jennifer and Brad Hannah, Vester Parsley, Jim Judkins, Tecia Pryor, Sarah Cripps, Jon Slager, and Gayla Hendrix)

Man Escapes Serious Injury in Crash on Braswell Lane

September 6, 2013
Dwayne Page
Smithville Electric System crew is shown here setting a new utility pole
Blue Ford Thunderbird, driven by Amanda Moss, involved in Friday Accident
Crown Victoria, driven by James Hill

A 53 year old Smithville man escaped serious injury Friday morning after his car crashed into a utility pole on Braswell Lane.

Captain Steven Leffew of the Smithville Police Department told WJLE that Darrell Pack was driving east on Braswell Lane in a 2010 Nissan Altima when he failed to negotiate a curve. The right tires dropped off the road and Pack lost control of the car. The vehicle struck a utility pole.

Pack refused transport to the hospital by DeKalb EMS. He was cited for violation of the financial responsibility law for no insurance.

A Smithville Electric System crew is shown above setting a new utility pole after the crash.

Meanwhile, three other people were involved in an earlier accident Friday at the intersection of Bryant Street and South Congress Boulevard near Rite Aid Pharmacy.

Captain Leffew told WJLE that 87 year old James Hill of Smithville was driving south on Congress Boulevard (Highway 56) in a 1994 Crown Victoria when he collided with a 1997 Ford Thunderbird, driven by 29 year old Amanda Moss of Smithville. According to Captain Leffew, Moss was attempting to make a left turn from Bryant Street to go north on Congress Boulevard and was in the intersection when Hill's vehicle struck her car in the driver's side door. 37 year old Donna Thompson of Smithville was a passenger of the Moss vehicle.

No one was injured.

Hill was cited for violation of the financial responsibility law for no insurance.

In addition to the Smithville Police Department, members of DeKalb EMS and the Smithville Volunteer Fire Department were on the scenes of both accidents

Hunter Education Course Starts Monday

September 6, 2013
Dwayne Page
Tony Cross

A Classroom Hunter Education Course starts Monday, September 9 at the Elizabeth Chapel Baptist Church on Highway 83 or Allen Ferry Road.

Classes will be held each night from 6:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. The course is offered free of charge.

Participants must attend each night in order to complete the course. "There are actually three classroom nights and on the last day, that afternoon we do the test and the LIVE fire. You do have to attend all of those," said TWRA Officer Tony Cross.

"You must be at least nine years old by the first night of the class to participate," he said. "We will take up to fifty persons in the class. You do have to go on-line to register now for any of our Hunter Education classes. Go to the www.tnwildlife.org website. You click on the button "For Hunters". Click on the section "Hunter Education". A button will come up in the middle of the page "Find A Class". Click on that and go to the classroom portion of the Hunter Education Course. Look on the left hand side of the page. It'll bring up the dates. Just look until you find the one that says Elizabeth Chapel Baptist Church. It will then have another button that will allow you to register now," said Officer Cross.

For more information, call Officer Cross at 597-9625

York Elected Mayor of Alexandria

September 6, 2013
Dwayne Page

Fifteen votes is all it took to elect a new mayor of Alexandria Thursday.

Jim H. York, Jr. ran unopposed in the Alexandria Municipal Election and received fifteen votes to become the town's next mayor. He succeeds incumbent Mayor Ria Baker, who chose not to seek re-election.

Only nineteen people voted in the election including sixteen in person and three by absentee. Since the election was uncontested, only paper ballots were used.

In addition to the election of York as mayor, Pat Jackson received eighteen votes in his bid for alderman. He ran unopposed.

Three aldermen were to have been elected but no one else qualified to run.

It will apparently be up to the Board of Mayor and Aldermen to make an appointment to fill those two aldermen positions.

Altogether, Alexandria has a mayor and six aldermen positions.

County Clerk Recognized for Support of "Donate-A-Dollar" Organ Donor Awareness Program

September 5, 2013
Dwayne Page
County Clerk Mike Clayborn and Staff

In the United States, more than 118,000 people are awaiting a life-saving organ transplant, with 2,500 of those residing in Tennessee, according to Donate Life Tennessee.

Every 18 minutes a patient on the waiting list for a donor organ dies, and every 10 minutes a new name is added to the list.

When a driver in Tennessee renews his or her car registration, the opportunity is provided to make a donation to the “Donate-A-Dollar Program,” which benefits the Tennessee County Clerks Organ Donor Awareness Foundation. The foundation recently announced that it has raised $4 million in donations since its inception in 1996.

DeKalb County Clerk Mike Clayborn has been recognized by Donate Life Tennessee for his work to promote the “Donate-A-Dollar program.

“Thanks to the dedication of our state’s county clerks, we have been able to raise money to provide our citizens with education on the importance of organ and tissue donation,” said Janice Butler, president of the Tennessee Association of County Clerks.

The Tennessee County Clerks Association launched the foundation in 1996 to support organ donation education in Tennessee. The foundation works in cooperation with the non-profit Tennessee Donor Services and Mid-South Transplant Foundation to educate Tennesseans on the importance of becoming an organ and tissue donor.

A board comprised of physicians, donor service professionals and county clerk representatives administer the funds, which over the years have been critical to the development of the Donate Life Tennessee online registry, the creation and distribution of educational materials, school based programs and recognition programs for organ and tissue donors.

As of June 2013, over 1.85 million Tennesseans have signed up on the Donate Life Tennessee Organ & Tissue Donor Registry either online or through the Department of Safety. On average, nearly 3,500 people are added each week. While the rate falls far short of the nationwide goal to register 50 percent of each state’s licensed drivers, Tennessee’s registry is growing quickly. Tennesseans can register to be an organ donor by simply Checking YES when applying for or renewing their driver’s license or by going online at www.donatelifetn.org.

Donate Life Tennessee is a non-profit, state-authorized organ and tissue donor registry, administered by the state’s two organ procurement organizations (OPO), responsible for facilitating the donation process in Tennessee:
Tennessee Donor Services and Mid-South Transplant Foundation. The Donate Life Registry assures that all personal information is kept confidential and stored in a secure database, accessible only to authorized OPO personnel.

(Pictured Above: Leslie Tramel, Mike Clayborn, Tammy Pack, and Judy Miller McGee)

Parents Asked to be Patient as Bus Drivers Become Familiar with After School Routes

September 4, 2013
Dwayne Page

After school programs have begun and for some students that means getting home later in the day.

Jimmy Sprague, Transportation Supervisor, is asking parents of these students to be patient as bus drivers become familiar with the after school routes.

"We're getting ready to start the second part of our After School Program," said Sprague. "The first part is what is called the 21st Century Program. It deals with our middle school and high school students. It started off real well. We haven't really had many issues at all. We're getting ready now to start what is called the LEAP's Program. That is our elementary school students from Northside and Smithville Elementary. These are young children and they often don't know their address. They will tell us, I live in the white house. Well, every street has a white house. The schools are working with us to provide address forms on their shirts when they get on the buses. I ask the parents to be patient with us. We'll get them home safely. Just bear with us because everybody is new and we're learning our routes on the After School Program. Please be patient. Times will get better as we learn our routes and things (times) will be more consistent. Last year we got a lot of calls from the 911 center, people looking for their kids. I understand that. But please understand, we're working our way to you. We will get to you and the times will get better. Just be patient with us," said Sprague

Currently, the latest some students may arrive home is approximately 6:45 p.m. "Starting out, you're looking at 6:45 p.m. My goal is to get them all home by 6:30 p.m. We'll accomplish that goal buts it's going to take trial and error in getting our routes down. We'll get there. That's where the patience comes in. I ask the parents to be patient with us and give us an opportunity to get them home. As we get further into it, the times will get better and be more consistent," said Sprague

Bounds Up for Another Parole Hearing

September 4, 2013
Dwayne Page
Gerald Wayne (J.B.) Bounds

66 year old Gerald Wayne (J.B.) Bounds of McMinnville, serving a life prison sentence for the 1981 fatal shooting of Sherman Wright of Smithville will be up for another parole hearing next month.

The hearing will be held Wednesday, October 16 at the Southeast Regional Correctional Facility in Pikeville where Bounds is incarcerated.

Bounds is serving a life sentence for the first degree premeditated killing of Wright, who was shot once in the head just outside the Odyssey Arcade on West Broad Street, across from the Dairy Queen. The incident occurred on the afternoon of February 2nd, 1981, allegedly over a gambling debt. The game room no longer exists. The building now serves as the location for the Discount Tobacco Outlet.

Bounds was found guilty of first degree murder by a DeKalb County Circuit Court Jury following a trial in October 1981 and he has been in prison since, having served more than 32 years. Bounds admitted to shooting Wright but said it was unintentional.

He has been up for parole four times, in September 2002, August 2005, October 2010, and October 2011.

Following Bounds' latest parole hearing on October 20, 2011 board member Yusuf Hakeem voted that Bounds be "put off" for two years before his next parole hearing and that in the meantime, he become involved in cognitive behavior programs including "Thinking for a Change', "Criminal Thinking", and "Victim Impact". These programs, which were to be made available to him in prison, are designed to emphasize the role of altering thinking patterns in bringing about change in an offender's life.

Three members of the State Board of Pardons and Paroles voted to concur with the vote of board member Hakeem that Bounds be denied parole due to the seriousness of the offense.

Tramel Charged with Forgeries; Gandy Arrested on Meth Charge; Two More Picked up on Sealed Drug Indictments

September 3, 2013
Dwayne Page
Megan Ann Tramel
Steven Levan Gandy
Ryan Lee Walden
Sharon Roseann Barnwell
Andrew Wesley Wilbert
Allison Sheree Turner

A woman who allegedly passed a forged check on the account of a family member on six different occasions at Walmart since June has been arrested after an investigation by a criminal detective of the Sheriff's Department.

29 year old Megan Ann Tramel of Midway Road, Smithville is charged with six counts of forgery. Her bond is $30,000 and she will be in court on September 12.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that Tramel allegedly passed the forged checks in the following amounts on the following dates: $66.51 on June 13; $142.52 on June 20; $131.60 on August 18; $109.62 on August 20; $87.75 on August 21; and $197.83 on August 28.

32 year old Steven Levan Gandy of Old West Point Road, Smithville is charged with initiation of a process used in the manufacture of methamphetamine. His bond is $50,000 and he will be in court on September 12.

Sheriff Ray said that on Thursday, August 29 a caretaker at a residence on Short Mountain Highway entered the home and found components used in the manufacture of methamphetamine. Gandy then arrived at the home, went inside, and attempted to hide the components. A drug detective of the sheriff's department made an investigation. The homeowner gave the detective consent to search and found were items used in the manufacture of methamphetamine including 2- one pot cook bottles, mason jars containing a bi-layered liquid; two gasser bottles, two funnels, coffee filters, plastic tubing, two bottles of crystal drain cleaner, along with other items associated with the manufacture of meth. Gandy was arrested and brought to the jail for booking.

29 year old Ryan Lee Walden of Dale Ridge Road, Dowelltown is charged with theft of property over $1,000. His bond is $7,500.

Sheriff Ray said that on Wednesday, July 31 the victim, who resides on Allen Ferry Road, reported that sets of Bone China plates, cups, and bowls had gone missing from the home. Walden was found to have sold these items to an auction house in DeKalb County. The value of the stolen items was more than $1,000.

38 year old Allison Sheree Turner of Lower Helton Road, Alexandria is charged with felony reckless endangerment, felony evading arrest, and driving on a suspended license.

Sheriff Ray said that on Tuesday, August 27 Turner was driving on Highway 70 west when she was involved in an accident with another vehicle. After the wreck, Turner left the scene. When the deputy spotted Turner, he got behind her vehicle and activated his lights and siren. She initially refused to stop, traveling at a high rate of speed for about a half a mile before pulling over. A check of Turner's license revealed that she was driving on a suspended license.

32 year old Cynthia Diane Carter of Tramel Branch Road, Alexandria is charged with a third offense of driving on a revoked license. She was also issued a citation for failure to maintain her lane of travel. Her bond is $5,000 and she will be in court on September 12.

Sheriff Ray said that on Friday, August 30 Carter was operating a motor vehicle on Highway 70 when she was stopped by a deputy for failure to maintain her lane of travel. She had an ID only license. A computer check revealed that her license were revoked for driving on a revoked license on December 11, 2012 in Wilson County and January 2, 2013 in Putnam County. She was arrested and brought to the jail for booking.

Last week, WJLE first reported that thirty three persons had been named in sealed indictments handed down by a special called session of the DeKalb County Grand Jury on Monday, August 19 and all but one were the result of a lengthy investigation by the Sheriff's Department into the illegal sale of narcotics and other crimes committed in DeKalb County.

Twenty six of those individuals were initially served with the indictments and arrested. Sheriff Ray now reports that two others have been picked up by the sheriff's department.

36 year old Sharon Roseann Barnwell of Sparta is indicted for sale and delivery of a schedule II drug (Dilaudid). Her bond is $50,000. She was arrested on Wednesday, August 28.

35 year old Andrew Wesley Wilbert of Vandergriff Hollow Road, Dowelltown is indicted for sale and delivery of a schedule II drug (Roxycodone). His bond is $30,000. He was picked up on Friday, August 30.

All those indicted will appear in DeKalb County Criminal Court for arraignment on Monday, September 16 at 9:00 a.m.

Closing Date Set on Sale of Lakeside Resort; Youth Residential Center an Option if Deal Falls Through

September 3, 2013
Dwayne Page
Lakeside Resort
Closing on Sale of Lakeside Resort Set for Sept 30
Bob Pierce and Jim Himelrick
Randall Killman
Mike Foster

UCHRA is hoping to close on the sale of Lakeside Resort in DeKalb County to the Brentwood Arts Society by September 30th. If the deal doesn't go through, UCHRA is looking at the possibility of opening a residential center for youth there.

In April, 2012 UCHRA settled on a deal to sell the facility to the Brentwood entity controlled by Jim Himelrick and Bob Pierce, real estate developers and former investors in Nashville Shores.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, last fall approved allowing the non-profit Brentwood Arts Society to assume the land lease. Rural Development had to approve a loan to Brentwood Arts before the transaction could be finalized.

In an interview with WJLE Thursday, Randall Killman, UCHRA Human Resource and Community Relations Director said UCHRA is still hoping to do business with Brentwood Arts Society. "Rural Development has notified us that the Brentwood Arts Society has agreed to a closing date of September 30 to finalize the transfer of the Lakeside facility. That's good news in the fact that this date has been set. At that point and time they will need to have all their money secured to be able to do the closing and we are hopeful that will happen. Of course the property is owned by the Corps of Engineers (federally owned property cannot be sold) but they (Brentwood Arts Society) are purchasing the equipment, the furnishings, and the rights to be able to occupy it and to be able to use the facility. The sale amount is the closing amount. Rural Development has issued some requirements for them as far as having some money in an escrow to cover any unexpected expenses that might occur. But the sale price is for the amount that is still owed on it. The amount is approximately $1.6 million," said Killman.

If Brentwood Arts Society can't secure funding and the closing does not occur, Killman said UCHRA may go the route of a residential center for youth at Lakeside. "In any good business plan, you'll always have a plan "B" and maybe even a plan "C", "D", and "E" hopefully to be able to operate in case this (closing) doesn't go through. Our Executive Director, Mr. Luke Collins has been working very hard on that for the past several months and looking at several different options. One of the options, which seems to be, in the early stages, our most viable option is a type of residential center. Something similar to what we do now. We have three different residential centers now. We have one in DeKalb County, Putnam County, and Crossville working with youth so this would be a program similar to that in which we would utilize that area (Lakeside) for that purpose. It's something we're looking into. It would give us the opportunity to be able to serve many more youth than we are currently able to serve. Of course there is always a need for that in the state of Tennessee and around the country, to help those that are in situations that might not get help otherwise. We're looking forward to that possibility if this process doesn't go through. Of course we are in the early stages of planning. We would be working with the Department of Children Services and there will be a lot to have to do to be able to get that (Lakeside) in the position of where we could provide residential services down there for the youth. We would have to work very closely with DCS to be able to do that such as form contracts and make sure that everything was appropriate for the youth down there. The current thought process is to have residential facilities for youth. Most likely it would be teen youth. As far as the specifics go we really have not gotten to that point yet to determine what particular area we may target more. But this definitely is the plan "B"," said Killman.

According to a recent published report in the Herald-Citizen of Cookeville, UCHRA Residential Services Director Brian Swearingen presented a plan to the policy council on Tuesday, August 20, with proposals of opening an enhanced level II alcohol and drug program for adolescents and a primary treatment center and detention at Lakeside.

County Mayor Mike Foster told WJLE Friday that he missed that UCHRA policy council meeting where the residential center option was discussed but believes it is too premature for anyone to speculate on what the UCHRA board will do if the deal with Brentwood Arts Society does not go through. "The day that they had the last meeting, Tuesday August 20 I was at the Hurricane Bridge dedication and missed whatever they (UCHRA officials) talked about in that meeting. But I think they have seven or eight hypothetical situations that they have been talking about though none of them have been approved and we would certainly have to know a whole lot more about them before I think the board would approve any of them. I know they're talking to some church groups and other people for other uses of that (Lakeside) but again none of them have been approved," he said.

Foster said he believes Lakeside should continue to be used as a tourist attraction and by the Brentwood Arts Society if possible. "My first choice is that, hopefully this sale will go through, and it winds up being a tourism attraction which would be a good thing for the community I think. That is the only proposal that has been accepted by the (UCHRA) board and I think it is by far the best proposal. They would use it in connection with their arts and plays that they have and they would also offer a destination tourism attraction, where it would attract people to come there to see plays and to stay in the cabins or motel. To me that's by far the better situation," Foster told WJLE.

"Of course, obviously we still have options, running it as a resort area and trying to do some improvements to the facility and also to do things to promote it more to be able to encourage more people to stay there," said Killman. " But we feel like as an agency that the most viable option for us at this point, if this closing does not happen with the Brentwood Arts Society, would be for us to look at this youth facility. So now we're at a point where if the Brentwood Arts Society can get the financial backing to be able to close this on September 30, we'll be good to go," said Killman.

Himelrick and Pierce of Brentwood Arts Society had reached a deal in April, 2012 to acquire the Lakeside facilities from UCHRA by the first of the year (2013) but also operate it for a fee of $5,000 a month until then. Under the existing lease and loan terms, a non-profit has to be in control of the property.

UCHRA Executive Director Luke Collins, who addressed the county commission during its regular monthly meeting in January said the Brentwood Arts Society would bring more activities to the county through Lakeside Resort. "I think that change will be a win, win for everybody. I think the Brentwood Arts Society will bring more activities to Smithville and DeKalb County and more opportunities because that's more of what they do. They are specialized in doing those things and I think they would be a better suited organization to manage Lakeside. We (UCHRA) are primarily into social services. That's primarily what we do. But Lakeside is a great facility. It offers a lot of educational opportunities for DeKalb County and a lot of jobs. It's brought a lot of tourists here. We want it to continue to be an asset to DeKalb County and I think it will," said Collins

"It would still be run as an educational facility," said County Mayor Mike Foster during that January meeting. "It would still be open to the public and it would probably help create a resort area for DeKalb County and the Upper Cumberland area in that it would still be run as a motel, a destination, a training center, and would still provide a lot of the same services that it has in the past. But it would be run by a private organization," he added.

Brentwood Arts Society provides financial support to the Town Centre Theater in Brentwood, which also has a production group that put on play performances last year at the new DeKalb County Complex auditorium.

Lakeside Resort, consisting of 139 acres on the banks of Center Hill Lake off of the Cookeville Highway, created problems for UCHRA financially, by being unable to support itself or to service the debt on the $1.6 million note owed on property there.

Anderson Webb Graduates from Belmont University

September 3, 2013
Anderson Webb (White Coat Ceremony-UT Health Science Center College of Medicine

Anderson H. Webb of Smithville graduated from Belmont University with a Bachelor of Arts and Science in Biology Pre-Med on May 4 during the Nashville school's spring commencement ceremony.

Anderson, the son of Alan and Lora Webb graduated Magna Cum Laude (with high honors) for maintaining a grade point average of 3.75- 3.949. An active member of the Student Government Association, Alpha Tau Omega Fraternity, Theta Epsilon Tau (Pre-Health Science Organization), and Alpha Epsilon Delta (Pre-Medicine Organization) where he helped charter this organization at Belmont University. He was also inducted into the Alpha Chi Honor Society. Alpha Chi membership is the highest academic honor awarded by Belmont University. Alpha Chi members are nominated by the faculty and must have "outstanding moral character" and display leadership, integrity, and service. Anderson was also on the Dean's List 8 consecutive semesters. He is now a medical student at the University of Tennessee Health Science College of Medicine in Memphis, Tennessee.

Ranked No. 7 in the Regional Universities South category and named for the fifth consecutive year as one of the top "Up-and-Comer" universities by U.S. News & World Report, Belmont University consists of approximately 6,650 students who come from every state and 25 countries. Committed to being a leader among teaching universities, Belmont brings together the best of liberal arts and professional education in a Christian community of learning and service. The university's purpose is to help students explore their passions and develop their talents to meet the world's needs, a fact made evident in the University's hometown, Nashville, where students served more than 60,000 hours of community service (valued at $450,000) during the last academic year. Belmont is also home to the World Cup champion Enactus team, a group of 42 student leaders committed to using the power of entrepreneurial action to transform lives and shape a better, more sustainable world. With more than 80 areas of study, 23 master's programs and five doctoral degrees, there is no limit to the ways Belmont University can expand an individual's horizon. For more information, visit www.belmont.edu.


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